Snowed In

  • Posted on February 25, 2007 at 9:15 pm

It has snowed pretty much all day, so we’ve been nesting. From my fifth floor view, the snow doesn’t seem that deep, and the roads are just wet, but that’s coming from a Midwest girl. According to the D.C. government, it snowed enough to warrant a snow emergency. For 3 inches. I won’t be surprised if schools are closed for the next few days, until all the snow has melted.

So in honor of this “winter event”, and in preparation for tonight’s Academy Awards presentation, we stayed in all day and watched Babel and The Departed. I enjoyed Babel—it’s one of those movies that I need time to process and think about. There were so many strong emotions portrayed, and many of the characters were in that grey, in-between zone of not-quite good guy, but not-quite bad guy. Kind of like real life, I guess.

I wasn’t that impressed with The Departed. My caveat to that statement is that I do not like Martin Scorsese films, except for Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Taxi Driver (I still remember going to see Cape Fear with my mom at the theater when I was 12 or 13–I was blown away by the movie.) The Departed wasn’t as awful as The Gangs of New York, the Aviator or Raging Bull, but it fell quite short of being Best Picture of the Year, in my opinion. I know that there are a lot of Scorsese fans out there, but I’m just not a big fan. I felt like I was watching an extended episode of the Sopranos, with Jack Nicholson as Tony Soprano. What does everyone love about this movie? Is it the dialogue? The story? The fact that Scorsese uses the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter in every single one of his movies? Please, someone explain it to me.

Yesterday, we saw Children of Men at the theater. It was about a dystopian future where women no longer have children, and the world has fallen to pollution and war. You should see this movie; it is incredible.

Last night, we headed to Dupont Circle’s Heritage India restaurant to celebrate my friend Etaf’s birthday. The restaurant was awesome—we had Indian tapas like minced lamb empanadas and sautéed calamari. The service was a bit sketchy (Martin said it best–”the host looked at me like I was an alien when I asked about the party for Etaf,”) but I defiinitely want to go back and try more tapas. Etaf’s boyfriend Saiful flew in from Chicago to surprise her—how cute is that?!? And, I met a girl named Bethania, which is the Spanish version of Bethany. We switched names for the night.

Well, it’s time for the Oscars now. I guess I’ll be rooting for Little Miss Sunshine.

Those poor dragons

  • Posted on February 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm

I just heard the song “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones. It reminded me of when I was a kid. Not because I was much of a Mother’s Little Helper (sorry Mom. I still suck at mopping the floor.) And not because anyone had a pill-popping problem. It’s because we used to listen to the Rolling Stones on cassette tape while cruising around in our station wagon, and my youngest brother Eric thought that the line “what a drag it is getting old” in the song was “when a dragon is getting old.” He was such a cute little kid. (Or wait, was it my brother Brandon who made up that line? Well, you were both cute.)

Eric, Chocolate and Chuck Norris

Here’s a picture of Eric eating something chocolaty. And note the Chuck Norris headband. Sweet.

Oysters and Champagne

  • Posted on February 12, 2007 at 7:38 am

Around here, birthdays are week-long celebrations. In fact, if it’s an extra-special year, it might even turn into a month-long celebration. So, this weekend began the celebration for Larry’s upcoming birthday on February 14 (yes, it is on Valentine’s Day. But we don’t mention that holiday—it’s only Larry’s birthday. No Valentines.)

Yesterday we went to Clyde’s of Gallery Place in D.C. Clyde’s is a chain, but only a local one, so it’s ok to love it. And I do love it, at least the Raw Bar happy hour. Sundays through Thursdays, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., and again from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m., raw bar items are 50% off. Since both Larry and I work outside of the district, we have no chance of making it downtown for the first happy hour, and we’re usually sleeping by the time the second round starts. But our Sunday afternoon was wide open.

We ordered two dozen oysters. They have an amazing selection—yesterday they had seven different varieties, each with a unique size, taste and texture. We sort of lost track of the names when our server breezed and bumbled through them, but we figured out what our favorite ones were: Kusshi and Burns Point. The Kusshis were small, yet the shells were deceivingly deep, and they were very meaty and succulent. The Burns Point were slightly larger and had more brine than the Kusshis. We drank a bottle of Domaine St. Michelle Brut Sparkling Wine with the oysters—a perfect combination.

Dinner: One Dozen Oysters

Bubbly

We each got dessert—Larry ordered the Bittersweet Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding With Vanilla Bean Custard, and I had the Orange Pound Cake. Both were really good. The bread pudding had just the right amount of chocolate, and the croissants gave it a buttery, flaky texture. The orange pound cake was lighter than a typical pound cake, and it came with grilled pineapple skewered onto a vanilla bean. The desserts were justified because—little known fact—a dozen oysters only have about 110 calories total! What a lo-cal dinner!

Bittersweet Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

On Larry’s actual birthday, I am going to attempt to make a gourmet dinner. I found a crazy delicious duck breast recipe on the internet. Wish me luck, especially with all the chopping! And if you have any suggestions for a birthday dessert that isn’t a cake, let me know!

Our Very Own Renoir

  • Posted on February 11, 2007 at 11:49 am

We have an original Renoir hanging on our wall!

Dance in the City, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

It is Renoir’s Dance in the City, and it was a wedding present from Bill and Lori. It is counted cross-stitch, something like 65,000 stitches. It took Lori over a year to make it. Look at the details:

Close up of Renoir's Dance in the City, Cross Stitched.

We finally got it framed (hooray for the 50% off framing special at Michaels) and hung on our wall. I love it! It is such an incredible piece of art. Lori is so talented, and she must have a ton of patience.

Thank you, Lori! And thank you, Candi, for the frame!

Yo La Tengo/The Rosebuds—Sonar, Baltimore, 2.09.07

  • Posted on February 10, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Let me start by saying that I really like Yo La Tengo. I was excited that we had tickets to see them at Sonar in Baltimore last night.

I had never heard of the opening band, The Rosebuds, but I ended up really loving them! Their songs were catchy little indie-pop numbers with lots of sha na na nas and la la las. In some of the songs, the male singer’s voice reminded me a bit of Morrissey by way of the Smith’s, but in a good way, and not whiny like Morrissey. Sort of like a little British accent, which is a bit strange since the band is from North Carolina. But it works. The female keyboardist sang lead vocals on a couple of the songs, but it seemed to me that her microphone wasn’t loud enough—at times I saw her mouth moving but I couldn’t hear her.

Larry was really impressed by the bass player, commenting on his excellent tone, and noting that the bass player and the drummer were “playing in the pocket quite well.” (Translation: bass player and drummer play in synch very well, so much that the bass guitar and bass drum sound almost like one instrument.)

By the time that Yo La Tengo started, the Sonar Club was packed. Somehow, we ended up behind two of the tallest guys in the place—I’m sure that one guy was a defensive tackler, and the other one was an NBA slam-dunk superstar. So this was basically my view for the entire show:

My View of the Stage at the Yo La Tengo Show

I really enjoyed the short, pop-driven songs that Yo La Tengo played. They were energetic and sounded great. I knew that there were going to be some longer improvisational songs, too—the band has a few longer, jazzy songs on their latest album I Am Not Afraid Of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. They played one song that I have to admit I usually fast-forward after the first couple of minutes, because I get tired of hearing the same two note bass-line repeated for over eight minutes. So when they played that song live, I had to admit I got a bit sick of it, looking at my watch and wondering when it was going to be over. The song is a chaotic, freestyle jam, but it is a planned chaos, if there is such a thing, because it sounded pretty much the same live as it does on the album.

Yo La Tengo at Sonar in Baltimore, February 9, 2007

They played several slow, melodic songs in the middle of their set, songs that sounded almost like lullabies, especially with the female drummer singing vocals—her voice is whispery and ethereal. It was really amazing to me that the chatter level in the club was so loud—I could hardly hear the songs over all the din in the background! The male singer announced that the acoustics of the club were not well suited for songs like this, and he asked the audience to please shut up and listen to the music (ok, maybe not in those words, but pretty close). I didn’t understand why so many people were talking so loud—why pay $17 plus all those extra charges to go to a concert and then not even listen?

The last two songs of the set were more improvisational jams, and both songs went on for over 15 minutes each. As I mentioned, I really like Yo La Tengo, but that was just too long. I stood there, staring at the shoulders of the defensive tackler in front of me, wondering when the first song would finally end, and thinking that would be the end of the show. When it finally did end, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I realized that they were starting up another song, equally boring and long. When they finally left the stage, we headed for the coat check, not wanting to stay for the encore.

I don’t think I’ll see Yo La Tengo live again—I still love them, but they are a band that I actually prefer to listen to on my iPod. If nothing else though, I discovered a great new band to love—The Rosebuds! And Larry bought two of their albums! Woot!

Dancing with our eyes closed

  • Posted on February 6, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Our amazing wedding photographers Stacy and Mary post a different picture to their webpage every day, as a fun little way to get people to their site AND show off their photos. Well, guess who is on their front page today? Me and my Grandpa, dancing a polka!

Bethany and Grandpa

(**I hope Stacy and Mary don’t mind that I took this screen shot–but I figured it is the only way to share my celebrity with the world, since their front page will feature a new picture tomorrow!)