Friday, February 29, 2008

D.C. Chronicles: Day 1

"The lucky daughter." That's what my sister called me. She said that to my dad when she asked about us going to D.C. My dad takes me on little trips with him sometimes. In the past seven years we've been to New York a couple times, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Toronto. I wouldn't say I'm the "lucky" one. I'd say I'm the "unmarried" one who has the freedom to take off on trips. I guess that is lucky. Of course Lisa did come with us to New York both times. She was even married for one of them.

I've only been to D.C. Once. I went there with Maria and Kaila and we had a great time. I also remember us having a great hotel. Dad and I are staying in the Hilton Homewood Suites in downtown D.C. Our hallway smelled like chocolate chip cookies on the way down here.
We had a full itinerary today. The nice thing about traveling with Dad is that I get to be a little kid and let him handle almost everything. I don't have to think about how to get to where we need to go. I just follow. Until we get lost and then I step in. But another good thing about traveling with dad is that we have similar traveling styles. We're both kind of nerds. We love history and museums so I don't need to worry about the people I'm with being bored.


I visited the archives last time I was here, but we just looked at the Constitution. There is so much to see there! We scheduled a private tour, which was good so we got a glimpse of everything before we looked around on our own.

Highlights: Of course the rotunda with the Delcaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution. We were the first tour of the morning so it was empty. There was a power and reverence in the room.

It's amazing how much they have to keep. They even had some of President Kennedy's doodles during a meeting he was sitting in on. My favorite part was where I got to make (well, edit) my own documentary about D-Day by selecting various clips. The movie played back on a big screen for everyone passing by to see. I could have spent hours there. It exceeded my expectations. I went a little nuts in the gift shop. Nothing like my mom, but I bought a few books.


That was a cool building. We heard a lecture in the Chambers. Our intern/guide was very good. Let me see how many justices I can name: Roberts, Thomas, Scalia? and then the woman's starts with a G...shoot. I was kinda tired at this point. The eleven minute video was really great though. I felt a renewed interest in American History and politics.


I toured this last time I came. Our guide (Dean from New Jersey) was brand new. Considering we were his first tour he did pretty well. But he was totally making stuff up. I knew I couldn't trust everthing he said when he called the paintings in the rotunda "photographs". And when he told a story about one of the paintings with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams he said they were rivals (true) but he also said how Jefferson was still alive when it was painted and how he had the artist paint him more attractively than John Adams who had already passed away (false). Jefferson and Adams actually died within hours of each other.


This restaurant was recommended to me by Newell Dayley, board chair of the ARts Council and Dad's colleague at BYU. It was German food, which I like, but I have a thing where I like to order fish when I go out, especially if trout is on the menu. The watiress scolded me saying "that's not German" in her thick, Japanese accent. I almost said, "neither are you" but that would have been rude. She was good though. She called me "Honey" which, is a little weird, but I prefer it to "ma'am".

Good day. We got our judicial and legislative fill. Tomorrow we'll get the executive branch tour when we visit the White House.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Last week I finally made my way to a certain violin-making school downtown to purchase a shoulder-rest. I’ve needed one for awhile – well, I don’t know if NEED is the right word. I really don’t practice my violin. I haven’t been good at it for ten years now since I put it to bed after high school. But I don’t have a shoulder rest anymore. And when I do pick up my violin, it’s useless without one.

I’ve been trying to find a good time to buy one, because when you visit this particular shop, if there is a customer before you, you could be waiting awhile. They do things the slow, old-fashioned way. They don’t even have a register. So I picked a morning when I had some time to kill.

I walked in and of course the guy at the counter was already helping someone. I immediately took a seat by the counter, about five feet from their conversation. I sat, hands in pockets, looking around. I read posters on the wall, studied the metronomes, read about what was coming up at Libby Gardner Concert Hall until I realized I was sitting for a very long time. I looked out the window, checking to make sure no parking attendants were attending to my car; I didn’t bother to feed the meter.

Once I had read everything in the store, I began to pay more attention to Dan the salesman and the girl he was helping. They discussed her violin and how she needed to make sure it was in top condition for her upcoming concert. She was mid-twenties, about 5’5’’, skinny, wearing casual jeans, a hoodie and fancy flats. She wore thick, black eyeliner to match her thick, black hair (I believe Revlon calls it "midnite black"). She had her hair in one of those tossled updos that wants to say "I can look fa-habulous without any effort" but you know she had about 30 bobby pins in there. Kind of a pseudo-exotic look she was going for, but the salesman seemed to really enjoy talking to her – or, looking at her.

This was when I labeled her as a shameless flirt. There was no hiding it: she wore a perma-smile for no reason and spoke in a quieter, sweeter voice as she asked for special favors and expedited service. I was amused and couldn’t help but smirk as I watched Dan the salesman eat it up and respond in a quieter voice with a reasonless smile. He took his arms from his side and placed all his weight on his hands as he perched on the counter, leaning toward her – a very authoritative and masculine position. I watched her for awhile, invisibly shaking my head in disbelief. And then I heard her giggle. That was it. Amusement officially transitioned into annoyance. I sat up in my seat and looked around, attempting to draw attention to the fact that I was still in the room and needed assistance from someone at some point.

An older man emerged from the back to ask Dan a quick question. Before he could return to whatever he was doing, Dan urgently told him this patient young lady (me) needed to be helped. The older man made the decision to finish the transaction with the flirt and asked Dan to help me. Thank you. Finally.

I told Dan all I needed was a shoulder rest. He took me into the “accessory room” and showed me my options. Before I knew what was happening, we were smiling, laughing and entertaining a banter just like with his previous customer. Somehow I had immediately forgiven him for giving in to her female wiles and defaulted into flirt mode myself. That’s when I knew I couldn’t blame the girl. It was Dan the salesman.

I walked out of there with the newest, most expensive shoulder rest they had in stock. I guess I better practice my violin now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the mouse. Wait…I’m not sure I’ve blogged about the new mouse. There’s the old house mouse which I think left politely just like I asked him to.

But now we have a new mouse. This one is black, smaller and smarter. None of our trapping devices have seemed to attract him. I was sitting on my couch today, eating my lunch and staring into the kitchen thinking about how I haven’t seen the mouse in about three weeks. Just then, I saw the little devil run behind the refrigerator – maybe from the bathroom, or for an even more horrifying thought: the pantry.

The last mouse sighting was like I said, a few weeks ago. I always see him when I’m sitting on the couch. It was a Friday night when I saw him run behind the television. My reaction was an audible gasp. The air lingered in my throat for about ten seconds. I was frozen, not knowing what to do. I forgot about him as distractions such as phone calls, and visitors led my mind to other concerns. But then an hour later, I saw him again. He ran his same route: from the kitchen along the north wall and behind the television. Only this time he turned the corner, took one look at the mousetrap, did a 180 and then headed back into the kitchen. Clever little bugger.

And then, about twenty minutes later, he came back, only this time he stopped at the trap, stepped toward it ever so slowly, and sniffed around. At this point, I think a quiet, but steady squeal was escaping through the fingers covering my mouth. Should I walk up to him? Should I yell and scare him? Should I take a picture?

As soon as he ran away I headed for the kitchen. He seemed interested in the snap trap, so I decided to put some bait in there. I put some cheese in one and some peanut butter in the other and placed them along his favorite walls.

The next morning I woke up and headed to the traps like a kid heads to their stocking on Christmas morning. Only I was 50% excited and 50% horrified at what I might find.

This is what I found: an empty mousetrap. Not only was there no mouse in there, the peanut butter was gone. I checked the other one to find the cheese was gone. This is no trap; this is a bloody mouse feeder! I just sustained our mouse for who knows how long. For some reason, the fact that the traps were empty before I put new bait in there didn’t even cross my mind the night before. Maria had peanut butter in all of those. This mouse has been licking peanut butter for weeks. I think he’s settled in.

Maybe the kitty at my parents’ house needs to come visit me for a few days. He can sniff out mice in no time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chinese Food

So last Thursday marked the Chinese New Year. I had no idea, until some friends of mine invited me to dinner at the Asian Star to celebrate. My friend went to all this effort to make reservations, assuming it would be crowded, but I think our group of eight made up half their customers that night.

To be honest, Chinese food isn’t my favorite. It’s one of those things I crave, and then after two bites I’m done – but that’s typically only the case with places like Panda Express. I’m not really sure what good Chinese food tastes like. My friend Pete took me to Ming’s once and I thought that was pretty good, but I don’t know what to measure it up against. Maybe I need someone to show me some really BAD Chinese food so I can better appreciate the good.

This got me to thinking about the Chinese food I ate growing up. I could be wrong here, but I feel like a lot of families have certain restaurants they went to for Chinese, pizza, etc. – especially when it came to take-out. And we are conditioned based on what we assumed was the standard.

When my mom ordered Chinese take-out it was always from Golden Gate, this little restaurant in Sandy somewhere around the Sandy Mall – I think. I don’t remember exactly. I’m pretty sure it’s long gone because this was 20 years ago.

Sometimes we’d eat there, but mostly Mom picked it up and brought it home. She always ordered ham fried rice, lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork and then pot stickers. So that was Chinese food to me. Any and every other Chinese dish I ate was compared to the way Golden Gate made it. I remember one time; I ordered sweet and sour pork from a different restaurant when my family went out to eat. It was smothered in this bright red sauce and I thought, “This is NOT sweet and sour pork.” I may have even said it out loud. It wasn’t until much later, after I had sampled a variety of Chinese restaurants, that I discovered there are many different ways to make the same dish.

Anyway, I thought the Asian Star was pretty good. I ordered General Tso’s chicken because I remember when I went to Ming’s; Pete told me that was the best dish. Everyone at our table ordered it except me. I ordered the cashew chicken and I must admit, it was a mistake. I have to say, I liked General Tso's at Ming’s better. But overall, the Asian Star had good food. After going to several Chinese (and I’m going to add Thai) restaurants around Utah, I’ve decided the smaller it is, the better the food. And for some reason, if the owner’s kids are in the back room watching cartoons on TV that’s a good sign as well.

This was my third post in a row about food by the way. I’ll try to think of something different next time.

Totally off the subject…

Here is a slide show of pictures from my birthday party in December. I thought I posted these, but I guess I forgot. They are way overdue. I couldn’t help but notice in most of the pictures with Dre, she was the only one aware of the camera – which is funny to me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Breakfast Platter Deluxe

I've been reading through a lot of my old journals lately. It's what I do when I want to read, but I don't have any magazines around and I don't want to commit to a book. I can entertain myself to no end with my journals. I stayed up for two hours past my bedtime a couple weeks ago reading about my adventures and misadventures in 2002. I documented a lot of dreams I had which was fun. I thought I would flip through these pages and post the most exciting entry on my blog, but instead I'm going to post the most boring.

But first, let me say that I love sharing my dreams. Personally, I think they're hilarious and packed with symbolism, but my sister once told me how my dreams are really boring. "They're just like a normal day" she said. It's true. I don't dream in sci-fi or action/adventure. So if my dreams are boring, imagine what a typical day for me is like.

Instead of boring you with one of my dreams, I'm going to bore you with an entry about a normal day: December 12, 2002. What I love about this is how revealing it is when it comes to the way my mind tries to work to make even the simplest decision.

All I really wanted was hash browns.

Well, first all I wanted was toast with peanut butter. But then I discovered that we don't have any peanut butter in my house so I thought, "I'll just pick up something at McDonalds." So I stop at the McDonalds downtown thinking I wanted pancakes and hash browns. The hash browns were important. I drive up to the menu. They have a pancake platter. They have a pancake platter with eggs and sausage. Sausage? Gross. No sausage thank you. That platter was $2.79. I guess I could get that, but I wanted hash browns. A side of hash browns was $1.29, but I needed something more than that. The only other pancake platter that included hashbrowns was the Breakfast Platter Deluxe. That was only a dollar more than the $2.79 one. I usually try to not spend more than $3.00 at fast food drive-thrus but this was a special exception because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So I order the Breakfast Platter Deluxe: two pancakes, two english muffins, "scrambled" eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. Now that is a lot of food. The sausage and one of the english muffins went straight into the trash and I barely ate the pancakes and the eggs. But man, those hash browns were good. (End)

I don't remember the last time I did fast food for breakfast. I'm usually pretty good about eating before I head out the door. But it's typically cereal or toast, or if I feel like it, eggs. I LOVE breakfast food: pancakes, french toast, and cheese blintzes are good. My favorite is the international breakfast at IHOP where you get the crepes, toast and the eggs (over medium) and the bacon. But for some reason, a big breakfast tastes best around midnight. Like right now, I could really go for some breakfast.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bad Food List

It's lunchtime. I still don't feel like eating. I've consumed maybe 800 calories since Saturday morning. Most of those calories were Sunday's since I spent most of Saturday crawling around, sipping small doses of Coca-Cola.

I've been sick with a stomach thing. I'm thinking it was something I ate Friday night. And I'm afraid it was the chocolate Aztec tart from the Red Butte Cafe. I don't want it to be true because that was my favorite dessert, but now I may have to add it to my “bad food” list. Does anyone else have to banish food from their diet once they've gotten sick off of it? My list isn't that long because I don't get sick that often, but here is my list:

1) Rice Pudding: I really liked rice pudding for awhile. But then one day, when I was maybe 12 or 13, I went to brunch at the Homestead in Midway. Probably not the best move since I wasn't feeling that great anyway. But I ate rice pudding there. And the rest is history. I might be able to choke it down because it has been a long time, but even the thought of the texture makes me tighten my lips and the memory of the taste makes my throat contract.

2) Kentucky Fried Chicken: This was also when I was much younger. All I remember about this experience is being sick, curled up over the heater vent in the family room with a blanket, wishing I hadn't eaten that chicken earlier. And I haven't eaten KFC since. Even the smell makes me sick. And it doesn't even have to be the chicken...the smell of the potatoes or coleslaw or biscuits. It all smells the same to me.

3) Chicken Pot Pie: Ew. I don't remember why or when. But the thought of it does something to me. Must be a repressed experience.

4) Meat Pies. Kind of along the same lines as #3, but this is more specific to whatever fried crap I ate when I was in New Zealand in 2003. They had a lot of sausage pies or deep fried other things. I missed out on about 2 days of my time in New Zealand because I got sick...yuck. I can't even think about it.

5) Aloha Sushi and the Hawaiian Pork/Rice at the Hawaiian BBQ place. These items are different in that they are specific to the places I ate them. I've since eaten a lot of sushi at other places. Not sure if I've had Hawaiian pork again, but I bet I could. Anyway. I had the sushi for lunch and the pork for dinner one day about a year and a half ago. Late that night I got sick and I haven't been back to either of those places.

And now I have to add the chocolate Aztec tart. And maybe pasta salad. I hope not – probably not. But yesterday when Carri came home, she looked in the fridge and asked if she could have some of my salad. I said, “Ew. Yes.” In fact, everything I've eaten since Friday night has had to be something I didn't eat on Friday. And that includes the pasta salad.

Oh, and this is my 100th blog post by the way. I was reading Ilene's blog awhile ago and she congratulated herself on her 100th post. I thought to myself, “hmmm... I wonder when my 100th post was.” So I counted them up and I had 99 posts. Wow. That was a coincidence. And it goes to show how much more often Ilene posts on her blog. I think I've had mine for almost a year longer than she has.