Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I should never go to the library when I'm hungry

I come home with way too many books, more than I'll be able to read before April 10. They range from utter tripe to a couple books on home decorating (more on that in a minute) and my attempts to start reading fiction again.
It's going to take all my self-control to sit at the table and eat the spaghetti and meatballs that the Fool is making without being antisocial and cracking open something to read.
DC was wonderful. It was a perfect weekend for getting away from all my problems here at home of late. While the mental break was great, I also like the physicality of removing myself from the site of all my troubles.
So: What did I do? I went to hear Uncle Earl and the Biscuit Burners at the Birchmere, and they were terrific. Maura, the friend I went to visit, brought me a birthday cake, which she sliced up at the table we were sharing with the Crazies Lanea and various other friends. C.L. and I did not get our geek on about knitting, as we were with many muggles ... but just wait until Maryland Sheep and Wool. We'll be unstoppable.
Maura and I spent St. Pat's itself hiding from the crowds, cooking fresh fancy ravioli we bought at the Eastern Market (we couldn't decide, so we got some filled with squash with goat cheese, some filled with porcini mushrooms and some filled with spinach, maybe? And steamed asparagus on the side.)
Then she worked on a new quilt project we had gone shopping for, and I knitted a sock.

We went to the National Museum of the American Indian, but stopped first to look at art.

I love this museum. First off, I learned a lot of things I didn't know, which endeared it to me right away. Secondly, for the various exhibits about each of the tribes represented, the museum asked members of the tribal community to decide what should go in the exhibit. They had pictures up of all these "community curators" with little biographies, and I had the best time reading them - one tribe picked spiritual leaders, another picked people who were also involved in local politics, some picked elders, some picked younger people - totally fascinating. The museum is beautiful, too, and it has the most fascinating cafeteria, if you're into eating interesting things, which we are. Each serving area had examples of indigenous foods from different regions of the Americas.
(Because you're going to ask, we split: one chicken tamale with peanut sauce, two roasted pork tacos with guacamole and green salsa, a serving of wild rice salad with dried fruit and a helping of roasted summer squash. They were out of the fiddlehead fern salad and the banana empanadas with vanilla sauce - dammit.)
Here's a couple interesting photos of things from the museum.

Then we had dinner with the Crazies Lanea and Maura's roommate, at Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant down the street from Maura and Kim's place. Maura and I love Ethiopian food with a mad, unnatural passion. We like the ritual of sharing food from a communal plate, we like the delicious things Ethiopian cooks do to vegetables ... and we really, really adore spicy red lentils.
We did some shopping too - I got some presents at the International Spy Museum, and we went to Georgetown to visit Dean and Deluca (the Fool got a bottle of his favorite expensive olive oil and I got my friend Carrie some fancy Russian tea.) And we went to the Body Shop and got some girly shower stuff.

On Monday, we went to the National Zoo, ostensibly to see the pandas .....

But really, to see the Asian otters, who travel in a herd and stand up on their hind feet to scare birds out of their enclosure. Don't they look fierce?

And now, I am home and back to planning for The Big Move. The Fool and I are going to move into my father's old house, which you will be hearing more about. I'm dealing with a lot of conflicting feelings about moving into the house I essentially grew up in, and we are both freaking out a lot about moving and painting and getting rid of a lot of Dad's crap - and I do mean crap.
I think I'll make it a blog contest. I'll post photos of stuff from his garage, and whomever guesses what it is -- I'll give it to you.
Heh. Don't all comment at once.


Lanea said...

I love the cafeteria at NMAI! Oh man, I wish I could go to lunch there more often. For a small city, it's really hard to get around for lunch in DC.
Otters. Squeeeee. I have an otter thing.
Goodness--good luck on the move. Moving sucks, no matter what, and moving plus extra stress and history and grief--olympic. Good luck. I guess I can't really help from here.

Lanea said...

And, strange aside, my word verification was ckofubrg, which looks so, so much like one of those leet haxor abbreviations of an insult. I wish I knew what it stood for.

Anonymous said...

know what you are going thru (partially).

spouse & his brother are cleaning out 50 years of dad junk from his parents house. MIL is putting the house up for sale so she can move into assisted living quarters. spouse and brother have their own houses.

not an easy task, fer sure.


anne marie in philly

LaurieM said...

Sounds like a fun weekend.

You should have brought the Fool a book from the library too. Then you both could have been reading companionably while eating. Next time.

janice said...

We'll get you moved into that house, NOT TO WORRY. It's going to be beautiful and cool and spacious and painted, eventually. In large, friendly letters: "Don't Panic."


noricum said...

I dread having to clean out my dad's house one day. I think my brother and I will rent a dumpster and just toss everything from one of the second-storey windows.

JustApril said...

cool - and YES those otters look a bit wolverine-ish RUN AWAY!

Thanks for telling us, foreigners about the museum, sounds awesome.

maura said...

You forgot about tutoring me to drive a stick shift. Much accomplished on the driving front!

Thanks for sharing such a marvelous weekend with me!

=Tamar said...

You have my complete sympathy. I'm facing 30 years and more of stuff to reduce. Don't be too hasty. It may be worth renting a storage locker - for a limited time only! - while you clean and paint and decide what to keep. Use eBay; you'd be amazed at what people will buy. Get tax deduction receipts for charitable donations. Redecorating is essential to make the house your own.

Katie T. said...

I, too, dread the day my brother and I have to clean out my dad's apartment. We will probably just follow noricum's lead and park a dumpster under a window and start chucking.

That, or just nuke the site from orbit. Although that would cut down on any eBay/yard sale profits...

Let me know if you two need any help or moral support with the move. I'm horrible at getting my own apartment clean & organized, but I'm pretty good at managing other people's stuff. Just don't expect me to go anywhere this Saturday - Lunasa & Dervish at the OTS! WOOT! :D

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I've been to Meskerem! (Hi from previous lurker in Lansing, Michigan... my hubby is in Scarlet Runner Stringband so I bet we have friends in common.)

My best friend Altu runs an Ethiopian Restaurant in East Lansing, if you ever get here you must visit (she's closed Sun/Mon).

Two years ago she took me home to Ethiopia for 3 weeks and a week in Kenya... had Ethiopian food in both countries, and honestly the food in East Lansing is the best I've had yet.

Do write if you ever get up this way... we can do some jamming and knitting and eat some lentils.