Seattle [2]

On our second day in Seattle, we had a perfect plan made out for our day.  Because it was overcast and rainy at times, we had planned to go to a retail place at the university village so Kathryn could buy some things she wanted to take home (certain items are way cheaper to buy in the states than in Canada or in NZ).  We worked out the bus routes and times, and allocated the morning to the retail excursion.  We would have lunch at the mini shopping village thing, then get the bus back to downtown Seattle and go to the music museum, get dinner and then go back up the Space Needle to see the view at night.

Plans, eh?

The bus thing didn’t go so smoothly. We should have foreseen this really.  The lovely bus driver the day before gave us the impression that all bus drivers would be knowledgeable and happy to help.  Not so.  We were fairly confident that we were boarding the correct bus, but thought we should just check with the driver anyway.  When we asked if this took us to where we wanted to go, he replied, “I don’t know, it’s a big city.”  Er, yes, we did know that, which is why we (as very obvious tourists) were asking.  We asked various passengers who did their best to help, but unfortunately all of them were getting off well before us.  I have no idea how we made it to the shopping village, but we did, and it was a beautiful wee outdoor place, despite the rain.
Getting the bus back to downtown was probably even more stressful, but I’m not going to bore you with that story.  Just know that by the time we got back into the city centre we were running a fair few hours behind our wonderful, glittery schedule.  I shall blame the bus shenanigans and the rain on my lack of photos for the morning.  Not a single shot was taken.

As if it was meant to be though, the museum was open until 8pm that day, and that day only, not the usual 5pm.  How cool is that?!

No one wants to see photos from inside a museum; I don’t even want to look at my own ones, so I’ll only share this one.

The impressive instrument sculpture that played music live due to some clever machinery.  It is huge; reaching over two floors.


We did make it back up the Space Needle as the sky started to get darker.


We rode the monorail again, mainly for the novelty really.

The next day we only had the morning to explore before we had to get our coach back to Vancouver, and then make a quick transfer to our connecting bus to Whistler.


The totally disgusting, but equally as fascinating gum wall.  Theatre patrons and actors started sticking their used gum to the wall in the early 1990s.  Theatre workers scraped the walls a couple of times, but gave up and now the wall is listed as an actual tourist attraction.


The whole alley smells so odd.




This was the best shot I could get of the first ever Starbucks.  It was not at all how we thought it would look, having been led on by this photo.  Being the nerd I am, I read up every evening on things we had seen or wanted to do (couldn’t you tell by my little history lesson on the gum wall?), and learned a lot about Starbucks.  Much of it bothered me, and I am doing my best to avoid giving them my money now.  It’s almost impossible to avoid them in North America, (in the tiny village of Whistler – where I live –  there are three locations) which grew more and more frustrating.  I Googled it to discover that in Seattle alone there are 424 Starbucks stores.  That’s ridiculous.  Apparently, Seattle-ites started ‘boycotting’ them by choosing to go to independent coffee shops, so Starbucks re-branded at least three of their stores to make them appear to be local, independent coffee houses, removing all of their Starbucks logos and anything that would give them away.  How sneaky is that?  I know that Starbucks originated in Seattle, and considering how huge and famous it has become worldwide, that’s definitely something they should be proud of, but they are actively and purposely taking custom away from local businesses that are struggling to stay afloat as it is thanks to companies like them.

Moving on.


The Public Market Center at Pike Place has a nicer history.  In the early 1900s, people were fed up of paying way too much for their fresh fruit and vegetables, so the market was opened to allow farmers to sell their produce directly to customers.  On the market’s opening day, all the farmers had sold out by lunch time.  Due to changing times, the market almost closed down and turned into a fancy plaza, but it was saved and is now a huge tourist attraction, as well as a fully functioning market.



The last picture I took (above) is my one of my favourites.  One Way/One Love.

We then spent many hours on coaches and at the border (where they were filming for a border control type show!) to get home.

Sorry that my holiday snaps turned into a bit of a history lesson/Starbucks rant.

Have a great weekend :)

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Seattle [1]

A little while ago, our friend Kathryn mentioned that she wanted to visit Seattle before she goes back home to New Zealand (next week, boo).  Jay and I have wanted to go to Seattle since we got here, probably mainly because it’s so close.
Picture 16

So we booked a hotel and various Greyhounds (we got an amazing deal on a gem of a hotel), and counted down the days.
I hadn’t left Whistler since we got here last September.  I’m not complaining; living here is incredible, but it is a resort, and therefore it’s secluded from the real world.  It was good to go somewhere else for a few days.

Jay and Kathryn outside the restaurant on our first night – – – then Jay and me.


After dinner we took a walk down to the harbour.  We quickly realised that the harbour area was not somewhere we wanted to be after dark, so I took a few photos and we swiftly walked back to the hotel.




We were exhausted from travelling (why is it that sitting on a bus for hours, doing nothing at all, makes you tired?), so we had an early night and got up early the next day to make the most of the only forecasted non-rainy day.

The charity piggy bank at Pike Place Market.


We visited the Space Needle, obviously.




Apparently the Alweg Monorail is pretty famous.  I did not know that, did you?  We rode it a couple of times, and it just felt like a normal train ride, until we sat right at the front next to the driver, then it felt like we were on a rollercoaster.



Cool trees painted blue.  I have no idea why.


We read online that the best view of the Seattle skyline is from Kerry Park.  So we Googled the park, and discovered that it’s not really a park, but more like a patch of grass with a bench or two.  We hopped on a bus (ha, I make it sound like it wasn’t the most stressful experience of our trip.  We almost gave up on going to the park because of the buses!), and thanks to a helpful passenger and a very friendly bus driver, we found the park.



The classic ‘tossed salads and scrambled eggs’ shot.


We came back to the hotel and got changed for dinner (I’m wearing my new shirt from Target.  I was so excited to see stores I could actually afford to shop in).


We found this golden nugget of a Mexican restaurant a few blocks from our hotel.  I refrained from taking pictures of my food, because I’m guessing you know what a burrito and nachos look like.  They were good though, trust me, and if you’re ever in Seattle you should definitely go here.

Being the crazy party people that we are, we hit the hay by 10pm.
I’ll be back soon to share the rest of my photos from the trip.  I think I took rather too many to post in one go.


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Alta Lake, frozen.


When we first got to Whistler and were staying at the hostel, we walked past this lake every day on our way to the village.  Since we moved into the house, it’s no longer on our route, so we hadn’t been back since.  When I was offered a half day at work yesterday (while I was actually at work), I decided to take it for once, and we used the afternoon to walk to the lake (on our way to our post box, the bank and post office).

I had to get another photograph of Jay here, as I have one of her in this spot before the lake froze (in this post).  You can also see me leaning on those handles in my current blog header.

Jay took off right into the middle of the lake, whereas I was quite tentative as the edges were slushy, and really, it doesn’t feel right to walk on a lake.  Anyway, I felt less nervous when I saw a group of teenagers playing ice hockey in the centre.

When I first glanced at this, I thought it was a sailing boat that had been left without its moorings and had then become frozen into the lake.  Once I saw it moving it became clear that it is some kind of cool ice boat thing.  That’s as far as my knowledge on that goes.


Aside from seeing the lake in a totally different way than it was the last time I was there, it felt pretty awesome to have my camera back out again after more than a month.

On an unrelated note, Jay broke her leg five weeks ago.  She’s doing pretty well to be walking on an icy lake, eh?

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Finding inspiration.

Somewhere along the way, I ran out of things to talk about.
Even living in a beautiful, faraway place, life falls into a routine, and I have nothing new to say.
I haven’t picked up my camera in weeks, and I struggle to read more than a chapter of a book at a time (although that’s possibly because the book I’m currently reading isn’t great).

I find myself constantly craving inspiration; I want to write, but what about?  Then I chastise myself, because it seems ridiculous to have to search for inspiration when I live at the foot of two mountains, surrounded by lakes and trails and animals I’ve never seen ‘in real life’ until now.

I love how Lisa Leonard puts it:
“Inspiration is a really fluid and natural thing for me, and I’ve learned how to nurture it more.  I used to wait for it to strike and just see what it was, but now I’ve found that if I really slow down, and expose myself to beautiful things, concrete ideas start to form.  So I’ll take notes and I’ll make sketches, and it’s so fun to see inspiration start from something very vague, and turn into an idea, and then into something concrete, and then into a mock-up, and then finally into a finished product.  That’s probably my favourite part: seeing the finished product.”

I need to work on this; seeking out and nurturing inspiration.
Of course it’s not going to just present itself to me.  I need to look for it, harness it and turn it into something.  How can I have lost this precious art?
How do I get it back, and where do I begin?

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On learning to ski.

I had hoped that as soon as I put a pair of skis on it would feel like the most natural thing, like I was born to do it, like there was some gene in my body that was finally going to get its chance to shine.
Sadly, that has not happened.  But I have not given up.

That’s me and my wonderful friend Alice who has been helping me to ski while she snowboards (she can do both. I am so envious).


That’s me down there, snowploughing like a champ.

I think part (most?) of the problem is my fear.  Until November 2012 I had never been on a snowy mountain before.  Then suddenly I was on a literal slippery slope, surrounded by all this terminology that quite frankly, frightened me.  Piste, green run/blue run/black run (and let’s not talk about the double black diamond.  The name itself assures me that I will undoubtedly die if I ever find myself on one of those), powder days, bindings…
All these knowledgeable people with their fancy equipment, big words and passion for snow sports intimidated me.  Although I know what those words mean now, and I have all the equipment I need, I am still scared.  I like to stick to the same runs that I know, and to take my time.  I have had three ski lessons, and countless days practising with Jay, Alice and other people.  While I really appreciate all these people helping me, I would love to have someone to ski with who is at the same level as me.  I hate feeling like I am holding everyone else back.
Perhaps if I had a week or two where I could go up every day and just take a few solid lessons, I would improve.  Who am I kidding?  My legs could not take that.
I work five days a week so doing a ‘crash course’ isn’t possible. ( I actually work in the kids program in Whistler, so I watch as children as young as three years old go from total novices to confident mini skiers within a week.  There is definitely a lot to be said for learning skiing or snowboarding as a child.)

For now, I will keep on going, and try to shake off my fear of losing control and racing head-first into a tree before falling off the edge of a cliff.


What about you?  When did you learn to ski or board?  Do you think it’s more difficult to learn as an adult?
I’d love to hear what you think (and any tips are always welcome).

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A pictorial round up of my 2012

I was going to post one photo I took from each month in 2012, and then quickly realised that I couldn’t narrow them down.  At all.
Some months I had dozens that I love, and other months I had barely any.
So I apologise for this hodge podge post with far too many photographs that I’ve already posted this year :)





















August (sorry, there are a lot for August)






























I hope that your 2012 was great, and your 2013 is wonderful.

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Merry Christmas


Hope your Christmas was/is merry and bright :)

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The past few days.








It snowed for three days straight.
I found myself in a snow bank to my waist.
I slipped on the driveway (more than once).
I skied my first real run.
I promised to make my brie and cranberry filo parcels for my work Christmas party, and then saw the price of brie here.  Not one to back out, I gritted my teeth and bought it. (Now I just have to make them)

Skyping my older sister this morning after weeks of trying to arrange a time that suited both of our schedules and time differences, was definitely worth it.  Opening an early Christmas gift and seeing her Christmas tree made me feel festive for the first time this season.
Thanks for the goodies Suz and Dan :)

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More pictures of snow, essentially.

It’s a slippery hike up to our front door.

That’s me, doing what I do best: working hard.

Jay moved over to the dark side and bought a snowboard.

I learned my lesson about going up the mountain without covering up properly; my lips became really chapped and I got some nasty coldsores :(  This face/neck warmer is perfect because I can still breathe through it easily.

See that chair lift on the left there?  I went on that, yeah!  It’s pretty scary to do it for the very first time (and the second, and third time actually), but I didn’t die and that was my main objective.
Whistler Upper Village looks so festive.

The street I live on is pretty awesome.

I know it’s hard to make it out in this photo, but that is a bird sitting on Jay’s hand.  Outside my work there are a lot of trees and dozens of these birds live in the trees, and I guess over time they’ve become accustomed to being around a lot of people.  If you hold your hand out at arm’s length with a piece of food on it, the birds will come and eat right out of your hand.

This is the view out of my window as I write this evening.

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Some photos that Jay took on Whistler mountain.






Jay took these shots the other day when she was out skiing.  I did some minor tweaking, to feel like I had contributed, as I am definitely not ready to go full-on skiing on the mountain, and therefore can’t get shots like these.
However, I have had a Level One skiing lesson, and can now stop and turn.
Impressive, huh?

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