Tag Archives: DC

conversations, part IV

19 Jun

At the end of April, Swede and I finally emptied the Walnut House of our belongings in preparation for the Great Closing and Move-In of ’13. In the span of 24 hours, and with the help of my dear friend Panda (who actually LIKES packing) (whuuuut?) (and without whom I would have had a total nuclear meltdown), we stuffed all of our remaining belongings (re: 95 percent of our stuff) in a UHaul, and drove it back to Chicago.

Including the cats.

To say that the two felines—one of whom had left Walnut House approximately never times—disliked the journey fro DC to Chicago would be a gross understatement. They yowled and molted all over the fucking place for the first 90 minutes of the trip, until blessedly Lady Gaga(1) gave up and crawled under Swede’s seat and did not reappear or make a sound for the next 14 hours.(2) The other one, Fat Ass,(3) finally calmed the hell down as well and rested on the seat between us for awhile until he felt he’d given me a sufficient allergy attack,(5) at which point he, too, crawled under the seat to hide. But unlike his silent cohort, Fat Ass would poke his head out(6) every once in awhile and meow, the cat version of “Are We There Yet?”

Each time he’d poke his head out, I took it as an opportunity to have a chat with him about the House Rules for our new home.

Me: Listen, they’re not terribly different from the last place, so you shouldn’t have any trouble following them.

Him: BlinkBlinkBlink

Me: Play dumb all you want, but there will be no jumping on the counters, no scratching of the furniture, and you are not allowed in the human sleeping quarters.

Him: Mrow?

Me: No, you are not. You do not get to make me allergic while I sleep.

Him: Mrow.

Me: Also, you should know that there is in fact a Kitty Jail in the new place. So when you start acting up, don’t think the Big Man with the Deep Voice won’t throw you in there.

Him: Meow.

Me: Except this time it’s a laundry room rather than a basement. And Guerilla Ninja Cat under the seat there will love it—there are all sorts of shelves she can climb and we’ll put things on them that she can hide behind. You, I suspect, will hate it.

Him: Blink

Me: On the plus side, there is a balcony where we will let you frolic, provided you don’t eat anything we plant out there. Just stay away from my chives and basil, okay?

Him: Mrow. BlinkBlinkBlink Mrow.

Me: No, don’t worry—the balcony is nothing like jumping out the back window.  First of all, there’s a barrier. Second, if you did jump off, you’d be screwed, because we’re three floors up. So I recommend you just hang out, sun yourself, and be your usual, lazy-assed self, okay?

Him: Mrow mrow.

Me: Great. Now go crawl under the seat and make sure Lady Gaga isn’t dead.

Him: Mrow.

Navigational Cat

Navigational Cat says get off at the next exit, he needs a frosty.



(1)Her name has been changed to protect her innocence tand reflect the fact that she’s not a little off-center.

(2)We were mildly worried that maybe she’d worked herself into such a later that she’d had a heart attack. Thankfully, she is just extremely skilled at Being Quiet. It is one of the many reasons I’m convinced she’s part guerilla warrior.

(3)His name has been changed to reflect his current state.(4)

(4)For the record, SWEDE gave him this moniker, I did not. It’s his cat, so he’s allowed.

(5)I made it all the way whopping way to Breezewood before wearing contacts was just too much to handle with my watering, puffy eyes, and I tossed them out and put on my glasses.

(6)In case you’re wondering why these cats weren’t tranq’d and travelling in carriers, I will only say this: we tried. It didn’t work very well. And Swede and I happen to quite like our skin without accompanying scars from where those assholes tried to cleave out the Grand Fucking Canyon with their claws.(7)


productive goal-keeping, or, if you’d like fries with that

21 May

Swede and I spent a month in DC this winter, and the night before we were to head back to Chicago, we happened to be cruising up Connecticut Avenue, just short of my old ‘hood.

“Medium Rare,” I pointed out to him as we drove past a strip of restaurants. “I hear it’s supposed to be good.”

“Want to go?” Swede asked. “We can go for dinner tonight.”

You guys, it’s true. I DO have a type. I obviously have taken to dating geniuses.

And also, five bonus points for spontaneous dinner outings!


Is there anything better?

Maybe spontaneous popcorn popping and movie night.

It’s a toss up, really.

We called a couple of friends to meet us and our awesome friend The Republican responded with great enthusiasm, as it seems that Medium Rare is one of her new favorite restaurants.

And after our visit there, I can understand why.

Restaurant #2 of 12: Medium Rare 


The Food. Now obviously, as I discussed with The Publican, I am wholly on board with meat. But unlike the Publican, Medium Rare specializes in one dish: Steak frites. And they do a superb job, simply superb. They butter you up with some crusty French bread, then serve up a lightly dressed mixed green salad, both of which are delicious, but then, then they get to the true highlight of the meal.

They’ll bring out your steak—cooked to order, of course—in two helpings, starting with one portion, drizzled with their secret sauce that is savory and smooth, slightly creamy, yes?, and essentially a tray of fries. (Which, of course, are made even better when dragged through the secret sauce.) And when you polish that off (And you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.) they bring you out the second portion of your steak. And then you can roll around in beefy ecstasy. (Again: you will. It’s okay. Embrace it.)

Whether or not you’ll be up for dessert, well, I can’t really say. We passed, but that’s not to say that the selection wasn’t tempting. I was just full of beef and didn’t want to ruin my steak high.

The Price. All that food I just mentioned? (Minus dessert.) $20. Yes, you read that correctly. Beverages not included. I’m not really sure you can find a better deal at such quality in DC.

Brick Walls. I’m a sucker for brick interior brick walls. There. I said it. And being that the restaurant is at ground level, the brick walls and open(ish) kitchen create an intimate environment.


Seating. The tables themselves are fine (though a bit on top of each other). My con on this one is that they won’t let you sit until all members of your party are there, which I find incredibly annoying and off-putting. As a patron, it tells me that you either think I’m cheap and I’m going to sit there drinking water for an hour waiting for the final member of my party to arrive or you only want me to be in your restaurant for as little time as possible so you can turn as many tables as possible. Neither of these are feelings you want to blanket your patrons with, and both are insulting, leaving me feeling like more chattel rather than a welcomed diner.

Service. At least, our server, whose name I’ve forgotten. But what I remember is that he was mildly surly and had a vague air of annoyance any time he had to come over to our table.

Service can really make or break a restaurant for me, and if the food was not so scrumptious, I probably wouldn’t return to Medium Rare. But the food is that good, and well worth plunking down $30 (tax, tip, all that stuff), and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

On a scale of one to Go?


Right now, in fact.

You won’t be sorry.

Take me with you?

Or maybe I’ll just see you there.

photo friday: viewing party

11 May


So when I mentioned that Swede and I went bowling at the White House, I left out the part about how he scored a strike on his first roll.

That’s right, all. I’m dating the Big Lebowski.

As such, we felt is on right that we celebrate with white russians afterward. Well, he celebrated with a white russian. I had a glass of cabernet.

Either way, the celebratory merriment happened at POV, where we’ve wanted to go for some time now. It’s often touted as having the best views in DC. “You can see into the Obama’s backyard!” is a common descriptor. And you…can…kind of. Really, you can see straight onto the roof of the Treasury. And from another vantage point you can see the Washington monument, the Capitol, planes landing at Reagan, and the general buzz of city life.

And it really is one of the best views I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, with the lights in the bar dimmed, and the lights outside glowing bright.

“This is a pretty great view,” Swede and I agreed.

And as an added bonus, we got to cross one more place off our ever-growing list of “Places To Go And Things To Do.”

photo friday: shoes to fill

13 Apr

For those of you who know me on the Facebook, you know from whence this photo comes. For those of you who do not, these are presidential bowling shoes you’re looking at.

After we returned from vacation, Swede and I hit up the Truman Lanes at the White House for some bowling. Before you get your laces in a knot, his high school alumni group sponsored the event.

I totally should have just lied to you right then and been all, “Oh, yah, we bowl with Barry and Michelle twice a month. How do you think Michelle got those guns of hers?”

But I’m not a very good liar.

So there’s the truth.

I’m also not much of a thief, and Sister #1 was disappointed that I didn’t walk out with these shoes on.

“I make it a policy not to bogart shit from the White House,” I said.

She said I should rethink my policies.


march photo challenge: day thirty-one

7 Apr

Today’s theme: END

Where she stops, nobody knows.

photo friday: wherein it’s time for happy hour

16 Mar

Back on President’s Day, Swede, his roommate and I took a trip out to Catoctin Creek distillery as part of Swede’s birthday extravaganza, and, well, because we are partial to tours that hand us free booze at the end.

Thankfully, this was pre-Lenten promise to not drink during the week, though to be honest, I’m not much of a straight hard booze drinker, and handed off most of my samples to Swede. Except for the sample of bourbon maple syrup.

That one I kept for myself.

And then immediately wanted to eat a short stack or a plate of silver dollars.

Yes, it was that good.

(For the record, however, what you’re seeing in the glass is not maple syrup. It’s Catoctin’s Roundstone Rye, which, if you’re a rye drinker, is apparently pretty delicious. Me, I preferred their gin, and no, not a soul from Catoctin Creek is paying me to day that. Of my own volition I will tell you that if you’d like a boozy good time, pay those friendly distillers a visit. You won’t be sorry.)

photo friday: shminter

24 Feb

To say that this winter has been mild would be an understatement. The past couple weeks we’ve been in DC have been especially warm, though that hasn’t ended sightings of commuters bundled up in scarves, gloves and hats as they bustle to and fro. Which means that hasn’t ended me rolling my eyes at said commuters and yelling, “It is 50 degrees outside! This is not Antarctica! It’s not even Alaska! Their mountains are much bigger!”

Okay, I didn’t really yell that. Except that one time, at that one girl. But it was in my head, so I don’t think it really counts.

And so now, at the risk of bringing another snowpacolypse down on our heads, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Happy Spring, everyone!

And I swear to God if I see you walking through McPherson Square bundled up like Nanook of the goddamned North I will crack you upside the head.

conversations, part 1

20 Feb

Swede and I have been spending some time in DC, partaking in the joys of the Walnut House’s front porch, swigging cocktails, thinking deep thoughts, creating a ruckus, and in general annoying the shit out of his cats.

What the-- Are you f-ing with me? Dammit, why didn’t anyone TELL me you were coming back? Shit.

I’m not joking you guys. We showed up at midnight, right after the Super Bowl, tired and vaguely sore from sitting in a car for 12 hours and eyes strained from reading road signs along the Penna Turnpike because unless you suddenly decide to take up arms and go on a sno-ball binge at every rest stop you come across, there is not a damn thing that makes driving through Pennsylvania interesting. And we walked in to two cats who were, in a word, Pissed.

And since then, they’ve continued to be Pissed. This is not abnormal, of course. Since Swede and I started dating they’ve been irritated. The one doesn’t get why I don’t love him, and the other one is angry that I’ve stolen her man. A) I’m allergic and 2) OPPOSABLE THUMBS.

But now, they’re mostly pissed at Swede for leaving them for two months, though it’s just silliness, if you ask me, because let’s face it—they were left in the care of Swede’s very capable and fabulous roommate, who loves these furballs tremendously and does not ever throw them in Kitty Jail for being annoying like Swede does.

As of late, I’ve tried my best to make peace with the cats. The one, whom I like to call Lady Gaga because she’s freaky and kind of a diva, and I have reinstated our long-standing agreement that we will not bother each other and stay out of each others’ way, and she can continue to be irritated with me and I will continue to sneeze whenever she’s around.

But the other one. Well. We’ve been having a lot of conversations lately that are not unlike negotiating with a mute toddler.

Me: Seriously, dude, stop meowing. You have food in your bowl. Oh. I see you barfed in your bowl. Awesome. Well done you.

Him: * blink *  * blink  *


Me: Stop eating the flowers.

Him: Meow?

Me: Yes, now.

Him: Mrrrw.


Me: No, you can’t go outside. The last time you jumped out the back window all you did was walk around to the front of the house and show up on the front porch looking confused.

Him: Mrow.

Me: Well it’s not my fault you’re not adventurous.

Him: * blink *  * blink *


Me: I know you like the roommate better than me. YOU MAKE ME ALLERGIC. It’s all I can do to stay in the room with you sometimes. Not because of the allergies, though. Just because you’re you. Why can’t you be like the other one, and skitter away when I walk in the room? WHY DON’T YOU FEAR ME?

Him: * blink *  * blink *


Me: Listen, dude, I know you wish Swede would dump me and date a chick who likes cats and who is not made allergic by them. But the heart wants what it wants. And his heart wants me. And I want you declawed.

Him: Mrow?

Me: That’s what you get for scratching up my shit while I’m gone. And you can warn the other one, too, when you have your next catnap, i.e. when I know you two are acting like you’re napping but are really plotting how to kill us in our sleep. I’ve got my eye on you, you know. OPPOSABLE THUMBS, BITCHES.

Him: * blink *

I’ve got my eye on YOU, woman. Be afraid, be very afr-- Wait, is that new food?

photo friday: things past

5 Aug

I got a new laptop this week, and am mid-process of having half my stuff available to me, and the other half stuck on my old laptop, which I can only use sparingly because The Swede took my power cord back to DC with him, and, well, my battery on that laptop is for shit.

But that’s neither here nor there. What IS here is that I was going through some old photos on an external hard drive and came across this one, which is from a trip to a place that would become my absolute favorite winery in Virginia, Aspen Dale.

The Swede and I first went out there around(ish) this time last year, and I fell in love. You know how wine people always tell you to “drink that with red meat” or “sip this with a soft cheese,” or “for God’s sake, woman, stop guzzling”? The treat of Aspen Dale is that they actually GIVE you a plate of little bits of food that pair well with their wines, like a small piece of pheasant sausage, or a chunk of dark chocolate, a small round bite of goat cheese.


The grounds were simply gorgeous as well, which sealed my love. So much so that it was the last stop on my Go Away Wine Tour 2011 in March that The Swede arranged for me and the gals.

But I hope it won’t be the last stop forever. Something that good and wonderful should be experienced over and over and over, as many times as possible.

photo friday: beer me

11 Mar

If you pay attention to any of the food and booze news around DC, then you’re probably aware that the District and its surrounding environs are starting to explode with local breweries. It’s the yin to the Virginia and Maryland wine country’s yang, if you will. We hit up the newest one to open a couple weekends ago called Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria. Good beer, take-home growlers, friendly staff, and an awesome way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I’m so glad this place opened up….right when I’m moving back to Chicago….tomorrow. Isn’t that always the way?