Happy Anniversary To Us!

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington
WEATHER: Beautiful – sunny. High 70 – even though rain and cold had been predicted

We shared a breakfast casserole with our returning homeowners. I always like to have something prepared for the homeowners, thinking that if I had been traveling, I wouldn’t want to deal with grocery shopping and cooking right away. They told us about their trip to the Yucatán. I was there about 50 years ago, and am afraid that it has become very touristy.

Then the homeowner drove us a few miles to our second Seattle housesit. This is in the Lower Queen Anne District. It has a more urban feel. Our new homeowners gave us an orientation and then we said goodbye to them as they head off to Amsterdam for a week. Our charges are a Boston bull terrier (Oscar) and a sweet kitty (Lucy). It is a studio apartment in a 1950s building which has retained its old fixtures and charms.

After taking Oscar for a walk, we strolled around the neighborhood. We are very close to the Seattle Center, home of the 1962 World’s Fair and Space Needle.

The fairgrounds have been converted to theaters, ballets, concert halls, museums, and science centers. It still has the feel of a World’s Fair. George and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. Forty-three years ago we were married in Japan, where we were both working and living at the time. In keeping with the Japan theme, we discovered this pavilion, a remnant of the World’s Fair.

The weatherman was wrong today – it turned out to be a beautiful warm and sunny day…

For dinner, we discovered a sushi bar – Shiki, which means Four Seasons. It is very authentic – cozy, but not hoity-toity. The sushi master, the owner, chatted with us as he busily made lots of sushi and sashimi. He is the only sushi master in Seattle licensed to cut and serve fugu – poisonous blow fish, or puffer fish. Coincidentally, the town where George and I lived in Japan (Shimonoseki) is the sushi capital of Japan. When we told the sushi master, he was impressed that we had lived there. There are only certain parts of the fugu that you can eat safely, and if the sushi master cuts in to another organ, the entire fish will be poisoned. When we lived in Japan, it was fairly common to hear about periodic fugu deaths.

P.S. – Just in case you were wondering…..We are still alive. We did not eat the fugu….you have to order it a few days in advance. Maybe later in the week?…..

Last day at this housesit

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Cooler -high 60 and spotty rain

The weather forecast was for rain in the late PM, so we took Dundee for his walks earlier in the day.

We headed out to this “chili parlor” that we had seen in Ballard. We had researched it a bit and found out that it has been around for about 100 years, all in the same family. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives— check it out by Googling “Mike’s Chili Parlor”.

One of the reviews described it this way: “Mike’s is a dive bar with sports on the television and that comforting smell of a workingman’s armpit

We shared a bowl of his chili. There are 2 kinds – with and without beans. And, an order of fries that turned out to be a mountain.

Typical Seattle- even though it is definitely a workingman’s tavern, and not a hoity-toity microwbrewery, it still had great beers on tap

The afternoon was spent digesting all of the grease!!!

We did some packing-up and tidying of the house.

DINNER: Not wanting to eat much, we shared a crabcake on a slice of toasted baguette and a spinach salad – much kinder to our bodies than at lunch!

The homeowners arrived late – about 1:00 AM.

Winding up first assignment

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, WA

WEATHER: Cooler, but still very nice. Rain (more typical) predicted for next week

The day started with more long walks with Dundee. It is interesting to see that the trees and flowers have turned even prettier each day during the week we have been here. Today, we saw blooming tulip trees and azaleas.

Then, shopping. It is nice to have markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s nearby. We also stopped at the pet store to restock Dundee’s food and treat supply.

In the afternoon, we checked out another microbrewery. It is called The Rooftop. Unfortunately, the view was only over the industrial shipyard, but still nice.

We checked out Queen Margherita Pizza for dinner. Located in Magnolia’s village, it is a cozy neighborhood spot, just 3 blocks from our house. Some of the reviws call it “the best pizza in all of Seattle”. They do thin-crusted pizzas in a wood-fired oven.

We sat at the counter so we could watch the pizza makers work.

We arrived early, in order to get happy hour prices – off food, drinks and appetizers. We started with a platter of olives…

Then, ordered a proscuitto pizza…

Would highly recommend this place. It is tiny, though, so I think it gets super busy.

Leftover pizza will be tomorrow’s breakfast with an egg over-easy on top. Our favorite!

Getting around in Seattle

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Another un-Seattle-like weather day. 78 and sunny

After two nice walks in the neighborhood with our dog Dundee, we rewarded ourselves with an outing.

We visisted 2 breweries in Ballard. The microbreweries there have collaborated and offer prizes when customers get their “beer passport” filled up. Today we visited our 5th and 6th ones, so got our passport stamped, and redeemed our prizes.

Parking is almost impossible, even on a Wednesday afternoon. (Why aren’t these people at work?) Rental bikes are very popular. They are solar-powered to help riders manage the hills. They cost $.15/minute. You see the bikes everywhere. Riders pick them up, and then leave them whereever they stop.

A lot of people don’t bother with car ownership, which certainly makes sense. You also see these rental cars scattered on the streets.

We have also seen homeless villages – some tent groups, tiny cabins, and ancient RVs – just parked (forever) on side streets.

We explored Ballard a bit, going as far west as we could, arriving at a very popular beach. Then, back to the fishermen’s terminal where we had eaten lunch yesterday. We bought some seafood for dinners. This is Seattle’s popular Dungeness Crabs.

DINNER: Grilled halibut (purchased today at the fish market) with some rice and salad. Really good. Halibut is my favorite fish, I think.

A Day on the Water

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Incredibly warm. Breaking temperature records. High 78. Sunny. Is this Seattle???

Our homeowner is a yoga instructor and has a yoga studio in the basement. George uses it daily for stretching…

We packed Dundee up in the car and drove about 5 miles to a beautiful, urban lake called Green Lake. Due to the spectacular weather, it was packed with walkers. We did the 3+ mile hike around the lake.

Dundee behaved quite well around the other dogs. Just as we were ending the trek, he plopped down on the path as if to say “That’s enough”. We enticed him back to the car with dog treats.

After dropping him back at home to rest, we went to nearby Fishermen’s Terminal, at the suggestion of one of my faithful blog readers. It is both a yacht basin as well as a working fishermen harbor.

We enjoyed a grilled wild salmon lunch with this view in front of us. George began his meal with a local oyster…

We stopped in Ballard, also nearby, at another microbrewery. We are trying to get our brewery “passport” filled out so we can redeem a prize! 🙂

DINNER: Chicken parmesan. Using part of the leftover rotisserie chicken, I added sauteed onions and bell peppers, sprinkled on parmesan, then baked it all. Side was the last of the brussels sprouts, charred, then baked also with a little parmesan and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar.

Spring has sprung!

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Weather-breaking highs – in low 70s and sunny

The flowers, shrubs, and trees are popping out with the spring warmth. These are some photos from one of our walks today.

A house near ours with yellow pansies lining pathways

Lots of hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowers I cannot identify

This is one of my favorite houses along the avenue facing Puget Sound.

We can see the beautiful downtown skyline on our walks

Rosemary grows like a weed here. In this house, an entire wall of rosemary grows among the rocks.

This shrub has become a tunnel along the sidewalk

DINNER: We walked 3 blocks to the Village Pub in our village for half-priced burger night. Friendly, local place….and a good burger!

I could live here….

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Record-breaking warm (70) and sunny

We enjoyed this beautiful day at home. George spent most of the day watching a golf tournament, and I cozied up with a good book.

The day included 4 walks with Dundee. I wanted the exercise, which I certainly get on these walks, struggling up hills like this…

The neighorhood reminds me of the lovely homes around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis..on steroids. We are fascinated by the unique shrubbery each house has.

Many of the homes date back from the 1950s. Small bungalows have either been torn town to build bigger, more ostentatious homes, or stripped down to their foundations and rebuilt with 3 or 4 stories, to capture the views.

And views they certainly have! This photo was taken between two of these houses..

It doesn’t seem real, almost floating in the distance.

George joined me for a walk to the village. Only 3 blocks away, it has everything one needs….grocery store, post office, restaurants, pharmacy, hardware, etc as well as bus stops to the city. And, of course, at least 5 coffee shops, including Starbucks as well as small, local cafes…

The only problem living here is Seattle real estate prices. I would love to find this type of walkable community somewhere. Anyone have any suggestions?

DINNER: Gyoza — small Asian wontons filled with shrimp. Side was rice, and more asparagus, this time with an Asian flavor.