Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 19, Experience 19

We've been spending the last few Christmases with Jeff's parents in Colorado, and thus haven't gotten our own tree.  Despite traveling again this year, we decided it was time for a tree.  After all, we're only away for 5 days, and the tree season is about 3 weeks in our home.  And, our oldest nephew is now old enough to help decorate and enjoy the tree.  Judah came over on Saturday to participate in this ritual, having been primed by a facetime conversation with my parents where they showed him their tree and several of the ornaments that my sister and I have made and/or hung when we were kids.

Jeff and Judah focused on the ornaments while I prepped cookies to decorate.  Note that they are both wearing bells and hats.  Many oohs, ahhs, and sprinkles followed.  Hot chocolate and cookies were consumed.  There were a few cranky Grinch moments (I should have been wearing the hat), but overall a fun holiday experience.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 18, Experiences 16, 17, and 18

Last week was super rainy/windy/cold and I had more meetings than usual, so there was little time or motivation to get out for new experiences for much of the week.  I made up for it on Friday, however, with a few new experiences.

I first stopped into the Pilchuck Pop-Up store.  First, how can one resist a pop-up?  Okay, I have very little experience with pop-ups, but I love the concept.  Second, I love blown glass, so it was a treat to see beautiful glass objects.  Third, Christmas shopping season - this particular pop-up store was specifically put together with gifting in mind.  And, finally, I just love the word Pilchuck.  Say it out loud a few times and you'll see just how wonderfully it rolls around the tongue.  As I learned as I explored the space, the Pilchuck Glass School has a long and prestigious history, which you can learn more about on their webpage or by visiting their Seattle exhibition space in historic Pioneer Square.

I didn't buy anything at the pop-up, so continued on to a place where I've been wanting to visit for ages and knew that I'd find something to buy:  Intrigue Chocolates.  As soon as I walked in I was asked if I'd like to have a chocolate tasting.  Um, is that a rhetorical question?  And, after tasting, the question was not whether or not I was going to buy chocolate, but rather, how much.  I walked out with a 12-truffle variety pack for a gift, a small treat for me for later, and a punch card.

And the final experience of the day was easily my favorite:  Holiday Ships!  I live about 1/2 mile away from the Fremont cut and Lake Union, love holiday lights and carolers, and yet, before Friday night had never made a point to see the ships before.  There are a few Argosy boats that are decked out with holiday lights carrying choirs that travel different routes on the evenings in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  One can buy a ticket on the boat (if one plans far in advance and wants to shell out a fair amount), or find a place on shore near one of the locations where they stop and the carolers sing a few songs.  Other boats can join in the festivities and follow the lead boats in a holiday parade of ships.  Friday night they had a route that included the Fremont cut and Lake Union, so Jeff and I made a point of hanging out in Fremont after work (which included cider at Shilling and sushi at Blue C) and then found a spot on the Queen Anne side of the cut to watch the ships.  We arrived just in time for Handel's Messiah (!!!!) and the entire parade.  Boats ranged from yachts to dinghies to tall masted sailboats with at least one kayak in the mix.  And, despite a rather rainy evening, we had a break in the rain for the show and the short walk up the hill home.
Photo Credit:  Jeff

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 15, Experience 15

After listening to a lunchroom conversation about gift ideas, I headed out to check out the glassblowing studio and shop.  On the way there, however, I saw an interesting sign for Ebbets Field Flannels and wandered into that shop instead.  Wow.  Filled with vintage flannel ballcaps and jersey's and the sound of a sewing machine in the background, this place is the Real Deal.  The items in the store didn't match up with my holiday shopping list, but if you have an old school sports fan in your life, the perfect gift might be found here.  It was fun just browsing.  Glass will have to wait for another day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 14, Experience 14

Today was an unusual neighborhood day.  I drove to Renton for a meeting, so spent more time in my car than walking around my work or home hood (this is very atypical for me).  So, no neighborhood discovery.  As I was driving home, however, I did have a Seattle Experience.  I was waiting at a stop light before getting on Aurora and there was someone at the intersection with sign - not an atypical sight.  He approached the car with his sign and I prepared my "I'm sorry" face and shrug.  Then I read his sign:  "Looking for a Sugar-Momma."  I laughed out loud, he broke into a big grin, and then pointed to his shirt, which had very blurred font and said something about being one beer short of a six-pack.  He flipped his sign around, and the other side asked if someone would complete his six-pack.  I really wished I had beer in my car to give to that guy instead of an empty coffee mug.  He then moved on to the car behind me and the light turned green.

Neighborhood Advent: Day 13 Experience 14

I selected this puzzle (at Queen Anne's Blue Highway Games) just so I could get a photo of our black cat, George, sitting on a puzzle sitting on a yellow background, with a picture of a black cat with a yellow background.  George would not, however, pose, so this is the best I got.  I finished the puzzle yesterday (and then had to promptly return to Blue Highway to get a new puzzle).

Neighborhood Advent: Day 12, Experiences 11, 12, and 13

Catching up in Pioneer Square!  While I didn't go to work on Saturday, I spent a lot of time in Pioneer Square.  I first headed there as part of general errands (bought new boots for work downtown and dropped them at the office), stuck around a bit to check out the "Howlidays" event, and then returned in the evening for a dinner-theatre-like production at Cafe Nordo, preceded by a drink at McCoy's Firehouse.  

Howlidays was a bit underwhelming, perhaps due to the fact that I got there a bit early, it was pouring rain, and I didn't have dog with me.  The cute potential was high and there were free hot drink options, so I think this would be a good event to bookmark for the future.

A friend had organized a group outing for dinner and a show at Cafe Nordo back in October, and this was the night we were finally going to get "Sauced" (name of the show).  Jeff and I headed downtown a bit early to get a pre-cocktail-cocktail and decided to go lowbrow at McCoy's.
It fit our Fire Station theme of the week, with friendly service and an excellent price point.  We then traveled back in time to 1937 and a cocktail themed dinner, drama noir, and jazz experience at Nordo (within visual of Jeff's office).  A good time was had by all, although I wished I'd spent a tiny bit more time researching period costume.  Jeff and I made a good effort (jaunty cap for J, dress and heels for me), but I wish I'd taken the time to curl hair, find the right red lipstick, etc.  The show was fun, company amazing, food terrific, drinks tasty; all in all a lovely evening.
If you look closely, you can see a reflection of Jeff's jaunty cap

Friday, December 11, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 11 Experience 10

I'm taking a vacation day today, so my neighborhood experience was checking out the Queen Anne Christmas tree, which debuted earlier this month.  This is very timely as Jeff and I are planning on picking up our tree this afternoon, also on the Hill.  I took the photo ~ 7 am - still pitch black outside!

Neighborhood Advent: Day 10 Experience 9

It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

Yesterday I went to a retirement party at FX McRory's.  While it's not the first time I'd been there, I don't know that I ever really noticed the clock out front before.  Click through and learn more about it!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 9, Experience 8

Today I discovered the Last Resort Fire Department.  I actually learned about it a few days ago when researching Pioneer Square, but since the museum's winter hours of operation are limited to Wednesdays from 11 - 3, I had to wait until today.  Jeff met me at the museum (it is almost exactly halfway between our offices, one block for each) where we were greeted by an extremely friendly volunteer.  I assume this gentleman is a retired firefighter; he told us one excellent story about one of the historic engines and I'm sure he would have loved to regale us with more had we prompted him.

If you are at all interested in Seattle history, engines of any kind, and/or firefighting, get yourself down to 301 2nd Ave S on a Wednesday between 11 and 3 and make a little donation while you're at it.

Neighborhood Advent: Day 8, Experience 7

I went for a run along the waterfront in the morning and returned totally soaked and windblown and in no mood to leave the building for a new experience.  So, when I encountered people selling bahn mi sandwiches in the office building lobby, I decided that this would be my Pioneer Square Experience for the day.  Okay, it's kind of a stretch as it's not a P.S. establishment, but it was my first bahn mi sandwich and it was in Pioneer Square... 

What did provide the experience more local flavor was a lady who was in line behind me talking extremely loudly.  At first, I thought she was just yelling into her cell phone so I tried to ignore her, then I realized that she was speaking loudly at the group in the lobby in a not-so-sane-way - then I really tried to ignore her.  She kept talking about the homeless on the streets and weren't we fortunate we had a hot lunch - I think she was trying to imply that we were complicit in the homeless situation.  Pioneer Square is a center for the local homeless population, which is not insignificant in Seattle.  I heard loud-lady order three sandwiches as I tried to escape, and she mentioned that she was going to go out and share with others.  I hope she paid for said sandwiches (I didn't stick around to find out), as the sandwich sale was raising money for Northwest Harvest, the local food bank distribution nonprofit. Needless to say, I did not take any pictures. 

The sandwich, by the way, was delicious - soft and chewy bread, crunchy and flavorful veg, creamy sauce, well seasoned pork - it disappeared very quickly!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 7, Experiences 5 and 6

On this very wet day where I'm not looking forward to biking home, I had a bike triumvirate:  I picked up a battery pack for my front bike light from Jeff for my ride home, I stopped into Back Alley Bike Repair for the first time, and I admired some bike-related art hanging in the alley across from the shop that I had never noticed before.  Illumination and inspiration for the ride home!


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Neighborhood Advent: Day 5 Experience 4

I figured I could at least try to discover new parts of my home 'hood as well as my work one on the days I'm not in Pioneer Square.  This is, however, much more challenging, as I've lived here for almost 15 years and tend to do a fair amount of exploring.  And yet, today I walked a mere 20 feet past where I normally cross the street as I walk home from the grocery store (which I do many times a week, every week), I saw this for the very first time:

Friday, December 04, 2015

Pioneer Square Advent - Day 4, Experience 3

 Another day in need of lunch, another opportunity for a New Advent Pioneer Square Experience (NAPSE? - better acronyms welcome).  I did a quick search and was reminded about the Berliner Doner Kebab.  I had heard from others about this place, but their reviews were all about the bread that made the doners special.  As I try to avoid bread, especially for lunch, I didn't think this would be a lunch spot for me.  But, lo and behold, they will take all of the tasty doner fillings and put them in a salad!

I got the beef and lamb salad which was a mix of greens, that special meat carved off a cone, lots and lots of feta, a spicy salsa of sorts (cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, onion, red cabbage), and a yoghurt and herb dressing.  It was a perfectly sized (for me) salad, with a ton of flavor.  I felt a bit guilty about the volume of feta, but not guilty enough to not eat it all.

As I was waiting for the salad (and it was a very short wait), I looked across the street and spied Jeff's office window - a funny way of remembering how close our offices are located.

For the record:  this not going to be a daily lunch report; it is merely coincidence that the first two days involved getting lunch out.  Also for the record:  blue sky in Seattle in December!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Pioneer Square Advent - Day 3, Experiences 1 and 2

I am fortunate to work in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, nestled between Stadiums, the International District, and the waterfront, and home to art galleries, coffee shops, internet start-ups, curiosity shops, and up-and-coming eating and drinking establishments. Today was one of those rare days when I didn't have a lunch from home, so I decided to try something new (even rarer).  As I walked back from my office with my very tasty, affordable, and healthy lunch, I realized just how little I get out and explore my work 'hood - beyond, of course, coffee.

So, a pledge:  get out and try new things.  And a hook:  each work day in December, try something new in Pioneer Square and take a picture.  I'll try to post the photos with brief descriptions here and the photos will also post to my Flickr feed.

Today I took a tour of the new First Hill Streetcar.  It should start service early in 2016 - no official date yet.  I also tried a new eatery (too late to get a photo of my gaba bowl), so 2 for 3 December days down!
View from First Hill Street Car - looking east