Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seattle Life - 6 Month Review

The Seattle Big Wheel

A solid six months into our Pacific Northwest experiment, Seattle feels like home.  For me, it is just the right amount of new adventure and cozy-warm-blanket familiarity.  Noe loves the parks and playgrounds, the ubiquitous water, our frequent bus rides around the city.  Asher would probably be happy anywhere, but has embraced the history and geography of Seattle as only his little nerdy self could do.  Ed just loves his job.  Seriously....who gets PAID to go to Redskin Seahawk games?  And his ten minute commute to the office.

Asher 'contributing to his city'
at the infamous Gum Wall

Here are some of the things we've found to be unique about our not-so-little gray city in the fog.....

So friendly.  Traffic is horrible, but someone always waves you in (I had to relearn the "courtesy driving wave").  There is a lot of politeness going on in this city....especially the polite smile.  My mouth muscles hurt a lot.  They are clearly out of smiling shape after a decade on the East Coast.

We went to Ed's department BBQ at the end of the summer.  I wasn't really looking forward to attending, figuring it would be a lot of forced, stiff conversation or a brag-fest, which has been my experience at previous other unnamed newspaper events.  But everyone was SO friendly and fun.  Most of the afternoon I spent trying to figure out everyone's angle .... What exactly did they want from us?  On the way home it finally occurred to me.  Oh, they were being nice.

Beauty. Portland is more livable, but Seattle is beautiful.  I still have frequent moments when my breath leaves me for a second   Last month, it was the leaves turning colors along the lake.  Today, it was clear and cold and the snowcapped Cascades and Olympic mountains were stunning. The combination of mountains, water, and cityscape is pretty unbeatable.  The parks and beaches within city limits are pretty amazing too.        
Carkeek Park.  Close and one of
our favorites!

Style.  I'm still trying to figure out my personal Seattle style, which has been fun. It has involved Keens, scarves, puffy vest jackets, layers.  I've always hated wearing makeup.  I love that most women don't wear much here.  I've also seen many older women with striking gray hair.  Natural is beautiful.

Marijuana.  It is in the air, on the buses, everywhere.  Legally.  I don't have any problem with people smoking responsibly, but pot smells like dead skunk to me.

Frugality.  There is a lot of money in Seattle.  But for a big city, there is a lot of frugality as well.  My days of having a fantastically-stocked Goodwill to myself in NoVA are o-ver. Saturdays and thrift stores equal a complete madhouse in Seattle.  Same with Freecycle.   I've given up trying to actually get something for free on the site and just give things away.

Seattle Gray. I spotted a shade of gray during a recent trip to the paint store called Seattle gray...and yeah... the shade perfectly captured the dominate color of the city.  I think it's majestic, tranquil, slightly eerie.  It is also impossible to tell what time of day it is outside.  It could be 7AM, noon, or 4PM and the sky looks exactly the same.  It makes it very difficult to get out of bed in the mornings.  One can easy to understand Seattle's fascination with coffee after spending a few days in Seattle Gray.      
Gray on Green Lake
Diet. We eat more fish, it is cheap and fresh here.  There are summer gardens growing everywhere, renegade gardens in public spaces and along sidewalks.  I picked a summers worth of blackberries along the lake's edge, herbs at the 'free u-pick' neighborhood garden, and got a crate of free tomatoes from our neighborhood school's garden.  As for treats, there is an awesome hot chocolate place called Chocolati and a Ben and Jerry's near the lake.  We still have a lot of restaurant exploration to do.  The high sales tax in the city makes it less fun to spend money on non-essentials.

Apparently, North Face will sponsor your bike commute?

Seattle Green. I like this aspect of the city but it can be a bit stressful.  Did I sort my recycling correctly? Is my food organic enough? Will people judge me if I drink from a disposable plastic water bottle?  There are lots of people riding bikes, but not a great biking infrastructure.  Portland is more militant green than Seattle, but for a bigger city, Seattle's environmentalism is pretty impressive.

UW campus.  We spend a lot of time
here for Noe's autism therapies.

Lost Pets. It is crazy how many people are losing and then frantically searching for lost dogs and cats in this city!  Every telephone poll in my neighborhood is wrapped inlayers of photos of perky dogs and cats who have lost their way.  The boys and I get flagged down at the park and on the street all of the time by people slowly driving the streets of North Seattle, "Have you seen Fido?" they ask.  I've even seen dedicated Facebook pages to lost pets with HUGE rewards.  I haven't figured out if there are just greater numbers of cats and dogs here, impassioned owners, or if there is some crazy factor that increases the likelihood that you will lose your pet in this city.

Enjoying a sunny day at Green Lake

Friday, December 6, 2013

Familia Guzman Dino-vember

I said an emphatic 'NO' to Elf in the Shelf when those obnoxious little elves hit the shelves.   Mostly because it felt like 'one more thing' to buy and keep up with during the holiday season.  But when I saw this, I thought....we can do this!  And we did (for a week)!  We used dinosaurs from the kids' toy closet.  Ed and I worked together to come up with fun nightly scenes of chaos and destruction (and we blatantly copied the originators as well).

Noe was 'eh' about the whole thing, but Asher LOVED it!  He was SO AMAZED by the dinosaurs antics and you could see his mind trying to logically solve the puzzle of how these toy dinosaurs could create middle-of-the-night chaos.

Here are some of our favorite pictures from that week.....

Dino breakfast cereal heist

Taking the plunge

Morning beauty routine

Strummin' Ed's guitar

Art class