Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Impromptu rooftop concerts and urban sunsets

Overall, this has been a good past couple weeks of working hard, but maximizing my relaxation and enjoyment of the outdoors with the free time I do scrounge up.

Random Oberlin sighting of the week! Saw this window sticker as I was sitting in traffic passing through Wallingford over the weekend.

I went for a long run on Cougar Mountain truly is a trail runner's paradise there...50+ miles of trails, ranging in difficulty level from flat stretches to steeper, more technical single-track routes, and all interspersed with intriguing landmarks like a giant clay pit, an old mine shaft, several small waterfalls, a glacial boulder called the "Fantastic Erratic", and an old anti-aircraft military base. I've run at Cougar several times before, but this was the first time I set out on my own with a trail map in palm, water and energy gels strapped to my back, and just took to the woods for hours of solo exploration. It was 70ish degrees and sunny, but the forest is highly dense in most places. I ran in and out of cool stretches, warm pockets of air, sunshine and shade alike. Great way to spend my day, though it thoroughly wiped me out. I napped away my afternoon.

Jess is moving back to North Carolina at the end of this month, but we spent last Friday afternoon wandering around the lovely neighborhood of Ballard. Alan and I went back the following day so I could buy (finally, Tom, finally!) a cute lunchbox for myself to encourage more creative, thoughtful lunches to take to work. (Yes, expect a lunchbox blog post in the near future.) We also stopped in a cozy outdoor beer garden in Ballard to soak up the afternoon sunshine and watch the beginning of the Sounders game amidst a sea of fellow futbol fans. Did I mention that I love this city?

Zoe came over from Bainbridge Island later that evening so we could hang out. I met her at the ferry landing and we went out for Thai food down by Pike Place Market before going to the Hard Rock Cafe to see a band that she'd seen at the Ballard Market perform: Luc and the Lovingtons. The Hard Rock Cafe is a new addition for Seattle, having just opened its doors in February. I'm no Hard Rock Cafe groupie, but in all truth, it was a sweet venue. In addition to showcasing dozens of dolled up high schoolers for their prom dinner on Saturday, it boasts a super-sweet rooftop terrace with a nice view of the market and the Sound. In exploring up there, a couple members of the band recognized Zoe ("You're Ballard Market Girl!!") and we all hung out on the roof until the show started. The show itself was spectacular; their album got reviewed by the Seattle Weekly in the same breath as the Blue Scholars' album...woohoo local music! They're a feel-good reggae/funk sort of band whose music is all about peace, love and happiness, with special interest on their album in post-Katrina New Orleans, Latin America, and Africa.

Oh! And Jason Mraz has covered their "Freedom song." Rad.

After they played, some guy gave them $500 in cash to continue playing on the rooftop around the "campfire." It worked for a while, until condo neighbors complained and Hard Rock's bouncers kicked us all off the roof...but all in all, it was a truly magical night.

Cell phone photo. Pardon the poor quality.

In other news about my friends whose names begin with the letter Z...Zanna's birthday was this week! She had a rockin evening picnic, complete with Lady Gaga (in Ipod format, not in the flesh, sadly), volleyball net, yummy Trophy cupcakes (which just broke a record!), watermelon, frisbees, and a lot of good company.

Good, silly times were had by all.

There were also some lovely sunsets this week. Here's one Alan and I managed to catch from atop the Mount Baker neighborhood - a totally under-appreciated part of Seattle on the southeast side with spectacular views that most people don't seem to know about.

Most Seattle skyline photos are taken from Queen Anne hill, where the Space Needle features prominently in the view of the skyline. It's in this picture, too, but so tucked away behind the buildings that it's barely even a speck.

+ the moon.

So, I'm feeling much calmer and balanced than I was awhile ago. Crazily enough, I'm still averaging anywhere from 40-50 hour work weeks, but somehow I feel like I'm just managing better. The extra sunlight hours are helping my energy levels a lot. Running regularly again helps. And vacation just around the corner is a big deal! Onward...


  1. This sounds like an AWESOME couple of days! Have a great time vacationing in Oberlin! :)

  2. That little rooftop concert sounds awesome. Magical really is the word to describe something like that. The spontaneity of it all is once-in-a-lifetime.

    Also, the sunset in one photo, and the moon in the other are fantastic.