Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas decorations in our Bellevue home

Well, it's not much, but it's something. :)

I brought our stockings from San Francisco and hung them from the chimney with care. :)

I also got some nice pine sprigs from Whole Foods to place on either side of our mantel.

Christmas Decorations at Bellevue Square Mall

I've been meaning to post these for a while. These are photos of some of the decorations and Santa at our mall in Downtown Bellevue. These are some if the best decorations I've ever seen in a mall- certainly more elaborate than what we saw in Downtown Seattle. There are trees and decorations all over the mall. My favorite part is the reindeer flying from Santa's chair.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trina & Gina's Holiday Day in Seattle

Yesterday, Gina and I ventured out to Seattle for a day of fun! We live across the street from the Bellevue Transit Center. I'm embarrassed to say that Dick and I have lived here for an entire year and it wasn't until yesterday that I took the bus. Gina is a pro at the bus system - she started using it immediately after she and John moved here over the summer. I asked her if we could plan a day in Seattle, taking the bus, and to look at all the holiday decorations in downtown Seattle. We had an absolute ball! I also feel great about having my first bus ride under my belt. It's a very simple (and nice!) system, and now I'll feel comfortable taking it on my own.

The buses are really nice. I mean really nice. I think I'm a little too used to riding MUNI around San Francisco. The buses in San Francisco aren't as clean, and we tend to get some more colorful characters riding with you at any given time. The buses here in Seattle are like "resort" nice! They are large, clean, and everyone who I saw riding them yesterday was quiet and respectful of the buses.

We took the bus from Bellevue to the University Ave station downtown. (it first stopped in the International District and around Pioneer Square). We hopped off about a block away from Pike's Place where we started our morning.

Gina, showing me how to use the Orca Card machine

Pike Place, with a few Christmas decorations

First stop: Breakfast!
We ate at an adorable crumpet place at Pike Place Market that Gina has had her eye on, but hadn't visited before. It was SO good! They make fresh crumpets while you watch. We had the seat right next to the window to watch them being made!!

crumpets being made

Gina with her crumpet, and the perfect spot in the store

We walked around Pike Place for a while, then walked into the Downtown area.

We first went to the Sheraton Hotel to see the Gingerbread houses. Gina and her husband had come on a weekend a couple of weeks ago, and she said it was really crowded with people and it had a huge line to see. Lucky for us, we went on a Wednesday afternoon, so there were only a few people.

Here are some photos that I took of some of the Gingerbread "houses":

Next, we walked over to the Fairmont Hotel. The Christmas decorations (and Tree!) here were beautiful!

the main entrance to the Fairmont Hotel. Very nice display with Santa checking his list

The main tree in the Fairmont Lobby

one side of the Fairmont's gingerbread house

the Fairmont Lobby

We also came to the Fairmont to see the "Teddy Bear Suite" that apparently, they put up each year in one of the hotel suites. Gina and John came here a couple of weekends ago, and John was pretty freaked out by all the bears. Admittedly, it was a bit overwhelming, but lots and lots of cute teddy bears!

the entrance to the Teddy Bear Suite

Gina made a new friend

the bed of bears

more bears on the bed!

We took this selfie with the bears to send to John at work - just to freak him out all over again! ;)

Walking around Downtown, we saw the Seattle Humane Society's Adoption Bus. Gina volunteers at the Humane Society here, so it was nice to see this bus and and about with lots of kitties looking for their forever homes.

Bus 'o kitties

a cool Jimi Hendrix statue downtown

After walking around downtown a bit, walked about a mile and a half up to Capitol Hill. Gina and John's favorite bakery is here, so we stopped in for a twice-baked chocolate croissant! Oh, my!! So delicious!

Bakery Nouveau

twice baked chocolate croissant!

After our snack, we walked back downtown to catch the bus back home. The bus ride in the morning only took about 20 minutes, but the one back home, during rush hour took almost an hour. It was a really nice ride, though!

One of the bus transit centers downtown

We walked 7.5 miles! not bad!!

Cheap Gasoline

Kirkland Costco

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowflake Lane

Snowflake Lane is a ten-year tradition in front of the Bellevue Mall, which is only a five minute walk from our apartment. It's a 20 minute production, full of drummers, dancers, costumed characters, music and even (fake) snow!! They close the two or three blocks in front of the mall, and people line up along the sidewalks to get a good view.

I saw the show very briefly last year, but it was during the week that I was unpacking all of our stuff at the new apartment, and we were just heading out to dinner in the same area. I was a little distracted and frazzled, so wasn't able to really enjoy it.

Tonight, I went with Gina who has been to see the show several times already in the last two weeks. (it runs from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas.) Dick was uninterested in going with me, so I'm really happy to have a friend who wanted to go with me.

It was really fun, and a pretty impressive production. It's almost like being on Main Street in Disneyland. It was pretty crowded tonight. Gina said it's the largest crowd she's seen so far, and I imagine it'll only get more busy each day as we draw closer and closer to Christmas.

If I can, I'll try to go one more time before we leave for San Francisco this weekend.

The Jingle Belles at the start of the parade

here come the drummers!


Gina and Trina

one of my favorite details: after the drummers are finished with their part on the street, they climb on the drums lining the streets and play on top of them. That's a toy drummer on the opposite side. Cute!

The Snowstorm Drummers have a stage (and snow) of their very own - very fun!

Gina and the Polar Bear

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lunch and visit with Lucian and Eve

My old high school friend, Lucian, and his lovely wife, Eve, were in town over the weekend, and we were able to have lunch together today! It was so nice to see them both, and to have the chance to meet Eve's sister, too!

Trina and Lucian

Lucian and Eve

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Star Trek Convention: The Next Generation Reunion

This evening, we went to the Seattle Star Trek Convention with a bunch of friends. We all bought reserved seats for the "Star Trek: The Next Generation Reunion Show". It was actually a partial cast of six people: Michael Dorn (Worf), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Data), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) and John DeLanie (Q).

It was a pretty entertaining evening. As expected, the crowd was much larger than it was when we went yesterday, and pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a Star Trek Convention. The panel were on the stage for about an hour an a half. They were really casual, answering questions first by the host, then by fans in the audience.

It was really fun going to this with a bunch of friends, and I'm so glad that we all went! It was especially awesome that it was so close to us. The convention center is in the same complex as our apartment building, so we only needed to walk around the corner. :)

We started off our evening with dinner at Lot No. 3 in Downtown Bellevue

we are here!

Nicole, Paula and Reeves

John, Gina, Dick and Trina

we were in the second row. This is the view of the stage before the cast came out

the cast with the host of the evening

from left to right: Michael Dorn (Worf), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Data), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) and John DeLanie (Q)