proud (part three)

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I woke up my first morning at the Fairmont at 4:30am starving.

Which makes sense when you think about it.   I really didn’t have anything to eat after 3pm the day before other than about 4 soggy calamari strips and 12 kernels of chocolate popcorn (is it a kernel after it’s popped?).

Naturally I remedied this by googling where to go find some early breakfast.  I also realized I’d not really had any proper Seattle coffee yet which was on my list.  Well Miss Seattle opened up that red carpet again by positioning me right across the street from one of the highest rated coffee shops in the city–Caffe Migliore. 

I tend to read yelp reviews and someone referenced an unsweetened mocha which sounded good to me. And I only had 90 minutes until they opened.  I was wide awake so switched on the TV and on HBO was a quirky little film called Lola Versus which was not greatly reviewed but I liked it.  In a 4:30am waiting for a coffee shop to open kind of way.

Right at 6, I threw on my clothes and ran downstairs and across the quiet street to the coffee shop, literally directly across the street.  There were only about 2 of us in there.

Gorgeous pastries all over the place taunting me through the clear glass, all fresh and tasty.

I selected a cheese and bacon mini quiche, a spinach a feta stuffed croissant and a….ok, yes I did, a chocolate croissant.  I said I was hungry!

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I also treated myself to one of their travel cups as a souvenier and got that unsweetened mocha (yum!).

They heated up everything except the chocolate croissant for me and I tell you I ate everything except that, saving it for a later snack.

I zipped back up to my room, grabbed a towel and spread out my breakfast picnic on the bed.  Yum!  I’m just realizing looking at these photos that she heated my items up in a panini press!  ha!

I knew what I was doing that day and realized it was just too early to get started on it so, after breakfast, I laid my head back down on those high thread count down pillows and took an early morning nap until about 9.

I had another big day planned–the monorail, the Seattle Center, a place for lunch called Toulouse Petit and of course the fancy charity dinner I actually came there for.  The one called Bedtime Stories where Erica Bauermeister was reading an original piece.  Along with three other famous authors from the area.

I popped out of bed, took a shower in that luxurious marble bathroom and made my way out at around 10am.

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About a block and a half on my walk toward the monorail I passed a comfortable shoe store where, in the window, they were displaying Uggs.  I’d recently been researching a style of Uggs I was interested in–the kind where the whole shoe /boot part is like a cable knit sweater with three big buttons and a sturdy sole.  It’s really an opportunity to wear slippers outside but this one style is less “Ugg-y” and clunky than others and actually kinda sexy.  They look good with leggings or jeans and I’d been looking in to getting a pair.  They generally run around 200 bucks.  I’ve never had a pair of Uggs before.

I popped in to this store thinking maybe I’d just try them on to get the size right and lo and behold, the exact ones I wanted were there, for a mere $159.99!  (I know, that’s still pricey but anyway).  OMG, I’m going to get those for myself as yet another BD present!  I’ll ball up all my souveniers in to those Uggs and wear them the entire time I’m here.  I mean it’s a brisk 60ish degrees…it’s winter!

With a little lilt in my step I put those Uggs on hold for my way back. Obviously I wasn’t going to haul them around the city and this shop is right on my way back to the hotel.

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I found the monorail easily after seeing some gorgeous architecture and street art along the way.

I don’t care if that monorail is only a mile, I love it.  I love the whole idea of it.  It was a fun little ride with great views.

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And it took me directly to the wonderful, magnificent, color explosion of the Chihuly exhibit.  I think instead of writing, I’ll just share photos I took of it.  It is just a banquet within a buffet wrapped up in a 5 star feast for the senses.  I took it all in, believe me.  They were even playing this evocative jazz in this great greenhouse type room and I don’t know about you but I lose many inhibitions while traveling so I just walked down to one end of it, tilted my head back, looked up at all those orange flowers and started dancing.

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Enjoy the show.

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After the Chihuly I contemplated whether to go up in the needle or not but really I had another voice in my head beckoning me.  Yes, you know her.  The Grand Dame.  Somehow going on the needle felt like cheating on her.  So I just looked at it from below and made a commitment to myself to head back in to town after lunch and bite the bullet and go have an audience with the Queen.

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I wandered around the Seattle Center for awhile– wow so much to do.  Seattle is a real city.  There is a gorgeous Science Center, several museums and theatres, a fountain that blew me away (water show set to music- I love those), just beauty all around.

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The restaurant I wanted to go for lunch, on a recommendation from a friend, was nearby so I walked the few short blocks and found it easily.  I was immediately in love when I walked in the door.  First of all, they were playing my kind of music–Prince, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire.  The vibe was just so cool in there–kind of old world meets modern.

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disco ball!

I was greeted by this gorgeous hostess named Alishia and seated at a high top with a view of everything.

They have a lunch time prie fixe menu which tons of choices for $17 so that’s what I decided on.  The cocktail list was also overwhelming with choices.  I landed on something called the Sunshine with citrus and an eggwhite frothed on top in one those glasses I love.  Yum.

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I had one of the best soups I’ve ever had anywhere at that restaurant–a cauliflower soup with crab on top.  Slurp!

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I also had the lamb sloppy joe which was equally delicious and hearty!  I was stuffed!

Alishia kept coming by my table to chat with me.  She was particular intrigued with my solo traveling adventure so had many questions.  We were fast friends and now are, literally, Facebook friends!  See, you can meet all kinds of interesting friendly people if you are alone with an open friendly posture yourself.

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After my leisurely lunch at Toulouse Petit, I headed back out toward the monorail.  Somewhere along the way, I made a deal with myself.  Well, I actually made a bribe with myself.  I was starting to feel tired and really wanted a nap. But those Uggs were still calling my name.

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I said, “Self, you will earn those Uggs with one and only one task.  You will ride that wheel.  By yourself, you will get in that wheel and you will ride it.  Then you will march right in to that store and purchase those Uggs that you’ve now earned”.

So that’s just what I did.

I exited the monorail and walked the half a mile or so down to the Wheel, lots of steps down (which meant lots of steps back up), bought my ticket and got in line.  My mouth started drying up and I suddenly had to pee but I stayed right in that line and got in my carriage, all by myself.

You see, I’ve written before about recovering from a severe anxiety disorder. I had extreme claustrophobia.  So being closed in to anything like that would have sent me in to full blown panic.  Then I also, as a bonus, had a real fear or heights as well.  I have that kind of depth perception thing where if you look down in to a deep crevice you feel like it’s going to pull you in.  There is actually a medical name for that.  And I have it.

I walked right up to that Queen, standing tall, shoulders back, leaned down in a semi bow, and entered her glass carriage.  They didn’t even try to put me in with someone else.  I think all of her henchmen were conspiring right along with her to help me pass the ultimate test.

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The girl helping me in assured me I had a red panic button and if for any reason I felt uncomfortable or wanted to exit I just had to push it.  It’s amazing how beneficial an escape plan is when you have no intention of ever using it.

She lifted me up and I surrendered to the lifting, licking my lips and swallowing what saliva I could muster in to my dry mouth and we were off.  You really have no choice but to let go and enjoy the ride and once you figure that out, then you can do just that–enjoy it.

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I think it was the second rotation that I realized I was over it.  My fear of the Grand Dame had turned to love, infatuation even, as I watched the water turn to city to clouds to mountains popping back and forth between the benches inside the carriage.

I even took pictures, my hand steady, my smile genuine.

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After the third revolution, I expected to be let off but she kept right on turning.  What’s going on I wondered?  They had told me at the beginning when I nonchalantly asked how long the ride would be (how long I’d be suffering) that it lasted three revolutions.

But I was going around for a fourth.  Until she stopped about a third of the way up on the city side.  Then again about three fourths of the way up, then again right on top.

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There I was, stopped, swaying in that glass carriage right on the top of the Grande Dame, smiling.  The happiest girl in the world.

As A Course In Miracles teaches “the holiest spot on Earth is where an ancient hatred becomes a present love”.

I can say, truthfully, that I fell in love with the Grande Dame that day.  Right at her peak, right in the clouds, right at the top of her game and my game, I fell in love with her.

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I was kind of sad to exit but ecstatic at the same time.  In hindsight I wish I’d kissed her.  Next time I will.

Instead of feeling exhausted hauling myself back up all those stairs, I felt lighter than air.  I felt like the Grande Dame was still lifting me.

I walked back through the market, past all the flowers and the bronze statue lady again.  I gave her another dollar whispering in her ear “you are amazing”.

Right after that is when an angel appeared, an angel who’d been watching me.

An African American man just standing on the sidewalk semi catcalled me then said “You are walking Proud Mama…walking Proud!”.

I smiled and shouted back “yes I AM!”.

I walked proud straight in to that shoe store, bought my black sweater Uggs, wore them back to the hotel, opened the door to my suite, poured myself a glass of ice water, opened the window put my feet up and smiled.

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6 thoughts on “proud (part three)

  1. Just Breathe

    I read every one of your posts but don’t comment often. But I do have to say, after many years of vacationing with friends, boyfriends, husbands (only one at a time), and being independent by nature, I started traveling alone. At first, just trips around the US, but then I ventured to Costa Rica by myself. And after that, onto Europe, all by myself, and I love it. And it is true, you meet so many more people when traveling alone. Maybe Seattle will be next. It looks wonderful.

  2. OMG, KCL! So much to comment on that I don’t know where to start. Absolutely fabulous pictures you share, everything is so tempting and taunting. But ….. The Ride! I am so proud for you! I know I would have peed right there on that beautiful seat —- however you managed to end up so confident and serene is a miracle to me. Most of all, Katie——you are looking positively beautiful! I love the new hairstyle even more every time I see it, and surely you have lost weight? You look “lighter” —- is it a figment of my imagination, or does this extra confidence make you lighter on your feet? That guy was very obersvsnt, and so kind, to notice your glow! You shine, friend!! You earned those cute Uggs!!

    Have more fun! I know I am 🙂

  3. PMLsmom

    Well, God blessed you again, you lucky dog! I have an extreme fear of heights myself…I mean, I can’t stay in a hotel room that is higher than the third floor (you know, to be able to survive a jump if necessary, lol). It got worse after I had my DS. SO GLAD you conquered it 🙂

  4. Suzanne

    Oh my goodness…one word comes to mind about your trip..DIVINE, simply DIVINE. Thank you for sharing it so vividly. I so admire your bravery to ride the Grande Dame! I suffer from claustrophobia myself with that trapped feeling and I would love to conquer it. I can imagine how much sweeter that made your victory ride. And girl, those Uggs are super-cute!

  5. ritanita

    Congratulations on overcoming your fears! Isn’t it wonderful to face them and let them go?
    I have the same eye thing and know what it is to face the feeling. I cured myself years and years ago while traveling in the Swiss Alps with a friend. I have to admit, though, at least I had someone pushing me to do it all. Vertical ski-lifts, cog-wheel railways up a mountain at a steep incline through small tunnels.

    My Ferris Wheel Eureka Moment took place in the 70’s on the Riesenrad, in Vienna. You stand up in a cabin with a lot of other people!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiener_Riesenrad

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