Wednesday, October 08, 2008

happy 35!!!

Last week we went on a late birthday date for Michael to a Diana Krall concert. We have a wonderful babysitter named Shirley that John loves immensely (every time she comes over he runs ecstatically to the door and jumps into her arms for a hug...I think she likes coming here too, what do you think?) and thankfully Emily recognizes her and likes playing with her as well. She still doesn't do so well with other people feeding her but it's getting better. Sort of. A little. Anyhoo...

I love any excuse to get dressed up and out of my spit-up-covered-diaper-smelling clothes so I put on a nice dress early in the day... that's usually the nicest way for me to tell Michael: no shorts tonight. He's had his eye on this Chinese restaurant at the Pavilion mall called DRAGON-i for a while (yes, that's really the name, don't ask me why) so we decided to give it a try.
A close-up self portrait of the handsome birthday boy and his adorable wife:

This dish was AWESOME. I think it was called "Hot Chili Dim Sum with Ground Meat" or something vague like that. Whatever it was it was amazingly sweet and spicy and piping hot and a savory little piece of heaven.

Unfortunately, this one...not so good. Spare ribs that were tough and dry. Too bad, they look pretty.

There are always the most interesting things on menus that we wish everyone could enjoy. Even if you'd never eat it you'd at least get a kick out of looking at the pictures and descriptions. For example, on the dessert page, we had these fine offerings:
  • Barley Beancurd Skin Soup with Gingko & Quail Egg

  • Lotus Seed Sweet Soup with White Fungus & Gingko

  • Sesame Dumpling with Ginger Soup

  • Black Jelly & Red Bean in Coconut Milk
(yes, that's right, i said the DESSERT page. white fungus, anyone???)
We also get to try some refreshing (sometimes good, sometimes not) beverages:
  • Watercress Honey Drink

  • Sugar Cane with Water Chestnut

These were just a few choice items on the menu at this particular place. There is no end to the "interesting" choices we can find in restaurants. Another popular dessert is a frothy coconut drink with little balls of black jelly. They put those little balls of black jelly in a lot of desserts, actually. And once you get over the funky, slimy texture, it's actually pretty darn good. I got some for John and myself once and they brought it with a giant straw that was wide enough to suck up the little jelly balls. John thought that was just about the coolest thing ever.

A picture of Michael in the theater. I was pretty impressed because it was really dark in here so I tried the "candlelight" setting on my camera and it lit everything up amazingly well. It was definitely *not* this bright while we sat there waiting for it to start. I also had to snap a picture of what Michael was doing on our date...that's right, opening up the internet on his phone and getting some work done. Big surprise.

So I cannot say enough good things about the concert. The lovely Mrs. Krall (married to one Mr. Elvis Costello, in case you didn't know) provided an intimate, comfortable setting even in a large auditorium. She seemed...nervous? Jet-lagged? Self-concious? Something, but just the fact that she wasn't a loud, proud, and swaggering performer almost made the concert more appealing. It fit the sort of music she plays. Oh, and did she play. She had a guitar/drum/bass combo with her and they were all amazing, taking turns showing off during each song with solos on their respective instruments. They played Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole...there was a particularly impressive adaption of Irving Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance" played in a (who thought of this?!) Bossa Nova beat. That was pretty rockin.

I don't know how I've lived this long and never heard Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" but now that I've heard Diana Krall's haunting adaption on solo piano, I'm not sure I want to hear the original. This was honestly one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and it made me want to cry. I can't help but feel intensely inferior when in the presence of people filled with such passion. My lovely Lisa and her passion for piano is one example. Another is Krisi, who has been making movies since I first met her in 9th grade and she's still making them. My cousin, Heather, is an avid reader and writer who has been an inspiration to me to get back into my writing. My s-i-l Min who puts intense care into her home decorating and who I would pay anything to have her decorate my home. (Just ask her sometime to give you a tour, you will's like walking into a magazine.) My friend Nichole who...well, if you know Nichole, you know what I'm talking about. So many people around me are passionate about their talents or hobbies, their careers and interests. I have to admit to feeling crummy for not developing my own personal talents or making myself into a better woman. I think after going to that concert I have been more motivated to work on my "life list"...not just making it, but actually crossing things off. I've already learned how to Scuba dive, so there's one thing I can cross off, but maybe now I can learn another language, write a book, train for a triathlon, or start a business. Or maybe all 4. We'll see how long the motivating euphoria from the concert lasts.

So, sorry about the tangent...getting back to the music...90 minutes was over before we knew it. We got to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the bass player and she played "S'Wonderful" for the encore (also in a bossa nova beat...seriously, awesome) and I could have stayed all night. Maybe because I didn't have a kid hanging on at least one arm, but I had a great time. Michael & I couldn't stop talking about it all night, so I think he enjoyed his birthday present too. (Sidenote...favorite part of the concert: Diana started a song and apparently stumbled- I couldn't tell- and said "Dammit" really loudly while giggling into the microphone. She snorted back a little laugh and said something about always being "a student at heart first" before she started over. For some reason it's those little candid soundbites that make live concerts the best.) Anyway, happy birthday again, Michael. I love you and thank you for taking me along on the birthday date. ;) Love ya!


  1. Erin, I don't want to hear any more nonsense from you about being 'inferior' or 'untalented.' You always have something on the go: this blog, for example, puts most of us to shame.
    On a different note, Joni Mitchell's 'Case of You' is one of my all time favorites. You should definitely worth a listen.

  2. I meant it's definitely worth a listen. Or you should give it a listen. Anyway, your grammar is obviously far superior to mine.

  3. Amen to Stacy's comments. They were pretty much exactly what I was going to say. Erin you are amazing, but I am totally disappointed that you have never heart that Joni Mitchell song. I love it like crazy, so listen to it and I will listen to Diana Krall's version. As a side note you should know that Joni Mitchell was in the club of women who dated the fantastic James Taylor, so I think maybe she wrote that song about him since he dumped her butt. So sad. Poor Joni.