Both the bald eagles on the 520 bridge

Heading out of Seattle, we spotted some wildlife... There are two burnished and coloured copper sculptures by the reed beds in Lake Washington as you get close to the end of the bridge. I've been trying to get good photos of them for years.I like the way the U Wash stadium in the background looks like chess knights poised for battle...
Bald eagle on Lake Washington (2)

I just upgraded from the Casio Exilim FC100 to the FC150 for the extra high-speed modes (and (I think) more manual options though I haven't found many more yet) and traffic was slow so I had another go at snapping them as we passed - and caught the bald eagle perched on the top in much more detail (in some of the shots you can see the white tailfeathers...
Bald eagle on Lake Washington - detail

And then we looked up to see the other bald eagle on the streetlight...
Bald eagle on Lake Washington (36)

Fun things to do in Seattle

  • Find the new Elliot Bay Books and discover it feels exactly the same, though maybe without the second hand books (we didn't fnd them if they're there; everything else from the stained glass to the shelves to giant-cathedral-of-reading feeling is there)

  • Go to dinner, decide to finish dinner with Molly Moon's ice cream and drive all around Seattle only to find it's right around the corner from the new Elliot Bay Books.

  • Drive down to see Mount Rainier and be amazed by how blue the oxygen trapped in the glaciers is; the tannin washing down the grey moraines is also very colourful for somewhere you'd swear was in monochrome by looking at the snow-covered trees. Don't forget fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and blackberry pie at the Copper Creek Inn. Must remember to try making the blackberry syrup butter at home...

  • Drive up and across to Anacortes to look out over the straights and look down Deception Pass at how amazingly green the water is and how fast the tides is (8+ knots according to a local diver) and how lazily the seals and sea lions swim in it; carry on to Whidbey to gaze at the distant haze of Canada and take the ferry to Mulikteo for seafood at Ivar's.

  • Start with lunch at Elysian Brewing Company with daveon and his friend Dan, where the Pumpkin ale is fantastic and the Still 3 and 5 sour beers are pretty great; drink through the afternoon, sober up with latte at the Cafe Vivace on - I think - Broadway, get some excellent Belgian beer at a tiny bar I can't even remember the name of (Duchesse du Bourgougne!) and drive over to Wallingford in the pouring rain to introduce one friend to another at RAIN sushi.

  • Visit both Half Price Books - Redmond Town Center and Crossroads Mall. And the second-hand bookshop inside Pike Place Market. Extra points for saying 'I want to see if they have the Tamora Pierce I want; I need books 2, 3 and 4 of the Alanna quartet' and then turning around to see them on the shelves. sbisson warns I must not overuse this power, so I have vowed to to use it only for good (good books that is).

  • Have lunch at Pike Place Market; it's a ritual for us. Coffee at Local Colour where I bought the most awesome earrings with feathers and hearts and a key on a chain; cheese curds and The World's Best Mac & Cheese from Beechers, fried chicken wings from the Korean stall, donuts from the robot donut maker - usually with the best chowder in Seattle at the halibut sandwich grill in the market and candy cherries from Chukar and market spice tea and then a stroll around the market to work it off. I could not resist a red velvet shirt from Yezda, and a turqoise/sea green silk coat with embroidery and a beaded seahorse on the front...

  • Drink Abominable Snowman winter beer at the Red Door in Fremont; extra points if you're pulled over *right next to it* when you get the message but drive around the block because your phone thinks you're in the middle of Lake Union... the greek restaurant around the corner is nice, especially for flaming cheese and geeking out.

  • Have coffee and donuts at Top Pot Donuts in Bellevue; choose carefully because I'm not sure if the chocolate glazed and the blueberry glazed and the raspberry iced are the only good ones, I have to taste the others to find out.

  • Eat at at least two of the Essential Baking cafes; both have equally good coffee and bread and cakes and raisin pecan toast, the one near Fremont has better parking than the one on Madison.

  • Eat comfort food at Malay Satay Hut; yam pot for me (it's more like a giant yam donut full of veggies and shrimp), mango chicken for Simon, spinach with garlic to keep away the vampires.

  • Try just about everything on the menu at re:public. The tuna rillettes needs to be tasted before you go onto the confit pheasant and on balance the crispy pig tail is a little more awsome than the pig cheek and after the belly of beef with horseradish creme fraiche the sous vide chicken was too simple a flavour but the pumpkin torelloni with hazelnut and sausage was amazing and the spaghettini was amazing. Good bread, superb butter and nice pot au chocolat but the cinnamon apple fritters with honey and cream for dipping are worth licking your fingers for.

It may not sound like it but we've been enjoying staying in spiritmoving and elimloth's condo and being able to cook and heat leftovers and take a bath and read and work quietly; the only thing that would be nicer would be if they were here!

Simon and I will be in town - ping us! Work, fun and both...


Mmmmmmmarket spice tea

ooh; I'd forgotten how nice and spicy Market Spice tea from Pike Place Market is - I should thank liralen for bringing us our first ever batch ;-)


Coffee puppypuppypuppy beer

After a writing day on Sunday we did a little pottering around yesterday: brunch at Coastal Cafe (lobster scramble, cuban hash, syrupy bunuelos and coffee), then more coffee at 'Inspired by Starbucks' with daveon (trendy coffee and wine bar - but how far does that stand out in Madison Park, let alone in Seattle?) then back to D&MKs to meet the new puppy. Tara alternately melts on your knee then rushes around and steals toys from Tyson: seeing a tiny puppy win a tug of war by sitting down on the toy is very funny. Then off to a Windows house party (in a bar!) and dinner at Bings (with a name like that it's journalistic duty!). then far too much time browsing domino knitting ideas and I don't even have yarn with me! oh, and book buying. but there's more of that in our future!

I finally crawled out of bed

Since we hit Seattle I've been running a temperature (over 100 then down to 99.6 then down to 99.8) and fighting something that swelled all the nodes and glands down the left side of my neck (very Marvin) so I've been slumped in bed or in the air mattress, looking out at the sun. This evening I'd perked up enough for us to go to Malay Sate with elimloth and have the usual (it always seems to be pad thai, mango chicken, yam pot and mango shakes) and discuss the Future of Hardware, and when we got back there was Pretty Sunset. Himself ran up the hill to get above the treeline; I just went onto the balcony ;-)

Seattle sunset panorama II
Originally uploaded by marypcb.

Lake life, parklife and folklife

The house we're staying in now is minutes fron downtown Bellevue, two turnings from old Main Street and on a slope above Lake Washington. In fact it's right across from the sliproad where elimloth took me on my first ever trip to Seattle when I wanted to go look at the lake. It's lovely to look out at night and see the reflections of the marina lights or to look across the water on a sunny morning. We deduced that the open space across the lake was a park because somehow people just don't wander around like that in a garden and set off to find it.

Down a steep unmarked lane is a charming if steep park with a swimming hole. We didn't see the geese dogs in action (the sign promises they only scare the geese away). And sbisson does rather feel that the perfect park prequesitely posits a pond. We managed to find the road that runs over the park to drive into Seattle, heading for the Space Needle anmd the Northwest Folklife Festival at the Seattle Centre. Kind of a mix between Camden Lock, Cropredy and a worldcon with a smorgasbord of music, dance, craft stalls, food, buskers and people running around a fountain that occasionally belched steam as if it was about to take off. We indulged in glass jewellry from North Idaho, I'm now the girl with the pearl earrings from Chumil and we kept going back for mango lemonade. Morris is alive and well and bashing its stick on the ground when appropriate: we saw at least six morris sides, many of whom melded and mingled to make larger sets or dance against each other. I played peekaboo with the hobby dragon who later picked up a rubber duck. And we met and lost elimloth and spiritmoving several times in the crowds.

At this point we felt like a nice long sitdown, which we got in the car driving up to Mukilteo for a glimpse of Whidbey island (for anyone who follows Microsoft developer tools, it now makes perfect sense that you have to get past Whidbey before you can see Orcas). We watched the ferry shuttling back and forth over a feast of seafood at Ivar's. Clams and king crab are both enormous and wonderfully fiddly to eat. Chowder and slamon are more manageable. And the trio of chocolate decadence, creme brulee and carrot passion cake were so rich even with double espresso latte that we brought the cake home for breakfast.

Behind our table was a fake carp made from driftwood, with tin tack scales and fishlifter fins. In the porch is the carp mascot that used to stand out on the deck until a giant wave smashed into the restaurant in 2003 and washed it out to sea. I gave it a good rub, which is supposed to bring good luck for a safe return!

And now to pack; tomorrow we fly to New York for a day and then home the next evening.

Bruisewatch: my foot has many purple patches with much of the displaced blood running along the outer edge of the foot and turning several toes into pale purple sausages. I can put weight on it now but twisting, turning and walking at an angle up or down slopes is still painful. The opposite knee is much mess swollen (let's hear it for camphor and methyl salycilate patches) but brushing or bumping it is still scarily painful. Looks like I'll try out the new doctor's surgery as soon as I'm back.



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