Thursday, October 29, 2015

GirlsWeekend2015, Richmond, Virginia

Well, it’s Day 5, and Lori and I are a bit sad that we’re already past the halfway point of Girls Weekend. It’s definitely overcast today, and it rained at some point and was still a bit drippy outside. We start the day hovering over our computers and drinking cups of coffee. Lori has been the designated coffee maker for this trip. We have a Keurig in the apartment, and our hosts keep it well stocked with a few different brands of what seem to be, at best, mediocre tasting coffee, and at worst, tasteless and nasty. Lori has tried everything, including doing a short pour, but nothing really works. We are craving Starbucks but there isn’t one close to us.  So after determining this to be the case, Lori decided to walk to a nearby coffee shop after her shower to get a "real" cup of coffee.  She ended up at a place with the curious name of Cartwheels and Coffee that is a mere block away from our apartment.  The origin of the name became clear when she walked in and saw a nursing mom and toddlers everywhere climbing on all kinds of indoor playground equipment and playing with all kinds of available toys, along with the coffee bar.  Wow!  What a great idea!  And the coffee turned out to be pretty good, too!!

As I am writing this, I have come the realization that we have not given you a "tossing of the States" update in a couple of days. So here’s where we stand. On Sunday we tossed and all three remaining stated landed face up, so none were disqualified. When we tried again this morning, two states landed face up, and the other landed squarely on its side…meaning that once again, none were disqualified, so we put them away for next time.

This morning’s breakfast is hard boiled eggs and oatmeal. I added raspberries and almonds to mine, but Lori is a plain-with-brown-sugar-oatmeal kind of gal. After completing the morning’s writing tasks (thesis for me and journal for Lori), we showered and dressed and left the apartment to walk to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA).  

It was the chilliest morning yet, but our walk wasn’t long at all, only about 15 minutes.  Most of the way we were walking on a boulevard, appropriately named Boulevard Street, that was flanked on both sides by huge beautiful 3-story homes. Most of these had been turned into flats and apartments, and some into businesses, but it looked like several were sill single family dwellings. The houses were all brick, and some were painted on the front. The houses were all different from one another in some way – different roof lines or balconies or porches or doorways. The houses had very small front yards, most no more than 10 feet deep, but it appeared that most of them had back yards, and this is a city with alleys, so all garages were well behind the houses on the alley. Even though the houses are quite close together, we loved them and loved the area, and decided we could both live here. It is my preference that a house should look like a house, not a garage with an expansion next to and behind it, but that’s the city girl coming out in me.

As Lori wrote yesterday, at least 80% of the people we have met, who have heard we’re from out of town, have told us we must go to the VMFA. Not being dummies, we figured we had better make the time to get there, although art museums are not Lori’s favorite thing. I enjoy them as long as they are not completely contemporary - I’m sorry if anyone is offended, but a couple of crisscrossing streaks of color on a white background, or a canvas that looks as if someone hurled five cans of paint at it in the span of 15 minutes then hung it on a wall, are not my idea of interesting art.  As it turns out, the VMFA was well worth the visit.  First of all, it is absolutely and completely free of charge, with the exception of one exhibit on Japanese tattoos. Second, it is the state art museum, located here because Richmond is the capital, and as such, contains art from a wide variety of genres, periods, etc. We had no real plan of attack, so we just went to the second floor and walked into the first gallery we came to. Over the next couple of hours, we wandered through ancient art, East Asian, and European Art that held a gorgeous display of Faberge, including one of the precious and rare Imperial Eggs. 
We visited the Tapestry Hall and the English Silver display. Somewhere in the European gallery we stood a long time looking at gorgeous stained glass. We moved out of artifacts into paintings, but by this time we were getting quite hungry, and decided it was time to leave. On our way out though, we spotted a couple of really interesting pieces in the Realism gallery, and so we stayed in there for another half hour before going to the gift shop to look around. Museum gift shops are the best, they always have such a wide array of interesting things.

We left the museum at about 4:15, and were back in our ‘hood by 4:30, looking for food. We had our eyes on an Ethiopian restaurant we had found the day before, but when we went in to the space the restaurant shared with a bar, we were told the restaurant was closed on Mondays. As it turned out, several places are closed in Carytown on Mondays. We ended up in a Thai restaurant called Mom’s Siam, and in the end we were very happy to have found the place. Lori ordered red curry with chicken, which she said was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed a tender and flaky piece of grilled salmon accompanied by jasmine rice and green veggies.  The veggies were a bit too spicy for me, but I still managed to eat about half of them. 

All sign of rain had disappeared and the evening was clear and crisp and great for walking, but we went back to the apartment to regroup and, as it turns out, for Lori to take a quick nap! We looked for someplace that had live music, but no such luck on a Monday. While we were calling around to find music, one bar said they didn’t have music on Mondays but they did have game night, and all were welcome to come in and play any of an array of games they laid out. So after our hour and a half or so of rest, we set off for game night at the Cary St. Cafe, only to find out when we got there that the entire place was rented out to a private party for the night.  I almost asked to speak to the idiot who had told me over the phone to come play games, but instead we just turned and went back home. Once there, however, we decided that we really did want to be out and about somewhere a bit more, so Lori grabbed a couple of card games she always carries with her, and we went to the wine bar up the street, which was open – hurrah! There we sat for a contented couple of hours, ordering and drinking a couple flights of different wines (we did not find anything we really liked during this tasting) enjoying some really good girl talk, and then playing Quiddler until we decided it was indeed time to head home. Good Lord, I love Girls Weekend.

Once back in our cozy homespace, we tossed the states again for what turned out to be the final time. Next year, Girls Weekend will take place in…drum roll please… Florida! Before we went to sleep, we were already looking at possible cities. Ah, anticipation!

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