Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Fairly Odd Behavior of a Waiter

It was a Thursday afternoon in Durango, Colorado, and like most tourists of the Southwest, my daughter and I had a hankerin' for some good French food. (Don't ask.) So we mosied in to John Pierre's Bakery and Restaurant.

The waiter asked if we would like anything to drink. My daughter ordered hot tea, while I opted for water. He left and returned with a bowl of packaged teas, a small tea cozy of hot water and a mug. The teas were all decaf and not particulary interesting.

Since we weren't very hungry, we decided to split an appetizer and a main dish. We perused the menu and chose an olive plate for an appetizer and a garden pasta dish as the main course. The waiter returned and we ordered the olive plate.

'Well, I think we are out of olives. We used to have that, but I don't think we have olives any more.'

I looked at the menu. 'What about the cheese plate?' I asked.

'Well, we have some cheese. I'm not sure what we have actually. Let me go ask. I will come up with something for you. Would that be okay?'

'Sure, whatever you think,' I replied. Hey, I'm on vacation and feeling pretty laid back.

He returns a few minutes later with a plate of cheese and fruit, along with a basket of french bread. Close enough.

Our food arrives. The waiter explains that the pasta bowl is hot. He tries to maneuver it onto the table, but is obviously uncomfortable with the heat searing into his fingers. (I resist the temptation to explain to him the importance of oven mitts or a well-placed kitchen towel.) He drops the hot bowl onto the table. 'There you go!' He retreats to the kitchen, which is good, because by now we are laughing at the entire fiasco.

I feel sorry for him. He appears to be the only employee in the place, serving as cook, waiter, and bartender.

When we finally look at the bowl of pasta, we are stunned to see that the dish is loaded with olives! I guess these are the vegetable pasta olives and not suitable for an olive plate. Well, to be fair, they were simply black olives and not a variety of olives one would expect to find on an olive plate. The pasta was good, but no overwhelmingly so.

We have dessert, my daughter the creme brulee and I had a dark chocolate rum truffle. The desserts were very good. We took the remainder of the French bread home and I made French toast with it the next morning. It was far better than the dinner we had at the French restaurant.

If you go to Durango and have a hankering for some French food, stop by Jean Pierre's and purchase a loaf of their freshly baked French bread, take it home with you, and make some french toast.  You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Driving Hangover

I have a driving hangover. We drove two days, about 24 hours in the car, plus one overnight for some sleep, to get back home from Pagosa. When I finally stopped long enough after carrying in bags, I realized that my body felt like it was still in motion. I imagine this is what you feel like after you get off a boat after many days at sea. I closed my eyes and could see the white lines passing along with various cars.

The trip was mostly uneventful, just one traffic accident in St. Louis that probably set us back an hour. Other than that, it was smooth 'sailing'.

For entertainment, we listened to two different comedy channels on Sirius radio. It really made the time fly. I'm sure there were several times that passing motorists looked over and wondered about the two crazy chicks laughing hysterically. The only problem is that the stations re-run the comedy routines over and over, so that by the time we arrived home, we had nearly every routine memorized.

Now back to the routine, whatever that may be.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Strange Mating Ritual...

I'm glad my guy just drops a hint or pours me a glass of merlot. This would get old really fast!

Make sure your sound is turned up so you can enjoy this guy's strange noises!

Video copyright Damian Elias.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cat in Box

My cats love boxes. I don't know why I spend money on cozy beds for them when a simple box will do.

I received a package from Amazon today and set the empty box on the floor. Within thirty seconds, Willow had occupied the box...

The box wasn't quite large enough for her to lie down, so she vacated it after a few minutes. At which time, Ivan arrived to inspect the box....

Much to his dismay, he could neither sit nor lie down in the box....

So in typical cat fashion, he sat next to the box as if that was what he had intended to do all along.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


My daughter and I went snowboarding yesterday. We only get to snowboard once a year which means that although we enjoy it, we basically have to relearn how to do it every year. Fortunately, the learning curve is shorter each year as muscle memories (surprisingly) kick in a lot quicker than the year before.

Our first challenge is simply getting from the car to the ticket booth. Well, I should say MY first challenge, since my daughter who lives on a college campus and is accustomed to walking everywhere has no problem with walking. And it isn't the walk so much as it is the lack of oxygen at nearly ten thousand feet that does me in. I find myself stopping twice just to catch my breath. I worry that I may just have to sit on my board and slide back to the car. That doesn't happen, however, and soon, tickets securely fastened to our jackets, we are on our way to the 'bunny' slope.

The first challenge whether you are skiing or boarding is simply getting off the chair. The main thing to remember is to keep the front of your board or ski tips elevated. The last thing you want to do on either is get the front caught on the mound of snow built up beneath the location where you are supposed to stand up and glide off the chair.

I've had some interesting chair lift experiences. Some funny, some quite frightening. One time, I was skiing with my son who was about four at the time. Somehow, rather than ending up sitting on the chair, he ended up sliding off the chair as we dangled about six feet in the air. Fortunately, he was partially hung up on my skis and I was able to hoist him back up into the chair.

Another experience was when I was boarding with a friend who was just learning. The second most important thing to getting off a chair with either skis or boards is to stand up, look where you are going and don't run into anyone else. I find getting off a chair on skis a lot easier than getting off a chair on a board. On a board, you have to 'hang a cheek', which means you have to turn your body slightly sideways to get your lead foot pointing in the right direction so that when you stand up, you head straight off the chair and not into another person, or heaven forbid, a ski life post. (I've done this and thank goodness they are padded.)

So you hang a cheek, get your foot pointed in the right direction, stand up, slide away from the chair AND don't grab anyone else if you lose your balance. My friend ended up grabbing me, I went down and her board went across the back of my head. Fortunately, I only ended up with a headache.

Yesterday, after three goes at the bunny slope, we were ready to advance to the beginner slope. It is my favorite. It's wide enough that I can carve and turn without worrying about going off the side of the mountain. The last place you want to be if you are a beginning snowboarder is what they call a 'road', the narrow trails that come down the mountain.

You usually don't find many snowboarders on roads. What you do find, however, is families of skiers with small children who don't understand safety or etiquette. They frequently stop right in the middle of the road, usually on the other side of a hairpin turn where you suddently come up on them and have to stop so quickly you end up on your butt while they stand their, mouths open, looking at you like 'you' are an idiot for nearly plowing into their precious children when all you were trying to do was to keep from knocking them off the trail and into a snowbank. Fortunately, it was a light day yesterday and this only happened once. We stayed away from roads after that.

We had a great time and I only fell about thirty times. I got really brave (stupid) at one point and decided to try an intermediate slope. It wasn't groomed and there were these huge piles of snow (moguls). I think the key to going down a slope like this (based on my experience of WATCHING other people do this) is to try to go in between the huge piles of snow. I didn't do this. Instead, I took the 'close your eyes and it won't hurt' approach. I faceplanted six times. It wasn't all a lost cause, however, as the snow melting off my face quenched my thirst.

I thought my body would protest more the next day, but this morning I awoke pleasantly surprised by the lack of stiffness, especially after one fall in which I felt every single bone in my back popping and crackling. My daughter said that I probably snapped everything back in place. Kinda like going to the chiropractor for an alignment? Only a lot more fun!