Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dinner last Saturday

Last Saturday, we were at the mall and saw the sushi conveyer belt.

But decided it would probably cost too much, was very generic sushi and would be weird smelling cinnabon while eating raw fish.

So we went to Sakana Sushi in Vienna VA.

Picking a new restaurant is difficult because there are so many to choose from. This one was recommended on the Washingtonian website for their "inventive" sushi. We picked some standards like spicy tuna and some that were a little more adventurous. One of the rolls had eel with a special sauce (that was way more spicy than the spicy tuna) and tempura shrimp. The other one had tempura flakes mixed in the rice so it had a fun crunch to it with a sweeter sauce. We'll definitely be going back again, it was yummy!
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Home entertainment

It is finaly done 42" LCD 1080p visio from costco, lg blueray player with builtin wifi, firefly, serenity, and star trek on blueray.

Now to enjoy my high def, last week watching the NFL playoffs was fun but now I can test the limits of the tv with a true HD source.

This was an excelent use of my year end bonus. Way better than paying off Christmas. (but I did that too just not with the bonus)!

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Manassas (Bull Run) Battlefield

Last Saturday, we decided to take in some Civil War History. The Manassas Battlefield (or Battle of Bull Run for us Yankees) is a 20 minute drive from our apartment. This was the first battle in the Civil War as well as the location of a second battle one year later.

Some of the many cannons around the park that show the positions of the different units.

Part of the large field.

The first battle was also where Stonewall Jackson received his nickname. The commanders who were trying to get their raw recruits to stay and fight pointed out the Jackson's troops stood as a stone wall so they should too.

The Henry house which was rebuilt after the war along with a monument built with debris from the battlefield by soldiers. Mrs. Henry was the only civilian casualty of the battle when she refused to leave her home.

According to the National Park Service:
During the war, the North generally named a battle after the closest river, stream or creek and the South tended to name battles after towns or railroad junctions. Hence the Confederate name Manassas after Manassas Junction and the Union name Bull Run for the stream Bull Run.

We learned another bit of interesting trivia about the McLean family. They lived near the battlefield and had their home overtaken by the Confederate troops who used the house as a headquarters and the barn as a hospital. Since their home was mostly destroyed in the battle, they moved "far away" to Appomattox Court House. Their front parlor became the location where the peace treaty was signed. So, the same family was involved in the beginning and the end of the war.

Monday, January 11, 2010

National Gallery of Art

On Saturday, we visited the National Gallery of Art. Students throughout the building were working on sketches.

The entrance had a large number of spring bulbs. It was a cold winter day outside, but toasty warm in the entrance.
The building was the largest marble structure in the world when built in 1941. It was an amazing building. Each section was slightly different, but all beautiful.

Degas models that he created in the process of making the larger sculptures. Interesting to see how the process evolves from these simple wax to the following...

Degas ballerina.

Amazingly ornate nativity scenes!

This one looked familiar after visiting Mount Vernon. The museum also had a large number of Gilbert paintings including the one of George Washington that we are all familiar with.

The wood floors and architecture of each room complimented the contents.

Probably Ryan's favorite part....A huge waterfall in the concourse beneath the building.

Cold walk back to the metro. But the clear skies were perfect for pictures of the Capital Building and...

the Washington Monument.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Using Christmas Presents

Ryan's new Keurig coffee maker was put to use as we try to adjust to Eastern Time again. The present stayed in the apartment for Christmas, so he didn't get to open it until we came back. Even though it was 1am, he set it up so it would be ready for use the first morning. It's now close at hand in his office so he can have one cup fresh every morning.

Melany has been experimenting with her new Cricut scrapbooking machine. I had to test the claim as to whether or not it cut fabric (and make a birthday present for my dad at the same time - too bad this picture might be the only thing that arrives by his birthday).
Step 1. Fit the Cricut box into a suitcase to bring back to the apartment.
Step 2. Navigate through rush hour traffic to get to the store to buy the fabric.
Step 3. Wait for the new fabric to wash and dry
Step 4. Iron the Wonder Under to the fabric.
Step 5. Set up the Cricut and pick the correct paper size and decide what size to make the item.
Step 6. After several test runs, the best configuration is fabric side down, Wonder Under paper side up (leave the paper on). Press the fabric firmly to the adhesive on the cutting mat. Change speed to the minimum and pressure to the maximum. Use fingers to hold down fabric as it cuts so that the fabric doesn't slip. Remove from Cricut and use small sharp scissors to cut any parts that got missed when the paper backing got in the way.
Step 7. Put off to another night when the project will have to be sewed together.