Monday, Jan. 30: We got about 3 inches of snow last night, and the word went out that school would be delayed two hours. Seemed reasonable for this amount of snow. Then the phone rang at 6:37 this morning (!!!) with a robocall message that school would now be closed. So the boys were home all day, except for taking the opportunity to get their hair cut (it’s tough to manage that when they’re busy from 8 am to 6 pm every day). I tried to prepare for our upcoming trip. SOTD was the never-wrong No.5 Eau Premiere.
Tuesday, Jan. 31: The CEO, looking a bit haggard, told me at breakfast that the control panel for the dog’s Invisible Fence was beeping intermittently last night, and it had kept waking him up. He was hoping that I wouldn’t have to stay home this week and take care of getting it fixed because we cannot let Hunter run free. There are too many sheep and goats in close proximity, and then there’s a four-lane highway about 500 yards away (over a rise and past the neighbor’s field). I checked with Invisible Fence and found that the beep means our backup battery needs replacing, but everything should be okay unless we lose power for some reason. Whew.
We left around 10:30 a.m. and headed for Nashville, TN. This is The CEO’s last year on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (an advisory committee for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association), so his attendance at the annual convention is all paid for by the CBB. I tagged along. The convention is being held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville this year. I’d never been here before. It is GIGANTIC. I mean
HUGE ENORMOUS. I mean, the thing has nine acres of indoor gardens under roof, and that doesn’t include the convention center or the many (expensive boutiquey) shops or the (expensive delicious) restaurants included at the hotel. I keep getting lost. Luckily, the views are lovely even if you have no idea what you’re looking at or how to find your room.
SOTD was the lovely and comfortable Cuir de Lancome, but that had worn off by the time we wanted dinner. I brought a few decants and samples with me, and picked Teo Cabanel Oha because rose chypres go well with food. Dinner at Ravello’s (two floors down from our room) was delicious: lobster and shrimp tortellini, plus homemade bread with fresh-tomato topping, and a glass of Riesling. The bill: $101, with tip. Ouch.
Wednesday, Feb. 1: Much warmer here than at home, though we’re only 1 degree of latitude farther south. The altitude here is just under 600 feet above sea level; home sits at 2103 feet, so maybe that’s the big difference. We ate breakfast buffet at Shoney’s, and then I dropped The CEO off for meetings and went looking for a Wal-Mart, in order to pick up a few things we managed to leave behind. It was an adventure.
Tennesseans are known for driving fast. My aunt lives in Knoxville, TN, and I well remember my dad’s hatred of driving in the area when we visited her; you can be motoring along at what you think is a pretty decent clip, maybe 5-7 miles over the speed limit, and cars with TN plates are whooshing past you, a good 10mph faster. I’ve been driving for a little over thirty years, and Virginia-Tennessee traffic overlaps a good bit — but I can count the number of times I’ve passed a car with Tennessee plates ON ONE HAND. Truth.
I found the cutest coral faux-leather tote at the Mart of Wal, for $8. It reverses to a light peach-pink. Up close, you can tell it’s not leather, but you know what? I like it anyway. DON’T JUDGE ME.
SOTD was Chanel Les Exclusifs 1932 EdP. I’ve mentioned this before – the new version has less of that glorious happy-happy citrus topnote, but the drydown is a lot like a lighter 31 Rue Cambon, so I’m okay with the new stuff. I smellz gud. Dinner was Fajitas for Two at Chuy’s at the nearby Opry Mills mall: $40, including drinks and tip. That’s more like it.
Thursday, Feb. 2: Luncheon honoring the advisory board members who are rotating off their terms of service. While The CEO was in meetings during the afternoon, I went back to the mall and shopped. I bought a nice businessy skirt to go with my black blazer, and a blouse to go with both. Then found Bookworm some “interview clothes” at the Ann Taylor shop, and some jeans for the boys, and then I found myself a $24 bottle of Lolita Lempicka Eau de Minuit. I’ve been waffling on buying a bottle of Lolita Lempicka since Rome; this one (a 2013 LE) was on clearance.
Walked a lot more than I usually do; my Fitbit hit 10K steps before dinner. We ate with the guy from Meat Importers Council of America, and some other CBB members as well as two Kiwis and an Aussie from MICA. Yummy food, good conversation. The LL EdM goes fine with dinner, btw.
Friday, Feb. 3: More meetings for The CEO. I walked some, wrote some, walked some more and wrote some more. SOTD was more LL EdMinuit. Lunch was a salad, and by 6 pm I was utterly starving. And grouchy.
The grouch really did not go away until we ate at Mission BBQ, one of those “upscale fast food” places where you order and pay at the counter just like you would at McDonald’s, but the food is less junky. I had the pulled pork, The CEO had brisket. We had cole slaw and green beans and mac-n-cheese, too. There were six — count ’em, six! — separate pour-on sauces on the table, as well as a big dousing bottle of “Carolina Vinegar Mix-it-up Sauce.” I tried them all: Bay-B-Que (tomato-based with Old Bay seasoning), Memphis Belle (smoky and sweet red), Tupelo Honey Heat (honey and hot peppers), KC Classic (thick ketchup-based, like Kraft bottled sauce), Texas Twang (classic red sauce darkened by black pepper, Worcestershire and A1), and Smoky Mountain (little bit-a-tomato, lots of black pepper, smoky flavor, thinned by vinegar). They were all good, but my favorite was Smoky Mountain; I really love a vinegar-tomato sauce for pork barbecue.
I find it endlessly fascinating that “barbecue” means different things in different places. For example, there are places where that word means what we southerners would call “cook on an outdoor grill.” I’m not going to say that’s wrong, it’s just not what barbecue means around here. And the variants on BBQ are as different as they are definitive! Virginia isn’t one of the places where people are adamant about their barbecue being done Just So. It isn’t Eastern North Carolina, where if you suggest that the vinegar/spice sauce could use a mite bit of ketchup, you’ll get shunned. It isn’t Texas, where “barbecue” just means beef, brisket and/or ribs, with not an oinker in sight. It isn’t dry-rub-only, red-sauce-only, Alabama horseradish white sauce, hickory-smoked-only, pork-shoulder-versus-whole-hog, chopped-versus-pulled, “you can’t call it barbecue unless it’s pit cooked for two days,” “our way is the only right way and the rest of y’all are HEATHENS.” Nope. We Virginians might have preferences* with regards to our barbecue, but we’re too busy sampling alllll the forms of barbecue to fight over them. Virginians are the United Nations of BBQ, if you will, and we’re probably happier for it. Red Hot & Blue Memphis-style? East Carolina chopped? Dry-rubbed Texas short ribs? We’ll take whatever ya got.
(* My BBQ preferences are rather catholic for this area: pulled pork, please, preferably pit-cooked, with a Western North Carolina tomato-vinegar sauce. Pass the Texas Pete hot sauce, and don’t forget the cole slaw. That’s good eatin’. Bookworm loves to come home from Yankeeland 😉 and get her some pulled pork, and my sister would get cravings for pork barbecue that couldn’t be satisfied in the Land of Beef BBQ.)
Saturday, Jan. 4: We checked out of the hotel around 9 a.m., grabbed breakfast at Shoney’s, and got on the road. SOTD was Le Galion La Rose, a pretty almost-soliflore with an ambered woody base. It’s a dull drive, except for going up the western side of the Appalachians near Knoxville. I got hungry again (surprise!) near Bristol, around 4:30 p.m., so we ate late lunch/early supper then, and were home by 7 p.m. The dog was so happy to see us that he wigglebutted his way around the house for a good half-hour!
The boys did well at their track meet today; both of them qualified (Taz by a margin of .04 second) for the 3200M run at their conference.
Sunday, Jan. 5: Got up in time for church, but couldn’t get everybody out the door to be on time. Grr. SOTD is Parfum Sacre because it’s comforting. I’m exhausted, didn’t sleep well, and my ‘puter just ate a gigantic chunk of my Scent Diary. GRRR. I’m not even interested in the Super Bowl. I hate the Patriots. I’ve hated them since the 1980s, when some of their players were bent on embarrassing female sports reporters and the front office had nothing to offer but “boys will be boys, and if you don’t want to be bothered, don’t go in the locker room.” Uh, NOPE. In my opinion, the Pats have never been a classy organization, and Deflategate did nothing to change my opinion. I don’t have an opinion on Tom Brady one way or another, except that he works for some trashy people.
I can’t believe they won. Again. Bleargh. I’m taking a hot bath and going to bed.