I am a great believer in tradition especially if that tradition is packed full of fun! For the last five years I have been flying up to Virginia to visit my daughter Kristine and having the best time wearing nothing but very comfortable clothes, eating a variety of foods, some good for you and some not, and watching hours and hours of NCAA basketball.
Not just any basketball but the annual crazy time called ‘March Madness’. I fly up on Wednesday evening armed with my bracket so I can enter it into a pool that is run by Kristine’s friend Andy. Now what everyone has to know is that I really do not know much about basketball, I do not watch basketball the rest of the year. I do however, listen somewhat to the sport casts at the end of the evening on the local news and once in a while glance at the sports page in our local newspaper. And, of course, I listen to ‘Bracketology’ the Sunday evening before tip-off.
I have only participated in the pool since 2010 and I think considering the above I have done pretty well. In 2010 I placed 19 in a field of 50. In 2011 did not do as well placing 31 in a field of 51. Kristine won in 2011. This year I placed 13 in a field of 60. Not too bad if I do say so myself.
Our attitude towards food each year varies except for one evening. The night I arrive we are both tired, me from traveling and Kristine from working all day so we made an agreement right from the start to not worry about cooking and just pick up something quick. Kristine suggested that we head to a little place not far from her home and pick up sandwiches and I thought, great.
That first year was a particularly hard year for me and so by the time I arrived I was particularly wiped. We went to Fairlington Pizza a small little pizza and sandwich shop with a very simple menu and reasonable prices. After looking over their menu I choose a turkey and cheese on white bread with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. When we got home and I unwrapped my sandwich I discovered that it had been toasted and I was in heaven.
What is it about certain foods that? Was I just tired? Was I relieved that I did not have to cook or wait for Kristine to cook? I do not know. I just know that at that moment that warm, tasty sandwich sent me into a feeling of such relaxation and comfort that was wonderful. We have been going there every year since on the night I arrive.
Kristine promised to make me a dish she had made back in November and said was just wonderful. I love her cooking so I was game especially as it was a Mexican dish. The Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce was as advertised. I loved the enchiladas and even suggested that next time she could add some black beans for added texture.
Kristine will usually try to take Thursday and Friday off. Thursday afternoon we head to one of her favorite sports bars for lunch and tip-off. This year we headed to The Bungalow at Shirlington Village which is just across the highway from her home.
The first time I had dill frickles was at The Bungalow and they are yummy! I love it there because everyone is very friendly, the food is good and the prices are reasonable.
But my weekend at Kristine’s is not all basketball. We spend time doing various mother-daughter things like getting mani-pedis at Red Door, shopping at Tysons Corner or Pentagon City Mall.
This year I managed to also make a lunch engagement with my best gal pals Maureen, Lois and Carol. I worked these wonderful ladies when we are all employed in the Fairfax County public school system. Not having a car and able to walk to Shirlington Village the ladies met me at the Carlyle for lunch and as always we had a fun time catching up on each other’s lives. Isn’t it funny that when you truly like someone it really doesn’t matter how far away they are or how much time has passed and it is as if it were just a few days when last we saw each other? As always I will spend a great deal of time looking over a new menu but Lois knows me so well if the menu has a burger on it I order it. The burger had a great flavor and was cooked just the way I liked it a real medium and I really liked the toasted and buttered bun. Great!
One other very important event that happens the same time as March Madness is my beautiful granddaughter Madalyn’s birthday. Over the years Madalyn became part of this traditional visit with Kristine and I taking her out for a birthday lunch and shopping trip. This year we invited Madalyn’s mom to come along. We always start by having lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen where we order multiple appetizers and then settle down to a great lunch. Needing to walk off the gargantuan meal just eaten we spend hours looking at, trying on and buying birthday clothes for Madalyn. I cannot get over how tall Madalyn has become she is only 15 and towers over me.
Now before we say goodbye we always stop at Godiva and get a truffle for the road. I started this little tradition with my children way back when and trust me there is no getting out of the mall unless we stop there first. I always get the dark chocolate raspberry truffle, YUMMY!
Try the chicken enchiladas the way Kristine made them they really are delicious and trust me you only need one they are very filling.
It is only one small weekend each March but I look forward to it each and every year. I consider my life fuller and richer because of these little traditions in my life I smile a great deal. Do you have a favorite tradition that makes you smile?