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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bucket List

In an earlier post, I had declared that I was going through a not-quite-yet mid-life crisis, meaning I'm not quite at my mid-life (at least, I hope not!) but I sure am acting like it.

I've decided that I need to do some things I've always been afraid to do, or think of some fun activities that I've never done before. Most of this stuff I thought up on the fly over about a one week period. One of those was Whale Watching, after seeing a Groupon for a boat ride. I had to start thinking to myself "Well, why the hell not?!" What else am I doing, anyway?

Here is my so-called bucket list so far:

Whale Watching
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Race Track Drive
Tandem Paragliding and/or Hang Gliding
Zip Lining
Roller Coaster
Cruise to Alaska (and biplane tour)
Scuba Diving, and in tropical waters

I chose Alaska because, let's be honest, it's a helluva lot easier. Actually, there were several reasons, one being that I'm a nature gal and Alaska has some great majestic beauty. It's also about a million dollars cheaper because I don't have to fly literally across the entire country in order to board the boat. And although I badly want to swim in tropical waters, I'm just not one for crowded, hot beaches.

Courtesy of Princess Cruiselines 

The roller coaster one is about fear [stop laughing and then pointing at the hang gliding]. I know, it seems odd that I'd be willing to tandem jump and risk my life floating to the ground but be scared of roller coasters. Honestly, I know I'd freak looking down from a cliff too, but I've been scared of roller coasters all my life, thanks to a trip to Disneyland when I was 5.

Before I even knew Star Wars existed (nor did I care) I stood in an infinitely long line at Space Mountain, watching the golden robot entertain the children as we all waited for our dooms. Little did I know that I was about to be forced onto a roller coaster in PITCH BLACKNESS. I clung onto daddy for dear life wishing for nothing more than to be at home safe in my bed. That ride struck the fear in me that I've never been able to overcome. Any (tame) coaster that I went on after that was a downright miserable experience. But, I'm ready to try again - this time with something a little more daring. As long as someone comes with me!

Yeah, no. Nice try, though.

The Race Track Drive was inspired by a contest I saw on TV once, sponsored by this famous shoe company. Each woman was to ride shot gun with a race track driver taking some 20 laps or so, I can't remember. Each woman was given 20 pairs of shoes for free at the start of their joy ride. However, the catch was: every time they screamed, they would lose a pair of shoes. I began to wonder am I a screamer? Would I make it through that? I have no idea. And I'd like to find out!

Anyway, that's my list for now! What about you? Do you have a bucket list? What do you want to do that you've never done before? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Taste of Tacoma

I'm really surprised at myself that I didn't write a blog post about this last year. Maybe I thought it was too boring to mention, or maybe it just took me a year to realize I could make this post sorta funny. Who knows. But, the Taste of Tacoma is coming around again, so I thought I should recount my experiences from last year.

My friend Mary and I decided to go for her birthday, which conveniently falls on the same week as The Taste. It's free to get in, and has a lot to offer.

I remember that I just had  to try alligator-on-a-stick. Not being from the south and have never been there, we don't really get a lot of alligator options. That old adage "tastes like chicken" rings true, here. I don't think I would have been able to tell them apart.

We also discovered slushie wine. Yeah, you heard me. That secret powdered chemical that seems to turn alcohol into slushie. Neither one of us like wine, but we got a sample of it (red wine, no less!) and it was delicious. Must be all those added slushie chemicals.

In that same vein, we decided to do the wine tasting. It would cost us some money to get 5 tokens, in which we could pounce around the booths and pick out which wines to taste as if we knew anything about it and enjoyed the taste of it. We went to each booth and basically demanded "Give us your sweetest wine, (wench)!" Nothing was sweet enough for my palette, although they did have that chocolate wine with Almond Roca flavors that I've been seeing in special places. It's good, but I've never bought a bottle. I just keep tasting it everywhere I go, trying to convince my tongue that it's good stuff.

This was the assortment I spent all my tokens on, basically.

I saw a booth where they sold clip-on sun shades for glasses and got all excited because I'm an adult and that's what I get excited about now-a-days. I can't afford to get those specially made magnetic ones, so I opted for these. They look good, but I wouldn't wear them in public (I wear them while driving). Mary found an artist that makes plants and animals (with paint) into letters. We watched her do it for a while and I convinced her that she should get one made with her daughter's name on it. 

Image found on, because I'm too
lame to think to take a picture of the one Mary bought

The whole place had a slight Renaissance Fair vibe. I saw people selling hippie/renaissance clothes, and even feather masks (I almost bought one, I swear). Mary also got a Henna tattoo and promptly smeared it on the way out. I half expected a patron dressed like a Fairy to skip up to me, go "blurrrttt" and drop a small stone into the palm of my hand (actually happened once).

Oddly, it being the Taste of Tacoma and all, I can't remember what I ate for lunch. But it was probably awesome. I'll make sure to have it again this year.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A 3-Hour Tour

I've lived in Washington all my life and have yet to go on a Whale Watching Tour. I decided to rectify that the other day. It was on my not-quite-yet mid-life crisis list that I will definitely explain in an upcoming post!

There was a Amazon Local deal for $44 a person at Deception Pass Tours.  Not only were they the cheapest option, but they were pretty much the only tour that I wouldn't have to first get to an island to do. It was cheap enough to where I could invite my mom to come with. I badly wanted to see Orcas. I've loved them since the day I first saw Free Willy. I did my final report in Marine Biology on them. I watched Blackfish, which I'll admit made me cry a bit, and it just cemented my need to see them in the wild.

I think Whale Watching is going to be on my spite list. More on that later.

Anacortes was a two hour drive from my place. It's up at Deception Pass, a beautiful location in its own right.

Up there, near the San Juan Islands, lives a resident Orca Pod. I think it's J Pod. But they can travel up to 100 miles in one day, so sightings weren't guaranteed even though all the tours communicate with each other when they see whales. In fact, according to the owner of the Tour, they are usually the first company out in the morning and they have no spotter planes. That made my heart sink just a little.

They are the first out because, unlike the other companies, Anacortes is still quite far from where whales like to hang out. There was a lot of driving to and from locations. At Deception Pass, on this particular day, the seas were extremely rough. Even though they have a Catamaran, which can slice through the water like butta, he changed the plans. And thank goodness too, because with almost every swell, our boat literally flew and then landed with a soft thud. Although fun and exciting like a roller coaster, it was quite the brain-jiggler.

There had apparently been some sightings of some Humpback Whales near the San Juans, and the waters were much calmer there, so we headed out. To give you an idea of how long it took, this was a 2-1/2 to 3 hour tour, and we got to see the whales for about 15 minutes.

Several things went through my head, ranging from "this is kind of cool" to "what a crock". I'm glad I didn't pay more than $44 to see the backs of a couple of Humpbacks (mother and calf, by the way.) Mom absolutely loved it. She had a blast. And I had a good time too, but it was sort of a let down. It wasn't the Tour's fault at all, but I really had my heart set on Orcas.

So, Whale Watching will be on my spite list. I will not rest until I see Orcas in the wild!

After we got done with the tour and before we drove home, we stopped in Monroe to eat at the best BBQ I ever found - a place that Mesquite smokes brisket just like in Texas. So delicious. So, there was that :P

Have you ever had your heart set on something and it turned out completely different? Let me know in the comments!