Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category

Summer 2014 Day 2


Some photos before bedtime:

Me with Ashley, Caitlin, Ethan and SeanMe and Ashley



Read Full Post »

My mother-in-law Janet’s cousin and her husband visited us here in Seattle last week. Kaysea and Gordon live in San Francisco but had just finished a cruise to Alaska that started and ended in Seattle.

Unfortunately, we only had one day to enjoy with them and on top of that it was a week day, meaning James was in work and unable to join us 😦

Fortunately, it was our first day with our friend Juliana working as our mother’s helper 🙂 Our day was so much easier and fun-filled having her with us to help particularly with Ethan and Sean.

Kaysea and Gordon are both docents at the SanFrancisco Zoo. They are also long-time supporters of efforts to save the endangered snow leopard. A trip to the Woodland Park Zoo to see the snow leopards was a wonderful choice for all of us for our brief visit together.

We were very lucky to not only see the often reclusive snow leopard but to have him hang around the window and the fence for almost an hour. Caitlin was very pleased with herself when she took this photo of a yawn.

Janet and I had prepared a packed lunch for everyone, so we ate our lunch at the snow leopard enclosure and leisurely enjoyed observation, conversation, watching the informational videos…

…and climbing around the rocks and notices.

One of the highlights was the sound of a huge thud as the snow leopard rammed the glass in an attempt to “prey” on a young girl watching on the other side. Startled gasps and excited chatter as everyone was reminded that this is a wild creature and not just large, adorable cat.

We did spend some time with the penguins, the sloth bears and the elephants (I learned that there are no elephants at the San Francisco Zoo!). Ethan and Sean had so much fun on this trip to the zoo. They were both more aware of the animals (Sean was overjoyed at the elephants) and with Juliana’s help they were able to have a lot more freedom to walk or run around the zoo.

We all had a wonderful visit to kick off our summer.

Read Full Post »

This is one of our favorite places to hang out in the Ballard area of Seattle.

Although you wouldn’t think it from the outside, this coffee shop is a real gem.

I love going by myself to be alone and decompress. It’s a great place to think and be quiet, even if there are a lot of other people around.

Last week I went for tea with a friend and brought Ethan and Sean.

Barb and I had a very pleasant chat/business meeting 🙂 (We share our stories as well as problem solve and exchange information on household management and child rearing.)

On the morning we went, I was amused to discover that I knew 10 out of the 12 women sitting at various tables that morning (There was also about half a dozen men; I didn’t know any of them).

Ethan and Sean loved exploring this new-to-them space.

Their steamed milk, coffee, tea, breakfast muffins, sandwiches and Essential Bakery pastries that I have tried are delicious. I have been many times already this year and will continue to visit as often as I can.

Oh, and just to add to the loveliness, they have a punchcard with the image of the not-actually-grumpy owner, Dan. This is my third punch card in three months. The freebie is worth every penny spent at Grumpy D’s to get to it 🙂

Read Full Post »

Sorry We’re Closed!

Okay, so I’m not sorry. We had a lot of fun in the snow today. I’ll try to share photos tomorrow. Uploading photos and blogging are a little more challenging with a full house and lots of fun to be had.

Btw, I heard a news reporter ask an interviewee if Seattle was closed today? There was no definite response but it sure seemed like it to us. Cities should have a day or two off more often. School is cancelled again for tomorrow. Roll on the closure of Seattle Part 2!

Read Full Post »

A Sweet Day

This is how our evening ended. After the boys were in bed the girls and I enjoyed a yummy cup of chai and a delicious cupcake.

We frothed the milk for the chai with the new aerolatte and stainless steel pitcher that I bought online. They just arrived yesterday. Already I have savored a divine cup of cafe au lait and a foaming decaf chai.

The cupcakes were the result of one of the stops we made in downtown Ballard this afternoon. This is day 1 of James in Paris for his 1200k bike ride from Paris to Brest and back again. (This is what day 1, 4 years ago, was like when the girls and I joined him in Paris for the same ride-it only takes place every 4 years.) With James away I decided to try and do something fun with the kids each day.

The girls have had enough traveling this summer and have requested that we stay at home for the last few weeks of the summer and just enjoy being in our home, being in Seattle, and playing with friends. So today we enjoyed Ballard.

First we had a picnic lunch at Ballard Commons Spray park, and then enjoyed the water.

Caitlin created dances incorporating the various sprays and stone sculptures and performed for me.

Every so often Ethan would squeal with delight, “It’s waining!”

Little Sean was fascinated by the spray. He concentrated on the water for ages slowing inching closer. I was busy taking his photo  wasn’t quick enough and the spray got him in the face. He was upset just briefly but after a little snuggle he was keen to get down again and explore some more.

Lest you think we left Ashley at home, here she is happily drying off after about 10 minutes of play deciding that she really didn’t want to get wet. She really just wanted to read her book.

Our next stop was Ballard library. We love this library and have been coming here since the girls were toddlers. Ashley was able to finish her book while I read to Caitlin, Ethan and Sean. I love how Caitlin still enjoys picture books and listening to stories I read to the boys. (She isn’t actually in this photos because after she had listened to about a dozen books she decided she wanted to play on the computers. She and Ashley like creating Word documents and playing around with text color, size and fonts.)

Here Ethan is saying “Look at the book Daddy.” He wanted a photo so James could see what we read.

By the way, the book Ashley was so engrossed in today was The Nobodies by N.E. Bode. She finished it in the library and was very pleased with it. There are two others in the series: The Anybodies and The Somebodies. (Thanks for introducing her to the books Rosemary, Juliana and Isabella.)

Our final stop was Cupcake Royale on Market Street in Ballard. We don’t come here very often. Being a baker I find paying $3 for a cupcake to be daylight robbery overpriced. We’ve also discovered that some of their cupcakes are not to our liking with the cake being too dry or the frosting too dense and sweet, which is a bit of a rough realization if you’ve just paid $3 for a cupcake. We now know that we like the Carrot Cake, the Red Velvet and Ashley likes the Peppermint Party (oh, and James likes the Triple Chocolate one).

However, I had a Chinook Book coupon that was for Buy 3 Get 3 Free and I had a gift card that friend gave me over a year ago and it still had the price of a cupcake left on it. So we basically only paid for 2, which means we had cupcakes for $1 a piece from Cupcake Royale. Now that is a sweet deal!

The girls spent some time browsing the cake decorations and Caitlin decided that she wanted to use some of her money to buy one for Ethan’s cupcake. I just love how the girls enjoy performing generous little actions like this for their brothers.

Ethan’s decorated cupcake.

By the time we got home Ethan and Sean were very tired and I decided an early dinner was best.  Sean enjoys feeding himself. I can usually get a fair amount of food inside his body before his meal ends up like this.

It’s a bit of clean up but I really want to give him the opportunity to practice. He’s getting better at using a spoon and tries to use his fork to stab at his food. Notice how there are no utensils in these photos.They are on the floor along with a fair amount of rice. When he starts to fill up it his meal becomes all about feeling the texture of the food and then dispersing it as far as possible around himself, the kitchen table and the floor. He isn’t intentionally flinging the food. He gets very excited feeling it and then extends his arms as if to show us what he has in his hands. He also seems to enjoy tensing his muscles in his arms as he extends them, as if he is overcome the joy of it all. In this photo he is banging his plate while looking at Ashley across the table. The girls like to mimic his banging, which spurs him on considerably (and okay, I’m sometimes guilty of it too :))

Alas, Ethan didn’t finish his dinner. He was tired and distracted by chess pieces. He didn’t eat his cupcake but knows it’s waiting for him tomorrow. He has come to terms with our family rule that you have to eat your dinner to get dessert. He didn’t even fuss about it. He was keen to go to bed and read the books we brought home from the library.

I’ll end how I started because the girls and I did enjoy our dessert. With James away we decided to end our day sharing my bed and reading until lights out.

The (Perfect) End.

Read Full Post »


Seattle Marathon 2006

I did it! 26.2 miles in 7hrs, 7mins and 28secs. Today I walked the Seattle Marathon in the light snow and the light rain and the clear air, then the light rain and then the driving rain and then the snow again. My feet did not blister and at no moment did I feel I wouldn’t finish.

It was inspiring all the way. It was just amazing to witness the people taking part and the support people, both official and spectators, were phenomenal. Many times I felt glad that I was walking and not standing supporting. I bet I was warmer than a lot of them! Although the rain and snow were quite an added bonus to the challenge it was only in the last 2/3 of a mile the rain and sleet really started to become ferocious. It just meant that my arms, legs, runners, socks and feet were completely and utterly soaked as I headed into the stadium at the Seattle Center to cross the finish line. At that point the sleet really started turning to snow. James, Ashley and Caitlin were waiting in the bleachers to greet me. Ashley and Caitlin were damp and a bit miserable (Ash more so) and very pleased to see me (Caitlin more so). Once we entered the warm recovery area they perked up more.

Some nature highlights walking the marathon:

The amazing view of the snow covered Cascades for most of the walk. Despite heavy cloud cover they just seemed to burst through it all and shine.

A large v-formation of birds flew over Seward Park. They were too high in the sky to identify the kind of bird but I watched them for a while and took care not to trip doing so.

All the wet and wonderful autumn leaves in shades of yellow and brown lining the sides of the route through Seward Park.

The few miles I walked through the arboretum before the final push home. There were times when I just forgot I was walking a marathon in a city. (I was really looking forward to this part of the marathon and it didn’t disappoint.)

One of the joys of walking for me is being able to listen to books on my iPod. The marathon rules state that headphones are not allowed. From talking with others with some experience in such walking events my understanding was that people do it anyway. So I decided that I would bring my iPod and then get a feel for others’ usage and officials’ responses. The result was lots of people using them and no one minding. I used my iPod with just one earphone because I did recognize the safety concern that you may not hear runners or walkers coming from behind and could cause someone to trip (how awful would that be!)

Throughout my walk I listened to:

Jerome Groopman’s ‘The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness’. Listening to the Anatomy of Hope kept me focused on the how amazing it is to be alive and well and able to walk 26.2miles.

During my walk I had lots of time to think of the people I have known who are no longer alive. The saddest was walking a section of 5th Ave and passing a ramp where myself and our friend John Dunne stood together in 2000 watching the preparations to implode the Kingdome. Not a day has gone by since his unexplained drowning in the London Thames two years ago that I have not thought of him.

Mostly I found my focus returning again and again to Christian and his wife Jennifer. Christian has been through so much in the last number of years dealing with cancer and he just knocked me out when he trained and completed the STP (Seattle to Portland) 204 mile bike ride with James this year and then went on to ride the 100 mile Portland Livestrong Challenge a couple of weeks later. I think that support is everything when tackling anything in life and Jennifer is the other half of the force that keeps the Cabanero duo surviving and savoring all that life puts their way. You two are my friends and my inspiration.

Madeleine Albright’s ‘Madam Secretary’. A gap filler between Groopman and U2. I’ve been listening to Madam Secretary during training walks and it’s fascinating stuff. The audio book just happens to be very long so I’m not yet finished (but I’m almost there). It’s an added bonus that Madeleine Albright reads it herself. I find it very satisfying to hear her voice as she recounts her years as Secretary for State.

I saved U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Lave Behind’ Album for the last 3 miles. It was absolutely motivational at the end and I’d purposely timed it so that it was just finishing as I came up to the stadium so that I could turn it off, put away the iPod, and simply enjoy crossing that finish line. If you have ever listened to the lyrics of the album you’ll now just how appropriate they are to someone doing a major stretch of walking.

I’ve been playing it in the car for the last three months and the girls are big U2 fans and will often request that we listen to it. Caitlin adores the second song on the CD and calls it, “You got to get yourself together again” (It’s actually called, ‘Stuck in a moment that you can’t get out of’, which is the next line after Caitlin’s favorite line that she thinks is the title). Ashley used to call that song her favorite too. Recently, though she has switched to the opening song, ‘Beautiful Day’. Given that I love the rain it was actually very fitting that I listened to that first as I walked through the rain on the homeward stretch of the marathon. Then they have a fabulous and aptly named song called ‘Walk On’.  Given the context I was listening in, I burst out laughing when I heard the following lyrics from the song at the precise the moment I spotted in the distance the Seattle Center stadium, which held the finish line: “Home…I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home, that’s where the hurt is” 🙂 Listening to the U2’s album I constantly thought of the joy of finishing the marathon (a longtime goal) and the joy of seeing my family waiting for me at the end.

James has been wonderfully supportive, particularly this last week when we’ve all had the flu and it looked uncertain if I would be well enough to head out today. On Friday it almost seemed that with the flu, and the forecast for rain and then snow, the Universe was trying to send me a message that I should give the marathon a miss. James helped me stay mentally strong. (Though if I’d woken this morning to a hurricane warning I think I might have finally listened to the Universe 🙂 ) Anyway, seeing James, Ashley and Caitlin sitting in the rain and sleet, all wet and cold and smiling and waving at me as I walked towards the finish line is a memory I’ll cherish.

All that’s left to say is, ‘Where will I do marathon number 2?’

Read Full Post »