I have gone on several more runs in the neighborhood since my last post. Highland Park continues to the east of us, up one last ridgeline before the steep dropoff into the Duwamish river valley. The houses and yards to the east are, in general, in somewhat better shape than in our immediate area. They are also newer - more the midcentury ramblers on square, tidy lawns. At the southeast edge of Highland Park is Westcrest Park - it includes lawn, playground, and a series of trails in the woods. Nice! However, the best place to hang out in our general area is Lincoln Park, to the west of us by the Fauntleroy Ferry. I went for a looong walk with my friend in that park and it is just gorgeous! I had gone there once or twice before but never really explored it thoroughly. There are so many interesting trees in that park, including Ponderosa Pine and Madrones, which I love. It's a little over 2 miles from our house, so not "in the neighborhood" per se but close enough that I will most likely spend quite a bit of time there as the weather continues to improve.
Local shops: JoJo Espresso on the corner of 16th and Holden is quite good. On a scale of 1-10 of espresso quality, Starbucks is a 5, Lighthouse and Vivace are 10, and JoJo is 7. Next door is the SeaMart, also known as Scary Mart. Nathan went in there and confirmed that it is, indeed, scary. Fortunately, the 7-11 kitty corner from Scary Mart is not scary. N and I have even ventured into White Center *dun dun duuuuuunnnnn* for pho a couple of times. It's really not as scary as I once thought, though I would not go alone there at night. We went to Pho 88, which was pretty tasty and had very friendly staff. We went to another pho place whose name I'm forgetting. The food was good but the server was a super surly teenager. I don't want my dinner with a side of surly! The Safeway on Roxbury is larger and better than the QFC in Westwood Village, so may start doing quite a bit of shopping there. I have also discovered the Grocery Outlet, aka Gross Out, in Burien. Bargains Only! Gross Out is great for soup, cereal, hair and body products, snacky things, and canned goods. The produce and wine are super scary and the bread is hit or miss. It is THE first stop for any shopper on a budget. I'll pay incredibly cheap prices for the non-scary stuff and get the fruits, veggies and meat at Safeway.
Oh, my shopping adventures are SO exciting, aren't they? Next I will regale you with comparisons of laundry detergent and stories of darning socks. oy. moving on.
In case there was any doubt that there is gang activity in the area.... the other day I saw a guy walking across Delridge down near the community center, wearing all black with a big, long red "flag" hanging out of his back pocket. So, OK, I guess there are Bloods here.... probably others as well. I have this jolly cranberry colored handkerchief that I occasionally wear over my hair.... well, maybe now I will refrain from doing that in my neighborhood..... can't risk having someone see it and think I'm "fronting" or think I'm part of a rival gang. Perhaps I'm overly paranoid but really, better paranoid than dead. Can you imagine anyone mistaking me for a gang member? I suppose if anyone were to ask me what gang I was in I could just tell them that I am a Jet. I can even sing the Jets song from West Side Story!
We met our next door neighbor a couple of weeks ago - the one who lives in the yellow McMansion monstrosity. His name is Paul and he has a friendly yet disgusting pit bull who left a viscous, frightening trail of drool down my leg. He said he bought his house from the builder, and got a good deal since it was "underwater", or "upside-down", or however you want to describe "worth less than the money owed on it". He said that he enjoys the neighborhood quite a bit. Seemed like a nice guy. We are 99% sure he is gay, based on his demeanor and also on the fact that N saw him in his house super early in the AM, having coffee with another guy, presumably his partner. And no, I reiterate, we are not stalkers!!
We got a gorgeous desk from a guy on Craigslist. It is a Cost Plus desk, dark wood with small Asian style finials. Finally, I have a place for some more of my candleholders. We got the pictures up in the hallway - have a black and white, vaguely Gothic theme going on in there - and no Mom, don't cringe, it looks good! :D I put up my awesome Ski Vermont picture in the dining room, Nathan's cool Turkish and Italian plates are up over one of the doorways in the kitchen, and Amy's bright, awesome painting is up in our bathroom. The Ice Mirror and Akira are up in the bunny room. My Mom gave me a bunch of her Industrial Revolution era bobbins, which I LOVE. They are currently on the butcher block table in the dining room. I am not sure if this will be their permanent home but I think they look good there. We've been taking the decorating pretty slowly, which is kind of frustrating but also for good reason. Our old place was absolutely COVERED in stuff. Almost every surface was covered with art, tchotchkes, dust, whatever. I loved all of our things but hated how cluttered the place felt. It was dirty, in part, because it is a pain in the a** to clean around all that stuff. We want this place to be clean - and we are WAY more tidy here than we were at the old place, my desk excluded of course ;) For some reason I have been reluctant to put anything up in haste because heaven forbid, if I change my mind it will leave a hole in the wall and that would be no good!!