December 7, 2007
downtown dc sight
posted by soe 11:21 pm
If you work in downtown D.C., it isn’t uncommon to see workers from local restaurants wheeling trolleys down the sidewalk to deliver catering orders to local offices.
It is uncommon to see what I did one morning last week when I was walking from the Metro Center station to my office: A woman carrying a tray of wrapped sandwiches on her head.
People in the city don’t often take note of who else is sharing the sidewalk with them (unless it’s someone to avoid), but every single person who passed her did a double-take. I even saw some people on the other side of the road, turning to verify what they thought they had seen.
At one point, she and I passed a store window at about the same time. I kept walking and she stopped to look inside. I like to think that she wasn’t window shopping, but instead was admiring her balance and poise.
christopher moore has a list
posted by soe 3:17 pm
A big, important list. Of things he’d like Santa to deliver on Christmas Day. I’m definitely hoping Santa can deliver at least some of it.
Chris’ post from Powell’s today
December 6, 2007
guests bearing food, puppets, and glittery hooves
posted by soe 11:42 pm
Sorry this is so late, but Rudi and I were having blog problems earlier in the day. The problem has been rectified, allowing me to post again. Yay!
That fix has allowed me to post Three Beautiful Things from the past week. Admit it; you’ve been waiting all day for them…
1. At our holiday party on Sunday, several guests brought delicious food. Amani arrived with a vegetarian quiche and brownies, relieving me of the need of cooking the lasagna I hadn’t even started. Sarah brought delicious pretzel treats — pretzels with Hershey Kisses melted into the middle, with an M&M pressed into it. And Sweetpea brought her famous cranberry salsa, brie, and crackers.
2. Sweetpea, John, Rudi, and I went to the National Theatre tonight to see Avenue Q, which is a musical parody of (and tribute to) Sesame Street for adults. I admit that I was a little leery about such an irreverent show but, while some of it was over the top, much of it was not and I had a really good time. Everyone else seemed to have a blast, too. My favorite song? “I Wish I Could Go Back to College.”
3. A package arrived for me last night. I couldn’t remember ordering any yarn on ebay, but sometimes I get a little carried away. Rudi told me the only way to find out what it contained was to open the box. When I pried it open and saw a glittery hoof, I immediately knew where the box had come from — Grey Kitten! The box contained a sparkly unicorn just the same color as yesterday’s first snow, whom I have named Snowflake to commemorate her arrival.
December 5, 2007
posted by soe 1:53 am
Part of our annual holiday experience over the last three years has been a trip out to the countryside of Virginia to cut down a Christmas tree. The first year we ended up at an overpriced tourist trap of a tree farm with very few trees. Sure it was in a picturesque spot, but we refused to pay $50 to cut down our own three-foot-tall tree, so Rudi and I left, deciding to head elsewhere.
We were working off a list of tree farms from the Washington Post that was divided up by county. By chance, I recognized one of the other town names in Loudon County as being the home of the British Pantry and back in a homeward direction. So we pulled out the map, found where the appropriate road was, and trundled off.
And Creekview Farm was just what we were looking for. New Road is a misnomer. It’s an old dirt/gravel road filled with potholes and roller coaster hills — just like back home. The yard wasn’t packed with tourists and we ended up cutting down the first tree we came to. The farmer kidded us that we hadn’t even had time to stretch our legs yet.
I have a hard time making many decisions, but picking a tree is not one of them. This comes from my earliest childhood years when my folks used to wander the farm to view each and every tree. One year the farmer came out looking for us, fearing my 8-month-pregnant mother might have come to some difficulty. I couldn’t have been much more than 6 or 7 when I first began whining and demanding to be left at my grandparents while my parents spent hours for the perfect tree. Since then, my philosophy has pretty much been, if I can’t find a lovely tree in the first five minutes, I’m doing something wrong. (This rule obviously does not apply to tree farms lacking firs over waist level.)
So now each year on the first Saturday of December, we pack ourselves into the car, point it in a westward direction, and drive until the air is fresh again.
Farmer John Hutchison greets you with a smile and familiarizes you (if necessary) with the four varieties of trees he grows — blue and Norway spruces and white and Scotch pines. We like the Norway spruce. The pines don’t tend to have enough strong branches to hold some of our heavier ornaments, and the blue spruce is terribly prickly. (As it is, both Rudi and I usually break out in a rash from where the needles poke the skin.) But the Norway isn’t too itchy, holds its needles well, and has a decent number of weight-bearing branches.
If you have a preferred tree variety and/or height, Farmer Hutchison will point you in the general direction of where you’ll find the ideal tree. If you don’t, he encourages you to wander the lots, which is probably a mere two acres. Then he sets you loose with work gloves (if you need them) and a saw.
When you return with your prized tree, the teenage boys working the farm take it and put it into a nifty machine that shakes loose the extra grass, needles, and critters, before baling it and attaching it to your car roof.
In the meantime, Farmer Hutchison gets you a steaming cup of apple cider to warm you up before your drive home. If his wife has been around, you can buy one of her wreaths or swags.
This year, as Rudi and the teenage boys were hoisting the tree onto our roof, I got a chance to talk with Farmer Hutchison and to ask how he’d fared in the area’s drought. He said that he’d avoided shearing the trees (to give them a more ideal shape) that summer in order to keep them alive, so he hadn’t lost any of his older trees. His new seedlings, though, had been lost. In fact, he said that he’d kept 25 dead trees in pots in the back just to show anyone who gave him a hard time about surviving the drought. He was hopeful for next summer, though, and said he was going to double his normal order (which is double what gets cut down at Christmas). Given that it takes 7-12 years for a tree to reach the mature height most people are looking for, hopefully there will be time for him to make up this year’s losses.
I wish I’d remembered to grab my camera because Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day, but you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine yourself there with us. Midafternoon’s blue skies with some streaks of “horse hair clouds.” A nip in the air that makes you glad of your warm scarf and mittens. A meadow filled with trees and the scent of pine. A stream at the bottom of the hill and tall pines behind the shed. Now open your eyes and just breathe in the memory.
December 4, 2007
posted by soe 12:53 am
We had the opportunity tonight to see Charlie Wilson’s War as part of a sneak preview, but due to Red Line delays, my a-few-minutes-too-late departure from work, and a large crowd, Rudi and I just missed getting in. The ticket agent from the studio was very nice, took everyone’s names and addresses, and promised to send us free passes to a different show. I thought that very sporting of her, particularly since she wasn’t obligated to do so.
Since we were already out, Rudi and I decided to see Enchanted, Disney’s new animated/live action movie. Instead of having to sit in the front row with a craned neck, we got to spread out with about eight other couples in a nice sized hall. We ate popcorn and drank cherry coke and mulled over which of the previews will make our must-see list. (New Year’s Eve is now less than a month away and it’s worth considering which movies we’ll try to catch…) For the record, Alvin and the Chipmunks will not be making the list, although it looks slightly less appalling when seeing a full-length preview as opposed to the 30-second commercial version.
But back to Enchanted.
The movie starts out in an animated fairy-tale land, with a proper Once Upon a Time beginning by Julie Andrews. A lovely maiden (played by the adorable Amy Adams) living in a forest cabin with her animal friends longs to meet her true love. A handsome prince, living under his evil step-mother’s thumb, hears her singing and rides off to meet her. He saves her from an ogre and she agrees to marry him. Mmm-hmmm. It’s that kind of life.
His step-mother, played by Susan Sarandon, doesn’t want to leave the castle, so she devises a devious plan to thwart the nuptuals, sending fair maiden Giselle plummeting into a present-day, real-world Manhattan. Wide-eyed and optimistic, she wanders the city trying to figure out what’s happened and where her prince is until she’s seen knocking on the billboard door of a casino castle a story above the street by the young daughter of a divorce lawyer played by
McDreamy? McSteamy? Patrick Dempsey.
As you might imagine, hilarity ensues when the “happily ever after” princess is taken in for the night by the single “just the facts” dad. And that’s before Giselle is pursued by her Prince Charming, her chipmunk best friend, and the queen’s henchman.
Let’s just say there’s a song-and-dance number in Central Park that must been seen to be believed.
The scriptwriters are to be congratulated for coming up with a story that balanced humor with romantic date fodder, ending up with something that felt familiar yet fresh at the same time.
I think this one might be one worth owning.
December 3, 2007
lots of things to cover … just not tonight
posted by soe 1:27 am
You’ll be happy to know that this weekend I did lots of blog-worthy things. I had a meal fit for the Queen. I had a party. Tomorrow night, we’ll be heading to the movies.
And I’ll write about them, I promise.
But not tonight. Tonight, I’m exhausted and must go to bed. We put in a heroic week of cleaning and purging — one to best any Family Weekend cleanup, you Conn folks — and I’ve hit my threshold of being able to hold my own head up.
But our house is now clean and festive, our fridge stocked, and our tree trimmed. Feel free to stop by if you’re in Dupont Circle.