Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Since we're dogless for the month (she's at Camp in Richmond with all of the weekend wedding travels we have in May), and I had to pick up the gimp husband downtown since he couldn't drive for a couple of days because of the race injuries, we decided to grab drinks in the city.  Cork has been on our list for years, but since it's a little out of the way, it took us forever to finally make it up there. 

It's not at all where you would expect a wine bar such as this one to be.  It's on 14th Street, almost to U Street.  This is an up and coming area...but hasn't fully arrived yet.  When you walk into the bar, you expect it to be closer to where some of the other wine bars in DC are located - Chinatown, Woodly Park, etc. 

We both ordered a glass of wine, and stood up against the bar for a while.  The place is very small, and was extremely crowded.  The restaurant is really beautiful, with a decent sized bar and seating for maybe 20 or so in the front room - I didn't wander to the back room, but husband said it was a nice size.  I loved the decor and the colors in the bar.

Luckily, before we were finished with our first glass and deciding if we were going to stay, 2 girls left and we snagged their spots.  We each ordered another glass of wine, trying different things on the menu.  They have all Italian, French and Spanish wines on their list.  We aren't nearly as familiar with these wines, but their descriptions were pretty good and listed the varietals in each wine - which was certainly helpful when ordering wine in a different language.

Once seated, we ordered a cheese and charcutrie plate.  The cheese plate came first - we had 3 different ones.  The slices were small.  Tiny, actually.  Not that I'm expecting a huge slab of cheese but when the plate is as expensive as it was ($12), the size of the cheeses was definitely surprising.  It was served with raisin walnut bread - husband didn't mind this, but I thought it was a little bizzare.  I want to taste the cheeses, not raisin bread...they change their cheese selection regularly, and honestly I can't remember which ones we got. 

Then came the charcutrie plate ($16).  Thank goodness.  It was wonderful, with large piles of the meats.  It was served with mini-gerkins and spicy mustard, plus slices of regular french bread - much better.  We had the Prosciutto, Soppressata and Chorizo and all were delicious. 

The total bill with tip ended up around $70, which was a bit pricier than we had in mind when we set out for drinks.  While we both enjoyed the food and wine, I'm not sure we'll be rushing back to Cork, although the rest of the menu did look good.

Have you been before?  What did you think?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

101.6 miles

You read that right.

Over the weekend of May 14-15, my insane husband ran in the MMT 100 mile race in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. 

The race started at 4am Saturday morning.  Friday afternoon we drove over to the start/finish area, which luckily was only about 90 minutes from our house.  After the pre-race meeting talking about the course, markers, crew instructions, and more, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for a very early dinner...we walked in at 4:50pm.  It was us and lots of old people!  But - I love Cracker Barrel - sweet tea, chicken and dumplings, green beans, and yes, the mac and cheese too.  YUM.  After dinner we checked into the hotel and got reorganized and ready for the early wake up call.  Husband was asleep, out cold, by 6:45....so I finished a bottle of wine left over from earlier in the week and read for a while...until maybe 8...and finally willed myself to sleep. 

Because the alarm went off at 2:30.  AM. 

By 3:30am we were down at the start line, checked in, and waiting...

 Then the 5 second countdown to 4am came, and the runners were off!

And I went back to the hotel and back to bed.

A couple of hours later I was up, showered, and packed...stopped for ice, coffee and 2 Boston cream donuts (for the runner), and was heading out to find him.  By the time I saw him for the first time, it was around 12:30pm, he was 32.6 miles in and looking pretty good! 

He made a quick pitstop at the Elizabeth Furnace aid station and changed his shoes, had a few sips of coke and handful of pringles...and he was off again! 

After he moved on, I packed up the chair, repacked the supplies bag, held my breath as I started the 'disgustingly smelly bag of dirty clothes/shoes' and walked back to the truck to move to the next stop.  At Shawls Gap he was still moving great - came in rocking to his iPod and the Zac Brown Band.  This stop was even quicker, and he was off again...37.6 miles finished...

So now, I had about 4 hours to kill before I would see him again...so I went back to wait for another runner, Andy, and chat with his wife Becky and cutie baby Brynne.  Andy and Husband went to high school together, and it's been great for them to reconnect at the races and it's so nice to have Becky to chat with!

After Andy came through, I headed up to Front Royal...I had some time to kill, and was waiting for our pacers to drive out to the mountains.  Plus - there's a Starbucks in Front Royal.  It was coffee time!  I wandered around Target for a while, stopped in WalMart to get Tom a watch since (shocking) he lost his, and then headed back to pick them up.  Tom was up first to pace, so he was getting ready as we drove back into the woods to meet our runner at Harbon Gap, mile 53.6.  He was faster than we expected, and came into the station right as we walked up.  He wanted to get out quickly, so with a change of shoes, extra bug spay, and some more pringles and coke, he was gone...

The next few aid stations were much different...he was having a rough night.  Camp Roosevelt at 63.1 was around 10pm.  It was dark, and he just wasn't feeling it.  We had a few times where I thought we were packing up and heading home.  Andy did decide at Camp Roosevelt that he was finished, and they headed back.  I told husband that he needed to at least beat Andy!  5 miles.  The next station was just 5 miles away.  Now, granted, those were probably 5 of the hardest miles of the whole course.  But, we got him going again.  Tom high-fived me for my pep talk ability as they headed back onto the trail, and I told him now it was his turn.

MK and I drove down to the next station and took a quick 2 hour nap...and around 1am they came into Gap Creek, 68.7 miles.  Again, I really thought we were going home.  I even said fine, if this is that miserable then lets just go.  The other runners and aid station people looked at me like you can't just say that to a runner who's wanting to quit!!  But, it worked.  He was having some horrible blister problems on his feet - after running through streams and in wet shoes for so long, it was starting to take a toll.  But, the he said something about duct taping his toes...I could tell that he really didn't want to give up.  So, holding my breath, I taped up his toes...just with medical tape at this point...and off they went.  MK and I drove down to the next station and took a little cat nap in the car...listening to the pouring rain...and hoping that he was doing ok...

AND he was!  Visitors Center at 5am!  77.1 miles.  Tom was finished, and it was MK's turn!  He changed shoes, ate some bacon and eggs (no joke, the aid station workers were making a mean breakfast), and was ready to go.

Pretty excited about his new peppy mood, and knowing that MK would push him along, Tom and I moved down to the Picnic Area, which was less than a mile for us to drive.  We parked right on the road that they'd be running in on, snuggled up and grabbed another hour or so nap.  We were waking up, getting ready to haul our stuff down to the aid station, and Tom asks, "Do you want to say hi to them?"  "Who?"  And, there they are, walking right to the car!  They ran that section in record (for us) time, and we were totally not expecting them for another 15-20 minutes!  So we quickly went down to the aid station...right at 9am and 86.5 miles!  He was in great spirits, but his feet were killing him.  My poor tape job needed to be redone...and apparently several other runners were having the same work done.  Volunteer Nick saved us - as he bravely and expertly duct taped M's feet all up...

Once the tape was in place, and we put glide all over it, shoes went back on, he at a pancake, and hobbled off. 14 miles to go...

Back to the Gap Creek station. 95 miles done. 6.5 to go. It was the last station that we'd see him at before the finish...

Tom and I packed everything up one last time, said goodbye to the runners, and headed down to the finish line.  It was at the same place as the start, at the big text, and we waited...and waited...it took a lot longer for them to do the last 6.5 miles than we expected...through a couple of crazy downpours, too...

They started the awards ceremony at 3...which Tom and I were really surprised about.  The cut off for finishing was 4pm, and there were still about 15 runners on the course.  But...it ended up working out ok because they announced each runner, (which they did for everyone) and since they had a full audience, everyone cheered loudly for them as they came up the final stretch.

Also, they had the pacers move to the side, which I really liked - it gave the runner a 100 yards of glory, coming into the finish line!

Gary, who's 67, finished his 14th MMT about 45 minutes earlier.  He came over immediately to congratulate M on finishing - it was very cool.

The best crew team ever!

101.6 miles.  35 hours, 20 minutes, and 59 seconds.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rehoboth, DE

Two weekends ago we packed ourselves up and headed across the bay to Rehoboth Beach, Deleware.  Two friends of mine from college were getting married (wedding #2 of the month) right downtown in Lewes, DE.  The funniest part about that statement was that I was friends with the Groom more in college than the Bride, but she and I have become great friends over the last couple of years.

We took the trip to Deleware as an opportunity to stop at the Dogfish Head Brewery.

Husband has wanted to go for a while, so we headed out of town early enough to get there for the 12:30pm tour.  They have 2 free tours a day and they sell out quick - and they're huge tours!  35 people each!  That place is cranking people through.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable about all of the cases and numbers that they produce - so much so that by the end, all of the figures started to blur together.  And this was before the tasting!

Deleware law states that they are able to give each person 12 oz of free beer a day.  So they take that 12oz and divide it into 4 - so you get to taste 4 beers at 3oz each.  Pretty clever!

After the tour, we checked into the hotel and got ready for the wedding.  The ceremony was at a beautiful old church in downtown Lewes, DE.  It was really a lovely ceremony - very personal.  I'm not very used to Episcopal services, so the whole married thing first, communion and church second thing was a little different.  After the priest pronounces the bride and groom husband and wife, you want to go celebrate! 

After the ceremony we headed out to Baywood Greens Golf Course for the reception.  The grounds of the club were lovely, and the view from the reception room overlooking the course was very pretty. 

We got a little chuckle out of the fact that she put us at the table in the back corner, with the other 'rowdier' college friends.  It was just 5 of us at the table, but it was great fun to see the other 3 boys who I haven't seen in years.  We had lots of fun catching up, and talking about the other weddings guests ;)

 They had a cocktail time with a cheese, veggie and fruit display, plus some delicious passed items such as mini hamburgers and grilled cheese with a little sip of tomato soup, while everyone waited for the wedding party to arrive.  Then when they did, they did their first dance to True Companion, one of my favorite songs.  The toasts by the Father of the Bride, Matron of Honor and Groomsman followed.  They were all very sweet and had great personal stories.  Dinner was wonderful - everyone at our table raved about the food!
A top contender for the best wedding cake I've ever had!
It was a beautiful evening celebrating 2 close friends of ours!  Congratulations Jen and Pat!

Sunday morning we had another Dogfish stop to make...the original brewpub right down on the beach in Rehoboth.  It was similar yet different to the ones that we have around our area.  We had this thing called Dogpile.  Oh yes.  It was these amazing baked pita chips covered in spinach and artichoke dip and cheese with chopped tomatoes and green onions on top.  De. Licious.  So filling.  We were both so full from that (and the sandwiches we unknowlingly ordered and attempted to eat) that we didn't need dinner!  We tried to walk some of the food and calories off on the Boardwalk, but we needed to walk home to make any dent.  The houses around town are beautiful - very different from the beach houses that we're used to in the Outer Banks.  They were just lovely, one after another!  After walking a few blocks, we decided it was time to hit the road and get back home before it got too late.  2 down, 2 to go!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let them grow!

This past Friday, our office spent the afternoon volunteering with Spring for Alexandria.  This was our second year participating - last year we cleaned, painted, and did yard work for a girls home in Alexandria. This year we got to go to the local animal shelter!  What a beautiful facility.  I was extremely impressed by the size of the building and the number of animals they had there.  We painted a couple of the rooms and weeded the entire play area.  The dogs were so cute - several lab and beagle mixes.  I would say the cats and rabbits were cute too...but I generally don't go for them so it's hard to judge.  I was really quite proud of myself for not wanting to adopt one all of the pups.

After lunch down at the Square on King Street with the other volunteers and a few errands, I made it back home.  It was time to do some work on projects of my own.  The previous Sunday, husband and I went to Home Depot and Merrifield's, our local nursery.  We stocked up on some containers, potting soil, and herbs.  We got all of our plants at Merrifields because the ones at Home Depot just looked pathetic.  Half of their plants were dead - I don't understand how that's supposed to make me want to buy plants there...anyway...

This is the 3rd year that we are planting herbs.  I love it - it's so nice to have them growing on your back deck!  We don't really have a yard, just a small one in the front, so we have to do everything on containers on the deck.  We branched out a little this year with some new additions.  I have parsley, both a new plant and one I'm hopeful about from last year, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and cilantro.

Also this year we added dill, chives, and cherry tomatoes.  I'm very excited to have them all planted.  I have the 2 tomato plants in one container, mint on it's own, the parsley together, and the cilantro in a pot inside. 

 I've already used them on 2 separate occasions - the cilantro for tacos the night we got it and the basil and oregano for roasted veggies tonight.  While the upfront cost can be a little high, over the summer we'll save significantly being able to just walk outside and pick what we need rather than spending a couple of dollars on a bunch at the store and not using it all.  And I find that I'll use fresh herbs all summer, on all kinds of things, and try different combinations that I wouldn't if I had to plan and buy them when I am doing my grocery shopping.  

Now for my next trick - figure out how to keep them alive during the winter.  I tried putting them in the garage but that failed miserably....

Do you grow anything during the summer?  If so, what?  

And are you able to keep them alive (or bring them back after) the winter?  What's your secret?  

Busy spring weekend

This spring has been even busier that most with so many special events!  Weddings, showers, baptisms, races...so many fun things going on.  Last weekend was especially packed.  First, it was National Committee weekend at work - and I was hosting a committee for the first time.  My team at work put together a 'Corporate Relations Task Force' this year.  We've had our Corporate Advantage Partnership Program going now since 2007, started an affiliate program about 1.5 years ago, and moved back to our own show after parterning with the Golf Industry Show for the last 4 years.  We wanted to put together a group of members from across the country to get their feedback on everything.  The meeting went extremely well - we had about 12 members come to DC for the meeting, and we really learned a lot about what we've done well and put together some good action items for us to improve on.

After a Friday night dinner and early Saturday morning meetings, I rushed home to pick up the husband.  That afternoon was his cousin Cheri's wedding down in Madison, VA, about 2 hours away.  It was a small wedding reception at the American Legion lodge.  The ceremony was private, so we didn't attend that - it was just immediate family up on a mountain.  The reception was nice - small and intimate.  It was nice to see the cousins Cheri and Kelly, Kelly's husband Matt and baby Sarah, as we haven't seen them since Kelly and Matt's wedding a couple of years ago.  And we got to meet Sarah!

Congratulations Cheri and Kris!

After the wedding, we drove back to Arlington as I was changing clothes in the car.  A good friend of mine, Jenna, was celebrating her upcoming wedding with her shower and bachelorette party that day!  While I had to miss the shower, I wasn't going to miss all of the fun!  I met the girls out at Restaurant 3 in Arlington.  We went to Eleventh Street and Ri Ra to round out the crazy evening.  The band TAG was at Ri Ra and they were so fun, playing lots of great music that we danced to!

Now, to some, that might seem like a busy enough weekend.  But not to us!  We slept fast and hopped  crawled out of bed on Sunday morning for another friends' special event - the baptism of their baby boy!  With coffee in hand, we drove out to Leesburg for the special service.  The church is beautiful, and is where the couple was married in 2007.

Chase with his ladies

Proud parents with the guest of honor

Cutie Chase with his adorable cousin Lucy

Husband and I managed to run some errands Sunday afternoon...and then we crashed.  It was a great weekend, celebrating so many wonderful occasions with our friends.  It's going to be a busy month - lots more weddings and events to attend!  We are so blessed to have such great friends who want us to share in their special days with them!