Sunday, March 02, 2008

Only In Seattle

I haven't done my Only In Seattle for a while. I do think I have a couple of things this morning to type on here before I go to church. The eagles are screaming noisily as I write this. [Now I am back from church and during Lent we are reading the Ten Commandments. Because I was involved with my blog here, I got there on about number 8. I wonder if God knew about computers and blogs when he handed Moses those stone tablets. I suppose the one I violated by being late to Church was keeping Holy the Sabbath. Or maybe not.]

1. Only in Seattle, on Valentine's Day, does the newspaper do a love story about....what else but how much we love our city, entitled "A Valentine to Seattle." No tips on how to have a romantic dinner; no tips on romantic spots; no tips on the best chocolate; no tips on what gifts to give your significant other. Nope, the Seattle PI had an entire column with hearts and everything about how much we love ourselves.

Some of my favorites from the list:

Razor clams, Dungeness crab and black cod

Pike Place Market's flowers, cheeses, magazines and citizens who call it home

Driving across state Route 520 with Mount Baker to the north and Mount Rainier to the south

Citywide panic when it snows

The kiss of cold, wet wind

The view from the Aurora Bridge

The views from all the hills, for that matter

The clouds part and Mount Rainier is revealed

The view of Elliott Bay from the top of the Alaskan Way Viaduct

Houseboats on Lake Union

Fantasizing about living on a houseboat on Lake Union

The jeweled skyline mirrored in the water as the ferry glides out of Colman Dock

Urban wildlife: raptors, coyotes, sea mammals, great blue herons, raccoons (and the volunteers who look out for them)

The hot guys who jog around Green Lake

Fresh salmon

2. Only in Seattle do we have a "Rant and Rave" section in our Sunday paper. Seattleites either rave about wonderful things that have happened to them over the past week or they rant about impolite jaywalkers or people who honk their horns. Today's paper included this icky "Rave" which I might have written as a "Rant" if I lived on a houseboat. But this is Seattle, after all.

Rave "For the wonderful and competent animal-control man who came to our houseboat on Jan. 19 to remove a dead wild cat from our deck. During the night, a raccoon had killed and started to eat the cat, but left it for us to deal with. He came shortly after being called, checked for a chip in the cat's neck and then bagged it. Very professional. Thank you!"

I don't know but we may want to think about revising our "Valentine to Seattle" if this is what happens when you live on your fantasy houseboat amid all of the urban critters.

3. Only in Seattle can one of our macho sports writers and steelhead fisherman write an entire article about Puget Sound sunsets. We shouldn't be surprised since Ron Judd is able to write prolificly about the beauty of Apolo Anton Ohno, short track speedskater extraordinaire. But yes, he devoted his camping column to our setting sun.

You really have to read his entire column. I feel like I am slaughtering to take quotes out of it. I love Ron Judd's words and the way he puts them together so forgive me but I will extract:

"People on the right coast of our continent can go for years — lifetimes, in all too many cases — without ever seeing the saltwater reflect a sunset's magnificence.

It makes the Atlantic, for these purposes, a wasted ocean. And it's just wrong. ...

Take it from us, the people out here on the upper left-hand fringe, who get noticed by Eastern-time-zone snobs only when the Huskies go on probation: A saltwater sunset is a beautiful thing to be penciling in on your day planner. ...

For many of us, in fact, it's a necessity. ...

We know from experience that showtime's coming fast, and there's nothing worse than seeing the absolute most spine-tingling Pacific sunset of the season from the front seat of your car, stuck in traffic on the Aurora Bridge. ....

Nothing in nature compares to the unrestrained glory of that golden orb sinking softly into the Pacific, settling behind the Olympic Mountains, steeling away behind the trees and above the painted kelp in a cove on Puget Sound. ....

Everybody has his or her own special relationship with the setting sun. Some people stare into the glory in the hope it'll heal some internal wound. Others see it as a reflection of their own joy. Still others stare into it not knowing why, other than that it brings a sense of calm they find nowhere else. ...

That would be a lot of your neighbors, friends you don't yet know, feeling the same high, walking away with the same buzz, reaffirmed at a gut level that yes, this is The Place.

Knowing the rest of the world will never see things in quite the same light makes the color all the more glorious. "

(Please go read the whole thing to do it justice.)

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Sunset over Whidbey (Janet's file photo)

4. Only in Seattle do the police continue to be rather serious about jaywalking. Seattleites know not to do the unthinkable but visit here from another state or country even...?? Be warned.

"Over the years, police have mounted a number of campaigns to crack down on the insidious crime of jaywalking. Last October, it had become so important that police jumped out of an unmarked van and roughed up two Canadians after they committed the act of infamy while crossing First Avenue following a Mariners game.... One of the unwitting scofflaws--who was attending the game to watch a relative, Mariners pitcher Chris Reitsma, play--was arrested, though he claims the cops didn't identify themselves before grabbing them."

("(Don't) Honk If You Love the Seattle PD" by David Volk from Spring 2008 issue of Washington Law and Politics)

5. And finally, not is it only in Seattle where we love ourselves unless we jaywalk, but evidently, they love us in the rest of the country, especially wherever it is they publish magazines.

Food and Wine (March 2008)

Terrific Washington State Reds
By Ray Isle
I tasted 105 Washington State red wines for this column, and choosing the wines listed here proved one of the most difficult selections I’ve ever had to make. Across the board, quality was remarkably high, and in the case of some wineries—Andrew Will, Cadence, Pepper Bridge—every single wine I tasted was first-rate. That’s a rare result for any tasting, and a testimony to how exciting Washington state wines are right now.

Saveur (March 2008)

"The Evergreen State has always attracted trailblazers, from the settlers who started farming its fertile valleys in the 19th century (the state now produces more apples and sweet cherries than any other) to the contemporary culinary start-ups that revolutionized their respective industries (Starbucks, Jones Soda). Nowhere is the state's pioneering spirit more evident than in Seattle's 101-year-old Pike Place Market, with its bustling food stalls and restaurants, both haute and homespun, serving Washington's local cuisine---an amalgam of edible treasures foraged from the state's inland forests, grown in the Yakima, Columbia, and Wenatchee valleys, fished from Puget Sound and the Pacific, and flavored with more than a century's worth of cultural exchange between the region's native populations and its immigrants."

Coastal Living (March 2008)

About visiting the museums and art galleries in our San Juan Islands: "While visiting these places you may discern certain thematic threads. On the surface, water is the most obvious---it appears in half of the paintings and drawings, and inspires a sensuous, fluid grace in many sculptures."

About our cuisine: "The Pacific Northwest teems with oyster and clam beds, eelgrass (a prime habitat for Dungeness crabs and shrimp), and boats that fish for tuna, halibut, black cod, and salmon.... So seafod naturally becomes part of the psyche of the Northwest. Northwesterners take their seafood seriously---not just what they're eating or where it's from, but also how it was caught."

Yep, I bet the fishermen take the time to watch the sunset before they catch my dinner which of course, I have purchased at Pike Place Market. Never would I jaywalk to cross the street to the stalls either. Now as I drink my morning Starbucks while staring at the water, I just have to hope that if raccoons eat cats that coyotes don't eat wussy Golden Retrievers.