Sunday, April 19, 2015

W&M

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It's been many years since I've been back to William & Mary for anything more than a quick lunch stop on the way to the beach, but this past weekend we actually had a full blown Psi U reunion.  It was great seeing so many old friends and their families.  We had a lovely lunch with everyone at the Alumni House, a fun walk through Colonial Williamsburg, and Elaine even let me have a night out with the boys at the Green Leafe, our old watering hole.  Best of all, the trip might even have nudged W&M ahead of Northwestern in the list of places our kids say they want to go to school ;-)

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(click here for all the pictures)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

First Pitch



Last year was Owen's first season AA machine pitch Little League for 7-8 year olds, and we were expecting that he would play in AA again this year with some younger kids finally on his team. Well Little League through us a curveball and changed the age cutoff, so even though Owen is still 8, he's playing in AAA kid pitch Little League for 9-12 year olds.  Not only is he playing with some really big kids now, but in just the third game of the season he actually was the starting pitcher! There's a lot less hitting in AAA than there was in AA since the kids are far from machine like in their ability to throw strikes, and Owen was no exception on the mound.  He threw some strikes, but the other team wasn't chasing pitches, so outs were tough to come by, as the batters were all angling for walks. It was a long inning on the mound, but I was proud of him though for sticking it out against the big kids, and we're all looking forward to another fun baseball season!  

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Opening Day 2015

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Despite some computer glitches, Mom Mom managed to secure four tickets to opening day. DCPS and MLB conspired to ensure that students had the day off. The weather gods were generous and delivered perfect baseball weather. So, it was probably too much to expect the Nats to actually win. Oh well, as Allen says, baseball doesn't really count until May...

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, April 06, 2015

Easter 2015

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Easter was pretty low-key this year. The kids woke up early meaning we managed a long breakfast at the bagel place and still made it to church in plenty of time (the kids even had their own row for a while). Mom Mom wasn't expecting us until 2 pm so there was some down time after church. And the Easter bunny scaled things back a bit so the kids weren't as hyped up on sugar as in Easters past (though they went to the dentist on Good Friday just in case...). All is all, it was a lovely day.

(click here for all the pictures)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Maketto

Wonderful preview dinner at Maketto from the JO Wilson auction.

Toki Underground has always been one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, so we were thrilled when our friends Eric & Kathryn won a dinner for ten at their house with Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki fame at the J.O. Wilson Elementary School Auction, and kindly invited us to join them.  It took a while to schedule the dinner, but the wait paid off, because a few days before the dinner, Erik called Eric and suggested that instead of him cooking at Eric & Kathryn's house, we all join him for a sneak peak at his long rumored new restaurant Maketto.

Maketto has been in the works for a long time, and if our dinner there was any indication, the wait was worth it.  The space has undergone an amazing transformation from the old goodwill building to stunningly gorgeous kitchen, courtyard, retail, and coffee/bakery spaces.  But of course, it's the food that will keep us coming back.  We sampled the whole opening night menu, and while everything was delicious, some of my favorites were the super spicy raw kobe beef salad, the steak and hoisin sauce bao, and the whole fish that I was almost too full to eat at the end of the night.  All told, it was a wonderful night with good friends, great food, and all for a worthy cause.

Wonderful preview dinner at Maketto from the JO Wilson auction.

(click here for all the pictures)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Tilting IdeaMills

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Eight months ago, the Department of Labor started the equivalent of an electronic suggestion box, where employees could post suggestions to improve the work-life experience at DOL, employees could vote on the suggestions, and management would implement those deemed sufficiently feasible and popular. I quickly wrote up one regarding time-off bonuses (it was during the summer and my leave-balance was down to fumes) and quickly forgot about it. Until mid-February when I was invited, with several other contributors, to meet with the Secretary to discuss implementation of our ideas.

I don't get to meet with the Secretary very often in a small group (this was my first time ever with this particular Secretary) so I jumped at the chance for an hour of face-time discussing outreach ideas with the Secretary, his entourage and other "idea" people. Afterwards, I assumed my work was done and went on my merry way to Whistler, only to discover upon returning that no good deed goes unpunished.

In order to encourage participation in the Idea Mill, the Secretary decided to take his campaign to the elevators, and since I fit some demographic niche that needed to be filled, the Office of Public Affairs insisted that I be one of five very special elevator posters. I was horrified but ultimately assented; Allen was delighted and decided that my new-found celebrity required a special field-trip to Labor to take some pictures to accompany my signed and suitable for framing mementos of the experience...

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Sledding

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Snowstorms in March are an odd thing. We awoke Thursday morning to find schools and the Federal government closed with n'ere a flake on the ground (only a lot of rain). A few hours later it was a veritable non-winter wonderland. And while Congress proved to be a bit of a Grinch when it comes to snowday activities, to paraphrase William Wallace, "They can take our land but they can never take our sledding" (particularly when the hills of Gallaudet are only a few blocks away).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whistler 2015

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After wonderful trips to Snowmass in 2011 and 2013, we decided to mix things up for our 2015 ski trip out west and go to Whistler in British Columbia, Canada with the Hyatts and the Mettenbergs.

It was a funny weather year for a ski trip in the western half of the continent.  The east had one of the coldest winters in years, temperatures were even in the single digits in DC the week of our trip, but the west experiencing a relative heat wave.  There wasn't much fresh snow at Whistler, but there was plenty of skiing in the high alpine of the two mountains to keep us busy, and we couldn't complain about the sunny skies and pleasant weather at the base.

Nora & Gigi spent the week together in Ski Camp with instructor Glen, who according to the girls was from London and 21 which is 'very, very, very young."  They did a great job advancing from the magic carpet the first few days to skiing down the 'big mountain' by the end of the week. The best part though may have been the 'unexpected surprise' of running into us parents on the slopes and showing the dads the amazing tree fort.

The boys -- Owen, Kaden and Liam --were all in their own groups for lessons.  Kaden kept coming back with reports of various black diamonds he concurred, Liam cruised through level three of ski camp, and Owen was ready for level four by with stories of his own experience on a black diamond by the end of the week.

For the rest of us, the days on the slopes were wonderful, and the evening were filled with friends, food, hot tubs, olympic rings, VR, and a little more than our fair share of Munchkin.

In closing, we all need to remember the words of Edward, Nora & Gigi's ski camp buddy from London, "Glen, why are there so many gondolas in the world?"

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(click here for all the pictures)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Advice for JK Rowling

I've been reading the Harry Potter books to Owen, and just before our trip to Whistler we reached the third task in the Tri-Wizard Cup from book four.  Harry and Cedric Diggory had competed with each other, but also helped each other and showed wonderful sportsmanship throughout the competition. When they decided to grab the Goblet of Fire together in order to share the victory, Owen felt a deep sense of satisfaction with the story.

That's where we left off before our ski trip, and I was a bit nervous about what was coming, so I warned Owen that the story was about to get much darker, but he insisted we continue reading when we got back from Canada.  Well, we read the next chapter tonight, and despite Owen making up an alternate version where Cedric wasn't killed, but instead awoke from the avada kadarva curse, crawled back to the Goblet of Fire -- which was still a portkey -- and grabbed it to transport himself to safety while Voldomort and Wormtail were distracted by Harry, Owen couldn't sleep and decided we needed to chat.
Dad, why would the author kill Cedric, didn't she want to make more money?  If she wants to write more Harry Potter books after this one, and she wants people to buy them and read them, she shouldn't have killed Cedric, because no one will want to read more of her books if she kills good people like Cedric.
Owen is a very gentle soul, and I think we might want to wait a bit before reading the rest of the series... 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

40

Allen's bday
The passage of Allen's youth was not the rager I initially thought it would be. At 30 we took over a bar. At 35 we took over a very nice private dining room. For 40, I figured a video arcade was the way to go.

But then Allen found out he had to fly to Boston the morning after his birthday. And Owen got really sick culminating in two ambulance rides and one admittance to Children's Hospital for severe croup. Given we were going skiing in Canada just 10 days after the milestone, we decided to scale down the celebration with just a quiet dinner for two at Rasika (plus I let him and Owen play lots of Zelda at home).

It was really nice and I think we both needed a mellow night out. 50, however, is going to be epic...