Friday, October 31, 2008

halloweening it.

This is the plan for the day.

Haunt the park.

Purchase me some bread bowls from Flour Girls & Dough Boys.

Cook up some soup a la squash.

Enforce naps.

Magically transform Millie into Belle and Ellis into a cat.

Hand out some candy. Eat some candy.

Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown as we count candy.

Sleep off the sugar.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

sick of long posts.

And I promise that next week I will only write short - very short - posts.

Our last morning in New York, Sunday, was a blur.

Breakfast, we headed to
Le Pain Quotidien. (Which is very crowded on Sunday morns.) But we ate my ideal breakfast.

This was some type of pistachio cake like thingy. I can't recall the name. But it was good.

My only other real memory of the morning was catching, what felt like, 20 different subway lines to get to Peanut Butter & Co. This is the store that haunts my NY dreams, and lingers in my mouth - even at this moment.

We ordered take out to eat for dinner on the plane that night.

Clin ordered - Dark Chocolate Dreams Sandwich: Chocolate Peanut Butter and cherry jam, stuffed with shredded coconut. It's peanut butter meets black forest cake.

I ordered - The Cookie Dough sandwich: Peanut butter, chocolate chips, and cream cheese.

Mine completely wasted Clin's in fabulousness. I Looovvvveeed it. And I also loved that it came with a small bag of potato chips and carrot sticks. Perfect for dinner on the plane. It was so good that I completely forgot to take a photo.

Here I am in our taxi cab on the way to the airport....before I got sick. I'm surprised we survived this ride. Clin knows I'm completely sick when I stop talking, only look straight ahead, and roll down the window. It took a few hours for the feeling to go away.

And at the airport Clin finally met someone famous. This is Mindy Kaling from the television show The Office. (She is also a writer on the show. Gen.i.ous.)

Here's what happened. We sat down at our gate with all of the other Utah looking people. Soon I see Mindy (because we're totally on a first name basis now) come up and sit directly across from me. Clin was not there at the time - so it was actually my sighting, not his. Oh, and she had matching pink baggage by the way. Very cute. Because I'm totally into pink.

Clin comes back just in time to see Mindy walk away. He looks at me and I see his eyes light up.
Me: Clin. Don't be obnoxious. Let her have her privacy. I'm sure she doesn't want everyone paying attention to her. Especially in such a crowded place.

Clin: Just a picture. No one will notice.
Yeah! Right!

That is when we find out that our gate has been changed and everyone sitting around us starts to move to the real gate. So the only reason we even saw Mindy was thanks to Jet Blue for sending those going to Burbank, CA to our gate. Thanks Jet Blue.

We wait. Passive stalking. I suppose. And the longer I'm waiting the more nervous I get. And I must say - I hate, HATE, hate asking famous people for a picture, signature, or even to raise their head and acknowledge my existence.

She comes back and is moving her luggage to a different seat. We collect our things and make the approach. I'm really smooth because I have the camera (hidden) and I walk by and act like I don't see her. That way if Clin decides not to go through with it (yeah, right) I won't have to be humiliated.
Clin: Are you on The Office?

Mindy: Yes.

Clin: We love the show. Can I get a picture of you?

(This is my cue to stop and turn. Maybe someday I'll keep walking. What would happen then?)

Mindy: Sure.

I turn, snap the photo. She was very kind and smiley. So I say (just so she knows that we are big fans, not just your average run of the mill channel changer): And aren't you one of the writers as well?

Mindy: Yes.

Me: Thank you for making us laugh.
What? Why did I open my mouth??? Stupid. Cheesy. Dumb. But she smiled, and I slothed away, and Clin got his picture AND his encounter with fame.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a saturday in NYC.

Clin left the room to get me some hot cocoa and grab a paper. After the snacking debaucle that occurred the day before, I was in no mood to eat an entire breakfast. Two hours later he came back. Deciding to stop at the theatre bookstore; leaving me to get ready. What? I take two hours to dress?

Upon his return, we decided to journey up 5th avenue and do a bit 'o' window shopping. H&M (my favorite store where I never seem to buy anything), Rockefeller Plaza, The Disney Store (5 stories - overwhelming, panic attack. Panic attack!), and another Gap. Which also had the fabulous sale of the century, and even more choices on the clearance rack. We loaded up. Serious load up. (A dress for $2.50? Yes please.) And guess what, Millie and Ellis? We went to NY and the only gift you get in return? Loads 'o' clothes. Because we know THAT is what 3 yr olds and 18 monthers like.

With little time left we hopped the train, and high tailed it to S'MAC.

This is the restaurant that haunts my NY dreams. And it again lived up to my obsession.

I ordered the Parisienne - Creamy Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms & fresh rosemary. Beautiful. Sweet. Divine. Mmmmm.

Clin ordered exactly as he ordered in June. (Which baffels me. Why wouldn't you want to order until you have tasted everything from the menu?) Masala Mac - North American comfort food blended with Indian spices. Clin's was nice as well. Not AS nice. But nice.

Next time I go? The S'Mac Sampler - 8 different macs to taste. And I do not plan on sharing.

Next Destination? The matinee of A Tale of Two Cities: the musical.

The best part? James Barbour and the set. But the entire time I was trying to figure out what seemed off. Something. And talking to Clin - I figured it out.

This musical is for those who love Scarlet Pimpernel. Those who love Phantom of the Opera (except the story of this is much, much better.) It feels old fashioned. It is definitely in a certain vein of musical theatre. And the Utah audiences will looooove this.

Me? Ehhh. I enjoyed it. But I didn't looooooove it. I wasn't moved. I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary.

So we headed back to the subway and made our way down to the Lower East Side. I have always wanted to go to
Katz's Delicatessen. You know, it's the eatery where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.

We walked in, each handed a ticket, and sent to a long counter that was already surrounded by many, many people. Was there a line? I still don't know. There were many signs telling us what to do - but they were everywhere and didn't quite make sense.

I ordered this:

Reuben Sandwich - corned beef, swiss cheese, russian, and sauerkraut.

The cooks were cooking fast, talking fast - I didn't understand a word. While I waited for my sandwich, the man preparing it threw some meat on my tray. What was this for? Am I required to pay extra for this? No one explained. So I ate it. It was good.

When done - they write on the back of your ticket the amount you owe.

Clin stepped up to the counter, ordered some meat and the man told him he could not get that there. What? It was on the menu. So Clin changed his order and again was told he could not get it there. He finally relented and ordered a Pastrami Sandwich.

I attempted to get us some drinks. I crowded around one group of people getting beer. It was taking so long that I thought - perhaps this was only the alcohol line. So I journeyed elsewhere and failed. Miserably. Ended up back in the beer group and eventually ended up with some soda.

Meanwhile, Clin chose seats for us. And that is when we noticed that the seats against the wall were for those being waited upon. So Clin could have ordered his meat if we had just sat against the wall when entering. But no one told us that! We were rushed into the crowd, but had a better experience because of it.

We finally sat down, bit into our sandwiches, and both said yum. Serious yum. And the pickles....mmmmm. Smiles for all.

The couple sitting behind us returned, desperately looking for one of their 2 tickets. They only ordered 1 meal. If you try leaving the deli without a ticket (even if you didn't purchase anything), you are required to pay $50. So a fair warning to all. (The waitress found a blank ticket in the bathroom and gave it to them.)

The experience was as fabulous as the food. I sensed that not much has changed since its opening in 1888. Historical AND Fabulous.

Our final broadway show of the trip was Billy Elliot.

The musical version of the movie about a boy in England who ends up taking the local ballet class rather than the boxing class his father sends him to.

They have three boys cast as Billy Elliot. We saw David Alvarez. The entire musical depends upon a 14 year old boy. A 14 year old boy who can dance! Imagine that.

I liked this better than the movie. The first half was stronger than the second. Imagine a set that looks like a mining town in 1980s England. The set is used as strike headquarters, Billy's house, bedroom, kitchen, ballet class, boxing class, etc. It works. Classroom full of dancing girls (one as young as 6 or 7) who were strong dancers - doing this 8 times a week!! Ballet dancers running around dancing, striking miners striking - all singing...together.

Enjoyable. And I was highly amused at the older women in front of us who kept turning around, glaring, and talking about how appalled they are at the dress of theatre audiences these days. (That was ME they were talking about!) Remember? 1 dress plus no heels equaled jeans the entire trip.

We were tired, so returned to our hotel room and fell asleep...while eating cheesecake.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

friday snacking. part 2.

After eating all afternoon, our 2.5 hour walk led us to the conclusion that we needed some real food. Pomme Frites.

We shared a Double and 3 dipping sauces: War Sauce (Mayo, Peanut Satay, and Raw Onion), Parmesan Peppercorn, and Pesto May0.

This is a tiny store. Full of charm. Not a lot of seating. But enjoyable and oh, so good. The menu is full of sauces. And all they sale are fries. Double fried fries. Belgium fries.

Fat, full, and happy, we waddle over to South Street Seaport. First goal? Find a restroom. It was a worthy goal. One that seemed to overwhelm us this day, as we were up and down Manhattan, with only Popeye's and McDonald's which required purchases to pee. (Urinetown reference, my friends.)

So a free restroom (Hallelujah), and then purchasing our play tickets from TKTS. Funny thing? We also hit the Gap. The shopaholics that we are, children's Gap clearance in NY is awesome. $5 skirt, $5 dress. And then %25 off of that??? What? And if we were to find something like that in Utah - there would be nothing left for us.

On to SoHo. We had a little time to kill before our evening show. Why we headed to SoHo, I cannot remember. But we ended up at a small shop, recommended by our travel guide. Vosges.

This is where I will admit that our snacking went a bit too far. Vosges sales chocolate. Thinking that we could get through the show without dinner, we grabbed a drink.

I ordered the Elixir Couture Cocoa: ancho & chipotle chillies + Ceylon cinnamon + Madagascar vanilla bean + dark chocolate - this is spicier than it looks. Or sounds. I didn't hate it. But I also wasn't wanting spice. What was I thinking?

Clin ordered the Bianca Couture Cocoa: Australian lemon myrtle + lavender flowers + vanilla + white chocolate. He liked this. I did not.

And then their ice cream sucked Clin in. Naga Ice Cream: sweet Indian curry + fresh young coconut + creamy custard ice cream.

So imagine - I combined my spicy chocolate drink with curry ice cream. At the time it seemed right. And then we walked out and I realized it was wrong. So wrong.

We headed to our evening show. August: Osage County. The only thing that I knew about this play was that it entailed 3.5 hours and two intermissions with a dysfunctional family. Oh, and it won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

I went in thinking that my mind would wander. I left knowing that this would be my favorite performance of the trip. It was amazing. The acting was exceptional. There is a scene at the dining room table, with the sisters and their mother, toward the end of the play. I loved it. My favorite. Throwing dishes, yelling, swearing, awesome.

Estelle Parsons, the actress who played the mother, blew me away. And she is 81 years old. And she performs 8 times a week. And she is in the play a lot. I'm in awe.

3.5 hours felt like 1.5. And it made me feel something. It made me think. It put me in a state of thought. Wonder. Enlightenment, maybe. A place that I used to find a lot. When I was in high school. But a place that isn't found so easy now. And it was nice to visit.

After a day of snacking, we were hungry for something substantial. Not a morsel. Or a taste. But a meal. So we hit the Burger Joint. The intrigue of this place? It's hidden. It's in the lobby of a fancy hotel. Behind a curtain. No one will tell you where it is. There is no sign.

Once you walk behind the curtain? It's a loud, messy, New York burger joint. And the food is so good. And the people behind the register only want cash, and they want you to order now.

We sat next to a man who knew the owner. He received a free pitcher of beer. Barely drank it, and offered it to those around him when he left. We stuck with our milkshakes, listened to the loud music, and tried to decipher the famous signatures on the walls.

Monday, October 27, 2008

a friday in New York or snack like you mean it! part 1.

I hope it is taking you as long to read these as it is for me to write them. Sorry for the break in the story - but you've had plenty of time to eat, run to the restroom, and freshen up. Now we return to the great New York adventure of 2008.

Friday's first stop? The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. It's an upscale version of a Utah mall. The picture above is the view from each floor - looking out on Central Park. Nice.

Normally, I would have no desire to visit a mall on a vacation. I'm not much for shopping. But it houses food from Thomas Keller. I need to give you a bit of a background to help you understand just what this means.

Clin and I enjoy reading books about food, chefs, food critics, and food. The first time I heard about Thomas Keller was when I read Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl. Good book. A bunch of food writers mention Thomas Keller in the same sentence as four star, best food, amazing, gastronomical feat, and every other positive adjective you can imagine. They often talk about his restaurant, The French Laundry which is in California.

Then I read Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter, the true story of a waitress working at Per Se, Thomas Keller's restaurant in New York City. Fascinating book. Read it and you will begin to understand our interest.

See the blue behind this tree? It is the door to Per Se. At the Time Warner Center. Not a door that Clin and I will be able to enter. Any. Time. Soon. But I felt privileged to be in its presence.

Thomas Keller views eating, cooking,and food as an artistic, whole body experience. So much so that the meals at Per Se are $275.00 for one dinner. Yep. They offer a different menu every day. It always consists of a 9 course tasting menu, either vegetarian or the chef's choice. Reservations can be made two months from the day, and fill up quickly.

So I stared at the door, lovingly. Stared at the menu. And moved on to Bouchon Bakery, the bakery for Thomas Keller's restaurants. Hoping to get a taste of what hides behind the blue doors, we ordered the following.

From top, clockwise: cherry cream cheese danish for Clin, cherry pistachio brioche for me, macarons for later, and a chocolate almond croissant to share.

Heaven. Heaven. Heaven. Even Clin's danish (of which I am usually not a fan) was wonderful. And if you have never had a Parisian macaron, fix that now. If you see one, just buy. Don't think. Just buy. I always do.

Enough with food, and on to shopping! We are such shoppers. Clothes are all we think about. (Ha! right!) But we made an exception to see what the big brouha-ha was regarding Century 21.

This store is insanity. It is a huge maze of racks and shelves of clothing. And it is crowded. See the image above for our Where's Waldo moment. Can you spot Clin?

Evidently you can get name brand items on the cheap here. I wouldn't know. I had a panic attack. I had many, many panic attacks. There were so many people here. So many floors, racks, small spaces, lines, and people. One would have to search deep to really find what they are looking for. So that means time. And I panicked because we did not have time. And Clin does not have patience for my style of shopping - which entails a lengthy look until I find something worthwhile and cheap. (Cheap for me is probably really, really cheap for you. Or free.)

So we left. My panic left. And on to my most anticipated moment of the trip!!!

Clin arranged for us to participate in the Original Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour of the Lower Eastside from Big Onion Walking Tours.

History. Food. My two favorite things about NY. I love the buildings. I love that within such a small area, one can find where so many important (or unimportant) events in history occurred. All of our travel guides have highly recommended Big Onion Walking Tours. I have always wanted to go on one - but with the high school students in tow, this was never possible.

In a group of 20, we were led by a PhD student from Columbia. Our first nosh was fried plantains. As we ate, our guide pointed out the spot where Boss Tweed died. There is a high school on the spot now that is the most ethnically diverse in New York. And, interesting fact, Walter Mathau graduated from it.

Next stop, The Pickle Guys. See this picture? It's barrels and barrels of pickled goods. Olives, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, celery, carrots, kraut, horseradish, herring, lox, EVERYTHING PICKLED.

A complete dream. I have discovered my future. I should completely open a pickling shop in Utah; using a seasoned mixture of brine, and making the most amazing food. And then my family will live off of pickled delights. I'm giddy with the thought.

We ate complete sour pickles. Mmmm. The best pickles I have ever had in my life.

Halva - we then sampled this sweet Middle Eastern treat. Made from sesame seeds and honey, it was really nice.

Lychee - we headed into part of China town, which is expanding (in case you didn't know). My mission dream was always to come home and open a greenhouse in which I could grow lychees. I have not yet realized this dream, but this little moment was a nice reminder from the past.

Here is Clin eating a dried rose petal. It is the red piece in his hand. It tasted nothing like a rose. We also had dried plums. Ymmmm. I wanted to bring some home - but the store name was in Japanese, and I cannot remember it at all.

On to Little Italy. Parmesan, fresh mozzarella and salami. I'm in love with cheese. I'm in love with Parmesan. I'm in love with Italy.

We ended our walk in the heart of Little Italy, eating small Cannolis. These were better than large cannolis. Why? More crust to the cream. A better percentage overall. And the taste lingered in my mouth the rest of the afternoon. Delightful.

This was the experience of experiences. The next time Clin and I go alone, I plan on booking every single Big Onion Walking tour. Every. One. #1 on my list? Greenwich Village.

Stay tuned for part 2: Will the snacking continue? Will it ever end?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a thursday in new york. part 2.

After lunch we split up. Clin had a great deal for our evening show and headed to the box office to purchase tickets. I ran back to the hotel to drop off a bag and make sure our room was switched. Good thing I went back because they forgot (shocker!) to take care of our room switch. New room keys, awesome room, beautiful smell, and we met back up at Letterman.

Here we are in the standby line. There was a group of about 40 waiting for standby. And a HUGE line to get in. (Side note: we were pretty poorly dressed compared to those who had tickets. That alone should have excluded us from getting in.) We were told that we had to wait in line until all seats were filled and then they would fill only the empty seats.
That is when we learned that John McCain was on the show and we thought we had noooooo chance of getting in.

After an hour of waiting for everyone to get wanded by major, MAJOR security, we got in. We were the last 2 let in. I'm serious. We. Got. In. Balcony seats. And while Letterman's head was hidden by prompters, I had a great view of his hands. Fun, fun, fun. This is what I noted:

  • The base player was crazy. But very entertaining.
  • They actually allowed for the commercial breaks.
  • Letterman took off his suit coat every time they went to break.
  • His mug was refilled half way though the taping, McCain's was not.
  • Letterman did not talk with McCain during the commercial breaks; instead he was surrounded by the same 3 people (I assumed they were writers).
  • And I could tell that Dave was saving the Gordon Liddy line until right before the commercial break. I liked that part.
  • I'm glad that Letterman was tough on McCain. It made the show interesting.
Oh, and the musical guest was Ne-Yo. He had awesome white shoes.

Here's a clip of the show. Fast forward through the commercials at the beginning. Oh, and the people laughing? That's us.

After supping on the delightful combination of entertainment and politics, we headed south to our Broadway show - 13. I love the composer/lyricist, Jason Robert Brown. Haven't heard of him? You need to fix that. Like now.

So 13 is about thirteen year olds. The script itself feels very......thirteen. The music is the best part about it. Oh, and the actors are extremely likeable. No one in the cast is older than 17, and even the band is 18 or younger. Overall fun. And I kept thinking, imagine if you had a class of high school students this talented. The world as we know it might end.

To give you a taste, here is a promo that was on MTV news.

Celebrity Sighting #1 - Jason Robert Brown and His Wife and Daughter were in the audience that night. They walked right by us. The second Clin realized who we were sharing the room with, he perked up like a pigeon. (Do pigeons perk? If not, please replace with the perking animal of your choice.) And while I tried to explain that he already had his signature and a picture with him (Mr. Brown came to the Utah Theatre Association Conference a couple of years ago and we stalked him then.), Clin heard not a word. He was out of his seat and getting the signature for the program which he can now frame and hang on the drama room wall. Mr Brown you are very gracious. Thank you.

SideNote - I keep thinking, many families had brought their own children to see the show. But like I said, it is very thirteen. In. Every. Way. Would I bring even my thirteen year old? Clin - would you?

We were out of there by 8:30. That's right. No intermission and 7:00 PM start equals early out. So we did what anyone would do. Eat!

Clin had a hankering for Mexican. We tried Rosa Mexicano. $14 guacamole. What? But they make it at your table. You get to see what is in front of you. And it was a lot. A. Lot. Here's our demonstration.

We shared an entree of mole that was pretty good. The waiter, again, seemed disappointed because we didn't order drinks or two entrees. But we ordered an appetizer the size of an entree. What do you expect? I didn't get a picture of our meal, but I would say it's no better than what we can find in Utah. Nothing out of the ordinary or special. It did taste good.

And the day ended. Happy. Excited. Crashing to the sounds of Letterman on the TV.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a thursday in new york. part 1.

I wake up to sirens - and my first action is to have Clin call the front desk and get them to change us to another room. They say no problem. So we make a mad dash to pack the little that we un-packed. Shower, throw our faces on and we are out of there. The air on the elevator was a fresh breeze and the air of Times Square? Tropical. The trip is looking up.

Our first stop? Food! Clin's made a list of places recommended, and we set out to start checking them off of our list. Just south of Central Park was our breakfast destination.

This is what I ate. Lemony goodness, and the richness of the ricotta almost made them smooth and creamy. I think that Clin had an omelet. But I was so wrapped up with my food that I completely forgot to take a picture of his.

Bellies full, we headed up the east side of central park. The leaves were just starting to fall. The weather felt like a nice spring day. No. Warmer than spring. At 11:00 we took a break on a bench to call Mr. Letterman. Both of us spent 5 minutes or so trying to get through and Clin actually made it. The smaller the standby number, the better chances of getting in. I assumed we had no chance, because that's the realist that I am.

Mr. Letterman asked Clin if he knew the color of the announcer's hair. RED! Of course. And that useless bit of info, just sitting in Clin's brain, became useful as we got standby tickets #7 and #8. Still no chance - but we would see...

On to more intellectual pursuits. The Frick Museum. A beautiful mansion, full of artwork. I LOVED IT. I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE. The price of admission includes a headset. As you see a piece of artwork you can enter the number and the headset tells you everything you need to know. AND it tells you the history of each room. I actually liked it more than the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Crazy interesting and not overwhelming.

My only disappointment? The upstairs was roped off. I wanted to see the entire building.

Oh wait. My only other disappointment? Clin tried to get an educator's discount. This is how it played out:
Girl behind the desk: No, we only give discounts to students.
Clin: I have my student i.d.
Girl: Oh, are you a student?
Clin: I have my student i.d.
Girl: are you a student?
Clin: I have my i.d.
Girl: Are you a student?
Clin: I have my i.d.

This seemed to go on I focused on the floor, willing myself to disappear, and finally nudging Clin to move beyond the skip in his brain.

After nourishing our eyes, it was time to move on to our next meal. Lunch. Jean George - Nougatine. Let me set the scene.

Jean George is a restaurant with multi-course meals for $150.00. Beyond my price range. But not beyond my dreams. Nougatine is connected to Jean George, kind of like eating in the kitchen. Similar food, from the same chef, but lower prices. They have a 3 course prix fixe lunch for $24.00. This is splurgable. But we had no reservations. We showed up and they sat us at the bar!!! We got in. They only had 2 seats...just for us. The following is a photo essay of our amazing meal.

We both got the soup. I should have ordered the salad just to taste everything, but this was gooood.

A word about sitting at the bar. We don't drink. Every one around us is drinking, and we are feeling a bit guilty. A bit out of our element. I quietly ordered tap water. I hate giving in to the guilt. I need to enjoy the crazy looks from the waiters. Clin ordered a homemade soda. $6.00. And it stunk! P.S. The glass that I'm holding was the best glass I have ever drank out of. The rim was so thin, delecate. I'm serious. We both noticed that it made our drinking experience different. So much so that I took a picture.

Clin ordered this. It doesn't look so great in this photo. The strange shape in the front is some type of mushroom. But I will tell you, the carrot puree? The best thing in both of our entrees. I would bathe in it. Lick the plate good. Honest.

Oh, and a side note? Clin was obsessed with looking for famous people. The entire trip. And he thought for sure we would find some at this restaurant. So he spent the meal looking behind him. And every time the wait staff came behind us carrying trays overflowing with beautiful food (meant for those at Jean George), he would practically scream for me to turn around and feast. I would have taken a picture but I really was trying not to be obnoxious.

My meal. It rocked. I loved it. The potatoes are under the steak. And I usually don't enjoy eggplant, but this seasoning had olives in it. Yum.

Clin's dessert. Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

My dessert. Awesome!

And that is where we will take a break. Stay tuned to answer the following questions: Will we make it on Letterman? Will we find food better than Nougatine? Will we meet anyone famous? Will we survive?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

recapping my surprise.

I don't think that I like surprises anymore. I need a little time to prepare my brain for things. For visitors, for outings, for change in general. Everything goes much more smoothly if I have a heads up. That is what I have learned from Clin's most recent

I tend to get anxious before trips. The morning of departure, Clin and I are sure to have a squabble over something if we are packing together. This trip Clin was working the morning of departure. And I was running around, stressing that I wouldn't get the house relatively clean. That I would forget to tell Mom some important information regarding Millie and Ellis's particulars. And it always goes that certain things on my travel to do list remain incomplete.

After a morning of packing, stress, and checking things off of my list, my emotions were pent up. I was ready for Seattle. I was ready to see one show (1 dress. check. heels. check). And I was ready for rain (umbrella. check.)

By the time we get to the airport I am tired. Looking forward to a cushy hotel. cushy food. and cushy sleep.

And when I pressed the check in screen of the Delta kiosk, Seattle was no where to be seen. New York City. And all the thought and preparation I put into packing flew away. My only thought:

I know how to pack for NYC. I've been there. I didn't pack anything that I would have packed had I known where we were going. I refuse to wear heels in NY. I only have one dress. NY means multiple evenings of theatre. I don't have multiple evenings of dress and I REFUSE to wear heels in NY.
I could not get my mind off of the unnecessary weight and space my heels were taking in my suitcase.

The thought of a long plane ride compared to a short hop to Seattle brought me down a bit. I mean I would have brought a book rather than a magazine. See - I don't travel well. Movement, in general, makes me sick. Throw up, heat, unable to function sick. So when I travel I wear out. And I was starting this trip already worn.

As we talked about the trip, I discovered that everyone I knew already knew where we were going. What fun is that? Surprise for me alone? And I was angry. Just in general. Because my mind had not had a chance to settle into the thought. To prepare.

And by the time we got to the hotel I was not thinking straight, but excited to be going to a hotel. To sleep. To actually begin the vacation. And then the vacation began.

We were booked in a smoking room. The clerk made me feel stupid that I wanted non-smoking. Even going so far as to say, "It's just as clean as the other rooms." So we agreed to look at it (I know. Why would we even look??) And we got into the room and it was pretty, and it stunk, and the bathroom smelt like urine too.

Back to the front desk only to discover that the last non-smoking room was gone. And I was about to fling myself over the counter at the clerk and smack him around a bit. What? Why would you send us to check out a room if you were just going to give away the last non-smoking room? Don't you think that would have changed our decision?

So we returned to the smell. And I couldn't stop thinking about how stupid I was to think I could even sleep in a smoking room. That I even considered it. And then I realized the ramifications: my clothes will smell. My hair. My suitcase. Ahhhhhh!

And an hour or two later, when I was still awake due to a complete focus on breathing without using my nose, I burst into tears realizing that I was in hell. And the quick fall into sleep, and quick change to a new room was many more hours away than I originally expected.

Okay - so this sounds really petty. And I sound like the worst, most ungrateful wife that ever existed. And I probably am. But I wasn't mad at Clin. I was really excited - just angry in general. On the surface. And I don't handle fatigue well. Can you tell?

Go here for Clin's take on day one of our grand adventure.

Monday, October 20, 2008


As most of you know, Clin and I set out on our grand adventure to Seattle. But someone forgot to tell the pilot and we ended up in New York!

Oh. Wait. Someone forgot to tell me as well. I'm reminded, again, that Clin is really good at keeping secrets from me and is awesome at sharing them with everyone else.

I have not had a minute to put anything together about the trip. But be aware. Soon, so soon, you will see many, many pictures of food. And more food.

Friday, October 17, 2008

November 28, 1992.

This is an exerpt from a journal that I wrote between age 7 and 18. Why am I posting this? I don't know. Perhaps to let everyone know that my self esteem balanced upon my interaction with boys. I'm over that now.

11/28/92 (15 years old)

Dad took our whole family to see the new Disney Movie - "Aladdin." I don't know how to spell it. It was great! I loved seeing it with the family, cause we never do stuff like that, but I wish I could have gone on a date to see it. But I'm not old enough.

Only 59 more days till I am. Some reason I'm not looking forward to it. I don't really even have any guy friends who will ask me on a date. The guys who I know will - I don't want them to. (People like Brent and Chris. But, maybe they won't cause I've been really rude to them - haven't even talked to them lately. I should be nicer - but I can't handle either of them.) Tim is the only guy that I know would ask me and I would want to say yes. He and I are on great friendly terms. That is all I want to be on with any guy. (Friendly terms, that is.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

threading my machine.

I did it! I totally threaded my sewing machine. By myself. Alright, I had a bit of help. I went to WikiHow and found directions. Go there and read. You will see that it makes absolutely no sense. I thought I would have to relent, drop my pride, and turn to someone else for instruction. And then I scrolled down and found video instruction. Thank you Mrs. Abdul.

I realized that my machine did not have a needle. Or a foot. (Is that even what it's called?) And I searched through an old box and found them. I have no clue if I'm using the correct ones, as there were multiple options. So let's pray they don't break.

Thank goodness the bobbin was already threaded, because there was no video for this, and the written instruction has nothing, NOTHING, in common with the machine that sits in front of me.

So I measured elastic. And I threw it in the machine.

Attempt 1 - great on top and a tangled mess underneath.

Attempt 2 - again, tangled mess of an underbelly.

WikiHow related tip How to Adjust the Tension on a Sewing Machine equals enlightenment.

Attempt 3 - perfection!

And I did it on my own. Before the bobbin ran out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

making my final guess.

The final clue says:
Though we will have transportation, bring comfy shoes for Friday. We will also be sampling the following: souffles, fresh seafood, a french patissere, hot chocolate, and other good restaurants. Dress in layers (fall weather) and bring a jacket and an umbrella. Where we are going has the tendancy to be a rainy city. Charge the camera for fun shots!

By the time you read this, I should know where we will be. I think. And that will be Seattle.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bonding with my two moms...and a sis.

So sorry I have not posted. But I have a brilliant excuse. I've been bonding. Bonding with the girls. Once a year we all get together. Me, my sisters, my mom, and mommy k. Yes, you heard me right.

See, my sisters have two moms....and in some ways, so do I. Karen, my dad's ex-wife, has always been known to me as Mommy K. And her two daughters grew up with me and my Mom. And I wanted to be just like them. And Mommy K would visit and I didn't know anything because I was young and just thought she was amazing and had awesome red hair. (which she is. and she does.)

And then I moved to Utah and Mommy K gave me my first washer/dryer, and my first dining room table, and took me in at Thanksgiving, and invited me over when my sisters were in town, and treated me like family.

So once a year we all get together and hang. And have fun. And eat. And they talk me into shopping. And then we eat some more. Last year - Snowbird. This year, Chez Mommy K.

This is my older sister Kirstin. Notice her beauty. Notice her nails. Notice her makeup. Notice her matching clothes. Yep - she's awesome. Brightens a room, makes things better, makes things happy. That's how it always was when growing up. And I always wanted to be just like her.

She didn't get to come this year. But in honor of her - I want everyone to know that we did not play Trivial Pursuit. We did not play one game. She is still the champ and will not - no - can not be defeated until we are all together.

Kirst - you rock! 2009 or bust.

This is me with mommy k. See what I mean about the hair? Red rocks. She was an amazing hostess. Her house had been Marthafied.

Serious. Here is the gift basket that was in our room. Socks, Luna bars, gum, funny magnets, water bottles, and post-it notes in the shape of the letter J!

She also had a pile 'o' mags on the coffee table. People, O, In-Style, you name it.

And I thought that perhaps this was special. You know, just for the weekend? But she is always this organized. Here is her craft room. And this wall is her ribbon wall. Yes! I know what you are thinking...only in magazines. And that was my thought exactly. Until I saw this room. And I just wanted to sit on the floor and breath it in. It was beautiful.

Here is mom at breakfast. And notice - every morning we had half a grapefruit. and toast. Who knew I liked grapefruit. and toast.

And please note the gift bags. Every morning there was a gift bag with presents. Fun. happy presents. Jacks, and a fun pen, and a mood ring. Because I like moods.

So, we ventured out in the snow. and get a load of our idea of fun.
  • home show - with Kelsey Nixon. That's right. from season 4 of the Next Food Network Star. and i forgot my camera in the car. but i saw her make bread pudding. and i asked her two questions. and she came off as real. and genuine. and awesome. for example: she was the assistant to Martha Stewart's assistant, and said that martha is beautiful on the outside and sort of beautiful on the inside. (I know!) And Rachel Ray was the least friendly and most disappointing of all the people they worked with. and if Sandra Lee had her heart set on something they could not talk her out of it - like opened pine car fresheners as napkin rings. ( I know!!)
  • cheesecake factory - minus the cheesecake.
  • greg kinnear - in Ghost Town and Flash of Genius
  • chocolate
  • talk
  • Karen's awesome potato salad
  • hour massage for all
  • anthropology
  • old navy - where everyone talked me into purchasing $4 and $5 shirts
  • target
  • smith's marketplace - where everyone talked me into purchasing $55 shoes for $15. And then mom paid. moms rock!
  • Pei Wei
  • diet coke
  • Ikea - and putting together a chair.
  • BYU Bookstore
  • Zupas
  • Karen's awesome beef over rice.
  • chocolate
  • more talk

Here is my sister Judy. Notice the nails match the sweater. AND the makeup. Yeah. Beautiful. She kept us laughing all weekend. and said she liked my hair. swweeeet! and i always wanted to be just like her - so compliments from Judy can make your world. Honest. give her a call. get a compliment? Your life will change.

Pudding on the Rice. Need I say more? Notice the rockstar in the back.

This is Debra. Greg's (Judy's husband) sister. She joined us on our last day.

And then we were done.

Friday, October 10, 2008

January 11, 1991.

This is an exerpt from the journal I kept from age 7 through 18. I'm not changing names anymore. So if you knew me back then, sorry. And if you were male - yeah, I probably had a crush on you. But that means nothing. I refuse to be embarrased by it. I've moved on.

This is for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, don't read.

1/11/91 (13 years old)

This is going to be short! Today I was proud that I tried to get along people, and make them happy, when it would have ended up in a fight. I didn't do as well today! As for Jeremy I think he likes someone else! He keeps telling people he likes me as a friend. He wishes people would quit asking if he likes me! I like him. I've thought hard about it. If we will just end up friends I'll try hard to not be shy, and talk to him like a friend! If a friend is as far as he wants to go, that's fine with me.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

listening to NPR.

Dear Ira Glass -

Has it come to this? Have the purse strings tightened to the point that NPR has resorted to pressure? Celebrity pressure to keep the contributions coming in?

Today, while I finished the dishes, I could have sworn that I heard you threaten to call people who are NPR listeners but who have never donated money. McCarthyism at its finest. You requested that listeners turn in their friends. Send their contact info and you will call and ask them why they don't donate. All in an effort to get friends and family to rat out those they love.

In return? Those who do not donate will get a call from you, while on the air, and have to answer your questions as to why they do not donate - all in the effort to get them to relent to the pressure. The celebrity pressure and the public humiliation simultaneously thrown at us.

Some may see this as a creative form of finding new donors. I see it as threatening and manipulative. In many ways I would rather not donate in a stand of defiance against such tactics. Similar to the feeling in high school of not voting for a prom king and queen - just because everyone else was. (And I'm totally against naming royalty in honor of their popularity. Actually I'm just against royalty in general.)

I feel for the few I heard stuttering in embarrassment as you pelleted them with questions. And my personal guilt for not donating vanished.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

making guess #5.

So my photos seem to be getting worse and worse each week. This one has the fuzz going on. The clue says:
We are going somewhere by the coast. You probably won't need your bathing
suit though because I doubt we'll swim (unless you want to skinny dip...)

Okay. Let's deconstruct.

New detail = coast. But he says somewhere by the coast. Knowing Clin, this could now include Vegas.

No swimming = cold water.

Skinny dip = Clin's idea of funny, embarrassing, silly.

So I have now narrowed this down to three places.

  1. Seattle
  2. San Diego
  3. New York

My bet - Seattle. Good eating and we have never been there together.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

chaperoning my past and seeing my future.

In many ways I will always be in high school. I will never, ever leave. And this past weekend was a reminder of this fact.

As one of the official chaperones for my husband's drama program - I get the luxury of going to the
Shakespeare festival each fall. This year was the first in 4 that I have not been pregnant or breast feeding. And the normalized hormones were a welcome addition to the festivities.

My highlights:
  1. No kids. Or, at least, none of my own. I thought of them often but did not have to wrangle them.

  2. Teenagers dressed in black. Laughing, dancing in parking lots, yelling, hyper. And the one walking in circles around a tree, yelling angrily, didn't even phase me. Except to marvel at the fact that I used to hang out with other brooding teens dressed in black and yelling.

  3. A student lost his shoes. Seriously. And attempted to walk around campus barefoot and in the rain. After purchasing flip flops he received a call learning that another school found his shoes on their bus. How does this happen????

  4. We ate fast and fried for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then I had some more for snack.

  5. Clin directed the final scene from Taming of the Shrew. As a western. Who doubted it would work? Me. And it totally worked. 2nd place -and performed for everyone. Shazam Clin.

  6. I am still invisible to teenagers. I think. But a couple proved me wrong by putting my suitcase on the bus, and offering me an animal cracker.

  7. Dancing performances to inspire. And someone needs to put them on YouTube so that I can link them here and share them with you all.

And that is it. My life as a chaperone.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

in a dilemma.

photo by Steffe

Do I let her make a wish when I know full well the consequences that await us next spring?

photo by Dawn Endico