More Snow

We survived the Snowpocalypse ’08, only to see more snow last night. And freak out.

Thankfully, the warm sun has melted everything. But here are some photos from the last snowpocalypse. The one that caused me to work from home, Jason’s original flight out to get canceled, and for us to go a little stir-crazy when our DVD player went belly-up.


Nightview Seattle in snow Nightview Seattle in snow Continue reading “More Snow”

Five Things to do in Seattle in the Fall

It’s definitely fall. I’ve started wearing a scarf and mittens and my office heater is working away. This was the view from my balcony a few weeks ago when the leaves were just starting to change.

Seattle fall leaves

Five Things to do in Seattle in the Fall

1. Celebrate Halloween

Complete bias in that Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. You’re never too old to dress up, especially since there are many adult (21+) parties you can attend if you’re not already invited to a private party.

One of the most important fall activities is searching for that perfect costume. I’m not a fan of the expensive out-of-the-bag costumes as they aren’t kind to my budget or my skin. Too much polyester. This year, I’ve already hit my favorites, Goodwill (the one on Deerborn is the largest) and Red Light (the one in Capital Hill has the largest assortment of pre-made and accessories costumes I’ve seen). I’m still in need of a skirt…

2. The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

This festival is currently running. When I’ve gone, I’ve always had a lot of fun. They always host a variety of films from cheesy horror flicks to popular films to documentaries. Everyone goes for a good time, and some have discussions afterward or audience participation. You might even get to meet cast members.

Plus, the movies are always at little art house theaters and it’s a good way to get to know other movie theaters. (Much better than paying $10/person to see commercial “successes” at generic theaters. Am I bitter about paying to see W. last weekend? Just a little bit.)

3. Winterfest at the Seattle Center

Two words: Ice skating. I mean what girl who watched the 1992 Olympics didn’t want to be Kristi Yamaguchi?

Okay, there’s lots of other stuff like jazz and choir performances, Worldfest, Solstice Fires, and more. I imagine that if I had children that some of these could be activities out with children. The Seattle Center is a hoping places and is always conveniently located on a bus route or four since parking isn’t always ideal. Think of it, a whole field trip including learning how to ride public transportation.

(Which I had no clue how to do until I went to Europe when I was 16 and got lost in London. Which was the most awesome part of my vacation even if I was scolded.)

4. Mt. Baker

Ski season is upon us. Or so I’m being constantly told by the outdoor enthusiast graphic artist who’s cube is on the other side of the office from mine. (In fairness, he just received his new skis which he did the design for.)

I’ve heard that Mt. Baker has the best skiing for those living in Seattle. It’s a short drive for a day trip to the mountain.

5. Explore your Seattle Farmer’s Markets

That’s right, in Seattle, farmer’s markets are open in the fall and in the winter. (This varies depending on the neighborhood, so check the schedule to see what’s open when near you.) In addition to fall harvest vegetables, you can also find meats, eggs, and other farm products.

It’s never to early to start practicing making the holiday dinner. Or just making seasonal food. I love pumpkin pie if anyone’s interested. Don’t forget to shop locally just because it’s no longer summertime.

Seattle: Not Just the Big Unfriendly City

When I was growing up, I always said that I was going to move away to a big city and never look back. Which is just what I did in my move to Seattle. (Okay, you can argue that Seattle isn’t that big, but it is the big city in the Pacific Northwest.)

Here’s a view from my balcony:

I had some time to think when I was at my mom’s wedding of just why I couldn’t/wouldn’t move back to my hometown Bend, Oregon. Especially when my mom and fake!daddy offered to kick both my brothers out of their home and let me and Jason move in.

But I think I’ll stick with Seattle.

Reasons why I love Seattle

1. Nightlife — Okay, I’m completely bias considering that I met Jason out and about. But seriously, Seattle has a pretty hopping nightlife from moving-and-shaking in Capital Hill and drunk U students in the University District to a little class in Belltown and that hometown feel in Ballad. Any night of the week, you can go to a concert. Those with more exotic tastes can probably find a subculture to serve something up. But seriously, who doesn’t want to kick it up at Hot Flashes, the ’70s/’80s dance party for 36+ lesbians and those who love them? Or eat a warm Italian wine custard or a 12-egg omelet at 2 a.m.?

2. Neighborhoods — As a prosumer, everything is customizable and that includes your neighborhood. This is especially true in Seattle. Neighborhoods work like a town within a city. They keep your community and they keep your grocery store within walking distance if you’re lucky. I live in Magnolia and I don’t really “fit” there, despite loving my apartment. I liked West Seattle better and all my friends think I should move to Capital Hill. I was having a conversation with my Portlander cousin about why I think Seattle is better than Portland and she said Seattle felt cold and not like a city. Then she told me she’d been staying in Northgate or almost the suburbs as I refer to it. Jason laments letting go of his bachelor’s pad in the U-District, only to remember the frat houses and how hard it was find parking on a Friday night. My friend Gretchen doesn’t think a single woman and cat fit into Ballad and dreams of a condo in Leschi. While my friend Steve swears by Beacon Hill in his post-grad school and paying back student loans years.Another friend of mine is afraid of the South End of Seattle and when inquiring why I don’t show the same worry, I remind her that I lived in Tacoma for five-years before moving to Seattle. Someone is going to make a lot of money is s/he writes a programming code to match you up with a neighborhood based on your personality. Red and blue states divided up on a micro-level.

3. Opportunity — This was the big reason I decided not to move back home after college. Seattle is one of the United State’s most educated cities, and it shows in just how much industry we have up here. Okay, the housing prices completely suck for those without degrees and even for those who do. However, we still need people to make coffee at Starbucks or take tickets at the Space Needle. I work in the tech industry (bias) and Microsoft is only one ridiculous commute away. Not to mention Google, HP, Starbucks, Real Video, Eddie Bauer, R.E.I., etc.

4. Urban Shopping, Farmer’s Markets, and the Great Outdoors — I’m an indoor kitten. I love being able to find what I need inside the city and knowing all those little niche places to find them. I like being on a first name basis with the guy at the comic store. I also love Seattle’s farmers markets. There’s one in every part of the city, plus Pike Place Market, which is open 7 days a week. Support local farmers and eating fresh food is a win-win in my book. I also add the Great Outdoors because it might not be my style, but Jason can testify about the great rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor sports located both in and just outside Seattle. You can swim in Green Lake with assurance that I know a lifeguard.

5. Tourism — Tourist bring money into the city and also create jobs. They also help keep landmarks like the EMP from going the way of the dodo. Plus, tourism guarantees that there’s stuff to do during the day and stuff to do when your relatives come to visit. This is very important since not all of them, like my mom, are okay playing Solitaire and watching Veronica Mars all weekend. (Okay, we were both very ill with the flu that visit.) And tourists go home after they visit, leaving the housing for us Seattlites to fight over.

Reasons why I dream about moving away from Seattle

1. Traffic — Ask anyone about traffic and you’ll get an earful. (On the plus side, it makes a great conversation starter at parties.) Want to leave the office early to beat the traffic on Friday, you’ll be leaving at about 2 p.m. I’ve moved cities just to shorten my commute. Even my Boston-living-and-commuting friend Mally flinched at the traffic. My personal commute from home to work takes me 25 minutes on a good day and over an hour on a very bad one. It’s smart to learn the back roads and how the connect through the city without using the major interstate. Or acquire yourself a friend who used to be a taxi driver to suggest routes to you. (Thanks, Eric! I go that way to and from work.) Or convince co-workers to carpool with you. Jason swears by his bicycle, even it’s sometimes scary, for his commute; his bike is faster than both his car and the city bus.

2. Rain or the Cloud Cover — Seattle is rather infamous for its rain. It’s actually a very temperate climate and gets less rain than Portland. The rainfall is attributed to keeping Seattle cleaner for a city of its size and lush and green. However, there is gloomy cloud cover most all Fall/Winter/Early Spring. The cloud cover is depressing and gloomy. I miss sunshine and rainbows. Seattle needs more rainbows.

3. Northgate, Tukwila, and the ‘burbs — Seattle is surround by ‘burbs. Which are usually the products of two things: 1) people not wanting to expose their children to the scary city and 2) poverty, also known as people who can’t afford Seattle. The ‘burbs make the commute worse as in order to make money, everyone wants to work in Seattle. I also think ‘burbs are a soulless eyesore of sprawl. I work in Tukwila, and it’s super depressing. (Where the poor people live for those not paying attention.) There are box stores, dads driving mini-vans, and those neighborhood you can’t navigate because all the houses look identical. Once in a while, I brave them to visit my Uncle Tom in Lake Stevens, but he doesn’t understand my fear. He doesn’t understand the look of terror in my eye when I can’t find his house, get dragged to middle school volleyball games in the mini-van, and watch him incrementally move his giant TV for best viewing. Sorry, Uncle Tom, but after Seattle going north, there’s only Canada.

4. Everyone has a B.A. in English, just like you — There might be opportunity, but Seattle is full of overly qualified people. Or someone just a hair more qualified than you and you’re probably only three degrees of separation away from them. My former co-workers and I used to compare which jobs we’d all applied for and interviewed for. One now works at a job I turned down.

5. Tourism — Yes, they were on the plus side too. On the bad side, they block the streets downtown on the weekend. They don’t know where they’re going. They leave garbage behind. They complain about the rain and the traffic and don’t live here. Plus, it gives your relatives extra incentive to visit you.