No Thursday Things this week, faithful followers. I have a weekend trip to catch you all up on!
I got up stupid early last Friday so I could get in my long run for the week. I’m in the process of base building before marathon training and I wasn’t wild about the idea of missing my Saturday long run. I wanted to pack light, though, so I figured it’d be better to get my run in before heading to the airport instead of trying to run in Seattle.
Everything about that ended up being a good decision. I actually didn’t mind running on a weekday morning nearly as much as I expected. There were a lot more people out than I expected (but not *too* many people, which was nice), and there was something very gratifying about being able to go through my day knowing I had already run four miles instead of going through my day knowing I still had to run four miles. I think there’s a decent chance these early AM runs might become a staple of my running diet during the summer, particularly on days where it’s supposed to be blistering hot. I’d rather get up early and stay at work for an extra half hour than leave at my normal time and slog through a torturous hot run. Also, there was this whole situation in Seattle:
And LORD KNOWS this just-getting-over-being-shin-splinted Chicago runner does NOT have the legs to handle 12% grade hills for four miles. Or .4 miles. Or at all.
After my run, I headed out to the airport, met up with my parents, coached them through the whole security song and dance (between May 2011 and March 2012 I flew to and from three separate locations that involved nine different trips through security, so I’d like to think I’ve got that routine down to a science by this point), and headed over to our gate, which, coincidentally, was the exact same gate I flew out of the last time I went to Seattle. Our flight was wildly uneventful (except for the tragic moment where I realized I haven’t synced my iPhone with my iTunes recently, and thus all my new music was not on my phone. Oh so sad 😦 ), and we got to SeaTac with no problems.
As we were coming in to SeaTac, I played my favorite flying game, “Let’s See How Good Bethany’s Geography Skillz Are.” I’ve been to Seattle no less than nine times in my life, so I’ve got an all right feel for the lay of the land around there, and I was quite proud of myself for recognizing the floating bridge over Lake Washington and being able to use that to orient myself and find the University of Washington’s track (which, okay, was not really a challenge. It’s track shaped and purple) and football stadium. What was even cooler to notice, though, were the FLOWERS. The azaleas in particular are just out of control beautiful right now, and their colors were so vibrant I could easily see azalea bushes from the plane. So cool!
Normally when my family goes to Seattle, we stay with my grandparents, but since this trip was a surprise, we had to do all the “real” tourist things like “rent a car” and “stay at a hotel.” So weird. After we took care of those things, all of us were feeling pretty hungry, so we made a quick stop at Liebchen Delicatessen to grab a bite to eat before heading over to my grandparents’s apartment.
Braunschweiger on wheat. I’m not much of a processed red meat person, but when in a German deli, eh? It made me think of being a little kid again, so that was fun. Also fun was finding the deli on Yelp. My parents were not at all aware of Yelp’s existence, and I got far too much credit over the weekend for finding places to eat when really all the credit belongs to that wonderful, wonderful website/app. Lifesaver.
After eating, we went to my grandparents’s place. They’ve lived in a schnazzy retirement home for the past 21 years, and I love all the familiarity that comes with being there. The facility has expanded and been remodeled over time, but it’s the scent that really gets me. It smells like Grandma and Grandpa’s and makes me think of summer and vacations, and I just love that.
Like I said, my grandma had NO idea we were coming out, so walking into their apartment (my dad didn’t even knock on the door…just strolled in like ain’t no thang, totally normal for your Michigan son and daughter-in-law and Chicago granddaughter to randomly appear in your apartment on a Friday afternoon) and seeing my grandma’s reaction was honestly one of the coolest moments of my life. My grandma was just over the moon, you guys. She was excited enough to see my dad, but he’s pulled these shenanigans before, so it wasn’t completely out of character, but this time my mom and I were there as well, and my grandma just couldn’t stop saying, “You’re here! You’re all here!” (Which wasn’t *entirely* true, since my brother and sister weren’t there, but you know. Specifics).
The rest of my dad’s side of the family came over within the next hour or so, and it was great to see all of them. When my sister and I went to Seattle two Christmases ago, we saw a couple of those relatives, but I haven’t seen most of them in almost six full years. Once the gang was all assembled, we headed down to the retirement home’s dining room for a special dinner my grandpa had arranged for Grandma.
I’ve never been particularly disappointed with the food at my grandparents’s retirement home, but this was far and away the best meal I’ve had there yet. We had beautiful turban salads and some fantastic salmon, and some of the Seattle relatives had ordered a cake from Dessert Works, which was both beautiful and delicious (and mostly unpictured, save for the chocolate topper).
In addition to one full cake, there were also three smaller cakes to choose from. I had chocolate raspberry from the full cake on Friday night, and when we went back to Grandma and Grandpa’s on Saturday, I got to sample the double chocolate cake.
We spent most of the weekend at my grandparents’s, since it’s not too often that we have the chance to see them, but my parents and I did make a trip into Seattle on Saturday morning to get our fill of the city. We began in Columbia City, where I got to see Seattle’s take on a elevated train station…
…which, I don’t know, is maybe a little nicer than your average El stop. In the right light. I suppose.
…on the way to a PHENOMENAL breakfast at Geraldine’s Counter.
This was another Yelp discovery, and once again Yelp did not let me down. The French toast in particular received rave reviews, but since I didn’t know how long it would be until lunch, I figured it’d be best to load up and went for the Slammin’ instead.
Two strawberry ricotta pancakes, chicken sausage (my first experience with chicken sausage! Pretty tasty), and two scrambled eggs. Oh so good. My dad also ordered the French toast, so I was able to swipe a few bites from him and I definitely understood why it was so talked up on Yelp.
After breakfast, we drove into downtown. On our way we accidentally crashed a parade:
Which was amusing. And then we continued into the city so my mom and I could have panic attacks over the hills while my dad laughed us off, Mr. I Grew Up In Seattle And Learned How to Drive on These Roads.
We hit up See’s Candies and the Westlake Center (total bust, since my favorite boutique of all time, Romy, no longer has a location there 😦 ) before continuing onto the Pike Place Market in a quest to find flowers for my grandma.
A successful quest indeed. So many flowers for such low prices. I’m officially moving to Seattle tomorrow so I can take advantage of this.
We then grabbed some clam chowder at Ivar’s, which, as far as I’m concerned, has literally the best clam chowder in the world. We almost always hit up Ivars when we’re in town, so I’m glad even on a short trip we were able to get that in.
It was a whirlwind trip for sure, but I’m so glad I was able to go out. I loved seeing my family, I LOVED being in Seattle (easily one of my favorite cities in the world), and just all in all it was a fabulous weekend.
Have you ever been to Seattle?
Do you have family that lives far away? Do you visit them often? You know, it kind of sucks having half my family in the Pacific Northwest when I live in the Midwest from a never-get-to-see-them standpoint, but I love that it gives me the opportunity to go out there every now and again.