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We pulled into the flow of traffic on I-5 at Stanwood, heading south to Marysville, Everett and Seattle.  Eight lanes of headlights and tail lights.  Top a rise and they extend as far as the eye can see ahead or behind.  Who are all these people?  Where are they going?  What are they doing here?  There may be something like a hundred thousand cars along the route on just this one trip, one way, into Ballard.  I smile, remembering how it was on the Navajo Nation, where one could drive fifty or even a hundred miles and not see a single billboard or real estate sign, and maybe only a few cars. The contrast speaks to me as never before, on many levels.

We are sixty miles out from Seattle, yet we are in the larger metropolitan orbit.  We happen to have moved quite a bit from one region to another, over the years. I have experienced the Southwest, the Midwest, California and Texas and have lived in the center of the largest Indian reservation on the continent.  I have driven in or flown over much of America.  It takes a while to know this country, if anyone ever really can.

We just moved up from Albuquerque, NM to Camano Island.  We have traded great, flat vistas of geology that once were ancient ocean floors for vertical cuts between very tall evergreen trees and seacoasts with grey pebble beaches and a whole universe of life in another dimension under salt water.  We lived here before, between 2000 and 2004, so it is a second start.    

This place called Seattle (or Pugetopolis,) seems not to be quite like the other major metropolitan areas such as Houston or Chicago or New York.  For one thing, it is a region of startling and magnificent beauty and environmental wonder.  That affects people who live here clearly, but it is less obvious that it also affects the entire American ethos as well.  

When the view breaks open on I-5 as we cross the high span over Lake Washington, in the distance, we see the Space Needle, and I feel very moved every time.  It seems like a lighthouse beckoning from the shores of the future.  At night it is brilliantly lit, glowing in bright white light.

This is an icon that began as a drawing on a napkin and was constructed even though the engineering for it had to be developed in the process of building it.  This is a place where visionary imagining can turn into something excellent that literally lights the way to open possibilities.  That is downright exciting when there is reduced expectation and a tragic lack of progressivism and sapped energy in all too many place across the country and the very zeitgeist seems depressed, angry, anxious, uncertain.  

This pioneering spirit that refuses to drown in cynicism is probably due to this being the furthest point that one can progress to in moving West.  The first settlers, arriving by boat in a cold rain shower, set foot on a grey beach lined with very tall evergreen trees shushing in the wind.  On first sight, they felt that this was New York, by and by (Alki, in the Chinook language and thus, New York, Alki.) An amazing thing to think, given that they were looking at wet dripping trees, moss covered rocks and ferns.

That spirit seems to run through a lot that goes on in this region and to still be very much alive. One picks up on aspiration. The Occupy Seattle group began holding forth in generally the same place where the WTO protests were in 1999.  At least metaphorically, downtown Seattle is an economic epicenter for the world.  

I am confident that the young college age Occupiers will, in the fullness of time, become the heavyweights in the boardrooms up in the penthouses, the leaders in the legislatures of the land, and in Congress.  They will be the leading lights of the international system that studies finance and in the long run, guides the economic theory by which all the institutions operate.  In the short run, these will at least spur faster innovation and a speeded up evolution.  Protest may not ultimately change all the many policies that need to be changed  up and down the line, but they do begin new conversations that lead there.  

You can see this promise of the future in the faces in libraries and schools and in crowds of people downtown.  

What will surprise someone who has never visited here before is just how multicultural the Northwest coast is.  The libraries print up basic materials in as many as a dozen languages such as Tagalog, Tigrinia, Amharic, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Japanese.  You can see hybrid vigor in the faces of young people who derive from this melting pot.  It may not be very many generations before the faces in the crowds on the downtown streets of Seattle or Vancouver today are the faces of America seen in downtown Cincinatti or Biloxi or Little Rock.  

What is normally not emphasized in media coverage coming out of this region for consideration in other parts of the US is the extent to which economics and the culture here derive from being focused on the future prospects for the entire Pacific Rim, with its billions of people - really half of humanity's seven billion.  

At present we can look at Wall Street and the banking industry and how mistakes could be made by people there that can bring economic ruin to many people across the American heartland and in countries across the world.  Standing on the shore, looking out to the West where the next stop may literally be China or Japan, I feel that a silent but inevitable great tide is already turning.

The world will simply have to protect itself against being hurt by Wall Street and this means that a new paradigm of interconnectedness will evolve among the rising Pacific Rim countries and in cities like Seattle and San Francisco and their counterpart cities such as Tokyo and Singapore where all the trade centers are.  

The Seattle City Council has been considering a proposed ordinance to ban plastic bags altogether in the city, and there are other coastal communities that have already enacted such bans.  It doesn't matter if one initiative passes or doesn't this time around. The beauty of the snow capped mountains in the distance to the east and to the west, the sightings of Orca and Humpback Whales along the coast, the fresh clear water from melted ice, the fresh air that flows in over the Pacific, all make this a region conscious of the environment.  That consciousness spreads because of the writers here and the activists who work in many dimensions.  

When the salmon return, it is personal, visceral and motivating.  Who can stand on the banks of a little stream that meets the ocean across a grey beach and not marvel at the struggles of the fish as they push themselves upward against the current, over gravel benches and rocks.  Who can not consider how each of us can gain inspiration for our own upward struggle against obstacles and against the forces that push us backward, in order to achieve the fulfillment of our lives' purpose?  This is an awesome and ancient spectacle.  It should move us all to the core, to remember ourselves and our legacy as part of the whole upward movement of life on earth since the first amino acids were struck by lightning.  

We get out on the highways and we are salmon returning home on streams of wet asphalt, lights gleaming and wipers beating back and forth.

The political struggles to understand how to move in practical ways to improve and better conditions mirror these natural cycles.  Waves lapping at rocks on the beach don't appear to be having an effect, but in time, with storm surges that throw 20 ton cedar trees against the shore by the dozens and hundreds, change is inevitable.  

We learned a long time ago to pay attention to the voices of those who are out studying nature closely and to not buy farmed salmon from the net pen operations in British Columbia.  However, in places like Des Moines, Iowa or Albuquerque, NM as far away from the seacoast as they are, fresh caught wild salmon from the Copper River or from Alaskan waters may not be available at any price.  Thus, consumers don't have much choice except to be in collusion with exploitative forces that are unconcerned about any impact on the planet. This is our general plight as humans trying to be more mindful.  The same thing applies in many areas.  our whole system creates and derives profit from a belief in illusions that we generally would rather not face, but ultimately will have to.  These dilemmas have cruelly sharp horns

Having lived in different regions, it seems to me that the next great frontier is in discovering how to communicate about what is important in terms that might produce a truly sustainable future.  I suppose that effort begins with exercises like this one.  It is one wave lapping against the sand.  One hopes that some energy might return in the form of conversation and learning.  One wave, followed by another.  

Does anybody here live in the coastal area between Seattle and Vancouver? Perhaps in the area around Stanwood or Marysville?  

I'd be curious to know what kind of observations or thoughts you might have about this region or local conditions and concerns.  Anybody have any thoughts on the deeper meaning of "Uff Da?"

Originally posted to PacNW Kossacks on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:23 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One of the finest places on Earth to live (38+ / 0-)

    Yeah, winters are maritime and sometimes dismal. But the occasional freezing doesn't last long. Just layer clothing, find the best way to shed the rain and golf, garden or walk the dogs year round.

    Summers are spectacular. New residents find out why we put up with the rain - it's the cloudless blue skies illuminating saltwater waves and endless mountain vistsas.

    "Uff da", as our Scandihoovian neighboors in Ballard will tell you, is what you say as you climb out the bedroom window when the husband comes home unexpectedly early.

    Oh, and the ledgendary Ballard drivers....

    An Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt Democrat.

    by ozsea1 on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:40:31 PM PST

    •  the northwest summer is as sublime (22+ / 0-)

      as a norcal spring, but harder bought, so more ecstatic an experience when the clouds part and the sunshine pours in.

      •  Usually six to eight weeks (7+ / 0-)

        Of beautifully dependable weather in July/August each year. This is the time when you want to be in town. Take vacations during other times of the year.

        •  July 4th to Labor day... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Olkate, shaharazade, grover, millwood

          Though this year it wasn't much of a summer.  I hear this winter is making up for it so far.  Seattle is the only place, I think, where the weather is worthy of like 100 friends posting it on their Facebook status daily.  

          It took me a full year to recover from Seattle winters once I moved away.  I do love it there, though... and NOTHING beats a Seattle summer day/evening!

          Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

          by the dogs sockpuppet on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:00:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  8 days of temps at/above (6+ / 0-)

            80 this summer.

            Not that I was counting.
            :)

            We've always made it a point of going camping year-round. While many campgrounds close in winter or when snow arrives, many of the state parks do not. And if you're committed to getting out there, and schedule ahead of time, you can really see the beauty of Washington State during all four seasons.  

            That's the nice thing about Washington state. Winters are mild. Even when we're pitching our tent on snow, the weather isn't so cold, and in the throes of a heatwave, the temps aren't so high, especially in the Cascades. So you really can be outside all year long.  And while campgrounds are technically closed when it's snowing, you're free to walk in, pitch your tent and have some of the very best Forest Service campgrounds all to yourself. (Be sure that you've parked in a safe place and that you have a permit if you've parked in a Sno-Park or any other place that requires one).

            Having all that outdoor gear is handy for when the power goes out too, which it does quite a bit. And often, it stays out quite a while -- like days. I have Puget Sound Energy as a "favorite" on my cell phone to notify them when the power is out. Heavy winds in the convergence zone, tall trees, saturated ground, these cause a frequent  loss of power.  

            San Diego had a power outage about a month or two ago and it lasted about six hours. EVERYONE was on their phone posting on Facebook complaining about it. The several of us who are from San Diego who have relocated up here were laughing among ourselves. Last year, one of us, who lives on the Peninsula, had no power for 8 days -- over Thanksgiving weekend.  A year or two before, I went without power 6 days during an ice storm -- weather in the low teens -- and my natural gas furnace, of course needs electricity to run the fan. I wasn't complaining because during that time, I figured out how to bake brownies on my Bar-B-Que grill via convection. If you have fresh-baked brownies and ice-cold milk (I keep powdered milk for emergencies) , life is pretty excellent regardless of anything else going on.

            There's something about living close to nature that many of us in WA have, and so when nature closes roads, turns off the lights, makes it too dangerous for your garbage to be picked up for a couple of weeks, you just shrug and go about your life.

            But having a good battery operated LCD lantern, a headlamp or two so you can go to the bathroom without bumping into walls, an excellent tent that you can pitch in your living room to sleep in for warmth, snuggly warm sleeping bags, and a bar-b-que or grill that you can cook on outside makes all the difference.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

            by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:05:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  coincidentally, it's also the best time (0+ / 0-)

          to get the hell out of the central valley's furnace of doom. i thank my lucky stars i married a pac NW'er.

      •  Wu ming, that was superbly poetic. And so true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonga 23, millwood

        My friends in Seattle got up a pick-up soccer game. It was pouring rain on the day of the match. I figured it was a rain-out, but they said, "If you wait for it to quit raining here, you'll never gave any fun." We played under the open sky. Halfway through, the clouds evaporated. Kids playing in utter ecstasy. Perfect day. Ahh.  

    •  I employ ... (4+ / 0-)

      the stopping short and lurching forward technique. And I use the entire road ... since I paid for the whole road. ;)

      Never say yada yada, when ooba tooba will do.

      by Desolations Angel on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:24:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is truly an awesome video! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, BusyinCA, Lizabet

      Thanks for embedding this.  We'll have to go and get an Uff Da bumpersticker today!

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:25:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMG! That's my Swedish Grandpa! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, millwood

      Who, when he immigrated from Sweden in 1916, (with Jon Nordsrom, btw) went STRAIGHT to Ballard.

      And I hate to tell you, he taught me to drive ...

      Don't worry though ~ I don't LIVE in Ballard (anymore) I had to move 'cause it was too expensive to live in Seattle now.

      Cat in Seattle <--- well really I live in Kenmore now but ...I still drive that way

      LOL!

      First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

      by mntleo2 on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 07:45:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My sister lives in Everett and I was just up (14+ / 0-)

    there last summer.  One interesting feature of Camano Island is that there is Onamac Point on the island ...

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:43:42 PM PST

  •  Welcome to the Pacific Northwest (28+ / 0-)

    I don't live in the area, but spend a lot of time there--primarily Vancouver, Port Townsend, Olympia.

    I've got a new Indians 101 coming up tomorrow (Sat.) on the canoes of the Northwest Coast which you might find interesting.

    I hope you'll post more about your observations on the area.

    •  Will you talk about the Natives Who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, millwood

      ...never got "recognized"?  Skagit, Duamish, and others? To me, who had a Skagit friend I grew up with and whose Grandmother taught me many things VERY Northwest, I am ashamed her tribe is not even able to claim where they lived for 30,000 years.  

      I once watched for an entire winter while this grandmother made a breast plate with dyed porcupine quills and how she sang as she made it.  Her wisdom about life I still carry with me 50 years later. One, as a euro growing up during some very racist times, is about race and how connected we are ~ if we but just listen to our hearts and see the soul.  Now I cannot see anywhere in this area without remembering I am privileged to have grown up here because the people who lived here before my people were and are so influential to my daily life  ...they are beyond awesome and should be recognized!  

      Cat in Seattle

      First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

      by mntleo2 on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 08:09:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This place grows on you (13+ / 0-)

    I am a Chicago native, moved here in 1990 after stops in Arkansas, southern Illinois, Cleveland, back to Chicago, Orange, CA and Fremont, CA.  

    I really did not like this place at first.  In fact, for years.  But I am learning to love the area, the year-round golf, the great mountains, the cultural environment (check out Seattle Opera and Seattle Symphony, they are terrific) and - well, you get the idea.

    Take a drive to the Fairhaven district of Bellingham via Chuckanut.  You won't be sorry.

  •  Hi Stuart, I'm in Everett (20+ / 0-)

    Just a bit down the road from Marysville.

    We got here in '05.  Don't want to leave.  Also been all over; NJ, MA, TX, CA, OK, FL, GA, MN and MO.  Used to have a LOT of "We're not in Kansas anymore" moments.  
    Seattle is extremely laid back and has been for decades.  Most of downtown was financed by taxes on alcohol and prostitution, our top bootlegger wouldn't let his couriers carry guns, because the money wasn't worth dying over.

    Traffic is terrible and cars run ALL day long.  Right now I have a 36 mile commute to Renton down I-405.  On a clear day we get great views of Mt. Rainier as we go south.  I've gotten into a carpool and that takes a lot of the sting out of the commute.

    When the mountains are out, the views are awesome.  I have Mt. Pilchuck outside my front door.  OK, it's 20 miles away, across a valley.

    Three things that seem unique to Seattle are bikes, dogs and coffee.  The buses have bike racks, people take their dogs everywhere.  An it's not officially a corner till there's a coffee shack there.

    •  Everett to Renton commute? Ouch! (13+ / 0-)

      Boeing?

      I've been in So King County for the past couple of decades. I got most of my "not in Kansas" moments out of the way while living in the Bay Area between growing up in Oklahoma and settling in the Seattle area.  

      However, I still have lots of "I can't believe how much I love living here!!!" moments, even after almost 20 years. Often it happens when I'm driving across a bridge, or when the mountain is out.

      Bikes, dogs, coffee, and water. Water infuses everything about life here. The lakes, the rivers, the rain, the Sound, the ocean. Ferries and bridges and Alki Beach and weekends at the coast and Snoqualmie Falls.

      I have never understood why most of the world's population hasn't moved here. I constantly marvel at our good fortune in that respect, because it might not be quite as spectacular a place to live if the population of Greater Seattle were 4 billion instead of 4 million.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:30:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm probably one of a handfull (6+ / 0-)

        of mechanical engineers out here that hasn't worked for Boeing (yet).  The company I'm at was started by former Boeing engineers, but now we build radios for the railroads.

        Water is everywhere out here, that's true.  But I think it's the rain that keeps folks away (thank goodness).  About 300 overcast days produces 39 inches of rain, about 2/3 of what we saw in Atlanta.  I wear a broad brim hat everyday and just don't worry whether or rains or not.  Remembering an umbrella will fail at the worst time.

        •  We don't get as much rain here as other cities (8+ / 0-)

          The late-night jokes about Seattle being the rainy city are actually off base. The correct phrase would be "Cloudy City". We get a lot of clouds, not so much rain. There are other cities in Washington that do get a lot of rain - we have a temperate rainforest over on the Olympia Peninsula - but Seattle benefits from the Olympic rain shadow many days out of the year.

          Agree the traffic is terrible. Progressives around these parts are working hard to get more transit built so we can alleviate the traffic congestion. Sound Transit is currently extending light rail to the University of Washington. That extension opens in 2016. From there, it'll go north to Northgate and then Lynnwood. Another extension, East Link, is being built east to Bellevue and Redmond.

          •  Happy to see the transit (5+ / 0-)

            being built out.  Given that we're water locked, we can't build out a decent grid system for transit like Minneapolis or OKC.  

            Doesn't help that we have idiots hindering the process evey step of the way (Eyeman, Freeman, MBA)

            •  Meh, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              markdd, millwood, Archival Footage

              Almost everyone I know votes No on a Tim Eyman initiative just because it has his name on it, including my conservative neighbors.

              His heyday is passed and endorsement is toxic these days. Even when people hate the idea of tolling, they despise Eyman even more because Eyman doesn't stand for good governance. He just stands for saying No to Everything. So while people could see that car tabs were too expensive, they don't necessarily see that every dime that the state collects is evil.

              If Kemper wanted his initiative to pass, he should have avoided teaming up with Eyman.

              © grover


              So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

              by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 08:03:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Umbrella? (3+ / 0-)

          I think I've mentioned it before, but in packing the house, I went deep into a closet and found a umbrella that a friend gave me when I moved here: still wrapped in its wrapper.

          It's with a bizarre bit of PNW pride to say that I've never once opened an umbrella in all my years living here. Husband asked if we should move it with us or should we donate it?

          I hesitated. I wondered if the Good Will would be able to sell it.

          I figured I'd toss it into the wardrobe box where it didn't take up any extra room and donate it to the Good Will at our destination. They could sell it for more money there.

          :)

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

          by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:56:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Long commute handled by the clock (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Olkate

        I live in unincorporated Sno county just south of Mill Creek.  I handled my commute to Renton by leaving the house about 3:15 AM, working in Renton as long as needed (thru whatever face-to-face meetings I have) and then driving home to finish my day as a telecommuter.

        It wastes lots of gas, wears down my car, but at least I only rarely suffer from grid-locked I405.

        This area is starting to come up to speed with public transportation, but still has a long way to go.

        •  Carpooling is the only way out (0+ / 0-)

          for us.  Four of us end up in two cars.  I live in Everett, 2 guys live in "Snohomish" and the other one lives between Mill Creek and Lynnwood.  In the HOV lanes it takes about 45 minutes to go 36 miles.  Gives us some flexibility for late nights or late mornings.  Our IT isn't sophisticated enough for me to do 3D CAD via telecommute.

          •  I used to carpool (0+ / 0-)

            I had a carpool buddy and that saved gas and wear and tear and, on the way home, lots of time.  But he no longer works in Renton and I am alone.  No one any near my building works my hours.  But carpooling, when you can do it, rocks.

    •  Pilchuckers (5+ / 0-)

      I did Pilchuck this November when it had that first dusting of snow. Some lakes, Twenty-two and Heather as well. Photography, etc.

      Never say yada yada, when ooba tooba will do.

      by Desolations Angel on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:27:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pilchuck was the best hike I ever did (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lizabet, Angie in WA State, grover, markdd

        The views at the top, from the fire lookout, are simply beyond description. I take it from your ID that you've also been to the lookout on your namesake's peak? Is it as nice from up there too? (And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?!?)

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:41:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I love Lake 22. But was there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, markdd

        1 day before a huge ice cave collapse where people were killed.  Just more evidence of global climate change in the Pac NWest.

        Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

        by the dogs sockpuppet on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:05:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  For a little Everett history (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd

      rent the dvd "The Wobblies" and learn about the Everett massacre in 1916.

      This dvd has amazing footage of the Puget Sound logging industry during that period and the early efforts to unionize.

  •  Uff da! No picking on Ballard! (20+ / 0-)

    It is a fine place to live, my grandparents built there in 1907, I still have family on the same block(they aren't exactly nomads).  

    I learned to drive in a 1957 Chevrolet police chase car at Woodland Park, it is interesting driving with a shot gun next to the gear shift!  

    I may not be Scaninavian, but I sure went to school with a bunch of them!  Lutefisk, lutefisk, lefsa, lefsa, we're from Ballard, yah, sure you betcha!

    When one speaks of "coastal areas" in Washington, they are talking about the coast-the Pacific Ocean.  When referring to the waterways by Seattle, Marysville, Everett, etc they are referred to by name i.e. Puget Sound, Elliot Bay, etc.  Seattle people are very territorial and identify heavily with places like BALLARD, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, etc.  If you ask some one who lives in Seattle where they live, your are most likely get a response involving whatever area they perceive as their own, rather than "Seattle".  

    We get out on the highways and we are salmon returning home on streams of wet asphalt, lights gleaming and wipers beating back and forth.

    I like your metaphor a lot!  Many is the night I wended my way home along those streams!  Your making me homesick.

    •  Yes. Good advice. (17+ / 0-)
      When one speaks of "coastal areas" in Washington, they are talking about the coast-the Pacific Ocean.  When referring to the waterways by Seattle, Marysville, Everett, etc they are referred to by name i.e. Puget Sound, Elliot Bay, etc.  Seattle people are very territorial and identify heavily with places like BALLARD, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, etc.  If you ask some one who lives in Seattle where they live, your are most likely get a response involving whatever area they perceive as their own, rather than "Seattle".

      Seattlittes also tend to also be dismissive of those on the Eastside, not realizing that "The Eastside" isn't all Bellevue, specifically the crass commercialism of Bel Square.  It's useful to actually drive over there and get to know the little towns. Go to Downtown Kirkland and wander around.  Head out to Issaquah during Salmon Days and Bothell on the July 4th for its old fashioned parade. Woodinville has wineries, of course, but also some nice restaurants, Molbaks, some nice parks and the Sammamish River Trail (that leads all the way to the Burke-Gilman Trail).

      Redmond has Marymoor park which has a great dog park, hosts a Cirque  du Soleil show in the summers and if you follow WA 203 East, will take you out toward Carnation and then toward Fall City, home of Snoqualmie Falls. On the way during the summer, you'll see the beauty of Washington's rural valleys and may be overwhelmed by the abundance of road stands that sell good freshly picked cherries, flowers, berries, vegetables, apples, etc for great prices. So carry lots of cash and don't drive too fast because you'll need to stop quickly when you see one of these stands.

      During wet weather, you'll want to avoid these back routes. They're often flooded and these communities get cut off (Residents often drive an hour or two to go around). It's just one of those interesting things that we learn to adjust to here in WA.

      But definitely, don't just stay up in your neck of the woods. There's a lot to see in Seattle, in the South End, on the Eastside, on the Coast and on the East Side of the Mountains.  It's a beautiful state.  

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

      by grover on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:28:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I lived on the Issaquah Creek for years, it (12+ / 0-)

        was the one place I always wanted to live, my aunt and uncle had been there since the 30's and I spent my youth in the creek behind their house investigating the salmon and all manner of life.  We walked down to the fish hatchery in town and spent hours there when the guys who worked there actually had time to talk to kids and explain how everything worked.  I finally bought my own home on the creek in the 70's and would be most happy if I could rewind those years and never have sold.  

        I loved to drive to Remlinger Farms at Carnation, it was way out in the country then(like Issaquah wasn't) I don't think I would recognize it now.  

        I had family in Bothell(my aunt and uncle used to ride in the parade) and Mercer Island when they were only spots on the map.  It was a wonderful time to be a kid!

        If I really wanted to take a break, Quinault Lodge was my absolute favorite get away.  Making the loop around the penninsula for a couple days was just great.    

        •  Remlinger is still there (7+ / 0-)

          and it's probably not that different than you remember. Carnation hasn't grown up that much, although the Carnation farms are owned by Nestle, which always makes me sad.

          One development in recent years that's a good one is that Remlinger started selling the yummiest organic coffees.  Starbucks has NOTHING on Remlinger's coffees. Even Tully's and Peets can't come close.

          Fortunately, I'll still be able to get it after I leave.  You might want to try it as a little taste of home.

          http://www.remlingerfarms.com/...

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

          by grover on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:09:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Forgot the Pike Place Market! My husband (11+ / 0-)

        worked there for years, it was great to get off work, shop for dinner in the market and drive home together.  Those were probably the most perfect years of my life.  

        •  Pike Place needs no mention. (3+ / 0-)

          Most of my out of state friends come here asking to go there. And certainly, the flying fish and the skilled artisans make it worth a trip downtown.

          But Redmond and Woodinville have wonderful weekend farmers markets during the summer. Kirkland's has a Wednesday afternoon market that is excellent. And there are numerous little produce markets that we stop at all the time when we're in the area, from Waters Country Farms in Burlington to Local Boys in Gig Harbor. I'm not even sure that these are the very best in those areas. But they're on the major thoroughfares, and they offer excellent produce at good prices. And when it's Tuesday afternoon and we're in a town that we don't live in, a good produce market is like a beacon drawing us in.

          And, driving through all of the rural valleys in summer, from Whatcom to King to Pierce and points beyond, there are stands that carry fruits and vegetables that were picked just the day before -- if not that morning. And that's just in Western WA. Head over the mountains and you'll think you stumbled into the Biblical world flowing with milk and honey.

          Speaking of honey, heading up to North Cascades, there's a stand on the south side of the road -- a gazebo at a home -- that sells raw local honey.  Stop, take what you need. You'll probably never see a person (I never have.) That's ok. Please leave payment in the drop slot. Yes, this is Washington where honesty is just a way of life.

          It's some of the best honey you can buy.  I get the gallon-size container and use it for my dog's allergies. They like it, so even if it doesn't it's not wasted money. And I use it in cooking, in my morning chai, while cooking, and in everything else I can think of.

          There are fish markets that carry extremely fresh fish, so a trip down to Pike to get flying fish isn't absolutely necessary.

          I pick up lavender when I'm on the peninsula. I usually get flowers -- fresh and dried -- over there too. I buy all my bulbs at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. You can get a lot of really cool artwork there too, which I have.

          The NW Art Alliance features talented artists and they have shows.  So does the Bellevue Festival of the Arts And there are many others. Even the Christmas shows, like at the Tacoma Dome, feature some incredibly talented artisans and craftspeople.

          So Pike Place is somewhere that I take tourists. For everything else, I wander around the state.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

          by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 03:39:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I had severe Eastside-phobia (11+ / 0-)

        we recently moved to Kirkland from the Kitsap Peninsula (Port Orchard), and I dreaded our impending move for months - "I'm not a city person!", "It's a concrete jungle over there!", "I don't drive a Beemer!" - but I am so in love with Kirkland!  The city is full of beautiful parks, trees and open areas, and I feel at home here already.    

        Juanita Beach Park
        Photobucket

        I always mention one of Washington's hidden gems when welcoming new arrivals or visitors to Washington (even some locals haven't discovered it).  The
        Hood Canal
        on the Olympic Peninsula is "the only true saltwater fjord in the lower United States", nestled in front of the Olympics Mountains.  My family has lived out there (in Union, on the canal's Great Bend) since 1987, and it's an amazingly beautiful place.  It's usually during one of my frequent drives along the Canal's edge (on Hwy 106 from Belfair) that I have one of those moments that all Washingtonians become accustomed to - a sudden sense of absolute wonder and astonishment at the beauty that's around every corner here.

        Welcome to Washington, and thanks for a beautify diary.

        my sister's backyard at sunrise (Union, WA)
        Photobucket

        •  East-side phobic, too (5+ / 0-)

          I got a job in Bellevue and didn't want to move from Tacoma. Also, we have little kids & a nice house with a yard is a lot more expensive on the East-side. (Or Seattle, for that matter.)

          I really like Tacoma--nice size city, with a working harbor, close enough to Seattle (and Portland). Lots of water & natural beauty. Commencement Bay, Pt Defiance Park, Tacoma Narrows...

          Today is one of those not-too-rare beautiful clear days & I'm looking at Mt Rainer out my window as I type.

          [-8.50,-8.31] Look out honey, 'cause i'm using technology. Ain't got time to make no apology.

          by patop on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 12:05:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I like Tacoma, too - and Gig Harbor (5+ / 0-)

            Speaking of the Narrows, my husband joked the other day that "we're being followed by the Toll Troll".  Moved from Lacey to Port Orchard - bam! Tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  Moved from Port Orchard to Kirkland - bam! Tolls on the 520 Bridge.  That's a good tip for new residents - photo-electronic bridge tolling is all the rage here.  (You'll know you're being tolled - by lots of signage and/or the sudden blinding glare of the camera flash. Frequent users can get a GoodToGo! transponder.)

            Overall, I'm loving our move to Kirkland.  I feel like I need to exercise more, though - lots of fitness overachievers here. lol  For families, one big plus is the high-quality school district.  I'm impressed with the Lake Washington SD and my daughter's elementary school.  The amount of parental and community support here is awe-inspiring.  Kirkland is a great city for families.  

            With most of the leaves now gone, I have to do less peeking to view the brilliant-white peaks of the Olympics, and can see the sun glistening on the lake.  Life is good today ;)

            •  Be sure to check out Big Finn Hill Park. Lots of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kitchen table activist, importer

              trails up there. Take the trails and cross Juanita Drive (carefully!) to Juanita Woodlands that head down to OO Denny Park. The Woodlands were purchased by neighbors and friends to ensure they will never be developed.  

              Eastsiders are busy doing their own thing, quietly.  If you're a joiner -- or even if you're not, but want to a good thing while getting out  and getting dirty now and then -- check out: Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance  The list of accomplishments by such a little group should knock your Smart Wool socks off.  And they're just nice folks.

              And a special little gem that is still so quiet (and not very popular as everyone else heads toward lakefront parks) that you will be alone with your thoughts most of the time: Edith Moulton Park:  

              the wooded trails at the park, along 108th Ave Northeast at NE 136th Street. A path winds through the evergreens, and by deftly balancing on a fallen log, you can cross Juanita Creek. With some imagination, the traffic rushing by on nearby I-405 sounds like a waterfall. Since towering trees shield the view of the freeway, you almost feel like you’re in the wilderness.

              From the trail, you can walk down a closed private driveway, past the remnants of an apple orchard, and back to 108th Avenue Northeast. A paved path circles a grassy area, nice for baby strollers, walkers and informal sports.

              The lower park is next to a school. So if you visit when school is letting out, you'll see parents and children all over the place at the bottom. But you will still, usually, be all by yourself once you leave the grassy area at the street.

              © grover


              So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

              by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:54:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I sailed up to Seattle from Long Beach many years (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kitchen table activist

          ago in a 30' sailboat and spent an autumn in the area, having a fantastic time - I remember one day sailing the hood canal - no motor the entire day, including anchoring under sail right in the lee of .... Foulweather Bluff" I should have known better after experience off of "Destruction Island" (not fatal or problematic, really). My first sight of the Olympic Pensinula was coming into Neah bay under full sail, hard on the wind and loving every minute - and then spending a wonderful autumn singlehanding around the San Juans, Friday and Roche Harbor, a fiddle contest on Orca and out thru the current at Obstruction pass...

          I'd love to move there if I had to move anywhere, except I'm already in paradise, in the mountains of Colorado...and 300 days of sunshine....

          Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

          by blindcynic on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 02:51:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ballard Driving Academy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, importer

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:44:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've never heard it called this: (15+ / 0-)
    (or Pugetopolis,)

    We just call it the Puget Sound region.

    I hope you're happy here.  

    After 13 years, I'm moving on myself.  It's beautiful here, but Latitude 47 brings DARK winters. I tell people: it's not the rain. It's the darkness. The glorious long days of summer demand payment in December.

    We've hiked, backpacked, and camped almost every beautiful place in the state. We've sampled pretty much every type of WA wine and quite a few coffees; attended most of the festivals and fairs;  seen salmon cross the road numerous times, done all the touristy things from underground Seattle to the top of Space Needle; attended WA Dem Conventions as a delegate, and enjoyed the majestic reflections of orange and pink sunrises on Mt Rainier when they put it out in the morning.

    It's time for me to move on.

    You can have my space. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. And remember, after winter solstice, days start getting longer -- fast.

    :)

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

    by grover on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:08:06 PM PST

    •  Each to his (or her) own taste (10+ / 0-)

      It's interesting how different people can be.  You write:

      After 13 years, I'm moving on myself.  It's beautiful here, but Latitude 47 brings DARK winters. I tell people: it's not the rain. It's the darkness. The glorious long days of summer demand payment in December.

      I love this time of year.  I always feel a twinge of sadness after December 21 knowing that nights will start growing shorter and days longer.  I guess it comes from growing up along the northern tier of the country.

      I lived for three years in a desert climate quite a bit south of the NW.  The incessant sun was oppressive.  I got so sick of squinting all the time. Terrible.  I'll never forget the day I got off the plane in Seattle for the first time in August.  No jetway, just stairs, rolled up to the side of the plane.  I had left sun and 90s in the morning, and deplaned to clouds and 60s.  

      It was heavenly.

      There is something special about cold and dark.  It's my second favorite time of year after autumn.

      •  Amen (5+ / 0-)

        After five years in DC, I'd had enough of that. I couldn't imagine more miserable weather than the east coast until I visited my parents in AZ a couple winters ago. That showed me! The northwest is the only climate that I can imagine living in.

      •  Me too. (5+ / 0-)

        Grew up in Florida.  I love the grayness.  Been here since 1995.  But I had a friend that had to move back to Minnesota because of the grayness, wet, and such.

        "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

        by dancerat on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:28:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Western WA's rainy quality is higly overrated. (3+ / 0-)

        I grew up on Queen Anne Hll in Seattle but  lived for many years in NYC until widowed empty nester came and I could come home. What the weather reports in Seattle called serious rain, I with my still NY eyes  called a sprinkle, and the horrible half inch still makes me smile, although those in Marysville where the layout is such that floods are a real issue, may not agree. But on the other hand, I was in NYC where when the hurricane or nor'easter season was on, we could get multiple inches in two to four hours on a much more regular basis than I could ultimately tolerate and had hundred year old drains that simply could not manage. That yellow and red spot on the weather radar was a regular thing there, only muted because most people spent most of their time inside houses or apartments, inside buses or subways or at inside jobs anyway, save when the FDR drive in the Nineties, that's a street number and not a decade, was entirely underwater.

        But even in metro Seattle, the place ultimately is quieter because people don't have to anywhere the same degree have to fight and make themselves stick out just to surviv, and then tune out everthing the minute they hit their own front door. There is enough space. It is quiet at night and stars are visible when the clouds allow it. Even in Spring and before the Fourth when the dry season starts and kills all those NW lawns, people can and do spend more time outside, not doing pushy things but walking and waving at neighbors, and the like. Little businesses seem to do well. Depending on where you are, Dish TV doesn't work because there are too many trees in the way. My lot has its own personal forest with eighty foot trees, in contrast to NY where a big sales pitch for my brownstone was that there was a, as in 'one' tree, in front of it.

        It is a place of many small joys, not big fancy ones. Recycling and other 'nice to the neighbors, including the ones with fins and feathers' is not a movement but simply part of how people in large numbers choose to live.

        One of the things incomers may need to remember though is that there is a concept of incomers, since a lot of the folk have been here for what passes here as generations, in several traditions - the dozen languages is correct, but here, it's always been that way, and the incomers are not those still trying to master NW English from the same places other NWers came from a hundred years ago, so its not that unfamiliar, but from other US states with other ways.  At one point, while I was in NY, I heard about the battle to suppress discrimination against outsiders, who were from California. It can stll be like that in places.

        •  "Californicators!" I also found it odd (0+ / 0-)

          when I first moved here (1987) to hear anti-environmentalism (as in "Those liberal-tree huggin-hippy-environmentalists are takin' er jobs!")  one of the first local bumperstickers I saw here said "Spotted Owls taste like chicken."  o.O

      •  For me, it's not "taste." (0+ / 0-)

        Its how my brain functions. On a day like today-- cold but sunny-- I'm like a sunflower, seeking every ray of sunshine, almost unconsciously. My mood is better. I move quicker in both cognitive and physical tasks.

        I have a dog like this. On dark overcast rainy days, I have to drag her out of bed or she'll stay there all day long. Today, she is bouncing happily around the yard. My other dog seems impervious to any changes in his ecosystem.

        She hails from California. He's from New Hampshire. And so are all their parents, grand parents, etc. Maybe, at some point, our brains or our  DNA is changed just a bit to be better suited to our environment.

        All I know is, it's not "taste" for me.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

        by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:20:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm in the middle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        I love northern summers because the days are long and the sun is not too strong.  The desert sun is oppressive in the summer.  Where I live in Florida is more bearable because it is cloudy more often in the summer.

        I don't mind the cold of northern winters so much but I really don't like the short days.  I hate getting up in the dark and I don't like it getting dark in the afternoon.

        "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

        by matching mole on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 06:25:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pugetopolis - Knute Berger (2+ / 0-)

      The editor of the Seattle Weekly has a book out entitled, "Pugetopolis"  It is a collection of his writings on the area.  He was reaching for a name for the whole region that the Seattle culture encompasses.  It may really encompass everything from about Olympia up to maybe Vancouver, or at least Bellingham.  I imagine different folks would define it somewhat differently.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:54:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you don't mind me asking, and you don't have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Olkate, Agent99

      to be specific, where are you moving to?

      I'm always curious as to the places people consider as options to Seattle.

      I've considered moving from here, usually around this time of year, and I really come up short on options. For me I feel like I could only live in Washington, Oregon, or Northern California. Maybe Boulder, but I've never been land-locked so I'm afraid of the hives.

      Maybe Asheville, NC but I'm originally from the east coast and well, let's just say I don't miss it, especially the weather (yes I'd rather take 9 months of gray than the sweltering summers and freezing winters). I'm picky.  :)

      Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

      by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:19:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You guessed it: NoCal. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, Olkate

        There are numerous places I would have loved to move as well, but NoCal had the best job.  We're pretty flexible. We stayed here 13 years in spite of the dismal Decembers and know that most areas have pros and cons --except Texas. I know that there are nice parts of Texas (like Austin), but except for one person (who got her PhD in Austin, so she sort of lived in a bubble), everyone I know who moved there ended up unhappy and moving away, often at a loss.  There were a lot of jobs in Texas, but I said absolutely "Not Texas."  

        And actually, there was an amazing position (huge salary)  he was perfectly qualified for in Saudi Arabia, at least 2years commitment.  I told him, "go for 2 years if you want;  direct deposit your paycheck. The dogs and I will stay here. I am NOT moving to Saudia Arabia as a woman --Dubai, maybe, Saudi Arabia, no."  He  passed on that one.

        :)

        But we looked at numerous places here and especially abroad. The job market is extremely tight (duh!). So under the conditions, we're thrilled where we're  ending up.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

        by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:08:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Awesome. I love NorCal. Can be expensive, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover

          around the bay area there are LOTS of people. But I still love the place. Marin is probably one of my favorite places, as well as the Sonoma Coast.

          And the weather is phenomenal. I'm sure you're gonna love it!

          Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

          by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:36:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Grew up in Western Washington (0+ / 0-)

        I lived in Bellingham and Wallingford (Seattle) mostly. Settled in Milwaukee, WI and have been here for seven years. Similar light. More seasons. Probably longer periods of good outside time when you consider spring, summer and fall here (although August is HOT). Excellent symphony and theatre companies, great museums, easy to get around, a huge amount of parks in the city, fantastic beer (yes, craft beer), cheese, sausage, produce, the wilderness a few hours north, Chicago a few hours south, and the great lakes. I get all that, and the duplex I own in the most vibrant artistic community in Milwaukee (three minutes from the beach mind you) cost less than 140K while my wages are comparable in my industry to Seattle. About the only thing I wish was closer was decent trout fishing - that's about three hours away. And you have to get used to the cold.

    •  I did 7 years and finally left last year. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover

      The breaking point for me was 60 something straight days without a single sun-break.  Partner Sockpuppet about withered!

      Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

      by the dogs sockpuppet on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:09:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's 1-2 Whidbey Islanders Here. Im a Tragicaly (32+ / 0-)

    ex Whidbey Islander. I'm almost certain I've spotted a Camano Islander posting at one time or another. I'm a born and had-to-kicking-and-screaming returned Ohio rustbelter.

    As long as my mind survives I will never forget coming down the Cascades on I-90 driving our moving van, into the mist toward Seattle.

    I'm sitting near the banks of the once-flaming Cuyahoga River in Ohio, the flash seen round the world that motivated the Clean Water Act, and I see Copper River salmon several months a year. It's flash-frozen on the boats as well it should be, but the local idiots thaw it for idiot marketing reasons so when you buy it here you have to eat it same day.

    Get yourself a big bowl of Penn Cove mussels, the farm is within arm's reach of you on Whidbey Island. Look in spring to early summer for the Spot Prawns harvested around Whidbey/Camano. They're shrimpish but with exponential flavor. Bend over and pick up some dungeness crabs, and learn about "gooey-ducks" .

    Welcome to the land where it rains but never rains, where the clouds can go anywhere and do anything they want, where a sea otter might wander up the street like the Northern Exposure moose, where hummingbirds dive-bomb bald eagles.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:23:54 PM PST

  •  I too moved from ABQ to Seattle! (10+ / 0-)

    - though from the east coast originally.

    So that's two culture shocks I adapted to quite happily.

    I was blown away by the beauty and culture of New Mexico, and 6 years later, of the Northwest. I've been here 15 years.

    You've described the experience well.

  •  My parents live in Seattle - the Madrona (8+ / 0-)

    neighborhood.  They're modestly prominent socially and downright famous among the people who care about the city park system.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:21:33 PM PST

  •  I was born and raised here... (11+ / 0-)

      one of the few non-imports. Grew up in Wallingford, where my folks paid $5,000. for a house in 1944. Great place to grow up, kids of all ages in the neighborhood. I went to the same grade school- St. Benedict's, the same junior high- Hamilton, and the same high school- Lincoln, as my mother. My grandparents lived 6 blocks away. Worked at the World's Fair. Now live on Whidbey Island, where I raised my kids. Welcome, and hope you have a grand time. Love your descriptions! marsalt

  •  Beautifully written. (18+ / 0-)

    Welcome from Olympia.  I moved to Seattle in August of 1979.  It was a beautiful sunny day and crossing the Lk Washington floating bridge Mt. Rainer seemed about a mile away.  At the time I didn't know it was 70 miles.  On that day I fully understood the feeling that I was coming home to a place I'd never been before.  I was in love and have been everyday since.  

    Our cause is FAIRNESS. FAIRNESS for the masses. Our cause HOPE. HOPE for a better life and a better world. Yes WE Can, Yes WE Will. Together WE will OCCUPY THE WORLD. Let it be. www.OccupyOlympia.org

    by YellerDog on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:30:59 PM PST

  •  Presently living in Portland (10+ / 0-)

    Loving it here. The locals recently occupied the smallest park in the world. And yes, arrests were made.

    Looking for a holiday gift? Consider Krampus and other original wood block prints by Liv Rainey-Smith.

    by maxomai on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:31:37 PM PST

  •  In 1964, my folks moved out here (8+ / 0-)

    from the beautiful Ozarks.  I immediately put down deep taproots.  We live on Bainbridge Island just a short ferry ride across the Sound from Seattle.  Our little home is snuggled in big old cedars, ten minutes from Pacific Sound, and a hour from the Olympic mountains.  I appreciate the beauty of other areas, but this is home.

  •  People in MN can buy local fish. They can grow (4+ / 0-)

    them hydroponically, catch them in rivers, lakes, ponds, streams. They can seed ponds or lakes with fish, fresh water fish, the kinds of fish that are native to the region.

    There's no real reason (excuse) for someone in MN or OH or OK to think they "have" to have salmon. Certainly no excuse for them to support ocean factory fish farming.

    Among others who're doing it:
    http://www.growingpower.org/

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:40:11 PM PST

    •  If people knew they would agree (4+ / 0-)

      However, there is a marketing push that appeals to tourist experience that is hard to miss to buy any kind of salmon.

      There is no real information about the difference between farmed and wild caught salmon available once you leave the coastal region.  

      Wild caught salmon is prohibitively expensive if it has to be flown 1,000 miles or more.

      So, the reason that fish farming along the B.C. coast has customers is because there are people who can't really get the real thing and to whom a great deal of marketing is targeted.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:20:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget smelt. Rare other places but common (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Olkate

        in the NW. Fresh fish and shellfish in not nationally commercial species are common here, and some are cheaper than hamburger. Rock cod, Geoducks, wild oysters which can be teeny or huge. A river of clams and mussels that don't eat the drain pipes. But definitely don't forget smelt.  Fried.  Fairway has them in season for a fortune when they have them for NYCers.  

    •  I live in MN and we eat wild salmon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Tonga 23

      I grew up in Oregon and still call it home, despite having lived in the "east" for 20 years now. I was raised on salmon, 95% caught by family members. I will not eat farmed salmon under any circumstances; even buying wild fish seems wrong but I'll do it in a pinch.

      Happily, wild salmon is available in MN, in every fish market (there aren't many) and at Costco, Trader Joe's, etc. We get ours from family, usually via coolers shipped from Alaska these days. But I will not stop eating salmon, nor consider replacing it with something else. As a 5th generation native of the Pacific Northwest I consider it a birthright and was intentional in passing a taste for cedar-smoked Chinook on to my kids.

      Walleye is good. Northern are good. But sadly, most of the large game fish in MN are contaminated with mercury from coal-fired power plants, so we can only eat a meal or two a month. Wild Pacific salmon is almost the perfect food, enough so that I do "have" to have it sometimes!

      "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

      by Mr Green Jeans on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:36:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Port Angeles here, Oly Nat'l Park my neighbor.. (12+ / 0-)

    unbelievable beauty that I look out on every day AND Victoria. BC out the north windows

    My best guess was a reflection that did not look back, an image lost in every mirror.

    by Zacapoet on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:14:00 PM PST

    •  I don't live in Victoria (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Light Emitting Pickle

      but come there often from my home a couple of hours drive north on Vancouver Island. We look across at Port Angeles nestled at the foot of the Olympic Mountains. I have a seasons' pass to Butchart Gardens.
      All the talk about the northwest rings true to me, too. The sea dominates our world. Wherever I go, the ocean is always nearby.
      Unless we get weeks of rain, most here don't pay attention to it. The bright sunny days, while rare in the winter, are so gorgeous that I forget the darkness. And then, winters aren't very long. If I get that drab feeling in January, I find snowdrops out and know that winter won't last much longer.....
      There are things about the sea that make it different than fresh water lakes. There is the smell (sometimes not so pleasant), the seagulls squawking, yes - as someone mentioned above - sea otters walking down the street, whales occasionally swimming by, the herring fishery just offshore in February or March, and much more.

  •  Grew up on Orcas Island, which may be 'coastal' (7+ / 0-)

    enough as it is actually surrounded by Puget Sound.  Family moved there from Seattle in '71, most have stayed nearby or come back.  I guess I tend to wander away the most, but it's always a hoot to come back at xmas or whenever.  Annacortes and Mt Vernon are the 'big cities' on 'the mainland' where we would go on shopping sprees; Seattle was when we needed a Serious Metrolopolis, like with an int'l airport or a big art museum.  Vancouver was for a more exotic experience (for example I saw Bowie's Serious Moonlight show in a huge inflatable dome stadium there...)

    the entire region has changed so radically since the early 70s that it would take more than a comment to describe.  

    I don't know that I've ever been personally moved by the salmon.  But it was cool to grow up with lots of bald eagles around...

  •  grew up in nor cal, but went to college in WA (12+ / 0-)

    the trick to avoiding the depression people often get from the gloom of late fall through spring is not to hide from it, but to buy yourself some gore tex and polarfleece and a good pair of boots, and make a concerted effort to go out into the mist as often as possible, and breathe it in. find a good urban forest park or ravine or ferny neighborhood, and go for a walk every day or two, and it'll make all the difference in the world. hide from it, trapped indoors, and you'll go bonkers and miss out on its damp, hidden beauties.

    that, and get a grow light or two. the full spectrum light does wonders.

    it's a great place, nice people, gorgeous scenery, has everything it needs except a decent subway system, although they're working on it. tacoma, seattle, bellingham are all wonderful cities.

  •  I grew up in Ohio... (5+ / 0-)

    ...the best part of my year was always summer vacation when we went back to New Hampster to be with family. (Dad had moved to Ohio following a job)
      We stayed ~ 3 weeks in the area of Milton in northern New Hampshire.  I loved the smell, I loved the trees, I  loved the water...I loved the feel of the place. It was everything Ohio wasn't.
      Years later I met my wife while running a plant in Las Vegas and we eventually found ourselves house hunting in the Seattle area because of a job offer she received. Kinda like coming full circle, huh?.  It was like being on vacation again for me; I immediately felt at home. She was a lifelong  San Fernando Valley resident from California but wouldn't change a thing; she loves it here.
      As already noted, this place wll grow on you, as you will see. If it hasn't already happened, your home will become a travel destination for the relatives who don't live in such a magical place.
      We live north of Seattle in Bothell; because of the convergence zone the winters can be a little tough to take, but the summers are...Wow. On clear days I can see Mt. Rainier from an intersection two miles from my house. It seems so big and I have to remind myself that it's a hundred miles away.
      Welcome aboard, Stuart. The only advice I have is block out part of your mind from the inevitable day-to-day of life and let it live in the moment. If you can do that, just walking out your front door in the morning can be amazing.

  •  Love it! (4+ / 0-)

    My sister now lives in Enumclaw and did live in Des Moines. I have an uncle in Tacoma and one in West Seattle. We have hopes of moving to the Pacific NW maybe someday. Our plans were to move sooner but my sister is now involved with a man we do not like. We wanted to move there to be closer to my sister but for now that will have to take a back seat to wait out whether she sticks is out with butthead. We did some research on Bellingham which seems like a nice place to land for us older folks that would like the opportunity for being close to a major city but not right in it. Right now we live in NW New Mexico bordering the Navajo Nation. I do enjoy the wide open spaces and vistas as you mentioned. I love the Seattle area and hope that we can make the migration some day.

    •  Being older, think a bit about that olympic rain (0+ / 0-)

      shadow mentioned above. We have something called a convergence zone north of Seattle which gets weather straight from the Ocean and the North down the Strait of Juan De Fuca, like a pipeline, which collides in the Convergence Zone with stuff from the mountains and makes the weather there a lot colder and damper, not good for aching joints. And for whatever reason the weather is a bit harsher west of the Sound than east of it.  

      And our state has the great benefit that if you like Republicans, the area east of the Mountains is much drier, although both hotter and colder than the Sound, where weather below 26 or so is rare as is weather above 85 degrees. They too have beautiful places of various kinds, different mountains and their own different cultural benefits, like the wine growing now common there, and the urb or so when you need it, even deserts if you like that.

      •  I have been told about the weather. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lizabet

        We currently are in denial about what aging does to our bodies. We are still looking for the beauty and amenities. I know about the areas east of the mountains and the more conservative culture. No thanks that is why we want to move from here. Too many whaco Repugs.

  •  Welcome home! (7+ / 0-)

    I "voted with my feet" in Ronald Reagan's America, a refugee from west central Illinois glory bound for Seattle. Seapatch has changed a lot in the last 30 years. When I got there it was a really big small town. It's meaner now. I can't qualify that, but there's been a succession of out-of-town greedheads elbowing out the smarmy good ol boys and they've brought their franchises with them along with an army of 20-something MBA's. Definitely meaner.

    Meh.

    But I still love Latteland. Elliott Bay books. Two Bells hamburgers. The Comet. Sun Ya dim sum. Top Pot. The Stranger. I still have a little place there. But I'm on the dry (and FREEEZING!) side of the mountains most of the time now. Livin' the dream, bro, livin' the dream...

    Welcome.

    "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." -- Irish Proverb

    by Our Man in Twisp on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:12:34 AM PST

    •  A friend of a friend (3+ / 0-)

      lives up your way (Winthrop or Twisp - not sure which) and commutes to Boeing in Seattle - that isn't you, is it? We live outside of Chelan.

      As to "dry side" - Stehekin gets more precipitation annually than Seattle - it's just all snow.

      We had rain here in early July, and then again in late September, and it snowed about 3 weeks ago. Hasn't been as cold this year though - the last few years it's been single digits for weeks by now. This year has been low 30s or upper 20s, which is more like normal.

      It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

      by badger on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:42:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know, Seattle is one of the least "mean" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Agent99

      cities in the U.S. Coming from Baltimore and DC I can say that walking the streets at night here is actually an option. We still have more locally owned businesses than anyone else. We still eschew the big box/franchise/chain thing here. We're quite proud of supporting local. At least in Seattle. Things change dramatically in the burbs.

      Whenever I travel outside of Seattle to other parts of the country I'm reminded that there really, actually are Olive Gardens, and Applebees out there. And when I'm "beyond the line" somewhere out there in "Real America," struggling to find a place to eat that serves something other than white processed wheat flour things over processed white wheat flour things with a side of some processed white wheat flour thing....I start looking at the date and when my flight back home is.

      I'm sure Seattle has changed much over the decades but it is sure as shit WAY different than the rest of the country (except Portland and maybe Berkeley).

      :)

      Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

      by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:41:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was born here. Lived in Europe, San Diego, and (5+ / 0-)

    traveled all over this country and my experience tells me this place is the best. Welcome to the PNW!

  •  Great comments. Thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    confitesprit, thetadelta, markdd, Agent99

    It does feel welcoming.  

    Anybody have thoughts on the politics?  I have absolutely no sense of what is going on in the Island County area or in the area I am in, which I guess is more a Congressional District than a county jurisdiction...

    Stanwood seems to be a legacy scandinavian community, although the newcomers seem to outnumber the natives by quite a bit.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:41:04 AM PST

  •  "Uff da" (3+ / 0-)

    I'm Finnish by heritage and I get that {grin}.

    Glad to have you amongst us here in the the Puget Sound.  I'm just south of downtown Seattle.  There is a terrific plein air paint out held on Camano Island every summer.  Now that I know you guys are up there I might have to participate this year.

    Welcome!

    I've got my spine, I've got my (DKos) orange crush, we are agents of the free.....R.E.M.

    by FlamingoGrrl on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:44:10 AM PST

  •  Welcome to the Pacific NW. I moved to Alaska from (7+ / 0-)

    Colorado and Idaho and have been here for 16 years now.

    Finally noticing the rhythm of the tides, the waxing and waning of the moon, the response of everything to the changing of the light and the seasons, the flow of energy from salmon to eagle, from a shrimp pulled from the sea to my own body.

    In short, left the zombie life for the living.

  •  I'm Scandanavian, and live in Ballard. (6+ / 0-)

    My family moved to the eastside in '65 from Eugene.  I've been here ever since.  I work in Bothell, and communte around the north end of Lake Washington.  I've lived in the city since the late 70's, and have managed to experience the Sand Point, Wallingford (half a block from St. Benedict), Phinney Ridge, Roosevelt, Magnolia, West Seattle and Maple Leaf neighborhoods before finally settling down in Ballard.  Very nice place, with a strong sense of community.  Got married for the first time a year and a half ago (at 56) just up the street in a park overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympics on a beautiful late June afternoon.

    When I wake up in the morning and say to my, "I can hear the rain", she always smiles and says "Oh, good!"

    Welcome indeed.

  •  Oh I love the PNW. Ballard, Fremont, the islands, (4+ / 0-)

    the mountains.

    But it rains a lot, actually more cloudy than rainy, so it takes a certain type of soul to make it here. People come and go all the time.

    Especially after about the 4th winter.

    Been here for 12 years now. Couldn't think of living anywhere else.

    Every time I leave "the bubble" that is our little utopia and see the rest of 'Murka I feel as if I'm an anthropologist on Mars. I forget how "those other people" live, you know, "Normal Americans" or "Real Americans™" and when I re-enter our little bubble I feel a sense of gratitude (no offense to the Real Americans reading this, but, we're just different up here).

    These are my people. We wear recycled fleece to the farmer's market as well as the restaurant that got voted number one in the country by some magazine in New York. We compost EVERYTHING. Seriously. We do. Everything. The city takes our food waste and turns it into beautiful, black compost. And as far as trees are concerned, we consider them like deities. No joke. We've given them special status here and YES, you have to get permission from the city to cut one down thank you very much and if you don't like that SOCIALIST, LIBRUL "nanny state" kinda shit then stay in Texas, or wherever you are 'cuz yer gonna have a hard time dealin' with all us dirty fuckin' hippies up here (it feels good to have our own place really, I'm proud of us).

     At any one time from my house I'll hear chickens, a jet, a floatplane, a fog horn, a bridge horn, a seagull, a bald eagle, a bus, a train, and if I'm lucky, seals barking from the sound.

    The other day I watched a pod of Dall's Porpoise play in the water for about 20 minutes, jumping out of the water, chasing each other, all a ten minute walk from my house, which, if I choose, I could also watch the Salmon running right now, or go get Vietnamese Pho, of some shoes, or go for a hike in the forest.

    It is a unique place for sure. But you have to be able to withstand the gray skies for 9 (if we're lucky it's only 9) months of the year. And this time of year the sun (that glowing thing in the sky people talk about seeing in other parts of the country) comes up at about 8 and sets about 4 this time of year.

    It's the incessant gray here that gets to people. It might even be what makes us a "little kooky" up here.   :)

    Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

    by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:56:02 AM PST

    •  my family transplanted here from Michigan (4+ / 0-)

      and when I inevitably began complaining about the rain, my dad famously said "Hey, you don't have to shovel it."  Point taken. lol

    •  I've noticed a lone bald eagle on top of (4+ / 0-)

      the highest tree on Duck Island in Green Lake lately. Not every day, but often enough to believe that he must have a nest somewhere close. This is one of the dozens if not hundreds of things I like about this place (in addition to, of course, the ones I don't, like the clouds, rain, coldness of the locals, etc.).

      Yep, your comment nailed it.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:10:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There used to be a nesting pair in Woodland Park. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agent99

        Up in one of those big Doug Firs. You'd know which tree because it's the one with all the fish and sea gull skeletons, feathers, etc. scattered around the base of it. Don't know if they're still in there. But I'm guessing the one you're seeing is fishing from Duck and nesting somewhere in Woodland Park?

        Gotta love this place!

        Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

        by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 04:40:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Greenlake (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Methinks They Lie

        Seen the eagle yesterday at Greenlake.  Drew a crowd.  Live in Marysville, but me and the Mrs. love the walk around the lake.  It changes with the seasons, and is so relaxing...

    •  trees (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reenactor
      And as far as trees are concerned, we consider them like deities. No joke. We've given them special status here and YES, you have to get permission from the city to cut one down...

      Only street trees, and tree preservation is considered but not mandated in development. Seattle is actually far behind other cities (some on the Eastside, for example, and Thousand Oaks, CA) in protecting trees. The city removed protection from trees designated Heritage Trees this year.

      •  Right up the street from my house a couple was (0+ / 0-)

        fined this summer by the city for cutting down a beautiful Monkey Puzzle tree.

        And Seattle is, by far, one of the most treed cities in the U.S.

        All one has to do is fly around the country into other cities and that becomes quite evident.

        There is both a written and un-written ethic here concerning trees. The Emerald City is truly that, emerald. Flying into Seattle is always a reminder of that ethic.

        Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

        by Methinks They Lie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 09:42:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  anecdotes are not data (0+ / 0-)

          From the Daily Journal of Commerce

          Forest canopy is one measure of health of an urban forest. City-wide loss of high density tree canopy from 1972-1996 was 48 percent; loss of medium density canopy in the same time period was 67 percent. City-wide canopy cover in Seattle is now about 25 percent. Residential areas average about 16 percent, far below a American Forests standard of 40 percent).
  •  The Land of the Happy People (6+ / 0-)

    Seattle. It's said there are fewer churches and more bookstores per capita here than any other U.S. city.  The area nurtures a funky arts scene - amazing music, theater, film making and dance.  The area is home to great writers: Tim Eagan, Sherman Alexi, August Wilson (may he rest in peace) to name a few.  As I write, I'm watching the Bainbridge ferry cut through the fog on Elliott Bay.

    •  Tom Robbins. Jon Krakauer. Charles Johnson. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kitchen table activist, Agent99

      And some poets I'm forgetting...

      We also have the most locally owned video stores per capita (I believe), we buy the most sunglasses (go figure), and then there are the coops. We LOVE ourselves some coops!

      We're different indeed.

      That's why I love it here.

      Uh oh, SUNBREAK happening right now! Gotta go get outside!

      ;)

      Every election either the democrats lose or the republicans lose. But in every election there is always the same winner. And he drives a Mercedes.

      by Methinks They Lie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:26:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  also Washington "literatourism" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, Agent99

      Stephanie Meyers' Twilight series draws an unbelievable number of Twihards to Forks every year.  Ms. Meyers isn't a Washington native, but her popular series resuscitated an area that had been slowly dying economically.

      Also, #1 NYT Bestseller Author Debbie Macomber's popular Cedar Cove series is "loosely based on Debbie's hometown of Port Orchard, Washington, situated on the Kitsap Peninsula".  Port Orchard had a Cedar Cove festival a couple of years ago that brought a few thousand Debbie Macomber fans to Port Orchard, which transformed itself into its fictional counterpart in honor of the event.   She continues to support the area in many ways.
      Romance author Debbie Macomber donates $500,000 to Salvation Army

    •  Do you think that the sky has soft, gentle colors (0+ / 0-)

      in winter near sundown, different than in spring? Seems like that to me.

  •  welcome to the NW, I moved here almost 7 (4+ / 0-)

    years ago from Texas, primarily because I have (grown)children and grandchildren that live across the line in B.C. . I lived in the NW years ago, in B.C. for about a dozen years, initially because of the Draft but when it ended I was happy to remain, and I regret leaving the railroad and moving back to Texas. But I'm back, and will stay here unles unforseen circumstances dictate differently.
    I don't doubt you will love the area, and the people, so I wish you and all yours well.
     I also hope you'll join in the effort to help stop the construction of the biggest coal terminal in North America, destroying woodlands and wetlands just north of Bellingham at Cherry Point.

    Communities all along the rail line oppose it, and like here some oppose it not because of the giant coal terminal (storing 2.7 Million tons on site), but because they don't want app. eighteen 'mile and a half' long trains added to the present train traffic. Traffic blocking access to the waterfront and even to Cities along the hwy.

    Here are some good links (if you don't already know about them) http://www.powerpastcoal.org/ , http://www.coaltrainfacts.org/  AND http://blog.re-sources.org/ ( who have filed suit against SSA Marine for ignoring permits and started plowing down trees and building roads at the proposed site).

     Welcome.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:26:38 AM PST

  •  heh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, Agent99

    as a fifth generation northwesterner, by view may tend toward a bit more jaundice, but yeah, it has that god's pocket quaility.  Balanced by the experience of seeing more and more people in a place that already had too many (including myself).  

    I am unmoved by the space needle (ok, maybe a civic twinge of mild embarassment), but when I was growing up, the world's fair was a fond memory for my parents, that would have been right after their first anniversary.  My folks never quite knew what to tell me about the space needle, but the one thing my mom mentioned every time was that nobody had died building it.  A combination of "if you can't say something nice" and finding something nice to say, which -- for better or worse -- is common around here.  It was also a marker for how different her time was from mine, what work meant.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:27:32 AM PST

    •  the fair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical

      was a big deal to us, we were much more together in those days.You knew people from all over the city, from all the high schools. Everybody you knew had gone to see Elvis when he came here in the 50's. We all had many of the same experiences, which you only get locally now.
         We all went to the same parks, swam at the same places, played tennis at Woodland park, ate at the same hamburger joints.
         So all the building of the fair and space needle was a matter of pride and community. We all wanted to work at the fair, and I did for the whole time. You are right that it was a different time, but a great time! marsalt

      •  my dad... (0+ / 0-)

        ...went to QA high, and has a story about climbing the towers I won't repeat on a public forum.  And my grandfather built a business downtown during the depression -- one that lasted until the turn of this last century.  When I got my first job -- at that business -- other old fellows who had helped rebuild the economy of the city would say hello on the street, the bank had a calendar from my grandfather's store at every teller window...it definitely gave the city a human scale.  The idea of the place as cohesive is definitely in the family DNA.

        On the other hand, on the other side of my family my great grandfather was a name a local or shipping historian would recognize, and my grandmother was a rebellious thing, and my mom was poor.  Which is another view of that cohesiveness, and not as flattering.

        The past is a foriegn country, for real.  But your point about hamburger joints is certainly well taken.  Without Dags, whither Seattle?

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:15:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beth's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jessical

           12 egg omelets? I used to hang there a lot, moved around, got married, had kids, they grew up, one day my son, in his 20s, living over town, said--there's this great place we found where the omelets are so big....
             marsalt

    •  The provincialism of Seattle is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical

      revealed by the fact that public views of the Cascades and Olympics are not protected, while views of the Space Needle are.

  •  Welcome to the NW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    You should get in touch with your new LD Chair and officers to get involved in local politics.

    The Chair of the 10th LD (New LD lines) is Raymond Miller, Marysville,  360-926-8024. Their website is http://www.10thdems.org.

    There is also a Stanwood Democrats group that meets monthly. There next meeting is Sat, January 14, 2012, 10am – 12pm at the Viking Restaurant, in Stanwood.

    Enjoy your time here. I love it out here.

  •  It is my deepest wish to someday post a diary... (4+ / 0-)

    saying the same thing: I am moving back home.  I'm a 5th generation PNW kid, raised on wild salmon, chanterelle mushrooms, and mist. School and career forced me to move east in 1991 and I've since then become invested enough in my job, community, and family ties that I'm likely to be stuck in the Midwest for another 25-30 years.

    But some day, even if it's in retirement, I will return to the land of The Good Rain for good.

    Congratulations on having made it yourself.

    "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

    by Mr Green Jeans on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:39:56 AM PST

  •  welcome to my neck of the woods (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    Moved to the Portland area three years ago.  Love it here.

    If Kucinich, Grayson, Sanders or Feingold were President, you'd be accusing them of betrayal right now.

    by snout on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:52:00 AM PST

    •  Do you have any NW blog recommends? (0+ / 0-)

      I was looking through this list of blogs on this portal, but have not yet made it through the whole list.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 12:54:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  http://www.nwprogressive.org/portal/ (0+ / 0-)

        this is a great portal for everything PacificNW

        * * *
        I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
        * * *
        "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."
        THEODORE ROOSEVELT

        by Angie in WA State on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 03:23:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  sure, Washington is nice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deeproots, grover, bewild

    but Oregon is where it's at...

    •  For Pinot, sure (0+ / 0-)

      But if you want a good Cabernet (and really, who doesn't?) or even a Merlot, you have to cross the river.  

      And yes ( heavy sigh ) pay sales tax.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

      by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:16:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Teriyaki (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, Olkate, reenactor

    Nobody mentioned teriyaki.  It's practically the national food up here.  Nearly EVERY strip center has a teriyaki place in it.

    •  And the one nearest to me is really great (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd, grover

      I have eaten teriyaki all over the area, I admit I love it.  By great good luck, my favorite is walking distance from my house.  As soon as they see me walk in they call out my order and meet me at the register.

    •  Great Thai food (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd, Agent99

      You can't find really good Mexican food here to save your life.

      But the Thai here is astonishing. And other than San Francisco and New York,  I've never had better Chinese food consistently.

      Fish and Seafood? Amazing. Crab and oysters in particular? To die for.  Italian? Very good. Steakhouses? Inconsistent: there are some very good ones and some very overrated ones (I don't eat red meat, so I'm going on what the spousal unit tells me). Just lots and lots of truly excellent restaurants overall.

      But the BEST Mexican food here -- and God knows, we've tried them all and compared notes with friends and tried their suggestions as well -- is well, meh.  

      On the east side of the mountains, it's better, but still not as good as you'd expect.  

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

      by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:25:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is difficult to find good Tex Mex (0+ / 0-)

        El Paraiso in Everett is OK.  Azteca and La Hacienda are decent.

        •  If you're out that way, try (0+ / 0-)

          Viva Jaliscos in Bothell.

          It's not part of the Jalisco's chain, although it's very loosely affiliated.  It's family owned. The service is superior. Very nice folks. And the food is the best Mexican we found in Western WA.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

          by grover on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:22:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It did seem that every mall that didn't have a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markdd

      Starbucks had a teriyaki place. But my favorites were the little espresso shacks that were in parking lots all over the area. There's even a church in Lynnwood that has one in front of it. My church there, Alderwood, had a "coffee ministry" inside. Only in Seattle...

  •  Ski all year! (0+ / 0-)

    We shall not contribute to our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 12:54:08 PM PST

  •  Northwest winter can be charming (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, Lizabet, Agent99

    Here are some winter photos taken just outside of Olympia

    Just watch out for our northwest drivers in the snow.

    We are in that dangerous  half freezing/half melting zone.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 01:23:49 PM PST

    •  We are in that dangerous half freezing/half (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crystal eyes

      melting zone.

      Indeed you are. I woke up one morning in November of '05 and there was snow on the ground. Coworkers told me about the famous convergence zone that began in south Everett and how if it was going to snow anywhere, it would be there. I believe it was the winter of '06-07 when it snowed and then for the next 3 days or so, kept melting and refreezing. The city of Everett apparently felt that sanding Evergreen Way and other major thoroughfares was too expensive, so it did nothing to prevent Evergreen from turning into a sheet of ice. The only good part was that the south Sound, from the south end of Seattle to Olympia, seemed to get more and nastier winter weather.

      BTW, there used to be a sandwich shop in Everett or Mukilteo called the Convergence Zone.

  •  Must-sees and go-to's in Seattle (5+ / 0-)

    that most visitors and newcomers never heard of and thus miss:

    Carkeek Park: Forest hiking, salmon runs, beachcombing, mountain and sound viewing, trainspotting, cool playgrounds

    Sunset Park: Fantastic overlook of Puget sound and the Olympic mountains

    Golden Gardens Park: Similar to Carkeek, but more developed and crowded, especially in summer

    Ravenna Park: Great hiking in deep ravine near the U District, has an otherworldly feel to it

    Montlake Cut Waterside Trail: Great short hike that starts just SW of MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry, itself well worth visiting) and ends up at the Arboretum (also well worth seeing with some great nature hiking and tree/plant viewing during ALL seasons--DO NOT miss the witch hazels in January, the camelias in February, the cherry and apple blossoms in March/April and the rhodies in April/May)

    Columbia Tower & Phinney Ridge Starbucks: Two best views from any Starbucks I've ever been to

    Also, even though you've undoubtedly heard of them and probably intend to see at least some of them, these are also all must-see's:

    Pike Place Market (duh)

    Seattle Art Museum

    Seattle Central Library

    Alki Beach (via water taxi/free shuttle)

    Volunteer Park--Seattle Asian Art Museum, conservatory & water tower (and don't forget to check out the tiny park just SW of the main park entrance that has an awesome view of Lake Washington & Cascades)

    Ballard Locks/salmon ladder

    Discovery Park

    Gasworks Park

    Seward Park

    Ferry--any will do, they're all great

    Olympic Sculpture Park/Centennial Park

    Kerry Park (duh)

    Can you tell that I like parks and views? :-)

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:06:02 PM PST

    •  JIMI HENDRIX MEMORIAL (4+ / 0-)

      Greenwood Memorial Park
      350 Monroe Avenue Northeast
      Renton, Washington 98056

      But you are right Gasworks park is a most

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:13:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Haven't been there yet (3+ / 0-)

        As you can guess, I live on the north side. But since you mentioned Jimi I might as well add the Bruce and Brandon Lee grave site just north of Volunteer Park.

        Also:

        UW Herb garden in season
        Matthews Beach park in summer
        Woodland Park/zoo/rose garden in season
        Duck tour--kitchy but fun and scenic
        Space Needle (duh)
        EMP/SciFi museum
        Museum of Flight
        Boeing Tour
        Wing Luke Museum

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:22:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the nice selling points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, Angie in WA State

    Seattle, maybe Portland, are on our short list of retirement locations. It's another 8 years before the youngest graduates high school and then, boom - we are so outta NJ. I'm hoping it's a direct drive to the NW.

  •  My sister lives on Camano Island (0+ / 0-)

    I've visited her 3 or 4 times since they moved there from California 5 years ago. Its a beautiful area with spectacular views of the Sound and the Cascades. It has a nice rural feel to it while still being part of a larger metropolitan area.  The only thing I hate about the area, though, is the traffic going up and down 5. I've live in the Bay Area, and have driven in LA, Denver, Phoenix, and Washington, DC but, at peak commute times, Seattle has them all beat with the nastiest traffic I've ever seen.

    Alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life's problems!

    by sizzzzlerz on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 02:52:41 PM PST

  •  on "uff da", I have some observations (5+ / 0-)

    my grandmother (norwegian) from Wisconsin would always say this, when she was annoyed or had a small mishap.

    My father told me long ago that the translation to english was, basically, "Oh, shit!"

    On your essay?

    From a lifelong, born and bred, PacificNorthWesterner, I'd have to uff da, wish I had written it!

    You've pegged the Evergreen State, so far as I can tell. Encapsulating the general green attitude of the populous and the (for lack of a better word) reverence of the people here for the natural beauty of the land and what it offers us - life, rich with beauty and nurture.

    Write on!

    Oh - and welcome back to the neighborhood!

    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    * * *
    "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."
    THEODORE ROOSEVELT

    by Angie in WA State on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 03:07:21 PM PST

  •  Welcome! Seattle is 90 days of spring. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, Agent99

    . . .coupled with about 275 days of November.  Stand by for overcast. I am not kidding, it will take you a while to get used to it.   The average daytime high temperature at the coldest time of year is 45, not bad.  The high during the warmest time is about 76.  (My father-in law was a local television meteorologist, so I knew what was happening to me and boy, oh boy it happened.)  

    The people here are very talented in aggregate, so your co-workers will be quite sharp.  But you will find the people actually from Seattle are correct, but not gregarious.  By correct, I mean courteous (they signal when they lane change and walk with the light), but not inclined to easy friendliness.  It will take you a while to make friends.  But since so many people from California , the Dakotas and the Mid West have moved here the effect has declined since I moved here 21 years ago.

    There is so much to do here that it would be impossible to list everything.  If you have eclectic tastes, you will not be disappointed.  And when the sun is shining the Seattle area is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    If you are improving yourself the colleges and Universities here are top notch.

    I live in Lynnwood.  Lynnwood has one thing going for it.  And that thing is an easy commute to Seattle.  I walk three blocks, jump on the bus, fall asleep and wake up 35 minutes later in front my place of work.  To commute home I do the same thing in reverse.  Lynnwood is the most diverse city in Snohomish County.  You will find people from most of the world here.  Lynnwood is a strip mall gone wild, it is not a Ballard, Queen Anne, Capitol hill or other trendy or interesting type place.

    I hope you enjoy Seattle.  I have learned to appreciate it, but it took a while.

    I am a liberal. So, I should not expect any consideration from the guy I helped elect.

    by waztec on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:05:20 PM PST

  •  I'm in Vancouver, BC (3+ / 0-)

    and love it. Welcome to the west coast!

  •  Has Seattle changed that much? (0+ / 0-)
    When the view breaks open on I-5 as we cross the high span over Lake Washington,

    I-5 used to cross Lake Union.

  •  Since you asked..... (0+ / 0-)

    I came to Everett in '05, to work for Boeing (I'd put on a fake Boston accent and say, "I didn't come heah to work for STAAAAAAAAAHbuck's!") A guidebook I read deplored the commercialization of Evergreen Way, which made me snort a bit; the city is ugly and has more problems than just that strip. There just isn't a lot of there there, less so now that Moonflower Magicks is gone. Some jackass firebombed it and it was reopened soon after, but now it's completely gone. I only went there a couple times to get more tarot decks for my collection (I don't believe in them but they're often beautifully illustrated) and found the store appealing. To its credit, Everett has a decent orchestra (with aspirations of going pro), a performing arts center, etc. Clear efforts have been expended to make the downtown streets attractive. Despite what I was told on first arrival, downtown looked, and probably is, safer than I imagined. Everett has a state of the art Navy base (including a tower I dubbed Minas Morgul) a big-ol' toilet paper plant (closed? closing?) and of course the giant Boeing factory.

    Seattle is a beautiful and scruffy city. Don't mean to hate on the Space Needle, but just try finding parking anywhere near it. I had a "secret" place that I used 2-3 times, but then the city got wise and made sure they'd collect $$$. Soon after I arrived, I read a screed from a recent graduate of U-Dub: "I hate this place and am never coming back. No matter what you want to do, 7 thousand others have had the same idea, and you just pay and pay and pay." I guess that's to be expected when there's no income tax, but he's right: parking ain't cheap.

    The city's topography makes for an interesting time, too. One day, I was on my way to the opera house (delighted they have one) and what looked like a logical route was anything but. Seattle was always too smart for me; streets curve around and force one onto an unexpected route, or just plain end, and making a box as in any normal city doesn't work (parts of DC are the same way). Oh, and then there are places like 3rd and Pike (or Pine; I forget which): A perfectly innocent-looking intersection that became infamous for muggings in broad daylight. You'd never know it to look at it, which is worse than the streets that obviously say "Stay away."

    I dunno. 2-3 months of summer doesn't really make up for the rest of it, and the history of WA just plain isn't very interesting. I frequented the state history museum in Tacoma (home of Brown & Haley, makers of almond roca), but soon had learned everything I wanted to know about logging, the Coast Salish people, and especially SALMON. Good Lord. I never met a salmon I didn't like, but I do have my limits reading about them.

    Olympia, which fought a number of battles to become and remain the capital, isn't a tourist destination, although they do have a nice museum about the city and I'd have gone anyway as I collect state capitols. Cedar River Smokehouse in Renton was almost always worth the trip. Tiny, decrepit Vader actually has a house in the National Historic Register. And there are a few nice places, including the Radio Museum and a waterfall, in Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement. But I've lived in the "Pungent Sound" area twice now and have no desire to return.

  •  Exquisite diary, Stuart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Agent99

    I'm looking forward to reading future installments.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 06:27:38 PM PST

  •  A thought on the deeper meaning of "Uff Da"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitchen table activist

    ...from a former Seattle-ite who's jealous that you're moving there:

    BOOF-DAH!

    Seen on Facebook: "Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy."

    by boofdah on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 06:36:18 PM PST

  •  Oh My... (0+ / 0-)

    I lived in the Seattle area for 9 years in the 90's, son is still in Ballard.

    I've been in Albuquerque for 10 years, and have finally decided that I need to get back to the Seattle area. it will be a couple of years yet, but I'm going back, and I'm really excited.

    Thanks for this reminder of all that I'm in for, and all that I'm looking forward to. Looks like I will be following in your footsteps!  

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

    by grannysally on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 06:39:57 PM PST

  •  Welcome. (0+ / 0-)

    I am a Seattleator, grew up here but lived in Chicago from 1981 until about 7 years ago, with a brief return from late '88 to early '91.  For the first six years after coming home, I wanted to move back to Chicago.  I finally got that out of my system.

    It's beautiful here, and the weather is a lot more temperate than most places, but Seattle definitely has its downside.

    I don't want to spoil it, but you can always cry on my shoulder later.  :-)

  •  Casacadia! (2+ / 0-)

    The northwest is my home, Portland Or.  I love the coast of the NW and lived there for 5 years.   As a kid I read this poem in the backseat of our car as we drove through Puget sound. It sums up the NW for me as do Morris Graves paintings.

    [The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves]

    Lawrence Ferlinghetti

    The wounded wilderness of Morris Graves
    is not the same wild west
    the white man found
    It is a land that Buddha came upon
    from a different direction
    It is a wild white nest
    in the true mad north
    of introspection
    where 'falcons of the inner eye'
    dive and die
    glimpsing in their dying fall
    all life's memory
    of existence
    and with grave chalk wing
    draw upon the leaded sky
    a thousand threaded images
    of flight

    It is the night that is their 'native habitat'
    these 'spirit birds' with bled white wings
    these droves of plover
    bearded eagles
    blind birds singing
    in glass fields
    these moonmad swans and ecstatic ganders
    trapped egrets
    charcoal owls
    trotting turtle symbols
    these pink fish among mountains
    shrikes seeking to nest
    whitebone drones
    mating in air
    among hallucinary moons

    And a masked bird fishing
    in a golden stream and an ibis feeding
    ~on its own breast'
    and a stray Connemara Pooka'
    (life size)
    And then those blown mute birds
    bearing fish and paper messages
    between two streams
    which are the twin streams
    of oblivion
    wherein the imagination
    turning upon itself
    with white electric vision
    refinds itself still mad
    and unfed
    among the hebrides  

  •  We lived in Monroe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitchen table activist

    for a few years before moving way, way south. We've been down here for 5 years and have decided we will return to the Seattle area. Likely within the next two years.

    Seattle has a great theatre tradition and you can generally find something worth going to see anytime of the year. There are museums and art galleries all over and like most larger places the displays change regularly.

    As for the weather and how it affects things, you aren't prevented from doing much of anything if you really want to do it.

    We miss greatly the little things that you find as you cruise the area. If you've not been to breakfast at the "Bakery" in Sultan, do take the time.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:32:30 PM PST

  •  Just arrived in Everett (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitchen table activist

    from hellish, soulless Dallas and I wish I had done so sooner.  

    I can see the Cascades and the naval base in Everett on my daily walks.  Clean air is no longer a fond memory from my childhood in Ohio.  As I watch both seagulls and Canadian geese fly above my house, I feel like I am flying with them.

    I do not like the sun, and the rain is gentle--nature's kisses.

    Lovely diary, thank for expressing why we love it here.

    Dreams must be heeded and accepted, for a great many of them come true. ~ Paracelsus

    by page394 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 08:09:08 PM PST

  •  Welcome! (0+ / 0-)

    Washington is the greatest state in U.S. I came from California but wouldn't move back on a bet. This place has everything! You'll learn that it has everything to offer within 2 hours of your front door. And it's probably the most entrepenuerial state of all. Good choice.

  •  Was your dad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo

    Ferral (sp?) Heady - former president of UNM?  If so, I took a class from him in 1986 - first class of my MPA.  He changed my life in a wonderful way.  

    love the fetus, hate the child

    by Raggedy Ann on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 04:58:40 AM PST

    •  Most likely not. (0+ / 0-)

      The former prez died the year before I moved to Albuqueque, and I have been asked this before.

      My line came from Connecticut to New York State when my great great grandfather found work along the Eire Canal route, and then stayed and married the grocer's daughter instead of going West.  

      Some years back I was stunned to find a reference to a man with the same surname and who had died and whose estate was up for an estate sale, in the community that the Alamo in San Antonio has been the parish church for.  They had this scrap of newspaper displayed in a museum case.  

      That is more likely an ancestor of Ferrel Heady's than mine but who knows.

      The ways that families disperse over distance and time is a subject one can spend a great deal of effort on.  I have only scratched the genealogical surface.

      I have some of my great granfather's wheelwright tools, so I guess we finally made it all the way West.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 02:02:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There should be some kind of meetup (0+ / 0-)

    Given all the people around here there should be some kind of meetup.  Not to "do" anything, just to meet and maybe take a walk or whatever.  

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