Day: January 1, 2015

Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Review for All the Light We Cannot See

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”− Francis Bacon. Light and shadow wage war, trade places, and occupy ambiguous spaces in Anthony Doerr’s admirable and fast-moving recent novel All the Light We Cannot See. Set in the period between Europe’s Great War and Hitler’s fulfillment of World War II, it gives ultimate homage to those who cherish knowledge and science in the face of blind hatred, war-mongering, and looting in the name of empire-building. They included a young blind girl whose beloved father is the locksmith at the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and a scientifically brilliant orphan growing up in a Weimar-era Children’s Home in a depressed German coal-mining region. Marie-Laure LeBlanc is six when she loses her eyesight, but her father ensures her scientific education through familiarizing her with all parts of the museum. She learns through her heightened other senses about collections of fossilized fish, insects, bark, flamingo feathers, stones, and light bulbs. A mollusk expert tells her about visiting coral reefs and lets her hold seashells from all over the world. She is very bright, absorbing all the natural world has to offer her, with her papa’s loving guidance and help. He builds a miniature model of their neighborhood, which she fingers, learning her environment through touch and imagination. In pushing her to find her way through the neighborhood with her cane, he offers her the gift of confidence and independence. She dreams in color, assigning hues to the energies and objects she feels around her. Werner Pfennig and his artistic sister Jutta are each other’s best friends, living at the orphanage in Essen, Germany, a coal-mining city where their parents died. Brought up with others by a loving but frazzled matron, Frau Elena, the eight-year-old Werner…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

A New Year’s Revolution

After more than 40 trips around the sun, I’m thinking back over the decades of New Year’s Resolutions I’ve made for myself. For the very first time in the history of Bonnie I want you to know that I DID IT!!! VAROOM VAROOM! This year I didn’t resolve to lose those nagging 10 lbs, workout every day, eat healthier or save more money. What I decided to do, was something different and focus on being more “ME”. I’m a risk taker, I love competition and I love my Daddy. And my Daddy loved Harley’s… In motorcycle vernacular you don’t “drive” a motorcycle you “ride”. My interest in riding was sparked at 11 when I first learned to kick start my Daddy’s first Harley. To his delight, I sat on it all by myself – with the help of the kickstand. I spent summers in Memphis, where he worked as an airplane mechanic for Federal Express, and we rode everywhere. My babysitters were airport bar waitresses and Hell’s Angels “old ladies”. As his only child, my daddy taught me a lot of “useful” skills during those formative years – like how to shoot pool well enough to beat most of his buddies. I was the son he never had. Still, he never taught me to “ride” on my own or encouraged me to get my own motorcycle. Some things, I figured, were just meant for boys. More than a few “riders” have come in and out of my life. They come and they go and they mostly just go… VAROOM VAROOM! My last crazy boyfriend was an avid lifestyle motorcyclist – expert level from decades of using a bike as his primary mode of transportation. My first real lessons were on the back of his Vulcan 800 listening to him pontificate…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Written by: Ryan Unverzagt

Happy New Year! 2015 is here whether we’re ready for it or not. I hope all of you enjoyed a great holiday season with family and friends. If you followed any of my advice the past two months (controlling portion sizes & receiving that fitness gift), you should already be ahead of the game. As always, January is the perfect time to evaluate your lifestyle and set realistic “New Year’s Resolutions.” The best approach is to write down reasons WHY you want to make a change. Here’s an example: Reasons WHY I want to lose 20 pounds: “I can feel better about myself; I want to keep my diabetes in check; I want to sleep better; I hate being out of breath walking up the stairs; I want more energy so I can play with my kids or grandchildren; I’m sick of my joints always hurting.” Post these in a place where you will see them every day (maybe as your cell phone wallpaper) to remind you exactly why you want to put forth the effort for a healthier life. With that said, I bring you another exercise of the month to try. I call it the Cable Woodchopper. This exercise has been featured in a previous issue of the Old Town Crier. However, the last time I explained this exercise, it was the “Low-to-High” version. This “woodchopper” is the opposite being “High-to-Low” which means that the cable pulley is set in the high position. This exercise is a great way to get your heart rate up and challenge the core. To start, select a lighter resistance and attach a single cable rotating handle to the clip. Grab the handle with your right hand over top of the left as shown in Figure 1. This shows the starting position for…

Continue Reading

From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Wildlife of the Chesapeake Need Your Help

The Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center (O.W.R.C.) opened its doors in Lusby, Maryland in 1990 and has been serving the community statewide. When they began, they did so to meet the demand for wildlife rescue in Southern Maryland and the Tri-county Area and now serve all of Maryland. O.W.R.C. rescues about 3,000 animals each year, and to date have returned more than 35,000 animals back to the wild. They are licensed in all species and do not turn any wild animal away. Since 1991, O.W.R.C. has progressively built a wildlife center on three acres of heavily-wooded property that includes the state-of-the-art Wildlife Clinic of Maryland, the Chesapeake Wildlife Education Center, a rescue vessel serving the Chesapeake Bay, and a housing facility for our veterinary interns. In 2014, with the help of their volunteers, they were been able to achieve a 94% success rate for returning animals back to the wild, making the O.W.R.C. one of the most successful wildlife facilities in the country. Licensed in all wildlife species, they rescue and treat a large array of animals.  Common patients are Bald Eagles, Red Tailed hawks, owls, fawns, raccoons, opossums and songbirds. In winter months they rescue and treat mostly reptiles, migratory water birds, and animals hit by cars. Some of their accomplishments include: Bald Eagle rescue, construction of a full emergency medical facility for injured wildlife, construction of numerous exercise and flight pens, as well as being the first wildlife rescue in the state of Maryland and the only on-water rescue serving the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. In 2014 alone, they completed their “Eagle One” project which allows them to rescue and rehabilitate Bald Eagles, hawks, owls and other large birds of prey. Construction of a new incubator room for infant mammals and birds and the raptor rescue facilities were…

Continue Reading

Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Exploring VA Wines – January 2015

I have spent a lot of my time over the years working with organizations involved in the wine industry and Northern Virginia’s rural economy and continue to do so. It seems like I am on more boards now than ever before. This allows me a broader view of how each of the groups relates to and feeds each other; there are some trends and developments in the industry that we should look for this year. Among them: The new winery movement in Virginia is cresting. The 2015 Virginia wine guide has added 8 new wineries to the map while 5 wineries dropped off the guide. My take on this is that the grape shortage and price increases have affected the business plans of wineries. We must now focus on growing the wineries we have, and growing the grapes to do that. More wineries offer “dark horse” varieties. Increasingly, customers are interested in new releases at wineries. As grape growers, we regularly look for varietals that will grow well in our climate and at the same time make a good wine. Tannat and Petit Verdot are good examples. They may not be dark horses now, but they certainly were in the past. Vermentino, Petit Manseng, Touriga and Rousanne are good examples of the next dark horse wave. The Wine Tourism Conference will be in Loudoun County this November. This annual conference travels to different wine regions. 2015 will be the first time the East Coast is hosting, affirming that we in the Mid-Atlantic region continue to gain in reputation for quality and experience. It is important that we are authentic in our products and our presentation. This event will show off all we have to offer. Epicurience Virginia Food and Wine Festival is three years old. This event continues to redefine…

Continue Reading

Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Chef’s Special: Chef Jeffrey T. Edwards

Chef Jeffrey T. Edwards Mackie’s Bar and Grill 907 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-684-3288 When did you first become interested in cooking and why did you decide to pursue a culinary career? I have always loved eating and trying new foods and different cuisines. Growing up, my parents generally took the family out to eat at least once a week to the better establishments in town, as well as on vacations. By nature being curious and analytical, I wanted to explore the “who, what and why” of the dishes that were served to us. This led me to want to emulate these dishes at home, as well as pursue other dishes so I became a voracious reader of cook books. I was fortunate that my parents and maternal grandmother were supportive and encouraged me to “experiment” on the family. I started by baking cookies, cakes and pies, then candies. Then I moved on to cooking meats and vegetables etc. I decided that I wanted to become a chef around the age of 15 so I enrolled in a local vocational technical high school in addition to my regular studies. This is when I found out about The Culinary Institute of America. That is when I decided upon the path I wanted to pursue and immersed myself in all things food related. Who have been the biggest inspirations during your career? Ron Greenberg, Dennis Gomes, and Linda Jesperson. The three instructors at Warren Tech Vocational High School and directors of the restaurant arts program. They all deeply loved the hospitality industry and instilled in all their students the same passion they possessed. One must also remember at the time in America when I was attending the school, the hospitality industry was looked down upon. There were no celebrity chefs. I…

Continue Reading

Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: LaVenia “LV” Cofield

LaVenia “LV” Cofield Redstone American Grill 155 National Plaza National Harbor 301-839-3330 How did you get started in the bartending business? I was a cocktail server at McCormick and Schmick’s for 3 years. While I was a “cocktailer” I started learning drinks and became interested in bartending. So I went on vacation and came back and my boss pulled me outside before I clocked in, lit his cigarette and slowly said ” Soooooo we wanna promote you to bartender”. I was so nervous and freaking out because he pulled me outside just to tell me the great news. I was so excited and super anxious to learn all the drinks and bartend. And now here we are, I’m a great “StarTender”. What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve is when the bar is crowded and I get to you, and you have no idea what you want to drink. I’m like, what were you doing that whole time besides annoyingly tapping the bar with your credit card? What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? Oh I have heard so many crazy lines but the most often heard is – Customer: “LV, can I get a drink on the house?” Me: “Sorry but I can’t do that.” Customer: “But it’s my birthday” Me: “Well, happy birthday!” No free drink since it’s the thought that counts. What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar? Everyone should know that bartenders hear everything. We’re just trying to anticipate your needs. We’re not trying to eavesdrop but we do hear some pretty hilarious stuff. Example: This guy is sitting at the bar and this woman sits down next to him. He tells her she reminds him…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Road Trip 2014: A Year in Traveling Review

As I do every January, my road trip will be a summary of the monthly road trips I took in 2014. The term “road trip” may be a little misleading as the July issue took us to St. John, USVI, one of my favorite places. All of the rest are by car. Last February I wrote about visiting Virginia Wineries during the winter. The reasons that I like to visit the wineries this time of year is because there are far less people in the tasting room which allows for a lot of one-on-one conversations with the owners and wine makers. Most of the wineries are open from Thursday to Monday with some open 7 days a week, while others are by appointment only. The most notable and appreciated aspect of a winter visit to wine country are the many fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and heated patios. Although last winter was incredibly cold, we are still prone to have 50-degree days, which are perfect for a friend, a coat and a Virginia Cab Franc. Also this time of the year you will find that most of the wineries are serving up hot soups, mulled wine, chili and specialty item to ward off the cold as well as live music to keep you entertained. There are also a lot of fine restaurants scattered throughout Virginia wine country as well as cozy Bed and Breakfasts. In March I took a trip to St. Mary’s County and St. George’s Island and the newly renovated Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum. When I first discovered Piney Point Lighthouse the property had only been deeded to St. Mary’s County by the Federal Government in 1980 and the first preservation work began in 1990. Back then there was just the lighthouse, a keeper’s quarters, and a small…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Bringing Up Baby

So… let’s say you got a puppy or kitten over the holidays. Now what?? Positive, consistent training from the get-go is the key to having a pet everyone will want to be around. And training’s not just for dogs, either – cats can learn a lot of good behaviors, too. The basic training rule for both cats and dogs is “Never take good behavior for granted.” What does this mean? It means focus on positive reinforcement. Know in your head the kinds of behaviors you want to see in your pet and then praise and reward him when you see those behaviors. He’ll do more of the good stuff that way! Being educated about proper training will make a world of difference, and are far more important than finding that perfect sparkly collar or toy. As far as when to start training, obviously, with the potty-training you’ll have to begin immediately. For dogs, it’s around 2 to 4 months that they really start to get the joke. But it’s from Day One that you need to be teaching and rewarding the behavior you want and correcting the behavior you don’t want. Never rub your pet’s face in it if your pet has an accident. He won’t understand what you mean and will only begin to have negative feelings about going potty. You want to catch him in the act if at all possible (which is why you need to keep an eye on your puppy at all times if he’s not in his crate), so you can use your correction word (for our dog, we used a loud “Unh-uh” when we caught her in the act) and then immediately move her to where you want her to be going potty. Kittens will start to get the joke about using a…

Continue Reading

View More