Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Is That a Sunset Or An Oil Painting Made By Angels?

Another round-up of Tuesday Three Things That Happened Last Week.

I. THE NEW JOB

I don't know how to describe this

This is my sister’s chihuahau with a stuffed toy in it’s mouth & it makes me laugh so hard.

After a few months of freelancing, I have a new job. A dream job if you will. Freelance writing drove me a little too deep into my own head and working in pjs was fun until I woke up and realized I hadn’t worn actual clothes in a week.

Also, sporadic paychecks from writing gigs don’t really *work* anymore in Seattle, with our sky-high rents.

I’m a writer/editor for a cool company that helps bands and shows with ticketing and promotions.  The coolest thing about it that it embodies a Come As You Are mentality, so I could probably get a forehead tattoo and they wouldn’t blink an eye.

I’m working for the man in a creative capacity without actually working for The Man. Perfect. And this is a company that REALLY gives back to the community, so that makes me feel good, especially after my whole age-33-meaning-of-life crisis. I’m not bragging, I want other dream-followers to stick it out and find the job they really want.

I get a week off to volunteer and am already fantasizing about volunteer opportunities.

Should I: 

-Rescue/name/bottle feed orphaned baby monkeys in Costa Rica? (I’ll call this one Danger and this one Milly…)
-Volunteer to find out what happened to Lindsey Lohan?
-Work the cafeteria of some fancy writer’s conference? (Hey, Toni Morrison, I slipped you a copy of my latest. Hope you like these mashed potatoes).

I’m already enjoying perks like conversations with actual humans in the middle of the day, office dogs, and air conditioning.

II. It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Bon Voyage 

Street in Quebec

Bon voyage! (These are strangers, not my actual friends).

This is a bummer: I had to say goodbye to some really good friends of mine because they left our glorious state for another.

I am super happy for them because I know that moving long distances (thrice!) has made me a better, happier person because it’s incredibly frustrating and also fun.

As much as I would like to, I can’t be like:  “no stay and we can stay like this forever and nothing will change and then you’ll wake up at 80 and regret that you missed an opportunity because your friend got all emo about you leaving.”

It takes a lot for me to make friends (I’m a giant weirdo), especially here where the social scene is a maze of passive-aggressive invitations to happy hours followed by passive-aggressive refusals.

Sigh. Here we go again.

III. I WAS HERE FIRST

THIS does not do justice to the amazing sunset last night.

THIS low-res iphone photo does not do justice to the amazing sunset on Sunday.

Everyone and their brother is moving to Seattle and judging by Saturday’s packed summer fest, my neighborhood is the quartier du jour. It both pisses me off (I WAS HERE FIRST!! SECOND) and amuses me.

When I moved to Seattle eight years ago, this was the reaction from most of my friends:

I’d never leave Chicago. You know it rains there, every day right? And they don’t even have a basketball team. And the suicide risk is high. You might as well move straight into a mental hospital because those clouds are gonna drive you nuts. 

[Drops bags off, looks out window] OMG this place is amazing! Is that a sunset or is that God’s hand coming down to personally bless this place because it is the most.beautiful. in the whole world?

The view from my roof

Proof it’s not a fluke: last year’s winning sunset starring a rainbow ribbon cloud. 

Even with my awesome new job, I cannot afford rent that’s much higher than its current $1,600 a month for 700 sq.ft and I’m terrified I’m living in the next San Francisco.

And with all the new condos/traffic/pedestrians darting into the street, my neighborhood feels a little less like MY neighborhood.

I’ve lived here on and off since I first moved to the city, when it was uncool amongst my hip writerly coworkers who (then) lived on The Hill and thought White Center was too dangerous and West Seattle too suburban.  I live on a peninsula and get to hang out at the beach pretty much every day so, I’ve been pretty happy.

Does wanting to join an anti-development coalition make me old?


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Hoofin’ It: Teenage Walks to Remember

Walking, Birds Flying
Walking: my version of flying. 

Before Wild and the blogger who walks the coast of Wales with a donkey, there was pre-teen and teenage me, who walked all over Chicago’s far South Side.

That’s right. I was way into extreme walking before it was cool.* Because I didn’t have a car until I was 19.

Walking is essential to my well-being. I’m not much of a hiker; I’m a city walker, a promenader and pontificator. Seattle is one of the best walking cities; there’s water everywhere, our gentle weather rarely interferes with a good stroll, and it’s only the most beautiful place on the planet.

But Chicago is where I learned to walk. First to our coffee table, then to the end of the driveway, then to my little brick school, and then to everywhere.

Ode to Travel on Foot

Greenlake-walking-Seattle
What’cha doin’ sittin’?

Sometimes, I didn’t walk, I ran down city streets, avoiding garbage cans, almost crashing into pedestrians. I ran so fast I thought my lungs would burst. I wish someone would have warned me that running would never feel That Good again. Sure, a run feels good and necessary, but it not like a teenage anything-can-happen run, a run where you’re laughing so hard tears stream down your face, a run where your only goal is to topple into your best friend or escape some kind of trouble.

I walked with friends, a big group of them. I walked to their houses miles away, in the next neighborhood. I walked in red Chuck Tailors or heavy black boots. Sometimes we’d meet at halfway points, usually a cemetery or a fast-food restaurant or a pizza place. We didn’t have enough money to do anything but walk. It led to the greatest teenage adventures. Screw the boring old scheduled parental drop-offs at the mall, we were wild and free. We strutted under star-sprinkled skies like we owned the world. We walked to train stations that would whisk us into downtown, where we’d walk some more.

I walked to Chicago’s South Side Irish parade, not the one where they dye the river green, the one where they start drinking at noon. It was one of those must-not-miss events where every.single.person you knew would be there and they would all be wearing Notre Dame sweatshirts, green wigs, and shamrock stickers. (Side note: this parade was cancelled because it got too rowdy.)

I walked before iPods, no Walkman, just me and a cracked sidewalk, sprinklers, sometimes yells from passing cars. I walked through my own perpetual inner dialogue, through corridors in my mind. I walked until I came to conclusions, epiphanies, inventions. All forgotten when I returned. (I wonder if Einstein was a walker?)

Chicago Travel Morton Arboretum
If you don’t notice this stuff, you’re doing it wrong.

I walked into characters; an old woman who fed about fifty cats in her yard everyday. Once she put down the food, they would come from all angles, mewing and rubbing against each other. Then there was the complete stranger who leaned over a fence and asked me if I wanted a job taking care of his bed-ridden wife. (I declined). Continue reading


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Lessons in Humiliation: The Rob Schneider & Romy Mix-Up


Every week, I go to French meetups where Seattle’s francophiles meet to practice French. I speak the language and love travel, but that’s where our interests diverge. I use Quebec slang. I still really don’t know what to do with paté. (Spread it like jelly? Bite off a hunk?) And I am *really* good at getting crumbs in my scarf.

Last week, the group’s leader brought up Romy Schneider, an Austrian actress I had never heard of.

I heard “Rob Schneider.” Instantly, I perked up from my croissant coma.

“This is turning around,” I thought. “Sure, it’s a really dated reference, but I can discuss Rob Schneider. I can even discuss him in French. It isn’t a total waste of a Saturday.”

It was time to dust off the bad impersonation of Making Copies.

Oooh the French Group. Speakin’ French. Eatin’ Paté.

No, no, no. That’s all wrong. Should I mention how the Sensitive Naked Man is devastatingly underrated? Should I bring up my theory on Deuce Bigalow as an allegory about the modern male condition?

Or about my conspiracy theory about how the Hot Chick was a set up to ruin Rob Schneider’s career?

I did none of these things because the group started going on about how Romy Schneider died at the end of every movie. And I was like, wait, Rob Schneider didn’t die at the end of Waterboy. And then I realized quite suddenly just how close I came to the kind of humiliation you never recover from.

Sensitive Naked Man

Sigh. One for French-speaking, cultured Seattleites. Zero for me.


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My Impossible-to-Escape Turkey Day Tradition

Turkey Day, Seattle

This is what November looks like here. Isn’t it pretty?

I did it. I finally made a turkey. Ok, my husband did most of, ok all of the gross stuff like stuffing it with apples and herbs to make it aromatic and piercing the thigh with a meat thermometer every hour. I participated by inspecting the meat to make sure we weren’t giving all of our friends food poisoning.

I know what you’re thinking…Thanksgiving is a couple days away.

Being nomads, we’ve never done a true Thanksgiving. We spent our first Thanksgiving married in a Shari’s Diner eating half-frozen turkey sandwiches with blobs of cranberry sauce on the side. I cried.

I vowed never to let that happen again, so for the next few years we found a fancy restaurant and dined there. Still didn’t feel right. No football, no drunk cousins, no Cool Whip? Something about the white-linen tablecloth made me feel awkward making a mashed-potato volcano. Too fancy, no family. And I cry again.

Thankfully, a friend took me in the next year, when The Husband was in Quebec and I was in Seattle. No crying and I am still grateful. Be supportive to your Thanksgiving strays, they’ll remember it.

Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Poutine

Poutine and plastic fork. Even Elwood realized it wasn’t Thanksgiving.

Then came the Quebec year. Thanksgiving isn’t a big to-do in Quebec like it is here.

First, their Thanksgiving (L’action de Grace) takes place before Halloween. That’s strange. It’s like eating dessert before dinner. And most people, at least in Quebec see Thanksgiving as a day off to cover their pools and construct their carports. Most people I knew didn’t even eat turkey.

That’s right: Thanksgiving in Belle Province is pretty much relegated to a labor-day type of holiday. Which is fine, they have plenty of awesome holidays and at the time, I thought I could use a break from American-style gorging. Continue reading


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Seattle’s First Secret Supper, All the Juicy Details

Secret Supper Bloom Restaurant

“You’re invited…to Seattle’s First Secret Supper”

Moi? Invited? To an exclusive event? I felt like the time this mean girl Lauren invited me to her 10th birthday party as a joke. It’s ok, she peaked in coolness at age 10 so I am pretty sure she went downhill and is now living in a cave or something.

The invite came from Dishcrawl, a social networking organization for food lovers with chapters all over the country. No joke, I was going to my first Secret Supper and had no idea what to expect.

Dishcrawl Seattle organizes (get this) dish battles, a Secret Supper Club, and cocktail wars, where participants sip cocktails from renowned mixologists and then vote on their favorite concoctions and who they think is hottest bartender.

It is the best way to get awkward Seattelites to sit down and socialize. During the Supper Club, you eat with strangers united for a love of food. And the chef comes out between each course to tell you his-her inspiration.

Hold up! What is a Secret Supper?

Bloom Restaurant Secret Supper

Real salmon. None of that weak farm-raised stuff.

In general, secret supper clubs and underground restaurants have been “a thing” since the 40s. Wikipedia defines it as an eating establishment run out of someone’s home to avoid zoning and health-code violations. Like a really good dinner party.

I should mention that the Dishcrawl Secret Supper takes place in a real restaurant and I am pretty certain no health codes were violated.

How can I get into such an exclusive event?

I like food, so I signed up for Dishcrawl’s email subscriber list. Julia Simpson, Dishcrawl’s Community Manager says that’s the best way to find out about Secret Supper. She also relayed that this was the first of many and they’d have about one a month. It’s not heavily advertised though and tickets are limited.

Also, words of warning: picky eaters need not apply. This is adventure dining with a special menu created for the event.

How adventurous are we talking?

The mystery locale, underground restaurant

Can’t believe this is my life.

You will likely eat something you’ve never had before. For me, it was persimmon ice cream. For others, it could be boiled crickets or monkey brains or a sheep’s head.

Ok, I don’t think they go to those extremes, but you don’t get to view the menu ahead of time. It’s all kept a great big mystery, but you are able to send in your dietary restrictions. Might be a good time to mention your “allergy” to baby animal brains.

 The secret location is unveiled a day or so before and you don’t get a peek at the menu until that night. They also let you know the style of food you’ll be eating. Continue reading


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The Perfect Storm, Part 1: Driving Through the Rain

This past week, it poured, literally and figuratively. My apartment, my life, my pillow, all soaked. As I write this, the rain keeps coming, no signs of slowing.

Multiple rounds of bad news made me want to stay in my room under my cozy comforter, the Dog curled in tight. But a blanket is no armor. And though I want nothing more than to get on a plane and see my family, I can’t.

This is the biggest drawback of my life 2,018 miles away from my nearest and dearest—there’s no teleportation, no easy way. I have to face the sting of regret when time slips through my hands like a rope. I have to confront the fact that I have missed a lot of birthday cakes and memorials and piano recitals, a lot of moments I really “should of” been there, but couldn’t be.

Damn you entropy!

But forget the storm for a moment. Let’s travel beyond it and into the Yakima Valley.

Yakima Valley Travel

Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches. Totally about this place.

Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches.

There’s a vast desert past the heavy drape of clouds. The topography changes suddenly, just past the ridge. Shrubs, sagebrush, and balsam roots replace leaning firs. Dijon-colored hills roll against a slate sky. Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State, but the Yakima valley is all gold. Continue reading


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Love Maps: 9 best places to visit in Seattle

I love maps. Maps are visual poetry, bringing together all the wonderful names of places: Genoa. Uganda. San Francisco. The smooth blue sea and the wrinkled topography for mountains. Maps stir the imagination. Maps tell you where the rivers are.

I love maps so much I made you a map of of my hang-out spots in Seattle.

The reviews are an attempt at humor, so you might like to read them even if you never plan to visit this fair city. I sincerely hope you do though!

Seattle travel tips

Best Restaurants and Attractions in Seattle