Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Sunny Saturday

Pramas had agreed earlier in the spring to help me put in a paving stone patio in the back yard. Since we finally seem to be having actual summer weather and have had several days without rain, the time to get to work seems to be upon us. We trotted off to price out materials and found, to my dismay, that we're probably going to have to spend twice what I'd originally thought to get what I want. My plans for the back weren't extravagant (less than 100 square feet of patio) but the materials were way more expensive than I thought. I correctly estimated the paving stones themselves but the underlying paver base and sand are outrageously expensive! Will have to rethink.

Finding ourselves halfway to downtown and hungry on a beautiful sunny day, we decided to be spontaneous and hopped the bus down to the International District for "lunch" (at 3:00pm!) at the Vindigo-approved Shanghai Garden. Kitty corner from Uwajimaya, Shanghai Garden seemed like a standard Chinese restaurant. Polite but disinterested waitresses attended sparse tables, all seated with white tourists. My preference with Chinese restaurants is to keep away from the touristy areas or anywhere that seems like my step-mom ("I want your Sesame Chicken, super super mild, as mild as you can make it.") would frequent. When choosing an ethnic restaurant, I'm greatly comforted to see people of that ethnicity actually eating in the place, which was not true of Shanghai Garden. We soldiered on and the menu was an exciting revelation, full of dishes I'd never seen or tried before. We ordered some excellent green barley dumplings which were freshly made for us (and took over 15 minutes to prepare, we were warned), some sublime pea vines with black mushrooms (raising my hopes estimation of the place quite high) and some utterly bland and horribly disappointing "hand shaved noodles" which were supposedly the specialty. Perhaps because we ordered the house special, the first item at the top of the long list of shaved noodle options, we fell into the "tourist option" trap and they purposely made the dish bland and tasteless... I don't know. The noodles were nothing special (Judy Fu's handmade noodles are indescribably better) and the complete lack of any taste whatsoever was truly amazing in its blandness. The single shrimp I enjoyed was perfectly cooked and tender but there was only one. I'd go back to Shanghai Garden because the other two dishes were really good and the menu is full of interesting options unlike anything I've ever seen before (crispy shrimp in mango sauce? ok!) but I will stay far, far away from the hand shaved house special noodles in the future.

After lunch, stuffed to the gills with dumplings and pea vines, we decided to walk it off and strolled in the sunshine toward Pioneer Square. Completely by accident we stumbled into a festival, the The Pioneer Square Fire Festival" to be precise. Antique restored fire trucks were on display. Firemen in full gear were competing in The Firefighter Challenge" where they sprinted around carrying hoses, ran up five flights of stairs, hoisted things, chopped things, dragged things, and eventually "saved" a 175-pound dummy. There was a mini course set up with inflatable challenges and smaller dummies for children in miniature gear to compete in a similar course. Live bands were playing at a nearby stage and we saw the Seattle Firefighters Pipes and Drums playing to gather people in front of an area where a "jaws of life" demonstration then took place and a dummy "victim" was cut out of a car while an announcer tried to explain all the different things the team was doing over the drone and crash of massive power tools and screeching metal. For some undetermined reason, a couple of teams of sled dogs were on hand and we missed some events (saw the remnants of a hot dog eating contest). It's not the sort of thing I'd make a special trip down town to see unless I was a huge fan of firefighters and their gear but it was fairly cool to stumble upon. I wish I'd had my camera!

On our way to catch the bus back home we stumbled upon a garden park that I'd never noticed before! I spied a plaque on a gated area calling it "Waterfall Garden Park" and Pramas and I detoured through. What a lovely space! It's described at the Pioneer Square website thusly: Located at Main and Second, this secluded, lovely park offers an oasis for sightseers, shoppers, and Pioneer Square locals with a majestic waterfall and surrounding seating. A popular lunchtime spot, Waterfall Garden is also wired with power outlets for those wanting to plug in outside. Privately built and maintained by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Waterfall Garden marks the birthplace of the United Parcel Service. Hooray for the Annie E. Casey Foundation! It was the perfect spot to tuck away out of the sun and Fire Festival crowd on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After a few minutes there, Pramas asked, "What is it about waterfalls that's so inherently soothing?" I don't know but I love having a waterfall I can bus to any given afternoon!

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Blogger Sled Dog Action Coalition Says:

Thinking about sled dogs? Did you know that the Iditarod is terribly cruel to dogs? For the facts: http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Blogger Nikchick Says:

Wow, no I wasn't thinking about s l e d d o g s, except to wonder what they were doing at a firefighting festival.

Do you (and the m a c a d a m i a farmer who did this same sort of drive-by blog comment thing) really think you're going to enact change in this way?

Not that I expect a reply back, since you clearly don't read my blog (or even this post, as far as I can tell)...


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