Thursday, May 29, 2008

Seattle Unplugged

I am sitting at a cafe in downtown Seattle sipping on a tall espresso gourmet shake like a true Seattlite. Everyone walks around with some sort of java expression in their hands. Yesterday I went to the REI flagship store. LL Bean eat your heart out. The product line has a lot more variety but it is your basic outdoor superstore. Of course, you have to own a small country in order to afford anything. Last night I attended a tragic Red Sox game, at Safeco Stadium, where the only action was the drunk hecklers two row in front of me. Manny was suppose to hit his five hundredth home run but only walked to first. How could the Sox lose the series to the Mariners especially since I was 20 rows behind home plate? Like I said, tragic! I returned to the Green Turtle Hostel, conveniently located directly across from Pike Place Public Market, to the unexpected treat of Open Mic night. The local and traveling talent was surprisingly very entertaining. The closing act was a street performer who played his guitar behind his head while singing and simultaneously shaking his hips to hula hoop and ended with the hula hoop spinning and balancing the guitar on his chin. Go to YouTube and type in guitar and hula hoop and it's the first video choice. Today, I spent the morning walking around Pike Place Market. It is a wonderland of locally grown produce, fresh seafood and homemade crafts. I stood in front of a gourmet pasta kiosk for so long pondering the chocolate linguine that the young hottie behind the counter told me I looked upset. I responded that I was bewildered. He returned that my adjective was a good descriptive word. It was the truth. My senses were overwhelmed with the scent of fresh baked bread, recently caught salmon and sage insence. My ears popping from the mongers yelling, "Savour Seattle!", and the woman I bought my dried fruit from mocking them saying, she can't stand hearing them yell it anymore. The colors of red grape tomatoes, golden raspberries, blackberries, ripe peaches, purple potatoes and fresh garlic on one side of me. The bouquets of orange poppies, purple lupine, white daisies, pink peonies and green ferns line the other side of the market. God that was a great experience. Imagine living a couple blocks walk from this farmer's market. That would be divine. After my farmer's market extravaganza I walked to the Space Needle where I dined for lunch at the rotating Sky City restaurant on top of the Needle. I enjoyed a hazelnut breaded chicken, avocado and sprouts sandwich while the city rotated around me, giving a 360 view of Puget Sound and all the city districts. I finished my Seattle experience leisurely strolling through the shopping district until I found myself here at Tully's Coffee House. I have finished my java expression and will be heading back to the Pike Place Market to buy some asparagus and fresh made flavored pasta for dinner this week. Yum!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Or the Home of the Moldy Strawberries, as I fondly call it. I am posting pics of my apartment for you all to see what I call home while I work at Mt. Rainier. The strawberries have been in the fridge since the day I moved in two weeks, three days ago. It is my personal sociological experiment to see how long it takes the queen of the FBS (retna scan required to decipher the alpha code) to remove this biohazard from our common food area. I'm prediciting futuristic robot bugs to crawl first. The tacky clutter you see in the LR and kitchen is an understatement of the piles of paper carnage that is tucked in the unseeing corners of the apartment. Bad for the Chi!! A girl moved into my room last night and my first impression is that she may balance the energy back to the side of what is good and righteous. I daily pick cardboard, plastic and aluminum out of the garbage because I am repulsed that we have the facilities within walking distance and no one makes an effort. Recycle, for earth's sake, we live on a mountain!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Wonderland

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be it would, You see? (Alice)

Although I have yet to encounter Big Foot, I am able to continue with my Alice in Wonderland references as I hiked a tiny portion of the 91 mile Wonderland Trail that travels the circumference of Rainier. I picked up the trail at Longmire (which is the part of the park where I work) and hiked 1 1/2 miles up the trail, the Nisqually River accompanying me on the east and Paradise Road to the west, up to Carter Falls trailhead. It was another beautiful sunny day. The wind alternated between refreshing cool breezes to warming zephyrs (a tribute to my baby girl). The contrasting landscapes from my first hike to my second hike attests to the breadth of experiences one can enjoy here. Thursday, I struggled to snowshoe up an open snow field at 6000 feet with the sun beating down on me. Friday, I leisurely wandered a snowpacked trail protected by the mighty towering evergreens at half the altitude. Today, after work, I strolled down the street to the where the Nisqually River runs 1 mile from my lodging. Everyday is a new adventure.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Mountain

Got Oxygen?

Today I went for my first hike!! Yay!! I snowshoed a little way up Glacier Vista which is a couple miles from Paradise. It was blazing hot today so the avalanche threat was high and lots of warnings about snow blindness (sunburn to the cornea). So sunglasses were a must! Check out the picture of me next to the snow banks up at Paradise. It will be a long time before we see the meadow flowers that I have seen on postcards. I saw my first wildlife today unless you include the numerous deer that meander by the roadside. A scampering silver fox that commanded the center of the road for several minutes so he could have his picture taken by a multitude of tourists. Mama and baby black bears, elk and cougars have been sighted by my coworkers. A glorious day to be celebrated with a glass of cheap champagne, while sitting on my patch of grass just outside my humble abode, as the sun sets into the west.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Are We There Yet, Papa Smurf?

If you haven't figured it out yet, I AM HERE !! Over the Cascades and through the woods to Jeni and Eric's house I go. I hooked up with a couch surf'n gig in Seattle. Jeni and Eric are generous hosts who brought me to the most impressive tourist attraction yet. The Winco, a sociologist's wet dream, is Sam's Club hopped up on white trash steriods. Eric is a thrify tech head with a love for retro 80's games. He had just bought an original 1966 twister game which we had to play. I haven't laughed my ass off that hard in ages. Jeni made delicious dinners and we went to the Swedish Cultural Center for swedish pancakes with lindenberries. Yummy! I arrived at Mount Rainier during unknowingly rare day that you can see "The Mountain." I have been here for 10 days and have only been blessed to see the mountain twice. It has been blanketed behind clouds for days. I like to tell the tourists that the mountain is shy and only comes out once in a blue moon. When you can see it. It is spectacular and I am lucky to have it as the back drop to the gift shop. Everyone has been wonderfully friendly and from all over the country and world. I could get used to this national park life style. Stay in tune. I'll be writing more often again now that I have found internet. I MISS U ALL!!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Even God rested after the Seventh Day

I have developed a soft spot for Coeur D'Alene. I have decided to rest my weary bones for an afternoon of sitting in the sun beside the 30 mile lake. The last 7 days of non-stop travel have finally caught up with me. I'm drinking a mocha latte from the local java house; people watching. Mostly the youth dominate the downtown streets playing hackysack on the sidewalks and in the park. It is a beautiful sunny afternoon. I'll be going for a walk around town and heading to bed early tonight. Tomorrow= Seattle Here I Come!

Coming Down the Mountain- I Say, Scream It! CUumm'N Down the Mountain!!

BEST DRIVIN' DAY EVER!!! Mother of God! The mountain pass between Montana and Idaho was a rock'n good ride. I wanna go again-RIGHT NOW!! I am still high from the extreme rollercoaster ride. The minute I crossed into Idaho I knew this was the place to stop for the night. It is a magnificent view that just embraces you. Coeur D'Alene, ID is a beautiful lakeside town nestled in the valley of it's namesake. I was convinced by the authentically friendly visitor center representative, Candence, that I must stop and experience the wonderful small town vibe. She was right on. I walked back to my car from the visitor center where I met my first new friend Maril and her redfox lab, Bella. I had parked my car at the grassy city park in the downtown area across from the visitor center. Maril and Bella were lounging on the lawn in front of my car. I asked Maril for the time, wondering if I had crossed over to the Pacific timezone and we struck up a conversation. We discovered we had a lot of common life experiences including her brother and I having the same birthday. Here is the Celestine Prophacy at work. Maril had just arrived in Coeur D'Alene from Missoula to meet a friend for dinner and invited me along. Starved for interpersonal interaction I eagerly accepted. I enjoyed a delightful dinner at a tapa bar named Anthony's. I sampled melt in your mouth tenderloin, zesty veggies and baked artichoke. It's the first real meal I've had since I've left Maine so it was the best! Maril and her friend, Linette (I think that was her name??) shared fun travel stories. Linette lived in Maine when she was a kid and worked in Yellowstone one summer. Coincidence? Of course not! I am so glad I listened to my intuition about staying in Coeur D'Alene. After parting with my new friends, I walked along the world's longest floating boardwalk just after sunset. It is buoy'd by 16,000 cedar logs. Walking along the lake this evening was a wonderful way to end a fantastic day!