Monday, August 23, 2010

All I Ever Wanted


Secret Agent Man and I escaped the brutal August heat in Austin with a trip to Seattle. Even though I've been back a week (ish) already, I am still dreaming of the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps that's why I keep comparing the pile of work I've been managing since our return to the insurmountable Mount Rainier?

We enjoyed our trip so much, I am already hoping we go again next August. Really, we plan to win the lottery and buy an August house there. That's right, all summer is too long to live apart from our peeps in ATX, but I think a month would suit us just fine.

Here's how it went down:

Day 1
We arrived at our hotel, and were hit with a surprise at check in: the room awaiting us had two full-sized beds. Hmmm, we are not small people--our combined height is nearly twelve feet. We simply don't fit into a full-sized bed. Since we'd booked a king (using miles Secret Agent Man had left over from his days on the road), he asked the clerk to check again. She found us a junior suite! Except: the bed was a queen-sized murphy bed. Yes, a bed that folds down out of the wall. I was suspicious, but she assured us that the mattress was still heavenly, and we checked in. Sure enough, we had to pull our bed out of the wall. But it was as comfortable as a regular bed, and our view was fantastic.

As I freshened up, Secret Agent Man decided to do some recon around the hotel. Naturally, this meant he found the pool and hot tub, and then settled into the hotel bar for a beer and a chat up with the bartender. Peter, our very helpful bartender, was wise and knowledgeable about places to go and things to do. We'd already done a lot of research, and had a list of "to do" and "to eat," but Peter was helpful in steering us away from, say, places SA Man had seen on television and wanted to try despite lukewarm reviews online.

First stop: Etta's. We'd made it in time for Crabby Hour, and I'm so glad we did. We ordered several little taste treats, but by far my favorite was the Crab Roll. Secret Agent Man expected something sushi-like from the name, but I thought it would be more like a lobster roll. It was, and it was fantastic. Fantastic like I could've eaten two. I wish we'd made more time to eat at Tom Douglas' other restaurants, as I'd heard excellent reports about Dahlia Lounge in particular. Next time!

We'd made a plan for the evening based on a Living Social coupon that had come up about a month prior. (What, you don't sign up for groupon and LS (etc.) in cities where you'll be vacationing? Do it!) It sounded weird and fun, and lucky for us, it was both. We scored seats and champagne in the VIP Section at the Can Can. The service was terrible--luckily we'd followed Peter the Bartender's advice and not planned to order a meal--but the show was very entertaining. It was part Cirque du Soilel, part comedy, part weird stuff. Our front row seats were good (Secret Agent Man got pulled up on stage to shake his booty, a dude swung out over our table on ropes) and bad (one of the fellas flung sweat on my arm, ewwww!), but worth every discounted penny.

Day 2
What's a trip to Seattle without a visit to Pike Place Market? Day 2 happened to be a weekday, and even though the market was crowded, it wasn't unmanageable. We walked around and explored for a while, and all the vendors where we stopped were friendly and chatty. Secret Agent Man was delighted by a go cup of crab cocktail (chunks of fresh crab covered in cocktail sauce, sold by one of the fresh fish vendors), and even though we joined the crowd at the famous fish flinger for a while, we never saw a toss. Perhaps one has to actually purchase a fish to get the flying show? In any case, Secret Agent Man was hungry for crab, and the seafood vendors suggested Cutter's. It was close, but I'd rate it just okay. Everything was fresh, and tasty, but of all the great places we dined during the trip, this one would be my least favorite--simply because the others were all so good.

After lunch, we wandered over to the Seattle Aquarium. Honestly, we both thought it was boring. Sure, they had the big weird octopus, and the cute seals and otters, but I think we would've enjoyed the place more if we brought or were kids.

Luckily, our next stop was a lot of fun: Underground Tour. The tour begins with a 20 minute presentation on why there's an underground to tour in the first place, and the gal speaking to the group was funny and informative. From there, our very large group split into four groups of about 30 - 40 people each. I'd hoped for the same tour guide who started us out, but our tour guide was still entertaining. (Just not "hilarious" like the ticket sellers suggested.) I think next time, we might enjoy checking out the Underworld Tour (same company).

Dinner that night was the realization of Secret Agent Man's dream of having a pile of steamed crabs poured on our table for him to eat cave man style. And this is where Peter the Bartender saved the day: he told us that the popular (tourist) choice that Secret Agent Man had seen on tv was not the place for us. Really, he was giving us the one eyebrow of judgement that we even wanted such an option, but whatev. Peter suggested Fisherman's, and it did not disappoint. We ordered the Crab Feast, and we both nearly needed a benedryl at the end to curb the start of an allergic reaction from eating so much seafood. Our dinner started with clam chowder (yum), a bucket of clams and mussles (which I did not try because I prefer not to eat foods that share the same texture as loogies), and the main event: a pile of dungeness, king, and snow crab legs. Here, Secret Agent Man, who in the past has so kindly broken down the crab for me and presented me with lumps of delicious meat, decided it was time for me to learn on my own. Newsflash: breaking apart crab legs isn't difficult. It's just extra nice when someone else does it for you.

Day 3
This day, we got ambitious. We rented a car (from a convenient location right across the street from the hotel), and drove to Mount Rainier National Park for some nature walking. We were armed with Secret Agent Man's gps and my list of suggested hikes from Frommer's website.
Hey, did you know that national parks often don't have a physical address you can enter into your gps? It's best to find this out before you are on the interstate. Print maps in advance, friends! Still, we made it to the park in time for lunch at the Copper Creek Inn. The menu is mainly burgers, but mine was delicious, and Secret Agent Man declared his a winner as well. Save room for their blackberry pie, for sure--even if you're like me and say you'll only have a bite or two, trust me when I tell you that you'll end up hoovering up at least half a slice. You need energy for the nature walking, right?

We picked an easy trail at Paradise. It turns out, when you are at a higher altitude than normal, and hiking what seems like straight up a mountain, you will be quite happy when you breathlessly reach the scenic falls, even if they're a little crowded. Even if the best view of the falls is down a steep rock staircase that you'll dread climbing back up later. The views were lovely, and the walk back to our car was quite nice (and downhill). Our next stop were the Reflection Lakes. Except, on windy days, the lakes don't exactly reflect. Still, it was a nice walk around the lake, as it was flat and much much less crowded.

From there, we considered checking out Sunrise (yes, we entered the park at the opposite end my handy list of hikes suggested), but decided to try and get the rental car back before the place closed at 7. Our drive back, mostly northwest through the park, was lovely. Except where we were driving alongside a steep cliff and could not look out the windows on that side of the car due to extreeme fear. Good times!

We didn't feel like venturing too far (or too fancy) from the hotel for dinner, so we went with another Peter the Bartender suggestion and headed over to Red Fin. I'm so glad we did! From our table, we could see over to the bar where the sushi. . .uhh. . .roller? chef? maestro? was putting together rolls and nigiri. The menu had lots of creative roll options, and we arranged our own little taste test to determine which crab nigiri we liked best. (Verdict: king for the win!) We also got to confuse our waitress with our cost guessing game. See, we each guess how much the total bill will cost. Whoever is closest gets to pay. That's right, we are both trying to pay for dinner. This game is much more fun than taking turns or something reasonable like that. And I set a record at Red Fin: I was $.05 off the total. It's like I won both showcases! Yay me!

Day 4
Our last full day in the Emerald City, boo hoo! We water taxi-ed to Alki Point to eat and check out the ocean. Brunch at Salty's turned out to be an excellent choice. I'm not normally a fan of a buffet, but there were so many delicious options that we went for it. Once again, Secret Agent Man ate himself into a stupor on crab legs, so even though brunch was not inexpensive, I'd say we got our money's worth.

Unfortunately, our day went awry after brunch. Allegedly, there is a free shuttle that drives around the penninsula, dropping water taxi-ers off at various points of interest. We had a shuttle schedule, and were waiting at the appointed stop on time, but no shuttle. We could see the beach from the shuttle stop, what if we just started walking and hopped on the shuttle when it went by? Friends, on an unseasonable hot (90 degree) day in Seattle, you do not want to walk 1.5 miles to the Alki Beach. I know, without the oppressive Texas humidity, it will seem like a good idea. After all, the ocean awaits! But shade along the path does not. If you're pasty pale like me, you're going to want sunscreen, and lots of it. Remember, you will sweat off the sunscreen along your hairline: yes, that's the reason for the sunburn you'll find there later. Your new farmer tan is an added bonus.

And then there's the beach. We walked past sand volleyball courts and grassy knolls, all full of beach-goers. We'd read glowing reviews of the fantastic Seattle skyline view from the beach. Nothing prepared us for the actual beach. It was rocks. Rocks the size of my fist and smaller. Rocks! So much for our plan to walk barefoot along the beach, dipping our toes into the Pacific Ocean. Still, we'd come this far. We peeled off our shoes and socks, and gingerly picked our way down to the water line. Guess what? The Pacific Ocean is freakin' freezing. I may have screamed a little bit as the tide came in and covered my feet. Also, as Secret Agent Man observed, the water looked like a mojito. After less than a minute of the Pacific Ocean experience, we hobbled back into our shoes and made for the closest shuttle stop.

Frankly, this was mostly a waste of a day. We can look back and laugh--in fact, we laughed at each other on the "beach"--but we won't go back to Alki on our next visit.

We hoped to redeem ourselves with our dinner options. SA Man had scored a couple of groupons, and we wanted to try and use them both. We went to the first stop for an appetizer. It was fine, noteworthy mainly because our taxi tried to drop us off at a parking garage. Umm, no thanks. (And I don't remember the name of the place, whoops!) But our late dinner at Seastar was a very pleasant surprise. (Also a surprise: the strength of the mandarin orange vodka with fresca cocktails the bartender mixed up for us. I mean, we'd had these before, but Yowza!) Once we were seated, we opted for a starter of crab deviled eggs with bacon. Except allegedly the kitchen was backed up, so they brought us some free crunchy shrimp things (and fresh drinks) that were very tasty while we waited. And then our deviled egg order was mysteriously doubled. I could've eaten my weight in those, so I wasn't too sad when Secret Agent Man could not overcome his dislike of the deviled egg and I ate the remainder of his order. (For the record, he was a good sport about trying the devil egg, in case his love of crab and bacon could overcome his hatred of "the creepy white part" and any use of mustard in the recipe.) For our entree, we split an order of wood-fired (or something or other) king crab legs, and they were not only delicious, but pre-cracked. Did we order dessert? Maybe. Maybe I'd been overserved in the drink department and it's been several days since our return home so I don't recall. I plead the fifth.

Day 5
We hopped about the light rail train, rode it to the airport, and flew back. The wall of heat and humidity as we walked outside from the baggage claim area, and the interior temperature of the car rivaling the surface of the sun were a friendly reminder that we were home.

Ah, vacation! All I ever wanted.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Let it Snow

(photo from apartment therapy)

Secret Agent Man's dad was in town recently, and even though he's been to Austin several times, he decided to focus this visit on eating at restaurants he'd seen on the Food Network or Travel Channel. By "focus," of course I mean that he told us where he wanted to eat, and would not consider other options. That is, until plans were made. Then he read restaurant reviews online and then decided he no longer felt comfortable eating at his original choice, but would rather not actually make a decision on a new plan. It was a long week for Secret Agent Man and his sister. The dad has earned a new nickname in their family: He Who Will Never Be Pleased. I'm just going to call him SpyDaddy.

SpyDaddy refused to order a cupcake at the store, because there weren't any cupcakes on display. (I hear he has written a letter of complaint about the situation, and hopes he can help improve their business with his suggestion.) His breakfast taco was too big. He didn't think the movie he selected at the Alamo Draft House was funny; he hated it. He changed his mind twice about the bbq joint(s) suggested, and we ended up at Rudy's--where he'd (gasp) eaten before. It was time for a shock and awe campaign: it was time to hit the Best Summer Ever (Project 2010) list. Time for trailer food and snow cones!

We started with dinner at The Mighty Cone. Hello, hot and crunchy! Naturally, SpyDaddy claimed he was still full from lunch and did not want a cone. He would, however, concede a willingness to eat "a couple" of fries. Secret Agent Man evidently has been down this road before, and he ordered SpyDaddy his own cone of chili-dusted fries. SpyDaddy finished his fries before I was even halfway through my hot and crunchy, and I caught him eyeing our shared fry cone more than once. I gave him my best "back off, dude--those spicy fries are strips of heaven!" look, it seemed to work.

Dessert was only a few doors down at the Frigid Frog. As it turns out, in the last twenty(ish) years since I last ate a snowcone, things have changed. Ohhhh, how they've changed for the better! Remember when the only snowcone flavors were cherry, grape, and blue? The Frog has easily 40 flavors to choose from. Including a few that freaked me out, like Tiger's Blood. What the WHAT? I suspect that may have been code for cranberry, especially if it's anything like a mystery juice labeled "dragon berry" I drank once. In any case, I wasn't willing to test my cran theory. (Although I encouraged others to drink the Tiger's Blood. Sadly, no takers.)

I went with the birthday cake flavor. That's right, a snow cone that would magically taste like birthday cake. When it came out bright yellow, I was leary. You know, don't drink yellow snow? But, cake is delicious! The best kind of birthday cake is yellow! Right?? I went in for a taste and was not disappointed--birthday cake snow cone is some good stuff.

But that wasn't the end of the good stuff. No, Secret Agent Man spent a little extra time studying the menu and noticed something I didn't: the Frog will add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your snow cone. They will bury it inside like a squirrel hides a nut. So when you're eating your snow cone, buckle up. Because surprise ice cream is like Christmas.

And you know even the Grinch's heart grew in the end, right? SpyDaddy had two snow cones, and proclaimed them delicious.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Date Night Date Night

One of the items on my Best Summer Ever list was See a Movie at the Fancy Theatre. I'd signed up for the fancy theatre "membership" program, so about a month after it opened, they emailed me a free movie ticket. Since tickets are normally $25 per person, I jumped at the opportunity and booked a date night with Secret Agent Man to see Date Night. We decided to go on a Tuesday, to take advantage of the half price appetizer menu.

Upon arrival at the theatre, the "hostess" checking us in asked if it was our first time, and offered us a table in the lounge, where we could wait and order drinks until our movie started. Drinks! Lounging! Two of my favorite things! Except our movie was scheduled to begin in 15 minutes, and we sat in the lounge for 15 minutes, ignored by the waitstaff. We were confused. And thirsty. Would someone tell us when and where to go to see our movie? Why would the hostess ask us if it was our first time if she wasn't planning to give us any direction other than "have a seat"?

We wandered around until we found our theatre, and stood there looking lost until a waiter pointed us to our seats. No one took our order, no one told us how to order. We found a button on the console between our seats that glowed green or red, depending on whether you pushed it. But we had no idea if green meant "go! we're ready to order!" or "go away! we don't need anything!" What about the red "stop what you're doing and take our order!" or "stop walking towards us, we're busy watching the movie" After a good 10 minutes of trial and error, a waiter showed up on red. We ordered a drink each and three appetizers to share.

Our drinks came out fairly fast--which was good, since we were parched. But no sign of our appetizers. As the couple in the movie bumbled into more trouble, and acted frantic about their predicament, I became anxious about our food. The movie seemed at least halfway over! We were hungry!

And then our bill arrived. Sans appetizers. As Secret Agent Man told the waiter to cancel our order, the appetizers arrived. Finally! We tried to eat quickly, knowing the movie must be nearly finished. Too bad the food was so disappointing. The only dish we enjoyed were the caesar romaine spears. (Exept the chicken portion of that appetizer was cold and rubbery.)

At least the chairs were comfortable? Perhaps the staff needed more than a month of experience to keep things running smoothly? We were lucky it "only" cost us about $50 to learn our fancy theatre lesson? In any case, our future movie dates will be at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Best Summer Ever Project: 2010

In May, I picked up an Austin Monthly magazine that promised a list of 100+ fun things to do over the summer. Yes! Time to kick off the first annual Best Summer Ever Project! Except, a lot of the items they listed included taking your kid(s) to the park or going for a hike. Too bad I don't have kids and don't want to hike in temperatures above 85 degrees.

Evidently, I needed to fill my own summer with fun. I stole a few things off their list, and added some of mine. Secret Agent Man is helping contribute to the list (and the fun), so with his help, I think we might just reach 100+ items. We've even started crossing items off the list. . .and it has been a pretty great summer.

Here are some of my Best Summer Ever Project: 2010 objectives:

Take a Cosmic Cowboy Tour

Play skeeball at The Highball

Eat & drink German style at the World Famous Walburg Restaurant

Borrow the niece (his) and nephews (mine) for a Little Lounge Lizards Dance Party

Taste test snow cones around the city

Take a UT Moonlight Prowl

Eat some quality baked goods from Naegelin's Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas

Attend a Round Rock Express game

Play a round of Peter Pan Mini Golf

Taste test frozen yogurt around the city

Watch a movie at the Paramount, during the Summer Film Series

Cheer for the home team at a Texas Rollergirls match

Free Full Moon Yoga (umm, not exactly what it sounds like)

Eat ice cream and pet goats at Sweet Berry Farm

Rock & roll at the Second Sunday Sock Hop

Try our luck at Drag Queen Bingo

Watch the sun set at Dry Creek Cafe

Cupcake Taste Test (although I think I've already tried enough varieties around town to guess my favorite)

Eat pie at Blue Bonnet Cafe

Tour Blue Bell Creamery

Feel the thunder at Thunderhill Raceway

Watch a movie in Deep Eddy Pool

Bowl & Glow at the UT Union

Eat trailer food (I have a list of places to try)

See a movie at the fancy theatre

Go on vacation someplace cool

Try out new (to me/us) restaurants on the cheap (Dear Groupon & Living Social, thank you for your assistance in this option) Right now, we have plans to check out Zoot, Stone House Vineyard, and Mansion on Judge's Hill.

Twenty-seven items on that list, and there are still more that we crossed off before even putting them on the list. Best Summer Ever! Updates to follow. I just planned your next 20 date nights, didn't I? You're welcome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pillow Talk

I told him I loved him.

He said "thanks for sharing."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Secret Agent Man loves the Austin Omni hotel; he's all about the rooftop pool and hot tub. So for one of his birthday presents, I gifted him a night at the hotel. Not as over-the-top for 1 of 30+ birthday gifts as one might imagine; I have an occasional talent for finding cheap hotel rooms, and I struck gold for this past weekend.

We'd been anticipating our in-town retreat for a couple of weeks. Would we close the curtains, crank down the a/c, hang out the privacy sign, and open the door only for room service deliveries? Would we hot tub until our sunscreen cooked off, leaving us raisin-y and blistered?

Nope. Recent events along the Gulf Coast gave us a better idea: we would eat seafood like it was our job. That's right--a self-guided downtown seafood tour.

We began our work at lunch on Saturday, at the Turf and Surf Po' Boy Trailer. We were their only customers at 1pm, and the gal taking orders was really helpful with suggestions. (Especially since I was so hungry, I could only manage to answer "something delicious" when she asked us what we were in the mood for.) Shrimp Po' Boys with sweet potato fries saved the day! Yum; we're definitely going back there.

Checked in to the hotel. . .and waited for The Sister to show up with her family. Oh, right, we had a pit stop on our seafood tour, and it was The Sister (+ fam) who wanted to swim at the hotel. Who knew I would get to bust out with the out-awesome-ing so soon? Lucky me! How did I get so lucky? Evidently, when Secret Agent Man told his sister of our hotel plan, she suggested they come over for a swim. He was smart enough to chat with me about the idea before telling her yes, but I was not smart enough to straight up tell him I wanted him all to myself for the weekend. Instead I said "Sure! Who wouldn't want to swim on the roof! It will be fun!" Really, I was torn. I want to be awesome, and The Sister fam had a rough week--among other things, they had to say goodbye to their beloved sixteen year-old kitty. I even heard myself saying "Should we get them a special treat to cheer them up?" Shut up, self! Shut up! He decided the special treat was that they were coming to swim at our hotel. My special treat was the news that the rooftop hotel pool had a bar!

The rooftop bar had extra delicious frozen drinks, an entire bachelorette party, and an entire bachelor party unrelated to the bachelorette party. The hot tub was full of dudes passing around a box of Cheez-its and hollering at the sunbathing ladies. Even when Sister hopped in the hot tub with Delightful Niece, the dudes didn't clear out--they just offered to share the Cheez-its. Such nice young men after all!

Secret Agent Man had offered Sister + fam an hour-long visit, and sure enough, they cleared out in a timely manner. It's almost a shame, really, since I was just reaching the height of my awesome-ness. Either that, or I was too full of tasty frosted adult beverages to care. Secret Agent Man and I walked a fine (crooked) line between continuing to hang poolside and actually taking our seafood tour. But a shower and nap later, we hit the streets. We were on a mission!

We hit McCormick & Schmick's first. Did you know that many downtown Austin restaurants offer happy hour specials, even on Saturdays? And that offer includes lower-priced appetizers? Our jumbo shrimp cocktails were very good, even though our waitress did not know if our shrimps came from the Texas coast. (What's the point of eating seafood like it's our job if we're not buying "local"? Oh right, seafood is delicious.) The shrimp ceviche was pretty good, but not remarkable. And, to her credit, the waitress warned us that it wasn't her favorite. My John Daly was very tart, and delicious.

Next stop, Truluck's. Except we walked the wrong way and ended up several more blocks from our intended destination. Secret Agent Man has been (not so) secretly wanting to try out a pedicab ride, so we hopped in one and rode to our desination in (tricycle) style. Since we'd just chowed down on shrimp, we mixed it up with a Super Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, which we split. Friends, that crab cake was a slice of heaven. It was the best in the world. It had barely any filler, and they weren't kidding around about the Super Jumbo Lump business. I will dream about it at night.

After Truluck's, we decided our food to drink ratio needed improving. Cuba Libre was nearby, and also nearly deserted--it was, after all, well before dark. Their sign in front boasted the Best Mojito in Texas, and we needed to find out for ourselves. Except, have I ever had a mojito to compare? No. But I am pleased to report that their mojito tasted exactly like a piece of spearmint gum.

As it turns out, Maria Maria is practially next door to Cuba Libre. Hello, white sangria! Hello fruit salad in a glass! I was delighted to discover that my white sangria would include a surprise combination of fruits, depending on the bartender. I was only able to test my theory during two rounds, but in that time I was also able to consume several cherries, a strawberry, and an orange slice. Yum! The live music started not long after our arrival, and featured a lady member of the P-Funk, who Secret Agent Man had seen the week prior with George Clinton. We found out later that the lady P Funker was also part of the cast of the inaugural season of "Flavor of Love." Too bad she/her band were terrible. Probably from all the ganja.

Somehow we made our way to our (planned) final stop: Eddie V's. Actually, I know how we made our (drunken) way: pedicab! I was ready to be impressed by Eddie. I'd heard stories of seafood towers and celebrity sightings. Yet. . .my crab cake disappointed. Sure, it was tasty, and the sauce was good. But it was no World's Greatest Super Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. Secret Agent Man did love his crab claws, though. It just wasn't the perfect end to a fantastic evening. What to do??

Walk back to Truluck's and order up a slice of heaven, of course! What better way to end the evening than with another Super Jumbo Lump Crab Cake?? Since the kitchen was closing (whoops! time flies when you're having fun!), and we were the last order in, the bartender chatted us up a little bit, and even brought over some free cosmos that someone accidentally left in the freezer. I think they were accidentally left in the freezer because they were awful. Or full of roofies. Either way, we made it back to the hotel (thanks, pedicabber!) and turned in.

We ended our seafood tour with brunch at one of our semi-regular haunts on Sunday: Shuck Shack. Dear Shuck Shack, please cut back on the spicey in the Eggs Etouffee for next time. Is your cook new? Let's go back to the original recipe, which we love and miss. P.S. Your cafe au lait is delicious, and I would like an i.v. of that creamy goodness, so please get on that. XO, Guava.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Sister

One of my favorite things about Secret Agent Man is his close relationship with his family. He's best friends with his sister, who lives in Austin with her husband of 10+ years and their almost 4 year old daughter. He spends a lot of time with Sister, and I know her seal of approval is really important to him. . .as he mentioned to me before I met her for the first time. At her own birthday party. Hours after she found out that he was dating someone new. I also know that she really liked his ex, hoped the ex was The One, and was sad when things didn't work out. She wants cousins for Niece, since Niece will be an only child.

So it's not surprising that Sister seems to hate me.

On Easter, Secret Agent Man and I met Sister & family at their church for the children's service. We arrived early, in our Easter finest, and saved seats. Secret Agent Man's mom was visiting Austin--I'd met her a couple of days prior at a family dinner--so we took up pretty much an entire row. After the service, they realized that Niece's little school friend was sitting behind us with her mom, so they all joined us outside for the obligatory photos. As we walked outside, I ended up walking next to Sister in the hallway, a little ways behind the girls, who were busily escorting Secret Agent Man. Sister looked over at me, smiled, and said, "Oh look, you and Little School Friend are wearing the same dress! Ha ha!"

Umm, excuse me? I most certainly was not wearing the same dress as a four year old. Yes, I was wearing a dress. My dress was white, with various shades of blue on it, concentrated around the waist and upper portion of the skirt. I bought it a couple of years ago at Ann Taylor, and if Secret Agent Man is to be believed, I looked great. Little School Friend was wearing a dress that was solid blue with white flowers all over it. She wore a fluffy petticoat underneath. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??

Yet instead of giving Sister the ol' "Why The Face?" I chuckled. Like why should I care that Sister thinks I'm dressed like a four year old? Oh, ha ha, what a funny comparison, sister! You're so clever for noticing we both had white and blue on our Easter dresses! Clearly, I'm totally over the slight. I am certain I was smiling brightly in the photos we took not five minutes later.

Their traditional Easter lunch is P.F. Chang's. Did you know P.F. Chang's is nearly deserted on Easter Sunday? Now I do. Upon arrival, their mom excused herself to the ladies room while we got seated. Secret Agent Man asked his sister where we should sit. Sister directed me to the seat next to the mom, which caused Secret Agent Man to joke "You're making her sit next to Mom? What, do you hate Guava?" Sister looks at me, pauses, and then laughs. LAUGHS.

I laughed too, obviously. The idea of Sister hating me is hiiiilarious.

I've since decided that Sister is no match for me. I've abandoned my plan to kill her with kindness. Instead, I will just out-awesome her. That's right. She will be helpless to resist me. I will be the Ninja of Awesome. My ways will be mysterious, crafty, and secretive. I just need to get Secret Agent Man on board. . .without him realizing it. He has so far foiled my dastardly plot by not buying his niece a pinata and letting me fill it with treats for Cinco de Mayo. (Uhh, exploding confetti eggs in Sister's yard, anyone? That's fun for everyone, right??) But the awesome-ness, it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.