Hello, Seattle–Day 1

“Hello, Seattle,
I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands…”

~Owl City, “Hello Seattle”

You’re going to hear more of that song.

Two weekends ago I had the awesome opportunity to visit Seattle, Washington!  My Dad had two separate business trips on the West Coast, one ending Friday afternoon and the other starting the following Monday morning.  So instead of him flying home on Saturday and flying out again on Sunday, he chose to just go straight from one destination to the next.  And I flew out to spend the weekend with him!

So, let’s dive right in.

This was my first time flying by myself.  I was nervous – particularly about taking off and landing.  I get a little nervous about that, and when I flew previously, I had someone’s hand to hold – usually my mom’s or my brother’s.  And unless I had some super nice person sitting next to me, I wouldn’t have anyone to freak out to.  But I did fine, and now taking off doesn’t scare me, but landing still does.  Just a little. 😉

So I flew out on Friday, at 11 in the morning.  I arrived in Seattle at 2-ish Seattle time.  Which put me at almost six hours since my last meal. (I had forgotten to grab some cheese sticks to take on the plane, and so had only had a banana.  And all the snacks that they had on the plane contained grains.  So no luck there.)

My first order of business after getting off the plane was food.  As I walked down the B terminal, I looked at all the restaurants:  Quizno’s.  A Mexican place that was rather small and had a bar – not somewhere I wanted to be.  McDonald’s.  As I walked by each place, I new that there wasn’t a whole lot that I could get at any of them.  So I continued to the main area of the airport, where there was a whole collection of restaurants.  And there they had a directory of all the restaurants in the whole airport.  I spotted, way at the other end of the C terminal, a restaurant that looked pretty promising – Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express.  The distance I had already traversed, from my gate to this directory, was about the same as the distance from this directory to the restaurant.  Which wouldn’t have been bad at all if I wasn’t hauling a camera bag and my on board bag, which was a backpack, holding my purse, three books (one of them over 1400 pages long), and my sweater.  So pretty heavy.  So I hauled all the way over to the restaurant, stopping on the way to look another restaurant that I was hoping I could get something at (they had local cheese), but all they had were awesome-sounding sandwiches with that local cheese.  I finally made it down to the Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express, where I got a Greek salad, and then hauled all the way back to the main area of the airport.

Only to then realize that I left my 1 liter water bottle at the restaurant.

And I didn’t realize that until I had sat down, mixed my salad, and gotten all settled in to eat.  So I packed everything back up and hauled back to the restaurant, where they had my water bottle.

*Sigh*

Once I had actually started eating, a young lady right around my age came over and asked if she could sit with me.  I said, “Sure!”  She sat down, and we started chatting.  Turns out she is in the army and was just stationed there, as she had graduated the day before.

After we had both finished eating and she had gone her way, I purchased me a White Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks.  It was pretty good.  I bummed later that I had had it, as I wish I had waited and gotten some more local tasty Seattle coffee.  Oh well.

I sat and read for awhile, drinking my coffee, until it was time to go meet Dad.

Once Dad and I had met up, collected our luggage, and picked up our rental car, we drove out to Bellevue.  (Dad would be staying here for his business trip, so that’s where we stayed.  It’s about a 20 minute drive outside of Seattle.  And beautiful!)

After checking in at our lovely hotel, unpacking, and video-calling Mom and the rest of my siblings, it was time for dinner.  Dad had made reservations at a seafood place, Seastar, that he and Drake had visited when they were in Seattle several years ago.

Dinner. Was. Amazing.

First we had an heirloom tomato salad, which had heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, Walla Walla onions, buffalo mozzarella, greens, and an awesome pesto vinaigrette.  Dad had a Thai lemongrass shrimp soup, which he really liked, but I didn’t care for.

But that salad.  Oh, that salad.  It was out of this world.  The flavors blended perfectly, and it was the right balance of everything.  That was probably the best mozzarella cheese I had ever had, or at least the best that I had for awhile.  I believe it was actually made from buffalo milk (traditionally, that’s what mozzarella is made with, or so I’ve heard).

For my main course I had pancetta-wrapped grilled white shrimp with garlic aioli and this awesome bacon-y salad.  Again, awesome.  And that’s about all I can say. 🙂

Dad had prosciutto-wrapped grilled scallops with thinly-sliced melon (the melon had a fancy name, which I can’t remember – it was watermelon and cantaloupe, if I remember correctly).  He really liked it, but, again, I didn’t care for his so much.  Which was great.

For dessert, Dad had black and white crème brulee.  He said the chocolate part wasn’t that good, but I believe the vanilla part was great.

I had sorbet – a scoop of lemon and one of guava passion fruit, I think.  It was GOOOOOD.  The lemon was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

And they gave use some caramels, one for each of us.  I ate mine, and it was really good.

(Do I sound like a broken record?  It was really good.  It was awesome.  *Sigh*)

And that was Day 1.  Tune back (hopefully) soon for day 2!

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My Greek salad

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In Seattle!

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With Dad on the way to Bellevue

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Bellevue straight ahead!

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In Bellevue

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There were several walkways like this one across the streets in Bellevue (I saw maybe two or three)

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Dad and I were going to walk to Seastar, but it was pouring rain (we WERE in Seattle), so we ended up having to go back and get the car.  But I did get a few cool pictures!

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(Remember the sign to this restaurant)

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A (cool) walkway

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Remember the sign to the Chinese restaurant?  These guys were making dumplings or wontons.  The man with the rolling pin the left corner would throw each wrapper up as he finished it.  (You can forget the sign now.)

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Chihuly glass sculpture

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Dinner at Seastar – the heirloom tomato salad

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(Excuse the bad pictures – it was dark.)

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My entrée

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Dad’s entrée

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My sorbet (Mmmm…)

By the way, check out Cowgirl Dirt for a cool giveaway!  http://www.cowgirldirt.com/  (I don’t know how to do a hyperlink in WordPress).

Friday

I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.

And then tonight happened.

But nothing really happened tonight.

I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside.  They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday).  They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings.  They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things.  Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other.  They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them.  And they showed us many of the poses.

Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight.  There weren’t a whole lot.

Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work.  On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use.  So I got it.  A whole medium!  It made me feel so grown up.  A soda AND driving.  If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.

Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home.  After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them.  So I had to go home.  And it made my trip that much longer.  But I actually kind of liked it.  It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant.  And there is just something  wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying.  It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there.  No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.

That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda.  It was so beautiful.  After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home.  He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun.  It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.

When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music.  And it sounded like it was getting closer.  Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees.  We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.

And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees.  I ran inside to get my camera.

I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits.  They are among my favorites.  Not because they are amazing.  Because they capture the moment.

It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did.  It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable.  The relaxedness.  The laid-backness. The love.  The feeling of family.  The whatever goes feeling.

We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks.  And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).

But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone.  And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets.  After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,”  which we call Laura.

While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive.  School.  Prep for our trip.  Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.

But I really just wanted to stay there.

And then it kind of hit me.  It’s summer.  I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy.  And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever.  And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.”  School.  Cleaning.  All great things. 

But in the end, what do they mean?  What do they count for?

Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever.  And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years?  The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH!  Please shut the door when you leave!”  or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.

Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play.  The forts.  The games.  Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now.  (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)

And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.

Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that).  And she doesn’t have any memory of that.

So I want to be the sister that takes time for her.  If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her.  Read to her.  Participate in her make-believes.  And give her some of the memories that we have.

And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.

Just a random, fun memory.  Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it.  Or maybe because it seemed so great.

That was today.

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Friday Night

We were most of the way through dinner when Drake gave me a sideways look.

“I wonder who could hold water in their mouth longer.”

I finished my last few bites quickly (or at least I tried to), then raised my glass to Drake an took a sip of water.

Game on!

We both lifted our cups to our lips, and took mouthfuls of water.

And so it started.

I got up and started clearing the table.  Since Dad was playing music, I started dancing around (kind of showing off :)).  I pulled out a piece of masking tape and wrote on it, “I have a feeling that this is going to end in water coming out of someone’s nose.”  I showed it to everyone, then wrapped it across my forehead.

Drake pointed at me, and then did thumbs down.  “You’re going DOWN!”  I shook my head, then signed the same thing back to him.  “No, YOU’RE going down!”

And then Dad put on a song that was in three.  I started waltzing around.  Drake stared waltzing around on the other side of the room.  We both stopped, and then Drake entered the kitchen.  He was standing real close to me, and I jumped away from him.  I didn’t know what he was doing!  I thought he was trying to make me swallow/spit out my water.

Then he stared to waltzing around, and I could tell that he wanted me to waltz with him.  So I did.

And that proved to be my downfall.

We had been waltzing for 3 counts when Mom said “Look!” or something like that.

And that’s when I lost it.  I started laughing.  Not just giggling, like I had been doing off and on the whole time, but really laughing.

I knew, at that moment, that I was done for.

I ran to the bathroom and spat out my water.  After coughing, I burst out laughing.

Drake had followed me, and was silently celebrating.  He waited a bit longer, then spat out his water.

After talking a bit, I told him, “We’ll have to do that again.”  I still thought I could win.

“Don’t get your hopes up.” he replied.

Just another Friday night.  🙂