Thursday, August 28, 2008

What a life I lead in the summer

I returned from the western states on Monday. Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. Here are some trip bullet points:

  • I liked the Fleet Foxes, a lot. I didn't manage to pick up their album despite three opportunities, but I will be buying it soon.
  • Potatoes in Idaho taste just like potatoes in Wisconsin. Maybe because they're often the exact same potatoes.
  • There was a relay marathon being run along 26 as we drove through the Cascade Mountains. I'm not sure if running on a mountain or running on a highway would make me more nervous.
  • I am not a beer person, but I somehow managed to down two Black Buttes in Bend. Once accidentally (I ordered a lemonade at lunch; they brought me a porter) and once because I was thirsty and beer was offered. I figure it's like Guinness in Dublin: an obligation of sorts.
  • Speaking of alcohol, Idaho wine = surprisingly good. You learn these things when you attend concerts at wineries.
  • I saw multiple Wilco shows, with Boise and Bend being nearly tied for favorite status - slight edge to Boise for atmosphere and venue, but slight edge to Bend for the foosball, table tennis, and taco truck afterward. Both performances were great. Fleet Foxes are welcome to join Wilco onstage any time as far as I'm concerned. And it was great to hear songs old and new performed under the stars. I'll miss the outdoor summer concert season.
  • Andrew Bird was really good at Outside Lands, but Broken Social Scene was my favorite discovery of the festival. Yeah, I "discovered" Broken Social Scene last weekend. I move at my own speed.
  • After a night of Rock Band at U and Annie's, I am already contemplating a Rock Band purchase of my own. I need practice time! Of course, I'd really need to replace my current 18-inch Symphonic TV if I did that. And probably get something for it to sit on that's not a Rubbermaid container artfully draped with an Irish scarf.
  • If you find yourself flying out of a small Oregon airport in the early morning hours, make sure to gas up the night before. Gas is full-service only in Oregon, which slipped our minds until we'd stopped at three closed gas stations. Eventually we had to give up or miss our flight. Avis must love Redmond.
  • Coeur d'Alene, Idaho has the world's longest floating boardwalk. It also has the world's most inappropriate stuffed monkey toy, featured in my last blog entry.
  • I was on seven different planes over the course of that trip, and I'll be on another one Saturday morning.

Speaking of planes, I think I'm all done flying in and out of Chicago unless I need to be there for some other reason. Saving a little money on plane fare is not worth spending a full ten or twelve hours from door to door in transit. I used to be perfectly willing to do this, but not anymore. Perhaps I'm growing less patient as I get older. (The exception to this policy will likely be the use of my newest free flight on Southwest. Yes!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

From an antique shop in Coeur d'Alene

Coming to you from Idaho, it's the world's creepiest toy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The weekend and the week

Birthday party was a success. Above you see the great cupcakes my sister made for the occasion. Those are mini marshmallows on top.

Tomorrow I set forth again for points west. Summer wouldn't be complete without a nice run of rock tourism, would it? It wouldn't. Tuesday: work, then Chicago to Denver to Boise.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I have a busy month ahead. By the end of September, I'll have added another new state to my tally, and set foot in many others. I'll have served as a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding, in full Indian regalia. I'll have finished preparations for and participation in our biggest annual event at work.

But before all that, I will attend a circus-themed 7th birthday party for my nephew.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Old Photo Corner 2: Chicken hands

Again a feature from Dad's side of the family, here we see my grandma and grandpa in January of 1964. I love this one, because one of my most prominent memories of Grandma and Grandpa as a child was going over to their house for Sunday lunch. Grandma would make her Saltine fried chicken, or there would be Greek soup (also involving chicken), and salad, and often toast. I'm not sure why there was usually toast. But Grandma would usually burn at least a few slices, and then be "forced" to put them outside for the birds.

This particular dinner was before my time - before my sisters' time, too. My dad would have been just out of the Marine Corps, I think, at age 23. Grandma was 44, and Grandpa 46. They look much older than that to me, but because I only knew them when they were older, I can't really trust my judgment.

I know that kitchen so well - my sister and her family still live in the same house my grandparents did. But I don't remember the wallpaper. That is some crazy wallpaper.

Old Photo Corner 1

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

iPhone update

I got it! A week ago, to be precise. As luck would have it, the very afternoon I landed in Anchorage I received an email that my phone was in, and could I please pick it up within the next couple of days? Great. Of course I'd not brought with me the business card attached to my receipt, which listed the cell number of my sales associate. This meant that I spent way too much time Thursday morning trying to contact a real, living, breathing human being to explain that I was out of town but I'd appreciate it ever so much if they didn't cancel my order and sell my new iPhone to the next person in line, because then I'd be forced to visit the store and beat them with my old Razr (wielding it by its little Winnie-the-Pooh-dressed-as-a-tube-of-paint charm, which I got from a vending machine inside Quickly on my last trip to San Francisco, and is really the only thing I miss about that Razr.)

Anyway, I finally talked to someone. She said she'd mark down that I was out of town, and the phone would be waiting for me. And so it was. It's very pretty and sleek and new, and it has games! Well, it does since I downloaded some free ones from the app store. I also had fun making it sync with MobileMe, and updating all of my contacts to include little photos. I haven't yet tackled ringtones, but I will. Oh, I will.

I wish the phone could somehow take a picture of itself, which I could post using the iPhone, in a big ol' fit of meta. But since it can't, perhaps I'll take one with Photo Booth.

iPhone is also handy for reading and replying to email when you're doing things like hiking up a hill, as I discovered this evening on my regular outdoor prowl. (On stable terrain, that is.) But really, there's something to be said for being out of contact sometimes.