Tag Archives: Family

Events that involve the family but not limited to just family gatherings.

Nats vs. Rockies


For Father’s Day Pat decided to take my dad and the family out to a Nats game.  This was funny because my dad and I just talked about this while at the bar after fishing, how we haven’t seen a game this year and need to.  We even started working out dates and quickly found out that with both our schedules, a weekend game would be rather tough, but a Friday game was possible.

With short notice Pat informed us that Friday was the day to see a game if we could make it.  It would be the Nats verse the Rockies, game time 7pm.  I was busy getting ready for my trip to Saratoga Springs but I was in.  I was planning on leaving around 7am on Saturday and I knew it would be a long night.  We meet at my dad’s house and drove to the stadium.  We had five people going Metro is not the cheaper option.

Strasburg on the mound

Tonight’s game happened to be on one of those 100 degree days in the city.  For weeks the weather has been brutal with above average heat and high humidity.  It started with the first day of summer while I was at the Phish show in Portsmouth and never slowed down.  When we had the severe thunderstorm roll through knocking out power, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time because the temperature was going on 9 straight days above 95 degrees.

Even though it was almost 7pm by the time we got to the stadium, it was still oppressively hot.  We got a quick bit to eat and took our seats on the lower level on the Nats side of the stadium.  The seats where down close to the field providing a great view of the game.  I was hoping it would be out of the sun but no dice, we were in the direct sun for about 45 minutes as the sun set behind the stadium.  Everyone was having beer at the game but all I wanted was water.  I know beer can be refreshing, but no in heat like this.

The Nats where on a run for the last few games and were four or four and a half games ahead in the National League East.  We had high hopes for a good game and another win.  The Rockies were at the bottom of the National League West so it should have been an easy win and a great start to the three game series.  To top it off one of our ace pitchers was starting that night, Strasburg.  Early on when the Rockies got a solo home run in the second inning, my hopes were not dashed.  It was only one run and it was still early in the game.

Unfortunately for us, the entire game was dominated by the Rockies.  As the inning ticked by the Rockies score two more runs in the 4th and more in the later inning, including another home run.  You could tell the Nats were off in their game play.  They never seemed to hustle to catch balls and the outfielders constantly miss judge where the hitter would hit the ball.  Often times the ball would fall short or just sail over their heads.  As for batting the situation was even worse.  The Nats couldn’t swing to save their life.  A ton of strike outs all night, they kept swinging at crap pitches and they paid the price for their negligence.

Harper sliding into second trying to breakup the double play.

When the ninth inning came around the score was already 5 to zero with little hope of us coming back to win so the stadium started to empty rather early.  There was some hope early in the inning as Zimmerman hit a solo home run with no outs, at least we got on the board.  We even got a few people on base but the poor batting came back to haunt the team with three quick outs and with that the game was over.  It was a disappointing lose to a team we should have beaten.

To drawn our sorrows we stopped at the Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington for some beer.  If they won, we would have stopped to celebrate the win.  Now that things finally cooled off a little I had my first beer of the day, the seasonal Oak Aged Fuel.  It was a cask poured dark porter that was pretty good.  Certainly a heavy beer but at the end of the day, I wanted something heavy.  Lots of coffee and some hints of vanilla in this porter.

It was well after midnight when we left the bar and started heading home.  I still had some packing to do and it was close to 2 or 3am before I got to sleep.  This caused a delay in leaving the following morning, but it worked out in the end.  I made it to the show in time to get my seat and catch Phish walk out onto the stage.

July 6th 2012

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Perfect Night for a Musical

Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia at Wolf Trap

Last night we trekked out to Wolf Trap to see the opening night of Mamma Mia.  We got half price lawn tickets about 6 months ago so we of course had not idea what the weather was going to be like.  Fortunately the weather ended up being perfect unlike last years were it was incredibly hot and humid.  Because of the nicer weather we didn’t drink nearly as much wine to cool off.  I could actually remember more of the show this year, but it certainly was just as fun.  There was zero humidity and the temps stayed in the low 70’s all evening.

It took over an hour to get from Springfield to the venue so when we arrived the lawn was absolutely smashed with blankets.  We fortunately snuck our way into a close spot stage right as a group was headed into the pavilion for the show.  We spread our blanket and took up residency for the evening.  Quickly we got the food out and cracked open a bottle of wine just as the stage lights dimmed and the show started.

This year the entire cast changed with maybe the exception of Rosie and Tanya, everyone else was new and did a great job.  There was some debate as to weather the stage setup and even the show itself had changed from last year.  I happen to believe that neither changed.  Maybe seeing the new cast threw everyone off.  Or maybe it was the fact of seeing the show from a different perspective this year, stage right.  I know when I sit behind the stage at Phish it certainly appears to be a different show to me.

The show was fantastic as always.  The weather that night was cool, in the low 70’s all evening and perfect for spend the evening outside.  By the time the show ended it was getting a little chilly and I could have used a light jacket.  Getting out of Wolf Trap is always a pain even though we waited 30 minutes for the venue to clear out.  Everyone wants to head east on Wolf Trap Road towards the toll road so it is a bottle neck getting dumping all the lots onto a single lane road.  Eventually we made it to Springfield and stayed for a night cap before heading home to Stafford.  It was after 1am before we got home and we both crashed hard.  It has been a long week of parties and late nights which finally caught up with me.  The only consolation was that Friday’s are usually light on the work load so feeling like crap wouldn’t be that big of an impact on my ability  to work.  I will say that I was looking forward to sleep on Friday night and not having to wake up early on Saturday.

Looks like we might make this an annual tradition.  Wolf Trap is such a great place to see a show we talked about seeing other shows together over the summer.  Under the stars on the lawn with some food and uh hello BYOB, sounds like a can’t miss evening.

Dirty Thirty

I don’t know how this saying came about, but your 30’s are called the “dirty 30’s.”  I have been in my thirty’s for a few years and there is nothing dirty about them.  I will say that most people have grown up and will continue to grow up while in their 30, becoming more responsible with each passing year.

The last of the 20-somethings, Nancy, had her birthday on Sunday so we celebrated with some friends and family at the house.  I was in charge of cooking and Nancy wanted ribs, mac and cheese, and grilled vegetables for the evening.  For an appetizer I cooked a kick ass brie dish that was completely gone in no time.  The mac and cheese receipt was taken from a grilling cookbook.  For the ribs I was able to use my new rib rack that Matt got me for Christmas and rib cook book that went along with it.  The three racks I purchased fit nicely in the rack and I got to cooking around 4pm.

I was busy in the kitchen prepping food when our guests started arriving about 5:30.  I was so busy getting things ready I completely lost track of the time and didn’t start cooking the ribs till almost 7:30.  We planned on eating around 8 so I blew that time out of water real quick.  In the end there where two 45 minute cooking seasons before the ribs were finished.

To prepare the ribs I used a maple and brown sugar rub and separate maple glaze for the ribs and I must say they were fantastic!  I was a little worried about the time it would take to cook everything and the ribs not coming out good.  In the end the cook time took longer than I estimated but the ribs where cooked perfectly and everyone loved them.  It was a good feeling that for 10 minutes the house was quit.  All evening the the house was filled with conversation and commotion, you could hear a pin drop while everyone ate the ribs.  We ate two racks for diner and later in the evening we finished off the last rack as a late night snack.  The only thing I screwed up was the timing, but that didn’t matter when the food was finally served.

I started the ribs off for 45 minutes of indirect heat on the grill, to this I added a handful of smoking chips to each pile of coil.  After the initial 45 minutes it was time to add more coals and start the vegetables cooking.  I got a second pile of coal going and put the ribs right over the head, flanked on each side by vegetable skewers.  I also used this time to apply a generous amount of glaze to the ribs.  Half way through the basting process while talking to Nancy I see the door open and someone yelling “there is a fire in the kitchen” with the fire alarm going off in the back ground.  I couldn’t believe it and being right in the middle of basting the ribs I couldn’t do much about it.  I asked Nancy to investigate for me and she confirmed that yes there was a fire in the oven.  The mac & cheese was suppose to brown under the broiler and I put the food to close to the burner so the crust caught on fire.  I never panicked, I just calmly put the lid down on the grill and walked in side.

Everyone was gather in the kitchen not sure what to do.  Tracy was desperate to put the fire out, scurrying around looking for a fire extinguisher I suspect.  First job was to stop that damn fire alarm, so I barked at Bobby to pull it off the ceiling and take it outside, now I could hear myself think.  I grabbed an oven mitt and pulled out the casserole dish from the oven, indeed it was on engulfed in fire.  Then as the calm person I am I blew out the fire, crisis over.  The mac & cheese was a little worse for ware but everyone was safe and the house was still standing with no damage.  I looked at Nancy and asked if that was enough excitement for her birthday.  The casserole didn’t look pretty, but I scrapped off the burnt crush, reapplied a fresh layer and put it back in the broiler much lower from the heat source.  After the only emergency of the night was over I went back outside to tend the ribs while everyone else went back to talking, smoking and drinking.

Another 45 minutes passed and it was time to pull the ribs off the grill.  At this point it was well past 9pm and I was nervous.  I had never cooked ribs before and I was not sure how they would turn out.  Would they be cooked enough, burned, taste like crap?  I didn’t know.  When I opened the grill lid to look a quick scan revealed the vegetables looked perfect and ribs didn’t look burn, but I was only looking at the underside so not a good judge.  As I brought the three slabs into the kitchen everyone has assembled to watch, which is typical when someone in the family grills.  I laid them on the cutting board and flipped them over…..they looked amazing!  The next test, doneness.  When I cut into the first one it was perfectly cooked with just a bit of juice.

After eating it was time for a nap, everyone was so full the food coma was quickly setting in.  To jolt use back to life the smokers all had a cigarette in the cold, another round of shots and time for a little dancing.  For Christmas Nancy got Dance Party 2 which we played for almost 2 hours.  Of course the the fellas didn’t fell much like dancing but after I got up there and showed them how it was done everyone loosened up.  We traded off between everyone and had a grate time shacking our booties.  I know Nancy took a few videos and I don’t even want to see what I look like, I probably look like a fool but it certainly was fun.

Another cigarette outside which brought us just past midnight and officially Nancy’s birthday.  A quick happy birthday and some awesome cookies Matt made and it was back in side.  This late in the evening we lost Nicole and Jeff but the rest of use stuck it out for a round of poker.  It is becoming something of a tradition that when the family gets together for a party we get at least one round of poker in.  The stakes are only $5 but it is a ton of fun talking shit.  We killed the last rack of ribs while playing, had to satisfy the midnight munchies and the ribs certainly hit the spot on that.

The next morning the ladies where not feeling well.  Both Tracy and Nancy had a lot to drink, I think it was the jello shots that put them over the edge.  Thankfully Bobby was feeling good and made some kick ass omelets for everyone using the grilled vegetables and left over cheese from the night before.  The rest of the day Nancy and I didn’t do crap.  It was a lazy day spent watching tv and getting a few things done around the house.  I personally couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday


Washington Capitals logo
Montreal Candiens logo

I was able to get a ticket to Tuesday nights Caps game verse the Canadiens at the Verizon Center.  Matt was suppose to go, but because of a scheduling conflict I was offered the ticket.  I felt bad because the ticket was a Christmas gift and meant to be a surprise, he is certainly more of a Caps fan than I am.

I got together with my Dad, Pat, and Marvin at their house and we headed to Shirlington for some dinner before the puck dropped.  Pat had heard about this great Mexican restaurant from several people and said we should try it.  I try to eat Mexican whenever I can, Nancy doesn’t care for it so when I have an opportunity I take it.  As Pat points the restaurant out on our left I see the name and instantly recognize it, Guapo’s.  This is actually a chain restaurant with one right across from my office that I frequent for lunch.  They have great rotisserie chicken, tacos, and their Lupita’s salad is awesome!

Lets Go CAPS

Walking in I was impressed with the decor and setup.  I am use to a walk up register where you order and 3 minutes later they call your number.  You take your food and find a table, I really think of it as very good fast food.  This spot is much more formal.  The hostess seats you with a bevy of waiters to take your order, bring chips, drinks, and your food.  The menu I am use to is limited to maybe a dozen items, this one is a full menu with dozens of choices I have never heard of.  Because I am a creature of habit I got the taco platter.  Everyone enjoyed the food and the price was just right.  After our quick meal we headed into the city for the game, noting the time we where going to be cutting it close to the puck drop.

The city was a mad house around 6:30 when we arrived, a ton of fans driving and walking around to the venue.  Plus with the holiday week still in full swing the city was a buzz with travelers.  Fortunately we got to the venue and inside with just enough time to spare.  I would say we hit our seats about 6:55, enough time to catch the pre-game hype and hysteria.  When the puck dropped at 7:10 we were in for a thrilling game.  Our seats where only 10 rows back from the boards and located right along the Caps goals.  During the first period we unfortunately had a lot of excitement down at our end but Varlomov was stopping everything the Canadiens throw at him.

We slowly clawed our way back into the fight late into the period and scored two goals.  In fact we should have had a third but the ref called it a no goal.  Ref said the goalie had stopped the puck but clearly on the replay he had not.  The puck was still in motion the whole time, never once coming to a complete stop.  All night the refs had it out for the Caps, not calling obvious penalties against us and calling very minor things on the Caps.  Half the period one of our players was in the penalty box it seemed.  Being as it was, the penalty killing lines did a great job not allowing the Canadiens to score a single goal during penalty time.  Even one of the Canadian players, #76 P.K. Subban, had it out for us with lots of cheap shots on our players.  By the end of the game the entire arena would boo every time he got the puck.

a little blood

When the second period rolled around we were leading 2-0 but last years playoffs loomed over us.  We faced the Canadiens in the first round and lost.  Knowing they would fight hard to win the game, we couldn’t rest on our two point lead to carry us to victory.  For the entire second period it was a back and forth game between the two teams, each playing fantastic hockey with several shots on goal.

Going into the third period we felt more confident.  We were able to shut them out the entire second period, as they did us, but we had the momentum.  The Caps played hard all third period, keeping the Canadiens guessing and never allowing them to adjust to our game play.  With 1:20 left in the game the Canadiens decided on a last ditch desperate move and pulled their goalie.  Things didn’t look good for us as most of the action was happening down on our side of the rick, but Ovechkin took away the puck and made a sprint for the open net.  Without much effort he was able to get a score and from what I heard later by other fans, break a long streak of no goals.  In the end it won’t matter that it was an open net goal with less than an minute left in the game, it will be marked as a goal for Ovechkin.

When the game ended the arena was euphoric.  Recently the Caps have been in some what of a slump so pulling this inter-league win out against the team the knocked us out of last years playoffs was an oh so sweet victory.  The game was exciting and the action fast paced.  I found it difficult to take pictures, but I did what I could, in the end deciding to enjoy the game more than document our victory in photographs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


New Years Eve 2011, back to the beach

Ringing in the new year at Dos Locos.

This years New Years Eve party happened again at the beach house in Rehoboth with a few additions and surprises.  First off Marvin flew in for the holidays again after having surgery last years.  We also convinced Matt to come along for the first time and join in the festivities.  A not-to-be-missed once-in-a-lifetime concert with Nancy and my Dad was to take place as well.  Last year while at the beach, late in the evening and after many drinks, a plan was hatched for the two of them to play a duet together on acoustic guitar.  This was going to be the best NYE ever!

Getting to the beach turned out to be more of a hassle than in years past, traffic was not the problem.  The post-Christmas crowds had already died down and not many people travel long distances for celebrations.  The timing of January 1 also worked in our favor as Friday was the observed holiday so we all left on Thursday night after work, again making traffic a breeze.  What we didn’t count on was the blizzard that hit the beach a few days before.  When Nancy, Pat, and Marvin arrived in the afternoon they where greeted with a five foot pile of snow blocking the drive way.  The snow was plowed directly into the driveway from a cross street.  They spent over an hour clearing the snow till Matt showed up and finished what remained.  My Dad and I had to work so we got a late start and completely missed shoveling snow, what great timing.

lots of great food

It was great having a long weekend at the beach house with plenty of time to prepare for the party and a long night of drinking.  Getting up on NYE at the house was a fantastic way to start the day.  We pretty much lounged around all day till the afternoon hours when we started getting dinner ready for our feast.  By now the first beers and wine has been opened for everyone to enjoy so we where off and running.  For dinner Matt hooked up some nice fat pork chops with side of pasta and homemade sauce.  Nancy and I contributed with a <INSERT DISH NAME> dish we got from a recent cook book her brother gave us for Christmas.  The food was fantastic as we all stuffed our faces in preparations for the long night ahead.

Around 6pm, before dinner was served, the concert took place in a grand spectacle in the living room.  As the official audio and photo archivist I had my gear setup and ready to roll come show time.  The two of them played for almost an hour with various songs ranging all types of genera.  I must say the recording came out alright, very low levels as it was an acoustic show.  I think were I really shined where in the photos I took that night.  I of course would love to have a better lens that bigger aperture to shot in low light, but I think they came out rather well.

the highlight was the concert

After dinner stuck around the dinner table talking for a long while just relaxing.  That is probably the thing I love most about the beach house is the rush to do nothing.  There are not schedules, no time lines, nothing has to be done so we just sit around and relax.  Eventually the discussion turned to what to do at the witching hour of midnight.  We decided on a little bar hoping and got an early start, we left just after 10.  We wanted to grab our first drink at Fins which from last year we knew would close early.  Even though we arrived just after 10pm, the bar already took last call so we immediately walked out and headed across the street to Finbar.  Here they were remodeling in the off season and we got a preview of the new layout.  The big change was to move the bar close to the entrance and expanded it greatly to accommodate three times as many people.

The service here was not to great so we quickly finished our round and headed down to our local haunt for New Years, Dos Locos.  Here the crowd was lively and the place packed.  We were fortunate to grab two tables just as another group got up to leave.  The table was not yet cleared but we snatched it regardless.  Here was spent almost an hour as we drank a few rounds and rang in the new year with champagne.  After the hooping and hollering died down we headed back to the house to continue the celebrations.  Some more drinks and dancing, all of a sudden it was about 3am as everyone started dropping out for some much needed rest.

dance party

January 1 was a quite and lazy day for everyone.  I didn’t feel so hot for much of the morning and early afternoon, I should not have had that last whiskey sour with Matt.  That drink did me in, but it certainly was worth it.  We watched a lot of football and I was able to finish the book I was reading, Deception Point by Dan Brown.  As a matter of fact I don’t know if anyone even left the house that day.

By the time Sunday rolled around everyone was feeling good and back to life as we all headed back home.  Another successful New Years celebration.  We even got Nancy and my Dad to commit to another concert next year with an expanded list of songs.  Both committed to getting together once a month practice for the never-to-be-repeated-again concert event of the year.

See you all next year at the beach, have a wonderful new year everyone!