Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer? What Bloody Summer?!?

I'm becoming increasingly disgruntled as I read my Seattle-friends' Facebook posts about how hot it's been in Seattle the past week or so-basically since I returned to London.

I wore a freaking sweater over my top and jeans to work the other day, people. It's still July.

What gives?!? If this is the end of 'Summer' in London, I am going to be one pissed off person!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catching up on the Seattle Trip

Geez. When I posted a brief comment on my last post and said I'd provide details on the trip to Seattle in the 'next post', I didn't think it would take me 5 days to get around to it! Must. get.

Anyhoo.. The trip back to Seattle...what can I say? It went by so quickly, it's hard to believe it's already come and gone!
We arrived late Tuesday nite (July 7th), but surprisingly, got thru passport control, customs, and baggage pickup relatively quickly. Opting for easy instead of cheap, we took a taxi to the hotel downtown, where we'd be spending our first night. I believe our flight landed at 8.30p-ish, and we arrived at the hotel at a few minutes before 10p. Not bad at all! After checkin, we trudged upstairs, and basically, by 11p, were settled in and going to bed. 8 hours of jetlag is no fun. Regardless of which direction you fly, and what *anyone* says, 8 hours bites. So, I was awake at 4am. I knew it would happen. Simon woke up around 4.30. Clearly too early to do anything, I opted to be a good girl (I knew I wouldn't have many opportunities while on the trip...), and went to the hotel gym for a quick run. Yes, I just became that nutjob you see in hotel gyms when on vacation.
Simon got up at 5a (so he says), and hopped in the shower. I got back to the room at 5.15, and got in after he finished. I know it seems crazy that we'd be showering so early, but all along, we were planning on using the jetlag to our advantage (ie knowing we'd be up crazy early...) to pop down to Portland, OR the first full day to (taxfree) shop, see some friends, spend a lovely evening at McMenamins Edgefield, and then come back up to Seattle the following day (Thursday). Everything went off without a hitch, too! Early breakfast at Lola on Wednesday. 7am. Seriously. Who actually eats a full breakfast that early!?!?? A quick 15 minute walk to the downtown Budget car rental, back to check out, and we were off and on the road to Portland by 8.30am. Perfect.
Shopping in Portland was great. Seeing Colin, Lindsey, Hadley, and their newest addition, Sadie was lovely as well. By now however, its 6pm. We've been awake for 14 hours, and according to our internal clocks, it's approacing 2am, and I still have to drive us 45 minutes to get to the hotel. It was a too-brief visit (a continuing theme for the duration of the trip..), but we needed to go so that I could stay awakef or the drive.
McMenamins was, as always perfect. It's a pity we couldn't stay awake longer to enjoy it. :) We were both falling asleep in our food by 8pm. I think we got to bed around 9.30p, but were again awake around 5am. We bumped an hour every day there (and conversely have done the same since returning to London...). No problem though. I had to be back in Seattle at 2p for a dentist appointment, and knowing we'd still be jet-laggy, were using the early mornings to our advantage.
Thursday, after getting back to Seattle and getting a clean bill of dental-health (take THAT, London..), we raced down to SoDo to meet my friend Elizabeth at SBUX SCC to pick up her house keys. [Elizabeth had *very* generously agreed to vacate her place for a week so that Simon & I would have a place to stay that didn't involve $120 a night (or more...) hotel rooms. The BIGGEST thank-you to her for that. I can't say enough how much, financially, that helped us on this trip. Well, the savings most likley got shifted to Nordy spending, but it definitely still lifted the financial burden!] And from there, we raced to her place, dropped our stuff, setteled in for a moment, and then raced to Tamarind Tree to meet my friend Aaron for dinner. After dinner, and again, us starting to fall asleep in our plates at 9p, we headed 'home', stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things (Ranier Cherries, I've missed you...), and back to Elizabeth's where we passed out for the night. And, thus began a week of this type of 'racing' from one place to another. whew. Let's see. In summary...

  • Friday: haircut at Salon C. Doctor's appt. Drop off a prescription. Race home to get Simon and head to Pyramid for pre-Mariners beer. Friends arrive, and there is much rejoicing. David and family, Luke, Jon, Adam & Kim, Carrie & Tony, Tom, Katie, Mary Ellen, Kevin & Susie, WT, Megan...geez. who am I forgetting?...Then the game, and late-nite druken HH at McCormicks, where dinner and drinks for 10 comes to $60. Both Luke (an Aussie co-worker of mine in the UK) and Simon do a double take at how cheap it is. yeah...
  • Saturday... Breakfast at Starbucks on the most weather-perfect Saturday in history. I have perma-grin from sitting outside having a delicious coffee, scone, and sun on my face. Then, a little drive around town to try to find Simon the perfect view of Ranier on a clear day. He is obsessed. Massages for both at Derby Salon. Jessica is simply the best. Words cannot describe how awesome she is as a masseuse and a human. Much love. A solo dinner date at Cafe Bizarro, and then back to Elizabeth's where we watch a bit of TV and fall asleep on the couch. :)
  • Sunday...Breakfast at SBUX again. Simon is addicted to Top Pot chocolate donuts, and I've now discovered the Clover coffees. So, this unhealthy b'fast ritual will persist over the duration of our trip. Then, it's on to lunch at Zoopa with Carrie and Tony. Much anticipated on both our parts, Carrie is Zoopa salad bar buddy. No one else seems to understand our obsession with this place. Actually, I don't either, but oh well. Simon & I were planning to putter downtown in the afternoon, as were Carrie & Tony. So, we decide to 'double date', and end up hitting the Nordy Anniversary Sale-Pre-Sale. Score. No crowds, same selection. Life is good. After shopping madness for a few hours, we part our ways, and Simon decides he wants steak for dinner. A splurge-expense steak. ok. So, we pop down to El Gaucho where we proceed to do major arterial damage, and I think this is where the first 2 pounds of the 7-pound trip addition can be accounted for...
  • Monday-Wednesday, I work at corp HQ during the day, so my social/fun is 'restricted' to post-5pm. I use the word 'restricted' lightly, as it was great to see the folks in Seattle that I work with, albeit over the phone & email these days. Good folks.
  • Monday evening is another solo-dining option for Simon & I, so I opt to introduce him to proper TexMex at Mamas and proper cocktails at ZigZag. Both are winners, and Simon declares the ZigZag martini ('dirty, with Grey Goose please'...) the best.
  • Tuesday evening is a proper catch up with 'The Ladies.' Mele, Anne, myself and sporting Simon meet at Blu Water on Lake Union. The only thing that is missing from this perfect evening of drinks, laughter, and catching up is Tracy. She was missed, and I hope the 'missing' is short lived.
  • Wednesday evening was catching up with my friend Alicia (who is now 5 months pregnant) and her boyfriend, Dean. Unfortunately, work & traffic made Alicia a bit late, and my friend Chris, who never arrives on time, actually does. So, I don't feel like we ever got to have that proper catch-up. Next time, Alicia. And sans-boys, so we can get down to the nitty-gritty. Promise?
  • Thursday nite is our last nite in Seattle (we'll be in WA for three more days, but at Semiahmoo in Blaine for Adam & Kim's wedding). But, again, now that I'm on 'vacation time' again, a mad day ensues: up early for breakfast with my lovely friend, Cheryl. Where, unfortunately, my tardiness means we barely get to spend 80 minutes with her before we have to dash down to Kent to take some things to storage and remove some things to go to Goodwill. We then pop up to South-Seattle to test driave a Smart car. [If there is one thing that London has taught me, it's that we are stupid, stupid Americans for having large cars. I will never own anything large (ie over smallish-sedan size) again. And, as there is a 6 month waiting list to purchase, if Simon & I end up back in London any time in the next 18 months, I need to have the car-thing sorted upon landing.] What can I say? That car was AWESOME!!! It would be good fun to have, I just need to understand if it's really practical; we certainly couldn't take it to Portland for a weekend trip, as the trunk wouldn't fit our stuff. hm.. Anyhoo, after the test-drive, we popped back up to Seattle where Simon completed his burger-eating experiment triumverate (Red Mill, Dicks, and now Kidd Valley). We then popped over to Goodwill to drop off stuff from storage, then raced back to Elizabeth's where we packed up, bugged out, and then popped back down to SBUX to give her her keys. We then went to check in at the hotel, freshen up, and head out for the evening: Simon to dinner with the guys, me to my old place to take some photos (if I end up sticking around longer than next Summer, I need something to post...), and then to the TapRoom to meet a few folks for dinner/drinks. whew. I'm exhausted just reading this.
  • Friday...a bit of shopping at Nordy, but we hit the road early to get up to Semiahmoo and swing by the outlets at Tulalip on the way. Once we arrived at the resort, we agreed: no more. No more racing around. The next few days were going to be low-key. And they were.
The wedding and weekend at Semiahmoo was beautiful. The weather while we were there, the hotel, and the scenery were perfect. Truly. The next two days were spend lounging, tanning, drinking, hanging out with friends, watching two lovley people get married, and all in all, calling it an end to yet another wonderful trip to Seattle. sigh.

Aside from catching up with everyone, the big recurring theme of this trip was, "when are you guys moving back?" Fair enough. It goes without saying that it's on my mind. After this trip, it's certainly on Simon's (how could it not be? we got asked by everyone... :)). But, the two big questions are when and how? Unfortunately, these are not easy questions to answer, and they are not mutually exclusive. Especially now. We've only been living together for four months, and though it's going well, it's still early days. So, I think we've decided to table the discussion until the end of the year and revisit. By then, if things are going well, we'll have been together almost 2 years. Living together for 9 months, and have a better sense of the 'how'-which also dictates the 'when' to the question..It's just too much to take in. So, for now, I'm punting, and instead will show a few pictures to distract me and everyone else.. :)

At the Beer Garden before the Mariners game.

Sunset at Semiahmoo...

Mt Baker in the background

All dressed up for the wedding.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Just yesterday, Simon & I returned from 12 glorious days in Seattle. 12 days and 10 extra pounds on both of us I think...

It goes without saying that after a 10-month absence from Seattle, it was good-no, f-ing GREAT to be back. It seems like everything about Seattle (including my friends) have changed-but at the same time, it's all still familiar.

The main purpose of the trip was to go back and see friends, Adam & Kim get married. The opportunity to spend more time in Seattle and catch up with everyone was gravy on the reason. Their wedding was beatuiful and amazing-as I knew it would be. And, the opportunity to spend the weekend away from Seattle for the wedding with some of my favorite people-and have a proper catchup-was simply the best.

I'll go into the long details about the trip in the next post (with pictures...), but for now I'll just say this: I had a feeling that going back for this trip was going to be equal parts great (see: afore mentioned friends and wedding) and equal parts sad. It was. I spent the first 20 minutes of our flight back to London in tears because I was so sad to be leaving. Though, oddly, I was also looking forward to getting back to London. After not living in Seattle for almost a year and a half, the concept of 'home' is becoming more and more difficult to define. Parts of me still feel such a connection to Seattle that at times, there is a physical pain in my chest when I think about "Seattle." At other times, I'm still so freakin' happy to be in London, that I can't imagine leaving any time soon. Add to this the complication of Simon-albeit a welcome complication-and it makes it even more difficult for me to figure out where 'home' actually is.

Is it Seattle? London? Does it matter, as long as I'm with Simon? I haven't a clue, and would really love it if someone would tell me. Seriously. It would make the confusion simply go away. Where exactly, is home? I'd really like to know.

Friday, July 3, 2009

All quiet

It's been a while since I've updated the blog-a full month, actually. The truth is, it's been a relatively quiet June. Simon & I have both been working way too much and honestly haven't done anything that's been 'newsworthy.' God, I sound like an old fart.

Don't get me wrong, it's been a fun month-the Summer has *finally* arrived in London with a bang (hottest June in ages...), I've had the pleasure of seeing two groups of Seattle friends pass thru London on their world travels, and Simon & I leave for 12 glorious days in Seattle on the 7th-just a few days away.

But, that's been about it. After the back-to-back bank holidays in May, and the upcoming time in Seattle, I think I've been holding my breath in anticipation of the trip. I'm really looking forward to getting back-it's been 10 months since I've been in Seattle, and 5 months since I've been back to the US at all (my longest time outside of the US, ever).

With travels, I'm sure it will be quiet again for a while, but I expect I'll have a good bit to say once I return from Seattle!