Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Edmonds: Vibrant sunrise and life updates

Hello internet friends, randos, and other curious visitors! It's been a minute since I posted last, for which I apologize. Life has been a bit hectic for us at 710studios, as we're currently in the process of preparing for a move and our internet connection went from decent-ish to utterly and laughably abysmal, so the battle for bandwidth is a real struggle right now. But that's right, y'all! We're moving out of the suburbs and into the big city proper, and we're so excited!! Not only will the relocation make my daily commute incrementally easier than it's been for the last 10 or so months, but we're absolutely stoked about the new home we've found. We'll have our own private space and be able to walk around naked again! We'll have tons of storage and the space to do tie-dye again! There are fruit trees, hammocks, a community garden, even a yoga studio on-site! It's like a dream come true and I can't even begin to fully express how grateful and enthusiastic we are about this change up to our routines. We're looking forward to learning more about our new community, too, which is comprised of some truly talented and inspiring creative and professional individuals who are involved in some utterly mind-blowing artistic projects! 

My long-suffering car with over 200,000 miles, Svetty, and I recently did a quick run-up to Lynden, Washington, which is kind of like a suburb of Bellingham if I'm understanding it correctly, but I apologize to anyone I may have offended with my lack of knowledge about Northern Washington's townships. Since I got booked for the event only about a week prior to its occurrence, I didn't have enough lead time to request time off at my day job and as such drove to Lynden and then back to this burb North of Seattle in one night... roughly around 3 hours of driving, on top of commuting in to the city earlier that same day for work... it was a lot. I listened to a few Podcasts, as is my usual form of vehicular entertainment, and thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the countryside, but upon returning I could tell my eyes and brain were starting to fry from too many hours behind the wheel combined with 4 hours of straight drawing, too, but it was worth it. Not only did I have a blast drawing at the event, but it's also wonderful to see somewhere new. If you've never been outside of Seattle, the rest of the state of Washington offers an astounding array of natural beauty and lush green spaces to blow your socks off time and time again and I'm a bit sad I didn't get to spend any time exploring while there on this brief visit. It feels really good though, cruising up the 5, feeling a tingle of excitement as Vancouver (Canada) grows closer and the trees open up to adorable farm houses presiding over large expansive lots... I don't know about you guys, but I love seeing new cities pop up on the road signs as I'm road-tripping, the possibility and shiny newness of it all. Leaving from my old hometown of Las Vegas you're faced with a few hundred miles of barren desert before you start to see other pockets of civilization crop up, but here in the Pacific Northwest, you're more likely to find yourself deep into a forest or suddenly surrounded by rolling fields of agricultural green goodness. Even in the city, the abundance of trees makes rounding each bend an exercise in uncertainty, as you can never quite predict what you might spot, whether it's a herd of goats casually grazing in the city, or a Sasquatch peeking out from behind a tree, it pays to keep your eyes open. 

I'm grateful, too, for the time we got to spend living in this cute little house in its cute little suburb. It's been an interesting adventure, for sure, and it allowed us to get onto our feet firmly planted in the area, which can be a real challenge.  But times change and it's high-time for a new chapter, and while it's been nice, the move ahead is going to be great! New dawns, new days, new adventures lie ahead! 💖

Monday, July 8, 2019

Seattle: Pike's Place Public Market on Fourth of July

July has settled into the Northern hemisphere, with long sunny days baking away any vestigial chill from spring's showers, and lush verdant greenery bursting from any patch of fertile ground it can find. Seattleites have certainly noticed, and when they're not basking in the glorious sunlight and soaking in the vitamin D while indulging on some form of aquatic activity, they're likely thinking about food; as in, what they're going to eat tonight and whereabouts to procure it. Whether you're pining for juice-squirting stone fruits that dribble down your arm and chin with each luxuriant bite, or rich oceanic goodies served over ice, you can find your fix at Pike's Place Public Market. And really, what is more American than the unadulterated consumerism and capitalism to be found at the market? You can find eager vendors vying for your pretty pennies, juxtaposing their shops' locales, the colorful arrangements, and witty signs just-so to try and catch the eye of the buyer. Shops live or die trying to manifest their destinies in the crowded aisles, and on this year of 2019's Fourth of July I opted to walk the deeply-packed and often soggy streets that wind their way through Pike's Public Market and Post Alley. 

It's cherry season, y'all, and people are losing their god-dang minds up here! I enjoy a cherry as much as the next girl and have admired many a perfectly pink or pristine white cherry blossom while living in Japan, but people in Seattle are on another level when it comes to their obsession with cherries. You can find a wide array of stalls at Pike's or any other farmer's market more than glad to sell you a cup of the delicious little stone fruits, packed with juicy tartness and sweet freshness. And oh boy, those little yellow-blush rainier cherries? They are the superstars of the show! Not unlike the curbside shrimp-selling vans of Arizona (any other fans of Small Town Murder here tonight?), you can find little tents propped up selling bags upon bags of cherries from any corner store, gas station, or vacant lot open with a modicum of parking. Pike's place is no exception, with ample opportunities to pick up a handful of the sweet little delights to snack on as you wander.  

Don't forget the chilly, slurpable delights! With temperatures reaching some sweltering (by Washingtonian standards) heights, there are plenty of cider and juice stalls open, taking advantage of Washington state's preternatural overabundance of the tree-growing fruits and access to ice. Pear will often make an appearance, too, as there are some nearby valleys that grow an inconceivably large amount of the juicy, sometimes grainy fruit. If you're lucky, you might catch a particularly animated vendor shouting an exuberant "Yeeeeeessss!" to the cup-grabbing curious hordes. If you find him, call him "boss". I think he likes it. 

No matter what time of year you find yourself exploring the Market, it's going to be an experience. In summer, the overwhelming verdancy of the various blossoms available, paired with the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables coming into the season, may lend it towards being a bit more colorful than in the winter months, but any market is well worth a visit for a glimpse into the communities that surround them. I'm glad I stopped by for the Fourth, as a patriotic (or anarchistic) vibe was rippling through the air. I missed seeing it, but there was someone running from the cops darting between the stalls! And tourists from the whole world over ambling by, whether they spoke in Mandarin or Russian (both of which I heard on this visit). A commingling of consumers over a veritable cornucopia of consumable goodies...again, I ask you; what's more American than that? You can load up on hot dogs, fresh corn on the cobb or any locally grown (or imported) produce you could possibly desire, if you look long enough. There are glistening, rotund fish upon ice, or slurpable stacks of oysters and other shellfish on ice ready to be taken home, or even shipped if you'd rather delay the gratification. 

There is no shortage of photos below! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Washington: Picnic Point Beach at low tide

Originating from a desert climate, Antho and I aren't exactly people who have had an overabundance of time spent exploring tide pools and beaches, so the multiplicity of them available here has been astounding. I mean, sure, when I lived in Japan I'd make a point of it to walk along the river that ran through Urayasu and I'd gawk in wonder as the decrepit fishing boats' bones were exposed as the tide retreated, revealing hulls encrusted in barnacles, but these opportunities are quite rare to indulge in the Mojave desert. Here in Washington, there's an array of biomes available to explore, from the rocky beaches dotting the Puget Sound to deep, densely green growths of forest cropping out from anywhere a human has neglected to tame. Crows, bunnies, and squirrels roam the streets of Seattle proper, and I've even spotted a herd of goats in the densely populated University District! Washington and Seattle's city streets are teeming with life, and the Sound carving up the region provides so many beaches and waterfront sanctuaries that we really have no excuse not to explore. 

When the tide's glossy grip retreats from the beach at Picnic Point beach, all sorts of life is revealed from the normally hidden aquatic world. We have visited Picnic Point Park during high tide when it's an entirely different place, so seeing it transformed is fascinating- at least to me. I was unable to join Antho on the beach on this particular outing, so he took all the photos for me and I was able to look over them later to see what I missed. He found much evidence of moon snails, a strange aquatic critter that bores holes through the shells of smaller mollusks and grows to an outlandish (to our appraisal) size. With the water retreated, crows and herons flock to the soggy shore to pluck up snacks galore, from crabs to snails to full-on fish. Sad jellyfish and a staggering, swishy drunk man join the menagerie, backed by the steady serenade of the waves dashing against the land's edge. I can just hear those tiny sea-weed dwelling bugs in their infernal hopping, clicking noise, eager to latch onto any passing food-source and leave itchy welts to remember them by. 

We'll definitely be back. Nothing is ever static, and while life is constantly changing, the changing of the tides is a good reminder that sometimes it's best to just go with the flow. You can fight the current, but if you're patient it'll change soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the crustaceans and getting sprayed by mysterious mollusks as they flee into the depths of the sand. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Seattle: Grey day at Greenlake

Now that summer has slid into Seattle, you'd be hard pressed to find any sunny street lacking in pedestrians eager for that sweet fix of the D (vitamin D), but those that are fortunate enough to be proximal to bodies of water grow even more densely populated than the rest and you may find yourself struggling to find a place to park. Whether it's Gasworks Park at Lake Union or Greenlake in Northern Seattle, they're going to be overflowing with the UV-light starved sun-worshippers and outdoor activity enthusiasts flocking to soak it all in while it lasts. At the time of these photos being taken, it was still a bit grey and squishy and cold out with the occasional sunny spot creeping through to temporarily dry out the mud, but there were still ample nature-lovers out and about. During this visit to Greenlake, I had only just peered out at the goofy antics of the squirrels galloping along the grassy planes from a window's safe distance, too trepidatious to go out and try to explore the park. Given this state of affairs, I hadn't developed the kinship with the local corvids and rodents of Greenlake that I later began to explore... suffice it to say, things have evolved since then!

Antho met up with me after he got off of work and we walked a portion of the lake, taking in the brilliant blues against the vibrant greens and lush spring flowers coming into bloom. It's hard to argue that it's not pretty, and now that the sun is shining more vibrant and lingering in the sky, the grass is all the more green and vivacious, the full verdancy of summer taking hold. 

If there's anything the ever-changing seasons can teach us, perhaps it's to let things go in their due time without clinging too hard to the particulars of a given season or situation. As surely as the flowers will bloom in spring, the gripping chill of winter will seep in and drain the color from the trees and sky, and eventually our own fragile little meat-machines. It's a little hard for me to reflect back on these photos because it was around the time we lost our dear sweet Ollie, the last of our hand-raised squeaks. Losing a pet is never easy, and it's taken some time for my heart to bear the brunt of that pain, the closing out of a chapter, but I'm glad that we got the time we had. Enjoy the moment and the seasons as they come. That seemingly endless summer sunlight will inevitably fade away, sooner or later. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Seattle: Capitol Hill broadway Farmer's Market on a rainy day

Washington's license plates proudly proclaim the state as the "Evergreen State", which isn't just a bit of bravado in this case, at least as far as I've seen in Seattle and Western Washington. It's not to downplay the fact that wildfires are a very real issue here, as in many areas along the west coast, but there's generally a lot of humidity in the Seattle area much of the year between the abundance of lakes and small bodies of water along with the Puget Sound carving up the land. This bounty of hydration, however, leads to the lands being fairly fertile, and once you escape the sprawling suburban tendrils of Seattle you'll quickly find yourself among farmlands and progressively smaller, more rural towns. In about an hour's drive you can stand among vibrantly blooming fields of meticulously manicured daffodils dancing in the early spring breeze, or drop in for corn mazes and apple picking- there are an array of different farms and florists who welcome visitors from the Seattle area with open arms. For those not wanting to leave the city, never fear- there are regional farmers markets dotting the city, though not all of them are year-round like the Broadway Farmer's market in Capitol Hill. I've mentioned before that I tend to spend a fair bit of time in Capitol Hill, and the farmer's market is predictably timed for every Sunday at 11am to 3pm, which times out with my lunch break from work rather nicely. I've absolutely stopped to pick up a bouquet of flowers before darting off to another destination across town for a few hours, before properly getting them home and into a vase. Thankfully, it was still relatively cool out the last time I did such a thing, and the vendor was clever and kind enough to have a small bag filled with water rubber-banded to the bottom, keeping the flowers hydrated during their long commute to the safety of home. 

Having spent most of my life living in a desert city, I only got small glimpses at the seasonal beauty of nature through a communal school garden in elementary, sporadic peaks at my grandma's tomato garden during visits back to her home in Ohio or the brambling bushes of wild blackberries growing at the farm, as big as my grandpa's thumb, which seemed inconceivably massive to my childhood brain. These snippets of nature's wonder piqued my curiosity, and farmer's markets provide an accessible, colorful way to take in the seasonal shifts and gawk at some of the varietals of otherwise familiar vegetables you might not have encountered before. If you're looking for groceries, it's even better to purchase them from your local farmer's market, as the food will generally be much fresher for having traveled far less of a distance to reach you, and will usually retain more nutrients. Flash freezing can do wonders for mineral retention, but few things beat the juiciness of a farm fresh tomato or the crispy crust on a boule of freshly baked sourdough. Plus, when it comes to accountability and food safety, it's hard to beat having the farmer standing right there to answer any question you may have. There's a pretty good variety to be found here, too, so don't let the larger Pike's Place draw you away from giving this market a fair shot. You can warm up with a delicious bowl of freshly made chowder, followed by a massive chocolate muffin so decadent you'll wonder if you might have died and gone to a better plane, not to mention the rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables beckoning to go home with you and do delicious, savory and/or sweet things in your mouth. (that's what she said) There's mead for taking back to the hotel room or home, too, made by some very kind-hearted people. 

Don't forget to say hi to Jimi while you're there!