Thursday, May 31, 2007

Never A Dull Moment

Having a child who is involved with event planning as a profession means never having an unscripted moment when she returns home. So it was over the Memorial Day holiday. Daughter#1 flew in from the wilds of CT on Thursday evening after arranging to catch an earlier flight than she had originally booked. She was scheduled to get in at 11:00PM so we were grateful she caught the earlier flight. Besides the usual reason to return home (party with the parents), Daughter#1 was also in town to see a dermatologist she likes and has used before concerning a suspicious mole on her forehead. Years of ignoring sunblock and bad genes are catching up with her. She had hoped to have it removed on Friday, but the Doctor would only biopsy it. Daughter#1 will be back in August to have it removed. I had to work on Friday while she was busy with her trip downtown to see the Doctor, but I did manage to get over to Sandy Run to row during lunch. Friday was hot! Mid 80s and it felt hotter. I did 8 miles and headed home to the air conditioning and cold beer. Later per our usual Friday night schedule, we went out for pizza.

Saturday, Daughter#2, the Son In Law and the Black Demon arrived to help celebrate Ann's birthday. While Ann and Daughter#1 headed out to get their hair done, Daughter#2 and the SIL and myself went on a bike ride along the Rt 123 bike trial. We started in Lorton and rode north past George Mason University and into Fairfax to have lunch at Noodles & Company. Daughter#2 worked there for several months after she took a hiatus from Va Tech and took some classes at GMU. Again it was a very hot day, upper 80s. After lunch and several glasses of water we headed back to our cars. All in all it was a 22 mile jaunt. When we got back home, Daughter#1 was in the midst of preparing quite the feast. We steamed clams, ate deviled eggs, enjoyed an elaborate fruit salad, grilled hot dogs, turkey burgers and one fake Italian sausage for daughter #2 and drank a lot of Coronas. We ate till we were all ready for bed.

Sunday I got up early which made possible by the fact that I had dragged my tired ass to bed so early. I went rowing again and did another 8 miles to Ryan's Dam and back. It was unusually quiet even the fishermen were few and far between. After the row I got cleaned up and watched the Nationals finish up in St Louis with a victory. Daughter#2 and the SIL had headed home and the rest of us were deciding what to do for dinner. Daughter#1 decided we should head to Tim's Rivershore Restaurant and Crab House. Tim's is an interesting place more for the people then anything else. Its one of the few places to eat, certainly in the NoVA area, that sits right on the Potomac. It draws a strange mixture of yuppies, rednecks and marines from nearby Quantico. There are plenty of tattoos and mullets to go around not to mention the 12 yr old girl walking around with a Hooters tank top. I wish I could say it was an unusual site at Tim's, but no. Tim's has a Jimmy Buffet type atmosphere what with palm trees and a Tiki type bar and the seafood is good and reasonably priced and has a great view so we love to go. However, the parking is ridiculous and if you don't go early the wait could be endless. We headed over and arrived just after 4:00. We had about a 10 minute wait - just long enough to grab a round of drinks. Sadly they were out of steamed clams so we got steamed mussels and crab balls instead as appetisers. Its a bit early in the season for hard shell crabs yet plus we're still in the midst of a shortage meaning they are crazy expensive. Frankly I think its due to over harvesting crabs and we might never see cheap crabs again. However the King Crab legs were cheap so we all opted for them. As we enjoyed our crab legs we enjoyed the people watching and some live entertainment. Because the place is so crowed, they set up a stage for this guy to perform on out in the water. It was a bit crazy but unique like the rest of Tim's. Not 5 minutes after we finished up and paid the bill and got in our car, the mother of all thunder storms ripped through the area. Talk about good timing. I felt really sorry for those people still eating, but I suppose that's part of the risk you accept when you ask for outside seating.

Monday I again headed out early to row. This time Sandy Run was crowded. Entering the parking lot I was worried that all the boats would be out, but luckily that was not the case. As I was bringing my oars down to the dock, another member of the club that I know was just docking. I offered to use the boat he was in, which would save me for lugging one down to the water and save him from lugging it up, washing it down and putting it away. A win-win for both of us. The morning was beautiful and the water was flat as glass. I headed up river toward Ryan's Dam again. Once there, I was still feeling good and the boat was running well so I kept on going. I went a mile and a half past the dam before turning around and heading back. I managed to row the eleven miles in almost the same time I usually row the 8 miles so that was a good indication that the boat was really moving. After returning home and cleaning up, Daughter#1 had arranged an outing for us to see the local National's farm team, the Potomac Nationals. Mondays are Washington Post Dollar Days so you can get tickets and Hot Dogs for just a dollar. Since Daughter#1 was using our money, she decided to pass on the $1.00 grandstand tickets and opted for the field box seats behind home plate. The Potomac Nationals stadium is probably no more than 5 miles from out house so its a quick trip. We entered the stadium, got some hot dogs and beer and settled in to watch the game. The Nationals lost to the Salem Avalanche 4-1, but it was a fun time. We saw a few doubles, a triple and a suicide bunt. It was also very hot which resulted in a few kids full of junk food to puke in the stands. Delightful. One was trying to make it to one of the bathrooms and wasn't successful and ended up puking right behind us. Close enough that I got hit with a drop or two of kid puke on my arm. Yuck. After the game we returned home to enjoy leftovers from the night before and we all crashed early again. A theme the entire weekend.

Tuesday morning, Daughter#1 returned to CT. Now we don't know what to do with ourselves. We have no one to tell us what to do.

Miles Rowed this Weekend: 27
Total Miles Rowed 2007: 77.5
Miles Biked this Weekend: 22
Miles Biked 2007: 82

Monday, May 28, 2007

How I Spent Mother's Day

For those not familiar with the Washington, DC landscape, where The Son and I spent Mother's Day was at RFK Stadium watching the Nationals play. The Son has been traveling for the company he works for quite a bit and his boss rewarded him with two tickets to the game. Not just any tickets either - VIP tickets (which being a Government employee I had to get an ok from our Ethic's Counseler since The Son's company does work for the Government). What might you ask do such tickets get you? First, they come with close in parking as you can see in the bottom picture. Actually we're a lot closer to the stadium than the picture leads you to believe. After entering the stadium, us VIPers are entitled to a free buffet in the Stadium Club which overlooks right field (picture second from bottom). The beer costs but its all you can eat. I concentrated on the sausage sandwiches while The Son stuck with the traditional hot dogs. We both passed on the grilled chicken and broiled fish, but did try the salad bar and fresh baked cookies. Its all about healthy eating you know. Plus they had Old Dominion Ale on tap! The people sitting behind The Son are looking down on the field. Shortly after the picture was taken we manged to snare two of these prized seats. We watched the first inning from there before heading to our seats 9 rows behind home plate. They give you wrist bands to identify you as a VIP and keep the riffraff from spoiling your day. They also have Wait Staff for the VIP sections so we didn't have to bother getting up from our seats to order more beer. The food was still free so I downed a few soft pretzels. The...ummm..atmosphere had us in a good mood so we were more than happy to join in a rousing rendition of "Take me Out To The Ball game" during the 7th inning stretch. It was a beautiful spring day, the Nat's won and we only made two wrong turns trying to get out of the city. Its the last year for RFK. The city is building a new ballpark a few miles away on the Anacostia riverfront. The building's other occupant, DC United, will also move to a new stadium in the near future. The Redskins left years ago for Fed Ex Field, which has never been able to capture the same excitement level as playing in RFK. I'll be a tad sad to see it go, but I'm also looking forward to the new park. The sight lines to the outfield with the Capital in the background is said to be amazing. To those of you that are thinking why weren't we with our Mothers on Mothers Day, rest assured that we tried our best to get Ann to go to the game with The Son, but she passed insisting that a day of peace alone would make her just as happy. So she was happy and so were we. I'm not sure she'll pass next year though with the new ballpark. We shall see. Hope every Mother had a blast on her special day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is Ann's birthday. I won't go into how many years since she probably wouldn't appreciate it. Ann is a native Washingtonian - a very rare breed indeed. The kids are all home this holiday weekend to celebrate. Daughter#1, the event planner, bought out most of Giant in order to have a sumptuous dinner tonight, including some steamed clams.

Daughter#2 and The Son In Law are driving up today and the three of us will be heading out for a bike ride while daughter#1 and Ann head out for some girl things including haircuts and some nail care. The Son is treating Ann for her birthday.

I got a chance for a row yesterday on the first day its been really hot here. When I pushed off the dock at 1:30 it was 85 degrees and when I finished it was 88. The water is still cool enough that out on the water its not as hot. How ever the humidity was up so it resulted in a lot of sweating. I got in 8 miles by rowing up to Ryan's dam and back. After returning the single to the rack, I had a talk with the coach of the George Mason University men's club team and discussed their season. I guess they did fine for a young team, but look very strong for next season if everyone returns.

Time to go uncap a few Coronas in celebration. Everyone have a fun and safe holiday weekend.

Miles Rowed Today: 8
Total Miles Rowed 2007: 58.5
Total Miles Biked 2007: 60

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not Quite Yet

Well despite what the dealer said, the Concorde was, in fact, not ready for pick up. When we got there after work, the service department was already closed, but the dealership itself was still open. When they brought the car out, the exhaust was fixed and it has passed the state inspection, but some trim around the rear passenger window that we asked them to fix wasn't so we had to leave it there. Believe me when I tell you that it is really annoying when you drive 35 minutes each way after a full day's work and the car isn't fixed properly. It was too late to do anything about dinner so we opted to swing by KFC on the way home and pick up a bucket of chicken, watch the Nationals on TV and fall into a fat induced sleep and start over again at 3:30 in the morning. Luckily I didn't have to drive in so I could sleep, but I did have to drive all the way home. Our Waldorf driver decided he was too tired to drive. Tuesday traffic was light, which was a blessing. Come Thursday it will be a mess as people bail early for the holiday weekend. Thank god I don't have to drive to work on Friday. The whole Beltway/I95/I395 will be gridlocked.

I had a follow-up for my eye yesterday evening. The Doctor told me that its still a little swollen and the scratches are still healing, but that it looked much better. I have to say it feels much better. He still recommended eye drops for another 10 days.

Come on 3 day weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The weekend was all about watching baseball, rowing and the manly art of cooking outside on the grill. Since its now late May, we also brought out our patio furniture from the basement and enjoyed sitting on the deck and enjoying a few cold beers.

Saturday was a day for errands including grocery shopping. An hour or so of my life I'll never get back. Plsu watching the Nationals lose in extra innings costing me sleep. Thank goodness they atuned for thier sins by wining on Sunday.

Sunday, Ann bailed on our planned bike ride so I opted to row instead. When I left the house it was overcast and a little chilly, but by the time I reached Sandy Run, the sun was starting to poke through and the temperature became perfect. The water was still and it felt great to be on the water. The boat was really moving so I tried pushing myself a little harder than usual. On reaching Fountainhead, I felt good enough to row past Ryan's Dam for another mile. The Occoquan really starts to narrow there and it tends to be quieter away from the roar of the fishermen. Even though outboard engine size is limited on the Occoquan, they still can throw out wakes big enough to force you to stop and let pass before you begin again lest you capsize. Coming home the wind did start to pick up, but not to the extent that it became a problem. I was sort of surprised to see that hardly any rowers had been or were out (there's a log in the boathouse) given how nice a day it was. Sunday mornings tend to be busy time, at least for us sinner rower types who aren't in church. So it was nice not having to wait on a boat. So I was in and out rowed 10 miles and home under 3 hours, which I consider quite the accomplishment. Despite rowing that many miles and still early in the rowing season (for me anyway), no blisters on my hands and not overly sore. Good day all the way around.

The Chrysler dealer called today and said the Concorde was ready, which surprised the heck out of me. The parts weren't even supposed to be in until tomorrow at the earliest. Plus it cost $700 less then he originally estimated. That was really a shock. Maybe miracles do happen.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Let The Weekend Begin

I love weekends. I get to sleep in (mostly) and not have to commute or do "real" work. Plus I'm working from home on Monday so the weekend will seem even longer.

In Virginia, we have to get our cars inspected every year plus have an emissions test every other year. Now like most suburban families we're a two car family. Actually three if you count The Son's car. This moth it was time to get our old Chrysler Concorde inspected. Its a 1993, but its been garage kept all its life so the interior and the exterior still look pretty good and for the most part runs really well. The exhaust system not so much. Its been issuing a deep rumbling sound for a few years now and were told at one point by our friendly dealer service agent that the catalytic converter was disintegrating from within and it would only take $700 to fix it. But it kept passing the emissions test every other year and it was paid for and we didn't drive it that much anymore, so I just ignored it. Today it failed inspection. Apparently the Concorde has two catalytic converters, both are bad and one apparently exploded and put a hole in one of the exhaust pipes. Total cost to repair is now $2,500. The service agent also told us that it wasn't really a good idea to be driving it as carbon monoxide was surely leaking into the passenger area. No wonder we act so weird. So it will sit at the dealer until parts can arrive from Milwalkee sometime next week. Now the car itself is probably barely worth that, but I figure its easier than buying something new and incurring a new car payment. I'll personally kill it though if something else major goes wrong with it in the next few years. It would be nice not to have a car payment for a while. We just finished paying off our Honda Odyssey so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beer Personality

You Are Heineken

You appreciate a good beer, but you're not a snob about it.
You like your beer mild and easy to drink, so you can concentrate on being drunk.
Overall, you're a friendly drunk who's likely to buy a whole round for your friends... many times.
Sometimes you can be a bit boring when you drink. You may be prone to go on about topics no one cares about.

By An Eyelash

I stopped by my eye doctor after work to see what was going on with my eye. The Doctor confirmed that my right cornea was swollen and scratched. Besides making my eye extremely bloodshot and irritated, it also made me very light sensitive. As it turned out the culprit was one of my own eyelashes. As my Doctor described it, eyelashes are amazingly strong, pointy and sharp for pieces of hair. One of mine had grown such that the tip was rubbing against my cornea scratching and irritating it. This, of course, caused me to rub it all the more adding to the damage and in essence bruising my eye. The Doctor plucked out the offending eyelash and gave me some antibiotic drops to put in my eye. I can already tell a big difference. It will take several days for the eye to heal up and I have a return visit to the Doctor scheduled for next Monday. Thanks to Ann for nagging me to go to the Doctor so I can keep my eye for a while longer.

Monday, May 14, 2007

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

Ever since Friday morning, I've been having problems with my right eye. It feels like someone has poked me in the eye only no one has. My eye is red, sore and is watering like crazy. I have to close my eye often to make it feel better, which is not such a great thing to have to do while driving. I had a dentist appointment on Friday and I have to drive on I95 and the Beltway to get there. My eyes were these little squinting openings and its a wonder I made it there and back in one piece. If feels a little better today, but still feels irritated. I think it may be time for my eye Doctor to have a look at it.

Friday I got up early (5:30) and went for a row. The water was like glass and the boat was really running. I rowed a little further than I had originally planned just because every thing felt so good (Note: I hadn't screwed up my eye yet - that happened between the row and the trip to the Dentist). When I started away from the dock, there was still mist rising off the water and the sun was just coming up. The sun caught the mist turning it a golden color. It makes getting up all worth it.

After the rowing and the Dentist, Ann and I headed off to Dulles to pick up The Son who was returning from a week in California on business. His boss had called him and said to stop by the office on his way home as there was something he needed to pick up. Now The Son's office is not exactly on our way home. Home is south of Dulles. His office is east of Dulles. Going to his office was going to put us smack in the middle of evening rush hour. But he made the trek as whatever The Son's boss called about seemed important. Low and behold, there was an envelope with two VIP tickets to see the Washington Nationals on Mother's Day. These ticket as literally 9 rows behind home plate and come with a variety of perks. I'll write a separate entry on our day at the ballpark once I can download some of the pictures we took.

Saturday Ann and I did our usual 20 mile ride along the W&OD Trail. Ann is starting to do much better on the ride completing the 10 miles out to Leesburg in 49:27, which was a big improvement over the last time we rode with Daughter#2 when it took her 57 minutes to do the same 10 miles. Coming back we did the ride in 47:00. We started out early - left home a little after 7:00 and we on the trail by 8:10 and we were back home by 11:00. We both ended up taking long afternoon naps.

It appears that we will be traveling to Connecticut the last weekend in July to help Daughter#1 move into a new apartment. She currently has a studio apartment with a loft bed in it. One that I almost threw out her window as I was attempting to assemble it. Thanks Ikea. Anyway, she will be moving into a two bedroom apartment with a roommate. Hopefully that will all work out. She'll be disposing(selling?) her loft and she wants us to bring up her box spring and bed frame that is currently stored in our basement laundry room. Said room hold the remains of various college apartments and dorm rooms including various mattresses, box springs, bed frames, a loft a different one than the one currently residing in CT), microwaves, a table, chairs and a few barely functional vacuums. maybe I should start a furniture rental business.

Miles Rowed This Week: 8
Total Miles Rowed 2007: 40.5
Miles Biked This Week: 20
Total Miles Biked 2007: 60

Friday, May 11, 2007

Feel The Karma

Daughter#1 just had an interesting celebrity sighting. I'll let her tell you:

I work in Norwalk, CT currently right now. for those of you who are geographically impaired, that's about 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. I live in Stamford, CT, about 15 min. south of Norwalk.

I had to run home today late in the afternoon to take chicken out of the freezer for dinner so my boyfriend wouldn't beat me (just kidding!), and as I am navigating Stamford's annoying one-way streets to get home, I find that my street (also one-way) has been blocked off on both ends. Now, they are actually filming a movie here in CT as taxes are cheaper here or something like that, and Robert De Niro is going to be in this movie of which they are filming, but I haven't seen him as of yet.

Anyway, I parked around the corner, and walked down my street where a small crowd of people were formed on one side of Bennett's Steakhouse, the restaurant I live next door to. I asked what was going on, and this dude said the Dalai Lama was eating lunch there. And I was like, seriously? And this other woman said apparently he was done and about to leave the restaurant soon. every cop in Stamford was on alert, there were a bunch of guys in black suits with the earpieces; and some guys in Army gear as well. So I was a believer.

So about 5 minutes later some more guys in black suits came out; then some Army gear guys, then 2 monks in red robes, then His Holiness Himself!! He shook hands with some randoms that were sitting at the outdoor tables @ the restaurant, then he waived to the crowds on the street and then he got into a black SUV and was gone.

Crazy!! I am a lucky girl!

How cool is that?

Monday, May 7, 2007

And Then He's Gone

As mentioned in the last post, a lot of the weekend was spent getting The Son turned around in two days to send back out on the road. To California for a week this time. Laundry was done and shirts sent off to the cleaners. We also had to replace all the items he threw out coming home in order to make the luggage weight. We also watched the Nationals lose three straight to the Cubs. In solidarity with our Mexican neighbors, we purchased a case of Corona to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Not that we drank it all in one day. And contrary to what the Son told his Mom, Cinco de Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican Independence. Still a nice excuse to indulge along with a few subs from Jerry's. I love their cold cut sub. I also watched Flyboys on Saturday. I love anything that involves flying and airplanes/jets. A little too much CGI, but then I guess there isn't a lot of WWI airplanes around to make realistic dogfight scenes. Heck, even the star of "Top Gun", the F-14 Tomcat has been retired.

Sunday i took The Son back to Dulles for his flight to California. Unfortunately he got stuck with a 757, which is nothing but a glorified cattle car. What happened to the 767 and 777s United use to operate on these coast to coast flights? He had my sympathy for that five hour flight. Ann and I had planned to go for a bike ride after dropping The Son off, but Sunday turned out to be a little too cool and a lot too windy to make a bike ride fun. My rowing club did hold its second "Learn to Row Day". We had about 30 show up for the instruction, tour and trip out in a shell. The wind made it a bit of a challenge for all, but we didn't lose anyone in the water and the visitors seemed to enjoy it all. Hopefully a good number of them will chose to join us come the beginning of our season later this month.

Its going to be a long week for commuting. Most of our regular drivers are away on travel leaving me the only driver from NoVA. That means I get to drive all 80 miles into work and half of that going home. I so missed my nap driving in this morning. I felt the effects all day. I need to get to bed earlier this week.

I haven't had a chance to post much about Daughter#1 recently. She did do a walk for Kidney Research this weekend in CT, which made us all proud. There's a special reason for this, which I will I'll write about shortly. She also had her first outing of the season with her rowing club in CT. Due to the hours of her new job plus taking her UMASS course, she doesn't have the time to do weekday practices anymore, but hopefully she'll fill-in on weekends and at regattas.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Son Returns

After three weeks on the road, The Son returned on Friday. We picked him up at Dulles around noon. For those of you that travel for business you know how old it gets in a hurry. In packing for his trip, he way overpacked. His suitcase was bulging at the seams. He lucked out flying out and managed to dodge the 50 lb weight limit. He wasn't so lucky coming back. He was 5 lbs over and the airline wanted $50 to cover the overage. Rather than pay it, he dumped out all his toiletries, all his undershirts, a hardcover book he had finished reading, some hangers and a sweater. He's already spent $45 replacing the t-shirts (he needed new ones anyway, but still). He probably should have paid the fee. Today will be spent getting him ready to fly back out tomorrow. California this time. Laundry needs to be done, shirts off to the cleaners and replacement items purchased. It will only be a week this time, but hopefully he's learned the lesson about traveling light. During his trip, his cell phone also quit working. Dropping by the Cingular store yesterday I expected to hear the worse (unrepairable please buy a new phone), but it turned out to be just a bad battery. No charge. Amazing.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wednesday's Break

I love having Weds as my work at home day. It provides a nice mid-week break. I get to sleep a little later. I get to work in jeans and I don't get bothered a lot by people from the office calling me. As I walked the dogs first thing in the morning before feeding them their breakfast (definitely a highlight of their day), I appreciated what a nice spring day it was and would be and decided that I needed to do something outside during my lunch break. I had never tried rowing on Wednesdays because my usual row of 7 to 8 miles with driving to Sandy Run, unlocking the boathouse, getting oars out, getting the shell out, rowing, getting the shell out of the water, washing the shell off, putting the shell back on the rack, putting the oars away, relocking the boathouse and then driving home, usually takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The drive to Sandy Run takes about 20 min each way so the other time is taken up with rowing stuff. Now as accommodating as my workplace is, taking that long for a lunch would probably be frowned upon. However, I was in the mood for a row so I decided to head on over during lunch and cut down on the distance. With almost any row I do on the Occoquan, I'll row 2 miles and stop at Jacob's Rock (so named because at some point someone had hiked the Fairfax County side of the Occoquan, which is all preserved parkland (Thank You Fairfax!) and spray painted "Jacob" on a large rock located at the water's edge and its been a rowing landmark ever since) for a water break. So I decided I'd try a row to Jacob's Rock and back and see how long it took me. I left the house at 11:15 and was back at 12:55 so not too bad. I worked an extra hour on the tail end of my day to give my employers a full work day. So its definitely doable and I'll try to do it again.

Because I work from home on Weds and Ann does not, I also cook dinner on Weds. With The Son on travel we decided to try and eat on the cheap this week before he returns and demands meals from his cherished Rachel Ray cookbook, which says you can make the meals in 30 minutes, but that's mostly a lie. They also tend to be a little pricey only from the standpoint that they usually call for ingredients and spices that we normally don't have in the house and therefore, have to buy. Anyway, so I made beanie weenies with a salad and crusty sourdough bread for dinner. Not all that figure friendly, but with the amount of brown sugar I put in, very tasty.

Treat Day score for today is a B+. Tasty scones, some sort of fresh fruit parfait thing and Apple Cobbler. No bagels or casserole and nothing to nibble on though out the day.

Miles Rowed Today: 4
Total Miles Rowed 2007: 32.5
Total Miles Biked 2007: 40