Sunday, March 30, 2008

An eventful weekend!

On Friday I walked the tidal basin and savoured the cherry blossoms... so beautiful! I also go to see the Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials. I particularly like the Roosevelt memorial... it's a little more modern looking and very welcoming.

On Saturday afternoon I met up with Maria (another intern from work) in the mall and we checked out the kite festival then went to the Natural History museum. The kites were so beautiful and there were so many. Our favourite was one that looked like legs--quite comical flying up next to the Washington Memorial.

After burgers for dinner we met up with Doug and Matt (also interns) to see the NSO at the Kennedy Center. It was an absolutely amazing concert! They did 2 chamber orchestra pieces: Stravinsky and Poulenc, both interesting and fun. They did Shostakovich symphony no. 6--which was violent and loud mixed with the most incredible exposed winds and solos. Early in the piece there is an incredible piccolo solo accompanied only by 1st chair second violin (I think it was) and the basses, and it totally took my breath away. They also did the Prokofiev piano concert no. 1 with a Canadian Pianist from Montreal. It was spectacular and powerful.

After the symphony, Doug, Matt and I went to see some jazz at Twins on U st. It was a fun show too.

This morning J found out that the offer she made on a house in Greenbelt was accepted! We've been celebrating all day. Also, she's teaching me how to play violin. I'm determined to learn how to fiddle. I'm not very good yet, and my bowing hand keeps cramping. It's fun though, and I think I'll pick it up pretty quickly.

This evening is Sacred Harp at Strathmore Mansion. I hope it's good!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Planet B-Boy...

... is a great movie! The interns all got free tickets to see this movie downtown tonight and we all loved it. See the official website here.

After the movie we ate burritos on the patio (or "party" as M said) of a cute little mexican take-out place. I love-love-love spring!

La India Canela

She's a merengue tipico accordionist from the Dominican Republic, and we just released her fantastic new CD yesterday. It's really high energy merengue with a very traditional sound. It will definitely make you want to dance!

Here is the feature I published on her yesterday to Smithsonian Global Sound (There are 2 great video clips).

Here is where you can download her album.

I got to meet her a couple of times around the office, which was very cool. On Monday night there was a big reception for her at the DR embassy, which, as an intern, I wasn't on the list for, but sounded like great fun. Sadly, I didn't get her autograph... but I'm not a particularly star-struck sort of girl.

Check out her album!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

This has been a fantastic Easter! Yesterday I headed out to a farm in Virginia with some friends from the Baltimore Sacred Harp singing for a sunrise Easter service at the local 18thC Anglican chapel. We arrived early and got to spend some time with the new baby lambs and go for a walk around the property. After a fantastic dinner we did some singing, relaxing and chatting. We got up very early in the morning to bundle up and head to the old stone church in the dark. The service was small but very lovely, and it was fun to sing in such and old place.

After the service we headed back to the farmhouse for a feast of a breakfast, more singing, and an Easter egg hunt. On Saturday afternoon we coloured the eggs, and then the family went out and hid them for the scavenger hunt. My team came in second and my prize was a pretty little pitcher/vase. We spend more time walking around outside and eating, then headed back to town this afternoon.

Now I'm just relaxing before some friends come over to join us for a turkey dinner that J and her mom have been busily preparing all weekend while I was off galavanting the the sheep.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Boobies and Twinkies

I went to my first burlesque show last night at Palace of Wonders. It was great fun! The show was called Gilded Lily (I believe they are a troupe of performers). They seemed a little bit amateur at times, and the performances lacked some variety, but they managed to entertain quite well. One of the girls in particular, Sable Sin Cyr, struck me as having a very classic burlesque look... like in the old black and white movies.

There was a lot of dancing, elaborate costumes, and colourful nipple tassles. As sexy as it got, they were never totally nude, and they didn't stay on stage very long once the nipple pasties were exposed. Much more classy than the typical strip show I think. Also, the MC was a chubby guy in a red polyester Elvis costume who told bad jokes in between the performances. Gave a definite lightness to the evening.

Surprisingly (to me) the audience was more than half female, and many of them seemed very unlikely sorts to be at such a racy show. I think it really made the experience more comfortable to have such a varied audience... sort of reminded me of the Commercial in Edmonton that way, but with many fewer creepy old guys.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thinking food

Today at work one of the other interns asked me if I'm a health nut because we were discussing the kinds of food we like to prepare and eat, and I talked about how I feel really uncomfortable choosing processed foods. This got me thinking. I don't believe that I'm a "health nut," but I definitely think hard about everything I eat.

I've developed a food philosophy based on trying to maximise the amount of nutrition I take take in for each portion of food that I eat. I avoid empty calories and try to incorporate the "superfoods" that contain a variety of things my body needs in order to balance my diet. I don't calorie count and I don't focus on making sure I get a specific amount of meat/fruit/bread/veggies/etc.

On the other side of my philosophy is the fact that I really enjoy eating and I want every bite to count. I try not to eat things that don't satisfy my palate, and this keeps me from over-indulging and snacking on candy bars. I prefer to use high quality, fresh ingredients and prepare them myself. Not only does it taste better than package food, it doesn't contain all of those chemicals and preservatives that make me feel crappy.

So, I'm decidedly not a health nut because I do give in often and eat delicious food that is not particularly healthy with no remorse. I'm just especially aware of what I put into my body and how different foods make me feel, so I adjust my diet accordingly.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Board Games

After several fun games nights here, I'm learning that I love board games! But not all of them, my favourites are the ones with maps and strong visual elements, and those that are fast paced. Settlers of Catan is a lot of fun, but a pain to set up and kind of slow. I think Carcassonne is my favourite new game that I've learned, I'll need to buy that when I get home I think. Last night I played Ticket to Ride with some friends from Edmonton. That one is fast and competitive, which worked well for my style.

Games nights are definitely on my list of things to start doing when I get back to Edmonton, along with weekly trips to the farmer's market and more home-cooked meals.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St. Patrick's Day...

...was, in fact, yesterday. It seems that most of us didn't get the memo that it was changed. I actually got the wrong memo and was told it was on Friday. Many people I talked to were in disbelief that St Patrick's day could be moved, but if you think about it as a Catholic holiday rather than a day for drinking green beer and dressing in ridiculous clothes, it makes a lot of sense. Easter holy week begins today and they didn't want the saint's feast to overlap with holy week stuff.

"While religious celebrations honoring St. Patrick are affected, religious and secular authorities stressed this would not change secular festivities. The St. Patrick's Festival Committee in Dublin confirmed that next year's parade would be March 17 as usual."
--Catholic News Agency announcement.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Baltimore Adventure

Last night after work I took the MARC train out to Baltimore for a singing. It was small, but fantastic! There were about 10 people there and they were all very strong singers. It was quite a journey to get out there (about and hour and a half of traveling time each way) but it was definitely worth it! It helps that they are all such nice people. I'm really looking forward to the next singing in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Western MA pics

One of the other attendees at the convention sent out a link to her pictures on the fasola listserv. They give a much better idea of the convention than mine...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Western MA Singing

This was a fantastic singing! It was totally worth the trip. I flew up to Providence to meet K and J, then the 3 of us drove to Northampton on Saturday morning. There were over 400 people registered for the singing by the end of Sunday, but probably not more than about 350 at any given time.

I sat on the front bench for one session each day, which was very exciting. I especially love the really driving songs with strong beats, and the fast tunes (but not too fast!)

I met some fantastic singers from Baltimore, and I'm going to try a lot harder to get out to those weekly singings. They sound like so much fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pub Food

My new favourite pub food is crab cake sandwiches. Around here they are made with Maryland crab, in big flavourful chunks. They are so much tastier than any crab cakes I've ever had before! Usually it's just the crab cake with tomato, lettuce and tartar sauce. Always with fries. Yum!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Music and Wine

Two of my favourite things! On Friday I saw Pink Martini and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. It was fantastic! On Wednesday I'm going to be singing sea chanties at a pub in Wheaton, and this weekend I'm heading to the Western MA Sacred Harp convention. It's a very music-filled week, just the way I like it. There will certainly be pictures to follow soon...

I've been drinking far more red wine than I ever used to. I have two new favourites: Ravenswood Merlot and Affreschi Nero D'Avola. The merlot is very affordable (around $10 a bottle) and surprisingly complex and smooth. The nero d'avola is considerably less acidic than Zisola (the only other one I've ever tried), and made for an excellent sipping wine while also holding it's own with food. I've also become quite fond of Benziger Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, but these are more expensive and somewhat harder to come by.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Are in bloom! Amazingly, they have popped up in the grass around the city. Spring is just around the corner... Here are 2 photos of the crocuses in our front yard.

Also, here are some belated photos of President's Day, when Alexis and I ate the yummiest sandwiches ever on the mall. It was so warm when we ate, and then the clouds you see behind me blew in and it quickly got cold, windy and rainy. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful day.