Seattle & Tacoma..... Reflections on City Life... Past & Present

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August 10th 2018
Published: August 11th 2018
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We thrive on a life of adventure and exploring new places. Our nursing profession allows us embrace our desire to move about the country and find jobs, which in turn supports this glorious habit. In 2000, we were living happily in Tampa, Florida when some undercurrents at work gave us the impression there might be some downsizing in the near future. As it turned out, that didn’t happen, but we always try to plan and were already looking around to see what was out there. After an application, two telephone interviews and a flight out for an in-person interview, we found ourselves moving across country to Seattle, Washington. We called the Seattle area our home from October 2000 until July 2007. For those of you who know us, this is by far the longest we’ve lived anywhere. And as it turned out, we loved our life in the Seattle area and found the state of Washington to be an amazing place, with so much to offer. The best of big city life and the great outdoors was ours.

Fast forward to 2007, when we found ourselves restless. So… we sold our house, put all our belongings in storage and traveled
Tulips a plentyTulips a plentyTulips a plenty

One of our favorite times of the year in Seattle. Acres of bloom!
the world for ten months. At the end of our journey we had no idea where we would want to live so we left things open-ended. On the return from our around the world trip, we left Seattle behind and have lived in more than a few places since then. In all these years, we’ve only been back to Seattle a couple of times to visit friends for a short time. Time to explore the area was non-existent, so this year when jobs came open in Seattle and Tacoma we said yes. We thought it would be great seeing old friends. In Seattle, we have a large number of people that we care about and wish we could see more often. It would also be time to see how we felt about our old stomping grounds.

We won’t keep you in suspense. There are wonderful memories of our time here over a decade ago and while we have truly enjoyed our time here these past months, we are content with our decision to have moved on. It is still a great city. We’ve changed and Seattle is not a good fit for us anymore. It is always good to
Market MagicMarket MagicMarket Magic

The world famous Pike Place Market stands timeless for tourists and locals.
have your decisions confirmed. We’ve done the right thing…..

When we first accepted these jobs, we were excited because we would be 34 miles apart, with MJ in Seattle and Dave in Tacoma. As we lived here before, we had a grand plan to visit each other at least one week night each week in addition to weekends. Unfortunately, the plan to be together one night during the week was more challenging than we could have imagined. After we arrived, we were not shocked but a bit surprised to find out that traffic between Seattle and Tacoma has gotten much worse. (Not that it was that great before.) The traffic on the main north-south highway had grown exponentially and the drive that used to take about 40 minutes is now a pain-staking slow slog of 90 to 120 minutes. Yikes! Couple that with the fact that if Dave drove to Seattle it would cost about $50 per night to park and you need a better plan. MJ was stoic in the face of 10 mph traffic, while Dave took to the rails, riding a commuter train to see MJ.

Now…. we won’t drone on about the traffic, but
Great Views of SeattleGreat Views of SeattleGreat Views of Seattle

Tallest Ferris wheel on the west coast.
just a warning for all of you who want to visit…. please calculate the increased drive time when moving around the city or planning day trips to all the fantastic mountains, hiking, wineries and museums. One final note… there is a section of interstate I-5 that was under construction near Tacoma when we pulled out of the area in July 2007…. we can hardly believe we are going to tell you this but it is still under construction. How can this be possible? It is still the troublesome bottleneck it always was and you really cannot tell where progress has been made…..

One of the reasons we fell in love with Seattle back in the day (2000) was because it was our first time living near a vibrant city. Two weeks after we moved to the Seattle area we found ourselves standing outside Pottery Barn on a brisk Sunday afternoon and people were downtown shopping, eating and enjoying life. For us, growing up in the blue-collar towns of Dayton and Toledo, Ohio meant downtown areas that were basically being abandoned as the automobile industry was failing to thrive and other business were closing and moving out of state. These
Sequim Lavender FestivalSequim Lavender FestivalSequim Lavender Festival

One of our favorite things to do near Seattle. Acres of bloom!
cities were dying on the vine. It was fantastic to be in a city that was growing and alive.

We’ve always said we would like to experience living in a city and dreams do come true. Now MJ lived at Pike and Boren streets in the heart of Capitol Hill and within a short walking distance of Pike’s Place Market, the convention center, amazing restaurants and city sights. Dave is living in downtown Tacoma with a view of Commencement Bay.

MJ’s residence hotel offers her view from the 8th floor corner room provides views of the city lights and interstate traffic through a bank of five large windows surrounding the building. It’s an easy walk to restaurants, the waterfront, Starbucks (of course), salons and shopping of all kinds. People watching from these windows provides hours of entertainment.

Seattle is a very walk able city. Parking is expensive, Uber and Lyft are easy to get, buses and light rail are available. You will need a rental car when heading out of the city to explore all the amazing mountains nearby. We made many a six block walk down to the famous Pike Place Market, which is a landmark
Glimpse of the Space NeedleGlimpse of the Space NeedleGlimpse of the Space Needle

Iconic building in Seattle.
here and includes a restaurant called the Athenian, where a scene from “Sleepless in Seattle” was filmed. Pike’s Place Market is one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks and it is as delightful as always. That is one of the local places that seem frozen in time. As you approach you can still hear the shouts and banter of the fish buskers. It is also a great place for very reasonably priced fresh flower arrangements, as MJ can attest.

Sadly, the Space Needle was closed for renovation. We had looked forward to having Sunday brunch with a view……oh well.

One thing evident in many American cities is our issue with homelessness and in Seattle it is a dominant issue to be dealt with. We’ve read that homeless has risen 47%!i(MISSING)n the last decade and Seattle’s homeless population ranks as the 3rdhighest in the U.S. These social issues are complex and many have differing views on how to address or solve this issue. We don’t pretend to have the answers. We can tell you that the number of homeless in Seattle makes us sad and unsettled. As healthcare professionals we can tell you that a large portion of these
Pike Place Fish MarketPike Place Fish MarketPike Place Fish Market

So many fish to throw and so little time.
people are really far-gone. Many of these people are not down on their luck and need a hand up to get back on their feet. Many suffer from either drug-induced stupors or mental illness. Since this is a travel blog we won’t continue a dialogue about such social issues other than to alert you to the increase so you won’t be surprised when you visit this city. We are sure crime is up but we’ve walked these city streets day and night with the homeless and have felt safe. We wish there was an easy answer to this growing community issue across the U.S.

Dave took up residence in a 9thfloor apartment with seven windows facing Commencement Bay. Tacoma is a port city with lots of activity. Large barges come and go on a regular basis. With a bit of research, you can figure out who is shipping what to whom….. on Wednesday nights Dave sees a sailing group out on the water.

Tacoma has grown up over the past decade with nice local theatre, coffee houses, restaurants and galleries. In recent years marijuana has been legalized in the state of Washington and in Tacoma you’ll find lots
Amazing MusselsAmazing MusselsAmazing Mussels

Seafood a plenty in the Northwest.
of pot stores full of fancy named buds and edibles. Tacoma is well known for Chichuly glass as Chichuly was born in Tacoma, Washington. The Museum of Glass in Tacoma as it is well worth a visit.

When we arrived in Washington we discussed what we had wanted to do in the area that we never got to the last time we lived here. One of those was to visit the largest building in the world…..not the tallest, but the largest in terms of square footage. So off to the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Everett we went. This tour is time and money well spent. The building is amazing and watching them build these monster aircrafts was amazing. The statistics they provide about aviation, the Boeing Company and building planes is an education. Boeing is the largest employer in the state, with over 85,000 employees.

One of the best memories we have was to drive north of Seattle in April in Seattle to take in the acres and acres of daffodils and tulips in La Conner and Mt. Vernon, Washington. The colors are endlessly vibrant. When you go to see the flowers
Dave and Florence RigneyDave and Florence RigneyDave and Florence Rigney

The oldest working RN in America works with Dave. She is amazing. She is still rocking it at 92.
please wear appropriate shoes for the mud and it’s generally cooler than expected. Both of these quaint towns have downtown areas with cute shops; brew pubs, hotels and bike rental shops. It is a lovely area of Washington full of farmlands and scenic mountain views.

An all-time favorite activity we enjoyed was our annual trip to Sequim (pronounce “squim”) for the Lavender Festival. To sit and stare at the waving fields of lavender on a warm afternoon is a simple, but wonderful life pleasure to behold. Incredibly pastoral and beautiful, this area on the Olympic Peninsula is quite a site. Travelers hint: go the weekend before the actual festival as everything is open and you avoid the large crowds.

We took in some shows, visited favorite restaurants and some new ones as well. The city is a great time for foodies and covers the whole gambit of choices. The area’s ethnic diversity provides endless choices.

But by far the greatest joy was the opportunity to spend quality time with the many great friends we made during our time here before. Just a few minutes into a visit and you felt like you had never left. We treasure
Snoqualmie FallsSnoqualmie FallsSnoqualmie Falls

I never grow tired of visiting these beautiful falls.
these friendships and look forward to our next visit here to the Emerald City…..

What did we learn? Cities grow and change……and we have changed as well. We will always have fond memories of our time here…..

Additional photos below
Photos: 45, Displayed: 29


Farewell CakeFarewell Cake
Farewell Cake

By far the best farewell cake I've ever had and humorous !! Carrot cake from two new friends that I miss terribly.
Seattle Ferry BoatsSeattle Ferry Boats
Seattle Ferry Boats

So many places to go and so little time.
King CrabKing Crab
King Crab

The taste buds are dancing.
Aunt Phyl, Dave and MJAunt Phyl, Dave and MJ
Aunt Phyl, Dave and MJ

Dave's mom's best friend. So good seeing her.
Loving baseballLoving baseball
Loving baseball

Dave and MJ enjoy the Mariners.
Dave & Denise Dave & Denise
Dave & Denise

They worked together at Marin General in California.
Anne & BillAnne & Bill
Anne & Bill

Always great seeing good friends.
Janinne & ErickJaninne & Erick
Janinne & Erick

Loved seeing you once again. Our paths will cross soon.
Our good friend BillOur good friend Bill
Our good friend Bill

Nice hanging out again
Our good friend SheilaOur good friend Sheila
Our good friend Sheila

Loved seeing you again

11th August 2018

Sleepless in Seattle
Indeed it has been my favourite movie from yesteryear. I didn't know you have moved to Seattle and Tacoma from Florida. You have been close to my heart always, now happy to have you both close to our home in Calgary. I love Seattle, been there a few times for many reasons,- business tours, en-route, name it. It's a lovely city, I love it. Nice narration Dave & MJ. And you have summarized it well...a place is always characterized by its your case they are your friends and friends are for ever. Enjoy your stay!
12th August 2018

Hello Tab,
We have not moved to Seattle permanently. We have lived here for the past few months for work. Our nursing work takes us around our country. We re still in Florida and happy. My job just finished. Dave will be there for another month.
11th August 2018

Hi Dave and Merry Jo,
Memories. Life is full of ‘em. And delightful Washington! But returning often disappoints. Best to keep them in your pocket and bring them out on special occasions! A nicely written piece, thank you for that. What is most important, is to enjoy the moment - two of them are never the same. Go - make some memories. They are not always the happiest ones, but part of life’s little jigsaw! David
12th August 2018

Enjoy the moment
Seattle wasn't so much a disappointment but a confirmation that we did the right thing for us in moving to Florida. It is a great and special city but not for us at this time. The memories and the friends are priceless. Thank you for following along.
11th August 2018

Spending time with you two is like coming home
It was a great coincidence that we were in Seattle at the same time. Maybe there's no such thing as coincidence. All of our dinners together and field trips to tulips and Deception pass. Recounting our shared adventures with the lost luggage in Italy and the earthquakes in Mandalay. Philosophizing about life and all it has to offer. You guys are great friends! Who knows where we'll meet up next :-)
12th August 2018

Hello Michael,
We love spending time with you and Seattle was special because it was so unexpected. We loved spending time with you and hopefully before long few ill be eating chocolate with you in Paris. Who knows where our paths will cross.
11th August 2018
Tulips a plenty

Ah these happy summer colours made my (grey) day! And that red tulip made me smile :)
12th August 2018
Tulips a plenty

Summer in Seattle
This is an amazing city and the state of Washington has so many foods and hikes on offer.
11th August 2018

Amuse Bouche
What a fun read this was. I am taking it as an Amuse Bouche, the free appetizer sent from the kitchen before a grand dining experience. It has whetted my appetite for the gritty, wild Africa blogs I will soon be devouring. Thanks for writing such a nice blog of your time in WA.
12th August 2018

Amuse Bouche
Glad you enjoyed our blog and thank you for following along. Yes, soon... you'll be following us to Alaska. Seattle is an amazing city and Washington full of amazing experiences.
11th August 2018

hii :)
Hi D&MJ. Loved your honesty and learning about your moving situations. I loved visiting the Pacific North West when we went to Portland, and I also found the homelessness there overwhelming, and really sad to say the least. I hope you guys get to settle in to an area you both love. It's great that the medical field affords you the ability to pick and choose where to live!
12th August 2018

The Pacific North West
Washington and Oregon have endless things to offer. We have already made our home in a small town in Florida as we are water people. We are happy. We are glad we've experienced living in the Northwest and glad we went back for a few months to touch base with friends.
11th August 2018

Love the Cake but Makes Me Sad
I will miss the hugs but know we will always be friends. Glad you got to experience a nice Seattle summer.
12th August 2018

We will always be friends
It was great seeing you and Bill. Our friendship will never die. We miss you already. The cake, in my opinion was the best going away cake I've ever had. I loved it. I made some new friends at work and will miss them. I hope our paths cross again.
12th August 2018

Great to catch up with your 'journey' D & MJ
Its so good to go back .. but oh so nice to move on and find so many new experiences... ... ..
12th August 2018

Our journey
Thanks for following along with us. We love new experiences and we have some coming up.
14th August 2018

Been a While
Hi Dave and Merry Jo. - Glad you're still out there on I sure miss my time on it as "Monique in Motion." opened some doors for me for which I am very grateful. My husband and I are hoping to travel again soon. Keep up the good work!
14th August 2018

Yes, it has been a while.
Monique, thrilled to hear from you. We've been working a lot this year but we are getting ready to take some time off and will travel for several weeks starting in late September. There will be plenty of blogs in our future.... hopefully you won't tire of them. Wish you still wrote a blog or two on TB. We miss you. You had a lot of fans. Travel blog is a great community that connects. people, makes friends and opens other doors.
14th August 2018

Memories & More
Glad for you two that the revisit to the Seattle area was possible. Looks like you saw many wonderful things & spent time with special folks. The natural beauty appealed most to us and we’re thankful to have made the trip during your semi-permanent there.
14th August 2018

Memories & More
Claudia & Darren, we are glad you made it our for a visit all those years ago. It is a fast growing city now. There are endless things to do in the NW. Washington offers rugged beauty.
15th August 2018
Swedish Cherry Hill

Swedish Medical Center
Being Swedish I had to check this one out. The Swedish immigrants often ended up in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Not many made it all the way to Washington State. But one of those who did, or more likely their ancestors, eventually founded Swedish Medical Center. /Ake
15th August 2018
Swedish Cherry Hill

Swedish Medical Center
Yes, the Seattle area has a few of Swedish decent. The hospital is one of the larger healthcare systems in the area. Thanks for following along.
20th August 2018
The Majestic Mt. Rainier

Seattle to....
Bet you'll remember this magnificent view. Counting the days to your African you can hardly wait.
20th August 2018
The Majestic Mt. Rainier

Seattle to....
We are getting giddy about the African safari.... It was good to visit Seattle again but as we said... a closed chapter.
25th August 2018

Forever Changing
It is indeed alway great to visit old stomping grounds. There are lots of emotions and fond memories for sure. This emotion is something we have been visiting recently. We all have attachments and favourite places, but moving on is always so good. Moving back somewhere - no matter how great is all too often a step backwards. Really nice writing. And Good for Florence - she's a rock! Dave
25th August 2018

Forever Changing
It was fantastic seeing our friends. Moving forward is always good ... it is all about timing. Florence is a ROCK! MJ
29th August 2018

Confirmation and Memories
It is wonderful to have a decision that you once made, confirmed as being the right decision. And what joy it must have been to visit your old stomping grounds again. Interesting and good observations that nothing stays the same, cities change and people change.
29th August 2018

Confirmation and memories
We enjoyed our re-connect with Seattle. We are happy with our life choices to move on.... yes, cities change and people change.
3rd October 2018

Better Late than Never!
Hey! Great to read about your experience in Seattle and see the pictures. I miss you!! We will be visiting Florida in April and perhaps you will be home....
3rd October 2018

Better late than never
When we get back I will call and get details about your trip to Florida. We will figure out how to see you!

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