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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Sat
1
Sep '18

Trip Report: Kansas City

The trip didn’t come off as planned. I made it, but DancingBear had to cancel at the last minute since his dog Buster just got out of surgery the afternoon of the day before we were slated to leave. Buster went under the knife to remove a cup of pea gravel covered in BBQ hamburger drippings. I’m sure it tasted great going down, but not so much in his tummy:

Not only painful to Buster, but painful for DancingBear:

Ouch – but at least he is home and one the mend…

Meanwhile, I’m headed to Kansas City…and while at the airport, saw one of Alaska’s newest liveries, the SubPop plane…

Which also shows you the smoke from wild fires raging in BC, WA, OR, CA – seems that we are getting smoke from all of them. As seen from above:

One of the sad things about DancingBear having to cancel his part of this trip is that there is no one to swap almonds and walnuts for cashews with in First Class (I like the cashews, the almonds, not so much).

Was served a lunch from Alaska’s new “trendy” menu. For some reason they thought I’d pre-ordered the fruit and cheese plate – silly people:

Got to see an interesting view on the landing in Kansas City – the NASCAR speedway on the Kansas side of the border.

Knew it was there, but hadn’t seen it from the air before.

DancingBear had arranged a rental car, but no DB, no car. I texted my buddy Paul before I left, and he was able to be my chauffeur for the visit – with our first stop at a grocery/liquor store in North Kansas City, where they had Verners, but I didn’t really need a twelve pack (or the Yoohoo next to it):

Got checked in at the 21st C at The Savoy Art Hotel, and after a little juggling, got the two queens changed to a king bed on an upper floor. Love the “Do Not Disturb” door hangers!

Maybe I should have stuck with the two beds…would have made for a bigger room.

Live and learn. Nice, but not sure worth $250 a night (though I got a 21% introductory discount which barely covered the 19% Kansas City Lodging Tax).

After she got off work, we grabbed Gail and headed off to CharBar we went. Nothing like starting the trip with BBQ (and a Manhattan)!

Paul and Gail split a couple of things, starting with the grilled jack fruit burger (vegetarian):

And the Fruits and Roots salad:

 

I went for the Pickled Pig sandwich (deep fried pickles and cole slaw):

 

And though we were all full – we split the peach bread pudding – which was stunning:

 

Gail dropped Paul and I off at The Green Lady Lounge for a little after dinner jazz, but to be honest, from all the food, we made it through a couple of songs and a drink and grabbed Uber’s back home.

It’s one of my favorite spots for jazz in KC – just wish I’d had more energy.

Back at the hotel, I found this wandering in my hallway….

Apparently, penguins are “a thing” at the 21st C hotel chain.

The next day brought BBQ with Wendy in Lawrence at Bigg’s BBQ (the favorite of my friend Nita):

I went “small” with the three pulled pork sliders since we have 7pm reservations at The Savoy Grill:

Paul had some massive sandwich thing:

For Wendy, the burnt ends with cole slaw and fries you get two sides, but if you do it right you can end up with four between two people because the big sandwiches come with one AND endless fries:

Paul dropped me at the hotel so I could get a quick nap (which didn’t happen – worked instead), and Gail showed up at six for wine and cocktails in the room before dinner, which we made, and then headed out to check out the modern art on the first and second floor of the hotel (which is open to the public as well):

Even art in the meeting rooms:

My favorite piece in the “Refuge” exhibit:

Then we were off to The Savoy Grill (after returning our drink glasses to the room):

The view from Booth Number 4: The President’s Booth – and of cocktails:

Me: Martini, Gail: Bee’s Knees, Paul: I’ve totally forgotten!

Next up, the cheese plate:

Check out the “retro” dishware:

For drink round two, I switched from a Gin Martini (in honor of Pucci), to a Manhattan:

Paul got a Chocolate Martini (which he had at The Green Lady Lounge as well), Gail, the Kat’s Kimono:

Then the mains and sides started coming…prime rib for me:

Pasta Primavera for Gail (housemade pasta):

Salmon for Paul:

And sides of green beans almandine and creamed corned (which was pretty much mashed fresh corn):

For dessert, the profiteroles!

To go with my Benedictine and Double Espresso – and no, they didn’t let me light the cigar:

In the morning, I tried the room service (and in the restaurant) Biscuits and Gravy (same price as the restaurant [$14] and only a $3 delivery charge)

I was underwhelmed…A) salad with breakfast? B) the biscuit was more dense than fluffy, which had they split it, the gravy would have worked better.

To wrap up the visit to The Savoy, some random shots of the hotel, restaurant, and bar:

Check out was 11am (which I find annoying, but better than 10am). Paul grabbed me from the hotel, and we were off to lunch at The Nelson-Atkins Gallery:

Spent a little time seeing art….

Next stop, the airport – and fortunately, the gift shop was closed, or I might have been tempted by these two t-shirts for Kathy:

And onto the plane for dinner on the way home…

Complete with a couple of cases of BBQ sauce!

Another week, another trip.

[226.2]

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Sun
8
Oct '17

Trip Report: Post Birthday Kansas City

Without fail, the weeks around my birthday always involve travel. Not that it’s much different from the rest of the year. This week is a couple of nights in Kansas City.

It ain’t first, but it comes with sugar coated Smurfs!

And free booze…

Didn’t get into KC until almost 6pm. Drop my bags and head for BBQ!

Yes, you can get a Manhattan in a BBQ Joint (Q39). We got the onion straws (above), and split a Triple Threat (sausage, pulled pork, pork belly, apple coleslaw, zesty BBQ sauce, toasted bun).

It was the perfect amount of food (for once!) You can’t see from the photos, but you couldn’t swing a rib without hitting a manbun in this place.

Back to the condo for a little work (for Paul) before heading out for the 10:40pm show (yes, me) at the Green Lady Lounge…via Kansas City’s FREE Light Rail (the residents within half a mile of the track pay for it to the tune of $200 a year).

And hot guys doing tricks on the car:


Into the lounge we go!

Chocolate Martini and Manhattan!

Here is a clip from the first night….

It was 1:30AM when we took Uber back to the condo, luckily $6.35 down the same road:

After a late night, it WAS NOT an early morning. Paul rousted me at 11:30 so that we could leave for Lawrence (Kansas) at noon (which turned out to be 12:30) for lunch with Wendy.

We are at Genovese, which is an Italian place. With a full bar!

The food was good, too!

I napped in the car while Paul drove us back to Kansas City for drinks and dinner with Gail – starting at a distillery.

Next up is dinner at the Grand Street– which sounds sidewalk, but is definitely upscale:

And really great food…my pork chop:

Gail’s pasta:

Paul’s salmon:

And the schedule repeats itself after Gail heads back to their country place to take care of the cat they removed from the condo for my visit. I “sort” of feel sorry, but it’s nice to not have to huff pink pills to breath.

Back to the condo so Paul can work a bit, before we hit the jazz club again – this time Ubering since it’s raining.

Different B-3 Organ Trio tonight…

And a shot of the club itself:

And a little clip from tonight:

Another night up until close to 2AM – at least tonight we got the bed made (last night I just slept in my clothes on the couch):

The morning, shall I say afternoon, found us headed to Gates & Sons for BBQ sauce for the shop (I hit Bryants yesterday):

Sadly, my usual contact, Tina Starr, was still on vacation, but still managed to grab my case.

Luckily, my flight is early evening, so we have enough time to pop by the Nelson-Atkins to see a little Thomas Hart Benton. Thanks to Ace at the front desk, I discover works I’ve never seen before that were hidden in the Atkins Auditorium:

And here is some detail:

And then onto the Benson’s in the rest of the gallery, the most famous:

And my personal favorite:

A wing by the condo to finish packing, and a swing by The Savoy Hotel, being renovated by 21st Century Hotels. I grew up having my birthday dinners in The Savoy Grill, and when I used to come to KC on business, I’d stay at a B&B that was renovating the Savoy Hotel room-by-room with a STUNNING breakfast menu from the Grill. They are doing a complete restoration:

Yes, that says 1888.

Got to the airport, had some sliders at the Boulevard Brewing outlet in the airport….

Endured a non-TSAPre line…

And hopped into my overcrowded “Premium” class seat for the return home:

Thank you, Alaska, for the free DigiPlayer when I told them this was my final flight to make MVP Gold 75K!

And the free cocktails help too.

[225.0]

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Sat
18
Feb '17

Trip Report: Exploring San Juan, Puerto Rico

Years ago I was in Puerto Rico with Dan – you can see the post here. Note – you’ll have to scroll past the CURRENT Puerto posts to get to the ones from 2004, but since there were several it seemed easier. In 2004 we explored the island, but not Old San Juan, the reason for this trip.

Normally I’d do a “Day By Day” report of a destination city, but I’ve rolled all three days on the ground into one report. Could be that with the heat, I’m coming back to take a lot of naps in the noon day sun. Could be that I’ve just been a slug while I’m here, walking, eating, catching up of work, watching the rolling mess of the current administration.

But let’s start with my first evenings meal here on the island – no help from Yelp, just wandering around until I found someplace that looked OK. Tonight, that would be Deaverdura. Basically, a hole in the wall with a small bar and a kitchen where I think it’s Mom cooking. Don’t expect quick service (it’s Puerto Rico after all), or a menu –what would you like, grouper, pork, chicken, etc., all served with rice and beans. That said, I felt like I was eating at a family table, and felt guilty for being one person at a 4-top..

Started out with a Pina Colada – it is Puerto Rico after all:

And moved onto the pork….

Those are the beans in the cup – they go GREAT over the rice.

I wanted a Mojito as my second drink – but they were out of mint. Truly a family place! I went for a light rum and coconut water…interesting, but not again.

After a night of sleep, it was off exploring the city. Walled down to the port and found a sandwich/wine bar for a bite. Mejunje Restaurant would be the place. I had the Sirloin Sandwich, which came with potato chips with a drizzle of balsamic – odd, but tasty:

$13 with tip and a Diet Coke. Apparently, dinners and wine run more.

Off to the old fort after my food…ended up walking there. As long as you have good shoes, Old San Juan is very walkable, and there is a free (if crowded) public trolley that winds its way slowly around the old city.

I opted for the trolley back into town for a nap. Uncle isn’t used to this heat and humidity.

Dinner at Hecho En Casa (which had a couple of Rainbow Flags inside, but I don’t see them on any Gay San Juan site, though the “hostess” was definitely family) for a local favorite, Mofongo, mine End Pulop (with Octopus). Here is a definition of Mofongo and here is a picture:

And your options:

Happy Uncle Markie….

Time for more cable TV, something that doesn’t exist in my house in Seattle. I’m an OTA (Over The Air) kind of TV watcher at home. Oddly, in the evenings, still watching the same thing, though during the day, it’s CNN with the sound off.

Exploring the city the next day brought a bit of a shock. FOUR cruise ships in town – right at the edge of Old San Juan. Holly Moly!

When I say “in the middle of the city”, I mean it. The city changed overnight as it were. The free trolley was jammed with PPPs (pasty, pudgy, plainspeople). You should have seen the CVS across from the dock. If it weren’t for cheap local rum I wouldn’t have entered!

Sad to say that my morning/noon meal the next day was at Wendy’s, on the Square across from the hotel, next to the Department of State (seriously, right next door, and there are cops everywhere) for a Clasico Singulare con Caso. This is what happens when you are cranky and need food NOW!

More exploring during the day, but I realized the cruise ships were in town for TWO days, so there goes my revisit to the Bacardi Distillery that I did in 2004. (LINK)

It might be the heat, or the new mini-dose blood pressure meds, or the humidity, but I’m taking a lot of naps in the air-conditioned cell.

But you still have to do at least one church….

The church was right across the street from El Convento – the hotel (in an old convent) that I’d toyed with staying at, but the “discount” rate of $265 a night put me off:

Maybe if I’d been travelling with someone I would have sprung for it (paging Rache!)

There was also this “odd” guy I saw a couple of time on the street – the first time is musket was not covered:

Guessing he was part of the National Park’s Fort Program. Did I mention I didn’t even go into the Fort – I left my Parks Pass as home, and was too cheap and too tired to pay the $5.

Dinner tonight was just around the corner from my hotel – at Café Punto. I opted for the non-air-conditioned hallway with more action that the two small square rooms with AC.

I ordered two appetizers off the extensive (and somewhat expensive) menu – the assorted meat/seafood turnovers and the fresh fish ceviche:

I love that it came with fried plantain chips. That would be a mojito with a slice of sugar cane as a stir stick. A little sweet for me, but when in Puerto Rico…

By day you notice that many of the street bricks are glazed (like Portugal):

Unless the cruise ships are still hanging around…

By night it is just as beautiful:

For my last full day in San Juan, decided to try the café in the lobby of the hotel for a sandwich…. Which was pretty good! The place is called Caldera.

 

And there is one very cute staff member (Ernesto?):

Wandered around the city a little more, took another nap (the heat kills me), got a little blogging and shop work done:

Even though there is no power, the second-floor breezeway between my room and the incredibly noisy ice maker is a nice quite space with a decent cell signal since I can’t get the laptop to connect to the network, but my phone will. Finally gave up and just tethered laptop to the phone.

For dinner I ended back at Café Punto to try their other ceviche which was baby conch, and their tropical ensalada capresse:

Basically I’ve been spending in the $30-$35 a night on dinner that included a cocktail or two. Trust me, I could have spent MUCH more looking at some of the menus in windows.

Well, that’s it for this post for tomorrow I leave the Caribbean and go back to Seattle.

[220.2]

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Tue
27
Aug '13

A Full Day In “The Paris Of The Midwest”.

I ordered WAY too much food for breakfast:

From left to right:

  • smoked salmon with caviar and toast points
  • broiled lamb chops and oysters Rockefeller
  • lobster bisque

Talk about being full.

After breakfast it was off to pick up Obrad in the suburbs after a quick stop at WalMart for a package of black socks.

From the suburbs it was back to the Savoy Hotel to get Obrad checked in (even though it was like, noon). I had a couple of things to do before heading to Paul and Gails to drop off wine and pick up Paul for errands and BBQ. Here is Obrad with the wine in from of the Savoy:

I love the stained glass in their front windows.

First stop was up north – a bookstore for Obrad and a sporting goods store for me – then off to Arthur Bryants for some BBQ:

Then shopping for dinner – fresh salmon which I should have brought from Seattle at the price they were charging, but I don’t do farm raised. And since we were broiling the salmon with the door ajar – here is a trick to warm your bread at the same time:

And the final assembled dinner:

A fun dinner for seven: Paul, Gail, Clayt, Deanna, Wendy, Obrad and your truly.

Good food, good company, good wine, good conversation.

[? ? ?]

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Thu
15
Mar '12

Day Two Of The BBQ Trail.

Today we (Wendy and I) head out of town to try one of the BBQ joints reviewed by the Wall Street Journal: Perry Foster’s Bar B-Q in Warrensburg, Missouri, about an hour southeast of Kansas City.

The verdict? Good, not cheap, but not good enough to warrant an hour drive in each direction. On the way back using a different route, we were on the lookout for antique/junk shops:

The verdict? Like a bad garage sale that never ends. Walked away empty handed.

Dinner tonight is with the gang in Lawrence, Kansas at The Burger Stand at the Casbah. Shown here is my old buddy Conan. And no, I didn’t eat all of those fries, though I did have a few to soak up all the $3 Knob Creek Manhattans I was drinking. The downstairs bartender had to learn how to make them from the upstairs bartender, and don’t think he realized that the “$3 Knob Creek 1oz” special didn’t really apply to Manhattans because you have to charge for the Vermouth as well, but I wasn’t complaining, especially when he was pouring doubles and charging for singles. I had the Black and Blue Burger: features Maytag Blue Cheese and Granny Smith Apple Chutney. Yum. And yes, I did eat the bun.

Drove (not me after all those Manhattans) home and Paul made us a round of his signature cocktails, the Side Car (one part fresh squeezed lemon juice, two parts Cointreau, three parts Hennessey Cognac).

[206, which Gail informs me is light by 5 pounds]

Wed
14
Mar '12

Of BBQ And Opera.

Slept in WAY late because I had used the computer as a clock and hadn’t set it back to account for the time change. Was up at 10, which my body said was 8, as did the clock.

Wendy and Paul picked me up a little before 1 to head to Arthur Bryant’s for BBQ, and what should be on the morning paper’s front page?

A shot of two big guys pigging out at Arthur Bryants. And here are Paul and Wendy doing the same thing:

And if you read the label closely, you will find LARD as one of the ingredients.

Should you want to, click on the image and you will go to the Arthurs site for the blow-up.

I came out of there with a case of sauce for the store. Then stopped at a grocery store to grab some Gates and Sons sauce so that the shop will have the “battle of the Kansas City BBQ titans” available for purchase.

Tonight is dinner at a German restaurant called Grünauer in the Freight District. Basically every skuzzy old neighborhood in the central core of Kansas City is being kitted out with new restaurants and shops. I was a little surprised at the recommendation since going to a German restaurant isn’t usually a good bet for a vegetarian. But it worked. I had the beer brauts with the mashed potatoes swapped out for steamed spinach. Yum. And because of the opera tickets we got a round of espresso/schnapps to warm us after our meal. We even split a bottle of Austrian wine — a Grüner Veltliner 2008 Höpler, which is a dry white with lots of citrus overtones.

And then it’s off to the opera:

I have to say it was one of the most intriguing operas that I’ve seen in years. Great sets, wonderful music, and an odd plot line that had Henry Kissinger as the devil.

And the hall is stunning:

That’s it for today, back late (at least for the kids).

[204 but it’s their analog scale so who knows]

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Mon
18
Jul '11

Brits On The Hound.

With everyone in bed early last night we were up early, fed, and out of the house by 11am to take the boyz to the hound, the Grehound that is:

Thanks DancingBear for the use of the car! Hope you had fun with the Miata. I dropped the car off in the north end and returned top down for a quiet evening at home. I even tried out the new headset for the massive phone:

That’s a shot of me chatting with Wendy from Kansas City about life, love, and New Orleans.

My quiet dinner was pork sandwiches on the left over dinner rolls, slowly cleaning out the leftovers from cooking for three for three days.

Almost done.

{227.5]

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Mon
6
Oct '08

Aligator and Prime Rib.

Wendy had a 9:30 appointment, so I slept in — or until Wendy’s call at 8am to “check-in”. It wasn’t much to pee and go back to bed for a bit of a sleep in.

Appointments were done by 11:30 and a lunch of leftovers was served in 1116. The decision was made to see if we could book an early afternoon swamp tour — and after a little negotiating, the answer was yes.

So, we signed up for Cajun Encounters for a three hour tour, well, really four hours plus. Here is a little sample:

Dinner tonight is everyone for themselves. Rachel is off to the French Quarter for dinner and a jazz show, Wendy is eating leftovers, and I’m headed down the street to see what is available.

What is available is Houstons — just past the Walgreen where I spot the cheap watches that I couldn’t find the other day. I was willing to settle for good, but I got stunning instead. And shocked that it is a chain. Who would have thought that a chain could pull off a great prime rib? I wish the picture was better (see the scolling thing at the bottom of this list). Add a split of Montaudon champagne, and it’s a meal fit for a king (or at least me).

Add to this a jazz combo (piano, bass, drums) that isn’t just playing the easy stuff and you have a great meal. I’m sure the video is WAY too dark, but the tunes should be good. Here is the feed to all the pics since I think tomorrow is going to be mostly preparing to get out of Dodge.

There is talk of Commander’s Palace for lunch, after a breakfast of steak and eggs in 1116 at 9am.

I’m not sure how I’m going to have room for the Acme Oyster House at the airport.

Sun
5
Oct '08

Welcome To The Garden District.

I really do like the WorldMark New Orleans at the Avenue Plaza. It helps that it’s right on the St. Charles Avenue street car line. This morning started with breakfast in my room — eggs and English muffins. Sorry, no champagne and orange juice.

The girls went off to the quarter while I worked on plans for a swamp tour — I failed — need to call tomorrow morning as they don’t want to do a 3pm tour since we are the only ones interested.

I went off on my street car tour — see video above — to the end of the St. Charles line — the part that was closed during my last trip, then back to the condo to upload stuff, then off to the end of the Canal Street line. The City Park end of the line is one of the places I didn’t get to the last trip.

Here is a quick tour of some of St. Charles line — I’m trying to upload a longer version.

 

Got home around 3:30 with a snack in hand — then off to the pool for cocktails with Rachel while Wendy napped.

Dinner tonight is at the Palace Cafe — one of the Brennan boy’s places. It’s nice to have an upscale meal in this town after being on budget travel the last trip. If course, I had all the odd things on the menu:

  • The rabbit appetizer
  • The salad with quail
  • The grilled Pompano with lump crab

Thank god there was no room for dessert. It was an early night for the girls, less so for me. Wendy has an appointment in the morning so I think the rest of the eggs will be for Tuesday morning.

And here is the humorous picture of the day. Rachel and I by the pool with booze in a foil pouch:

DIGI0003

Minutes after this picture was taken, the afternoon rains came in.

 

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Sat
4
Oct '08

New Orleans Welcome.

Greetings from the Big Easy — and this is going to be an easy trip. Wendy is still recovering from round two of surgery and it’s causing more pain than round one. I’m thinking that there are going to be lots of dinners in the room this trip — good thing I got the one bedroom!

So — The flight report from today. I arrived in New Orleans two hours early! How? Got off the plane in Denver, hit the bathroom, looked at the monitor and found an earlier flight boarding two gates away — even managed to snag an exit window seat with an empty next to me. If it weren’t for the howling babies, it would have been the trifecta. Still, two hours early, good seat, and I sprung for the shuttle rather than the bus/streetcar connection to the condo.

Dumped my bags and headed to the market on the corner for a snack and to stock the fridge with cocktails. Wendy and Rachel didn’t answer the phone, so called her cell — they are down by the pool in the shade. Lots of bags and bandages on/in Wendy, but her spirits are good. It’s been years since I’ve seen Rachel — since the years of the annual Bacchanal parties the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Before dinner, Wendy is down for a nap, Rachel moves her laptop down the hall to my room — and soon, we are making a commercial:

ImaPCImaMac

That’s it for today most likely.

[222, but before coffee]

Thu
28
Aug '08

What Are The Chances…

So, in addition to collecting Coke Rewards points so that I can subscribe everybody in my universe to Popular Mechanics, I’ve been playing the Subway Scrabble game. You get a piece with every sandwich (or two if you do what I do and have them wrap a foot-long as two sixes), and soda (two if you go for the large size).

I’ve been doing this a couple of weeks, and getting lots of duplicate tiles — but what popped up today in my tray — and not on purpose — was the phrase “O Boobs”, which to me is funny since I just made a reservation to fly to New Orleans for part two of Wendy’s boob job.

oBoobs

Too funny.

And now for the report of yesterday’s free gift card. They actually kept it to an hour presentation (timeshare campsites for RVs), and yes, they did give me a $50 Visa Gift Card for my scotch habit — but I’m not sure that I’d call a catered dinner sending someone out to KFC. As the “winner” I was entitled to a $2,000 discount off any of their various levels. The “home” park was in Elma, Washington, right next door to the unfinished Satsop nuclear reactors of WHOOPS fame. Elma. Really. I passed.

Speaking of passing, this morning was the last marketing meeting for Events and Adventures with my final report due EOD (End of Day) tomorrow. No word on future word, but it looks promising. Picked up my paycheck from early August billing, submit late August billing with the final report. Now it’s time to spend the money.

Another couple of hours billing today and a quiet evening around the house.

And yes, you can add Tampa/St. Pete to my schedule — third weekend in September.

[219.4]

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Sat
2
Aug '08

Off To Dabob (Bay).

Last night I realized I had no weekend plans — how can that be!

Next week more people are coming through town Alicia and Devon for breakfast Monday morning and then Tuesday night Jameson and Natalie, but this weekend, nothing.

And then I remembered Greg’s invitation to visit “Camp Patsy” out on Dabob Bay.

This is the main house, and apparently there is a guest cabin, and a tent trailer as well.

image002

image004

So off I go in an hour or so.

Spent the morning chatting with Dad about his butt (got his prostate mircowaved last week) and booked Wendy into condo in New Orleans for the next round of her surgery ($439.30 for eight nights in a studio unit right on St. Charles in the Garden District — and two blocks from the clinic).

I have to chat on the weekends because I’m out of minutes (well, I’m down to 1). Luckily, weekends are free and the timer resets on the 5th. Anyone think I can get through Monday on 1 minute? As you can see, I’m on a very low minute plan — and until starting to work for Events and Adventures, I never went over.

Monthly Usage
Used
299
300 WHENEVER
 minutes
Remaining
1
 
 
220 WEEKEND UNLIMITED
 
Minutes used as of 08/02/08 11:10 AM

[218.6]

Mon
16
Jun '08

Street Car Day In NOLA.

So — even though there haven’t been requests yet, here is the picture stream.

Breakfast this morning with Ben, Mom, Wendy and yours truly at the Trolley Stop Cafe.

My plan is to get the day pass and do all the street car lines in New Orleans from end to end to end to end. Before noon I did the far end of the St. Charles line which was supposed to be completely open by Spring 2008, but isn’t. Technically, it IS still spring.

After a stop at the condo for airline check-in for tomorrow, a cold drink and then back onto the street cars. I’m treating New Orleans like a giant theme park and the street cars like an amusement ride.

After my pause in air conditioning, it’s back onto the St. Charles line, connecting with the Canal Street line to get to the Riverfront line then back to finish the Canal Street line, then home for cocktails. That was the plan. Now, insert a side ferry trip to Algiers in between the Riverfront line and the finish of the Canal Street line. I ran into Ben and Mom down by the aquarium and talked them into it taking the trip with me. They were disappointed and overheated — I loved the Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce at the Dry Dock Cafe.

This would be JoAnn (Wendy’s mom) and Benjamin on the ferry:

P1050821

Because Benjamin is a vegetarian, we have been looking for a vegetarian friendly restaurant in the French District. We found one that was interesting, but at the far end of the French Quarter — it’s a bit of a walk for mom (and me, and Wendy). Bennachin Restaurant is the name — and it’s Central African. The menu looks great — check it out at.

Of course, at some point, there was a plan for jazz afterwards. Right. 80, 51, 50, 20. Not going to happen. Ended up back at Copeland’s place because it was close and actually had a bunch of vegetarian stuff. Too bad the really cool restaurant’s can’t help but put pork in everything (not that I am against that).

5:30 wake up call, 6:30 shuttle pickup. Ick.

[ ? ? ? ]

 

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Sun
15
Jun '08

Flood Waters Then Sun.

Wow what a day! The morning started with massive showers and lightning — and flooding. think about a foot of water on the other side of Saint Charles Avenue. The water was close to lapping up to the door of the Avenue Plaza and almost covering the Trolley Car tracks (the grassy area below).

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It took us a half an hour to change (into shorts and sandals) and find a low water way to get to the restaurant three blocks away (Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro, same guy that started Popeye’s Chicken according to David, see below for information on David). For me — two mimosas and a crayfishopen face omelet with green onions. Got half way through the omelet — probably save the rest for Tuesday AM’s early departure to the airport.

And by noon here is the view from my condo window:

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Who would have thought. The group decision is for a overview tour of New Orleans. David was our guide. An advantage of staying at the timeshare/condo thing is that you don’t pay the commission on tours — so our 3 hour (turned into 4) tour was $27 rather than $42. Nice perk.

Basically the tour was:

  • Central Business District
  • Garden District
  • French Quarter
  • St. Anthony Cemetery Number Three
  • Katrina Destruction

Check out Louisiana Tour Company. Make sure you get David for your tour — the guy knows his history!

Drinks in the room after the tour — we needed them since the tour was four hours rather than three — then off to a cheapy dinner at the VooDooBBQ & Grill about six blocks from the Avenue Plaza. Cheap and DAMN GOOD — even if it wasn’t on Lynne’s list of good places to eat. Wendy and Mom are on a budget, so I’m going in their style. I got the Carolina Sandwich (pulled pork with cole slaw), and then went back for a side of the Gris Gris Greens — all were stunning, and there were three different sauces from texas style to vinegar style, to a sugar cane mango style.

Strange facts about the neighborhood that we are staying in. Within a couple of blocks there are two bar/restaurant/game room/laundramat – and one of them even has a notary public. Here is Lucky’s Place. The other is Igor’s which is on the same block as us (no notary public, but 5-7AM drink specials).

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Wendy’s nephew Ben shows up later tonight — his flight from Kansas City is delayed. My guess is that all the flights that go back and forth to Kansas City are running late due to all the rain and lightning. We have him all checked in so it’s just going to stop by my room (where Wendy is snoozing on the couch after three martinis) when he arrives — now slated at 10:53pm plus shuttle time. Sounds like midnight to me.

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Sat
14
Jun '08

Greetings From The Big Sleezy.

Up painfully early (might have to do with the amount of scotch last night) and off to the airport by eight from Olympia — made good time so I had a couple of hours to kill eating and drinking breakfast in the Board Room of Alaska Airlines.

First flight is SEA to DFW — and strangely the food is really good — a Philly cheese steak sandwich with some German-style potato salad on the side. Only downside? Those damn prayer cards have resurfaced.

I watched the Bucket List on the way down. Cried.

Once at DFW went to the Admiral’s Club (American Airlines) only to find that they only honor my Board Room membership in Chicago. Had to log on to find that in Dallas, the Continental President’s Room is where to go with my Alaska card — unfortunately they close at 2:30 on Saturdays. That would make dinner at TGIFridays and their Dragon Chicken with fried brown rice and broccoli.

Found Wendy and her mom at the gate when I got there. Hung out for a bit, and boarded with the rest of First Class for an uneventful flight to NOLA. Our driver awaited us — nice touch Wendy! Nice guy, answered all our questions about pre- and post-Katrina. Got us to the WorldMark New Orleans in one piece, what more can you ask for.

Weird thing about New Orleans when I went out to find some booze for a night cap. Nada. Did find a little store on the corner that closed at seven that I can hit in the morning, so a little Diet Coke and a Muffaletta Sandwich and it’s off to bed while watching a rerun of Saturday night live.

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Sun
8
Jun '08

Home With A Stuffed Van.

Back in Seattle before noon with a van stuffed to the gills.

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Even the lift hanging off the receiver hitch is FULL!

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That would be the wood chipper. Between MoonSong’s trip last week, and mine yesterday, all the planter pots are safely back in the city.

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And looking nice on the back porch with it’s freshly shorn grass — the rain stopped so I had to finally attack the lawn. Have I told you how much I dislike yard work — and last week I was actually weeding the front “jungle”. Makes me yearn for a condo (until I need to pile YET MORE stuff in the garage.

Off to Jimmie’s for dinner with wishes of greetings from Wendy who I meet up with in New Orleans on Saturday night (after poker in Olympia on Friday night).

And believe it or not I’m caught up on all my periodicals — and now starting on books from Christmas.

[222.2]

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Wed
30
Apr '08

Of Bar-B-Que and Paddleboats.

Kansas City, home to Bar-B-Que and Paddleboats in the same block.

Had lunch today at Winslow’s Slow BBQ in the City Market. $4.99 for the regular size pulled pork sandwich. Damn fine BBQ. Gots to love dem pickles on the side.

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My plans were to head to the Steamboat Arabia museum after lunch. I was there five years ago and it was a cool place, but when it came time to plunk down the $12.50, I just bought the hat pin ($3.00) instead.

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Plans tonight are for a potluck party at Paul and Gail’s place in the “Helping Hands” building in downtown Kansas City — their condo is the corner one on the top floor (closest to the center of the photo). Two bedroom, two bath. Nice. I went on-line and looked up the cost of the last unit available in the building — 1A — which is the unit closest to the center of the photo on the first floor (Paul and Gail are in 5A). Here is the link. $299,000 for 1352 sq ft.

Guess I’d better get the church sold before I look at anything else. And speaking of that, spoke to a real estate agent in Friday Harbor that I’ll meet with next week to get the listing started and hopefully the church sold and another 1000 permanent yearly WorldMark points in my account, plus a bundle of cash. Why is it that I always look at real estate where ever I go?

Tonight’s crew: Paul, Gail, Wendy, Rhonda, and Dottie. Well, and, of course, me. Maybe I’ll remember to get a group picture of us all.

[clueless, no scale, but my body wasn’t happy with me after yesterdays food intake]

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Tue
8
Apr '08

Serendipity.

Thanks to all for the comments on the bag designs — now I need to put them on the Shirts of Bamboo blog for the same treatment. Got five responses to the first three bags, and now there are three more to look at:

http://www.twango.com/channel/markso.BlogLoads

and here is the link to the bag designs already on the site, which you can also get as t-shirts:

http://www.shirtsofbamboo.com/-c-44_45.html

Now here is where the serendipity comes in today. Wendy had scheduled a SOB team bonding event for tonight. She got tickets to the opening night for the St. Pete Rays. That’s baseball for those in the know. So after walking a mile from a parking spot, doing a little tailgating (white wine), before going in. Only once we got to the stadium did anybody bother to look at who the Ray’s were playing — the Seattle Mariners.

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Final score — and yes, we lasted ALL nine innings — was 6 to 5 Mariners. Go Team. Yeah, say it like you really mean it. Oh baby. I actually found “free pour” (i.e. non-electronic measure) scotch at several bars. Not cheap — not the best scotch — but generous pours.

And for our last picture today — one that I found on my camera phone from the trip down here. It’s from the Delta Crown Room and their on tap. Wow — pt smokers make beer?

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Mon
29
Oct '07

The Oddest Airport Hotel I’ve Ever Seen.

Up at 5:30am because I booked (badly) an early morning flight when I should have booked an afternoon flight — but at $19 each way the change charge would have been $100 plus the difference in fare, probably another $100. Flight was at 9am, and by 10am I was in my first room (166) at the Marina Pacific Castle Hotel — TV was dead, moved to room 100 which is on the courtyard by the pool, much better location, and they let me check in WAY before the 3pm check-in.

So, find the hotel in this picture:

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This is an industrial area — a block away from the Nimitz Freeway and a row of car dealerships.

Here is a close up of the hotel, which is really more like a motel (think Holiday Inn from the 60’s).

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But there are warehouses on both sides — but the courtyard is lovely — you don’t even know there is this oasis from the outside.

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It’s a good thing there is a restaurant (of sorts — think plate lunch place) and a cocktail lounge (think karaoke) since the Wendy’s is 4 blocks away across the freeway. Of course, if you need liquor or exotic dancers, that’s right around the corner.

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Pros:

  • Free airport shuttle.
  • Ten minutes from the airport
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
  • Cocktail Lounge
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Lobby computer with printer for printing out boarding passes.

Cons:

  • Price ($99 plus tax)
  • Small (but clean) rooms
  • Nothing in the neighborhood unless you want a new car.

I had the time to get the city bus to Waikiki ($2 each way) and I wasn’t pushed for time — oh well, it was nice to sit around the pool this afternoon reading the New Yorker and looking at the military boys (sorry, couldn’t get a picture).

Checked in for tomorrow’s flight. Check out time is at noon, but I’ll take the 10am shuttle and hang at the Delta Crown Room until my 1pm boarding. Got to remember to get to the gate early so I can hang with Jill for a few moments since she flies in on the flight I’m flying out on.

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Sat
1
Sep '07

GeckoFest. Rain, But Barely.

So up in the morning early and off to Kissin Cuzins on the motorcycle. Weather looks good so far.

At breakfast — it DUMPS rain, while we are eating… and then, we are done with breakfast, and nothing coming down. Odd.

Finish loading the trailer and off to GeckoFest to set up. Two hours to set up — with the heat index about 105. Employees were dropping, including me. The worry of rain meant rain sides installed, and the trailer left at the site, which was nice because we could keep the extra stock close at hand. To bad we couldn’t fire up the air conditioner in the trailer and make a break room for employees in the heat.

Me — I’m a lovely shade of pink/magenta. Not in pain, but I also bailed on working about 3pm. Took to removing towelettes from their wrappers for the ice cold neck wraps we were passing out.

Dinner was an unexpected pleasure. Across the way was a Basque restaurant that was cold and had a liquor license. We slid in on our sweat (Stinky Vendor, Party of Two…. to the kitchen — where do we want to put the Vendor party?) I had the Sauerbraten, Dan the Veal, which Lisa finished — tag team dinner. The carrots which were cooked to a nice crisp, were cooked in a sugar/amaretto sauce. Damn good. And he sangria wasn’t bad as well. Not bad for $41.00 including tip. We managed to hit the “early bird” time (before 6:30pm). Two dinners (which fed three) and a liter of sangria.

So — let’s see, last night I was a Wendy’s and they gave me the “senior” discount and up-sized my ice tea (unsweetened) — and tonight I’m at the Basque restaurant in Florida for the Early Bird Special. Damn, I must be old.

Take down of the booth at 9pm was helped by a pitcher of gin and tonics Lisa brought. But I have to tell you — I’m wiped. I picked up my laptop at the warehouse and it was home for scotch and a serious shower. Oh, and bed.

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