Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day in our Nation's Capital

Over Labor Day, the whole Yings family met up in our nation's capital to visit sister M and her boyfriend. Now, when you get all the Yings together, you are pretty much guaranteed a good time, and this trip was no exception.

In fact, the visit actually started on Friday when A drove to Baltimore to pick up H and bring her back to Delaware. We had a whirlwind evening of crafting where H managed to create from nothing a kick-ass wallet that would give Vera Bradley a run for her money. I stuck to key fobs and a new collar for Compass that is so sweet dude it deserves it's own post. So that was like a mini-Ying get together, and when we woke up on Saturday we grabbed a bagel before heading south to DC.

We all met at Eastern Market, which is a cool little market in DC. In fact, it is so cool I'm shocked they allow me to be there at all. Their cool-meter must be going nuts when all the Yings walked in. At any rate, they have all sorts of produce, plus local crafters and a flea market. We browsed the market and I picked up a pepper plant and a nice big planter with all kinds of different herbs for $20. Sweet. We also went inside and grabbed a canoli and some most delicious cupcakes. Afterwards we headed to see Top Chef Spike's burger joint, but it was CR-AZY there and instead headed to Matchbox for pizza. Although I was once again not a fan of the spicy meatball pizza, it was a pretty good meal.

After dinner, we went to check into the hotel - this time we stayed at Marriott's Fairfield Inn. Not only is the Fairfield a BEA-U-TIFUL hotel, they are the bee's knees in our book because they allow us to bring our puppernickel to stay with us. Only downside is that he isn't allowed in the room by himself in case he barks and disturbs other guests (this is foreshadowing and will come back to haunt us later...). So we got settled in our room and cracked open a bottle of Sharrott's Vignoles and toasted a lovely day. I got to spend some time with my brother, J, as my parents unpacked and walked to meet our sisters. It seems like I never really get to talk to him that much, and it was great to hear what's going on in his life - some pretty kick-ass awesome stuff that has me both jealous and goddamn proud of him. Not that anyone READS this blog yet, but one day when I have a bazillion blog readers who do whatever I say is cool, I'll throw out a link to some of his stuff. He is brave and talented, and I hope that someday some of that will rub off on me. (Whoa, that was a little bit of a sappy detour on the old (new) blog, sorry bout that.)


At any rate, by the time the rest of the fam got back we were well into our second bottle of wine (Shamong White, if you're interested) and it was officially time for YING FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Now here is the sweetest part of the whole trip. They were supposed to give my family a big two room suite so that we could all play games together, but there was a big wedding and they had overbooked the hotel. Instead, they gave us a CONFERENCE ROOM. Like a real conference room with notepads and pens and water glasses. Like this was a totally official hotel sanctioned YING FAMILY GAME NIGHT. We're seriously moving up in the world.

So we started playing games - first this impossible card game where you have to say a word that begins with the first letter of the number on the card you pull. Whoa, now that I'm trying to explain it I realize how damn confusing that actually is. But you get it? There are two people facing off, and you draw a card, and whatever number card it is, you race to say the a word with the same first letter as the first letter of the number on the card. That is not less confusing. An example: You pull a 6. Six begins with S so you race to say a word that starts with S. Whoever does it keeps the card and moves to challenge the next person. You go around the table til you're out of cards then count your cards and whoever has the most wins. Honestly, I sucked at this game and it is no surprise and it took me a half hour to figure out how to explain it to you and you still probably don't get it (sorry).

Next we played Smart Ass, another game that generally speaking I suck at. It was sometime during this game that we got a knock on our door that the dog in room 420 was barking like a crazy person and they'd already had several complaints. GRRREEAT. So that ended Ying Family Game Night In The Fancy Conference Room pretty quick and instead we went back and played in our room. Thanks Mr. Compass.

The next day we had breakfast at M and W's new apartment. They have a little basement apartment in a really nice neighborhood. It is still crazy to me how different city living is - their apartment is SO TINY! Seriously I know that most places look small with all the Yings piled in but it is pretty tiny. But it is so cool to see how they make the most of every. freaking. little. space. A very different way of living, that's for sure. Brunch was delish - it was M's first time cooking for all the Yings and she did a great job.

Afterwards we spent some time at the National Portrait Gallery where they had an awesome Norman Rockwell exhibit. We picked up sandwiches at Pot Belly and headed to a concert on the steps of the Capital. Aside from a hiccup when we discovered that Compass was not allowed into the concert area (BOOOOOOO TO YOOOUUUUU, DC!), we found a nice spot BEHIND the stage and enjoyed our sandwiches and the giant pickle that I had purchased along with my sandwich. I think that M was offended when I said it was the most wonderfully awesome thing I've eaten in days, but seriously. A giant pickle is amazing. Can you even hold that against me?

Monday morning brought much of the same, I would write here about a giant a-hole that gave us a ridiculously hard time about having breakfast at the Commissary, but I'll skip it and say we had a lovely brunch down the street at Logan Tavern and leave it at that. After brunch we headed home with just a quick stop to drop H back off at Towson.

Whew. I am exhausted just writing about it. On a meta-blogging note, I don't even know really why I wanted to write it all out - I guess that I am still struggling a little with what to blog and how to blog and what I'm trying to do/capture/record. On some level, I do want to record the details. On another level, I want to write an interesting entry and not just a collection of facts. On yet ANOTHER level (geez, I have a lot of levels), all I really want to say about this past weekend is that my family rocks. We all have our squabbles and our issues, but to be able to come together and spend time and share our lives - well, that's pretty much the best thing in my life right now. Or ever. The best thing in my life. Ever. And to get to hang out with everybody in DC over a 3 day weekend, well that's just icing on the cake.

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