It was something like this

So last week I was so excited for my little girl’s first weekend of football.  I had a minor medical procedure scheduled on Friday, but thought it was the perfect excuse to spend all weekend on the couch watching college and NFL, enjoying every minute.

Friday, had my gallbladder removed, not a big deal.  Home that night, doing well on Saturday.  By Sunday morning, things were a little more like this:

Ok, there was no wedding.  But everything else is pretty accurate.  Maybe with less werewolves.  But the pain and resulting health issues were pretty darn close to being pregnant with a half-vampire/half-human baby.  And I definitely looked like Bella does in those last scenes.  If drinking human blood had been an option to heal me, I would have signed up.

I wasn’t exactly pregnant with a vampire baby – my health issues had more to do with a complication from the gallbladder surgery and my Duct of Luschka.  A second procedure on Tuesday and I was back home with the family on Wednesday.  Grandma Dede has come to help keep the trains running on time, which around here really means making sure LC gets her bananas on time.  Because you do not want to see LC when her bananas are late.  It is kinda like that scene in the preview when Edward turns all crazy on Jacob.

So I’m recovering.  I have a few cool scars to show for the whole thing, but no incredibly multiplying in size and age half vampire baby with the world’s most ridiculous name.  This weekend is supposed to be chilly and rainy in Seattle, which means that it will be the perfect weather for lounging on the couch and watching football, and no vampire or duct of Luschka is going to prevent that from happening this time.

Imitation is the finest form of flattery

Or something like that.  Point is, sometimes it is easier to repost someone else’s awesome blog post then to try to come up with your own.  Especially if the other blog post is relevant to you, your blog’s subject matter and somewhat witty. 
And so I give you this post from the Seattlest.  (I’ve cut and pasted it here, but you should click through to them as well to show them some love and maybe learn some other neat stuff about Seattle.  Like this, for instance.
As the end of the year draws dangerously near, the Seattlest has been doing a series of Top Ten Countdowns, and I think we can all see why this one appealed to me. 
PS I apologize for some of the Seattle Speak in here, but think of it as a fun Google scavenger hunt to try to figure out what everything means. 
PPS And for real Seattle drivers, WTF?!?

Some Seattlests, like this one, are new to the city, and moving to a new place always has its surprises. Sometimes, the surprises come in the form of exciting hidden gems. Other times, they come in the form of confirmation of stereotypes. And still other times, they come in the form of things we really wish we’d known we’d have to deal with before we got here. We’ve got all types of newbie news (that certainly won’t be news to natives) on our list of the top surprises (some pleasant, some distinctly unpleasant) we encountered as new Seattleites in 2010.

1. Damnable Drivers:  Maybe the transition from honk-happy Boston to subservient Seattle particularly emphasized PNW drivers’ unusual level of deference, but good goddamn: nobody here knows how to drive. Whether slowing to a crawl because of a few raindrops, shockingly bad traffic (I seriously expected everyone here to bike, not drive), pedestrians who aren’t even needing to cross, one of those tricky four-way stops (seriously guys, there are rules* on how to handle those), or daydreaming distractions (PAY ATTENTION AND DRIVE PEOPLE), Seattle stands out as a uniquely frustrating place to operate a motor vehicle. I’ll take the angry drivers of New England any day: at least they cut you off on purpose, not because they’re contemplating whether they need to turn their compost pile. On a related note…

2. Poor Public Transit: The bus system is passable (and runs much later than Boston’s), but the light rail is useless, and the middling use of transit overall is a real surprise in such an eco-friendly city. Everyone seems to drive when going out on weekends, making it kinda awkward to be the lone party-attired lady on a mostly-empty bus. We should probably get some more effective solutions in place so folks don’t feel the need to drive so much, but…

3. Passive-Aggressive Politics (and everything else):  Passive-aggressiveness interferes with getting almost anything done around here, whether at the office or in the obfuscating system of government. But I guess if I were smart, I would have known Seattle was passive-aggressive. Right?
4. A City of Not-Neighborly Neighborhoods: People also like to call Boston a city of neighborhoods, but the ‘hoods in Seattle are somewhat more divisive and difficult to navigate between. This can lead to strong neighborhood identity, but also to insularity and a certain type of ego about one’s area, which in combination with passive-aggressiveness fosters the infamous Seattle Freeze. Have I already met people who immediately gave me the cold shoulder for not living in Capitol Hill or for not hanging out in the Central District? Why yes, I have. Welcome to Seattle?

5. Hillarity:  Seattle is so hilly it’s not even funny. This city may be known mainly for its rain, but it also deserves mention for the considerable hills that make the city topographically interesting but cardiovascularly challenging. Whether running a marathon up Madison and Interlaken (which sucked, by the way), biking up Fremont, or just trying to walk to work downtown, Seattleites have plenty of help from hills in staying fit. The Burke-Gilman does provide welcome flat terrain for commuting, but it’s almost impossible to avoid at least some inclines on most trips around Seattle. Along with #6, it’s a good reason to stay home and foster your neighborhood identity.
6. Rain City:  Having previously lived in Portland, I expected Seattle to be a similar dose of nonstop drizzle—never heavy enough to soak your hoodie, but never light enough to dry the sidewalks. Seattle actually rains quite a bit harder (making umbrellas more handy), but a bit less often, making it possible to go outside at least once a day and not feel those dreaded drops on your head. Case in point: this morning, I got completely soaked while waiting for the bus; now, it’s sunny out and the sky is blue. Even the rain can’t make up its passive-aggressive mind.

7. Snow Daze:  As the northernmost major city in the United States, you might expect Seattle to know a thing or two about the white stuff. I’d heard the horror stories about the storms of 2008, of course, but I took them with a grain of salt: a major metropolitan hub 30 minutes from the mountains can’t be that incompetent in dealing with snow, right? Uhh, wrong. A measly two inches shut down the city for four days, until the familiar rains arrived to wash it all away—but not before streets became slip ‘n slides, buses became toboggans, and thousands of folks stayed home to watch weather-related YouTube videos rather than do real work.

8. Coffee Craze:  It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it kind of was: Seattle really has coffee shops everywhere, many of the shops really are independent, and the coffee is actually really good (really!). It’s a pleasant change from the generic Dunkin Donuts experience on the East Coast and has almost converted me into a coffee drinker (though I’m still mostly attached to tea). Give me a few more months here and I’ll likely be espresso-addicted
9. Asian Influence: It makes sense, given how far west we are, but it still feels nice to nestle in an enclave of delicious Asian food, including some amazing sushi and inventive Thai dishes. Uwajimaya is a real haven for those craving Asian ingredients, and it’s easy to find decent Asian food (something Boston is somewhat lacking in) on almost every block. The strong community of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders is welcome too: I love being able to listen to the Hawaii Radio Connection and get mac nut chocolates at the Hawaii General Store. Plus, a six-hour flight to Hawaii instead of an 18-hour one? Yes, please.

10. Microsoft Madness: Everyone really does work for Microsoft. Or did. Or would like to. Or has lived with someone who did. Et cetera, et cetera, and thereon. Oh, and people actually have Zunes and Windows phones? Huh.

*Seriously, there is a real rule about what to do: “At a four-way stop the driver reaching the intersection first, goes first (after coming to a complete stop). If more than one vehicle arrives at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first.” So stop waving me through and just take your turn already.

We have good taste

Pioneer Woman (my same sex, nonsexual blog crush) recently had a poll of her readers asking “if you could live anywhere, where would you choose to live?”  I had a hard time with this question – perhaps I felt I should say Seattle since I chose to live here so recently, or DC because I miss my friends there or someplace I’ve never lived but sounds delightful.  In the end I chose the the third option and said the San Juan Islands – just off the coast of Washington, delightful and quiet and a place I could live and make muffins and knit and watch whales all day.  (It is perhaps this idea of an idyllic life that awaits me on the San Juans that attracts me there.) 

After the post she added up people’s responses as to where they want to live:

Top 10 Cities

Seattle (959)

New York City (777)

San Diego (700)

San Francisco (566)

Portland (558)

Chicago (470)

Boston (400)

Austin (390)

Charleston (305)

Los Angeles (304)

Regions (Note from Don: this is just counting the responses that didn’t list a city or state, but just picked a region of the country)

Pacific Northwest (636)

The South (376)

New England (360)

East Coast (332)

West Coast (162)

The Southwest (125)

With almost 200 votes (yes, PW has a lot more readers than I do.  She also has a cookbook and does book tours, not to mention lives on a cattle ranch.  We are not the same people.) – anyway, with almost 200 votes more than the next city, Seattle is handily the number one location people would want to live (as is the Pacific Northwest, by almost 300 votes).  I guess we have pretty good taste in cities after all :)

Twi-Hards Try Harder

That should be a bumper sticker, right?  I’m so clever.  Today is the day.  The third installment of the Twilight Saga films, Eclipse, has been released.  Walking into the movies yesterday to see Toy Story 3 at 8pm, we passed the growing line of Twi-hards waiting for the midnight showing.  (side note, TS3 saddest movie ever.  If you are going to see it, do as I did and see the 3D version so that the glasses can help hide how hard you are crying.)  I had a passing thought that this might be a fun way to see Eclipse, we live two blocks from the IMAX theater so it wouldn’t be far, but after seeing this line I am glad I didn’t.  I don’t mean to sound above it all.  I am about to write an entire post dedicated to my love of Twilight.  It’s just that I realized that some people love Twilight a little more than others.

My book club read Twilight in October 2008.  I was too cool for it then and decided to sit the book out.  I mean it was a book written for teenagers about vampires.  What on earth would be interesting about that?    I once picked up the fourth book at an airport book store when it first came out.  The nearest 14 year old started telling me how it was the awesomest book that ever there was and I totally had to read it.  I smiled politely and passed. I remember seeing a preview of the Twilight movie and being so confused – so Cedric Diggory has super human strength and sparkles?  But is a vampire in love with a sad girl?  How does this hold anyone’s attention?  My husband loves him some Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I felt like it had been done and no one sparkled in that one.

Fast forward to July 2009.  We’re in Long Island for a wedding. (side note 2 – we have attended more weddings in Long Island than any other place in the country.  Neither of us are from Long Island.  Discuss.)  We had flown in early on the day of the wedding and couldn’t check into our hotel so we were wasting time at the local Barnes and Noble.  I decided to pick up a book to read while at the hotel and on the airplane – enter Twilight (The Twilight Saga) into my world.  Note that this moment is when my life changes. I start reading to book and remarking to A at various points how ridiculous this whole thing is.  I mistakenly make such a comment while sitting on the runway waiting for our plane to take off.  The woman next to me snaps to attention at the words “vampire” and “high school” and then says, “Oh my gosh are you reading Twilight??”  She begins to tell me how it is the most awesomest book that ever there was.  This woman was not 14.  This woman was a woman, older than me.  She spent the rest of the plane ride reading over my shoulder and continuously asking if I liked it or exclaiming that something good was about to happen.

It is from this moment that I cannot put the book down.  It develops some strange hold over me and I must read the book as quickly as possible, at the same time wishing it never ends.  As soon as I race through the first book, I need to immediately know what will happen to Bella and Edward. (Goodness at this point I didn’t even know how Jacob would come to play in the story!  Such innocence!) I went to my favorite mail order company and order the remaining 3 books.  I then use super human vampire strength to not read any of the books for an entire month (!!), saving them for our trip to San Francisco and New Zealand.  This is difficult because I have to feed my habit somehow, so I start reading Stephanie Meyers’ blog but trying to do so without learning any spoilers.  In the end I learn a lot of what will happen before reading the books but it does not prevent me from enjoying them.

The books traveled with us through the North Island of New Zealand.  A will claim he had no interest in the Saga, but I would spend hours retelling him the story of what happened that day in the book and then discussing where the story was going.  This entire time I am aware how ridiculous this is.  I am 30 years old (or almost 30 at this point).  This is a teenage girl romance novel about vampires (and later werewolves!) and should hold absolutely no interest for me.  But as seen below,  here I am preparing to go bungee jumping and trying to finish  Eclipse (The Twilight Saga) so I know what happens in case I plunge to my death in the Waikoto River

To this day, I do not know why I was so into the books.  I will not pretend to tell you they are well written, I will not tell you they have an amazing story or plot development.  I think that Meyers has decent character development (unless its Bella who no one really likes and I actually read a great piece on how Bella is going to kill the women’s movement for an entire generation but warning it contains spoilers) and I really hope she writes prequels for each one of the Cullen clan following their vampire lore because I found all of that really interesting. The explanation I have come to is that there is crack on the pages.  It gets into your blood stream through your fingers.  You can’t stop, you have to read more or else you go into withdrawal.  It makes no sense otherwise.

Generally if you can break down people’s wall of shame around Twilight, I think most people who read them have enjoyed them and found the same crack factor that I did.  I don’t believe people who said they didn’t like the books.  I think they are too proud to admit that they could not read them fast enough and that they too had no explanation for their obsession.  But today I’m admitting to all of you that I am a Twi-hard.  Maybe not a level 5, line up for the midnight showing of Eclipse at the IMAX theater Twi-hard, but a really enjoyed the books, can’t wait to see the movies and would probably join Team Edward if forced.

Sometime this summer I hope to make the trek to Forks and I promise to share our adventures with you.  For now though, I leave you with this commercial.  The line “Edward has had 100 years to learn how to love” makes me giggle every time.