Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lion cubs go for a dip

Frequent readers know I'm obsessed with baby animals, especially pandas.

The Washington Post and DCist posted amazing photos of the National Zoo's new baby lion cubs. The babies had to take a swim test to make sure they could stay afloat when not under the watchfulness of their keepers. As DCist pointed out, these are the zoo's first lion cubs in 20 years, so they're getting quite the hype. I'm thinking I'm going to have to take a lunchtime walk one day soon to see these little guys for myself:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh deer Arkansas

My friends are always doing their best to ensure that Arkansas remains at the front of my mind. Thinking I might be missing Arkansas, one such friend directed me to the following link, the story of a deer breaking and entering through a window of a house in Stuttgart, Ark.

Amusing, yes, but also rather disturbing. I'm most worried about the shards of glass that hurt the deer!

I think the best part of the story is the use of the word "leap" to describe the deer's behavior -- almost like he very deliberately and gracefully decided to make an appearance at the bedroom on E. Third.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So it wasn't a meth lab...

But it was still a drug lab. In a freshman dorm room. In MY freshman dorm. So, I can't help but reference this hilarious story of crime and punishment in the hallowed halls of my esteemed alma mater.

I know I'm a little late on the story, but give me a break. I was gallivanting through the streets of NYC this weekend in honor of ringing in the 2-7.

So here it is, as covered by TBD:

Good old Harbin. I believe when I lived on Harbin 2, we won some kind of award for being written up more than any other freshman floor. For the record, I was not one of the more illustrious rule breakers in that crowd. Guilt by association.

I can just picture those poor little freshman being jarred awake at 6 a.m., forced to stumble downstairs before half of them even have time to contemplate the horrendous walk of shame they're about to partake in front of hordes of D.C.'s finest.

DC Spy covers it better than I ever could, so check out her commentary here:

Lest we forget...

Seriously, don't forget to vote.
Yours truly sent in her absentee ballot to Arkansas already. Ready for Mike, Joyce, Shane and Chad to make it happen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet Anne

Today marks two years since so many lives were changed forever. Beautiful Anne Pressly, who was a striking ray of sunshine to all who were fortunate to know her, was taken from us far too soon. But as this week full of difficult memories approaches, I know that Anne would have wanted us to remember her in all her glory -- gorgeous, smiling, enthusiastic, engaging, so close to her close friends and always the life of the party. I can picture her so vividly telling me about a story she was reporting in which she had become fascinated, eating sushi with me at Sushi Cafe, running around Dallas at the Cotton Bowl, a true Razorback fan doing exactly what made her the happiest, recounting some hilarious story from her day at work that left her audience laughing for days, or leading a dance floor full of people in the Cupid Shuffle.

One of the most amazing things about Anne was this ability to bring people together. As she struggled to survive at St. Vincent's that week, everyone who loved her was gathered in a room nearby, waiting for news. And even in the hospital, where we couldn't see her or talk to her, she was the blossom at the center of new friendships that are now tied by an unbreakable and everlasting bond.

On the night she died, I will never forget how I couldn't help but notice that among the many friends wrapped in each other's arms, there were several pregnant women. Anne was no longer with us, but these new babies were almost here. And in the midst of so much pain and sadness, that cycle of life concept provided some semblance of beauty.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

White House in bloom

The view from the inside
Twice a year, the First Family opens the South Lawn to 30,000+ visitors to view the gardens. The tickets are free -- if you have some special VIP means of getting them. Thankfully, I do, but nonetheless, I doubt it will ever cease to be exciting to be on the grounds of the White House. There couldn't have been a more perfect day than today for the occasion -- gorgeous, sunny, warm, and not a cloud in the sky -- and the White House never looked so white. Up close, the place was basically glittering -- made me wonder how often they must paint it to keep it so pristine.

The tour includes photos of 20th century presidents and first ladies planting commemorative trees (the Clintons liked dogwoods), the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, which dates to 1965, the Rose Garden from 1913, the Children's Garden, a little haven created by Lady Bird Johnson in 1969, and the Kitchen Garden, Michelle Obama's contribution. There is also a tennis court that doubles as a basketball court and supposedly a putting green and swimming pool, but the latter two seemed hidden from public view.


Oval Office - Does it seem right that I mostly recognize these windows and columns from watching President Bartlet head to sleep in The West Wing?
Rose Garden
West Wing

Kitchen Garden - with pumpkins for the season. 1,600 pounds of veggies have been grown since it opened in 2009.
Children's Garden, with castings of First grandchildren's handprints and footprints
Jefferson Memorial in the distance

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trivia at Wonderland Ballroom

Shockingly, AT&T works on the platform of Metro Center. Just as I was about to step onto the train to head home after work (oh, you had Columbus Day off? I'm pretty sure only the federal government deems it a holiday), my brother called to invite me to trivia night at Wonderland Ballroom.

I'd heard about the place for years but never been. Walking from Columbia Heights metro, it's on the corner of 11th and Kenyon, past a school soccer field and just kind of off by itself in the middle of a pretty residential area. The first floor is a small bar w/ patio outside. The second floor is where the magic is supposed to happen. 

Wonderland Ballroom
Now, I love Jeopardy as much as I next guy, and I do my share of crosswords -- in ink, just as my father taught me -- but this was NOT easy. The categories were so obscure, things like "serial killers," "sports teams that have relocated," "zombies," and "9/11." I must say, wasn't a huge fan of that last one being used in any way for anything that is supposed to be the least bit entertaining. My team was saved by my brother's friend who has only lived in Washington for a years but must study statues obsessively. We got 10 out of 10 on the picture trivia round, where we had to match up D.C. statues with their names (thankfully, we didn't have to conjure the names from scratch; they were listed on the sheet.) We were tied for first place after the first few rounds, then went down to 4th. But this gives me incentive to try again! It's all about the categories...if only there was one on geography or literature or something I knew about!

The place serves an eclectic menu including such run-of-the-mill items as burgers and chicken sandwiches and many many beer options (I asked what wines they had...they were in a box), in addition to gazpacho and believe this - fried pickles! It was ALMOST like I was sitting at Cotham's adjacent to the State Capitol with the Beebe girls. I couldn't get over my luck at finding this pure deliciousness I will forever associate with Little Rock in D.C.

Fried pickles -- and even better, spears, not chips!!

Great Falls

Spent part of a perfect fall weekend hiking the Billy Goat Trail and the towpath at Great Falls, something I hadn't done but once or so in the past several years.

1) I don't know why I didn't do this more often as a child. I guess I didn't really discover hiking until traveling through Chile and moving to the Natural State (Arkansas).

2) It's rather hard to believe that the C&O Canal National Historical Park is only 10 or so miles from the middle of the city. I felt like I was somewhere else completely. There are no city buildings or streets in sight or traffic within hearing distance. Was an incredibly pleasant and peaceful way to spend a Sunday. Kind of like many a weekend at Pinnacle. I just might have found my new little haven.

Near the trailhead close to the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and Old Angler's Inn

C&O Canal

The Potomac

Love covered bridges

Pretty little house

View from the towpath

A heron eating a fish

My favorite scene of the day...beautiful, stoic heron

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have been meaning to write about a recent jaunt to Estadio, the newest and quite authentic Spanish tapas place to make its mark in Logan Circle. The place is pretty fabulous, and certainly a scene, where you better look good if you intend to get the bartender to notice you while you wait an hour for your table. I'm finally compelled to post on it now that the Washington Post's Going Out Guide has beat me to it...,1168005/critic-review.html?wpisrc=nl_gogthurs

In Spain, tapas are the cheapest way to eat out; in the U.S., where tapas are trendy, it tends to be the opposite. However, even at such a glamorous place as Estadio, I felt the prices were reasonable. After sharing several tapas with my dining companion, our bill came to around $30 each, and we felt as sated as we would have at a normal plated dinner. That included a glass or two of wine, but doesn't count the delicious pre-dinner $9 "piscina nino" I had at the bar -- ingredients: manzanilla and cava, honey and anisette.

We chose the manchego (ahh heavenly sheep cheese, I wish I could find it more often), smoked salmon on toast with yoghurt and honey, sauteed morcilla (blood sausage), roasted wild mushrooms (which were some of the most interesting and beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen) served with parsley and garlic, grilled scallions, and some shellfish item (I'm thinking it was the grilled octopus? I remember debating between that and the squid, but we might have been a few drinks in by the time we ordered that one).The great thing about this place was, while it took forever to get seated, once we were, it didn't take long to be served, and upon deciding we wanted more, it was easy enough to add a couple more tapas as the night went on.

Dining companion wasn't interested in the patatas bravas or the tortilla Espanola, though I tried to convince him how much they reminded me of many a quick meal in Madrid. As basic as they are, to me, they're Spanish food at its truest.

I'm pretty sure the people next to us were speaking Spanish with a Castillian accent. This made me happy.

For a full menu, see Estadio's site:

Grilled Cheesus

Glee is one of my favorite shows. I absolutely love it. The choice in songs is typically phenomenal, and the actors are incredibly talented (as singers/performers). Plus, the show's writers consistently make an effort to confront issues that face high school kids in schools. And, the fact that it takes place in an everyman public high school somewhere in Ohio gives a lot of kids across the country a chance to relate to these kids' experiences.

However, since the "Grilled Cheesus" episode aired this week, I've had several interesting conversations with people about whether or not it was offensive. Did it convey different religions fairly? Did it make one religion seem "better" than another? What about how it discussed the separation of church and state or the role of religion in schools?

For more on this conversation, I'm linking to a blog post at State of Belief, hosted by the Rev. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance in Washington, which I couldn't resist but to respond to. You'll find my comment below the original post:

If you missed it, you can catch the episode online:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yooooooo Cake

Why not combine all current dessert trends in one - and open a place that serves BOTH fancy light frozen yogurt AND cupcakes, TOGETHER?

And so a novelty is born, Yocake.

Choose a cupcake, add your yogurt flavor, pour on the toppings.

I discovered this place in none other than Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Apparently, it's not your average boring mall food court. Craving something cool on today's Indian summer afternoon, I went to the eatery at the mall in search of this place that I remembered from many a high school lunch hour. No recollection of its name, but it had salads and frozen yogurt. You could blend in different toppings, and the resulting concoctions were delicious. I really wanted one today. At first disappointed the place no longer existed -- this shouldn't have been surprising almost a decade later -- I was pleasantly surprised that there was now an even better option.

Check it out: