Monday, January 28, 2008

Rach On!

What a great Church service yesterday - two little girls were baptized (one parent was Christian, the other Jewish - sound familiar?), my choir did an amazing Shaker hymn for the anthem that really fired people up (as much as Presbyterians can get fired up), and Paul, our Director of Music Ministries played on the new Steinway one of my favorite Rachmaninoff pieces "Elegie." Paul, if you're reading this, you have to tell me where I can get the best recording for this. I know this will sound morbid, but I've told Chris if I meet an untimely end, you have to play this at my funeral (after, of course, attending a wake that will raise the dead!)

And last but not least, the minister mentioned in his sermon one of my favorite theologians/philosophers - Dietrich Bonnhoffer, the German Protestant theologian who was implicated in a plot to kill Hitler and hanged. One of his quotes always sticks in my mind:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Anyway.....another week begins....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grandma & Grandaddy Visit!

Yay! Kate's favorite person(s) came to visit this weekend - Grandma & Grandaddy Norris from NC! Mom came by train and the train was delayed for about 45 minutes, so Kate & I hung out at Alexandria's Union Station for a while. When Mom walked off the train and into the door, Kate ran across the room yelling "MAMAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" Mom had a real ego boost and I'm sure the rest of the people inside the train station were glad that Mamama had finally arrived. That night, I wisked Mom away to choir practice where she got a free Rossini and Rachmaninoff concert, than back home for a much needed rest. The next day, Kate showed Mamama her school and introduced her to her teachers. That night, Mamama babysat while Mama and Daddy got to go out on a much-needed date at Carlyle Grand (what can I say - I'd been craving the lobster potstickers all day!). Another surprise came that night - Grandaddy! He brought Mama's XMAS present - a fire pit. Can't wait to roast smores on that this spring! We took Mamama and Grandaddy to "Busboys and Poets" in Shirlington for brunch the next day and were pleasantly surprised - very good food with no pseudo-elitist attitude. Kate cried inconsolably when my parents left, but hopefully they'll come back soon. Better yet, we COULD drop her off in NC when we go on vacation. Nothing beats a big back yard!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Morning of Kul-Cha

Somehow, whenever we want to see an exhibit at the National Gallery, the weather is either 100 or 30 degrees. Despite the cold, Chris, Kate & I made it to the gallery for the last day of the Edward Hopper showing. Kate preferred the cold outdoors to the stuffiness of the gallery (as any two-year old would), and hammed it up with Mama in the picture below.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

39 and Holding

What a great birthday it's been! I woke up this am with my Kate saying "Happy Birthday Mama." She's really gotten into birthdays lately because of a recent party she went to. I had a morning full of spa treatments at Elizabeth Arden, came home, and Kate was waiting for me at the door, saying "Mama, time for cake!" I usually don't eat dessert before lunch, but hey, it's my birthday. During cake time, she said, "Mama, open your present." She was so excited! She & Chris gave me a creme brulee torch and ramekins. The day was topped off with dinner at Oyamel where Chris & I stuffed ourselves silly. Beforehand, we had drinks at Rasika, a new Indian place. I'm not a big fan of Indian food, but I have to say, the place smelled fantastic. I'm thinking this may be the place for Valentine's Day. Well, it's 10pm, and this 39 year-old woman is dead tired and going to bed. Next year...big party....but until then....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kate's First Hospital Visit

The day started off like any other - breakfast, chased Kate around the room to get her ready for school, etc. I noticed during our cardio workout that she had something around her finger - one of those wooden magnetic refrigerator letters. After putting lotion on her finger, the letter still wasn't going anywhere, so I drove her to school thinking that maybe they would have a solution. After about 15 minutes of tugging and pulling, screaming and crying, Kate's finger was twice its size, so Nedra and Patty told me to take her to the hospital. We went to the hospital emergency room, where about 3-4 MDs and RNs tried to get the stupid letter off Kate's finger and they finally ended up cutting it off with some plier-like instrument. Xrays indicated that nothing was broken, so that's cool. Poor Kate - I think she was both scared, sore and relieved that it was over. During the whole thing, I managed to keep it together by singing many verses of "Wheels on the Bus." As we were leaving, I saw my associate pastor, Casey, in the lobby. She told me that Nedra had said we were there and thought we'd like some company. Her being there really convinced me of angels existing in human form on this earth. Thanks so much Casey!

As for Kate, she now won't let me take her hospital bracelet off. At least this will be something scissors can handle...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacation Ideas

OK, Chris & I REALLY need a vacation.  The last real vacation we had was in June 2006 when we went to Seattle and Vancouver.  As much as we'd love to go to England and Scotland, the dollar is just too weak against the pound (sorry Rina!), making it too costly.  Maybe after the elections when the Dems. get back into office and turn this county around (ie. stronger economy, better international reputation), then Europe may be a possibility.  Since that may take a while, here are some other thoughts about vacation spots closer to home.  Keep in mind, we're looking for rest and relaxation.  Our next holiday will be adventurous.  The top places we had in mind are:

1)Turks & Caicos
2)Puerto Rico
3)St. Maarten
4)Big Sur
6)St. Kitts

For a future vacation (say Fall), London or Costa Rica.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears, as long as it involves sand, sun, water, and drinks with umbrellas. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Birthday Girls

I almost forgot - happy birthday to my two favorite nieces, Iris and Daphne.  They turned six today and from the day they were born, have continued to put our hearts crossways in us.  Aunt Beth loves ya'll to pieces!

Ode to Guatemala

It's amazing what music and babies can trigger - today's Church service brought back so many precious memories.  The processional hymn was Beethovan's "Ode to Joy" from his 8th Symphony, which is what I marched down the aisle to at our wedding.  My girlfriend Karen's son David was also christened today.  She adopted him from Guatemala after great difficulty, and he is just adorable.  She is such the proud mamacita!  What a great Sunday it's been so far.....:)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Favorite Restaurants

Chris & I were talking last night about what our favorite restaurants are - luckily we did this after we'd eaten, so there was no need to rush out to relieve our cravings!  So let me see, here goes the preliminary list:

1) Gary Danko - San Francisco
Chris took me to San Fran. as a 36th birthday present.  I was six months pregnant at the time, so I couldn't enjoy the wine or cheese course; but from what Chris says, both, along with the sommelier's suggestions were fantastic.  I think the website is:

2)Le Bec Fin - Philadelphia
I was eight months pregnant when Chris took me here.  He's always wanted to go here, and we really wanted to do it before Kate arrived.  Again, no wine or cheese for me, but the dessert cart made up for it considerably.  I joked with Chris that this was "The Last Supper" because from here on out, we'd be going to places like Fuddruckers until Kate was older.

3)Ten Penh - DC
Love the Asian fusion cuisine.  Definitely a favorite of Chris!

4)Valentino's - Alexandria's West End
Chris stumbled onto this place by accident.  I had ruined a pizza crust, which prompted Chris to go hunting for takeout.  He returned home with the most unbelievable chicken a la vodka pizza.  Turns out this new place is across the street from Total Beverage and has a statue of liberty on top of the building.  Armando, the guy who owns the place is from Queens.  Finally, a proper New York style Italian restaurant, complete with a cheesy New York skyline inside and Tony Bennett piping through the speakers.  

5)  Carlyle Grand - ribs, lobster potstickers, crabcakes, etc.  You cannot get a bad meal here.

6)  Eamon's - yes, we liked this better than Cathal Armstrong's other one, Restaurant Eve.  Reason being - one of Chris & my favorite memories from our honeymoon in Ireland was eating fish & chips out of a newspaper while sitting on a street corner in Dublin with my girlfriend Kieran and her family.  I haven't been able to find anything similar until Eamon's opened in Old Town.  Sandra, if you're reading this, you'd love it - they have excellent Mary Rose sauce.

7)  Rosa Mexicano - guacamole made tableside, crabmeat enchilladas, and potent pomegranite margaritas.  My birthday's is on the 19th, and you'll find Chris & me inhaling everything listed above.

This list is constantly changing, so if anyone has any suggestions, please leave us a recommendation on this blog!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

I think I mentioned in an New Year's email that one of my resolutions was to be a more faithful blogger - well here's my first entry of 2008.  This year has started off like the horses at the Kentucky Derby - fast & furious without the nervous jockeys.  Kate is back in school and seems to enjoy going - quite a change from when she started in October.  Back then, she clung to my legs, begging to be taken home.  Now, she just gives me a "high-five" and goes inside her classroom.  Chris has been racking up his air miles with trips to Miami, New York & Chicago for work, but still manages to be an amazing father to Kate.  

Christmas was awesome - we're definitely setting some new traditions around here.  For the first time, we actually stayed in Alexandria.  Kate got to spend XMAS at home and was mesmerized by the tree, lights, and presents.  Seeing her come down the stairs and the surprised look on her face was priceless.  I've noticed that when Kate was a baby, it was so easy to photograph her - she didn't move around so much, etc.  Now, it's almost impossible to get a good shot.  I was thinking that maybe I didn't have a good camera, so I asked Chris to get me one for XMAS.  I was thinking that a better digital camera would get better pictures of Kate.  I found that it makes no difference with a 2 year old.  You just have to take about 100 shots and maybe a couple of them will be worth posting!

As for Chris, I'm so happy to have found someone who gets excited about food (ok - sweets and seafood!) and music as much as I do.  Our cooking class is coming up soon, and I'm so excited.  The last class we took together was "Tastes of Spain" and was delicious, except that I couldn't drink the sangria because I was pregnant.  We're still talking about our Pre-Kate trips to Gary Danko in San Fran. and Le Bec Fin in Philly as if they happened yesterday.  Ahhhhhh.......we really have to go back!

I have managed to get some shots of Kate - on her new tricycle and at the park.  Check these out!