A Quarter Century

Disclaimer: This is a crazy long post. But it’s the last one from my trip to Washington. And this time there are corresponding photos thanks to Katie K. Enjoy. Or don’t. I won’t tell you what to do.

I had no expectations for my 25th birthday celebration. In fact, I was so excited about planning my vacation home that I sort of forgot about my birthday. But I have great people in my life, so I should have known that 25 would bring great things.

The timing of my trip dictated that if I wanted to celebrate in Seattle, I’d have to do it Sunday night- the day before my birthday. Doug gave me a little slack about starting the party a day early, but it really worked out well.

Derek and I met Rebecca and Katie K. at Doug and Mego’s. We started with a little pre-funking and then I opened my gifts from Katie. She brought me a delicious carrot cupcake from my favorite Portland bakery and gifted a cookbook that I instantly fell in love with and a wire whisk that goes with an inside joke from grad school.

Then we walked to a sushi restaurant not far from the apartment. It ended up being the perfect dinner spot because even though they only had 2 beers on tap, one of them was Kilt Lifter—my favorite. We ordered way too much food and beer and ate family-style. Derek may have spilled a drink on me, but he’d be embarrassed if I told you, so I won’t.

p.s. That necklace was my present from D. And he picked it out all by himself. Isn't he great?

After the meal, the boys headed straight to the bar while the girls headed straight to gelato. Yum yum yum. When I got to the bar, Mike D. had already arrived and someone had already told the bartender that it was my birthday. So I accepted my free beer and then bear hugged Mike. A few minutes later, Mikey Van Fleet showed up and the crew was complete. Some people played pool, I played shuffleboard and we all played songs on the jukebox (which, for some reason, I kept calling a music maker). There were shots for the July birthdays (Doug, Mike D., Katie and I) and then a bar regular named Heavy insisted on buying me a birthday drink.

Rebecca, Mike D. and Mego had to leave earlier than the rest of us, but I think it was at least midnight when they left. Derek, Katie, Mikey, Doug and I stayed until the bar closed. Derek may have spilled another drink on me. But again, I won’t embarrass him by telling you. On the way home, we accidentally split up. Derek and Mikey walked to Chevron for beer and scratch tickets. Doug, Katie and I walked to QFC for beer, Gatorade and snacks. And then we all met up at the apartment.

My snack. I'm not really sad- that's just a pose for the photo.

The boys stayed up even later drinking and talking outside. Katie and I crashed on the air mattress and didn’t wake up again until Mikey woke us all with a night terror that caused him to scream and kick. And then something funny must have happened because he started laughing in his sleep.

Katie and I had a quick breakfast at a place around the corner before she had to return to Oregon for work. When I got back to the apartment, Derek and Doug were starting to wake up. After watching some youth track races, Derek and I headed to the Ave for a little shopping (where I bought myself my newest favorite skirt), Jimmy John’s and then headed south for my mom’s house.

In Rainier, we hung with the family for a little while before Rebecca, Doug and Megan joined us all for dinner. Apparently my mom had planned a surprise party but I had inadvertently ruined it by inviting everyone over myself. No matter. We ate tasty lasagna and then my mom pulled out the crème brulee I’d requested. It was so good. We ended the evening my watching Jaime’s soccer team kick butt in their last game of the season.

All in all, it was a perfect birthday: easy and full of good food and great friends.

Here’s to hoping that 25 is my best year yet!

Girl Time With My Leading Ladies

Sometimes during a particularly slow or boring work day, I think back to my job at Western where I had the good fortune of working next to my best friends every day. The job was boring and monotonous but these ladies made it not only bearable, but fun. I miss them all daily—even more than I miss Jimmy John’s and Pike Kilt Lifter (and that’s saying a lot)—so I was thrilled that each of these beautifuls made time to see me while I was in Washington.

Rebecca and Diesel

Christina and Ozzie

Katie and Oscar

(Sidenote: They are not only gorgeous, but they all have adorable dogs.)

It started Friday afternoon when Rebecca picked me up from my mom’s. We had plans to meet Christina in Puyallup for Mexican fare. Christina is a funny, funny girl and I often find myself crying from laughter when she’s around so I knew it would be a good night. We were able to get to the restaurant earlier enough to take advantage of their happy hour drink specials. And then we spent the next two hours drinking, eating, catching up and, of course, laughing. It was absolutely wonderful. Christina, I hope you find great success in your new job opportunity. Keep me posted.

Then Rebecca and I had a sleep-over. We bought wine and candy with the plan to watch a movie or talk for awhile. But in my usual style, I fell asleep on the couch too early.

The next morning we made our way to Port Orchard to Miss Katie’s house. But not before stopping for coffee and donuts. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s favorite lil café was all out of apple fritters so we had to settle for blueberry scones.

We arrived at Katie’s around noon and she made us delicious taco salads. So tasty that I just bought the necessary groceries to replicate them for myself. After she showed off her engagement bling and gave me a tour of her house, the three of us ate on her back patio. Katie and Rebecca. Sunshine. Yummy food. Wine. I had everything I needed. After lunch, we traded back massages and talked a little about Katie’s upcoming wedding. (I promise I’ll do my best to be there Katie.) And then around 5, we had to leave so Rebecca could take me to the Tacoma Mall where I was meeting Derek.

The two days of girl-time were a blast. I’m glad to making new friends in Massachusetts but no one will ever replace these ladies. It’s so easy to be around them and we have such a great time together. The three of you are forever friends. Thanks for the fun last week; I look forward to the next time.

Love,

A

Thursday in Seattle

*Disclaimer- I didn’t take any photos the whole time I was in Washington. So to keep things interesting, I borrowed some related photos to add to this post. I hope it works; if you make it to the end of this kinda-long post, you get a prize.

I started my trip home late on Wednesday, leaving Hartford at 6pm and arriving in Seattle around 12:30am. Derek picked me up from the airport and we stayed with Doug and Mego that night. I had slept some on the plane, so I wasn’t completely exhausted. But it was late and Derek and I had plans in the morning, so we all went to bed shortly after I arrived.

Thursday morning I woke up an hour before the alarm was set to go off (apparently my internal clock was still set to East Coast). That gave me plenty of time to shower, get ready and check my usual spots on the internet before waking Derek and leaving for a breakfast date with his mom. Our plan was to meet her in Kirkland at 10:30 but due to some navigational problems, we didn’t all meet up until after 11. The conversation was nice and the food was delicious (note to self: make banana pancakes at home). We were able to chat for about an hour and half before D and I had to leave.

I didn't take this photo but it's from the same cafe. Giant pecan banana pancake goodness.

We drove straight from that filling breakfast to lunch with Dad, Heather and Ryan. Derek was a coward and didn’t even try to eat another meal but I was actually excited about eating at Zoopa again—I hadn’t been since I was a little kid—and I didn’t want to be rude to my dad by asking him to meet for lunch and then not even eat. So, I had a delicious salad and the five of us caught up.

And then it was on to my Aunty Shelley’s house for a visit with Uncle Rick, Phillip, Tiffaney, Hailey and, later, Aunty.

Hailey is so frickin big and smart and gorgeous. I was worried that she wouldn’t feel comfortable around me since I’d only seen her a handful of times, but it didn’t take long before we were playing together. She must have known that I’m a Minnie Mouse fan too. Oh I love her so much and it was nice to see everyone else too, even though my visit was so short.

Finally, we ended the night in Rainier at my mom’s.

I just realized that I saw every immediate family member still in Washington all in one day—that might be a record. I know my mom fed us when we got home but I can’t remember what it was. I know there was wine. I was so good to hug my mom and my little sisters. Even though two of them are taller than me, they will always be little in my mind.

We turned in early that night (it was a busy day and I still wasn’t adjusted to the time difference yet). The next morning I helped Jessie plan her trip to East for college visits, sat outside and chatted with my mom and, eventually, met with Rebecca and Christina for dinner. But I’ll tell you more about that in the next post—this one is already a little long.

Back to Blogging

So… you may have noticed the lack of updates over the last month. The extended absence is part laziness and part lack of inspiration. And I also thought that nobody read what I wrote. But you’ve convinced me. During my trip home several friends and family members pointed out that I haven’t been writing and Doug even told me I was good writer (which is an extra nice compliment coming from a grammar critic and former journalism student). I will try to do better.

I’m back to work today after six days off. My way-too-short Seattle visit was wonderful and full of everything good. I’ll be writing up stories of things I want to remember over the next few days. Expect to see the trip fully documented by the end of the weekend. Thank you to everyone who made time to see me; I miss and love you all so much.

 

Last Night

I chickened out of going to a Boston Vegetarian Society picnic.

Instead, Derek and I walked the nature trails in the rain.

We took afternoon naps.

And I watched some Sex and the City.

In the evening, we drove to a town nearby to watch the fireworks.

We had never been there before, and I forgot to bring the GPS, but we found the park just fine without it.

We laid in the park and listened to the DJ play Top 40.

And then the fireworks started and the DJ switched to country songs for their “God Bless America” theme.

The fireworks made me miss mi hermano. Because fireworks always make me think of his birthday, not America’s.

Happy Birthday Doug!

Can’t wait to get back to Seattle and celebrate it proper.

Exploring Providence

In my mind I have an ever-growing list of places that I want to see. Lately, I’ve been adding lots of local cities that would be perfect for a day trip, since Derek and I can’t afford to take lots of vacations. So on Saturday we checked one city off our list: Providence, Rhode Island.

After spending Friday night in Connecticut with Aunty Sharon and Uncle B, we trekked into Rhode Island. Back in December I had read about this WaterFire display that was supposed to be awesome. So visiting on an evening when the fires were lit had been on my list for several months.

We got into town around 4:30, parked for (almost) free and started exploring. We had no agenda other than watching the fire at 9pm. So we walked. We walked everywhere- along the river, through downtown, near the mall, along a road that reminded me of Aurora in Seattle (not good). We found a Starbucks, did a little shopping and then we walked some more. It was a great way to see a new place.

Around 8:30 we squeezed our way through the massive crowd and found a place to watch the WaterFire. We waited and waited and waited and got really bored. But I was only more convinced that it would be worth it as more people crowded their way in to watch. The finally, about 20 minutes after 9, some boat people started swirling fire around.

And then they lit the fire pits.

And the fires got bigger.

All the while, strange music was playing and a guy in a costume boated around, throwing carnations to women in the crowd. I don’t know if Derek and I missed something but it was kind of a let-down. I mean, the fires were pretty and it was something different. But I’m surprised that so many people waited around for hours just to see some fire pits lit along the river. I dunno- maybe we were just tired and it was actually really cool.

It was getting late (for me) and my apartment is an hour away from Providence so we began the slow walk through the masses back to the car and made our way home. It was a beautiful day. I loved seeing a new city with Derek. And walking all over the place. But the WaterFire I probably don’t need to see again.

I hope you all are having a lovely long-weekend!

Love,
A

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