Eat, Drink and Be Merry

My wonderful friends from Oregon visited Tuesday/Wednesday and that’s exactly what we did. We always have the best time together and this trip was no exception.


After Derek left last week, I kinda fell into a slump. I felt really down and kept myself rather isolated from friends, family and fun. I guess I was just pouting because I wanted to be a part of D’s new life and I was (am) suck in WA working at a stress-inducing, dead-end job.

But nothing like friends, sunshine and time off from work to lift your mood. The mini-vacation started Tuesday afternoon. The crew met me at my dad’s house. And then I drove us to Pike Place Market.

We saw some shops and admired some flowers. And then we decided what we really needed was a beer in the sunshine. So we found a bar with an outside patio and ordered some drinks and food. That was nice and all,  but what really made the meal was this guy: (look past us at the guy in the black shirt)

The poor guy had way too much to drink and after banging his fist on the table and whistling at the cocktail waitress, he promptly passed out in the position seen in photo 1. The bar staff moved him to the alley way (photo 2) and shortly after we joined by Pike Place security, Seattle Police and EMTs (photo 3). We had front-row seats to the whole drama as he was rolled by gurney to an ambulance parked nearby. Yikes! Oh, and I did I mention is was only about 4 o’clock in the afternoon? That guy hit the sauce hard, and early.

We finished our time at Pike Place with a stroll to the boardwalk. Along the way we saw a downtown fire and on the way back we saw mystery meat (I think it was salmon) defrosting on a stairwell. It was an interesting afternoon.

Next, we wanted to add Doug to the mix. Turned out he had to work all night, so we went to his bar for another drink. Then we decided on a sushi dinner. Problem was, the restaurant had a pretty long wait. Our solution? Drink! We rounded the corner to pass the wait-time at a pizza place with a selection of Lienenkugel beer (Katie’s fav and a rarity in the PNW). We drank over shared plates of cheese curds and (free!) tator tots- probably a perfect appetizer to sushi. Oh, and I should mention that on our trek to the pizza parlor, a random guy pulled open his shades to ask “Do you guys have any hot-dog buns?” I don’t know about you friends, but that’s not something I normally carry around for a night on the town. Chapstick? Definitely. Gum? Probably. But no hot-dog buns.

By the time our sushi table was ready, Doug and Mego were both able to join. So the six of us ate sushi. I give the meal a 8.2 (I’m a bigger fan of Rain on 45th when it comes to sushi). But the cool thing, or maybe strange I haven’t decided yet, was the restaurant’s toilet. They were… full service, I guess you’d say. With the option to clean front and back. And dry. I guess you’ll have to experience it for yourself. I can’t remember the restaurant name, but it’s right next to my brother’s bar, The Noble Fir, in Ballard.

We ended the night at King’s Hardware. There were whiskey shots and plenty of $2.5o sessions. We played Kings at King’s. And all of us but Adam played skee-ball (he was on his way to becoming blacked-out guy from the photo series above). Megan got us safely home and we pretty much went right to bed. Well Doug and Megan went to bed. Adam went to couch, Mimi went to loveseat and Katie and I went to half-way inflated, too-small-for-two-people air mattress. None of us visiting had the greatest night’s sleep.

Day 2 began with brunch at Blue Star. I give the food a solid 9. French toast and fruit was exactly what I wanted. The service was kinda bad, but the good company balanced it out.

Then we spent the afternoon in the sun at Greenlake. It was beautiful. And relaxing. And a perfect way to catch up with good friends who live too far away. They had to get back to Portland eventually, but not before we feasted on Jimmy Johns. Sooo good. Adam and Mimi agree. Katie seemed indifferent, but satisfied. Her vote barely counts, though, because she just ate cheese on bread.

Back to Dad’s house we went. Katie tried to get photos of the mountain on the drive, but with every attempt the camera died, a tree obstructed the view, or car drove by. So instead, she took this from my dad’s backyard:

To stretch out their visit just a little bit longer we went to Applebee’s for another drink. We pretty much hated on Applebee’s and the side of American life it represents the whole time we were there. But before leaving, we had the waitress take a group shot. Notice the table art we created. It was perfectly symmetrical but the angle of the photo makes it hard to tell.

They left and I went to bed early. The overall rating of the mid-week weekend? 11 out of 10!!! Yep, it was that amazing.

And even though I miss them and even though I had to work a 10 hour today, I am determined not to fall back into a melancholy mood. I will have fun throughout my last few weeks on the West Coast. And I will see these great friends soon (New Mexico Balloon Fiesta Adventure, the Sequel).

Only 3 weeks and 3 days until Moving Day, so make time for fun because I plan on living, laughing, and loving to the fullest for the rest of my stay.

Distant Love

Derek sits next to me sorting through his belongings, carefully selecting those items important enough to travel with him to New Hampshire. He leaves in just two sleeps.

His rapidly approaching departure time has me thinking about distance relationships. I’m no novice to the concept. I’ve put in plenty of time (probably more than my fair share) as one-half of a long-distance relationship.

The first was my high-school sweetheart. We decided on different colleges (Western for me, Eastern for him) and spent our first year of college making it work.

Next, I met a friend-of-a-friend at a party and we hit it off. Unfortunately I was still at Western and he attended Oregon State. But despite our separation, we managed to fall in love. And for about 13 months, we took turns driving  long hours to see each other.

And then I met Derek at the worst possible time to start a relationship. We were both at Western (finally, I liked a boy at the same school) but I was leaving for grad school in just 2 months (sigh). Regardless, a relationship developed and we got to know each other over long phone chats and extended weekend stays for 9 months while I lived in Eugene. The distance shrunk considerably when I moved to Seattle and we were able to spend much more time together since his schedule was incredibly flexible for the last six months of grad school.

But just as Derek and I were finding our rhythm- just as I was getting used to having a local boyfriend- our lives insisted on change. For a month we will live on opposite coasts. Once I make my move, we will be closer. But farther from each other than we are now: about a two-hour drive away, depending on where Derek makes his home.

This time around, I just don’t know how I feel about it. I’m certain that it will be more challenging than past long-distant experiences, especially since we haven’t been apart much the last year. We’ve talked about ways to stay connected: web-cams, frequent phone calls, picture messages and letters. I switched my cell phone carrier so that we could talk and text without worry of overages. But even with this planning, I feel completely unprepared.

At the risk of sounding whiny, I just really don’t want the struggle of long-distance love. And I do love Derek. And I do feel positive about our future, I’m just not feeling so great about the idea of us being hours apart.

I think the sense of adventure we’ll both experience on our journeys east will help stay connected. We’re leaving a month apart, but we’ll have similar trips and make similar adjustments. Derek will be with me (although not always in person) as I navigate my way through the biggest life-change to date. And I’ll be there for him.

I feel both excited and terrified about this move and the impact it will have on our relationship. It could be a really great thing. Or it may not be. But there’s only one way to find out…

Date Night, Episode Two

To celebrate Derek’s last day at Red Robin and to spend a little more time together, he and I recently spent the night in Leavenworth. I think I had driven through the town once several years ago, but I don’t recall doing much exploring. And even if I had, the experience is different now that I can drink.

We left from his parent’s house in Snohomish Sunday morning and got into Leavenworth around 1:30. It was too early to check into our hotel. No problem, we decided, since there are several wine tasting rooms right on the main street.

Several pours later, Derek talked me into playing mini-golf. I’m awful and I generally don’t enjoy the “sport” but I played out the game for his sake. The course was down the hill from the main street and in the space between the road the golf holes, we met two white mountain goats. We named them Gewurztraminer and Hefeweizen.

 

I think this is Gewurztraminer

 

A few hours later we had dinner at a charming crepe restaurant. I tried a roasted vegetable crepe with goat cheese and pesto- a little out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I tried it but I couldn’t finish the dish, partly because goat cheese is a little strong for my taste and partly because I was eager to get to dessert. I contemplated the sweets for quite some time before deciding to stick with my true loves, chocolate and ice cream. I had a delicious chocolate gelato crepe covered in dark chocolate sauce with berries, almonds, whipped cream and white chocolate. So good! Derek actually had to pull the plate away from me so that I wouldn’t make myself sick. I wish I had a photo because it was as beautiful as it was tasty. Seriously, you have to eat this if you are ever in Leavenworth. The restaurant name is Pavz and there aren’t many tables, but the crepe would be worth at least an hour wait. It’s really that good.

It turns out Leavenworth doesn’t have much of a night life, especially on a Sunday night, so we ended up going to bed fairly early.

The next day we had plans to go horse-back riding at 2pm so we walked around the town a bit after checking out of the hotel. Somehow we found ourselves tasting wines again. I think we visited 9 or 10 tasting rooms in the two days. Some of it was quite good (according to me, an unsophisticated wine drinker who rarely pays more than $10 for a bottle), but we only ended buying a sweet white for his parents.

A longer-than-expected lunch line made us late for the horseride and Derek had to do some speed-demon driving to get there at a reasonable time. If you’ve ever ridden with Derek you’ll know this is very out of  character. I was really impressed. And fortunately we were the only two scheduled for the afternoon trek so no one was left waiting for us to arrive.

The ranch reminded me of home. I rode a white, older horse named Zipper. He seemed more interested in stealing snacks along the trail than in following the other horses, but we got along just fine. I think Derek’s horse was named Zena or something like that. She just followed the trail guide the entire time; no attitude, no problems. It was a short ride, only about an hour, but we were both saddle-sore by the end. I had low expectations of the ride, having experience with horses of my own at my mom’s house, but it was fun to see Derek try something new and the countryside was pretty.

Derek was sweet enough to drive me back into Leavenworth on the way out of town for one last ice cream cone. “Hi, my name is Arikka and I’m an ice cream addict.”

I slept off my wine buzz on the car ride home and woke up just as we pulled into his parent’s house for a BBQ dinner. After dinner I was very tempted to accept their offer to have me spend the night, but in the end I decided I would get more sleep by driving home that night and leaving for work from my dad’s house. And so our date came to an end.

We had so much fun, I’d have to rate the trip an overall 9.6. Highlights being the chocolate crepe and drinking (just a few too many) glasses of wine both afternoons. Leavenworth was a perfect place for an overnight trip. The distance was right. The price was right. And it was a great place for D and I to indulge our food/wine lover side. I almost forget to mention that the weather was gorgeous the whole time we were there. While it was cloudy and rainy in Seattle, we were treated to sunshine and mid-80s.

We’re trying to fit in another date or two before he leaves for New Hampshire (in only 8 days!!). I think the Seattle Underground tour is on the agenda. We’ll have to see what else we can fit in. Again, feel free to share suggestions of places to see. And if you haven’t visited Leavenworth, you should.

Until next time,

A

Date Night, Episode One

Since Derek and I both currently live with our parents, and our parents are almost 2 hours away from each other, spending time together is not quite as simple and effortless as it was when he could stay with me in Seattle. We have to plan dates into our busy schedules. Last night we finally got around to an activity that I had been trying to plan for about a month: we did a sunset kayak tour of Elliot Bay.


Neither of us had ever kayaked before. And I actually didn’t even think about any of the possible dangers until we were just about to start and then I got a tiny bit scared.

But we had a great time. I let him drive and I did whatever the person sitting in the front of the kayak is responsible for (splashing while attempting to paddle?). The whole trip was about 2 hours long and we ended near the Alki just as the sun set behind the mountains (which were virtually impossible to see due to Canadian wildfires). I didn’t take a camera, but if I had the photo would’ve looked a lot like this:

Beautiful!

We saw a little otter friend and a purple-something bird. And we never tipped over! But somehow even with a raincoat and a splash skirt (cover the kayak hole you sit in so you stay dry) I managed to get pretty wet. The guide had lived in Bellingham and Eugene, which didn’t surprise me too much for someone who makes a living by doing outdoorsy stuff. He told us some interesting (but not quite interesting enough to remember) facts about Seattle and Alki.

We got back to shore just before dark and decided we wanted to extend our time together, so we looked for food. We ate tasty pizza and cake at a restaurant whose name I cannot remember.You know that crunchy, delicious cheese that you get when the cheese from a quesadilla or grilled cheese oozes onto the pan and crisps? Well, this pizza had a layer of that right on top of the pizza! I don’t know how they did that, but oh YUM! The cake was fine, but nothing impressive. It did remind me that I want to make my own chocolate cake from scratch sometime soon- anyone wanna help me eat it?

We were both about an hour from home, and it was getting late-ish, so we ended the date after dessert. It was sad to say goodnight and drive in opposite directions on I5, but it only makes me look forward to our next date that much more.

All in all, I give the date a 9.2 out of 10. It was fun to try a new outdoor activity together and kayaking the Bay was a different way to experience Seattle. I’m trying to fit as many Seattle-esque adventures as possible into my remaining 6ish weeks in the area. If you have any recommendations of things to do, please share.


A Quick Hello from Puyallup

Thomas (my tomato plant) and I have safely settled in at my dad’s house. Well, settled might be too strong a word. I haven’t unpacked anything more than absolutely necessary to get dressed for work in the morning. But, I have arrived.

I should unpack. I would probably feel more calm if I did. But it’s hard to take everything out of its box only to repack again in a few weeks. And I’ve just been too tired the last few nights. I didn’t account for the draining effect of an extended work commute- it’s about an hour now. So by the time I get home, I don’t feel like doing much.

I foresee a busy busy next couple of weeks. And I’m looking forward to it. I like the feeling of  running around from one activity to another. I’d much rather be exhausted from too much fun than bored because I’ve stayed in for a week. Since Derek and I are close to 2 hours apart, and he’ll be much farther in a few weeks, we have to plan dates. And then, of course, I want to see all my lovely friends (Rebecca, Megan and Doug, Christina) and spend time with all of my family. So I’m scheduling get-togethers like crazy and filling my off-work hours with happiness (and a lot of driving).

And as I write this, I am stuffing together a bag for a two night stay in Seattle at Doug and Megan’s. Wednesday Derek and I are doing a sunset kayak tour at Alki. And then it’s back to Puyallup for a short stay before I explore Leavenworth for a night with my man.

Stay tuned…

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