Weekend vacay

It’s been a long time since Ken and I have been able to justify funds towards anything resembling a vacation. But the wedding of two friends proved to be enough of an excuse for us to run away for the weekend.

I’ve been to Seattle only once before, when we visited a friend who was visiting a friend there. Then, we went to Pike Place Market and some lovely restaurants, but otherwise didn’t do Seattle. And our idea of sightseeing in a new place is different than most people’s…we’re not foodies, for example. We like history. And weird shit.

We drove up Friday evening after our workout (and showering, and dinner, and packing). We’d planned all along to take the motorcycle, but a couple of days beforehand, I was inspired to look at the weather report, and it was going to be much hotter than we’d initially thought. We still packed light—I didn’t even take the laptop, figuring the iPad and keyboard would be enough. We stayed in a reasonable hotel in Auburn, WA, partway between Seattle and the small town where the wedding would be.

Unfortunately, the promised WiFi didn’t work. Not even in the breakfast room the next day. Our phones have 3G, and the iPad is supposed to, but I haven’t been able to get it to work recently (it wouldn’t work in Atlanta, either). So that was a bit annoying, because I had some work email to deal with that I’d intended to handle Friday night at the hotel.

Saturday we went down to the breakfast room, where they had a reasonable array of stuff, and ended up eating with a woman and her son…from Oxnard. She was wearing a Camarillo sweatshirt, which sparked the initial conversation. Small world! Then we were off to Seattle.

First goal: the Seattle underground tour. I’ve been wanting to do this for aaaaaages. The first thing that happened was the good camera died, but not before I got a picture of the nifty old floor tiles in the building where the tour starts.


Our tour guide described herself as short and scrappy, and she was both, as well as hilarious, plus she had peacock-dyed braids that I coveted. She did a great job, as did the guide who did the initial presentation before we started off. I hadn’t realized until the tour that the underground isn’t all connected—the builders basically walled off each block as additional insurance against flooding. The tour felt a little rushed at times—at least, I wanted to linger over things we were hustled past—but I loved it. Especially the part about the city census and the surprisingly large number of “independent seamstresses.” I want to take the more “adult” tour now, as well as the ghost hunting tour (they load you up with ghost hunting equipment!). After the tour, we bought a couple of books (big surprise), and continued on.

We checked out a couple of places we’d spotted during the tour that we wanted to eyeball:

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And took some random pictures:

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Next stop was the annual Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale, which was kind enough to schedule itself on the same day as our friends’ wedding (or perhaps the other way around). It was smaller than I expected, but I did find one thing I was looking for: some sort of moderately sized headpiece of some sort to wear to the wedding. I picked up a fascinator in greens (to go with top I’d be wearing) and blues and purples, which are also the colors of my faerie outfits and steampunk outfits (well, the steampunk has more highlights in those colors). I also snapped up a pair of vintage shoes for $3.


Aaaand lunchtime. Ken wanted to try a nearby Japanese noodle place. I wasn’t up for a hot bowl of noodles and broth on a hot day, so I went with a gyoza appetizer and some spicy garlic rice. Oh my freaking gods that rice was good. I must figure out a way to recreate it. I’m still craving it. I suspect I could eat it every day. Toss in some grilled chicken and veggies, and it’s a meal.

Then we toddled off to find the Bridge Troll, which we did. I wanted to try to poke his eye out (what you’re allegedly supposed to try to do), but he was bigger than I’d expected, and I hadn’t brought my rock-climbing gear. (First problem: I don’t own rock-climbing gear.)

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I was fading fast at this point, so we headed back to our hotel, which was about 40 minutes away. I grabbed a lemonade/tea drink at a Starbucks, but it wasn’t enough caffeine for me, because I promptly fell over onto the bed and dozed. I’d been feeling off all week, possibly due to the tetanus booster I’d gotten on Tuesday. This was Saturday, and my arm still hurt so much I couldn’t sleep on my left side, and was red from my shoulder to almost my elbow, plus I’d had low energy all week.

Then, wedding! I love weddings. I’m a complete and utter sap about proposals and weddings, and I don’t know why, except that I’m a hopeless romantic and people pledging their love for one another makes me weep with joy. Leah and Blaze had probably the best vows I’ve ever heard…but that’s their story to tell. Here I’ll just note how happy they are.


She made her dress and his shirt and vest; he made mead and wine for the wedding, and jam for us to take home. We got to hang out with other writer-friends (that’s how I know Leah and Blaze), and it was a perfectly lovely evening.

Oh, and here’s that flowered fascinator I picked up at the Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale:


Then we went back to the hotel, read for a bit, and fell asleep early, because we were knackered.

Initially we’d planned to spend Sunday in Seattle, but see above re: me being exhausted all week. I’d realized a few days before we left that I was going to need at least part of Sunday to work. But, we had one stop to make on the way home.

See, on the way up, while Ken was driving, something interesting caught my eye on a billboard, but it was one of those electronic ones, so it blinked away before I could read it all. So I squinched around in my seat to read the other side of the billboard as we passed, and whatever had been on the front side fled my mind, because what I saw was baby clouded leopards.

Did you hear that glass-shattering shriek of delight? BABY CLOUDED LEOPARDS, people.

I turned back to Ken and told him in no uncertain terms we had to find the baby clouded leopards.

He pointed out it was 10 o’clock at night, and we probably couldn’t see them right that moment. But some research and planning led us to the Point Defiance Zoo on Sunday.


Right there. Pink jellybean toes of doom on a baby clouded leopard. I could not contain my squees. I could not even try.

It was a nice, small-ish zoo, and we saw tigers (including this one, who posed when I said hello, beautiful) and otters (Asian river otters and sea otters), puffins, artic foxes (more squeeage), enormous polar bears, and did I mention clouded leopard cubs??!

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By then it was very hot, so we gassed up the car at a nearby Costco (grabbing a hot dog for Ken and a pizza slice for me) and got back on the road to head home.

There’s more we want to do in Seattle—the science fiction museum, the bookstore with the cats everywhere, more tours, wandering around the Victorian house districts—so we’ll be back. We crammed the perfect amount of stuff into this visit. It’s not quite four hours away, so it’s perfect for a weekend getaway….

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