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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week commencing 24 May 2009

Link to the photos for Luray Caverns from last weeks blog:

Sunday brought generally good weather but with some clouds. We decided just to have a long lie and a chill morning but Jarlath had to cycle up to Bethesda to pick the car up as we had abandoned it there last night – see last weeks blog. He quite likes doing that as it makes him go out and do exercise even when he doesn’t feel like it. Personally I could think of nothing worth than having to cycle five miles uphill when nursing a mild hangover.
In the afternoon we decided to have a small bbq and invited Kim and Andrew over. Kim is the girl from Jars work that I went out for dinner with a couple of weeks ago and Andrew is her husband. Despite one small downfall of rain we had fun just sitting outside chatting, eating and a couple of glasses of Rose wine. They left to go to the cinema about 8 and we then just chilled outside ourselves.

Monday was a holiday for Memorial day so Jar had the day off. We decided to go and check out the community outdoor pool – after checking the opening times this time! Had a hour of tennis where we actually tried to play properly and came out pretty evenly matched at 5 games all with most games going to deuce. Then drove up to the pool and did some lane swimming and sitting reading in the sunshine. The outdoor pool has a 25 metre lane pool where they do adult swim – so they make children under eighteen leave it ever so often to allow adults to do proper lane swimming. They also have a 50 metre pool with a diving and chute area – although this was just finishing being refurbished so doesn’t open until next weekend. They also have two children’s pools and lots of picnic table, grassy areas and free deckchairs – all for only $6.00. We only stayed a couple of hours and the thunder started and they were evacuating until it passed but we just decided to come home.
In the evening we had been invited to our neighbors house for dinner. Sherri and Neil are close friends with the people that own the house we are renting. They are a lovely couple with two children aged 15 and19. She is an advocate and he is a doctor (not sure what his speciality is). We went over just after six and had a lovely evening just getting to know each other, eating and drinking some red wine. We will definitely invite them back as they were lots of fun and full of knowledge about the local area.

Tuesday and the weather had been awful all night and was still awful in the morning, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do anything all day. I have no idea where the day went to – I read for hours, did some light chores and ironing and watched a movie. It was absolute bliss and I only felt a wee bit guilty about being so lazy for once.

Wednesday I decided to brave public transport again and go sightseeing in downtown Washington DC. Jar had a 7.00a.m. conference call which he decided to do from home, so he then ran me up to the metro station and I got the metro to The Mall at the Smithsonian. I was in by 9.00a.m. and the museums don’t open until 10.00 so walked up to Capitol hill and around the Mall to see what was on offer. Found a couple of lovely gardens that were tranquil oases within the bustle of the city.

Then at 10.00 went into the air and space museum. I decided to take the guided tour, which was free anyway, it was quite good and informative although I had to leave it after 40 minutes as my blood sugar dropped quite low and I had to go and sit down and have something to eat. Luckily I had packed myself a full packed lunch and snacks for the day – to save money- so I went into the cafĂ© and just took ten minutes to feel better. I didn’t pay to go into the Imax theatre as I wanted today to be a budget day out as we have been spending money like it is going out of fashion lately so I am on a mission to save money on anything not necessary (hence the packed lunch). They are actually showing the movie Night at the Museum 2 in this theatre so I might go back next week to see it as I thought it would be cool to see the movie set in the Smithsonian actually in the Smithsonian!
I came out with some time to spare so took some RISI advice and walked up to the Fords Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 (see I was listening). I then went cross to the Shepherd house across the road where Lincoln was taken when he was shot and where he actually died in the back bedroom. All a bit morbid but quite interesting. Between here, Gettysburg and The Lincoln memorial my American History of that era is becoming quite good.

I then decided to come back on the metro as I was then going to try and navigate the Ride on bus system as well to get from the metro station back home. It was really easy and only cost 75 cents, it is just a shame that my bus route only runs in rush hour so only runs from 7.00 to 9.00 in the morning and from 3.50 to 6.30 in the evening, otherwise I would be on it all the time. This was a big deal to me as I haven’t used a bus at home for years and years and always relied on cars and taxis so I was quite proud of myself – probably sounds daft to most of you but a personal achievement for me.
Came home to find Bobby not well. He was down in the basement crying as if he was in pain so I went to him but he just slunk off into the corner and started retching. He was eventually sick and then went for a wee sleep so must have just eaten too much grass or something he shouldn’t have from the garden.
I had also booked myself in for my first yoga class at my new gym at 6.30 for an hour and when I turned up I found I was the only person in the class so I ended up having a one on one personal yoga training with the instructor, which was great as it was my first class. She ended up manually manipulating my toes and hips to help realign them and gave me lots of coaching on not overextending my joints (double jointed) especially my shoulders. I feel stronger already and loved it so booked myself in again for next week. The instructor was lovely as well – her name was Padma and she is 40 years old although only looks about 25. She has two sons, 17 and 15, and has a beautiful tattoo on her back, which she got to hide extensive scarring from when she had cancer treatment when she was younger.

Thursday I decided I wanted the car to go exploring so up early again to take Jar to work. I then drove tp Georgetown. Georgetown began as a Maryland tobacco port on the banks of the Potomac River in 1751. When Congress created the District of Columbia for the nation's capital in 1791, its 10-mile square boundaries were drawn to include this port town, as well as the very similar Virginia tobacco port of Alexandria just across the river. Alexandria was given back to Virginia in 1846, but Georgetown remains as one of Washington's most lively urban neighborhoods. Fresh from the altar, young Jack and Jackie Kennedy called Georgetown home. Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. A co-educational Jesuit institution, this historic school was founded by Father John Carroll in 1789 and is renowned for its programs in law, medicine, and international relations. The roster of alumni is impressive with ten heads of state on the list, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton; athletes Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson; and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia. Spurred on by a legendary basketball team and Jack the Bulldog, the athletics program mascot, Georgetown students are a staple in this charming corridor.
I just had a wander along the main street looking at all the shops. It has a big Dean and Deluca deli – anyway who is a fan of Nigella Lawson will be aware of this deli – and as I love cooking I enjoyed looking around all the produce, spices, oils etc so I know where to come to get my Nigela seeds for some of my recipes once the recipe books arrive.
The highlight of the day was visiting the old bookshop called Bartleby’s old and rare books. It is a wee shop with all sorts of lovely old books arranged on shelves and on piles on the floors. I had a good browe although I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I then spoke to one of the owners (the wife part of the husband and wife team) and asked if they needed any part time workers as I explained my love for books. Unfortunately, it was a no as she said business is quiet at the moment so they have no need for help. Well you don’t ask you don’t get. I only stayed in Georgetown for a couple of hours as the parking was so expensive ($12 for 2 hours), just like London prices so then drove up to a supermarket called Wholefoods to get some groceries in. Wholefoods hs lots of lovely produce as well and fresh cakes etc and mostly stocks organic items. A bit pricey but ok for a small shop. As I was shopping in Maryland this week and not Virginia, you can’t buy beer and wine in the supermarket so I headed out to the beer and wine supermarket to stock up on Gin and wine. I then had to pick Jar up from work to take him to the Chiropractor (he has two prolapsed discs in his back, an ongoing problem) and then home. Driving on the Interstate in rush hour traffic was not much fun.
In the evening Jar went to Karate to I decided to go and have a wee gym session. The rain was coming down in sheets outside and I was restless to get out and do something. After that I came home and started to watch the National Spelling Bee. This is a big competition in the US and was held in Washington DC last night. It is shown live on National TV and the kids can win cash prizes of about $50k in total - for their college funds. There was twelve kids in the final all aged 12 and 13 and they basically have to stand in front of an audience and spell back words without writing them down, sounds easy but I had never heard of most of the words. They can ask some basic questions like alternate pronunciations, whether it is a noun, verb etc, the origins (entomology) i.e. whether it came from Greek, Latin, French originally and they can ask for it to be used in a sentence. These kids were really smart 'cause when they didn’t know a word they sometimes worked the spelling out from its origins. So one girl would say if it is based on Latin is it based on the Latin for ...... whatever! It was strangely compulsive viewing and I ended up watching it from start to finish which was over a couple of hours.

On Friday I decide to have a bit of a lie in before going to my Barre class but I got my times all mixed up. I had it in my head that the class was at 10.00a.m. so got up about 8.50 threw on some shorts and a top (no underwear) and wandered downstair for some breakfast. I happened to glance at the calendar on the wall and there I had written that the class started at 9.00a.m., it was now 8.59a.m. what to do? So I threw on a pair of Brikenstocks, grabbed my keys and ran out the door and the 2 minutes along the street to the gym. I burst into the class when they were already on the barre so was a bit embarrassed. At least I didn’t miss it completely but I didn’t feel like I got as much out of it given that I was rushed and hadn’t eaten any breakfast. I was also aware that I had no pants on so when we where stretching our legs out and open I was keeping an eye on the mirror to ensure I wasn’t flashing anything that I shouldn’t have – lmao! It seemed to be all over very quickly and I was back home in my kitchen before I knew it.
As my furniture is probably coming next week I decided to do some cleaning. As I said on RISI I am quite enjoying cleaning and don’t feel it is a chore yet because nothing really has the chance to get dirty. I tackled the Au Pair suite. This is a small self contained Bedsit that is off the basement and will be used for the children’s bedroom furniture for when friends with children come and stay. It has its own sunroom/bedroom, small kitchenette with a sink, units and a fridge, a small area for a wee table and chairs and a shower room/toilet. It also has a patio door directly out onto the side garden. It would be great for the finances if we could rent it out but sadly our lease prohibits this. If you know of anyone needing a place to stay in Maryland for holidays or whatever we would be happy to accommodate them in their own little bedsit.
Then decide to tackle the basement as the owners have left some stuff down there so I was putting that over to one side to keep it separate from ours and I moved all our sports equipment into a double wardrobe that was lying empty down there. Jar has also set up his weights bench and punchbag down there so we have our own mini gym as well.
After all that activity decide to watch episode 1 of The Tudors series 2 which I had received through the mail on dvd and do some of my cross-stitch. Was supposed to be playing tennis with Jar when he got home from work but a big thunderstorm complete with torrential rain started late afternoon so we just chilled in the house with a take out pizza and a movie (The Reader – Bernhard Schlink) which was a good adaptation of the book.

After thunder storms all night we didn’t know what to expect on Saturday but it brought another beautiful sunny day and made even nicer by low humidity and a breeze. We decided to go for a game of tennis in the morning to make up for missing it last night. We are both starting to come on in our playing skills and are still fairly evenly matched with each game going to Deuce. In the end I won with 7 games to 5 but ended up with the sole of my training shoes coming off, so another expense in replacing those!
In the afternoon we packed up a picnic and the tartan blanket and walked the couple of miles down to Glen Echo park. The 29th Annual Washington Folk Festival was being held there and the bonus was it was free! For two days , the festival presents seven stages of continuous performances and workshops for every interest and age. We started off at the Crystal Pool Stage watching Randy Barrett & Dede Wyland who were playing traditional and bluegrass harmonies. It was lovely to sit on the grass having our picnic listening to the banjo and some yodeling. They were then followed by Soul in Motion: Reflecting Africa – interpretation of dances and drumming from Guinea, West Africa. It was interesting.
We then moved over to the Potomac Palisades Stage to see the end of Cruzando Fronteras performing traditional rural accordion dance music from Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. To end the afternoon we stayed to watch Elke Baker and the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club. I was in my element with some traditional Scottish music but despite my pleading Jar would not get up and dance with me. In fact, he dozed off for a while.

Ended the day by going to the Irish Inn at Glen Echo for some Lager Shandies – can’t beat those on a hot sunny afternoon, then wandered home and spent the rest of the evening sitting out on the back porch having a drink and just chatting. I don’t think we have ever just sat and chatted to each other so much as in the last month. It is lovely as we are rediscovering ourselves together.
Well another week has passed very quickly. Hope everyone had a good one. Xx

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