July 21, 2008

Weekend Report


It's been so long since it rained that the grass has all become shredded wheat. But that means:

  1. No mowing
  2. 100% good weather for outdoor activities

This weekend was no exception.


On Friday, Maggie and I each took a daughter to her respective scheduled morning activities while we contemplated the day. Without advanced planning, we decided on a play-it-by-ear day. We settled on lunch at Angelo's Civita Farnese on Atwell's Avenue in Providence, and go-karts afterward.

Angelo's was decent. Extremely friendly and helpful staff. Parking in the back, with an attendant to manage the small lot. I'd heard of the place through the Phantom Gourmet website. Since the Phantom recommended the eggplant parm (and I love eggplant parm) I ordered that. The rest of the family ordered various pastas.

The eggplant parm came in a round metal dish. It's fried in a batter that is similar to a popover -- smooth and slightly sweet. It's covered in mozzarella and a tomatoey (but not very assertive) sauce. I enjoyed it, but I would rank Riccardi's as a more savory (and better) eggplant parmesan. I actually wondered whether the usual sauce was on the eggplant parm, because Maggie was informed that they were out of marinara, which struck us as very odd. Eggplant parmesan, in my opinion, calls for a strong sauce, and I wondered if they'd replaced marinara with the vegetarian sauce. However, I can recommend Angelo's if you like your eggplant parm on the sweet side.

Onward to go karts! We spent some time at Seekonk Grand Prix. Also, $30 for 7 ride tickets. That was enough for 3 laps around the go kart track for 4 of us, and then I let the women enjoy the bumper boats while I kept my electronics at a safe distance.

We were able to swing babysitting for the kids, but unable to connect with friends, so it was off to see The Dark Knight together. Perhaps we'll have a separate post later for discussing the film (with spoilers) but here's the spoiler-free mini-review: This is the Batman movie that reminds me of when I first decided I liked Batman. Instead of the clown we've gotten in other Batman treatments, we get the portrait of someone obsessed. But the benefit of having the Joker and other strong characters alongside Batman is that we can see other less healthy forms of obsession (even though Batman himself is arguably nuts). We'll probably see it again in IMAX later on.

We got home early enough to start preparing for Saturday's trip and to watch the season premiere of Monk with the kids, who had been looking forward to it.


We left early (but not as early as we'd intended) for Chatham to join the Stone family reunion beach party. The girls experienced their first Cape traffic, and friendly cape-going motorists.

Once in Chatham, we reunited with Maggie's gracious family and were ferried via a couple of boats to a nearby beach. This was a beach with choices. The northwest side was bathtub warm, shallow, gentle and offered the children the excitement of chasing and catching an eel. The southeast side was frigid, had high crashing waves, and social seals who watched you from just one wave crest away.

The kids and I enjoyed the waves until we couldn't feel our extremities any longer, linking arms in attempts to stay together but being ripped apart all the same. Getting dragged over the sand by the undertow was surprising and novel. Many bruises were sustained as proof of our good time.

At one point, it was amusing to see a juvenile seal swimming over to play just out of reach of the children as we watched. We noticed a pair of adults observing us from a wave crest away, as if similarly concerned. Honestly, if the seals had consented to stay still, I could have joined them in seconds. It's remarkable to see them floating there, like giant wet dogs. In the end, we had to drag the kids away from the icy waves, so entertaining it was to be repeatedly smashed, thrown, dragged and buffeted.

We stayed longer than we'd originally intended, so it was a good thing we'd given up on the taiko drums in Newport. Instead, we took a leisurely drive back and then said our goodbyes to the Weissman family who were heading back to California.

Back home, I tried to watch Doctor Who with the girls, as they poked me in an attempt to keep me awake.


Sunday was a resting, reading and cooking day We hung around the pool and deck, or hid in the A/C and nursed our itchy spots which took 12-24 hours to show up after having been nipped repeatedly by horseflies on the northwest (warm) side of the beach the day before.

All in all, a successful formula for a memorable weekend.

Posted by James at July 21, 2008 9:11 AM
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