Scenes from a truffle party (and item from the Sabot auction) led by Holly Timberline and hosted by Kathryn Gammino in her beautiful home. We worked in teams of two, creating a flavored ganache, using different combinations of chocolates and various liquors and concentrates like espresso, raspberry liqueur, and hazelnut liqueur. After the chocolate cooled, we rolled our ganache in various toppings like chopped pistachio or cocoa powder. Each woman brought home a dozen assorted truffles. YUM.
Holly instructs us on proper technique for preparing the ganache emulsion.
Kathryn and kids heating cream; Christy and Erin inspecting their emulsion.
Shannon and Kathryn's mother-in-law (whose name I have forgotten, shamefully) look on while Zoe spreads flavored ganache in a pan to cool; Sarah hams it up while stirring our perfect emulsion (go team!).
Christy and Erin consider whether their flavoring is quite potent enough; every one enjoys wine and a spring evening while waiting for the ganache to cool.
Truffle-making gets messy...
Chopping candied orange peel and feeling elated as we finish the job.
Check out how HUGE that trophy is. And you'll never guess what it's for. Well, aside from the fact that I'm writing this six months after the fact and you probably already know. Whatever. Pretend you're clueless and then pretend you're amazed.
Last winter, Dan, Adam, and Ben, along with three more of Ben's friends (Richard, Mark, and Paul), got together to form a trivia team. Yes, trivia. You don't know how hot trivia is right now? Hot. HOT. Trust me. Not just trivia, but tavern trivia. Apparently people get together at bars on specific nights of the week and compete against one another to see which groups of friends possess the most arcane knowledge. I'm pretty sure this is an excuse to continue our EW subscription and have a weekly pub night with the guys. I'm also pretty sure that all of the affiliated significant others are completely thrilled that our husbands have a regular social outlet. (Plus, their bar is the historic Patric Henry Pub on Church Hill, so this is also culturally enriching. Pub motto: "Let the revolution begin!")
They named their team "Redd Foxx Danger," after a drawing by Ben's first-grader daughter Sophia, created after viewing the animals at Maymont and titled Red Fox: Danger! but with spelling borrowed from comedian Redd Foxx. Yes, our darling husbands combined the innocent creativity of a young girl with an homage to a man who once delivered a routine called "You've got to wash your ass."
Teammate Richard - who is often called "Richard the Lawyer" in our house, in that "you know Richard? The lawyer?" kind of way - doodled this fox on a napkin at some point. They made mugs. I believe it may also have been used in their official team flag. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
As if a social life for the men weren't good enough, it turned out that they kicked some trivia ass during the winter season, thereby earning the right to participate in the 2010 World Tavern Trivia National Championships. Yes, tavern trivia has national championships. Yes, I'm as surprised as you are. No, this was apparently not a clever cover story on the part of the menfolk to have an excuse for a weekend away from their families, drinking and gambling. As Ben pointed out, if they were lying, they would have picked somewhere awesome for the fictitious show-down, not Atlantic City. Mmmmm, New Jersey.
Oh yeah, and they had to have a team flag. So that's where the whole fox-on-flag thing comes in. And now I believe I've closed that little open loop.
In case any of us don't truly believe a story that includes "honey, I have to find a Hawaiian shirt for a trivia championship being held at a casino", here's the proof, copied from the World Tavern Trivia website:
Oh, did I mention they WON? Holy crap! I'm married to a trivia champion! That should be good for...um...impressing...um...
But in all seriousness, they had an awesome time, and they busted some cheaters who were copying off their paper but who weren't bright enough to catch that perhaps the paper they were copying off of was a decoy, and that blue and yellow do not make mauve. Seriously, they fell for that. And yes, THEY WON (not the cheaters, our boys from home)! And those of us who tended the home fires while they were gone ("home fires" refers to toddler shenanigans, yes?) are SO PROUD of them. Even if it took us 6 months to blog it.
There was a HUGE trophy made of plastic and shiny holographic paper and spattered with something sticky that we will just continue to tell ourselves is beer, and I believe somewhere there is a grainy cell phone picture of Adam kissing it (the trophy, not the beer, although he probably kissed some of that, too), and the idea was that it would live with each family for a week before finding its final place of glory over the bar at Patrick Henry, but I think it stalled somewhere on its victory tour of RFD homes.
It is not, for the record, stalled at my house. Our house was the first stop, though.
As part of their winnings (which also included $5K in cash, split six ways, which pretty much covered their trip and prevented some ATM trips), the guys are invited back to the 2011 tournament, regardless of how they perform this year. Although for that matter, they tied for first in Spring 2010 and performed admirably in Fall 2010. I mean, who knows how they'll do, because this post is of course being written in May. MAY. Riiiiight.
Congrats, Redd Foxx Danger!
(left to right: Richard, Dan, Adam, Mark, Paul, Ben)
It's still September, nevermind what the post date says. I'm working like a dilligent half-assed archaeologist, digging through resized photos (mantra: if it was important enough to resize, I must have intended to blog it) in a near-futile effort to reconstruct something resembling a storyline from 4 months ago. I would say my memory's not what it used to be, except that it's exactly what it used to be, and therein lies the problem.
I've always been a person who forgets things until the photos are developed, and then goes, "oh, yeah, Dan's parents visited us in April. Or at least the historical record indicates as much." Because really, while I know they visited us, I'd be hard-pressed to pin a month on it in my memory. Don't judge.
The historical record also seems to indicate that we dined together at Cracker Barrel, where Griffin and Rodger worked intently together on a logic puzzle, the identity of which lies beyond the grasp of the family's best historians.
The record indicates that this was the day of the legendary roast Baa III: the wrath of lamb. Ok, there was no wrath. There was, however, rack of lamb. As well as the rest of it. And again, my memory being what it is, I knew that the Hardys had attended with us but could not recall the month. This is the beauty of EXIF data. So long as you can hover a mouse, your memories will never be lost to you.
Doesn't that lamb look tasty? It was. I'm much better at remembering flavors and textures than names and dates.
Other highlights included:
More children than you can shake a stick at. (I'll wait while you get a stick and try. Can't do it, can you?)
Luke bonking his head. Ok, more like a lowlight. But I liked the parental consolation in the photo and I'm pretty sure Luke has recovered from this trauma enough for me to make light of it. (Adam? Sarah? Too early?)
(Whoa, I hadn't seen Adam without a full beard in a while.)
Shots of my friend Amy from her birthday yoga-and-art retreat. Such an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
I think Amy felt pretty good about this afternoon!
Our friend, yoga instructor Aimee. She leads a kick-ass class!
Another friend here today, Gina, is also a yoga instructor, and I was awe-inspired by her form.
I met Jonah about a year ago at the botanical gardens and since then have discovered that our social circles overlap in about a million ways. She is one very talented writer, artist, and social networker!
Heidi and one of the amazing works of art produced this afternoon (mine isn't done yet, and wasn't nearly this cool...I'll stick to photography for a while yet). She taught us to look for - and paint - darker areas and then work up through the tones in a painting. Really, really different approach for me, and something I'll carry with me forever, I think. Thank you to these talented women, and happy birthday, Amy!
I just think this shot of Adam & Luke during FamDin at our house is THE CASH MONEY. I mean, clone mask, glass of wine, toddler on lap, tired parental smirk...something tells me it's awesome. Funny, do you get the same feeling?
I originally met Carolina through the local chapter of Attachment Parenting International and re-met her through Sabot (Griff and her son Quin were in the Garden Room in 2006-7 together) and then again through the Richmond Natural and Attached Parenting boards/group. She has started a nature club through NAP and every now and then we manage to make it to a meeting. Today, the group got together at Larus Park, which is a little wild patch of forest with dirt paths that's tucked between the neighborhood where my in-laws are moving and the campus for Sabot at Stony Point.
(Oh, wait - I just searched the blog and realized that I probably haven't mentioned (bizarrely) that Dan's parents are building a house in James River Crossing, a new neighborhood on the Southside. Excepting the 3 years in which the Huguenot bridge will be closed, they'll be about 15 minutes away from us. They're keeping their St. Louis house for the time being and anticipate splitting their time between there and here. We're pretty psyched about it.)
So, Larus Park: VERY cool. Very wild, very shady, very green. If you walk about a mile, you reach a little creek. My understanding is that the creek can be reached more quickly from the Sabot campus.
Aside from all three kids getting terrorized by over-enthusiastic dogs who weren't on leashes (READ THE SIGNS, PEOPLE), we had a great time. Xander and Reese explored the banks of the creek, Griff hung out with Quin and Scott, and I was in heaven trying to photograph a million and one tiny inchworms. They were everywhere.
Now that we know about Larus Park, I'm sure we'll visit again!
First river adventure of the year! I thought it might be a nice day to have a toddler-friendly wade in the shallower parts of the James - namely, the creek-like portion that splits off and runs South of 42nd Street Island. I put out the call, attracted a couple of friends (Johannah, Sara K), and headed out. Well, OOPS. The sleepy July creek is more of a mountain river at this time of year. Fast-flowing, full, without many places to sit or footholds/handholds. This was a little on the stressful side for parents of 2 y/os, but everybody had fun. Griff LOVED getting to see Mia and finding deep water (exhibit A, above). I enjoyed hanging out with other adults in those brief moments when I wasn't scrambling to save Xander's life or spot him when he wanted to cross the river on a log. Reese is fairly independent, especially since he likes to stick to the rocks. Nice to see how much more laid-back Sara can be with three kids who are older (3, 6, 13 compared to my 2, 4, 7). My time is coming, right? And until then, her son TJ may just be a great babysitter...
Richmond's art community has a monthly "First Fridays" artwalk that includes lots of open galleries, gallery openings, performances, etc. I've considered going many times but so far have never actually gone. This time around, Amy was looking for somebody to go with and two of our friends - Heidi Field-Alvarez and Anna Golden - had work on display / for sale, so it was the perfect time to go.
Heidi was holding an opening at Main Art. I believe this is her first show. Her work incorporates a lot of creative use of textiles, such as quilted paintings. Anne of Cleves (2008-2009, below left), is one such example. Her floating embroidery pieces like Leda (2009, below right) attracted a lot of attention, as viewers went back for second, third, and fourth looks.
A couple of miles away, Gallery 5 was celebrating their 5th anniversary with an exhibit of photographs documenting the venue's history. Neither of us had ever been there before, and from the looks of the photos, we've been missing out! An anniversary silent auction kicked off that night, including Anna's 1 Story pieces. Check out her blog to read about them.
Amy examining the photographic history of Gallery 5
Once outside again, we had planned to visit another gallery or two, but discovered a conclave of fire spinners performing in celebration of the 145th anniversary of the burning of Richmond. (Must add here: I love living in the capital of the Confederacy. Really, I'm serious, no irony.) They completely captured our attention and we spent nearly two hours watching them. Well, I was watching mostly through my viewfinder - can you blame me?
There was fire spinning and fire hula hooping and belly dancing and fire eating and it was so, so, so incredible. Screw roller derby, I need to learn to play with fire.
Oh, and also, you never know whose butt you're going to end up checking out. The compelling fire spinner/eater in hot skinny pants whom Amy and I ended up referring to as The Mad Hatter turned out to be a guy I know from high school. I didn't realize it until somebody tagged him in my Facebook photos. He has lost not a drop of charisma since then. (Yes, Dan knows I was leching over the guy, and I know who he scopes, even score, we're married but not blind.)
All in all, fantastic night. Good friends, great art, exciting performances, photo opportunities, and new contacts. I'm up for May!