I’m writing this post in Seattle, Washington at a cottage with a view of Puget Sound right off our deck. I’m here with my daughter and her family. On the first two days, we ran around a lot, following an itinerary cobbled together from research from Seattle guidebooks and the Internet. Guess what? Things are not always what they seem. A Korean restaurant that looks impressive on its website turns out to be a tiny bar kind of a place wedged in at the mouth of Pike Place, the most crowded place on earth in which to try to find a restaurant with no markings visible from the street nor a place to park anywhere nearby.
Yesterday evening, we took stock, separately and together and then separately and then together again. This morning, I expressed what lessons I had learned about myself: that is, that I am idealistic and usually have a vision of what things or places are like in my mind’s eye that have no basis in reality. I also had an “idea” of going on the ferry and driving miles north to Port Townsend today because a translator, Red Pine, lived there. We weren’t going to see him and I didn’t even know him, so I realized that making that trek today was just an “idea.” So, instead, we went out for breakfast pastries–beautiful croissants and brought them back to the cottage for a leisurely breakfast.
I also changed tack about looking for Dungeness crab at pricey restaurants to eat at tonight because none of them offered a simple, steamed, Dungeness crab. And that’s all I wanted. The only thing I could find at a restaurant twenty minutes from home was a lunch plate of crab with a whole bunch of add-ons and extras, priced at $69.00! I began thinking last night about how our eating/food experiences could be improved after overpaying at eateries that didn’t meet our expectations for one reason or another. Finally, I realized that what suits us best is to buy fine ingredients, cook our own meals and eat at home. So, I started with a grocery store called Albertson’s. Lo and behold in the seafood section, there were whole, Dungeness crabs that weighed about 2 pounds each. Prior to that, I had called around and found a gourmet place that answered cheerfully that “yes, we have Dungeness crab” for $28 a half pound. The ones we bought at Albertson’s were $11. a POUND. I picked up some Poupon mustard, sour cream and fresh horseradish to mix together for a dip for the crab, along with melted butter, of course.
We found a grocery/eatery store that had carryout kale salad and an apple salad with dill which we bought to have along with the crab. So, that took care of dinner. Along the way, we passed a little shop called “Balloons and cupcakes” which reminded us that Josie’s 4th birthday is next Wednesday. We came back to the cottage with a helium birthday balloon, two cupcakes decorated with chocolate frosting and jimmies, and birthday candles for our after dinner birthday celebration. At the Planetarium and at the wonderful Elliot Bay Bookstore yesterday, we had bought some books for Josie, which I’ll wrap up for her to open tonight.
At our cottage, we’d seen a tiny hummingbird appear at dusk, fluttering and flitting about. From the beginning of our stay, I was charmed by a blue heron whirligig, an inventive concoction of very lightweight plastic, hand painted with bird’s eyes and feathers. I just loved that thing and thought how wonderful it would look mounted on the second floor balcony of the barn, visible from our kitchen window on the third floor, and also viewable by anyone coming into the drive of our home. So, we managed to find out from the owner where it could be had and asked the Wild Birds store to hold the last one for us–which we picked up today (see top photo.)
So, lessons learned (especially because I don’t travel a lot) have been to reflect about what I really want to do, and why–and to manage expectations differently (rather than eating out, to search for prime foods nearby and eat in.) Tomorrow is our last day at this lovely place. And we have had a lovely time of it. By not pushing ourselves too hard. And by enjoying what’s nearby with each other.