Archive for Ramblings

Restaurant Experience – Bluwater Leschi

Normally I’m pretty sanguine about my restaurant experiences. If they’re good, they’re good but I’m not gushy. If they’re lousy, I gripe a bit with Jodi. Today I’m going one step further and blogging my thoughts, since it was just so unexpected.

Let’s start with the good: They sent us a $20 gift certificate as an enticement to come in. They probably dropped them from the sky as an advertisement, so it wasn’t a personal invitation, per se. I forget when or how we got it.. In any case, a $20 headstart on a nice dinner is always appreciated. Even though the place is not so far from our house (about 2 miles, maybe), we’d never been there before and having the GC was a key factor in our deciding to try it last night. Score for the Bluwater marketing folks.

The location was great, right down on Lake Washington in Leschi. We got a window table with a great view of the water, Bellevue on the other side of the lake, and mountains behind. Yesterday the weather was spectacular (at least into the upper 70s, I’m told by Jodi it may even have been into the mid 80s! — and sunny and gorgeous).

Even the food was great. Great selection on the menu, and what we ordered in the end was wonderful.

So, why the blog post that is very clearly going to skew negative? Because we were very disappointed with the experience. Because it was *SOOOOO Slow* and we consistently felt like we were being ignored.

We arrived for our reservation at 6:30pm and didn’t get done until 9:30+ pm! Seriously. And all we had were bread/salads, entrees, and dessert. Nothing special. Just after each course, we sat waiting at our table for 20+ minutes for the waitress to notice and come back to clear our dishes and move us to the next stage. I’m not quite sure what it was about our table or our meal, but we watched as other patrons came and left — for instance, the table right next to us (also our waitress) turned over twice starting after we arrived and ending before we finished. More than twice as fast, and both parties seemed to have eaten full meals from my vantage point. It made even LESS sense for our waitress to continue to be so slow as the restaurant cleared out (we were there early, and we were among the last out).

We weren’t in a significant hurry, thank goodness (no specific plans after dinner), so we kept ourselves occupied by talking as we waited and tried not to let the delay bother us too much. But eventually it just got to be too much.

Sounds pretty tame, right? Why even write the blog post, Evan…? Well, let me give you a specific example of how the service went last night that should strike you as pretty awful.

Timeline – we’ve just finished our dinner. Probably it’s about 8:00 by this time (90 minutes to order and eat). We wait about 15 minutes before our waitress comes by and delivers the dessert menu. It’s about 10 minutes before she comes back to take our dessert order. Another 10 minutes before it arrives. Perhaps 15 minutes to eat it. Then it gets fun. We’re now done with the dessert, very obviously. By this point we’re both so tired that I’m beginning to slump in my seat, tired and impatient with the slow service and just waiting for the bill.

So our waitress speeds by in a rush to somewhere and, in passing, asks “If (I) was tired“? To which I replied, dryly, “Very“. No reaction, and she sped on. We didn’t see her for another 15-20 minutes. And only then because I finally got up and asked another staff member if we were ever going to get our check. Seems like the waitress, or someone else on staff should have been more attentive to our timing and our progress!

So, in conclusion, let me say that the Bluwater Bistro in Leschi was really great. On paper. The gift certificate, the location, the menu. All great. But the service, at least for us and at least last night, was abysmal. Before the dinner started, I was pretty sure we’d go again since it was so great (location, menu). But after the dinner, I’m not at all sure we’ll be back, Which is a shame, after all the great work the marketing folks did to get us in the door.

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Happiness is…

A little boy who’s starting to break his flu/fever/cold cycle and is definitely feeling better this morning!

A 7:15am walk with the boy to Starbucks and then around the neighborhood.

The boy watching the cars and buses pass at the intersections as we waited for the light to change.

A crisp, drizzly Seattle morning… perfect for a walk.

The boy watching the the middle school kids arrive for their school day at Washington Middle School.

Getting back home in time for a great morning nap!

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Partial Credit at the University of Washington

Yesterday, Gabriel and I took a few hours in the afternoon to go walk around the UW campus. Well, actually it was more like 2 hours and 45 mins of this was for the bus-ride up and back.

Yes, that’s right.. the bus ride. I haven’t been taking the bus too much lately given my new work schedule — I keep G in the morning until Rachel arrives and come home later in the evening (making traffic a lot better and buses a lot less frequent). So, feeling a little bit guilty about the change, I decided to make use of the bus to get to the UW.

Riding the 48 bus north to UW on a Saturday wasn’t too bad. I felt a little awkward with him strapped in the stroller taking up part of the aisle, but he kept pretty busy watching the other passengers (particularly one fellow across the bus who was reading with great concentration).

Then we walked all around the UW for an hour or so and had a great time. It was kind of fun to walk around the core of campus with all the students swirling around us. G was enthralled watching the mass of students passing in every direction! I found it sort of funny too that of the only two (totally separate) conversations I was really able to overhear as we walked… both involved the speaker’s relief that they would qualify for “partial credit” on their project. Ah, mediocrity.

In any case, we finished up by hopping the southbound 48 bus from the NW end of campus. Strangely, this bus driver insisted that I take G out of the stroller. It seemed strange to me that he’d somehow be safer squirming around in my arms as I tried to keep the stroller from moving away (vs just remaining strapped into the 5-point restraint in the stroller so I only have to focus on keeping the stroller from moving). But, I’m sure there was some exam at Metro Transit Bus Driver school where you don’t even get partial credit for allowing the first option. πŸ™‚

We made it home safely. Success!

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So many books

Wow. No book report posts since August. Ouch. Well, the good news is that I have a bunch to report on. Or the bad news. Your call. In any case, time is precious so I’ll keep them short.

  • Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean – super good book. “Authoritarian followers” who are ready and willing to submit to the extreme right-wing leadership of the current Republican party and religious leaders. Very prescient. Very scary. 5/5 stars.
  • The Paris Option by Robert Ludlum and Gayle Lynds – Good clean fun, like most Ludlum books. But gone in an instant; no real long-term impact. 3/5 stars.
  • Conservatize me by John Moe – John tells us about his attempt to understand the conservative philosophy and lifestyle. Lightweight fun. Good Seattle references and makes very reasonable points. 4/5 stars.
  • One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind – I found this one hard to get into. Never got traction; finally aborted after 2 hours. First time I’ve ever done this. 1/5 stars.
  • Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman – Good. Very good. A particularly interesting and engaging discussion of how the Christian bible has “evolved” over the ages, both due to intentional manipulation and unintentional translation and scribe errors. 5/5 stars.
  • The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum. This one was quite long, but definitely one of the better Ludlum books I’ve “read” lately. The Progeria connection was tenuous at best, and a number of the plot “twists” were appallingly obvious. But it was still fun. 4/5 stars.
  • American Fascists by Chris Hedges and Eunice Wong – I never quite got figured out “the voice” of the book since there was no introduction and it seemed more like an academic reference book than a readable non-fiction at times. That said, it made interesting points, and I finished it right as the Jonah Goldberg book was hitting the media circuit, so it made for some interesting perspective on those interviews. 3/5 stars.

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I’m here — sort of!

Contrary to my sister’s assertion and (coincidentally, I expect) my father’s admonition over the telephone just hours before C’s post went live, I do still blog. And even more importantly, I read other people’s blogs!

Yes, I realize it’s been since November that I’ve last posted. In fact, when I realized after Christmas that it’d been nearly 2 months, I actively decided to wait until it had actually been 2 full months before posting again (giving myself a bit of a breather). Well, today is the 16th of January, making it 2 months since my Barcelona post. So, with that break, I’ll try to post at least a bit more often. I’ve built up quite a queue of things to post about, and now it’s just about finding time.

So, what have we (or, at least I) been up to since November 16th? Tons!

  • G’s 4 month checkup in November
  • BG (MIL) and Tim visit for Thanksgiving
  • Went to an informational thing about the new penguin exhibit to be built at the zoo
  • Lots of holiday parties (MS-Exchange, Neurology, 37Dems, probably others I’m forgetting)
  • We had Neuro applicants (and a bunch of residents) over for an applicant dinner in December
  • Spent Xmas week in Texas: some in Houston, some in Austin — G got to meet lots of family
  • Went to “Caucus Training” to learn how to run my precinct caucus on Feb 9th
  • Filed our state and city Excise/B&O taxes for Rockhopper Papers
  • Prepared the W2/W3 year-end stuff for our nanny, Rachel
  • Spent just about every waking (and some non-waking) minute with G and J

So, as you can I’ve had lots of time for blogging and I’m just a lazy slacker. Catherine. Sheesh! πŸ™‚

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End of an Era

Well, my month at home with “the Boy” (aka Little G) is rapidly drawing to a close. Tomorrow I go back to work.

Today is also my birthday, so it’s a little bittersweet that my “present” is being done with my month. πŸ™

I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed and cherished this month even more than I expected. I knew it would be “fun” and “wonderful”, blah blah blah… I didn’t realize how much I’d really enjoy spending all day every day with my little guy.

He’s grown and changed so incredibly much just in this month, it’s hard to believe. We started out the month targeting a couple of things for our time:

  • Solidifying the scheduling Jodi had started — getting him to sleep and eat and play at the right times during the day and sleeping (give or take) regularly through the night.
  • Increased acceptance and success with “tummy-time”

Well, we knocked both of those out of the park — Little G now sleeps regularly through the night (Thanks BabyWise!), and we’re doing great with tummy-time too!

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Tummy Time!  

 

 

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   The Dodds  

 

 

 

Yesterday we ran in the Pumpkin Push 5k (our 3rd time with this race and Gabriel’s 2nd… sort of). We convinced MIL to run the race with us as well, and we got a couple of great photos! My camera was acting up, so good thing MIL had hers along!

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Four Runners
(ok, 3 plus one pumpkin being pushed) 

 

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 We’ll take that friendly-looking pumpkin there in the middle. πŸ™‚

 

 

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Rosie the Roomba

We picked out Rosie (our Roomba) a few weeks ago and brought her home.

Rosie

(*for her privacy, this is not actually our Rosie)

So far she’s been a great addition to the family, and she’s done a spot better keeping the floors clean than we ever did previously. πŸ™‚

The other day in the newspaper there was a fun article about how, um, dedicated some Roomba owners/parents can be. Although we’ve not dressed Rosie up in a little maid uniform, we’ve actually considered dressing her up as a pumpkin for Halloween. Ok, I have considered this. I think Jodi’s still sane.

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Sicko

Wow, if I’ve learned anything in these past few weeks (and, believe me, I have) — it’s that having a new baby really takes up a lot of your time! My “regular” posting to this blog (and even worse, to my work blog) have suffered quite a bit in the run-up to Gabriel’s arrival and the weeks since. But… with apologies to my faithful readers… it’s worth it. Spending time with the little guy is super cool. πŸ™‚

Anyway, back to the alleged topic of this post. Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”. Jodi and I saw this one probably 2-3 weeks B.G. (yes, Before Gabriel) and I never got around to writing it up. In the interest of time, I’ll keep it short…

Like all Michael Moore movies, folks on the right (and even some in the center and left) immediately pounced on every possible thing in the movie that was inaccurate or could be misconstrued to be inaccurate. By this point anyone who has kept up with his history should not be surprised by this. Michael Moore always pushes the envelope: both in terms of the topics he chooses and also in the way he presents the topic.

Once again, the “haters” came out in full force — decrying the folly in this point, the impossibility of that point, etc.

Which leads to MY point. Sure, it’s easy to find fault with one or many of the examples he provides. It’s easy to point out that the Audi driving doctor probably has supplemental income to be able to afford his fancy lifestyle and $1mil apartment. Sure, it’s easy to recognize that Canada and France and England (and every other civilized country in the world) have system which are imperfect. But what’s not so easy is effectively dismissing the REAL point of this movie: that our system is falling apart – bursting at the seams, that we spend more than other countries per-person and don’t even cover everyone, that we have recently (bankruptcy bill changes) made it even more likely that huge medical bills will unravel the finances (and financial future) of more and more families.

A couple of things (myths?) in particular about single-payer medicine as it exists today — basically, everywhere in the world except here:

  • Waiting for service. Sure, people have to wait for non-emergency service in Canada, England, etc. But, realistically, you have to wait for non-emergency service HERE too. I have great insurance and I still have to schedule out my non-emergency medical visits from a few days to a few months, depending on who I’m seeing and what is the issue. It’s disingenuous to pretend that we’d suddenly have to start waiting for non-emergency service if we changed our system. And, to be clear, you don’t have to schedule your emergency service in Canada/England/France. Come on now.
  • Doctors make no money. Actually, it’s a little unclear to me why the average person would care about this (the average person not being a Doctor). Most of the Doctor folks I know either have no reasoned opinion about Single payer or they are at least tentatively supportive, so it’s not really something I’ve heard from a bunch of Doctors either. And yet, this is one of the common concerns you hear about single payer. I think it’s quite likely that Doctors, generally, would make less money under single-payer system. Less money. But, as highly trained, highly in-demand professionals, it seems quite likely they would still make an excellent, high-end salary. Many regulated industries have employees who receive high salaries: airlines, government. Now, would a superstar specialist surgeon make $750k/year? Maybe. It seems quite likely that our system would not tolerate anything other than a merit-and-workload-based compensation strategy, so maybe this *IS* possible. It’s fundamentally a function of how reimbursements are structured. What WOULD likely change is that if we have more broad patient coverage, we would (hopefully) see less need for highly invasive (and expensive) work to be done — due to better preventative care earlier in life, etc. In that way, indirectly we might see doctor salaries decrease as there’s more need for internal medicine and family practice physicians and less need for heart bypass surgeons. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. πŸ™‚

Oh well, that’s enough on the point. I’m glad to see this topic being discussed – at least by the Democrats (the Republicans, in a recent debate, wouldn’t even consent to discussing the topic; just all are against it).

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Blue Angels 2007



Jodi, Gabriel and I walked down to the Sunday Blue Angels show over Lake Washington.

Didn’t take too many photos because I was having to sprint back and cover Gabriel’s ears from the loud LOUD planes fairly regularly. πŸ™‚

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Robert Mak is so awesome

I was very pleased to flip on my weekly “Upfront with Robert Mak” yesterday and discover that his topic for the week was Jack Hamann’s book “On American Soil” (previously reviewed here and followed up here). This just proves, once again, what a great city Seattle is — the topic of one of the best, most interesting books I’ve read in the past year ends up featured on my very-favorite-ist weekly local political/news show. It was made even more cool because there was lots of footage from Mr. Hamann’s original 1987 investigation, and some interview footage with present-day Mr. Hamann out at Discovery park.

Plus, it was neat to see the location of the special grave at the cemetery (which my mother and I went searching for and found when she was visiting last October).

In any event, bravo King5 and Robert Mak for producing a show so cool that I record it every week — and am only ever disappointed when it’s a repeat! Well, that and when they MOVE THE TIME EVERY WEEK so sometimes it doesn’t get recorded. That disappoints me too.

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