Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Do You Know These Men?

Adventure Man and I took an early morning walk along the waterfront – a week gone from Kuwait and we are still jet lagging, awake at 5 a.m. and it is a great time for a walk. As the sun comes up in the east, the moon is setting in the west, out over Puget Sound. At the pier, we see this poster:

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This was an issue when I was here last summer, for Mom’s birthday. Security has tightened on the ferry runs.

November 27, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Seattle | 4 Comments

Adventure Man Goes to Ivar’s

“You hungry?” I asked Adventure Man as he arrived.

He nodded his head.

“BBQ? Italian? Ethiopian? What’s your preference?” I tossed out several alternatives.

“Any place I can get some good clam chowder?” he responded.

“Sure!” I said, delighted his wants were so easily satisfied. “How about Ivar’s?”

We had a great dinner. He ordered Clam Chowder and Scallops and Chips, and coleslaw, and cornbread, and I had a crab cocktail and smoked salmon chowder. YuMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Our booth:

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Our dinner:

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November 26, 2007 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Seattle, Travel | 4 Comments

Airport Non-Adventure

Thanksgiving weekend is actually about ten travel intense days of crowded roads and nightmarish scenes at the airport. With Adventure Man coming coming in to meet me in Seattle, I head for the airport a little early. With all the college football games on, the roads are surprisingly clear. I get to the airport early, and . . . there is no crowd! I even get rock-star parking, right by the overhead walkway to the airport.

I can’t always remember where I parked, so I take a photo.

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It’s a good thing I am early, even with no crowd at all – his flight also arrives early, the bags come, and we are out of the airport in good time. It’s not your Kuwait airport, either, with the reasonable parking fees. Here, we pay $7.00 for one hour.

It must have been an anomaly, but the airport was nearly empty. Here is the traffic – imagine!

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This airport is normally a madhouse. They have done one really smart thing, though. They have a cell phone waiting lot, where people picking up arriving passengers can wait until they get that call, and then just drive up to arrivals, pick up their passenger and depart. It’s not really that fast, usually there are thousands of people so you just crawl along, but once you pick up the person you’re there to pick up, it’s a fairly fast get-away.

We were glad to have a non-adventure.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Holiday, Living Conditions, Seattle, Travel | 2 Comments

Not Your Kuwait Book Store

Killing time waiting for Adventure Man to arrive. I always save Barnes and Noble for a special treat. If I go too soon, my bag is full of books, and no room for anything else. B&N is my incentive to get all my business taken care of – my special reward.

I love the bestseller, new hardcover and new paperback sections, where I can get a quick overview of what is hot.

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Gregory Maguire’s Wicked is out in a new paperback format; while it first came out about ten years ago, it is as delightful now as it was then. It is the Wizard of Oz story, retold from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West, a radical reformer who got bad press. It was also made into a Broadway musical that ran for years. Well worth bringing out for a new generation of readers.

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November 26, 2007 Posted by | Books, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Language, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Seattle, Shopping, Social Issues | , , | 11 Comments

Old Cars

Several years ago, some friends were visiting Seattle and returned, saying “I have never seen so many OLD cars anywhere else.”

(They had never been to Turkey, where they have an art of keeping old cars running.)

I had never really noticed, but there truly are a lot of older cars in this area, and I don’t know why. Maybe one reason is that Seattle had a few leaded gas pumps longer than other states, and most of these old cars ran on leaded gas. You still see them – a lot of them – still on the roads.

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November 25, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Local Lore, Seattle, Shopping, Technical Issue | , , | 7 Comments

Jasmine

I finally found Jasmine in a non-black chair, and she has become used to me, and didn’t run away! This morning, as I fed her, she even rolled over in joy! I’ve gained her trust!
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November 25, 2007 Posted by | Photos, Relationships | | 4 Comments

Extra Ferry Runs

At the worst possible time – just before the huge Thanksgiving rush to the ferries – cracks were discovered in the hulls of four of the ferries in the transportation system. Once the cracks were discovered, the four ferries had to be taken off the runs – they don’t take chances here on people’s lives.

Ferry boats that can carry cars take specialized care to build and to repair. It will be a while before they are back in service, or replaced.

Meanwhile, people are on their way to grandmother’s house – by ferry. Cars are lined up for miles, waiting to get on. They have a strictly enforced system; there is no cutting in line, no going to the front – you get in line when you get there and you take your turn. Being Seattle, there are multiple places along the lengthy lines where you can buy coffee, and places where you can make a pit stop, to dump the coffee.

Families bring books and puzzles, and just plan on the wait. They build the ferry-waiting time into their schedule. Thanks to mobile phones, many families walk on (no waiting to walk-on, and it is a lot cheaper) and have people pick them up on arrival on the Winslow/ Kingston/ Whidby Island side.

The transportation officials also put on extra ferries, so just about as one loads up and leaves, another arrives. You may have to wait a while, but it is about as efficient as it can get.

And then, after dinner, it all reverses, and people come back on the ferries. I try to imagine the revenues those ferries bring in on this one four day weekend, and I can’t begin to imagine.

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November 24, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Community, Family Issues, Holiday, Living Conditions, Seattle, Social Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Jack Frost Nipping

When you think of Thanksgiving in Seattle, you usually think of rainy and stormy. Everyone has a tale to tell about the year the electricity went off just when the turkey was cooking and 22 people were coming for dinner.

This year, however, was picture perfect.

It is COLD (brrrrrrrr, shiver, brrrrrr) Morning and night, you either have to scrape the frost off the windshield, or wait long enough for the car to heat up and melt it off. (Brrrrrrrr, shiver)

It is GREAT sweater weather.

In Seattle, this is what you say “Look at the mountain!” Everyone knows which mountain you are referring to – Mt. Rainier.

Look at the mountain!

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November 24, 2007 Posted by | Local Lore, Seattle, Thanksgiving, Weather | , , , | 6 Comments

Mom, Please Don’t Leave Me!

I am taking care of my sister’s cats while she and her husband are on a short vacation trip. As they were leaving, Wally, the diabetic cat, begged her not to leave him with me:

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He is one of the easiest cats in the world to take care of. He knows when he needs his shot and he doesn’t run and hide like my own sweet little cat used to do when it was time for her shot. Wally hangs out around the refrigerator, where his insulin is kept, around time for his shot, and purrs when you give it to him. What a sweetheart.

Once my sister was gone, he got along with me just fine. 🙂

November 24, 2007 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Family Issues, Health Issues, Humor, Pets, Seattle | 9 Comments

Beautiful Weird Thanksgiving

This was a beautiful, wierd Thanksgiving for me. It’s one of the very rare Thanksgivings that Adventure Man and I have not been together. He was down in Florida, at an all day eating, playing and visiting fest with our son, our son’s wife and her family. He shucked his first oysters, and was told he had better keep his day job.

I am in Seattle with my Mom, and we went to my best-friend-from-college’s house. It turned out to be one of the sweetest Thanksgivings I have had. As we sat down at the table, my friend said that in her house it is tradition to go around the table and to tell one thing you give thanks for. I found that incredibly moving. You have a glimpse into another person’s heart when you tell what you are thankful for.

And the food! Oh my! All my good resolutions, all my good intentions, down the drain – the food was SO good.

I took some photos to share with you:

The Veggies and the Salmon-Spinach Dip (oh WOW)

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Making the world’s most tasty gravy, with fresh sage and thyme:
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Carving one of the world’s most perfectly cooked turkeys:
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The dining table – just before the carnage:
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November 23, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Holiday, Thanksgiving | 9 Comments