Monday, June 25, 2012

New video channel

I set up a new YouTube account for the random daily video snippets I'm shooting with my awesome new iPod. You can check it out here:

Kids of the Sue

Happy birthday to me!

Well, I'm now officially a thirty-something. Thirty-one: so far, so fun! Or something. ;)

Tom got me a brand new iPod touch, which is super awesome. It has the front & rear cameras, so I can even more easily take & post photos & videos on the go. Sweet! He also made me a super tasty cake. Yay cake!

In the afternoon yesterday, I got to have one last trail ride with N before Petey left to go back to his owner's. Both horses had been in their stalls since Tuesday (both had thrown shoes, and the farrier wasn't available until Sunday afternoon), so they were rarin' to go when we took them out. It was not, perhaps, the most relaxing ride ever, but it was nonetheless a good one.

I picked up a movie on the way home (free rental from Redbox, whee!). We watched Tower Heist, which was better than either of us anticipated. Always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a movie.

All told, twas a fine day. Here's to another year. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Busy Week

It was *hot* this week. We made two trips to the pool and one to the spray park. This afternoon we were at the pool for more than two hours. It's such a simpler endeavor than last year. No swim diapers to deal with (huzzah!) and both kids are big enough for floaty vests, so I don't have to be within arm's reach at all times (which is more work than you'd think in 2 feet of water). It's lovely. Not having babies anymore definitely has its perks.

Yesterday I thought we'd try to get to the spray park right when it opened. It seemed like the best option for avoiding having to stand in line. Unfortunately, I was dead wrong, and we ended up having to wait a good 15 or 20 minutes to get in, which really wasn't all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but if we'd just waited until about an hour after opening, there would have been no line at all. Lesson learned! The kiddos had a good time though. That spray park really is an excellent resource.

After the spray park I took the little weasels to get smoothies for lunch (it really was a scorcher of a day), and then later in the afternoon we had a library program to attend. The program was called "Creature Teacher," and there was a presentation with live animals. There was a chinchilla, a milk snake, a tarantula, a Patagonian cavy, a chameleon, and a hedgehog. The program lasted a bit over an hour, with rather a bit more talking than was really ideal for the younger kids in the crowd. Some very interesting information about the animals, but it would have been better suited to maybe ages 7 and up. Ah well. At the very end though, the lady got the chinchilla & hedgehog back out, and the kids got to pet them. Both Soren and Eleri were super stoked and wanted to stay and stay and stay. So in the end, at least, I think they probably felt more positive than negative about the whole endeavor.

This afternoon it was back to the pool, where we hung out for over 2 hours. There were some complaints about getting out of the pool to go home & make dinner, but not 2 minutes after I coaxed them over to the towels, there was a roll of thunder and the pool had to be shut down anyway, so it was just as well. And then not entirely my fault that we had to leave. ;)

Sadly, assurances that "we'll be back to the pool many MANY more times this summer" are not particularly persuasive to 2 and 4 year-olds who just want to play more NOW, but hopefully with sufficient repetition it'll get easier to leave the pool eventually. Maybe. I can hope.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flying high

I got to have a jumping lesson this evening on Petey, the fancy Trakehner N has been leasing. He's a very talented horse who seems to really enjoy jumping, even though he hasn't done a ton of it yet. He's the first horse I've ridden in a looong time (and one of a handful of horses *ever*) where it feels like he barely has to try when we're clearing 3' fences. On his back I'm flying; it's a feeling I've missed quite a lot.

Petey was a tremendously good sport this evening because it was HOT out. And muggy. And also because I'm sorely out of practice and made all kinds of stupid mistakes that he had to deal with. But deal with them he did, and gamely. By the end of our lesson we were both dripping sweat, but happy. I wish he and I were going to have more time together; alas, he's going back to his owner's after this week.

Tonight's was my second, and most likely final, jumping lesson on this talented horse. Here are a couple of short video clips from my first jumping lesson (taken a few weeks ago).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Here's the Media-media-media-media-media

It's been a while since I posted about some of the things we're watching and listening to around here. Some of the songs the kids are fixated on right now:
And this one.

Seriously. Eleri must have watched the above video about 25 times on the day I introduced her to it.

Pomplamoose put out a new song and music video that Tom & I have been enjoying. It's a bit of a departure from their previous style, both musically and visually, and it's tremendously entertaining.

Also, anyone who's been in my general vicinity within the past six or eight weeks has heard me raving about Sherlock. It's a BBC series based on the Sherlock Holmes stories but set in the present day, and it's excellent. Funny and smart and visually interesting, and they occasionally do just lift sections of dialogue right out of the original stories. Seriously. Watch it.

We've also been enjoying some books by Jasper Fforde. Tom & I both read The Eyre Affair (the first book in the Thursday Next series) and listened to Shades of Grey (not Fifty Shades of Grey) on CD, and Tom's started reading the second "Thursday Next" book.

That's all I can think of for now.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers' Day

Can it really be mid-June already? It's been unexpectedly mild this past week, which I have definitely appreciated, after the previous week's foray into the 90s. I have a feeling we'll be thrust back into the full vigor of summer weather again soon enough.

I've got a lot to update, per usual, but I'm going to split it into a few posts, in reverse chronological order. So I'll start with today.

Happy Fathers' Day, to all the dads, not least my own! We had a pretty nice day here, generally taking it easy in the morning and early afternoon, and then going to a BBQ with some friends later in the day. There are a couple of moms (Carlota & Christine), whom Eleri and I met in the lass's rec center class, and with whom the kids and I hang out a fair bit. So we were meeting up with them and their families to visit and eat some tasty food, potluck-style. Socializing with people he barely knows is not particularly high on Tom's list of favorite pastimes, but he's ever the good sport, and everyone ultimately had a good time, I think. The kiddos all get along great, which makes it easy and fun to spend time together.

And not to toot my own horn (much), but I made some damned tasty cornbread to bring along. I also made pasta salad, which is reliably delicious, but the corn bread was especially spectacular. When I was making it, Tom reminded me that we had some baconated duck fat in the fridge, and I included that in lieu of some of the butter called for in the recipe. Oh my. It was fabulous. I also put corn kernels and shredded cheddar cheese in it, and next time I think I'll try adding diced green chiles as well. Good stuff.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Eatening

My cousin Shannon was here on a visit from NYC Memorial weekend. Since she lives where she does (for another few days, anyway), it feels like the pressure's really on to seek out impressive meals when she's here. And this trip, I think we made out like bandits.

Saturday lunch: Yamazato
Yamazato is a top notch sushi restaurant right in Alexandria. It's easily one of my favorite restaurants, and it did not disappoint. We split two rolls and a sashimi platter, which came with big fat slabs of salmon and white toro, melt-in-your-mouth tuna and yellowtail, and a few more pieces I don't quite recall. Shannon liked that her green tea came with grains of toasted rice in the tea strainer. It was a marvelous meal to start off our "eatinerary."

Saturday dinner: Ray's to the Third
Max and Agnes were able to join us for dinner at one of the steak houses owned by the guy who owns Ray's Hellburger. My steak came served with wild mushrooms and a sauce made with truffle oil. Tom and Max got the steak with roasted bone marrow. Shannon's peppercorn-crusted filet mignon came with bleu cheese and béarnaise. Agnes got a bacon-topped burger. The only thing that was a little disappointing was the mac & cheese we got for the kids. But I would eat there again quite happily.

Sunday lunch: Maine Ave Fish Market
Sunday we metro-ed into DC to check out (among other things) the oldest surviving fish market in the country. It was pretty huge, and we walked around a bit looking at everything on offer before settling down with some tasty crab cakes and fried shrimp for lunch. There's nowhere to sit down, but one of the food vendors has some counters where you can stand and eat, so we did that. A looooong walk around the city followed, before we ended up not far from Dupont Circle for dinner.

Sunday dinner: The Pig
If you come to DC and can eat only one place, eat here. We had an amazing dinner - greens & bacon, and beets & greens for starters, then braised cheek, charred belly, crispy shank, and rabbit roulade for our shared entrees, and then a sundae bloody sundae and caprese cone for dessert. Blood chocolate ice cream sundae with a chunk of spicy bacon peanut brittle (drool), and then a rolled waffle cone stuffed with goat cheese mousse, served with tomato sorbet & a basil gelee. Oh. My. Word. It sounds funky but trust me. Ah-MAZ-ing food. I can't wait til my Mom comes to visit later this month, so we have an excuse to go again. ;)

Monday lunch: La Tasca
The Tapas were pretty good, but with the exception of the duck confit, all the meat was overcooked. After the perfectly cooked steaks at Rays and pork at The Pig, this was rather a bit more noticeable. But the fried eggplant was good, and it's hard to go wrong with churros & chocolate sauce for dessert.