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seattle

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I booked a red-eye out of Seattle for our trip home from Leavenworth, because I wasn’t sure when the rest of the family would be leaving – and also because it was really cheap.  Turns out people don’t like to spend the night in a tiny airplane seat …

With the family departing early in the day, that meant the husband and I had a long time to spare before our 11 pm flight.  So we spent the day in Seattle!

I know I’m from Washington state and all, but I’ve never really spent much time in Seattle.  With this latest adventure, that brings me to 4 whole days in the city. 🙂

On our way to Seattle, we stopped at Jack in the Box for lunch.  I miss that place.  I don’t understand why there aren’t any in Virginia.  🙁  If one ever opens in the northern Virginia area, I think it’s safe to say that the husband and I will single-handedly keep it in business …

Once we reached the city, we parked by the waterfront, and made our way to the Aquarium.  There were a lot of people out and about, and the aquarium was no exception.  We did get to see the feeding of the sea otters and the seals (or sea lions?  I always get them mixed up …), which is always fun.

After the aquarium, we wandered up to Pike’s place market.  And I mean UP.  Unfortunately, it was ridiculously crowded, so we didn’t stick around to do any shopping.  We watched the fish guys holler at each other for awhile, but there wasn’t much throwing going on, so we left.

We stumbled across the BEST chocolate chip cookies ever.  The signage was a little disturbing – it’s a cookie masquerading as a cow-pie in a field – but we took the plunge.  And it was oh so yummy!  And the best part is … they deliver!  I haven’t ordered any yet – they are a tad expensive, especially when you add the shipping in – but I have a feeling I will some day.

Next up was the Ducks tour, but they were sold out.  Never underestimate the draw of the amphibious vehicle tour …

So we ended up across the street at the Experience the Music Project/Sci-fi Museum.  Everybody (b2, the husband’s work buddies) kept telling us to hit EMP, but it was actually the sci-fi part that got us in the door.  They have a great exhibit of sci-fi goodies: comic books, star trek props, star wars props, a fan-made borg costume (looked better than a lot of the real stuff, IMO), and an animatronic teenage mutant ninja turtle!

After we were done with that, we hit the EMP.  It was a lot of interactive stuff that we passed on, but I think if we had been in the mood, it would have been a lot of fun to lay down our own tracks and shoot a music video.

After that, we made our way to the airport, turned in the car, and tried to check in.  Except we couldn’t because the ticket counter was closed.  And the auto-checkin machines were turned off.  We were, admittedly, a little early, but if we’d have known we’d be sitting in front of the ticket counter for an hour, we might have laid down some tracks.  Or at least found one last Jack in the Box …

Once we checked in, we went through security.  As is expected when you fly.  It’s the place where you remove your jackets, belts and shoes.  And remove your laptop from it’s case.  And empty the change and keys from your pockets.  And put your 3 oz bottles of liquids and gels in a 1-quart ziploc bag in a bin such that it is visible to the security folks.

I know the drill.  The husband knows the drill.  Everybody who flies out of Dulles knows the drill.  And thus I am spoiled and shocked when I encounter people who do not know the drill.

We were behind one man who had to go through again because he didn’t empty his pockets.  And he GRUMBLED as he put his handfuls of change in a bowl.  Seriously?  Dude, you are walking through a METAL detector.  It detects METAL.  Like that $4 in change you just put in the bowl.  Metal detectors are not new at airports, they were there even before the 9/11 craziness started.  It’s not like they suddenly changed the rules on him.  If he’s flown at all in the last 20 years (that’s when my flying experience started, so I can’t vouch for before that), then he’s been through a metal detector.  Where he’s had to empty his pockets.

We were behind another gentleman who had trouble with the ‘remove your belt’ thing.  He removed his belt, but then proceeded to walk through the metal detector with it IN HIS HANDS.  Um, sir – they asked you to remove it so you could put it in a bin and NOT set off the detector …

And, lastly, a young man who was insistent that if he removed his belt, his pants would fall off.  Which was true, but the TSA gentleman had a suggestion for him:  HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS until you get your belt back on.  Which he finally did.

Everything else was uneventful, thankfully, and we made it safely back home.

two slices

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I finally worked up the courage yesterday to order two slices of swiss cheese at the deli counter.  We don’t eat a lot of swiss cheese, and when we do, it’s only in small amounts.  Like two slices.

Usually, I just buy the smallest package I can find, and throw it out once it’s been in the fridge awhile.  (But with the intention of finding something else to eat it in.  Usually.)

So, when I decided I wanted chicken cordon bleu this week, I knew I’d need some swiss.  But, you know, only two slices.  On account of I’m only cooking for myself and the husband.

And so I took the plunge, and after the slight embarrassment of ordering a quarter pound of ham, I asked for 2 slices of swiss cheese.  The lady at the counter did just as I asked, and 52 cents later, I was the proud owner of precisely the amount of cheese I needed.

Since I know y’all are dying to hear about our exploits in Oklahoma, here they are!

The husband’s father lives in a little bitty Oklahoma town.  The kind of place that you have a long drive ahead of you AFTER you fly as close as you can get.

Our flight itself was uneventful, but when we landed in Dallas, the husband and I started hearing a chorus of ‘Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson!’ murmured throughout the plane.  As we turned on our phones to consult the internetz about the king of pop, we were quite shocked to learn of his sudden death.

But, anyway, you might be wondering why we flew to Dallas if we were going to Oklahoma.  And that would be because it was the cheapest-closest flight I could find to Broken Bow, OK.

We got our rental car, and drove to Broken Bow (but not without a pit-stop at Sonic!)  On our way, I chatted with the sister-in-law on the phone, and found out she was ambushing us with a family portrait the next day.  A great idea, I had to admit, as it was rare that the 5 of us (father, daughter, granddaughter, son, daughter-in-law) would actually be in the same place at the same time, but I hadn’t even packed makeup for the trip.  Or a nice shirt!

When we rolled into town, it was late, so we found our room at the Microtel Inn and checked in.  It was very basic, but it was clean.  Definitely worth checking out, if you ever find yourself needing a room in Broken Bow.

The next morning, the rest of the family met us at our hotel, and we all crammed into the rental car for a trip to Texarkana for the pictures.  There was a slight issue with missing seat belts in the backseat, but luckily I have long, skinny arms, so I remedied that.  We stopped for breakfast at a great little place (wish I could remember the name, for future reference …), and headed on our way.

We had an appointment at the Arkansas Wal-Mart, so we headed to the Arkansas half of Texarkana to be memorialized.  We were a little early, so I headed to the makeup aisle in an attempt to purtify myself.  I bought a product from about all the major players (Maybelline, Almay, Covergirl and … Bonne Bell … shut up!  They do make makeup!  Oh wait, not for grown ups?  Drat …) and made myself up in the bathroom.

The father-in-law used up his quarters buying the girls tiny ‘hello kitties’ out of a vending machine, and the boy a tiny farm animal.  (The husband doesn’t know this, but his little pony is now tucked away in my ‘tiny trinket’ box that I use to hold my smashed pennies and collected shells and rocks.  Oops, I guess he knows now …)

Unfortunately, the photo ladies had just gotten a new camera that morning, since their old camera had broken the previous day.  And they didn’t know how to use it.  So, could we please wait until they figured it out?

The father-in-law had wandered away during the new-camera fiasco, and the husband found him at the airbrushed-t-shirt ‘store’ next to the portrait studio.  Having a t-shirt made.  With a bare-bottomed little cowboy.  For the husband, of course!  Once we caught him, he let the girls pick out their own airbrush designs (I got a ‘super girl’ logo!), and then we headed back to the portrait studio.  They had given up, and made us an appointment at the Texas Wal-mart.  So we headed to the Texas half of Texarkana for our pictures.

We made it to the other Texarkana Wal-mart, got our pictures taken, selected the photo package, and were finally ready for lunch.

Long John Silver’s!  They sure know how to do fast food in Oklahoma.  Er, Arkansas.  Er Texas.  Wherever we were at that point …

We headed back to Broken Bow and relaxed in the father-in-law’s wonderfully air conditioned house.  Because in June, it is HOT in Oklahohoma-Arkansas-Texas.  Really hot.  The kind of hot that I don’t like.  We caught some Michael Jackson on tv, because, well, that’s all that was on that weekend.  Even in Oklahoma.  🙂

We discussed going to Transformers and opted against it, and found out it was too late for Bingo.  So we headed to the Oaks Steak House, and I had the best french dip sandwich I have ever had.  Not that I’m an expert on such things, I can almost count all the french dip sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life, but it was good.  And so cheap!  I guess you don’t have to charge an arm and a leg for your food when you aren’t paying through the nose for your rent.   The rest of the family had chicken fried steak.  (Except for the niece, who had a baked potato.  Being 6 definitely has its perks!  There are no rules on what you have to eat for dinner.)

We watched Taken back at the father-in-law’s house, then the husband and I had to call it a night.

The next morning, we breakfasted in the hotel (cereal and bagels!  breakfast of champions), then met up with the rest of the family and headed down to Broken Bow Lake for some horseback riding.

First, we rode the train.  Which is meant for little people, but given that it was really HOT, it was nice to be moving fast enough to feel a breeze.  Then we caught lunch in the park; the rest of the family got grilled ham & cheese, while I had a dang good slice of dang good pie.  (Pineapple and pecans, how can you say no to that?)

The girls went on the horseback ride, and I have to say, I am way too bony to enjoy horseback riding.  It was my first horseback ride, and may very well be my last.  Unless they make padded saddles, I could get on board with that …

We then headed over to one of the aunt’s houses, who was having a pool party.  (Because it was HOT, have I mentioned that?)  I met some aunts and uncles and cousins, and had a second lunch (or perhaps a real lunch …) of good, southern potluck-style cooking.  We all opted to chill out in the air-conditioned inside – well, all except the niece; what 6-year-old can turn down a pool?

After the big family reunion, it was unfortunately time for the husband and I to head back.  We had a room near the Dallas airport that evening, since our flight left the following morning.

We caught dinner at Whataburger on our drive back (yummy stuff, I promise!), and then checked into the Holiday Inn.

Our room was HUGE.  Like as big as some apartments I’ve lived in.  And it was new, and luxuriantly appointed.  The nicest Holiday Inn I’ve ever stayed at for sure.  (DFW South Holiday Inn, FWIW.)  And for the same price as our Microtel Inn, go figure.  Cushy carpet, fluffy towels, flatscreen tv, leather sofa.  I considered moving there.  And then I remembered I missed my cats.  /sigh

We made it back to Virginia safely, and it was nice to be back in civilization.  But, I have to say, it was also nice to be reminded that you can survive just fine without being plugged in all the time.  Cell phones and the interwebz aren’t quite as vital to life as, say, oxygen.  🙂

(I know this post is long, but the husband has long-term memory problems when it comes to remembering trips he’s been on, so I wanted to capture the details for him.  So when he forgets, he can just read about it, and be all ‘Oh yeah!  That WAS a good time!’  You know, instead of having to take my word for it.  Because sometimes my word turns out a little more in my favor than his …)

Conversation with the husband this morning:

TH: There’s a … vegetable … on the counter.

Me:  You mean something besides the lettuce?

TH:  No.  No, just the … lettuce.

Me:  I’m making a salad for lunch.

TH:  Oh.  Ok.  Just wanted to make sure they weren’t taking over.

Me:  Vegetables?

TH:  Yeah.

Me:  Oh.  Nope, that was just me.

eggplant parmigiana

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My first exposure to eggplant was in a dish a vegetarian roommate prepared.  The eggplant was neither tasty nor not tasty; it was just sort of there.  I ate it, but decided that eggplant probably wasn’t my thing.

A few years later at a work lunch, one of my coworkers ordered eggplant parmigiana.  When the food came and he saw me eyeing his food (it didn’t look very vegetarian, he appeared to have a breaded chicken breast sitting on his plate!), he offered me a taste.  Not wanting to offend, but not looking forward to it, I accepted his offer.  And I was surprised at how good it actually was!  I guess the secret to preparing eggplant is breading it, deep-frying it, then smothering it in tomato sauce.

So thanks, Morley.  I never knew what I was missing out on.  🙂

I thought about making myself some spaghetti or rice for dinner, but then I realized that all the dishes are dirty.  Pans, plates, silverware, you name it, it’s dirty.

meh.  Who needs food?

I am a fan of Chipotle, but their food portions are, well, ginormous.  I can’t eat but half a burrito or a taco and a half.  So, alas, it is a waste of food for li’l ol’ me.

Enter Moe’s!  Besides all the funny names (uh, can I get a <whisper> moo moo, mr. cow? </whisper>), they have a kids menu!  So I can get ONE taco with a side of chips or a mini-burrito with a side of chips.  (Ok, I just checked the nutritional value on the burrito – it rings in at 400 calories, so it’s not that little.)   

My dinner – with chips, cookie and a drink – (don’t tell my dentist, but that cherry coke looked too good to pass up) still came to … yikes, 1000 calories, so it’s not a puny kids meal.  Contrast that with a Chipotle burrito that rings in at 1000 calories all by itself.  

The one downside is the tiny little child-safe cup that comes with the meal.  It is a little embarrassing, but that’s just the price I have to pay in order to not throw away half my dinner. 

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish my cookie.

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