4 New Things I Experienced This Weekend
BFF Caitlin came to visit me this weekend, and the first thing we did when she came in on Thursday night was to ravage Connecticut Avenue for comfort food. Caitlin had just ridden 5 hours from New York to see me, so we had a limited amount of time to search before she keeled over from lack of food. We ended up at Nam Viet, a (obviously) Vietnamese restaurant with kitschy décor and scratchy napkins. Fall had finally rolled out of bed that morning, and was lowering temperatures with a vengeance, so Caitlin and I both settled on bowls of vegetable noodle soup, or Pho. Not really knowing what to expect, we were presented with big, steaming tubs of rice noodles, crispy tofu, various soft veggies, and a broth that was salty heaven. We both dumped in copious amounts of a dark, sweet, plum-like sauce, as well as plenty of the accompanying hot, red, spicy sauce. The whole thing was SO GOOD. Like, Caitlin just slurped the soup straight out of the bowl, not even pausing to wipe her running nose and dripping eyes in her haste to fill her stomach with the warm, healthy, tasty broth. Our Pho experience was so wonderful that we went back again on Sunday—no points for originality on that one, but the food combined with the price ($4.75 for a satisfying bowl!) makes Nam Viet an easy, guilt-free choice. My recommendation: go check out your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and give their Pho a try! Make sure to taste their sauces and mix them in for an even more complex broth.
Frans’ service this weekend was the first funeral I’ve ever been to, and it was so terribly difficult that I hope many more years pass before I experience another one. I had been planning on attending Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore the Sanity (which was why Caitlin was in town in the first place), but I felt that celebrating Fran’s life and supporting the Crippen family was something I really needed to do. I arrived at the church in Conshohocken to find that it was standing room only—and only a little at that. So many people had come in honor of Fran (over a thousand!) that a live feed had been set up in a nearby school auditorium for the people who couldn’t fit into the church. If there was ever any question regarding the impact Fran had on lives all over the world, or of the true wonderfulness of the Crippen family, it was dismissed by the tremendous amount of love and support that came with the hundreds of people there. Fran had touched the lives of more people in his 26 years than most people do in 100—and it was a testament to his personality that all of those people came to one final celebration in his honor.
Me & Claire, JockJams party 2008
The service was achingly sad, with all the speakers and readings invoking wave after wave after tears. My heart hurt the most when I watched the Crippen sisters rise to deliver their gifts to the altar; seeing three backs where there should have been four was so incredibly heartbreaking that I had to look away. I watched my college coach–a strong, determined, unbending, fierce man–dissolve into tears and lean into his wife for support. I watched teammate after teammate crumple forward, as a neighboring hand reached out to pat their backs. And I watched Fran’s grandfather and namesake reach out from the pew where he was sitting and simply rest his hand on the casket, his wrinkled and arthritic fingers stroking the smooth wood gently.
A poem was read by one of the priests, titled The Dash Poem, about how one spends the years in their life, and I began wondering if I was happy with my 22 years. If I died tomorrow, would I be completely satisfied with the way I lived my life? What would I want to change? Who would I say one last goodbye to? Would I like the way people remembered me? If I died in 4 years in a way similar to Fran, would a thousand people come to my funeral?
3. Georgetown Cupcake
If you were in DC this weekend, you know that Sunday was GORGEOUS. Crisp, sunny, calm, and optimistic, it was the type of day that only comes around once a season. Caitlin and I slept in laaaaate, but finally dragged ourselves out of bed to go explore Georgetown. We metroed to Foggy Bottom, and thoroughly enjoyed the mile-ish walk. (However, we kept seeing people on their back from the Marine Corp Marathon, which had been held earlier that morning, most of them with bright medals around their necks and salty sweat crusted on their faces. As we watched them limp by, we felt increasingly guilty for our lazy morning.) We wandered along M street, running into Barnes & Noble so Caitlin could use their restroom, Dean & Deluca to oogle their high-end cheese cabinet, Anthropologie because it’s Anthropologie, J.Crew because I needed some work-appropriate flats, and the Annie Creamcheese Vintage Shop because it had the most extravagantly beautiful vintage dresses (I found a 1930s beaded, pleated, flowy masterpiece that I want to get married in). We also went to Georgetown Cupcake, because Caitlin had seen people with bags on the Mall at the rally on Saturday, and was determined to compare DC cupcakes to those of Crumbs in NYC. (Read more: A (really, really) sweet surprise). I didn’t realize this until a few weeks ago, but Georgetown Cupcake is the shop that’s on the TLC show “DC Cupcakes,” so it’s relatively famous–as demonstrated by the HUGE line out the door. We waited for about 20 minutes (for a cupcake!!!), but luckily the menu had a plethora of options to choose from.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer every flavor on every day. So, we were there on a Sunday, meaning we had the regular options, plus six that rotate every day.
So while I WANTED salted caramel (“caramel cupcake with a salted caramel-infused buttercream frosting topped with a caramel drizzle”), it was not available that day– I’d have to go back on a Tuesday. Instead, I settled for a peanut butter fudge cupcake (“valrhona chocolate cupcake with a fudge core topped with a peanut butter frosting and fudge star drizzle“), while Caitlin went for the classic strawberry (“classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake backed with fresh strawberries topped with a fresh strawberry frosting and a fondant heart“). After shelling out THREE DOLLARS for each cupcake, we snagged a table in the cramped shop and dug in.
While I enjoyed my cupcake (who doesn’t like a good cupcake?!), I felt that the long line plus the high price plus the small size made it nothing exceptional. The frosting was delicious and a wonderful fluffy consistency, but the cake part was something I could have made myself. The fudge core was novel (and delicious), but I have trouble paying three dollars for fudge and pb frosting–which my butt doesn’t need anyways. My recommendation: visit Georgetown Cupcake–once. Go for the novelty and the whole experience, but definitely check out the menu beforehand to see if the cupcake you want is even offered on the day you’re going.
4. Rocky Horror Picture Show
I borrowed this movie from work friend Michelle so that I would better understand the Rocky Horror episode of Glee (which I still haven’t watched), and finally popped it into my computer last night. I was not sure what to expect since Melissa told me she hated it and Michelle said the music was good but Andy/Tony told me the Glee version was bad and the cover has cross-dressing men on it, but about 15 minutes into the movie, I decided that I loved it. It is so over-the-top in its’ costumes and plot and music, but has such a smart undertone of eroticism and sexuality and politics that it appealed to both the analytical and impulsive sides of my brain. I wasn’t familiar with Tim Curry before but I thought he was wonderful, and Susan Sarandon (yes, she’s in it) played her character perfectly. It’s a film where you aren’t sure why exactly you like it, since it’s at once repulsive and sexy, but you know that you can’t stop watching it. Does the world depicted in Rocky Horror really exist somewhere? I’m sure the answer is yes, but a naive cookie-cutter white girl like me wouldn’t even know the first place to go looking for it. A movie like this lets me have a quick glimpse into the transvestite world without ever having to get close to it. My recommendation: watch it. Even though Halloween has already passed, the movie is a great one to watch at night with a roaring fire going in the background.
That’s all for tonight, Blog World. Hope you had a wonderful weekend full of clever costumes and oodles of candy.