2008 Seattle & Everett
4 nights in Seattle, followed by 4 nights in Everett to attend Skate America
I saw a Dunkin Donuts at the airport and figured that was the perfect place to start my trip.

Tried to sleep on the plane, but kept getting interrupted with the airline selling/pimping more things: first there were commercials for stuff in Vegas... flight was not through Vegas so am a bit confused, then there was the announcements of how we could spend $2 for the privilege of a beverage or $7 for crappy food, then they were pimping their credit card, and the previews for the movie for which we could buy headphones (and we could keep them! How generous!). Was both rolling my eyes and laughing at it all.

I think I eventually got some rest, and read my book. Which reminds me... I was sitting next to a guy reading Harry Potter book 7- which is so 2 yrs ago. ;) He'd occasionally laugh or something and jolt me awake. Was glad when he went to sleep...

I took some photos from the plane which actually came out pretty nicely- both Philly (Citizens Bank Park!) and the mountains leading into Seattle, which were quite gorgeous. Nice fall scenery on the drive to the hotel, too.

Talked baseball with the guy at the front desk, and am now in my very comfortable room. Which has a bathtub that fills from the ceiling. Will totally make use of the tub during my stay. :)

Wheeeeee, it's skating season!
After relaxing a bit in my room, I went out to explore... walked past the Seattle Art Museum (there's a statue just like that one in Frankfurt, Germany)... and eventually ended up at Pike Place Market. I browsed the shops and stands there... and refrained from buying any of the cute I liked because I didn't want to spend much money on my first day.

It was a really nice day, and so I enjoyed the outdoor areas of Pike Place and the view of Elliott Bay. Nifty Totem Pole, too.

While roaming the streets, I was ROTFL coming across a "Ride The Ducks" tour vehicle. What you can't see in the photo, is that the guide had some kind of fluffy yellow thing in her hair and she was belting out the song "9 to 5". I heard her tell the passengers that since she gets lots of stares all day, surely they could endure being public spectacles for a few minutes.

Took a random convention center photo cause it was kinda voidy looking.

Shopping! I found a Sephora and a Lush across the street from each other... and was torn as to which to go to first. Ended up buying some things at Lush to use in my hotel tub (& have enjoyed 2 of the bath bombs so far) and a soap to bring home. If you look closely, you can see Sephora in the background behind this fountain.

Another random photo- this one features some random sculptures I passed on the way back to my hotel.

How come I never knew that downtown Seattle has such steep streets? I may not be able to get on the ice this week, but I sure get a good workout just walking around.

Dinner Sunday was at my hotel restaurant. Am spending way too much on food, but at least I've enjoyed my meals. This one included crabcakes (appetizer) pasta w/egg and bacon, and a To Die For dessert- graham cracker ice cream w/ toasted marshmallow topping and a side jar of hot fudge. I was pleased that I could see game 7 of the ALCS from my table.

Back to the hotel room in time to take a bath and watch Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives. Was dead tired but didn't want to go to sleep too early b/c then I'd be sure to wake up at some stupid time like 5am. (which I sorta did anyway... but then I went back to sleep)
I really didn't do any planning at all, so I've been sort of just drifting around. I slept late... and lingered around my hotel until eventually I noticed that it wasn't raining. So I headed out in the direction of Pioneer Square.

Found a great shop for (skater) John Kerr. lol

Whee, another totem pole!

Wandered around- went into some cute stores, saw some nifty sculptures and parks, fountains, and random ruins (?). Also got a photo of Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, with King St Station in the foreground.

Then I walked to Chinatown- which is more like "Asia Town" since it is home to many Asian cultures. Liked the dragons on some of the street posts.

I went into Uwajimaya, a huge Asian grocery and gift store, and had a field day just browsing around. It also included a Kinokuniya bookstore- always love browsing at their NY location and enjoyed this one as well. I thought about getting a quick bite to eat at Uwajimaya, but they didn't have a Japanese fast food booth among their offerings, and the packaged sushi didn't look thrilling to me. So I wandered around some more until I found J Sushi, a tiny restaurant where I had an awesome lunch of miso soup and sushi rolls.

Wandered around some more after lunch (definitely felt better after eating- although I'd had some cereal in my hotel room earlier)... saw Hing Hay Park and Kobe Park with its stone lantern.

Random statue on the way back to my hotel.

About 10 minutes after I stopped back in my hotel, I saw that it was raining outside. Wow, my timing rocked! I decided to take a nap... although that was delayed when my mom phoned to tell me that she'd received our Game 5 World Series tix and Fed-exed mine to me. Not sure why she called on the hotel phone instead of the cell. In any event, I did manage a nap after that call.

It was no longer raining when I got up, so I decided to go back to the shopping area. I was hoping there would be a food court at Pacific Place mall but it's much more upscale than that. I didn't really go into any of the stores there, though I did wander into Macy's and Nordstroms nearby. Was much happier when I found an Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters to browse.

At this point it was definitely getting to be dinner time. My map mentioned a place called Purple Cafe and Wine Bar that was on the route home, which definitely intrigued me. So I ended up eating there- really nice place; I think the decor may be purple but it was too dark to really tell. Lots of candles and stuff... big open windows on 3 sides.... large cylinder of wines in the center of the room that extended from the floor to the ceiling and had a staircase spiralling around it. I was able to get a table right away, but it was very full- I'd imagine it must really get packed on the wknds. I don't usually get wine with dinner, but I figured I ought to do so at a wine place so I had the server recommend one to go with my lobster macaroni and cheese. Wheeeee!

Was looking for a small grocery store all day... just to get some beverages and breakfast stuff to keep in the hotel room... so I was very happy when I saw a small one right near the restaurant.

Back to the hotel room for another bath, and some relaxation/ trip report posting.
I would have liked to have had a room with a water view, but those were too expensive; instead, mine had a view of a very small protest. Not sure what they were protesting, though one sign was clearly a peace symbol.

Anyway. After I slept too late and finally got my FedEx with World Series tix (apparently front desk forgot to actually send it up to my room when they said they would), I was off to the most famous Seattle icon, the Space Needle. I went back to the shopping area to the Westlake Center to take a monorail out to the Seattle Center. Snapped a photo as we got closer to the Space Needle and another monorail was traveling in the opposite direction.

I'm sure everyone knows what the Space Needle looks like, but it was quite photogenic on this beautiful day, so I have a bunch of pix that turned out quite well...
So yeah, I went up on the thing. (after having a little conversation about the Phillies and Jamie Moyer with the guy checking bags who commented on my Phillies jacket) You have to realize that I hate heights... but when I go to the top of every city's Really High Structure, I know I will eventually get used to being up there. I know I got some looks on the elevator on the way up because I was the only one looking away from the outside. I was very glad no one saw me when I first went on the outside observation deck, as I was inching my way away from the wall. lol But as I knew, eventually I was ok and walking around like it was no big deal.

It was really a perfect day for viewing- sunny and just enough clouds to make the sky interesting.
Afterwards, I wandered aimlessly around the Seattle Center, taking pictures of things that caught my interest.
  • International Fountain I really didn't think it was quite warm enough to be frolicking in a fountain, but apparently other people thought differently; also note the rainbow in the fountain!
  • Near the fountain, a bird was pecking at a plastic bag full of fruit; there were a lot of birds around.
  • Purple Bench
  • There were lots of kiddie amusements by the base of the needle; while walking around this area, I had a short Phillies conversation with a security guard.
  • Sculptures
  • Another sculpture
  • Err, not sure what these were but thought they'd make a voidy photo
  • Another nifty photo of something not very specific

After drifting around for a while, I thought of walking toward Lake Union. Only, uh, that got confusing... and I think I was annoying 2 people with bright orange uniforms on who were really trying to be helpful to me... So I headed back to downtown via the monorail and browsed the shops by the monorail station. Yes, I'd been there before but I never get sick of wandering through shops. lol

On the way back to my hotel, I decided to re-visit Pike Place market. I enjoyed it even more today now that I was feeling more at home in Seattle... and now that I wasn't dead tired. I stopped at Piroshky Piroshky for a bite to eat; on Sunday the place had intrigued me because there was a long line (which I figured was a sign that it had good stuff) but there was none today. Had a yummy smoked salmon pate piroshky.

I usually try to find some voidy colorful earrings whenever I travel, and I decided that Pike Place would be a good spot to find some. And indeed I ended up buying a cute pair. I also purchased some Oreo flavored Fudge on my way back.

Hung out at the hotel for a bit- re-painted my nails, resized photos, etc. Then I went out to dinner w/Genevieve, a friend from FSU, which was totally awesome! We went to a Japanese restaurant that she'd been recommended and it was a very nice place- I had something called Kamameshi which I'd never heard of before even though I've been to Japan 3 times and eaten at a bunch of Japanese restaurants. It consisted of chicken, rice, and some vegetables that were cooked in an iron pot at the table, and it was very yummy. Beyond the food, I had a really nice time and enjoyed the conversation. (especially since it gets weird not talking to anyone when I travel solo) Am generally really shy about meeting people, but I've always had an awesome time meeting people from FSU.

Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow except that I will be watching the World Series somehow, somewhere. Wooooo hoooo! Go, Phillies!!!
I had a dream last night that I was at Skate America practice and John Baldwin proposed to Rena Inoue. Again. (because apparently doing it once was not enough) While the next team wanted to start their program. *runs screaming*

Why can I never dream about porny skaters? Or at least interesting ones? :P
Started my day asking concierge about getting to Everett. Apparently I don't need no stinkin' concierge because I'd already figured out that Amtrak was my best bet. LOL Walked over to the train station (which is currently being refurbished) so I'd have my tix in hand.

Walked randomly in Pioneer Square and browsed some more shops that I hadn't seen on whichever other day I was in that area (they all seem to blend now).

Headed north along the waterfront, admiring the views. Was hungry for donuts (imagine that) so I stopped in Pike's Place for some donuts.... ordered a half dozen mini donuts from a stand; they gave me 8 donuts. 1/2 dozen = 8?

Finally reached Olympic park, where they had huge orange cone sculptures that reminded me of skating public sessions. (more cones here) And other sculptures. Another beautiful day, and enjoyed the views of downtown and of the bay. Relaxed a bit, snapped a photo of the interior of the building at the park.

Then I went back to the main shopping area around Westlake... desperately searching for red gloves. I found an awesome pair at Macy's and was thrilled that they had a 25% off sale for winter accessories. Yet, despite the fact that they were no among the brands listed as being excluded, I was told they were not on sale. I thought that was ridiculous so I decided not to buy them afterall.

Was thrilled to find Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper at Walgreens though it was kinda annoying to carry those 2 20 oz bottles (+ a box of poptarts) all over downtown with me.

I walked back to my hotel via Pike's Pl and was totally beat by the time I got back. I feel like a loser cause I was sitting in my hotel room watching the World Series game 1. But at least the room has a nifty plasma TV. I really was too tired and walked-out to venture to a sports bar.

Wheeee, called down to the front desk and asked them to give me a # of a place to call to deliver pizza! They have room service here, but it's seriously wrong to eat anything too fancy while watching a ball game. (besides pizza is cheaper...)

I hope no one in neighboring rooms is trying to go to sleep super early. I've been a little enthusiastic in screaming for home runs and double plays. I am going to try to be mindful of the fact that enthusiastic cheering may not be interpreted so kindly by other guests... really, I am...

Too busy tonight indulging in Phillies victory voids.... and post-Victory massive bubble bath voids to go through today's photos. Had an awesome day though I didn't really see too much new. And had donuts!
Got up early, finished packing, and checked out of my comfy room in my cool Seattle hotel *sniff* Talked Phillies with the front desk guy (who was the same person that had checked me in) and headed to the train station for my 7:40am Amtrack. At about 7:20, everyone had to check in at a stand to get seat assignments and show passports if necessary (train's ultimate destination was Vancouver). I asked for a window seat, and it ended up being on the side with a nice view of the bay. It was a double decker train, and I was on the 2nd deck.

Train arrived at 8:30 and I had someone point me in the right direction to walk to my hotel. Was thrilled they had a room ready for me, but I was barely in the room before I headed out to get to the 9am mens practice.

I wasn't sure I was headed in the right direction, but then I saw a sign for the arena as well as a building in the distance that matched the shape depicted on the sign. When I got there, a man checked my bag... and then told me I'd have to go around to another entrance. I was kinda ??? why he even checked my bag if I couldn't enter there... but I made it in, almost on time... and I texted quick practice reports to be posted on my skating board. I'm really slow at texting, but it was fun to do.

Practice highlight for me was definitely Kimmie Meissner whose short program seems really lovely. Although to be fair, many of the other ladies did not perform full out like she did.

Johnny Weir was also a favorite. I think this program (notre dame de paris) will work well for him, and was already enjoying it even when he wasn't doing it full out.

Most skaters left out jumps or parts of their programs, so it was difficult sometimes to really get a feel of how strong they were technically. (Belbin/Agosto left out their straight line step sequence, although they did seem to perform it later)

After practice, another Jeremy Abbott fan and I simply had to eat at the Flying Pig Brewery Company. It was a cute place, and the food was good- I had a pizza with meat toppings which I think was called the "Classic Pig Pie"

Pix of the Flying Pig Brewery Co:
I'd wondered if there was a 7-11 around here... and lo and behold we passed one walking back to the hotel. So I bought a few drinks (hotel room has a fridge) Vegged out in the hotel watching the Phillies lose :( and headed over to Denny's with a couple friends, where I had an oreo milkshake. Then I was so tired I barely stayed awake long enough to edit my day's photos.

Totally looking forward to the start of competition tomorrow!
Err, I somehow missed posting a blog for this day. :P

Must have been too busy sending text messages back and forth...

I spent virtually all of the day in practices and watching the start of the Skate America competition, which kicks off the official start of the main skating season.
This morning, I only went to ladies gp 2 practice and mens practice.

Loved Kerr's OD and they deserved their great scores. Also loved S/B dance.

I sat behind Rockne Brubaker's family for pairs lp.... sorry, no dirt, they were completely awesome and in fact clapped for everyone. Mrs Brubaker was so touched when Rockne came over to her after their skate. Also, the Brubakers were very supportive to John Coughlin whose family could not be here. So fun watching them be excited whenever M/B landed something! (I have pix of them taking pix with Rockne, lol) Was very happy for both Y/C and M/B. Couldn't really get into S/S program...

Had a headache that started before pairs... was PML when someone got me advil from Todd Gilles' mom. LOL (pleased to say that it worked!)

Ladies was interesting. There sure were a ton of Korean fans in the audience for Kim Yu-Na... so they were all very happy with the result. Wish Kimmie could have landed the 3flip, but after her practices, this was really a good effort and I still love the program.

Miki's costume is hideous and it takes a lot for me to say that when someone is wearing something purple.

Mens was totally crazy for me because the Phillies game (World Series game 3) was going on at the same time... and it had a very tense ending at the same time mens was ending. I managed to see a tiny bit of the game on the widescreen at the arena by a bar area that overlooks a public rink... during that time, Chase Utley hit me a home run. Yay! (of course he didn't really hit it for me... but it felt that way lol) Eventually I realized that I could sorta see the game from tiny screens in some of the boxes. I could judge how good a skater was by how few times I tried to figure out what was going on with the game...(was also getting texts from 2 awesome friends!)

So don't ask me how Kevin Reynolds skated. Even his awful tree costume couldn't distract me from trying to figure out what I could from the baseball game.

Ian Martinez is a fun skater. Was glad Shawn Sawyer moved up. Am a little sad for Adam Rippon, but at least he did better than the SP. (his costume totally reminded me of Takahashi...) Loved Kozuka and he was so adorable during the medal ceremony! Love Johnny's program- it will get better by the end of the season.

As for Evan Lysacek... well, when he skated, it was the bottom of the 9th and the Phillies had the winning run on base.... At the end of Evan's skate, I saw a bunch of red people jumping up and down on the tiny TV in one of the boxes, and soon received a text confirmation that the Phillies had won. So while the whole arena was confused and upset at Evan's scores, Talulabell and I were waving Phillies rally towels at each other. ROTFL While indeed I was happy that Kozuka won, I would never show such a blatant display of cheering at someone's downfall. Unfortunate timing. (but fortunate for me because I was crazy nervous when the Rays had tied up the game...)
Just got back from SkateFest and wanted to post about my experience.

I was very tired when my alarm went off, but since I lugged my skates all the way here, I got up and headed over to the rink for SkateFest, which was a free event during which anyone could skate and take lessons. When we signed in, they divided us up by levels. There were a bunch of new skaters, a bunch of really good local skaters.... and, as usual, not so many at my level. Each group had a small section of the ice. Almost as soon as I started doing something simple, I fell on my butt; I totally blame that on not being able to do my usual warm ups. :P (I didn't have access to the full rink so I couldn't do my usual 2 laps stroking, 1 lap power crossovers... and I also usually like to work my edges before starting anything else)

In my group (which was meant for USFSA Basic 3-8 or so; the next group was for advanced skaters), there were 2 very small girls... and me. So it was a little weird at first (and especially awkward when I was asked if I had kids in another group...)- especially working on some really basic things, but eventually I got some one-on-one time with a cool coach who gave me some good tips on mohawks and outside 3 turns... and even got me to do some inside 3 turns. They said I did a nice job with my back crossovers.

Also got some respect for coming all the way from Philly... and a couple coaches loved my earrings. (wearing a pair of Phillies red Ayala Bar earrings)

At the end, US Pairs Champions McLaughlin and Brubaker came on the ice- first they did some skating (I think they did a spiral sequence and a death spiral-- cool to see up close but nothing too fancy), and then they mainly did a meet and greet, though I think they gave pointers to a couple of kids... and I saw Keauna holding one tot and spinning around. I don't usually do the skater photo thing, but how often do I get a chance to have a photo of myself on ice with really cool skaters? So I got someone to take one. I told Rockne that it was fun sitting behind his parents yesterday and that I'd see them at Nationals. So I've had a bit of a Rockne Brubaker filled wknd, but I'm not complaining since I'd gladly take lots of him instead of certain other male pairs skaters... ;)

At the end, there was time for everyone to skate around, like a public session.

I may not be any good as a skater, but I am very motivated and devoted to my skating so I'm glad I had a chance to get on the ice here this wknd. (I'd sort of have to be really motivated to get myself out of bed so early after staying up late because of being high on skating and Phillies voids)It was very cool of them to offer an on ice skating event in conjunction with SA, and I hope a lot of the new skaters there will continue to skate.

I'm sorry I didn't get to make it to any of the FSU meet ups but I'm so glad I've been able to say hi to some old friends here and also to meet some new ones.

Back from gala exhibitions of the top skaters. Kerrs in kilts (swoon!) got a huge standing O- crowd especially loved when she did some reverse lifts. D/S tres voidy w/long scarves (that looked kinda kinky at first... ) Kozuka adorable to "Save the last dance for me". And thank goodness NO Sexy Backs!

Called mom and kept her on the phone as I walked back from the rink- woo hoo, the Phillies are winning in game 4 of the World Series!

How the hell am I supposed to go to sleep tonight?!?!? Phils could clinch tomorrow and HOLY SHIT I have tix to the game!

Early morning flight... busy day... I may need to sleep for the rest of the week but I don't care because I am gonna shout and cheer and wave my rally towel tomorrow nite. **prays for plane home to be reasonably on time**