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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
7/23/04-7/29/04
Ruthie had never been to Seattle, so that fact, coupled with seeing Mike's good friend Tony Leahy from USC, made Seattle a must stop.  Mike had been to Seattle a few times, but never really put the city together.  We certainly did on this trip.  It was definitely a "tourist weekend," but so much fun.  Friday night, we checked out the Madrona neighborhood, which is East of Capitol Hill (famous music scene, sort of seedy hip - think the Haight meets the Castro, San Francisco style) on Lake Washington, and going through a revitalization.  We ate salmon at a rooftop bbq, with light until 9:30 p.m. and then watched a trio of musicians perform at St. Clouds, which is a mellow garden spot, dinner/coctail/piano bar, with a hysterical Welsh bartender, who we could not pay to stop doing magic tricks . . . just kidding, he was great!  Apparently, that bar was about a mile from Kurt Cobain's house, so Mike of course had a drink out of respect. 

Saturday we walked the city for most of the day (after a yummy breakfast at Mae's on Phinney Ridge) covering downtown, Pike's Place Market, shops on Pine Street (ranging from the Gap to Tiffany), and Belltown.  Pike's Place is the world's coolest "farmer's market" because it has tons of fresh sea food in addition to produce.  If you are not familiar, it is home to Pike's Place Fish Company, which is where they filmed that Levi's commercial, with the guys throwing salmon across the market to each before gawking tourists . . . including us.  Mike actually got invited up there and caught a fish four years ago, after meeting some of the throwers the night before.  Alright, he dropped the first one (shut up Clint and E-ward), but he did catch the second one.    At any rate, after hearing this story for the last four years, Ruthie figured she should actually see the scene of the crime.   Belltown appears to be the new, young, urban hypster area in town.  It has galleries, bars, and restaurants to rival Abbott Kinney and a very cool new modern hotel called Ace on First Ave.  Oh, yeah, and excellent blood marys at Belltown Bar. 

Sunday we hit a Mariner's game, which Tony's parents were good enough to give us tickets to - thanks Mike and Mary!  Safeco Field is pretty nice inside.  Mike had only seen the outside while waiting in front of it for three hours for tickets which never showed up about four years ago.  Oh, well, it was worth the wait.  Wackiest, and perhaps the most fun game ever, though.  Three homers (one by Bucky Jacobsen), one off the foul pole, two pickles, groundskeepers doing a drill team routine behind second base (which was awesome!), a bat which flew into the crowd, a dozen foul balls caught by fans, and one woman beaned in the face and escorted about by medics (after she missed a foul ball), and a guy in a moose outfit riding an ATV around the warning track.  They sure know how to do it right in Seattle.

That afternoon, we caught the Van Gogh to Mondrian exhbit at the Seattle Museum of Art.  Awesome show, and we hope it comes to your town.  In brief, the exhibit is Helen Koeller Muller's personal collection.  She took up art history/appreciation/collecting at 40 years of age, after taking a class with H.P. Bremmer, and essentially patronized Van Der Leck, Seurat, Mondrian, and even Van Gogh, among others, through some of their most prolific periods.  Maybe the best part of the show was the collection of Van Gogh's early sketches (which were very different from the Starry Night and self portrait pieces we are all familiar with)  of the Dutch country side.  We also learned that Van Gogh was a minister, until he "took up"  art at 27.  Amazing, maybe we can take up being rock stars in our 30s after all.

The night finished with a trip up the Space Needle, which seemed liked a rip-off at $13 a head, but actually was pretty awe inspiring once we hit the observation deck.  We still say the place is capitalism at its finest or worst (e.g., we were not let into the restaurant to have a cocktail because Mike had a logoed t-shirt.  However, we could have entered had he bought a logoed polo shirt from the gift shop. 

Monday was web update day, and we found a great intenet cafe/news stand on University Ave at the University of Washington, which had a huge plasma television to watch the DNC speeches, all of which have been excellent from our biased points of views, and Barack Obama's speech was excellent from any perspective.  Things got more exciting when we had to take Ruthie to the emergency room at 11:30 p.m. after a full day of inexplicable and incapcitating back pains.   After four hours there, we learned she was ok, she had just sprained her back.  Due to the pain and medication, however, we ended up staying here in Seattle for a few extra days.  Turns out, it all worked out for the better, as we discovered Alki Beach, got the website completely updated, and  got to see the rest of the convention speeches.  We head out to Olympic National Park tomorrow, Thursday, July 29, 2004.
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