Sunday, November 20, 2011

Most Fabulous Time

For a while now, my friend Libby and Nirvi, both of whom I met while working at The Post, and I have been planning a trip together. We considered our options and decided that we would fly to DC where Nirvi now works and lived, and then travel to VA for some wine-tasting.  Finally, it was time for our trip in the first weekend of November!

I flew to DC where I connected with Libby who flew in from FL and Nirvi picked us up.
From the great company to the awesome food, to the new experiences and perfect weather, it was a super trip! 

We went to one winery on Friday, then we went to our hotel. We'd heard that downtown Leesburg, which is where we were staying, was having Open Friday, so we wandered downtown and went in and out of shops which were open late and offering tastings of all kinds. In one of them, Football player Chris Cooley's art gallery, there was more wine tasting, sculpture and thrown pottery, plus a woman with the most beautiful chocolates on display. I've never seen any like them! That all looked like smoothed stone. Amazing.

We then went to a very hot restaurant (I mean, literally, it was too warm!) called the Wine Kitchen, where we had an incredible meal. Nirvi said at the beginning of our trip, that she immediately felt relaxed. That she could be herself and there was no pressure or anything. It was like we never left each other and it was so comfortable!

We learned things about each other which made us laugh - like the fact that when we all get hungry, we all get quiet. (That never lasted long though. Throw some peanuts at us and we're good to go)

On Saturday we lounged around our room before getting a bite to eat and heading back in to town for a visit to the Rouge Spa where we had massages. The other two had a facial but I had a manicure. Really fun!  Then, it was off to the next winery. Breaux. Libby is incredibly knowledgeable of wines, which made it all the more interesting. She started a wine tasting group called Swirl Girls in WPB and they review wines. So actually, Libby has become quite known in the field! Lots of people follow her on Twitter, and some of the winery owners knew who she was when she showed up!

I know nothing about wines, of course, but I still really enjoyed myself. And it was so relaxed. If one of us didn't feel like tasting anymore, the others were completely flexible. It was really awesome, actually, how well we traveled together.  You never know how that's gonna go.

Breaux Winery was a disappointment. They were a bit rude and they really moved us along in our tasting. Not very personal.  The next place was Hillside Winery, which had a great feel to it. Friends of Nirvi's met us there, and that was really nice to meet some of her new people.

We went back to our hotel after some sight-seeing at another winery, and napped a bit before heading out for more food! This time it was Magnolia, which also had fantastic food!  We were totally impressed by the food. Leesburg? I mean, it's not too far from DC s I get it, but I just didn't think VA was synonymous with good food.

I haven't had that much fun in a long time.  We talked about journalism, Libby's job change within her same newspaper, about Nirvi's work and how she's way over-worked, and how I have it quite easy. We talked about our living situations and people in our lives and people no longer in our lives.

We went back to the hotel with happy bellies!

The next morning, we found a diner-type place in town. Yet another great meal (and it was just a greasy spoon joint)!  From there we drove out the 8 Chains Winery, while passing Gramma's Pies. Every time we passed the pie place we wondered about it. It was in such a strange place, in the fork of a road, and was a little stone structure.

At the last winery, we met with Ben, who Libby and Nirvi had chatted up in a store during Free Friday Night when they were tasting his wine. We had another tasting and then something extra cool - he took us back where he keeps the barrels and we got to try some out of the barrel. A very neat experience.

I didn't taste much difference, as the other were saying things like "bold, rounded, angular, oak, cocoa, berry" and on and on.  I usually just give a puckered expression and ask if that's what "dry" tastes like. I did figure out that wines were made of the grapes which were in their name. I really should have read-up a bit or at least asked Libby more questions, but at the time, I just enjoyed being along for the ride. And I ended up buying four bottles of two different wines which I really liked.

We spent quite a long time at the 8 Chains Winery and it was super fun. Educational, refreshing to listen to someone who was so passionate about what he does. Very cool. He had a great description for one type of grape, (of course the names escapes me now), "That grape is a bit like Ringo. On it's own? Eh. But when he's with the others, he's The Beatles!"

And, we learned his sister owned Grandma's Pies!  So, we stopped there on the way out of town before stopping for even more food in DC and then reluctantly dropped off at the airport to head home.

Enjoying Tarara Winery

Tarara Winery

At The Wine Kitchen. Very warm but still so worth it!

at The Wine Kitchen

Off to the spa!

Breaux Winery. nice view, lame place.

Inside Hillside Winery.

The view at Sunset Winery

At Magnolia for dinner Saturday night.

Goofballs at the Diner

snapshot of downtown Leesburg

Tasting at 8 Chains Winery

Tasting at 8 Chains Winery

Tasting at 8 Chains Winery. Trying from the barrels.

looking studious and taking notes!

we had fantastic weather!

My mistake. It's MOM's Apple Pie!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oliver's Birthday!

Today is Oliver's birthday! What did I do for his birthday? Well, forget all about it til about 5PM, of course. No matter, he doesn't really know. And also, I'm not even positive that the date the former owner put in his medical records, November 2, 1996, is accurate. If it is, my little boy if 15 years old! Awe, he's growing up to fast! Ha! The poor old man is on his second UTI in about a month, has been very picky about his food. The last two days, he ate his food, after I added too much human food in his kibble to entice, but then wouldn't take his morning rolled-up turkey with meds inside. It's been a decent week though.

I have tomorrow off from work, and Friday too, and am leaving for DC to spend time with friend for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to it! I went to see Nirvi a while back in her new home of DC, and Libby, who I also met while working in FL, is coming up for the weekend too. We are going wine tasting, to a spa for a massage (which I am in desperate need of) and manicures.

And then we'll have pillow fights too!

The house is coming along. I'm pleased. Dad is working very hard and I'm disappointed to not have more time in my home, but work and freelance has me very busy. I kind of have trouble saying no to the freelance offers, but I know they will ebb when the cold weather comes.

these guys came to remove a lead pipe from under my house. The water line.

It's coming along! The doorway has been made into a wall, and there's the pass through. This photo is a few weeks old now. The wall is patch-up and almost entirely smooth now. 

The insulators!

In this video, Dad and I remove the toilet before the reglazing gets done. I wanted to save the insane toilet seat cover. It's now in display!...In my basement.

These guy are installing my new toilet and sink. As you can see, my walls and floors have been reglazed to be completely white. I'll paint the walls another color but the tile is nice without it's seventies yellow.

I striped and re-stained the banister. Polyurethane to follow.