Let it be released from the mind

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


It finally hapenned. I jumped right back into my musical life and joined the Community Band last night. It's every Tuesday from 7:30-9:30 and thankfully lead by my previous conductor for many years. But he's definitely a different conductor than when he was with an uber-serious performance ensemble. There's actual jokes and laughter and jovialness. Who doesn't love jovialness. Regardless of who's conducting it, the people seem genuinely nice and accommodating and I look forward to rehearsals. Except for one thing.

Perhaps music and playing an instrument isn't everyone's forte in the band. But one thing that is-- is playing forte. Let me 'splain. Man, it must be in their code of ethics to play only at one loud level at all times. I'm hoping that since they've been on a 6-week hiatus it's just a reacclimation process. Eventually we'll get to a normal decibel and actually make music. Until then, hold on to your hearing aids. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy National Talk like a Pirate Day!

AAArrrrrggghh! I'll tell ye maties a tale o' Charlottesville--the most viscious Southern cultural town there is...

Forget about highways. This trip was all back roads and horse country. This, however, made us an hour late to get to C'ville. We started off Friday night with a late stop to Shebeen where I had lamb kabobs and excellent green lentils and hubby had a version of South African meatloaf with an egg custard top and spicy tomato chutney. Yum! Then, being old as we are, we just perused the downtown area loitered on a Friday night with teens before retiring back to Natahris' house.

As soon as we woke up Saturday we had our eyes on the prize...duck breast. And what a beautiful breast it was. Although we thought we could benefit from a walk around a farmer's market, it ended up that we didn't buy anything but rather used it as a springboard to develop the night's gourmet menu (and thank our lucky stars we found this creperie for a mid-morning snack). Hubby wanted Brie and spinach but we had to remind him that he would die.

Next to the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the clerk. Sorry--got caught up in a Harry Connick song there. As part of a foodie's dream, we went to a gourmet food market to find cheese (a Seal Bay brie and a Vermont cheddar) and baguettes for lunch, and then a butcher for the duck. Then it was off to the Vineyards.

First stop was King's Family Vineyards, home to polo games, beautiful views and overpriced wines. Our tasting person knew where Bowie was although she pronounced it like David Bowie. Although she was pleasant, we were not impressed by the wines as much as the price was, and opted to move on. Since it was such an overcast day, the views were really spectacular here. I learned that Virginia has a couple of grapes somewhat special to the region--the Petite Verdot pictured on the vine here, and the Viognier. There was also this fascinating orange bug. Thank you wine for making that experience a bit more exciting.
Next stop was Veritas Vineyards, which had a beautiful tasting room complete with old world lodge charm. Their Cabernet Franc Premieur 2004 was excellent, without too much tannin and with a wonderful peppery bite. Shocker that I like pepper. We enjoyed the view, the company (including a cat that boxed), and the plentiful amounts of bread and cheese.

Feeling excellent about the world and our day, we returned home to see the worst call of all time in the Auburn/LSU game and then began what would be the greatest meal ever. Well, not really, but actually excellent considering we came up with it ourselves and we were cooking duck for the first time, and we had 2 chefs and 2 highly-qualified sous chefs manning the kitchen, and we said Bam! every time we threw something in the pan (again, not really.) Our menu:

Pan-seared duck breast served with

a reduction of orange, balsamic, tea leaves and star anise

paired with soba noodles and mustard greens in a sesame-sherry vinaigrette

and vermouth-braised leeks

Aaaarrrrggghh. This surly wench of a breast shivered me timbers.

Sunday was a picturesque day with a visit for my first time to Monticello, and a short trip to Carter Mountain Orchards for apple-picking and revelry. It was wonderful to spend such quality time together and enjoy the beauty and views of the area.

Monday, September 18, 2006

full of them today

No time for posts and pics right now about this weekend--which rocked, Natahris (Daniel tried Chratalie but that doesn't fit you guys at all...it's just horrible!).

Just random thoughts today that need to be released...

Sometimes I just want to suck on a mango pit after I've cut most of the mango off. I think this is inappropriate for most public situations though. And slippery.

Do you think the sound of a fly buzzing annoys the fly? Imagine me talking every second of the day--it's practically the same cacophonous noise!

Friday, September 15, 2006

lots to say this morn

I've got plenty to talk about this morning.

First, last night. After nearly a heart attack in the first few drives of last night's Terps v. Mountaineers game, they practically lulled me to sleep as they painfully tried to rebound from a crushing first half. I commend the Terps for a vigilant effort and a continued fight. It would have been a lot easier had we not nearly handed them the ball to get 3 extra touchdowns. And if those b-s ESPN commentators said one more negative thing against the Terps and Fridge's decision not to take Slaton (not sure of this spelling, which I should know as all I saw was his back as he ran down the field over and over again) I was going to throw the T.V. into the other room. Honestly, get some opinions of your own TV guys. You were given a brain to use to make your own judgments. Stop jumping on every bandwagon you can find.

Next, I am quite excited to learn that Derek Brown, this guy I took jazz from back in the day, is teaching in this area again. He often showed me how to work it, and I am cised (urban sp?) to take one of his classes. I'm looking into a couple of different options for drop-in classes for the fall, but with money tight we'll see what I can pull off.

Lastly, I'm looking forward to an excellent impromptu weekend in Charlottesville. It's been a long time coming to get down there...and seems like the only time until practically next year. It's now or never, baby. ewww....sounded a bit Dickie V. there. sorry.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"L" is for loser.

They just weren't ready for real chili. Considering their fan favorite was more like a soup, not even a stoup like Rachael Ray always make (you know--a cross between a soup and a stew, and the secret ingredient always has to be nutmeg!). I'll briefly mention that this wasn't my neighborhood or my community, which I think played a very large part in the victors.

I was sad at first as they announced the winners. How could I be a loser? They just weren't ready for real chili--the kind that doesn't taste like spaghetti sauce or all tomatoes, the kind made with 4 different dried chilis that were ground up to make my tastebuds sing, the kind where I hand-cut chuck roast into 1/2 inch cubes for an hour rather than just use that grainy ground up flavorless beef. But then I realized that I couldn't be too sad because every person is very different when they talk about their favorite chili. Hell--I think Hard Times sucks and they're a chain restaurant just for chili. Could they put any more salt into it? But people obviously like that. They didn't pay attention to the 3 layers of smoke in the chili--the toasted chilis themselves, the shipotle in adobo and the cumin. They didn't savor the sweet taste of chocolate just at the edge to take a bite off the heat of the jalapenos and arbol.

They just weren't ready for real chili. Perhaps the next people will be. I will not stop.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Who wouldn't want to come to Anacostia?

Join me tomorrow at the Anacostia Farmer's Market, as I fight for the title of Southeast DC chili champion, or something along those lines. Come on down!!

"It's Gettin' Hot In Here" was concocted in three batches on Sunday night, allowed to fester overnight, and sampled yesterday by hubby and I. Batch #2 was determined the victor, with some slight modifications. As I put it, "#2 will not be a winning chili. I want a winning chili." So me and my Veruca mentality set forth to adapt the recipe so it was golden, er, red. I will spend tonight turning my house into a flaming ball of chili once again.

Apparently there's a crowd favorite award, and then separate judges awards. I'll let you know how it goes in my post on Thursday. I'm not overly confident, but just right. Kinda like my chili--just right.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Brazilian rum and rhythms

I lost the spelling bee in 7th grade for misspelling rhythm. Funny, since I've been in music my entire life. But regardless, you don't need to know how to spell rhythm to have it. And boy did I have it last night.

I went to Cafe Citron last night for a samba lesson with a true light of the world, we'll call her "Hearty Laugher" because she laughs louder and happier than anyone I know. As she is a highlight to any person's day, and every person's party, it obviously was a wonderful time. She has the phenomenal ability to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome, usually with a bone-crushing hug, and she does this for no other reason than because she is a loving kind soul.

The instructor FINALLY showed up and we learned some samba. The class had quick learners so she progressed at a fast enough pace that it wasn't boring. What I found especially intriguing was how integrated I felt in the culture when she began doing a samba I had never seen before. Hearty Laugher informed me it was from northern Brazil, and was usually never taught in these classes so it was a rare treat. The motions of "chopping the wood" were integrated in the dance and I felt so balanced by culture. It was a moving experience. I describe samba, now having actually been taught the basics of it, as a bouncing, high-energy movement of the lower half of the body, with intense African influences that makes one go crazy! Hearty Laugher and I let out several shouts of excitement. You couldn't stop us, and you never will.

Cheers to mojitos and samba skillz.

Oh yeah, and we saw someone like this perform before I headed off to wait ridiculous amounts of time for subway trains.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"It's Gettin' Hot in Here"

I have just officially entered my first official chili making contest. Not eating contest, cooking contest. Although I could work me some chili in my belly.

deep stuff

Deep stuff, with tincanTerp...

Should I be mad at myself or put blame on others? I realize sometimes that I indirectly blame others for my lameity. Yes, this is a made-up word, but I prefer it to 'lameness'. I have brilliant ideas about all these great things I want to do, every weekend, every day. And yet, they don't end up getting done 75% of the time. This is no one person, just a generalized sort of rant. Follow me if you will. So I blame it on the situation, the person. It's not a "Mr. X stopped me from doing these really fun things" sort of blame. It's more like "well, X was being weird about it, so we didn't do it". I should have just done it in the first place and not bothered to ask. see what I'm saying...probably not, because I'm making no sense. The point is, I need to take a stand a bit more often. I need to stop hiding behind my insufficiencies and lies. I need to make it happen. This sounds like a Mariah Carey song back when she was good. Please burst into song now.

Sorry I had to get deep. But regardless of who reads this, it needs to be released from my mind.

I also don't like this statement, "Have a classic day". Rant done.