Saturday, January 31, 2009

Even yet still more Ballard

Big news! Grayson got his first letter back from one of his graduate schools, and it was a FULL-RIDE! Into a doctorate program! This made us both massively happy, as it means a looot of hard work has paid off. It's bittersweet though, because this basically seals the deal that I won't be "Seattle" Nat anymore by fall. At least for the next five years...

Following that bit of awesomeness, we finished our taxes this morning! Whoo! But then, the weather was too amazing to ignore again this weekend - although a bit cold - and we hit the pavement in search of burgers, camera repairs (Yes, the lens I broke all those months ago at Gasworks, I did not take it to the repair shop until today. L-A-Z-Y.) and cupcakes, but what we found dear readers, was so much more:

As the link above indicates, this was not our first sojourn into Ballard, we've been a couple of times, mostly for cupcakes, and it's a neighborhood that's grown on us. It's mostly known for its history of Scandinavian immigration, evidence of which pops up intermittently, but as we were walking from a newly discovered, HUGE book store in a converted library, we found these awesome relics...behold Leif Eriksson Hall:

Complete with bitchin' longship reliefs and a massive bust of Leif Eriksson, the head of which was the size of my entire body. Mostly.

But that's not all, right next door, observe Viking Bank!
How rad is that? I guess I'd like it more if it was shaped like a huge longship with trunks of gold all around.

Left to right: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, America

After that we made it to Cupcakes Royale, whose January-February special is Salted Caramel Cupcakes. Oh yeah. (Come on, it has been a while since I posted a cupcake...) The flavor was inspired by President Obama's favorite treat, salted caramels. The cake was dark chocolate heaven, and the top was coated in gooey icing that tasted like home made caramel. SOOOO GOOOOD. Oh my goodness.

A cupcake so good, it melted the color away from everything else...

Then we wandered around in artsy shops and record stores and came home. My lens should be ready in just a few days. Yay!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox!

On Friday night Grayson and I went to our very first Vegan restaurant, Araya's which is very close to our place. They specialize in Vegan Thai food. It was huge inside, and very pretty, and the food was really good. I got their specialty, pineapple fried rice, which comes complete with a pineapple plate!

Today we went to St. Mark's Cathedral on Capitol Hill. This is a huge Episcopalian cathedral that sits atop Capitol Hill, and can be seen from Lake Union, or just about any part of the city that looks over to Capitol Hill from West of it. Here is a view from Eastlake (or East of Lake Union):
It's a huge, stunning building, and I've always wanted to go inside it, so I was really excited to find out that they were having an event this weekend to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The new year is the Year of the Ox, which is my Chinese astrology symbol...
...Ox power!

So, despite the fact that it had started lightly snowing outside, though not sticking, we hopped on a bus to the Cathedral and listened to some great Chinese music, performed by an amazing ensemble. Many of the musicians could play several instruments individually, from drums to very ornate and complex stringed instruments.

Watching them play the drums was my favorite part. And, it was TOTALLY FREE. w00t economy prices!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The sun *does* also rise!

2 HUGE developments in the land of milk and coffee this weekend:

Number 1: HOLY CRAP, IT'S THE FRIGGIN APOCALYPSE!!! Oh, wait, it's not a wall of flames descending from the heavens, it's the SUN!

I tried counting the number of days it had been since I had seen the sun for more than two minutes, and I lost count somewhere in December. Grayson and I were at first perplexed, then intrigued, and scampered out to see if it was real. No joke, our eyes hurt, it had been so long. (Hence Grayson's unsure grimace above). We spent a little of yesterday and a good deal of today out and about walking to bask in as much as we could before it parted. We're both BIG overcast/rainy/grey day people, but long enough without the sun and it was actually kind of nice to see!

Number 2:

Seattle passed an ordinance that mandated that fast food establishments have their caloric content on their menus. It's actually county wide. It is supposed to be in effect as of the beginning of the year, but it was still a surprise to start seeing it crop up. Not all places have them readily visible, but one day, we saw it at Starbucks:

And, before you ask (as I did), bask in the market research Grayson and I walked 2 miles to obtain:

Yes, even McDonald's. Even McDonald's displays that a Quarter Pounder with Cheese containeth 1100-some-odd calories, right there, glowing for all to see.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

5 Lists of 5 Things

5 excuses for not updating:
1. Lazy
2. In the past two-three weeks, I haven't been in Seattle entirely.
3. Thinking about my new blog.
4. Too busy, what with travel and work and reading lots of books and petting lots of kitty.
5. Lazy

In honor of visiting ye Olde hometowne of Boise over the Xmas holiday, here are 5 things that I missed about the City of Trees:
1. Family.
2. Friends.
3. Flying Pie Pizza.
4. Grayson missed knowing his way around town.
5. Riding my bike.

Also, in honor of our visit, here are 5 things I have come to ... not appreciate entirely ... about Seattle:
1. Graffiti.
2. Panhandlers/homeless. Yes, it's tragic and all, but I have a wicked strong sense of smell.
3. Grayson hates the hipsters, whereas I am indifferent. I, more than Grayson, feel kind of claustrophobic sometimes in this city, where everything is squished in so much.
4. AveRats (like mall rats, but on the Ave, decidedly more dishevelled and older, they scream at each other, hang out with sad looking dogs, drink 40s and spit a lot, they take up half the sidewalk and stare at you as you pass).
5. How much stuff costs.

Looking Back List, or, we've had 5 Anniversaries, what did we do for them?
1. Visited Seattle (2003).
2. We were staying at my mom's with plans to save money to buy a house, so I made spaceship pasta with artichoke sauce, and we had a quiet night in.
3. Dinner and a movie. This year it was "Babel" and P. F. Chang's.
4. Grayson had graduated that day from college, so we spent the day celebrating with laser tag and pizza and beer and friends and family after the ceremony, all of which was a surprise to Grayson, and then I sprung on him the biggest surprise that night: I booked us this crazy suite at Hotel 43 downtown. It had a jacuzzi, and a living room. It was awesome. The next day we went to dinner at On the Border and saw the Golden Compass.
5. Our crazy, downtown Seattle adventure.

Looking Forward List, or 5 things I definitely want to do in the next 6 months, in Seattle:
1. Visit Alki Beach and West Seattle.
2. Check out Georgetown.
3. Go to Tacoma on the train, and eat a cupcake from Look cupcakes. Also go to the Museum of Glass.
4. Ikea store (still haven't actually physically been there).
5. TIE: Seward Park OR Sculpture Park OR Kobuta Gardens.