Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunday Brunch: Dining Out

"The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums." -Peter DeVries

1) Do you enjoy eating out and why?

Yes, for a variety of reasons. Some things are just much easier to go order at a restaurant than to make at home. (Ribs a Tony Roma's spring readily to mind.) Sometimes it's easier and sometimes even better. Though with the great cook that my wife is, it's not usually better tasting to eat out. Just easier.

2) Where is your favorite restaurant?

Can't really say that I have a favorite. There are many that I like and many that I prefer for certain types of food. But one is not above the others. Some of my favorites are:

  • Pizza - Metro Pizza in Las Vegas (T.H.E. B.E.S.T. barbecue chicken pizza. Ever.)
  • Ribs - Tony Roma's. Though there were a few places in Vegas over the years that we went for barbecue ribs, Tony Roma's was always consistent and always there. (And here where I live now.)
  • Mexican - I'm not a big fan of Mexican food. I'll eat it, especially since Anne likes it so much, but one is pretty much the same to me. I'm even less of a fan of chips and salsa, but a restaurant called Puerto Vallarta in Spokane has some great salsa.
  • Oriental - A local place owned by the Resort I work for called Bonsai Bistro is the best around here. We really liked P.F. Chang's in Vegas when we were there, though it was always super-busy.
  • Sandwiches - Subway is good and easy. Quizno's is good, too. But nothing beats Daanen's Delicatessen in Coeur d'Alene.
  • Italian - Tomato Street in Coeur d'Alene is good. And it's always busy. Unfortunately I'm not sure how good it really is because I always get Uncle Tony's Chicken Pasta every time we go. I can't help it. But people always seem to enjoy whatever they get.
  • Desserts - The Gooey Desserts at Dockside at the Resort are the best around.

3) What are your standards for tipping?

We usually give around 20%. Living in Vegas for so long where most employees make their living on tips (which means many of your friends do) and service is always pretty good, we don't have a problem with it. Bad service will go down to 15% or even 10% for really bad service. If it's relly great service and the server goes out of their way to do something for us we have gone as high as 25% before (but rarely).

4) Do you have one entree, appetizer or dessert that you specifically go out to get at a restaurant from time to time?

Uncle Tony's Chicken Pasta at Tomato Street is the closest thing here. In Las Vegas it wasn't unusual for me to get a medium Memphis (barbecue chicken pizza) at Metro Pizza once a week.

5) Describe a horrific experience that you had while dining out.

Nothing springs readily to mind.

Though I did stop into a fast food place in Vegas one time. I was the only one at the counter and was ignored for about three minutes by the two girls behind the counter while they finished their conversation. When the one finally helped me it was with a, "Yeah, what do you want?" Never went back. Don't even remember what place it was, though I know it wasn't one of the "big four" burger places. (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Carls' Jr.)

Oh, here's one. Though it's another fast food story.

Got off work one night. It had been a really busy day and I didn't get a chance to eat lunch. Burger King sounded good so I stopped at the one in Post Falls near our house, just off the highway. It was about five minutes to ten. The drive through closed at 10:00 pm.

I pulled up in the drive through. The lights were on. There was a guy on a bicycle up at the window talking to whoever was inside. No one greeted me on the speaker at the ordering area. The guy on the bike looked back at me a couple times. After I sat there for two minutes or so the guy on the bike looked back at me and pointed. Then all the lights turned off.

I left and went to another burger place a block away. It's a local joint called Zip's. Not bad burgers, and that was the very first time I had eaten at a Zip's. I never went back to that Burger King (though I will eat at other Burger King's). And, oh, by the way, that store is closed now. Ha ha ha!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Heads and Smiles

There's some good baby news following. The grandparents will be very happy.

First up, we finally got a picture of Sydney smiling a real, honest to goodness, huge smile after many attempts. (A fraction of which you can see over in my Picturetrail albums.) Unfortunately, the great smile picture that we saw in the display screen of the digital camera was blurry when seen full-size. I was too close when snapping it. Regardless, it's still a great picture, worth sharing, and my current computer wallpaper.

Sydneys Big Smile

The hunt isn't over yet, though. We will get a "perfect" smile picture eventually.

In other big baby news, Sydney is starting to "talk." She's not really cooing yet, but we will hear gurgles and babbles occasionally when she's lying by herself. It's still rare and not consistent that it will happen, but suddenly we'll hear these noises from her like she's trying to say something. To hear anything from her other than a cry, grunt, burp or fart is a wonderful change.

Sydney is also working hard with her neck muscles to try and get them strengthened. When she sits up (with our support) to be burped she can hold her head up by herself for short periods of time. Over the last few days we have turned her over on her stomach (supervised the whole time, of course!) and she will raise her head up to look around.

It's exciting to see the development stage by stage as she learns new things!

Sydney Holding Her Head Up

And for those of you that haven't seen them (and I don't think I linked to them previously, but if I did, too bad) my Mother has some great pictures up in her Picturetail photo album. They're from her trip here in May to see Sydney. Check those out, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sunday Brunch - Wintertime

"Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so string in me." -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

1) Do you line in a place where it snows often? Describe your typical winter and how often it snows/ices/sleets.

I haven't lived here long enough (five years) to know what a "typical winter" is. This year was really bizarre. We had snow in the early part of the winter, but almost none after the first of the year. By Fenruary we were enjoying 50- to 60-degree weather (Fahrenheit) and no snow. Then it snowed a bit in March (and promptly melted), was cold, then rainy in April and so far in May.

Unfortunately we had very little snow pack in the mountains, so we have high chances of drought and fire hazard this summer. We have had a lot of rain recently, so that should help hold it off some.

The last two years before that there was sporadic snow throughout the winter, though not much. The snow pack in the mountains was good, though. It made for good skiing (apparently - I don't ski) and allowed good run off in the spring.

The two winters before that didn't have much snow, but enough. Snow stayed around as ground cover most of the winter each year and snow pack in the mountains was good. These first two years we were here is what "typical" is supposedly like around here. but when you haven't had it in three years it seems to me that the definition of "typical" may shift.

2) Have you ever been snow skiing? Where have you gone?


3) What is your favorite part of winter?

The end.

4) If you had a choice, would you move somewhere where there was a hard winter?

I grew up in Michigan where there are hard winters. I walked to school everyday. (Though not twenty miles and not uphill both ways.) I have had my share of hard winters.

We left Las Vegas partly because we wanted to be somewhere where there were seasons. But that didn't necessarily mean somewhere where there were hard seasons.

So, in short, no.

5) What is your favorite winter activity or sport?

Looking out the window and hoping that the snow stops and the roads get cleared before I have to go somewhere.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

All the News Fit for Grandma

Sydney might be sleeping longer. It's hard to tell. She seems to be sleeping for about four hours at night before needing to wake up. But it still varies and she's on her own schedule. She wakes up and wants to eat when she wants to.

She will eat more at night, it seems. Around 9-10:00 she sometimes "binge eats." The people at Anne's breastfeeding support group said babies will do this when they're ready to sleep through the night. They eat more and want more apparently so they can go longer without eating. She hasn't slept through the night yet, but we keep hoping.

She seems to be genuinely smiling more now. I usually see her right after she's woken up or right after she's eaten, though, so it's hard for me to tell sometimes whether it's still just gas or a genuine smile. Anne says she's smiled for her a few times, though. And, of course, I’m sure I’ve gotten a real smile once or twice.

Alas, there are no new pictures yet. I haven't been home enough when she's active enough for a picture. And Anne hasn't taken any. But... there is one new picture posted. It seems there was one on the memory card that I hadn't posted yet...

I'm betting there will be several news pictures to post the early part of next week, though. Aunt Helena and Aunt Marta are coming up this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A New Home

I've decided to open a blog on Blogger. I'm not sure why. I've still got my murphyz blog. I plan on updating both of them. (Though they'll be the same posts.) But my mother has a Blogger blog and my grandmother has a Blogger blog. So why not me, too?

I will be posting all my old murphyz posts into the archive here. I haven't tested it yet, but the time and date stamp at the bottom of the page seems to allow previous dates, so it shouldn't be too challenging. It will take some reformatting, though, to get them from the php code to HTML. So don't expect anything immediate in that regard.

In other news, I dont have much news to report. Some stuff is going on at work, but until that progresses further I don't want to comment. Baby Sydney is doing fine. It will be a few more weeks until our next appointment.

Anne's sisters are coming for a visit this weekend. They'll be here on Friday and leave Sunday.

And speaking of visits, my mom has her pictures from her trip here posted. Go check them out. There are a couple really great ones, though they are all good pictures. Sorry. I don't have any new, recent pictures to share.

I think that's all I have for now.