Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011: Autumn on California

This is Sunday morning coffee.  We walked down to the coffee shop a couple of blocks from our house.

This is the little spot that Eddie Vedder is rumored to show up now and again.  It's pretty good coffee, but the chocolate croissant was the real show-stopper.  Oh, and speaking of Eddie Vedder, we drove by his house last night.  He lives less than a mile from us.  

I missed my blog update last weekend because our furniture was delivered on Saturday.  I spent the weekend unpacking, organizing, unpacking some more.  By Sunday night I was exhausted.  I never knew you could get so tired from something that didn't involve running long distances and weight training.  I did not straighten out until probably Wednesday or Thursday.  

Lorelei started school last week too.  She has already been invited to a Halloween party next weekend, and she loves her new school.  This is it:

I think the kids can see the Puget Sound from their playground - it's not too far off from Lowman Beach.  1 1/2 blocks from our house, too.  I like that.  She has already had one field trip to the Locks to learn about the salmon and the Locks themselves.  I can tell she's going to love going to school in Seattle.  She caught the flu on Friday.  Threw up 6 times (which she now wears as a badge of honor), but by the afternoon was mad that she couldn't go to school. I'd say she rallied pretty well.

Shawn is also settling into his routine of school and household things, and this week will start the dreaded job hunt.  It's been a whirlwind for him - he's vacillating between enjoying his life here and completely freaking out about having moved to Seattle.  I admit, every once in awhile I have a moment of strangeness, wondering at the fact that we actually pulled it off.  

As for actually living in Seattle, it's been really great so far.  It's pretty much what I hoped it would be, with a couple of minor issues, and they both involve driving.  The hills are killing me.  Driving a stick shift in Seattle is nothing less than terrifying.  I'm hoping I'll get used to it at some point, but right now I still completely panic when I'm stuck on a hill at a red light.  And if it's raining, there's a chance I'm not going anywhere but backward.  My blood pressure is rising just writing about it.  Whew.  The other driving issue is the Seattle drivers themselves.  They drive way too slow.  5 miles under the speed limit is appropriate, and they allow anyone to merge at any time, which has resulted in very slow drivers constantly cutting people off.  They wouldn't last 5 minutes in C-bus, and as Ed said, LA would reduce them to tears.

Otherwise, things are good.  The weather is actually pretty nice.  It's overcast a lot, and there has been some rain, but some pretty days mixed in there too.  It doesn't get too cold, at least not yet.  Maybe 50s at night and 60s during the day.  Just about perfect, really.  When the wind comes in off the Sound, the leaves swirl and blow, and you can smell the salt air.  I love it.  

The animals are adjusting nicely to their cohabitation.  There are no dog-free zones in our house, so the cats have had to get used to Gretel being in their space.  All things considered, they're all good.  This is Gretel at the dog park.  Lorelei and I took her there this morning.  She made lots of friends and walked the trail with us.  She is amazingly better behaved off-leash.  She would tear off running at full speed, and the minute I called or whistled, there she was, right by my side.  She probably ran for 45 minutes straight, after which she made it clear to me was done playing and wanted to go home.  Poor girl, she might be a smidge out of shape.  She's sleeping right now.

On the subject of running, that's what I'm going to do now.  It's a good day to run by the water, and this is the first day I've woken up without some crazy agenda of 9 million things that need doing.  I'll update next weekend, hopefully basking in a Buckeye defeat of those Badgers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct. 10, 2011; Home Sweet Home!!

It's been a big weekend for the Shraders!  Friday I moved my stuff into the new house, and yesterday Lorelei arrived with Shawn's mom.  Today, Shawn should be here by the time I get off work.  I can hardly wait to have the family together again.  It feels like it's been far longer than just 3 weeks.

That picture above is Lorelei and Amy with a new friend at Lowman Beach.  This beach is about half a mile or so from our house, down a very steep hill (walking home is challenging).  It's gorgeous though.  You can see the ferries heading over from West Seattle to Vashon Island and beyond, and of course it's a fantastic view of the Sound.  When the weather is especially good, the Olympics are in full view as well.

It's peaceful.  We walked down to Lowman yesterday and were able to walk right by Lorelei's new school on the way.  It's about a block and a half from the house.  When we got to Lowman, Lorelei found another little girl her age and they played and had some fun.  It was all in all, a nice way to spend the afternoon.  

Shawn's day was less peaceful.
This was his drive through the first part of Wyoming.  I'm glad we didn't wait any longer to have him come out - we are getting into the tricky time of year coming through the Rockies and Medicine Bow.  He made it through, though, and by the time he hit Idaho, he had this:
Much better!  He stayed in Boise last night and should have a shorter day today getting here - just 8-9 hours.  The dog and cats will be grateful, I'm sure.  He has a chance for snow in the Snoqualmie Pass, but otherwise he should have a good drive.  By the time he hits Snoqualmie, he's almost here.  

Otherwise, things are good.  I walked around downtown Friday on my lunch and realized how much I love working downtown.  I've missed that the last few years.  I work very close to the shopping district, so there are all the department stores (Macy's, Nordstrom's, Barney's of NY), and all the usual suspects.  Intermingled are all these local specialty shops as well.  Those are the places I like to look in.  Of course there are fabulous-looking restaurants and bars on every block, too, but what I like most is seeing all the people out and about, creating the hustle and bustle.  There was a big protest all last week, protesting Wall Street.  Not sure what the actual reason for the protest was, but the people-watching was out-of-this-world.  I can't walk around without Petula Clark running through my head.

My job has given me culture shock, I think.  It's a very different atmosphere than MDK, and I think it's just going to take some getting used to.  I think I'll feel less alienated by the transition having my family here.  We'll see.  It's too soon to really tell how things are going to be.

In the meantime, I'll look forward to settling in with the family and having a nice week with Brenda.  With a little luck, all goes well for Shawn today and our furniture will arrive soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fragrance, Frolicks and the First Week of Work

I may have mentioned before that Seattle is fragrant.  I decided to go for a run this morning because it's been 5 weeks or so and I'm out of excuses.  On my run I smelled the rose bushes that seem to randomly grow in various spots, the wild rosemary that grows everywhere, and of course, the salt air.  It's amazing how the plant life just takes over here.  Even more interesting - it's fall, yet I still smell flowers and plants.  I'm sure that will change shortly, but it's a different environment altogether when I can watch the leaves falling from the trees while I can smell the roses and other plants.

Also, today was the West Seattle Food Truck Fair.  The picture above is from our excursion checking out the truck food.  I tried a kobe beef slider from one of the trucks, some pizza, and of course, a soft pretzel.  They had trucks with tacos, creole food (the longest line ever or I would have gotten a biegnet), gourmet hot dogs, ice cream, and loads of other items.  I would have tried more things but the lines were crazy long.  Everyone from West Seattle was there, I think.  There is always something going on around this town, which is nice.  The West Seattle Farmer's Market is open year-round. That makes me happy.

That's Stella and her pink ball.  She loves her pink ball and she knows the difference between it and her other balls.  It has to be the pink one.  Stella and Foster are my constant companions.  They are great dogs because they help fill the void while I'm waiting on my family to get here.  They also hang out with me while I'm getting ready for work.  They give me little pep talks before I head out to the office.

The first week of work went fine, I think.  I'm still trying to figure out the dynamic at the firm and what the culture is.  I suspect they have quite lofty expectations regarding my work there, and we'll just have to see if I can live up to them.  Overall though, I think I'm going to like the work itself - the litigation.  I'm anxious to get into my cases and get settled with the workload.  For now, one day at a time.

This is the view from the balcony at our new place. There are clouds in the distance so you can't see the Olympics out past the islands, but they are there and we'll be able to see them from time to time.  I think the rain is starting to arrive, though, so it might be awhile before I see them again.  I'm ready to move into our place and establish ourselves as a family unit.  I stopped by tonight to move a few things in and I just looked around.  I like this place.  It's warm and inviting, and it will be a good place for us to create our new reality. 

Amy and Ed have been amazing and have really made this transition so much easier.  As just a small token of my appreciation, I picked up baby Jupiter his/her first item of clothing:  a Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt.  

And speaking of babies, my baby girl arrives one week from today with her Grandma B!  The countdown can truly begin!!  I have missed her immensely.  Shawn should arrive a week from tomorrow if he has smooth sailing on his drive out, or he'll arrive Tuesday.  Fingers crossed.

Godspeed Shawn and Lorelei!