Sunday, September 28, 2008

Together at last

All I have to say is, "it's about time." So why do I suddenly have so much to tell you? Well, although that statement sums up everything nicely, the details of my first face-to-face meeting with the male members of the We Like It Raw Squad (it's true; contrary to popular belief, I've never actually met them in person) are just too fun to keep to myself.

Lucky for you, I decided to share the experience today. Heads up; it gets a little wordy (like most of my conversations; I can really talk your ear off, or in this case, type), so I'll understand if you're just here to view the photography, scattered almost randomly throughout this post.

For those of you continuing with my exhausting text, I'll start you out from the beginning of this tale at my house (feel free to skip down to the actual meet-up). Can you believe I woke up at 4 a.m. due to the anticipation of this monumental event? Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit; my tummy was growling, and I can't sleep when I'm hungry. This foodie always has food on the brain.

To my surprise, the hours leading up to my departure went fairly quickly. Jacob (my son, for those of you who don't normally read this blog) got up early and decided to draw Godzilla pics with me. He wanted help making copies of his book (a collection of magic marker drawings he's been making during the past few days), so he made sure I drew my pages to his specifications. Even my hubby Matthew got into the act. Check out all of our interpretations (Can you guess who drew which one?).

Anyway, my point is that the morning was over in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it, my good buddy Rawbin was calling to tell me she was on her way, although running a little late (she was on Rawbin time, which always leaves me with a couple extra minutes to ensure I'm really ready when she arrives.)

Rawbin showed up without her horse (it always cracks me up when other bloggers she's met use that line), instead chaffeuring me in her daughters truck, complete with the plastic skull hanging from the rear-view mirror. What can I say? We were riding in style. Ha ha.

The two of us always have a great time together with tons of stories to tell. The best ones are always the embarrassing kind that make you blush at first, then leave you in uncontrollable laughter when you try to tell someone later. By the time you get the words out, it's not so hilarious to the recipient. I guess you just have to be there.

However, I'll still tell you some of these snippets throughout this post, starting with when she pulled up in front of my house. Immediately, the sky opened up with a downpour of precipitation. This wouldn't have been such a big deal if I hadn't been on crutches (I almost typed "crunches" again, probably due to all the ab work I've been doing since my injury. I miss my usual unmodified workouts); it's a bit difficult to run through the rain with a sprained/broken foot.

Rawbin suggested we wait on my front porch a bit until it died down, but it just rained harder. So, being the stubborn Taurus that I am (she's one, too), I draped a trash bag over my head and went for it. Rawbin did her best to help hold it in place, but it didn't do much good. I still got wet (I know; a little water never hurts, but we had photos to take and a first impression to make).

The ride into D.C. didn't go as smoothly either as we ran into a couple road closures and other construction areas. Even the nearby parking garages we closed, which leads me to our next red faced event.

Both of us had to be blushing as onlookers watched Rawbin try to parallel park on the left side of the road. Don't worry; we were on a one-way street, so it was legal. The funny part was when we got stuck with one side of the truck up on the curb, not knowing how we were going to get down, much less out of the spot at all.

Luckily, a man in the car next to us, who was still stopped at the now green light, gave us some pointers before the honking horns urged him forward. Then, a pedestrian finished the lesson from the sidewalk, pointing out exactly how much space we had between the back of the truck and the front of the car behind us. The car fell into place, and we could finally breath again (don't tell me I'm the only one who has ever held her breath when trying to squeeze into a tight space).

The parking space was surprisingly close to our destination, where we thought we were arriving fashionably late. I guess we didn't get the memo since the rest of the entourage (Dhru, Philip, Anthony, Amy and Dawn) were still on their way.

In the meantime, Rawbin and I were in search of the restroom, hidden in an office complex behind the golden door. I'm so glad she needed to go, too, because I never would've found it alone; I would've been lost forever.

Seriously, I'm not kidding. We had to pass through Java Green's gold-colored door, which lead to an office lobby. There, we took an elevator down to the lower lobby, where we had many options as to where to go (that darn mirror didn't help matters). After a couple miss turns, we finally found it.

Now, you would think retracing our steps would've been a breeze until we stepped out of the elevator again. Can you believe there was more than one gold door? It was like something out of Alice and Wonderland (sidenote: I just loved Bueller's recent post with the Alice reference). Good thing the first door we tried was the right one.

Back to the event, people were showing up and making themselves comfy outside beneath the squared off umbrellas, which fit together nicely like a tent, sheltering us from the sprinkles. I quickly claimed a spot to sit with Rawbin, Joe Kennedy (who's pictured with Rawbin earlier in this post) and our new friend, Lisa, who had just heard about the event that day.

She was such a sweetheart, and so photogenic (she's closest to the camera in the photo above) unlike yours truly (Lisa, if you're reading this, it was nice meeting you. I'll be in touch soon).

It was funny, since the first people we met were Lisa, another Lisa (who is in the pic with the first Lisa) and two Danas. Rawbin did multiple introductions in hopes of remembering who was a Lisa and who was a Dana. I think she just left me more confused at that moment, but I got it all straightened out eventually.

I got a big hug from D.J. (Dhru's friend and owner of Java Green) right away, who always makes sure to pose for a pic. It's tradition :-)

Then, you may remember Nic from NaturalZing, who was there to help in the raw kitchen (her fudge brownie with more chocolate fudge and strawberries was to die for), as well as give a food demo (like I was going to do one with a broken foot. Maybe when I heal, I might consider doing one at a future event).

I tried to get her pic in the kitch, but she moved too quick. I only got her hand in that shot; however, I did get a photo of her and the other Lisa (she's like my Rawbin) demonstrating how to make an apple dessert with chia pudding, as well as tasting some of the other raw cuisine.

Now, I'm getting ahead of myself. She didn't step up to the plate (in other words, take her turn speaking), until after Philip and Anthony said their inspiring words. But first, they had to get there.

The raw entourage, as I called them before, rolled up out front fashionably late and always in style. Everyone stopped what they were doing to pause and take a peek. Sitting in my chair with my foot propped up, I felt like the stalkarazzi trying to get these pics.

Guests got up to greet them, and they eventually made their way to may table, where I received the warmest hugs from Dhru and Philip. Anthony, on the other hand, didn't recognize me without my pigtails and my Wonderwoman tank from my We Like It Raw pic (It became the running joke of the evening; "What was your name again?" Ha ha. I guess I look a tad different). Maybe I should've brought one of my raw dessert recipes, which are much better known than my own persona.

Actually, my desserts would've been lost in the slew of food available at this feast. There were samples from Healthy Green Grub (I just love the name and the kid-friendly presentation, inspired by the "snack visionary's" kids), High Vibe Health, Matyah Coconut Oil (I got a lesson in what's really heated and what's not) and Elements for Life (I now have a thing for golden Inca berries and discovered Gold Rush Colloidal Gold sort of tastes like pure rain water, perfect with the weather we were having).

You could also order off Java Green's new raw menu sampling, which included pizza, burgers, salads, pancakes, brownies, pudding and more. Unable to decide, I let D.J. select the kelp noodles for me, and I'm so glad I did. Although I had a little trouble twirling them all around my fork, the flavor was worth the struggle (it was fun, too). I washed it down with a strawbana smoothie, made with strawberries, banana, agave and avocado, a menu fave of mine.

Later, Dhru invited me over to his table, where we all ate family style, trying a taste from each and every plate. Nic's brownies were a huge hit, as well as the chunks of Gnosis Chocolate that Blaq Berry (you've probably seen me mention her before on this blog. Don't worry sweetie; I'll send you some pics) and her hubby were willing to share. I think it was a little spicy for their tastes, but the Cayenne King (Philip) and myself rather enjoyed the heat.

Also at the table was Amy, who was sweet enough to put up with the chatty Cathy across from her (I'm talking about me). I probably bored her with my family stories, pics of my son and ridiculous foot injury talk. Philip perked up when I mentioned the John Mayer signed crutch that I used on my first doctor's visit. It was way too big and missing it's match, but at least I had something to hobble on to my initial appointment. I wonder what other people seeking treatment for their first foot or leg injury do?

But back to Amy. I'm so happy to have met her. Whether she had a true interest in all my topics or not, she did an excellent job of making me feel comfortable and more a part of the group. I hope to run into her again soon.

I'd also like to keep in touch with Dawn, who I didn't get the pleasure of speaking to until the end of the evening. She looked so familiar, and then I realized she was already one of my Give It To Me Raw friends. See if you can find her in the group shots.

As you can see, we had to do a photo shoot before I turned into a pumpkin. I had told my hubby I'd be home at a reasonable time to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie or something together, but due to the starting delay, it was already a couple hours past our scheduled departure time.

Now I felt like I was posing for the paparazzi as the lights flashed from the various cameras snapping shots of the We Like It Raw Squad (pictured at the top of this post, minus the lovely Sarma; you can understand why I consider myself the Mary Ann of the bunch). I also had my pic taken with Dhru (see further up in the post), as well as Anthony and Philip.

Anthony thought he might make the hubs jealous by leaving a small peck on my cheek, but stopped when Rawbin advised him not to. Rebellious Philip missed the memo this time. I'll keep that one to myself.

You can't blame my husband for being a little concerned. We would've met sooner if it wasn't for the message Dhru left of my answering machine back in January. In his hypnotic voice (listen to one of his audio or videos, and you'll hear what I'm talking about), he said something like, "this is Dhru, Philip and Anthony. Sorry we missed you, but we'll try back again."

The plan was to hopefully meet up that weekend when Philip and Anthony were both visiting Dhru. Now let me think (with sarcasm); why would any man have a problem with his wife and mother of his child just running off to meet three guys she doesn't know, somewhere she's never been, all by herself?

To top it all off, Dhru had just been nominated as one of the sexiest raw foodies on Give It To Me Raw, Philip was in the running, too, and Anthony might as well have had his own fan club (we joked that he should have pillow cases printed with his likeness in black and white with bright blue eyes; my mom once had one of Paul Newman, who, on a more serious note, passed away this weekend).

Of course my man was worried, which means he thought I might have a chance with these guys. I guess that means I'm a hot ticket, at least in his mind. He must still have a thing for me (don't tell him, but I still have a crush on him, too), which I think is kind of cute.

Therefore, I was happy to be back in his arms after our crazy trip home (Rawbin needed gas, and we ended up pulling in to three different gas stations to find a pump the worked. It's weird because one of them was in front of my father's old office building, a place I hadn't seen in years). Now, I can tell him all about it ... or I guess he can just read this post :-)