Mount Vernon

At my mom’s request, we made the trip out to Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington, on Sunday. Located at the end of the GW Parkway , MV is located about 15 scenic miles outside of DC, on the banks of the Potomac River. We picked up Mom, Eric, and Marie from the hotel, packed everyone into our little blue Fit, Richard Simmons, and set off on our exciting drive. Despite missing the exit for the GW Parkway and having three potentially very motion-sick people in the back seat, we arrived in one piece on a gorgeous fall day.

The Potomac

Admission to MV is currently $13 for adults, but SB and I paid $5 extra each for an annual membership, which means that in the future we can go out, pay no admission, and perhaps just pay for extras like the Potomac River cruise. $13 for one day is kind of steep, but $18 for one year – even if we only go one more time – is totally worth it.Upon admission (and the most terrible ID photos ever), we were greeted by this sheep:

yawn

OK, OK, the sheep didn’t actually have much to do with anything, but he was one of the first things we saw. One of the really exemplary aspects of MV is the work that has been done to educate visitors about MV as an estate, not just as the home of the first President. At its peak, the estate included 8,000 acres and 5 distinct farming/development areas – there are four acres currently dedicated to a working farm.

In 1860, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought up the property and set to work preserving and restoring the building and the grounds. We skipped the mansion, but Mom said it was totally worth waiting in the long line. We opted to sit on the veranda.

Mount Vernon

I wouldn’t have been surprised if the estate had whitewashed the fact that the Washingtons had owned slaves – this is the sort of revisionist history that is to be expected – but evidence of the slaves – their quarters, their graves, and Washington’s will stating that the slaves were to be released – was well integrated into the estate and its educational materials. In addition to the family graves, there was a quiet memorial for the slaves nearby.

Day 112 - 11/11/07

After the memorials, we walked down the slope to the boathouse and the shore of the Potomac. The entire day was gorgeous and informative – with the exception of Washington’s teeth.

Smile!

Washington apparently had horrific teeth – through no fault of his own (as far as we read). He spent a great deal of money on dental work, and at the time of his inauguration, he only had one tooth remaining. He had eight complete sets of dentures in his lifetime, one of which is on display in the education center. None of them were made of wood, but all of them were pretty gross.

ow ow ow ow

I started a new weight training routine last night, and omg, I can hardly walk today. It’s pretty ridiculous. I had planned to run on the off nights – I very nearly finished week 3 of Couch to 5K before succumbing to a lingering miserable cough almost two weeks ago and am eager to start back up – but I may have to take a few days to let my legs start working again first.

“The best bad job you can have”

Jenny B sent me a link to this article last week, which made me think about how much I really do miss working at Aroma. It was a crappy job that wore me out, but I really enjoyed working with fun people (most of the time) and talking to random customers (most of the time) throughout the day. I miss doing a mindless job and doing it well, drinking all the coffee I could handle, getting a free meal, and grabbing drinks with coworkers after work.

I think the days of mindless jobs are behind me, at least for the time being, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look back on them fondly.

I am old.

Why can’t shows start before 10pm?!  Don’t they know that I have to get up for work in the morning?  I am old and will therefore miss this show on Thursday (as listed on DCist):

>> Federico Aubele combines an eclectic mix of American musical styles including reggae, hip hop, bolero and tango. Both of his albums Gran Hotel Buenos Aires (2003) and the 2007 release Panamericana, were produced by Thievery Corporation. Tonight he’ll be at the Eighteenth Street Lounge.

Lunch at Oyamel

My mom and brother were in town for the weekend, and after a busy morning of the farmers’ market and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, we grabbed lunch at Oyamel on 7th, not terribly far from the Mall or the museums, and appetizing enough to tempt my 11 year old brother away from fast food.

Day 111 - 11/10/07

Despite some early confusion – we were given the brunch menu as we arrived at the tail end of brunch service (2ish), but they were in the process of switching over to a different menu, so when my brother ordered a chicken caesar salad, he was told that while they still had caesar salads, they couldn’t make the chicken caesar – it was overall a very nice meal. Oyamel’s thing, as far as I can tell, is antojitos – tapas-like street food.

Cayo de hacha con salsa de pepitas de calabaza

After the initial mis-ordering, my brother had a fine, if somewhat overdressed caesar salad. Shane had scallops with pumpkin seeds, pumpkin puree, and some other pumpkin derivative. I’m learning to appreciate seafood after years in the midwest, and I can confidently say that they were some of the best scallops I’ve had.

Pollo con mole poblano

I had a tiny half chicken in a mild and delicious mole sauce (can I tell you how consistenly I am amused by mole sauce? I always want it to be ‘mole’ and not ‘mol-ay’.) with plantains and rice, and Mom had a light chicken soup with fresh veggies and avocado.

Caldo Tlalpeño

Really, though, the highlight of the whole meal was the fresh guacamole, prepared at the table and horribly photographed by me. The server brought out a large mortar and pestle, a couple of halved avocados, and several mis en place bowls with spices and other additions. After asking us how spicy we’d like our guac, he tossed in the appropriate additions, mashed it all up with a lot of lime juice, and served it in directly from the mortar, along with lightly seasoned tortilla chips.

In looking for dining options for the weekend, I learned that there had previously been an Oyamel location in Crystal City, which is terribly disappointing for me as that area’s more convenient for our regular dining than is 7th. I do hope to go back, though, as the food was wonderful, the space charming, and I’m sure we’ll be able to enjoy both more thoroughly without an 11 year old in tow.