Tuesday, August 10, 2010

September 2010 Activity -- Fly Fishing

Sunday, September 19th
Lake Audubon
2070 Twin Branches
Reston, VA  20191
$20/person (half price through Groupon)

Here’s a little free advice: If you ever go camping with a Dilettante, have a Plan B when it comes to dinner if Plan A is “we’ll eat what we catch.”

After two hours of fly fishing, none of the Dilettantes (or Guest Dilettante Chris) had caught anything. Other than twigs. And probably poison sumac.

This was no reflection on our instructor - a character (in the best possible sense) named Rob Snowhite. (Who upon his first cast into the water, promptly landed a large-mouth bass.)

We had no idea what to make of this guy at first…a young guy who likened himself to Brad Pitt (though we all thought more Luke Wilson) who told us that he had been a biology teacher, worked for a big consulting firm and was now fly fishing as a full time job. And that his wife was a spy. And that he lived in his car at one point in South Park, Colorado, where he was almost eaten by a mountain lion. And in order to remember important things, he simply rolled up a pant leg and jotted notes on his skin with a Sharpie. Added to this were the fact that he liked good beer and the fact that he used the term "Nantucket Sleighride." (Which sounded like an Urban Dictionary entry to us. He used it to mean catching a fish so large that it can actually pull your boat, though to our credit...there are some alternate and more amusing definitions in Urban Dictionary.)

We began our two-hour fly fishing instruction by learning the equipment. He showed us a 10-foot rod (snicker) and its butt (snicker). Rob also showed us and explained the many different types of flies and the types of fishing for which they are used. Some of these he had made, and some he had bought (meaning, they were made by Sri Lankan children).

After our tutorial, we all spaced out along the shoreline (literally and figuratively) and began casting. Guest Dilettante Chris came close to landing a fish (though she and our instructor had different opinions of how large the fish actually was). Dilettante Amanda succeeded in catching her sweatshirt (which will be delightful mounted above her fireplace).

Dilettante Amy succeeded in getting bored at the 50-minute mark (her trademark), though she stuck it out to the bitter end.

It was a gorgeous day and we really enjoyed ourselves even though nothing was biting (yes...that's it. Nothing was biting). There was a lot less nonsense than usual since we had to stand so far apart. (I guess our elementary school teachers knew what they were doing when they separated the troublemakers.)

Lunch at Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food in the Reston Town Center followed, where we were met by Dilettante Nicole and her baby, Lucas.

August 2010 Activity -- Beading

Joy of Beading
Tuesday, August 10th
5903 Lee Highway, Arlington
Cost: $30.
Materials are provided for in class instruction. If you want to make something you can take with you, you should arrive a little earlier to select and pay for materials.

Dilettante Amanda's younger sister, Megan who was visiting from Colorado, joined us as a guest Dilettante on this activity. (Aside: Megan's middle name is Alexis. This is because Amanda was five when Megan was born and her parents gave their rather precocious child some input into naming her sister. Which she loved --promptly naming her after her favorite movie character at the time -- Alexis in the timeless classic "Ice Castles.")  (Megan is so thankful that Alexis is a pretty name. Megan Robby Benson would have been a little harder to deal with...)

[For what it's worth...this post has been written in draft format for a couple of weeks while I've tried to weave together some puns including: pearls of wisdom, beads of perspiration, stringing us along,
pendant-ic and many other gems (heh). Good news? I still have the day job.]


Beading, it turns out, involves basic math, listening skills and an ability to follow simple instruction. All areas in which Dilettante Kathleen promptly received an "F". We learned how to knot and close bracelets and necklaces, the different types of clasps, materials used for clasps and stringing, which tools were used in the process, and how to measure the appropriate length of string or wire for our projects. Our instructor, Aga, was charming and patient (and very talented -- she was recently featured in a beading periodical for an original necklace design).

The hour and a half long class was all hands-on and we actually felt like we had somewhat developed a skill when we left.

Our de-brief took place at the restaurant next door...which was once a pizza hut, then the Tap and Vine and now an Asian place. The service was a little spotty. Amanda asked for a water, and they forgot it...she asked again and they came back with a straw for her sister and still no water for her. Amy and Megan ordered crab rangoon appetizers. They were delivered at the end of the meal and we were charged for three. I'm just realizing as I write this that I never got my jasmine tea. Sheesh. With an attention span and listening skills like that, our waitress should think about taking a beading class.