Browsing Tag



My kinfolk come to call, Part 1: Underground Tour and the Zoo!

Not too terribly long ago I posted about why it’s not safe for Dara and me to visit Kentucky right now. I am pleased to report as a followup to this, though, that Kentucky came to visit me–by which I mean, my brother Marc and his wife just came out to Seattle to spend a lovely little weekend at the Murkworks. I was very, very happy to see them, given that it’s been about five years since the last time I was there (i.e., when my grandmother Hyson passed away).

Marc had been to to Seattle before–he had in fact briefly gone to school out here. But this was Didi’s first visit. And this was also the first time in a LONG while the two of them had been able to get some time to themselves, without having to worry about their children (who they’d left in the capable hands of their oldest daughter Meighan, now 24). So it was a win for all concerned. 😀

I took Friday off from work specifically so that I’d be available to show Marc and Didi around, and Friday we dedicated mostly to doing the Underground Tour. This was my second time doing it, and I was amused to see that the tour guides hadn’t lost a step with their patter for the crowd–although now, they’ve updated the routine to include Pokémon jokes and asking people not to play Pokémon Go in the tunnels (and we shall pretend we didn’t hear the guide stage-whispering about how they’re full of nothing but Zubats anyway, lol).

After the tour, we poked briefly around Westlake (where a visit to LUSH was definitely in order), and even more briefly into Pike Place, where I showed them the Marketspice tea place. Then around five we hopped into the car to head to I Love Sushi on Lake Union to meet Dara and Paul for dinner at 6. (That it took nearly that entire hour to get from Pacific Place to the restaurant, just under two miles, should indicate to y’all exactly how screwy traffic in downtown Seattle during rush hour on a Friday can get. Even if you’re not trying to get through the Mercer Mess.) And the sushi at I-Heart was, as always, superbly tasty.

Saturday, though, is mostly what I wanted to cover in this post! Because Saturday afternoon we designated for going to our most excellent Woodland Park Zoo. The weather was beautiful for it–mid 70’s, only partly cloudy, an overall perfect day for wandering around the grounds.

Which, of course, meant that the entire population of Seattle had the same idea. Because when we got there, it took us a good half hour just trying to figure out where the hell to park. I’m pretty sure I vultured my way through all of the zoo’s parking lots, to no avail. We finally wound up parking a few blocks north of the zoo grounds, on one of the nearby residential streets, and walking in from there. Thankfully, this went off without a hitch.

Inside the zoo itself we soon discovered that a lot of the biggest and most entertaining critters were in fact hiding. We expect that this was due to it being the hottest and brightest part of the day. But we did at least get to see several types of critters!

Like, for example, these tortoises. They were the first critters we saw as we came into the grounds, in a little cage near the stage where they have the Zoo Tunes concerts.

Most of the critters we wound up seeing being out and active were little ones–but the wolves and the bears were a notable exception, as they were the few big predators out and about in their enclosures. I spotted multiple wolves in the wolf pen. No doubt because the elk were also out, and the Woodland Park Zoo keeps the elk next door to the wolves. (A location decision which has always made me snorfle a bit, because TRYING to tempt the wolves there much?)

Wolves can be seen here!

And OH MY YES THE BEARS. The bears were out and having great fun in their pool, and interacting a lot with each other. One of the bears got right up against the back of the pool, too, so its back was right next to us! This made for some great shots. 😀


And there were otters (two different kinds!), and giraffes, and very drowsy lions (though my pics of them came out looking like impressionist paintings, due to how you can’t properly zoom on an iPhone for distance shots), and a tapir, and pythons, and lots of monkeys!

The whole set of pics is on, and on Facebook here.

Great fun all around! And we eventually wandered home again, in time to get back to go see Ghostbusters that night. About which there will be an entire next post!

EDITING TO ADD 1/3/2019: The zoo pics were moved from my Flickr account to my site. The thumbnails and links in this post have been updated accordingly.


In memory of Phillip Weigner

I learned this morning from my family that my young cousin Phillip, who’d been spending the last three years fighting stage 4 cancer, has passed away. His father relayed the news as well to the page on as well as to the Superheroes for Phillip community on Facebook.

Cancer has attacked my family multiple times, including myself, my mother, another of my uncles (not Phillip’s father), and Phillip himself. Phillip has been the second cancer death in my family that I personally know about–the first being my mother–and Phillip’s is hard. He was 21 when he got diagnosed with what’s usually a childhood cancer, but which presented all kinds of nasty challenges for him because he’d just made it into adulthood. I could only read about it on the CaringBridge site, since that branch of the family is on the opposite side of the country from me. He had a nasty neuroblastoma, which kept coming back for more no matter how many times they put that boy through chemo and radiation.

The family had tried to put the best of faces on it by nicknaming his cancer ‘Bill’, with the obligatory ‘Kill Bill’ jokes, and more recently they’d set up the Superheroes for Phillip page on Facebook since Phillip drew a lot of inspiration from Superman. I didn’t have a Supes shirt but I did borrow Paul’s Green Lantern shirt and posted there to him, with a pic of me in that shirt.

And now… goddammit.

There are times I regret being on the opposite side of the country from my family, and this is one of those times. I never knew Phillip, really. But I do know what it’s like to fight cancer, fortunate though I’ve been in my own relatively easy battles–I’ve never made it past stage 0. And I do know his parents, and my heart is aching for them now.

RIP Phillip. I hope that wherever you are now, you can fly just like Superman.

ETA: Here, because Appropriate Song is Appropriate–I’ll be singing this for Phillip today.