All request weekend

Friday Jill had requested I get a haircut, so I did. Came home and made some tasty fish and chips for dinner, then caught up on most TV.

Saturday Dad had requested we visit, so we obliged, ’cause we just hate hanging out by the bay. Illa was in a state of high anxiety thinking he’d be left behind like the last time we went out of town, and was very happy to be included. He wasn’t as happy that we forgot his lead, and when we got to Dad’s the chain he had didn’t give him nearly as long a reach along the piers. Dad had made a shrimp salad and fruit salad for lunch, and we enjoyed that on the deck.

We went out in the afternoon to see Dad’s other piece of property, which has a couple barns he stores cars in. Illa was thrilled that there were goats nearby he wanted to meet, but after they went away he was still pretty crazy. We soon found out the reason for that was in half of the one of the barns Dad’s tenant was housing a cat rescue operation, and Illa wanted very badly to see for himself (we didn’t let him).

Dad, Jill & Illa at Dad's barn

For dinner we went out to the Fabulous Brew Cafe in Friendship. From the outside I would have guessed it was just a coffee shop, but it was a full service restaurant. I was in the mood for seafood and had the seafood platter, which was ok (liked the scallops and fish, shrimp and crab cakes weren’t great), but Jill really liked her chicken imperial topped with crab imperial and Dad enjoyed his Reuben, so I’d try it again. Plus it was nice to have a glass of Beamish with the meal.

We read some when we got back, then Dad broke out some family pictures he wanted to give to me, including some real old ones. I’ve done some work on our family tree, but I’m not sure if there’s any software that will incorporate pictures the way I’m thinking of.

Dad made apple nut pancakes and turkey bacon for breakfast the next morning, which we ate outside and relaxed a little more before driving back. Jill went out while I watched the game (another tough win), then it was auction time for me again. I grilled Thai lemon chicken for dinner, then we watched some Simpsons and Gavin and Stacey before Jill headed to bed.

Weekend in Maryland

Friday was a quick night, I made taco salad and we watched some TV. The two shows both of us are watching right now are Dead Like Me and Gavin & Stacey, both excellent (one from Showtime, one from BBC).

Saturday I had a busy morning on the computer, started some auctions and worked on a DVD. We left around 5 for Annapolis, and got there with time to spare before our reservation at O’Learys Seafood Restaurant in Eastport. I wanted to try something outside of the docks area, and we hadn’t been to Eastport. The restaurant is very nice, and we were seated promptly. I had the lobster bisque and Jill had seared scallops to start. The bisque was excellent, rich with some lobster chunks. For main courses, Jill had the fried grouper (nice light breading) and I had the crab cakes. Unfortunately, while the food was very good, it also wasn’t quite as good as our meal last week at Hooked, and it was more expensive.

We headed over to the Rams Head and got seated. We had dessert there, an ok peanut butter pie, but the best part was the show. I’d seen Paula Cole once before as part of the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, but she hadn’t left a big impression – Jill’s a big fan though. She was great from 10 feet away, really had good stage presence, and I’d been cramming with her newer songs and enjoyed the show.

Paula Cole at Rams Head

We had a fun ride back as I’d downloaded the Torchwood radio episode set at CERN, ended just in time. The DVR wasn’t working when we got back from the show, but I ignored it. I regretted that early Sunday morning as there was a scratching at the door. I followed Illa down to the source, which turned out to be the FiOS box. Nothing seemed to help, so I called tech support. Unplugging it seemed to work for a little while, then it stopped working. Eventually I figured out that even though the main box seemed to have power, it was only using the battery, and the battery was drained. So I took it apart, and the power wires came right off. I plugged them back in, reassembled everything, and we were good to go.

Illa was freaked out all morning (he’s pretty neurotic for a Malamute), but calmed down in the afternoon after a couple walks. We left him to go over to the Takoma Park Folk Festival. Jill wanted to see a little more of Takoma Park, and I wanted to check out at least one band there, We’re About 9 (since we missed them at FRFF). We got there with plenty of time, and checked out the crafts before grabbing a seat. They were good, playing classics like “Brooklyn” and “Weight Of The Ocean”, as well as a great new one “Write It All Down”. We headed back afterwards and Jill made fruit salad, then I did Thai Basil Chicken again.

Delayed anniversary

Thursday was our actual anniversary, but not good to celebrate on a schoolnight. Besides, both Jill and I injured ourselves playing with Illa (both reinjuries of feet, I still have a limp from bending toes back). With Friday came the remnants of Hurricane Hanna, so it was fine to hang out at home and make carnitas for dinner. Jill was tuckered out and headed to bed, I read newspapers. Saturday I’d planned a big day out in DC including a fancy restaurant visit, but the unceasing rain dampened those plans. Instead we hung out in front of the TV most of the day, watching TV shows and movies and reading while concerts played. I made pulled chicken BBQ from scratch since I had the time, and we had a nice big dinner.

Sunday we didn’t do too much – I made a DVD and some more auctions. I had made reservations at Hooked, a seafood restaurant very close to us. I was trying to minimize my walking, but it had great reviews. We got there right on time, and were immediately escorted to a table with a reserved sign on it. I knew they had gotten raves for their crab cakes and sushi, so I knew what I wanted. Jill decided she wanted mussels, so we placed an order, and were quickly rewarded with food. Jill started with a mixed green salad while I had a seaweed salad, then we split the mini crab cakes. I’m from the DC area (lived in Virginia all my life) and I’ve had crab cakes everywhere, but these are hands down some of the best, succulent and with just a light breading, served with an exquisite remoulade.

Jill had her mussels Mediterranean style and enjoyed them. She also had sushi, an eel and avocado roll. I had two rolls, a New York Roll (salmon, cucumber, apples and mustard) and a Spicy Yellowtail Roll (hamachi, cucumber and spicy mayo), which went well with an Orion beer. For dessert we took advantage of the special, three for the price of two. I’m not a big tapioca pudding fan, so the choice of the other three desserts was an easy choice. They were also small, about three bites per person, perfect for us. Black Chocolate Truffle Cake was a flour-less cake, very good. NY Style Cheesecake was my favorite, but the Hot Apple Wrap (a hot, crispy spring roll filled with a compote of apples with raisins) was nearly its equal. Not only did we get out of there for a reasonable price (under $100 with drinks and tip), but they didn’t need to roll us to the car like some places that over feed us do.

Harry and Angie

Friday was our night out. I headed down to Clarendon after work and browsed CDs ’til Jill came around. She got out early, and luckily Harry’s Tap Room was able to get us in early. It was Restaurant Week and we took full advantage. I started with a roasted pepper & crab soup that was served way too hot, but was delicious when it cooled, while Jill had a crab hash. We both had beef for the meal, grilled twin fillets with a Béarnaise sauce for me and a New York strip for her (and she loved the roasted garlic on it). We both had dessert (came with the fixed price meal), a ginormous cheesecake for me (seriously huge, I barely ate half) and a rustic peach-almond tart for her (she couldn’t finish hers either).

After dinner, we browsed a nearby bookstore, then headed over to Iota to see Angie Aparo (and saw him before we got there, as he was unloading his gear from a car nearby). He was great as usual, surprised us by doing an intermission. I never get tired of his older songs (especially Hush), but new songs like “Goodbye Serenade” and “Wreckage” were good to hear. As usual it was a pretty late show, didn’t get home until well after 1.

Angie Aparo

Saturday and Sunday were fairly busy. I did a lot of computer stuff, auctions and DVDs, and installed a FireWire card (the first hardware I’ve ever added, and boy was the case dusty). I did some cleaning, some cooking (meatball subs, crab cakes and burgers) and a lot of reading (lots to catch up on).

Jukebox The Ghost

Last night I headed into the city and met up with Jill at the Cleveland Park Metro. We drove over to 2Amys, ordered some pizzas, then drove up to Fort Reno Park. The legendary concert series there has been going on for years, but I’d never been before. But the arsenic scare and temporary closure in the spring reminded me that I hadn’t, and that I should take advantage while I could.

Jukebox The Ghost is a piano based trio born in DC. I’ve got a weakness for good piano pop/rock (Keane, Ben Folds, Coldplay), and they deliver the goods (check out Hold It In: YouTube or mp3). I’ve been keeping up with the local music scene more by reading more blogs and I liked them enough to pick up the CD, but I hadn’t seen them live and seeing them on the Fort Reno schedule cemented my decision to go, even though it was a Monday.

But it was a gorgeous Monday, 80s with a cool breeze (unusual weather for DC in August – Jill was a bit cold by the end). We picked a spot, laid down our blanket, and tore into our pizzas. 2Amys has been lauded extensively for their pizzas, and they were pretty good. I had the Margherita (which was certified authentic Italian) and Jill had the Puttanesca (I didn’t like that as much, but I’m not a fan of broccoli or anchovies on pizza). Now there’s only a couple more pizza places left to try in the area that are often mentioned as the best. The band put on an excellent show, and the several hundred people there enjoyed themselves. We skipped These United States as I’d seen them before and thought they were ok, but it was getting late so we headed home.

Jukebox The Ghost at Fort Reno

March 19th: Dublin

I checked out of my hostel and hopped the tube for Heathrow. I left one of my bags there, and went to wait for my flight, and found the most enthusiastic passengers ever. One gentleman pulled out a guitar and started singing, and many others joined in. The flight itself was short and uneventful. When I arrived in Dublin, I got my bag and took the 41 bus into town, then walked to the hostel. Later, I went to Connolly Station to buy train tickets for the next day, then to the National Library to try and trace my Irish ancestor. He was not listed in the records, and the lady there advised me to try the Office of the Registrar General for marriage records or failing that, Belfast. There was nothing in the marriage records, and I decided to hold off on searching further.

I wandered over to Trinity College and saw the Book Of Kells (an illustrated version of the Gospels from the 8th century), then went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I didn’t go inside, as I was getting tired. I headed back to the hostel, stopping at Leo Burdock’s for some fish and chips. Excellent decision, as it was the best I’ve ever had, but they give you a lot. If I’d had anything else to eat besides a bagel on the flight over, it would have been too much.

[Originally published at GoHither.Net]