J picked me up right at 5:00 Friday afternoon and we hit the road. Leaving right in the middle of rush hour probably wasn't the greatest plan (it look us probably 30-40 minutes to get to the turnpike) but once we hit "the big road" we were making good time. The severe weather that all the forecasters were calling for never really materialized, and we had beautiful blue skies with light wispy clouds for probably the first half of the trip. We had a lovely dinner at Quizno's in Breezewood (hehe), stopped once for gas about an hour later, and got pelted by a thunderstorm just as we were hitting the belway, which made for some rather scary driving (frankly, I think the beltway is scary in any kind of weather!). We made it to J's friend's house in Alexandria, where we'd be staying for the weekend, just after 10 pm. We were enthusiastically greeted by our host's two Japanese Chins, Sucette and Yoda. Here they are:
Aren't they adorable? Sucette (right) is a total diva and has a tendency to shove Yoda out of the way, especially if there's a new person in the house who might show them attention. Yoda (left) is on the shy side, and is especially freaked out around men, so he was a little wary of J. The poor guy has a neurological disorder and as a result does not have the best balance, so he'll do things like try to scratch himself with a hind leg while standing and just fall over. It's funny but sad at the same time. He's very sweet, though, and I definitely bonded with him this weekend.
Saturday we woke up ready for a good brunch and a chance to see the famed cherry blossoms (this weekend was actually the close of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival). Unfortunately the weather decided to not cooperate with us. It was moderately warm and very muggy in the morning, and over the course of the day it got windier, colder, and more rainy. Any cherry blossoms that were left -- which, we were informed, was not many due to a strong storm earlier in the week -- were pretty much doomed. So we had a lovely brunch at Kramerbooks & Afterwords with some friends who live in D.C. and then the three of us (me, J, and our host) headed over to the Spy Museum, where I randomly ran into one of my high school classmates, who now works there. The Spy Museum was very interesting and a lot of fun, but way too crowded to really get to see everything. I had at least half a dozen people literally walk into me, and spent a lot of time dodging wild children (um, parents? where are you?).
After temporarily loosing J in the Spy Museum gift shop (he was in the toy section), we took the Metro over to Union Station, with the idea that we'd walk from there over to the Library of Congress, because J wanted to see the Declaration of Independence. We stopped there for some drinks and to take a little rest. Of course I took this opportunity to whip out my sock, which I'd made really good progress on in the car before it got too dark to knit. Here's a shot of said sock, with a little Union Station ambiance in the background.
We made it only as far as the street in front of Union Station before we decided that we were just being nuts to try to walk all that way in the blustery weather and turned around to go back to the Metro. It was just too cold and too wet, and we were all feeling miserable. Instead, we hopped back on the train and got off at King Street in Old Town Alexandria, where our host was sure she'd seen a yarn store. We managed to find a free bus that circles through the area on the weekends -- best of all, it was heated! -- and took it to Knit Happens, an adorable knitting shop that had a great selection of sock yarn, which was exactly was I was looking for, specifically some red (aka, real red) sock yarn for socks for J, because he had decided on the way in that the yarn I was using on his new socks was too dark. We found some really red (think maraschino cherry red) Lorna's Laces that he at first loved, but then about five minutes later decided was too bright and told me to put back. So I shopped exclusively for myself, purchasing two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock and four of Koigu KPPPM (pictures below). We won't discuss what that sent me back.
We returned to our host's house to dry off and I got a chance to visit with a friend from college, who very nicely drove over to hang out for a couple hours. The dogs really liked her, and proceeded to wrestle each other into her.
J and our host, meanwhile, had gone to Safeway to buy everything to make a scrumptious dinner that night, which we enjoyed with some other friends (ironically, all native Pittsburghers).
By the time we woke up on Sunday morning, the nasty weather had passed. It was gorgeous and sunny, blue sky with not a cloud in sight, although still rather chillly (mid-40s). We drove into Georgetown to meet up with my childhood best friend and her boyfriend, and her sister and her boyfriend, for brunch, after which we walked around a bit and enjoyed the sunshine before getting into the car for the ride home. We discovered another yarn store, Stitch DC, about two blocks from the restaurant. It was on the small side, but very cute and the people were very friendly, and I found some must-have Lorna's Laces (see picture below).
We got on the road at about 2:20 pm and had a perfect driving day on the way home. I got the rest of my first Lady's Plain Winter Sock (#1) done, except for grafting the toe, which I wisely left until I was home and on my couch (I say wisely, because even though I wasn't moving and bouncing around, I still managed to accidentally rip out about a row and a half and had to reknit the last two rows). Here she is, keeping my footsie nice and cozy:
I also cast on for sock #2 and got about an inch done on that before going to bed.
Despite the not-so-perfect weather and all the driving and hassle that's involved in a weekend trip, J and I had a lovely time. Our host was so wonderful and really made us feel at home, and it was great to be able to see so many friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in a really long time.
As promised, here is a shot of The Loot from my two yarn store stops:
Here you see four skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, two in a colorway called Bee Stripe (destined to be a pair of Steelers socks come football season) and two of a colorway called Georgetown -- ironically, not the color I bought at the store in Georgetown! It's a little more colorful/bright than I'd normally buy, but I thought the name made it a souvenir (which is of course how I justify the purchase!). Here are also four skeins of Koigu, which I'd been specifically looking for as I've never knit with it before. One colorway is mostly woodsy greens with a bit of yellow, and the other is shades of rose and pink, with a bit of peach and a bit of a maroon-y brown. Again, we're not discussing how much I actually spent on all this; let's just say that these four pairs of socks will probably be the most expensive socks I will have every owned. But at least my feet will be comfortable!