Monday, October 20, 2014

Socializing & Car Shopping on a Long Weekend

Although Columbus Day itself is controversial nowadays, I'm not one to complain when I have a three-day weekend! This one was particularly busy with several social activities: wedding, brunch, birthday party, plus car shopping.

I will not dwell on details about shopping for a new set of wheels, as it is terribly tedious! I've had my trustworthy Toyota Corolla for many years, but the time has come for me to purchase something newer. However, I'm having a heck of a time deciding what exactly I like and want given my budget. On Friday night I test drove two cars, on Saturday I drove those two cars again, plus a third, and on Monday I drove yet another car. This would be on top of at least eight previous vehicles I've tried out!
This might be my "if I win the lottery" car (Source:
Cheapest new car on market = too small for tall Latvian.
Saturday evening I attended a friend's wedding, held at a restaurant called Roofers Union in DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood (better known to Latvian-Americans as the former home of Pharmacy Bar, which was owned by Latvian-American Kristaps Kreslins, who now has a similarly named establishment in Riga's Old Town). The wedding was casual and fun. The bride is a friend with whom I sing, so my group sang her and the groom a song to bless them in their new life. Later, while on the awesome rooftop bar, we gathered for a group photograph and ended up belting out one of my favorites, Riga Iesu Es Mamina, which then proceeded to loop in my ears for the following 24 hours. This was the first wedding I attended that utilized an app and website called Wedpics - anyone with a smart phone could immediately upload photos to the couple's site. Those of us with regular cameras can also upload our photos after the fact. It's a great way to get many different photos from the event.
Singing "Palidz', Dievs"
With J &J, enjoying the cool rooftop.
Group photo! Nice greens in front row, and blues in the back.
Sunday brunch with two friends took me to the Petworth neighborhood, and Domku, a restaurant known for its Scandinavian and Eastern European menu. I loved the bright cheery interior, and many of the menu options sounded delicious. My gluten-free diet, however, did not allow me sample the Norwegian pancake, or the mushroom Benedict, which one friend ordered and loved. I kept it simple with eggs, bacon, and potatoes. Service could have been better, but it's definitely a nice spot to enjoy various European dishes that one cannot find on other menus in the DC area. If you're a beer drinker, the menu offers two Lithuanian beers, although no Latvian or Estonian brews.

In the evening I helped celebrate a friend's daughter's third birthday. You know you are very good friends when your arrival is greeted not by "Hi, good to see you, glad you could come!", but by "Excellent, one of the tall people is here - she can put up the party decorations!" Luckily, I was amply compensated with freshly homemade guacamole, interesting conversation and happy little kid smiles.

On Monday a friend and I had hoped to go hiking, but gray and damp weather altered our plans. Instead I test drove yet another car, and we hit up the famed grocery store Wegman's. For people who grew up in New York State, Wegman's is the end-all-be-all when it comes to grocery shopping. The chain set up shop in Virginia and then Maryland several years ago. The nearest one is not particularly close to me, although I do like to stop by occasionally, as they have an enormous selection of products, and excellent prices on some of them. Their gluten-free brownies, in particular, are quite amazing. If you do ever find yourself near a Wegman's and have at least an hour to spare, check it out.

Somehow we now find ourselves already in the second half of October. I seriously hope that the news about Siberia's serious snow cover possibly predicting a hard winter is incorrect! I am not ready to hibernate -- too many things to do, too many people to meet!


  1. Jampacked weekend! We are also in the market for a tall-person's car, hopefully one that still has enough room in the backseat for someone with legs! I'm so sad we sold our Ford 500, talk about roomy! And you could fit a GVV vidusskolnieks and all their gear in the trunk! Of course Ford doesn't make that line any more... So, Suburban? (Just kidding!)

    1. With the number of tall people and kids' safety seats in your family, I'd think only some SUV or mini-van would really work! But - yeah - finding the elusive perfect car is difficult. Someone recommended the Ford Focus to me - but the moment I got in, I felt claustrophobic, never mind that there was no more than about 3 inches of legroom in the backseat! Even the larger Fusion was not right for a tall hippy Latvian! :)

  2. I've never heard of that app, but I suppose it's similar to putting out disposable cameras on all the tables and asking people to use them to take photos for you.

    1. Yes, good comparison! I was a bit surprised that more people didn't use it, given how many folks have smart phones, but my guess is that people didn't want to bother to download the app and then register (although it was simple quick process).

  3. Oooh, the "if I win the lottery" car is certainly a beauty! With high safety ratings and only 1,967 units available worldwide, the Volvo is aptly dubbed as a luxury vehicle. I wish I had one myself. Hahaha! The other one is good and economical, but space is definitely something you have to give up if you decide to get one of those. Anyway, I do hope you get to buy a car that's perfect for you. Anyway, your friend's wedding looks fun. Best wishes to them! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Edward Taylor @ Laguna Niguel Auto Center


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