Monday, June 7, 2010

June 4, Day 6: DC

June 4, Day 6: DC

I used to think that everything was just being funny but now I don't know. I mean, how can you tell?

I never said most of the things I said.

Pics: THB hard at work at Nats Park (courtesy of Bev), DB hits another art jewelry gallery, Nationals ballpark including DB and Honcho Howard.

We take a hot, steamy walk to Pain Quotidien for breakfast, strolling a gorgeous Betheseda neighborhood. It is clear that a lot of the houses has been given the roid treatment and pumped up. As Bev explains, they are tearing down the old, smaller houses and building big new ones (BIG!) on these big lots, and selling them for around $2 million. That’s what just happened to the house behind them, the house is now in escrow. The lots are so big that even with a big house, there’s plenty of room for a nice yard and distance from neighbors. Breakfast flutes, muffin, berries, cafĂ© au lait (one, tooooo hot for me), $25.

We decide to repeat some of our trip to DC of 2.5 years ago; unfortunately nothing can be done about repeating the sub-30 degree weather, we are now in the low 90s with high humidity. First stop is Jewelerswerk, our only art jewelry stop of the trip. Bev is making jewelry now, and she and DB are connected on many levels. DB makes a purchase (in the pic, you might be able to see her new necklace).

One anecdote: it’s a small store, and at one point the owner takes a phone call and starts discussing the ups and downs of her daughter’s testing skills in what I can only guess is lower school (the owner is clearly an “old” mom). Besides the call being annoying to listen to, it also makes me realize how great it is to have grown up children and move on to totally different concerns, grown up concerns about jobs, money, partners, kids of their own, and most of which are now theirs to worry about and not mine (DB says moms cannot move on, the ties are too strong…or put another way, dads never get started on the concern path, so don’t have to hop off later!).

In the gallery district, we go to Rice for lunch, a mostly Thai spot, and share larb gai (diced chicken on lettuce leaves), green tea dumplings (great!), and veggie pad thai (excellent), and two Arnold Palmers, $45.

We stop in a few galleries, and then in a little small space chat up a guy who is doing lots of small projects around the country related to the confluence of art and helping foster community and sustainable eating. He’s heard the author of Farm City, Novella Carpenter, talk; her book takes place near us in Oakland (a great read, highly recommended), knows about Outstanding in the Field (not a non-profit!), and small urban gardens (like the one Joel has created out our back window in E-ville).

Back to Bethesda on the Metro (an aged version of Bart), and then out to the ballpark. Lots of traffic, so THB is making Bev and DB crazy about getting there only 1 hour early. Mack is smart, he takes the Metro from work! We arrive, and the tour begins.

We interrupt this blog to announce that the game was NOT rain delayed. It did rain during the game, at Bev and Mack’s house! Somehow, we have fooled the god of thunder (for one day).

The Nationals ballpark: no sponsor! It has 4 levels, a very large first level, a bit of grass in centerfield for the hitters’ background, and a few bronze statues beyond left field. One of the three is DB’s favorite player from the good old days: Frank Honcho Howard, who still holds the career record for homers by a Washington ballplayer (and here I thought it was Tab Hunter).

It’s almost full, the largest crowd since opening night, 33,000 here for fireworks (and anticipating the #1 draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, might be making his major league debut: people have been buying up tickets for the entire homestand. Didn’t happen for us, he starts next week.). I liked Comerica and PNC parks better, though not by much.

We had great seats, bought off Craigslist. We are right behind home plate in the second deck. Cushions built into the seats! Air conditioned concession stand behind us. Damn nice! Speciality food: a soft, chewy, oily, salty pretzel from Noahs; not bad, though pricey at $5.25 each. Kielbasa with kraut, Italian sausage (with everything), two beers (no micro-brews, DB unsuccessfully scoured the stadium for some), and a gratefully found and retrieved Gifford’s ice cream mid-game, total $40.

The game: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, did the game go on and on and on in the heat and humidity. The Reds (the FIRST place Reds, a phrase not heard in many a year) are in town, and the Nats color is red, so it isn’t easy to tell the teams apart. Harang and Livan were their usual throw-a-ton-of-pitches selves, and tons of runners, most of whom did not score. Slowwwwwwww. Many pitching changes, two different times for just one batter.

Two outfield plays made the difference: in the 7th, the Reds leftfielder dropped an easy one and two runs scored as a result. Two batters later, there was a sac fly, and the Nats shortstop got thrown out after the umps conferred and overruled a safe call at third base (needless to say, we still have no idea what happened to get the umps to confer, since they seemed to decide to do so on their own).

The other big play: Micah Owings (great hitting pitcher, now used in relief) hits for himself in a big situation and slaps a liner down the right field line and the Nats right fielder made a great sliding catch to prevent two runs (phew…..we are all praying to the other non-thunder gods to avoid extra innings at all costs).

Game time: Over three and a half longgggg hours, without the Nats batting in the bottom of the ninth. Shades of playoff games or any Yankees – Red Sox matchup.

Finally the game ends, ten minutes to get ready, and a delightful, short, fireworks show, with music playing by local E-ville band, Green Day.

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