Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve, and I Should be Studying Portuguese

But I'm not. No, I'm writing in this blog, because, well, a trivial life well lived is still a trivial life. Like most bloggers, even gay bloggers, life is pretty lame most of the time. I think we're genetically designed that way because the continuous excitement of an epinephrine-induced state of angst, excitement, or flight would just get in the way of a contented lifestyle.

Some bits and pieces: Tim and I spent last weekend at the Woodley Park Omni Shoreham in downtown DC, enjoying a weekend in the city. The hotel was offering a "Spain Package," and since Tim didn't get to go to Spain with us, it seemed the right thing to do. The hotel chef gave a two-hour cooking school, and the package came with an overnight stay, an amenity (wine and cheese), dinner, and breakfast. No complaints here. If it has food, I'm in line.

The cooking school was a little odd. The chef, Jon Dornbusch, knew how to cook, but wasn't particularly informed about Spanish cheeses or wines. That's probably okay, because other information filled in the gap. Of course, it didn't hurt that I'd just gotten back from Spain, and actually knew something about Spanish cheeses and wines. The school was fun, and I enjoyed eating the food, particularly the genuine jamón, imported from Castilla y León.

You might want to check out the Omni-Shoreham, anyway. It's one of DC's grand hotels, not as grand as the Mayflower, but a very nice pile of bricks in its own. We had a very nice room with a view of Rock Creek Park, as well as the Naval Observatory. We didn't see any black heliocopters flying over that vice-presidential undisclosed location. The hotel is huge with lots of nooks and crannies to hang out in. Take the nature walk for birdwatchers behind the hotel. Even at this time of year, you can see a lot of feathers. The hotel has more ballrooms, meeting facilities, and strange little passageways than most small European countries.

The neighborhood: Check out New Heights Restaurant across the street on Calvert. We had a very nice dinner, New American cuisine. I had Sea Bass, and it was delicious. After opening the front door, go up the stairs. Yes, they really are serving dinner up there. The decor features paintings for sale, bright colors, and a little attitude. The service was okay, neither fussy nor fast. Expect a leisurely meal. The menu changes regularly.

For coffee, breakfast, or more, check out Open City which is across the street and New Heights neighbor. It's full of neighborhood types, and only made us want to move into the neighborhood. The coffee comes in very large cups, the wait staff are very friendly, indeed, the prices are right, and the food is all-American diner. You can't beat this for a Saturday morning wakeup!

So that was my weekend.

Neither Ron nor I are avid Christmas celebration agents. But, I went out and rounded up friends and others who needed a dinner on the day that all restaurants except Indian and Chinese close. It's going to be a low-key affair with the traditional turkey dinner, plus whatever anyone brings. No gift exchanges or anything like that. In our 23 years, Ron and I have never had a tree. Sometimes I think I'd like to do the holiday up big, but the thought gets a little more punishing each year. Either you have the decorating gene, or you don't.

Finally, my wishes for the season: I wish all my kids and grandkids a special day of laughter and innocent joy. I wish that the family that our work group adopted for Christmas has a holiday that matches its dreams. I wish that the Prince of Peace would usher in an era of peace. We are so deaf to the messages of tolerance and love. The whole world is so deaf. But I continue to hope for it. Finally, I hope that my families by birth and by choice grow in love, understanding, and joy, and that they always have every needful thing. I'm truly blessed with all of them.