Category Archives: Seattle

Art at the Airport

Seatac Airport literally bursts with art of every kind and dimension – so much that the Port of Seattle (the airport’s overseer) offers a map of where the artwork is.

Glass, sculpture, photography and sound installations by both renowned and emergency artists are represented.

In the Central Terminal you’ll find Pacific Marketplace, a city streetscape with boutique shops, restaurants, a view of the airfield and public art. Designed by Fantress Bradburn Architects, this space encompasses 60,000 square feet and has 60-foot high ceilings. During daylight hours it’s flooded with sparkle and lights.

On the concourses you’ll encounter portraits of jazz musicians who have roots in Washington, talking water fountains (they gurgle loudly), mosaics, stained glass windows and more.

Art is displayed in the satellite train station, on the third runway embankment wall and wing ferns hover over the 188th Street Tunnel. Rotating exhibits grace the glass showcases.

Art installation of lost luggage over one of the baggage carousels at Seatac Airport

But until last night I had no idea that they’d created overhead art with lost luggage.

Indoor Skydiving Lands in Seattle

Indoor Skydiving Lands in Seattle

Last month, my grandson celebrated his 13th birthday with four of his friends, by skydiving indoors at the new I Fly facility located near Southcenter.

This experience rated better than any of those video games he usually asks for and gets tired of within a few weeks. Elias and his friends still talk about the I Fly experience and what a great time they had. And when they will return and get more skills checked off on their certificates.


I Fly uses a vertical wind tunnel that moves air up, creating an actual flying experience, not a simulation. Multiple fans located at the top of a large plastic tube produce and air flow that makes flying smooth and fun.

Professional instructors help you get your bearings because once you enter the tube you’re flying and to many that’s quite a surprise. What’s really fun for spectators is that after an instructor finishes helping his assigned group of “flyers” he or she then does tricks that only a skilled flyer is capable of.

For birthday parties, all the guests get a certificate of accomplishments and the guest of honor receives a video of their experience flying.

Children as young as 3 years of age may participate and there’s no upper age limit. Everyone looks like they are having the time of their life.

I would love to try this. The fun seemed contagious.

Reservations are recommended.

“Creep:” A Book Review

“Creep,” written by Jennifer Hillier, is a work of pure fiction or at least I hope so. Given some of the irrational behaviors reported by the news these days, it could be close to the truth. But I really think it is Hillier’s superb writing that makes the book a success.

According to her Facebook page, Hillier who is originally from Canada currently resides in Seattle and the book’s setting portrays areas in and around Seattle very accurately.

Named for Radiohead’s song “Creep” and appropriately mentioned throughout the book, the title is also the ultimate play on words.

When professor of psychology, Dr. Sheila Tao, ends her affair with her young teaching assistant, she’s not prepared for the lengths he’ll take to make her suffer. Tao’s fiancé appears to want to end their relationship when Sheila admits to having an embarrassing addiction. Besides her fiancé, not many people would care if Sheila took off for an indefinite period of time or so it seems when she disappears.

I hope that’s enough to make you want to read the book because I don’t want to spoil any of it for you. From the first page, I was hooked and spent many hours when I was supposed to be working, reading instead. Then I didn’t want it to end. I was rewarded for that. You will be, too.

Although a debut novel, the writing is skilled and professional. Characters are well-drawn, easy to love or hate, and follow the paths you’d expect them to. The plot, however, will keep you turning the pages. None of the clues planted go astray and all are wrapped up neatly. Honestly, I found no fault at all with this book. Hillier’s writing keeps me reading and wanting more – that’s something I can’t define and not very many authors have it. Part of it is flow and smoothness, but some of it is a secret quality that can’t be found in how-to-write books.

In August, 2012, Hillier’s new book, “Freak” comes out. I’ll be one of the first to buy it. It’s already on my calendar.

Jaunt Up to Joe’s Gardens

For the freshest and most delicious produce around, a trip to Joe’s Gardens in the Happy Valley district of Bellingham is in order. They grow tons of different vegetables and more than 300,000 potted plants.


For something very special, try their Romano beans. The flavor is nothing short of amazing.

Joe’s Gardens has been around since 1933, which says a lot about their success.

Fall brings beautiful braids of garlic grown from seed brought to the U.S. from Genoa, Italy. Shallots, apples, pumpkin and Fall squash varieties line the shelves along with fresh fruits and vegetables. All the crops grown on site are grown without pesticides. Quality and flavor prevail instead of prolonged shelf-life in a grocery store.


And everything is affordable, but hurry – Joe’s Gardens closes mid-October.

Come back next year in early March for bedding plants, vegetable starts, potting soil and compost so you can grow your own bounty.

A Ride-Along We’ll Not Soon Forget

About two weeks ago, my husband, grandson and I had the opportunity to take a ride with the Seattle Police Harbor Patrol Unit. This came about through a purchase I made at a fundraising auction. I’ve always loved seeing how the police work and have ridden along before, but always in patrol cars. This was a first and now my favorite ride along of all.

The sun gods offered us one of the most beautiful days so far this summer, so being on a boat on Lake Union made the time even more perfect.

The two officers who took us out shared all kinds of information about the Harbor Unit and it boggles the mind all the different events they have to be prepared for. Almost every officer in the unit dives, their boats have firefighting capabilities so the officers are also trained in firefighting and of course, they have to be skilled in boating. This is all in addition to their regular police training.

The Harbor Unit patrols both Lake Union and Lake Washington with a fleet of seven boats. Our Seafair celebration on Lake Washington this coming weekend is their busiest time of year.

During our tour, we responded to a call of a small oil spill from a docked boat. Nothing too dangerous, but a frequent occurrence for the Unit.

If you get a chance to ride with a police officer, in any jurisdiction, I highly recommend doing so. It truly is eye-opening.

The houseboat from the movie "Sleepless in Seattle."

Getting Cherry-ed

Everyone knows we grow apples here and then there’s the espresso stands – with one on every corner, you’d think they were mating. But did you know we’re one of the nation’s largest producers of cherries?

Actually we are the number one producer of cherries with California running second.

This past weekend I was privileged to go on a tour of a packing plant, an orchard and to savor some very delicious foods made with cherries. My favorite, of course – biting into a dark, red sweet cherry and savoring that first squirt of juice on my tongue. The cherry pies tasted mighty good, too.

Kate McDermott teaching cherry pie making.

Kate McDermott gave us a most informative and clever pie making lesson to launch our tour.

“Chill all your ingredients prior to creating the dough and putting the pie together, and you chill out, too,” says McDermott.

She also places a personal intention into every crust she makes and then lets the dough know she’s in charge. That may be why my pie dough never turned out before.

“Making a pie is like a meditation for me,” says McDermott, whose pie making tools all have a story behind them.

After a delectable and delightful dessert of cherry pie and ripe cherries, our group dined at Blueacre Seafood in Seattle.

I have never seen a Dungeness Crab as large as the one they served. Someone else ordered it and made our entire table jealous.

Dugeness Crab to die for

Kevin O’Brien: A Favorite Author of Mine

For relaxation, I read thrillers, thrillers and more thrillers. But I’m fussy about what I select. I don’t care for stories that have detectives or agents as the main characters and I’ve found legal thrillers, for the most part, a bit tedious. My attention wanes after just a few courtroom scenes. The ones I like the best have ordinary people as the heroes and heroines.


One of my all-time favorite authors in my particular genre has to be Kevin O’Brien who lives in Seattle. Because he talks about places I’m familiar with in his books, it’s not hard to visualize where a scene takes place and that makes the book that much more fun for me.


I keep track of what I read in a Word document. This is what I said about “Vicious,” which I gave five stars:  A thriller that kept me enthralled, one that I couldn’t wait to get back to reading and one that surprised me.

And “Final Breath,” which I also gave 5 stars and believe me, I’m very stingy with this perfect rating:  I wanted to be reading this all the time and not taking care of my responsibilities. A reporter and her son are stalked and “heroes” from her stories murdered. The body count was a little high, but the story moved right alone. A high octane thriller at its best.


Now, I’m ensconced in his latest “Disturbed,” and I’d really like to go read instead of work, just like with the others.

If you like thrillers, give O’Brien a try.

3 Seattle Blocks, 3 Happy Hours

Today I’m happy to have a guest post from Haley Shapley who blogs at Girl About the World. Here’s what she has to say about happy hours in Seattle:

They say there’s a Starbucks on every block in Seattle, and, well, that’s pretty much true. But a jolt of java isn’t the only beverage you’ll find on every corner — if you’re looking for drinks of a stronger kind or just reasonably priced food (or both), downtown Seattle offers a veritable smorgasbord of happy hours.

The options just along 1st Avenue are boundless. An easy walk from the ferry and not far from the train station, these three picks in a three-block radius will hit the happy hour spot:

McCormick & Schmick’s

McCormick & Schmick’s

1st and Spring

Renowned for their happy hour prices, this seafood-serving staple offers up ample selection. The menu rotates regularly; right now, you can get garlic bread or nachos for $1.95, the famed half-pound cheeseburger for just $2.95, smoke salmon and chili verde sliders for $3.95, and thin crust pizza and mussels for $4.95, among other choices. Drinks include a $3.95 Coors Light Pilsner, $5.95 red or white wine, and $6.95 fruity cocktails. The service here is consistently strong, and the price/quality ratio with the food can’t be beat.

Happy Hour food at Boka

Boka Kitchen + Bar

1st and Madison

Tucked into the sleek Hotel 1000, this equally fashionable dining venue wins raves for its truffle fries, which are, in a word, addictive. Equally compelling for the carnivores in the room is the $9 Boka Burger, stacked with Beecher’s cheddar cheese, house-made pickles, onion jam, and a side of those delicious fries. All the plates are $3, $6, or $9, and they have a large array of signature cocktails at a discount ($6 to $9). The Red Carpet, with Ciroc Red Berry, black currant puree, house grenadine, and a lime splash, is especially refreshing.




1st and Marion/Columbia

A dance club by night, happy hour hot spot by early evening, Contour has one of the widest selections of happy hour choices in the downtown area, with more than 20 dishes to decide among. Indulge in tomato honey basil soup for $2, Mediterranean chicken skewers for $3, Northwest oyster stew for $4, or Gruyere macaroni and cheese for $5. But what really sets Contour apart is its hours — happy hour runs until 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 9 p.m. on Fridays, so you can enjoy the discounted dishes much longer than elsewhere.

Book Winner and Roundup of Events

Congratulations to Bahiya S. who won a brand new copy of “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle” by David Volk.

Bahiya – please send your mailing address to my e-mail,, and I’ll get the book mailed right out.

Thank you for all who entered and stay tuned for another book giveaway soon.

Events in and around Seattle you won’t want to miss:                       

Craving a Pick-Quick burger? You’re in luck, the Fife location at 4306 Pacific Highway East, has reopened after their winter hiatus.        


What goes better with wine than the right food? You guessed it – chocolate. The 2011 Enumclaw Chocolate Festival, with a host of chocolatiers and wineries represented, runs this Friday (February 4) and Saturday (February 5). Visit for the location and times.

Although a bit on the last minute side, you might want to cancel tonight’s plans for this:

The Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador, Mitch Bechard, is holding a preview tasting of the new limited Snow Phoenix tonight at 7:30 at El Gaucho (2505 First Ave., Seattle).

This 15 year-old malt Scotch whiskey will be featured in signature cocktails along with tasty appetizers.

Win a Book: The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle

Hot off the press, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle by David Volk reveals all kinds of secrets for living the good life – for less – in Seattle.


Did you know you can get free passes to advance movie screenings by signing up for the JW Film Club,

Or that selected appetizers are free at Oliver’s at Mayflower Park,, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday?

Or you can take a free beginning yoga class on Saturdays at Samadhi Yoga,

Okay, that’s all the info I’m giving away. The book’s pages are packed with deals and discounts, plus it’s an entertaining read because David is a very funny guy.

David says, “Even though the book is all about free and cheap stuff you can do in Seattle, it isn’t about badgering merchants to save 5 or 10 cents on a purchase. Instead, it’s all about quality of life and finding ways to do things you would already do, for less.”

If you win the book, David will be happy to sign it at his next reading at Third Place Books in Ravenna, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15th.

At his readings he always offers a prize to the person who brings in the best cheap bastard deal (as determined by the audience). You could be the proud owner of a screaming monkey doll, a carabener calculator, a mooing cow flashlight/key ring or something else.

Lastly he mentions deals almost daily on his Facebook fan page, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle. You can also subscribe to a daily deal e-mail list at or go to his blog at If there’s more than one good deal a day, you’ll find the additional deals only on his blog.

To win a copy of The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle, make a comment on this post and the winner will be announced on Thursday, February 3, 2011.