June 12th, 2005

Atacama

Out and about, 12 June 2005

It's a beautiful day here in Salmonberg. We woke up incredibly sneezy and snuffly, and were in no shape to go out to breakfast with Richard and Tim, alas; instead, Dan went to work on the bat house, and I decided to go shopping - which is something I almost never, ever do. So, I thought I'd make a few notes just to remind myself in the future that yes, I do occasionally go shopping.


  • On 4th Ave in Bellevue, there's a new restaurant with an awesome name: What The Phở. I'm dragging Brian/sinnabor over this week if I can.

  • Down the block is a church with some really bad clip art on a giant banner they've put up for no discernible reason; the text says something about a "feast", but the banquet table picture they've used shows a small empty plate on a rather large sideboard. Um, no thanks

  • As I apparently now have allergies, I decided to go to Target to buy Claritin®. What I hadn't realized is [duh] that there are plenty of generics available. $10 buys you either ten branded Claritin® tablets, or 60 of the Target house brand. Guess which one I bought?

  • Sadly, there were no suitably sized picture frames at Target; I bought a cool wine grape varietal table poster thingy last week, but haven't found a frame for it yet. Ikea had a significantly better looking frame available, but it's 70 x 100cm, and I need 24" x 36" instead, and I don't trust my matting skills at all.

  • Also at Target: Diet Coke Sweetened with SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener. Verdict: Um, OK, but so what? I'd like it better with lime, I guess.

  • At Crate&Barrel, I hit my first big retail snag. The overhelpful sales staff were badgering some poor Asian woman who apparently couldn't speak English; they kept asking her "which of these dishes are supposed to be gift wrapped?" and "how many different gift receipts did you need again?" - while she just stood there with a bewildered look on her face. Eventually one of them took pity on me and rang me up for my three wine stoppers [C&B has the best ones - $1.95 each, aesthetically pleasing, and damn it, I need to stop leaving them in hotel rooms when I travel.]. Mission accomplished.

  • The Bellevue Square shopping center parking lot gives me hives. I guess we Americans are so incredibly lazy that we'll do absolutely anything to get a parking space near the entrance to the mall: even though the joint has six floors of parking, the top three of which were almost completely empty, there was an endless lineup as folks stopped at the first hint of brake lights instead of just driving up to the open spaces and taking the elevator back down. Grrr.

  • More fun with Bellevue Square: if you exit Crate&Barrel and walk down the sidewalk, thinking that there has got to be an entrance to the mall somewhere on 4th Ave., you're dead wrong. Nordstrom takes up an entire block with absolutely zero doors that open out onto the sidewalk; it's all emergency exits and electrical junction boxes making scary noises. There's a bus stop there, yeah, but if you actually want to enter the store, you need to walk around the building and enter through the parking lot. Again: grrr.

  • Inside the mall, it's surprisingly nice. Not overcrowded with ninja strollers of death, and reasonably well signed. I'd decided to go to the mall to get cereal bowls; I'm tired of our crap Ikea placeware, and thought I'd go replace it with some Williams-Sonoma stuff. I'd gone to the San José store a couple of years ago to buy bowls to make French onion soup, and bought a "cat food dish" there for $4 that turned out to be the only decent breakfast cereal bowl in the house - they're $25 a six-pack, and damn, they're perfect. I'd also seen a bunch of good quality white dishes for $3-$4 a pop on their Web site, but if you go to the store, you won't be able to find them; still, the store staff was insanely knowledgeable and very, very helpful, even if all I got were the "chili bowls." Talk about an awesome shopping experience.

  • I ordered the rest of the dishes online, just now.

  • As I virtually never get to the mall - the last time was about a year and a half ago when I dropped my Mom off at Nordstrom - I figured it was time to go to Sephora and check out some Comme des Garçons perfume. Turns out the store doesn't stock anything save for their new men's fragrance - but wow, it smells awesome. MAN 2 I think it's called. Decided to splurge and get a deodorant stick. Yeah, I could have bought a gallon of Right Guard instead, but whatever. It reminds me vaguely of Cartier Declaration, which rocks, but it's maybe not as woody... we'll see how it works as a deodorant. Hopefully it won't sent the marmot into sneezing fits.

  • Meanwhile, back in Redmond, I stopped by Redmond Town Center in hops of seeing Pirates of Penzance, but the show was sold out. Damn!

  • So, I bought sandwiches from a place called Redmond Subs - so bad, even Subway would be an improvement - and came home. Oh, and my Romanian coworker Petru was buying a sandwich as well, and it took him a few tries to get my attention because I was doing that big city "you can't possibly be talking to me" thing. You know.


  • And now I'm home, and the sun is shining, and the Marmot is puttering, and I'm going to go clean the toilet. Yay!
Atacama

Dear Lazyweb

1. Brian is coming over for dinner and he's bringing broccoli. I know how to steam it, but that's criminally bland. What do you suggest?

2. I have some leftover gruyére. How do I make a cheese sauce out of it if that's what I want to smother the broccoli in?

3. I need to cut the matting that came in the Ikea picture frame down to size. Does anyone here in Seattle have a matte cutting tool I can borrow?