Champions on Ice was a real event for me. Disregarding for a moment how incredibly geeky it may be to follow ice skating, I loved every minute of it and cheered like a schoolgirl. He wasn’t on the list to be there, so I nearly fell over when Evgeni Plushenko was announced during the opening number. The best way I can explain this is, imagine you’re a golf fan and Tiger Woods made a surprise appearance at the one golf event you had ever gotten out to see in person. There is something truly unique and mesmerizing about Plushenko that tells me I’m seeing something historical every time he performs. That said, he fell down after a jump during the opening number and I somehow felt relieved, because now I know he IS human. Tanith and Ben are just as smoldering in person as they are in their close-ups. I reluctantly admit Sasha Cohen is exquisite when she isn’t nervous. After having watched them perform for so long, it was a thrill to see Surya Bonaly (in her trademark goofy costumes doing her trademark backflips) and Irina Slutskaya (who also fell on a jump during her solo, it seemed like she was having an off night). Victor Petrenko proved that though his career has been long, he hasn’t lost a bit of his edge. And I was highly entertained by something I never seen before, trick skating. Irina Grigorian the hula hoop skater and the comedy/acrobatic team were doing things with their bodies that just didn’t seem real. But I have to wrap this up with a mention of Alligator Soul, the Everett restaurant specializing in Cajun cuisine. It was a mixed blessing, but mostly very good. Scott got the ham hock plate and from the tender meat to the collard greens and black eyed peas, it was top notch. Also good were the bananas foster beignets (though they weren’t really beignets, more like Dutch pastry puffs) and the homemade moon pies. I liked the fried green tomatoes and the hush puppies. The gumbo was very disappointing, making the unforgivable mistake of pairing brown broth with sausage (brown is for seafood!), putting the rice in ahead of time, leaving out the file (pronounced fee-lay) and including okra that was not all that cooked, but if you don’t know the difference it didn’t taste half-bad. But the thing to avoid is the boudin. I knew I might be in for it when the waiter pronounced it boo-don (it’s more like boo-dan), but what came out didn’t even slightly resemble the real thing. Get anything but that and it’s a really tasty place.
I work for a company that’s into team building. But being kind of an old-fashioned place, most of the people in charge of our team building exercises are men. Men that like sports. And so it happens the entire marketing department will be carting their fragile bodies over to a diamond today to attempt to play softball. Most of us haven’t played since middle school. For me at least, the goal is to make it through the day without needing an ambulance. And without looking too stupid in my team T-shirt and shorts. When the torture ends, tomorrow I’ll be up in Everett enjoying my tickets to Champions on Ice. I know, I usually have a rule about avoiding things with “on ice” in the title, but as some of you may remember from the Olympics, I love figure skating in all of its forms. And this show is going to be exhibition performances by some of my favorite competitors, including the exciting up and comers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, veteran Victor Petrenko and the incomparable Michelle Kwan. The real highlight will be seeing my eerily similar look-alike Irina Slutskaya, who I’ve just learned collect stuffed animals. Weird. This was a really nice gift from Scott, and we’re making a whole day of the outing by adding in dinner at Alligator Soul. They have a chef from New Orleans and a menu that features beignets and boudin, so I’m really looking forward to eating food that reminds me of home.
A lot of people around the country are feeling the heat right now. This weekend was one of the hottest I’ve ever experienced. It reminded me of a camping trip I took with my parents in the dead of August one year. We stayed by the side of the road in a KOA on the way to Houston off of 1-10, the tent was like an oven, and it was so hot I could hardly breathe let alone sleep. Heat is unusual in Seattle. We live in a second story apartment facing the woods that keeps quite snug in winter, so you can imagine how it is now. The cats have been lying around the house like sacks of potatoes. Couscous isn’t a very smart cat, so she’s mainly been lying immobile in her usual spots. Puddin on the other hand has been actively trying to beat the heat by stretching out on cool surfaces and in front of the window fan. There have been times when I’ve been blocked from the full benefit of the window fan by the cat. It does seem to be cooling off a little as of today, and maybe we’ve seen the worst of it. Eventually those of us that live in Washington state will stop being able to have homes without air conditioning, and that day might be coming sooner than later.