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Neighbors

(I wrote this a couple months ago and for some reason didn’t post it…)

When I bought my house I was so excited to have neighbors. People invested in their neighborhood who saw me as invested too, not just a temporary tenant. I couldn’t wait for the block parties! Unfortunately for me I didn’t really have those kind of immediate neighbors and with my house being on a busy street we didn’t have any block parties. I did chat with my neighbors though, and they looked out for me. One stopping over when the porch door was open for days and she hadn’t seen anyone and the others giving home and garden tips. (More so since I’ve moved, I’ve heard.)

When I was staying with my friend the first few months here I met a lot of neighbors in her building. Though most of them were quite a bit older it was nice to chat with them here and there. One, as I posted previously, collected bags for me to collect dog things. Another just loved to see Murphy after having lost her dog the previous year. She and another neighbor expressed sadness when I moved.

Upon securing a place where I could finally assemble my bed I gave my dad the address to send me a piece of my bed frame I had somehow managed to forget. I waited and waited. And waited. It never came. And then one day it showed up back at my dad’s office. I was so confused how it could happen! Then something else went missing. Being at work when I found out about it, I opened up Google maps and looked at the street view of my house. I had given my dad, and who knows how many businesses, the wrong address! Everything had been going to my neighbor. I immediately went to her place but found a note indicating she didn’t open the door for those she didn’t know. So I wrote a note asking if she could collect any future deliveries and also apologzing for our barking dogs. Not too long after that, a note appeared at my house in reply. She would gladly take my packages for me and she didn’t mind the dogs at all, in fact, she enjoyed them. It’s four months later and I have yet to actually run into her but I appreciate having had that contact and at the very least, knowing her name.

The neighbor on the other side I met one day while I was moving in. Carol was sitting in her back yard and was eager to chat. She told me all about how long she’d been in the house (her mother had owned it) and her three cats. I only ran into her a few more times but she was always friendly and she’d say hello to the dogs when she came and went. Over the weekend I noticed that her bathroom light had been on for at least 2 days. My roommate had mentioned the medics had been there last week so with that we were a little concerned. I went to her door but no one answered. I called the police department who advised me to call 911. I hesitated, as it felt odd to call an emergency line for what might just be misunderstanding. I called the next morning. (and gave them the wrong address but they managed to figure it out. i’m good at that.) My roommate was home when they came and said he’d let me know what happened. Shortly after they arrived, they confirmed that she was dead. I felt pretty sick. I didn’t know a lot about her but I never saw anyone there and I felt awful that she died alone. And awful that I waited. When I returned home last night and saw the Medical Examiner’s truck I broke into tears, at the same time wondering why I was so sad about someone I hardly knew. I ran into the ME when I let the dogs out and he let me know they got a hold of her brother and I was relieved somewhat to know that someone would be taking care of her and her things. Animal control took 2 cats. When I asked the ME about the third he said he had been there all day and hadn’t seen another but that there was plenty of food out should one come out of hiding.

This morning I woke to find an envelope addressed to me. Inside was a nice note from the woman who so kindly accepted my packages. She heard Carol had passed and wanted to make sure that her three (emphasis on the 3 multiple times) cats were taken care of. She also left her phone number. So I called her today to tell her what I knew about what happened and she told me a little more about Carol, and a little about herself too. And how she had often helped Carol around the house when she was ill. I assured her I’d try make sure someone came to to find the third cat and let her know when they did.

This isn’t at all the way I had hoped to grow closer to my neighbors but it’s a great example of why I was so excited to have a home in the first place. Though some prefer it, we’re not meant to be alone. There will be some time in all of our lives when we need a neighbor to watch our pets, help around the yard or house or notice when something isn’t right. If you don’t know those who live around you, why don’t you go say hello?

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The Notebook

When I was in grade school, I was a notorious note passer. I still remember my 5th grade teacher intercepting a note in which I professed my love for a classmate (and my begging for him to return it without reading it). In junior high, I won a class award for my prolific note writing and started many a comic strip in note form. And I still have the notebooks from high school that me and my friends passed back and forth to save the trouble of ripping out pages and trying to fold what sometimes were multiple pages of teenage girl thoughts (those were also intercepted a time or two, creating fears of secret loves revealed). Even now I’ll write emails to my sister and friends all day long. So it’s been surprising how hard it is for me to keep up a blog. I am definitely not lacking in things to say. Many, many weird and interesting things have happened to me here. And my move has sparked hours of introspection and reflection.

Perhaps it’s that writing a blog (an unpopular one anyway) is absent the anticipation and eventual excitement of a reply. Or maybe I’m just lazy. Either way, I do have a few things I want to share with the universe so expect more from me shortly. 

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Highlights of a Rainy Sunday

1. Reserved a compact car for the weekend to visit friends and ended up with a Hyundai Tucson (not a compact at all!). I love it! It’s zippy and comfy and has all kinds of fun features. Though I am a parallel parking expert, I found the rearview cam very helpful while getting in a tight spot last night. 

2. Used it to drive 4 blocks to Fred Meyer today since it was raining and I was buying some heavy items. When I got in the car after shopping, this song was on Sirius 90’s Radio: 

 

3. When I returned the 4 blocks home I discovered I had forgotten the M&M’s for my Monster Cookies. I live right next door to Safeway! So I just ran over there. (Living that close to Safeway is actually not that great as whenever I want to eat something that is not already in my fridge/cupboard I just walk over there and find something more exciting.)

4. I am using my brand spankin’ new KitchenAid mixer for the first time to make the cookies. It is wonderful. And a joy to gaze at on a dreary day.

5. It’s only 11:33. So many more awesome things can happen today. 

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Reinvention

A couple of weeks ago my dog and I checked out the Center For Wooden Boats on Lake Union. Just as we were leaving it started to rain so we took shelter under a shack that housed some little rowboats. Shortly after a man approached and started talking to me. He volunteered there and told me all there was to do and see in the area. We talked for quite awhile but what most stood out to me was when he said a lot of people move out here to reinvent themselves.  It’s nothing I had intended by moving away but I think I just might. Before I left I found myself being a person I strongly disliked. Not keeping commitments and being flaky. And perhaps it was because I knew I was leaving, but there was really no good excuse.
I told him that I would reinvent myself as a sailor. So that is what I’ll try to do. I want nothing more than to be on the water, Rainier and the Olympics in view. A sailor is not the most likely to be reliable, but I’ll see what I can do.

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road trip, travel, Uncategorized

Chimney Tops

The very best day of my outdoor life came the fall of 2009. I had been laid off of work for a few months and decided to head down to the smokies, one of my favorite road trips. I wrote pretty extensively of this trip in Facebook’s notes, so I’ll reshare what I wrote then.

–Sunny day! I decided to stay another night so I can enjoy the park in the sun.

Chatted with the man at the front desk a bit, he’s from Ohio but was stationed in the south in the 70’s. Moved back home in 77, got married, started a family. Tried to convince his wife to move down here for 31 years and finally did it last summer. They love it here. I do too. Though my waiter friend told me not a lot of people that work here in town actually live here. And it’s not quick drive anywhere around here so I’m not sure how I’d like it. It would be a great temporary move though. I just hope it doesn’t take me 31 years to end up where I want to be.
Had corncake pancakes at the Pancake Pantry and some chocolate milk. Soooo tasty.
Today may have been the best day of my life.
Seriously.
I decided to hike Chimney Tops. It was noted as strenuous but at only 4 miles round trip, I didn’t think it could be that bad. I was mistaken. I’m sure for my more seasoned hiker friends it would have been a breeze. I climbed about 1700 feet of the most steep, rocky and wet terrain I have ever seen. It was incredible. And I was incredibly sweaty.
Oh before I forget, I saw 2 more bear today on my way to the trailhead. Right where I saw them yesterday. However, a soccer mom was right up my trunk and I couldn’t stop quickly enough to get a picture. Thankfully she had enough room to pull off the road for a good view of them. <sarcasm> The bears were still there when I came down. Though I think they were in the trees cause I couldn’t see them from the road. I knew they were there though by all the dumb people in the road and the rangers directing traffic. They were still there nearly an hour later, kind of wanted to stop for the photo op but the crowd was insane.
So where was I? Oh yeah, super sweaty! I tried to hide every time someone passed me. :p. Fortunately that wasn’t too often, I guess that strenuous rating keeps lazy people away and the serious hikers are on the less advertised trails. So I reached the end which is this massive rock formation. The trail to the top of it is closed but you can climb up the rocks if you want. Um, scary. I have never done anything like that. This family I had passed had a son way up top already, I thought he was nuts. I started up a bit but paused. Then mom and young daughter of the family head up. I figure if I follow them it will be easier. They stop pretty early on. Daughter wants to go up to bro but mom says no way. She pleads. Mom keeps saying no and adds that she is annoying the rest of us with her whining. Nice. Son goes all the way to the top. Eventually he comes back down and mom is scared to watch. So am I so I decide I won’t go much further. However after the fam and two others left I decide I’d go up a little more to a more comfortable spot. So I sat for awhile, just soaking up the sun (my face is way burnt!) a man passes me and tells me to continue isn’t any harder than what I’ve already done. I consider going up but he disappears and I don’t want to fall off the mountain with no witnesses. 5 teens, 2 guys 3 girls, climb up the rocks like mountain goats (I told them this). The girls were in skirts! They disappeared over the top. Two guys come up and talk to me a bit. One of them asks if I’m afraid of heights. He thinks I’m frozen in fear on the rocks and afraid to move. I’m not afraid of heights at all, and while I was afraid to go up, down (from that point) didn’t scare me. They offered to help me up but I declined. I immediately regretted it. Eventually the mountain goat family came back down and they offered to go back up to help me. They were so nice. I knew I’d hate myself if I didn’t so one of the skirts went up and led the way. There was really only one rock that scared the crap out of me, it appeared almost vertical. Once I got past that I didn’t need too much of her help. She offered to stay to help me down but I figured the guys up there would help if need be. The kids were from Indiana, I really don’t know where they learned to climb like that. It may have been more like watching Spidermen than goats. I feel like I should explain that I probably would have climbed right up if I had a partner. I just kept picturing myself tumbling down the mountain with no one knowing I was even there.
So I got up top and the view was amazing. The guys seemed happy I made it. We talked a bit and they offered me water. I said no. They offered again, so I took one. Then one offered me a cookie. Said no. Offered again. Think I said no again. One more time. I said yes. They said apparently no means yes with me. They sure figured me out fast! :p I don’t know how long we were up there but it was quite awhile. And so much fun! They had me laughing the whole time. Eli and Daniel, from NC. I think they’d be my best buds if I lived near them.
At one point a guy comes up and has a butterfly on his hat. Eli told him and he replied that it had been following him the whole way up. Eli took a pic for him and it flew away only to land on me a short time later! Then on Daniel. Eli took it from Daniel so he could get a pic. They decided it must be thirsty so they put some water in a bottle cap and fed it. It was pretty neat. Did I mention that these two were also scared by “killer” squirrels or chipmunks on their way up? Now they’re feeding a butterfly. I was kind of questioning their manhood. :p
At one point I mentioned I was at Fridays last night and they asked if I was the loud one cheering and high fiving during the game. They had been sitting in a booth at the bar! If only I had met them last night, I could have had some more fun.
Eventually we decided to head down. I was glad to have them there, that steep spot was scary! I hiked back down the mountain with them. Lots more laughs, they were so much fun. I wish I could remember some of the things they said. I was giving them a pretty hard time but rightfully so, who is afraid of squirrels??
Oh, some couple told me I should go some place in Maine, I need to remember that. Lots of fun rocks to climb I guess.
We reached the trailhead and we were all planning on seeing the sunset from Clingman’s Dome (highest point in Smokies) but first Daniel wanted a funnel cake with ice cream. So we said a temporary goodbye and drove off. Me to my hotel to shower and change.
Headed to the dome, stopped to take some pics on the way and met a nice couple from Washington. They, like myself, hadn’t seen any Minnesota plates either. Minnesota, I beg of you. Visit the Smokies! I’ve been to higher mountain ranges but I don’t know that I’ve loved them as much.
I pulled into the parking lot and Eli and Daniel were just getting out of their car. Bad news, no funnel cake. They got in the shop but the woman said she was closed. Very sad.
It was so windy up there! And cold as a result! Daniel had to change out of his shorts and into the track pants that matched his jacket. I told him he looked like a grandma and we headed up the hill. It is paved but WAY steep. Boys needed to stop for a break. Made me feel less out of shape than I am! We got up to the observation tower, where on a clear day you can see 7 states or something. So windy and even more cold but we stuck it out till the sunset and it was so worth it. I hope at least a few of the 70+ pictures I took of it do it justice. Of course there were a lot more laughs and a few awkward moments. Like when a guy from our earlier hike showed up after telling them he was going somewhere else (they told him they were going there, creepy!), or when a kid asked his parents if America and the United States were the same and I couldn’t contain my laughter, or when Eli said my hair was reddish and I loudly said it wasn’t red when a redhead was standing right behind Daniel. (my hair is NOT red!!!!)
The sun went down and it was time to leave. Luckily for me the guys were prepared, they brought flashlights. And glow sticks. Yes. Glow sticks. They gave me one. We hosted a rave in the tower then went back down the hill. I was a little sad to say goodbye to them knowing I’d probably never see them again. We did exchange email addresses so we can share pics though, and I will find them if I’m in NC again.
I hadn’t even thought that another bonus to being in the mountains For sunset would be the stars. They were amazing. I sat and watched them for a bit before making the 30 mile mountain drive back to town. I saw 3 creatures, two were fox and I initially thought the third was but it may have been a coyote. I so love the wilderness!!
I debated whether I should go to bed or eat when I got back. Eating won. Went to Calhoun’s, a local joint and sister of the brewery from the other night. Initially I regretted it cause the menu didn’t impress me but I was too lazy to move. Told the bartender gal I wanted the fresh Calhoun chicken (per the menu). “Calhoun chicken?” she asked. Yes. “side?” Corn puddin’ (again per menu.) “Corn puddinG?” AGH! I was not going to sit there all night if she was going to keep this up. Luckily she was cut. And the corn puddinG was effing fantastic.
I talked to the other bartender a bit, sounded like he was kind of displaced by Katrina. He almost moved to Minneapolis too. (I’m starting to think the servers here are trained to tell that story.) He said everyone there is really nice. I argued that people here are nicer. He agreed but said they’re a lot less intelligent. So I guess we have something going for us up there!
Wow, Jason Bateman is hot.
I finished my meal and Adam sold me on their banana pudding. Homemade white chocolate macadamia nut cookie crust, layer of bananas, pudding, hand whipped cream and shavings of some exotic something or other. I didn’t need it but asked to take it to go. He went to the kitchen. They were out! Guess I’ll have to come back for it. That really bums me out. :p
I am very much dreading the ride home tomorrow. I imagine I’ll be sore from today and extremely tired. Oh, and I just never want to go home. Zombie pub crawl on Saturday though, gotta make it back for that!
Oh, lesson learned today: People are amazing.

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moving, Seattle, Transit, Uncategorized

You might not wanna go in there…

Some updates since I last posted…

I am truly happy to be here.

Every day there is something that makes me smile and I know I made the right decision. Don’t get me wrong, I have times when I miss hanging out with my sister, fam, friends and the crazy group of pals I worked with, but I know they’re just a quick flight away. And it’s fun compiling a long list of all the places I’ll take them when they come to visit. If you know of a must see place in Seattle, I’d love to add it to my list.

Today was day 5 of my new job. It’s not too bad being back at work and so far the office seems pretty cool. I have views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. There were so many days when I was contemplating my move that I’d stare out of my office tower at the flat lands surrounding it and feel so empty.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to get to work and not leave Murph locked up too long so I’ve experimented with different buses, driving to buses and Car2Go. The bus keeps me away far too long but I love being able to check out all the boats in Fisherman’s Terminal rather than giving them a fleeting glance. I’ll likely end up driving a lot when I replace the van. Yes, the sunroof still leaks. I have yet to completely surround it with duct tape.

There are plenty of good places to eat near the office and my coworkers love to get out. That was one thing I always enjoyed about being Downtown Minneapolis so I’m glad to have that again though I’m already making a point to bring my lunch now and then. Tough to do when all I want to do is try every single food place right now!

If you haven’t seen a Bubba Keg, you need to check them out. I’ve had one for years and found it the best way to get all the water you need. Mine is 52oz and I’ll often drink at least 2 of them a day. Where it becomes a problem for me now is that there are only 2 bathrooms for our office and the other offices in our area of the floor. Each is clearly marked for men or women but the men will use either if theirs is full. One lunch trip the guys were explaining that to me and how it is common courtesy to let a gal know she might not want to enter. I never want to be on the receiving end of that message but think I’d forever hate a coworker that didn’t warn me. So if you’d all hope for me to never be in the situation at all, I’d appreciate it. And a very sincere ‘you’re welcome’ to anyone who has read a previous post about bathroom related activities and was hoping I’d share more.

If you happened to read my post about the guy living in the park, he’s still there. He disappeared for a day or two so I assume he found his key but he is back and more comfortable than ever. Leaving empty food containers outside his car to prevent a stinky inside and his clothes out to dry on the roof. He’s had at least 3 parking tickets now but continues his stay.

At my favorite neighborhood bar they’ve started a $5 steak night! I’ve only been there the first night of it so far but it was great. And such a hit that they’re continuing it. Steak, potato, mushrooms & another veggie. You really can’t beat it! We went up there for St. Pat’s to have reubens. That and the weekend’s parade were the extent of my celebrating this year. I felt pretty lame but I’ve got lots of time for partying in my new home.

I think that’s about it for now. I’ll try to share some more about Costa Rica some time and Grand Cayman too, before I forget it all.

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Friends

I feel like the luckiest gal in the world to have amassed so many wonderful friends. Lucky to have made life-long friends in school, just about every job I’ve had and some of my favorite hangouts. I wish I could have seen each and every one of you before I left town but I may have been avoiding goodbyes. It would have been awkward for anyone to see me get choked up and find out I really was born with a heart. 

(In case you were wondering, I am listening to Buck Owens right now. I feel this is worth interrupting my post because you should find some Buck Owens quick, crank it up and it’ll be just like we’re hanging out!)

I’m extremely grateful for two of my long time friends, one bff from high school and another from the best job of my life during college, without them I’m not even sure how I’d be getting along right now. Probably couchsurfing or super cheap extended staying. Better for my dad’s health that those were not necessary.

Christina (from hs), her hubby Matt and their three boys all live on their farm in Ellensburg, WA, a hundred some miles east of Seattle. I stayed there the first few days of my trip, and then a few more after I came up to Seattle. And hopefully a few more soon if they stop getting snow in mountains between here. I don’t have chains for that beast of a van. (which I crawled on top of today to duct tape a particularly leaky spot of the sunroof. a guy who was designing a road while next to me at the bar suggested trying it. cross your fingers it works!) They’re wonderful hosts and the boys the biggest sweethearts. And their dog Bella a wonderful playmate for Murphy. And the roosters make sure I’m up early every day! You can read more about them and their farm here

Cathy (one of my best bev cart pals!) lives in Greenwood, a neighborhood in Seattle that is growing on me a little too quickly. She is amazing! Works all day and trains for triathlons (she’s racing pro this year) much of the rest of the time. She too is a wonderful host, having to put up with me being around most of the time and with Murphy crawling into bed with her and chewing his bone while she tries to sleep. She was away all weekend and it was the first time I’ve stayed alone for more than a day or two in a really long time. So of course, I went to the bars up the block. (how could you not love a neighborhood with multiple bars up the block?!?!) 

Every night. I had read that Bill’s had $2 Rainiers so I stopped in there after a very romantic solo Valentines’s Day dinner at Naked City. (bar, no naked people, such a bummer) There were only a couple of people in the bar area so it gave the bartender, Emily, plenty of time to chat with me. I had 3 beers and headed to the karaoke bar. I chatted with a very cute guy who really wanted me to stay but I left and spared him a broken heart. Besides, I’m not here to meet guys! (ha!) The next night I went straight to Bill’s and Emily was working again. She greeted me by name and again we chatted all night. The waitress from the night before sat down next to me after her shift, and the bar back joined in too. They were playing all kinds of sweet hip hop (lots of Luda!) on the jukebox so we were rapping along and dancing a little too. As I was leaving, Emily hugged me and let me know when she’d be working again. What a sweetheart! Sunday night I decided to hit up a bar I hadn’t been to as my new friends wouldn’t be working. There were only 4 people in there, and they randomly included me in their convos and showed me instagram pics. After 2 of them left, the one other woman in the bar asked me to come sit with them. Turned out her boyfriend was the bar’s owner. They were interested to hear about why I’m here and suggested places to hike, tube and trivia night at their bar on Thursday. One other guy rolled in and after the owner left I chatted with him and the bartender, Brett, the rest of the night. Brett suggested all kinds of things for me to see and do, shared his chips and hot sauce, and told me to ask $2000 for the van. The other guy bought me a shot of Fireball. (which I believe is awesome hangover prevention – the last night I had 4 beers I felt so crappy. 4 beers and a fireball last night and today I felt amazing! or it could have been that I was drinking a better beer, Veltins, a German pilsner. best beer i’ve had yet here!) Anyway, the point of this super long tale is that despite what I had heard/read, one can make friends in Seattle. Unfortunately you have to pay them. 🙂 

Murphy is making friends too, Cathy’s condo seems to have an older crowd and they all think he’s cute. One lady said “We like Murphy! And you too.” Thanks lady. 

Grab some fireball and let’s toast to friends, old and new. Minnesota friends (and family), I miss you! 

 

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