Mar. 30: Spring break adventures

We went to Seattle for part of spring vacation this year. We go up there several times a year, actually, and Victor lived up there forEVER, but it had been a long time since we’d played for-realsies tourists. It was a quick, jam-packed trip. Here are the deets. (Most of the images are clickable.)

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…

After leaving Portland, our first stop was the Nike Clearance Store in Centralia.
It’s different than the Nike stores at most outlet malls
—better deals, better selection—
and is always Jack’s favorite part of heading up I-5.
He even talked us into stopping again on the way home.

We drove on to Lacey and I got to visit Shipwreck Beads, the biggest bead store you ever did see,
while the rest of my family wandered a preferable (to them) bead-free shopping center.


The massive store was completely overwhelming, and I didn’t even spend much $$.
I can’t promise that the next time I go, though.

We had dinner at BBQ Pete’s, a Kent restaurant that’s been around for years.
You don’t think of Kent as being a city of good eateries, but WOW, Pete’s was fantastic.
I mean, ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, delicious sauces… it’s all good.
We might have had another meal there before we left for home.


Jake had a track meet in Woodinville one afternoon,
which was actually the event that led us to Seattle in the first place.
It was fun to see him compete, especially because he (and his team) won every dash and relay in which he ran.
We were a proud uncle, aunt, and cousins.

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We were grateful for rare nice weather, and spent as much time as we could out in it.
One day was all about Pike Place Market.

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We tried the world’s best macaroni and cheese,
saw a very long line at the original Starbucks,
watched those dudes toss fish until I couldn’t stand the stench anymore,
and spent way too much time searching for the Gum Wall.

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It was disgusting and funny.
(We didn’t create the “K & J” but couldn’t resist taking a pic of it.)
Katie tried to put a piece of her gum on the wall but it fell right off.
Oh well. At least we tried to play along.

We made a quick detour to Wallingford to shop at Archie McPhee,
where Katie got a handicorn and I bought a silly Jane Austen treat for Mother Mary.


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Jack and I visited the Seattle Aquarium.
I loves me some otters.
They have river otters and sea otters, and in case you don’t know the difference, here’s a pic of the sign.
(The only river otter I’ve seen before was at the High Desert Museum and he was a dick.)
The Seattle river otters wouldn’t sit still for a pic, but they sure did poop everywhere.
The sea otters were silly little goofballs and fun to watch.
I’m pretty sure they love putting on The Show.

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The jellyfish were mesmerizing,
and the harbor seals were cute.
Not sea otter-cute, but not I-want-to-club-them ugly.
Lucky for them.

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I thought the Seattle Great Wheel would be huge, like the wheels in London and Paris.
This thing was puny, like it was borrowed from a parking lot carnival.
Vic, who is not a fan of heights, thought it was pa-lenty big.


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We did the CenturyLink Field tour, and while the field was
disappointingly set up as a soccer pitch, the tour was still fascinating.
Our guide showed us how to see into the Seahawks’ locker room:
put a camera phone up to the crack in the door and zoom in.
Sure enough, it worked!

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“The State of Football” was a really cool display of all
the high school football helmets of Washington State.
My favorite moment of stadium-related things was being on Edgar Martinez Drive.
Edgar is my all-time favorite Mariner.
(“It’s a light bat!”)

Thoughts on Seattle:

  • OMG, the traffic sucks. It is soooo much worse than Portland, and at all times of day, and turned us into potty-mouths. Someday I want to make the trip by Amtrak.
  • Seattle kinda seems like Portland on steroids—the environmentalism, overall pride in its weird-ness, Starbucks saturation, weather. (I don’t hate that.)
  • There were “12”s everywhere, on everything. I like seeing the city band together as fans of their team. (No wonder Loveliest Lori hates Seattle!)
  • They sure do miss their NBA team. You make the mistake of mentioning it to the wrong person and get a lot of bitterness tossed back atcha. Jack got a Gary Payton jersey at one of the many, many team gear stores we visited. There’s still a LOT of Sonics stuff around. I don’t get that, but whatevs.
  • There are a lot of casinos in the outlying areas of Seattle. Just… a lot.
  • Mt. Rainier is beautiful and majestic, but nothing beats Portland’s beautiful peak. Mt. Hood was all aglow as we crossed the I-205 bridge, almost like she was welcoming us home by reminding us how pretty she is.


One of the best ways to end a vacation like this is to have your husband drop you off at Val’s house before you even get home. That way you don’t have to help unload the car AND you get to see your best girls and clink many glasses. Then the next day you’re reminded that vodka is your enemy but still don’t wish you’d gone straight home. And then the NEXT day, when your sides are still aching from Buddha-knows-what, you have to have someone drive you over to Val’s to pick up your eyeglasses and wonder if MAYBE you should’ve gone straight home from Seattle after all. In fact, how did you even get home from Val’s? You don’t want to know. (But some pathetic person might have puked in Vic’s car and Val’s driveway at the same time. Someone might have really bad aim. Someone might regret so many, many things.)

Happy spring! :)


Mar. 20: Please learn my kids stuff

I know I speak for many parents when I say how frustrating it is to tell your kids the same things, over and over, and they STILL don’t get it. There are the standards, like:

  • meanmomWash your hands
  • Wipe your feet
  • Clean your room
  • Turn lights off when you leave a room
  • Do your homework before you go out and play
  • Don’t fart in the car

My children fail at these standards 70 percent of the time, or it seems that way. Grrrrr! But there are other concepts they refuse to learn, too, the ones that you think are common sense but find, in many unfortunate ways, that they are not common sense to your (apparently) deaf children. For instance, I actually had this conversation the other day:

Me: OK, I just picked up four towels off the floor of your bathroom. If a towel falls down, PICK IT UP.

Jack: But what if it’s Katie’s towel?

Me, incredulous and through clenched teeth: YES, even then.

Since it seems my kids still haven’t learned the things I’ve repeatedly tried to teach them, I’d like to suggest a possible solution.


I’m not being Lazy Momma; I’m simply out of ideas after my gazillionth effort to get my kids to follow some really basic rules. Maybe they’ll listen to someone else. It takes a village, right? So, just for a couple hours one day, maybe we could teach each other’s children how to be decent human beings. Perhaps hearing it from someone else’s mouth can make the difference? Besides the ones listed above, here are a few of the ideas I want my children to grasp:

  • Clean clothes belong in your dresser and/or closet; dirty clothes go in a hamper. There is absolutely no debate on this issue.
  • Garbage goes in a trash receptacle, not on the ground and not on your bedroom floor.
  • If you spill something, clean it up. If you don’t know how to clean it up, ask.
  • Food in your bedroom = ants in the whole house.
  • If you’ve washed your hands thoroughly, the hand towel should not be filthy.
  • You can’t wear the same [article of clothing] five days in a row. Two is probably pushing it.
  • Do not leave the house without having brushed your teeth. This is another “no debate” thing. Bonus: you’ll make friends!
  • You may “hate” your sibling, but you still need to treat him/her decently.
  • A glob of toothpaste in the sink turns to cement if you don’t clean it up immediately. And it’s really easy to clean up immediately…. so… clean it up immediately.
  • Would it kill you to offer to help out with household chores?
  • Your toys (iDevices, video game consoles, sports gear) are expensive. Treat them with care.
  • Seriously, stop farting in the car.

I’m ready to draw up a chart to schedule all our children to rotate houses until we’re not embarrassed to release them to the general public. Yes?





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