Posted by: fireweaver | March 17, 2008

monday lists: fun times

i took my sister back to the airport this morning, after she spent the past 3ish days rolling around town with me. she and i have never had a very good relationship: there’s a 12 year gap between the two of us, and i was far more a surrogate parent than a cool older sister. last year, when my mother’s side of the family came together as my grandmother was dying, things were markedly different. while i of course wished it had been under better circumstances, i did have a wonderful time with my siblings, including her. i wondered if a semester of college had mellowed her out, or if time and distance had just worn off the old strains. i was quite pleased this weekend to see that that previous interaction wasn’t a fluke. the two of us got along just fine, and it was like having an old laid-back buddy in town (albeit, one that doesn’t drink, which is odd for most of my buddies). i’ve never had a relationship with a sister before, so this was all pretty cool. which means, of course, monday’s list is “fun stuff i did with my sister”:

1. sushi on friday night. she’d had raw fish once before and didn’t like it much, but it was at an apparently mediocre place, so she wanted to give it another go. Chris was drafted for this one, since he’s the super sushi king and eats *everything* at the restaurant in question. also, he knows the oddest little things that may or may not be on the menu – we’ve gotten these disturbing-to-look-at but super-tasty itty-bitty roasted whole octopus in teriyaki every time, but i’ve never seen them on the list. i told her from the start that i’m not a big fan of the sashimi style, but i love me some rolls. she did indeed try at least a bite of most everything, and in the end, concluded, “i think i’m pretty much like you. these are awesome {indicated shrimp tempura roll}, but not so much this yellowtail.”

2. the required trip to the national mall & smithsonian. she said a friend tried to explain to her that it wasn’t a shopping mall. we both laughed over that one. we checked out the creepy freeze-dried space monkey at air & space, shared a raised eyebrow over a rather stinky lily at the botanical garden, and had a very good lunch at the underground waterfall cafe in the national gallery basement. there’s a lovely photo exhibit at natural history right now, and as a photography junkie (she has a scholarship for her pictures), she was fascinated. hard not to be:

3. dim sum on sunday. as with, oh, everyone that visits, i plan the whole trip around what we’re eating when. there’s just too many fantastic restaurants not to share (on the nights i’m not cooking, natch). Chris & 6 friends met up with us at my house before heading off to new fortune, and since everyone was running a bit late and a group of 9 took a little while to seat, by the time we got a table, insanity prevailed. Chris had already flagged down a passing cart while people were still filing around the circular table, and by the time everyone was in their chairs, 5 dishes were already awaiting destruction. we descended on crystal shrimp, mussels, fried squid, pork buns, steamed beans & broccoli…and eventually a vaguely almondy jello with ravenous wolf-like abandon. sis is, btw, a chopstick pro at this point.

4. an extended music moment for most of the weekend. a song came on that i was humming along with in the car, and she offered me the album off of her ipod. i asked if she liked band a, did that also mean she was into band b? and yes, she was, and the conversation went from there. while acquiring a cd’s worth of stuff from her jump drive, i noticed she had ‘fight club‘ also stored on the drive. this was pretty eyebrow-raising, since i didn’t really think of her seminary-college-going self being into tuff guy hard-hitting bitter satire. “oh, i totally love this movie” she said. huh. it’s in my top-10 of all time.

5. the tiny magic of redbox. during part of the music conversation, a movie called ‘august rush‘ came up that she very highly recommended. being as how we were chilling out low-key at home after the sunday lunch feeding frenzy, it seemed like a good idea to rent a movie and camp out on the couch. apparently, several years ago, mcdonald’s started a video chain, wherein there were little red kiosks that dispensed dvds, often from outside the store so you could pick them up at all hours of the night. now these little kiosks are everywhere, including the local grocery stores, so we popped in and snagged just the movie she’d been talking up for a buck + tax. i can’t imagine how blockbuster is still in business. the movie itself is as sappy as the harshest of its critics said, but if you’re any kind of band nerd {raises hand}, such things are trivial. it’s a sweet, simple story, and we liked it a lot. which then started another music conversation, and further swaps based on the style of guitar the main character played.

she called me when she got back home this afternoon. “i had such a great time up there with you,” she said. “i did too,” i said, “tell dad thanks for sending you up, for both our birthdays.”



  1. It sounds like a grand weekend. I can totally identify with planning visits around what to eat. Sadly, those that visit me don’t get quite the range of great dining experiences. At least without a major trek.

    And how great that you and your sister get along so much better now. I always finding it heartening to realize how much people are capable of changing.

  2. oh, me too. dunno if she’s changed bunches or i just mellowed out, or some lucky combo of both, but it was a total 180 from our old pattern of at-each-other’s-throat!

  3. I plan my trips back to Texas around where I’m going to eat! I’m so jealous of your dim sum feast. I haven’t had fabulous dim sum since I left San Diego.

    I’ve heard it exists here, but have yet to find it.

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