Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seattle-Family and Friends

Next stop on my travels is Seattle.  This trip happened two weeks after San Francisco.  My family headed back to the West Coast to visit my brother.  He recently moved from Orlando to Seattle.  Talk about opposites!  I guess they do attract.  My parents and I love that he is in Seattle because it is a lot closer to us.  Plus I love Seattle.  Ever since I graduated from High School I said I wanted to move to Seattle.  I even looked at attending the University of Washington.  Who knows?  Maybe I will end up there after all!  Enjoy the travelogue and pictures.
Mom and I met up with Dad in the Seattle airport.  He flew in from Anchorage, Alaska.  We got our awesome rental car for the weekend: a minivan!  I had two whole rows to myself!  We drove to our hotel which was very close to the Space Needle.  We got the Jacuzzi suite!  I had the pleasure of sleeping on the pull out sofa sleeper.  Lucky me!  (I guess that beats sleeping in the jacuzzi!)  This was the view from our hotel room.
The next morning Mom and I slept in.  Dad left before I woke up because he had to teach a class that morning in some nearby town.  While we waited for Dad to get done teaching his class, Mom and I made good use of our time.  Mom swam in the pool.  I was going to swim with her but there were three kids that seemed like 30 kids flailing about with water going everywhere but in the pool.  No thanks, I opted for the stairmaster instead.  I also sent some emails for work.  (I am such a dedicated employee!  I hope my boss reads that!)
I met up with my friend D Scott.  (D Scott and I worked together with Radio City.  The poor guy was in charge of helping me sing!  He sure earned his money trying to do that!  I am grateful we're still friends!  He was on tour with Mary Poppins which happened to be touring in Seattle.  Perfect timing!)  We grabbed some food from Dick’s Drive-In and then drove to a nearby park at Westlake.  It was a gorgeous day in Seattle.  We talked and watched the seaplanes land in Lake Washington.  I had so much fun talking with him.  At one point, he asked me if I was dipping my fries in my shake.  I said Yes.  He thought it was strange.  I figure it must be a Utah thing.
After lunch with D Scott, I met up with my parents at the hotel.  Chris didn’t get off work for a few more hours so we headed to the waterfront.  We ate clam chowder from Ivar’s outside at the tables they had set up.  We watched as people fed French fries to the seagulls.  The seagulls would get so excited and start screeching!  It was quite the sight and sound!  Ivar’s clam chowder is the BEST EVER!  (Unfortunately I was still full from my Dick’s Drive In fries and shake that I could only eat half of it.  Mom was the lucky one who got to eat the rest.)  We went in a few shops on the waterfront.
My parents and I drove past the building where my brother worked.  Then we drove to Chris’ house in West Seattle.  Chris and Allen bought a nice three-story townhouse.  It had an amazing view of downtown Seattle from their bedroom deck on the third floor.  I finally met their dog, Alis.  (They have had her for at least four years.)  She was crazy!
Allen was at work so we spent some time talking with Chris after he gave us a tour of their house.  Then we went on a short tour of West Seattle.
I spent the rest of the day with my friend Adam.  (Adam and I performed in the Christmas Spectacular together.  We had the comedy bit of our scene and, if I do say so myself, we brought the house down!  Just sayin'.  He was the best pillow a girl could have.)  He took me to a street just off of the University of Washington campus.  We ate dinner at Samir’s Kitchen, one of Adam's favorite places to eat.  After dinner, we walked up and down the street giving each other a running commentary on every thing (and everyone) we saw.  There were a lot of people out and about.  We saw some cops busting some people.  We saw the law school where Adam is about to start his third (and FINAL) year of law school.  We walked through the bookstore.  We tried on hats in a store but Adam’s big head didn’t fit in too many of them.  (See pictures below.)  Adam tried to get his hair cut but the barber was closing. 
When we got tired of walking around, we drove to Manhouse (the name he and/or his roommates gave the house where he lives).  When we pulled up to his house, I thought I was in a third world country.  We drove up to the house from a back alley.  All the houses were right next to each other and they were a little run down.  I told Adam it looked a little third worldish.  He just told me to shut up.  I forget how many men were living in the house when I visited--maybe four (?) and 1 dog.  I ended up only meeting one roommate while i was there.  We let the dog out to have some fresh air because the poor thing had been in the house all day.  Then we played Angry Birds on Adam's cell phone.  I had never played Angry Birds before but now it is my latest guilty pleasure!  We got through all the levels on one game so we started playing a different edition of Angry Birds.  Adam passed most of the levels because he had me go first.  I would show him how to do it by my trial and error and then he would get the job done!  Just before I left, I remembered I wanted a picture.  I told Adam to take some pictures of us.  This is what I got:
The next day, my parents and I picked up Chris and Allen.  This is where the mini-van came in handy.  I still had one row in the steerage compartment all to myself!  (Don't be jealous!)  We drove to the ferry close to their house and took the ferry to Vashon Island.  On the ferry, we got out of the van and sat in the seats upstairs.  The ferry ride seemed like it was all of fifteen minutes.  We drove all around Vashon Island.  It was a small island.  There were a lot of trees just like everywhere else in Washington!  We went to the Farmer’s Market and walked around the less than twenty booths set up.  We didn’t buy anything.  People were selling caramel, fish, flowers, and other plants.  We saw a lighthouse on the end of the island toward the ocean.  We ate lunch at a restaurant called The Hardware Store.  Why was it called The Hardware Store?  Before it was a restaurant, it was a hardware store.  The food was pretty good!  We rode the ferry back to West Seattle.  We stopped at Chris and Allen’s house and picked up Alis.  We all went to the Chittenden Locks in Ballard.  We watched boats, yachts, Kodiaks, etc go through the locks.  It was fun!  The locks are still my favorite place to go in Seattle.
We drove to Kerry Park.  We took a few pictures of the family at the lookout point before we were overrun by teenagers going to prom. 
We dropped off Alis at home and then went to dinner at Zeek’s Pizza.  The pizza tasted delicious!  We dropped off Chris and Allen at their house and the rest of us went back to the hotel.  Mom and I wanted to go swimming but there were a LOT of kids in the pool.  No thanks!
The next morning, my parents and I attended church near the hotel.  We spent the rest of our time in Seattle with Chris at his house.  (Allen was at work all day.)  Chris played us a song on the piano (at the insistence of Mom). He was getting annoyed with the paparazzi (Mom) at this performance.
I had a great time in Seattle hanging out with my family and friends.  I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Mother's Day--Love, Hugh and Me!

How much do you love your mom?  Not as much as I love mine.  You might be asking me (or demanding me) to "Prove it!"  Alright, you asked for it.  Be prepared to feel like a slacker son or daughter after you get done reading this.  You have been warned.
What do you get the BEST MOM on the planet for Mother's Day?  Hugh Jackman.  That's right!  You read correctly.  It all started when I had a little down time at work the Tuesday before Mother's Day.  I was doing a little search on the internet and found out Hugh was doing a two-week concert engagement in San Francisco.  The tickets weren't outrageous, so I thought, "Why not just go see him?"  It didn't take much arm twisting or persuasion of any kind to get Mom to agree to go with me.  Before the end of the day, the concert tickets were purchased and the hotel and airplane tickets were booked.  The BEST MOM on the planet and I were heading to San Francisco to celebrate her for a quick weekend get-away!
We flew to Oakland and rode BART to downtown San Francisco.  We walked around Union Square.  We rode the elevators at the St. Francis Hotel (a tradition).  We could see all around from the top floors because the elevators were on the outside of the building.
We ate lunch at Sear’s Fine Food.  If you don't know about Sear's Fine Food, then you are sorely missing out on some AWESOME food!  We shared an order of Swedish pancakes-one order has eighteen pancakes.  The pancakes tasted delicious!  Then we worked off the calories by walking uphill for four blocks.  You've got to love a city that is one hill after another!
Then we rode the bus to our hotel.  We checked in.  Our room was on the 26th floor in the corner.  We had views out of two directions because the two outer walls were all windows!  Our views consisted of Alcatraz, Coit Tower, and the Transamerica Building.  We could have seen the Golden Gate Bridge if some buildings weren’t in the way!
Enough of enjoying our great view!  We rode the bus to Pier 39.  It was very windy all day!  We watched the sea lions for a little while.  They were noisy!  I still want to be reincarnated as a San Franciscan sea lion!  What a life!   
We walked around Pier 39 and looked in some of the shops.  We walked along the pier to Boudin’s Bakery and watched bread being made.  They made bread into so many shapes-turtles, alligators, etc.
It was time to get ready for our night with Hugh.  We ate dinner at the Boudin's Bakery in the food court in Macy’s Cellar at Union Square.  I ate clam chowder and sourdough bread.  They tasted delicious!  We walked to the Curran Theatre and picked up our tickets for the evening’s performance at the box office.  We went up the many steps to the balcony and watched the Hugh Jackman in Performance concert.  With our binoculars in hand, it was as if we had paid the hundreds of dollars that people on the front row paid!  There was a seventeen piece orchestra and two pretty girl back-up singers.  Hugh sang, danced, and told stories from his life.  He was so entertaining!  The 1 hour and 50 minutes show went by too quickly!
As is our custom after a performance, we waited at the stage door for Hugh to come out.  By the time we got to the roped off area for people waiting at the stage door, the crowd was already about three rows deep.  The security guard saw me about three rows back and invited me and Mom to go in front of the ropes to wait for him.  Otherwise, I would have never had a chance to even catch a glimpse of Hugh.  I was the first one he signed the playbill for when he came out.  I also got a quick picture with him.  (He wasn’t stopping for pictures as he walked down the line of people so I think I was the only one who got a posed picture with Hugh that night.)  I loved it!  I don’t think I’ve been that ecstatic in a long time.  Mom got some more pictures as Hugh walked down the line of people, signing playbills.  Hugh stayed at an apartment building next to the theatre so when he got to the steps of his building, he waved to everyone, and then went in.  Unfortunately, I don't even qualify for the BEST DAUGHTER on the planet award consideration because I didn't get a picture of Mom with Hugh.  Dang!
The next morning we opened the drapes to our AWESOME view, and we laid around in bed and were lazy.  Mom opened her Mother’s Day cards and talked with my brother, her sister, and her mom on the phone.  We walked to church that morning.  We ended up walking uphill two blocks and then went downhill two blocks to the church.  The children sang a song (as they always do on Mother's Day) but it didn’t have anything to do with mothers.  The church we went to gave me and Mom each a small bag of cookies for Mother’s Day.  That was very nice of them.  We walked back to the hotel bypassing the up and downhill course we took to church.  We quickly changed clothes because we had to check out of the hotel.  We put all of our things on our backs and rode the bus to Ghirardelli Square.  We ate sundaes at Ghirardelli’s.  My peanut butter hot fudge sundae was delicious (when it was warm)!  After it cooled, it was just a big chocolate peanut butter conglomerate!  Note to self: Eat faster!  We beat the rush at Ghirardelli’s because when we were leaving the lines upstairs and downstairs were out the doors!
Mom and I rode the electric bus to the BART station and rode BART to the Oakland Airport station.  Then the hotel shuttle picked us up from the station and drove us to the hotel we stayed at that evening.  Mom and I ended up with a one bedroom suite.  It was big!  Our hotel room the night before (in the city) could have fit in the bathroom at this hotel!  We ate sourdough pizza from Boudin’s Bakery for dinner.  Yum!  I went to bed early because we had to get up early. the next morning for our flight and then I had to go straight to work.
The next morning I got up at 4:30 AM.  Mom and I quickly got ready for the day and flew home.  I was to work by  9 AM.  I had quite the commute (from San Francisco) to work that day! 
Mom and I had a great quick, last minute trip to San Francisco.  We ate great food.  We rubbed shoulders with celebrities.  Who could ask for a better Mother's Day weekend?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011