Monday, September 26, 2011

Activity # 11 – Go Ape

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Rock Creek, MD
Cost: $60.50 per person
Summer, Shana, Keith, Ashli & Kristin after Going Ape.
This activity was definitely our most exciting so far.
The Go Ape website says it all: “It’s not in the dictionary, but if it was, Go Ape would be described as a ‘treetop adventure’. We take one lush, green forest and a healthy dose of breathtaking scenery; blend with a smattering of treetop high wires, tricky crossings (using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire) and wind-in-your-face zip lines; finished off with a mega dose of people in search of their inner Tarzan.  We then equip people with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners, give them a 30 minute safety briefing and training and let them loose into the forest canopy, free to fly on zip lines and swing through the trees. Of course, instructors are always on hand, regularly patrolling the forests (not in monkey suits unfortunately!)
The result is spectacular. The Go Ape outdoor adventure experience gets the adrenalin pumping, gets people out of their comfort zones ….”
This TAOS adventure not only tested each of us on many levels but also left us ready to do it all again. A special thank you to Keith, our wonderful instructor – we will be back soon!

Check out our GoApe slideshow:

Friday, August 5, 2011

TAOS Activity #10 - Bikram Yoga

August 3, 2011
6:00-7:30 PM
Reston Bikram Yoga
Reston, VA

As if it hadn’t been hot enough all summer in DC, Club TAOS decided to embark on a 108 degree adventure – inside. From the Reston Bikram Yoga web site, they offer 48 “Bikram Yoga” classes per week. Classes are for all levels (uh huh, sure they are).

Earlier in the day, two TAOS sistas were instant messaging about the evening’s event. So that you understand the tone set for the activity that evening, this was their IM exchange:
Ashli George: I just got a sharp pain in my lower back. What is happening to us? Yoga better fix this.
shana_spiess: oh no!!!

Ashli George: Just call me Ash Savasana
shana_spiess: and Summer has a headache
shana_spiess: Summer Savasana
Ashli George: and Kristin is already scared and working outside all day w/ camp and will be exhausted
shana_spiess: the Savasana Sistas

Their web site goes on to say: You do not need to sign-up for a series in advance; simply show up a few minutes before any of our classes. *They should have added: And by showing up a few minutes early, you had better be silent and in your om happy, peaceful place (a what?) and have your game face on because this is dead serious. (It was so painfully silent in the class and those way high on the “all levels” skill set were in various, awkward positions prepping for the class to begin. Some very silly and juvenile TAOS members (or member typing this blog entry) could hardly hold back the giggles. If it weren’t for the airless, stifling, painfully hot – OMG I can’t breathe -108 degree room, laughter would have ensued.)

As you yogi friends reading this may already know, Bikram Yoga is a series of 26-postures completed in an order specifically designed to provide “optimal health and longevity” – assuming you don’t pass out and die in the first class. (Sorry, we really try to refer from using words like “dead” and “die” when figuratively describing events – those words have been over-used already in this post and until other words come to mind to adequately describe this situation, they shall remain in this post.) The class was 90 minutes of hell long, and typically done in a room about 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit to warm up the whole body, to work the body deep into muscles, tendons and ligaments and change/regenerate the body from the inside out. Our bodies must have been worked to the core since the temp reading in our room was 108. I. Can’t. Breathe. Adding insult to injury (thank goodness that hadn’t happened yet), Club TAOS members were separated. Really? The room was jammed pack and we – being “on time” – we moved around, placed apart, causing much disturbance to those student who had situated their mats, towels, water and puddles of sweat around them already. “Hi, we’re so new… clearly first timers… giggle, giggle… Could we be more disruptive?”

To make a long, painful 90 minutes short, we all survived – some of us, barely. Instead of our typical social outing afterward, we sat at a picnic table cooling off in the 90 degree fresh air. We discussed the following moments, quotes and memorable events of the class that we did not want to forget:

  • “Massage the colon” – In 35+ years we had never heard such a phrase. It was said three times during class. We’re still not sure that our colons were properly massaged and no sista had fessed up to any post-colon-massaging relief.
  • Puddles – We had never seen sweat accumulate in such large, splashy puddles by one human being as they did in Bikram yoga. It was as if we were just wetting ourselves the entire class. The dripping never lessened, the puddles never ceased.
  • Men in Undies - Men wore what appeared to be underwear briefs to class. Such a distraction. Please wear clothing. (Although 10 minutes in to the class, we wished we were nearly naked as well. So. Damn. Hot.)
  • “Your goal is to stay in the room” – Stay in the room? Easy peasy we thought. Thirty minutes in to class, this was no joke. As one sista felt light headed and was about to walk out of the class for air, the instructor advised her sit down and just breathe, as walking and getting to cooler air would just make it worse. From fear of actually passing out by walking or thinking this was actually sound advice, our sista sat down in her puddle to breathe. Impressively, she was able to rejoin the class!
  • “First timer, back row” – Another sista was referred to in this manner and given a polite criticism… now that is just plain wrong. First timer, back row? Sheesh.
The last thing one should know about this particular yoga session was that the orange juice machine for fresh squeezed OJ is to be operated by a yogi staff member only, and even at that, she/he needs to be well-trained. There is a cup situated at the dispenser spout for excess “discharge” from the previous fresh squeezed drink that was made. One is not to drink the “discharge”. (More hilarity ensued from this word usage in Activity #10 from TAOS sistas… stay tuned for that blog post. It’s so worth the laughter. Ok, it’s funny to us.)

In summary, this outing was, eh…. Just what Club TAOS is all about: Trying Anything Once. Emphasis on the once in this case.

PS: Our instructor was a total Bikram bitch.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TAOS Activity #8 - Exotic Dance Class

Sunday, February 13, 2011
1:00-2:30 PM
Born 2 Dance Studio
Vienna, VA

One TAOS Member attempts to cover for her sista, who is VERY behind in blogging about this activity. "Due to the nature of this activity, photos may or may not be posted. The description and review of this activity is forever stored in our hearts and minds. It has been nearly 7 months since this outing and we have yet to document this Club TAOS experience. Sometimes, there are just no words. Or photos."

While the statement above is true, I've been guilted into writing the real blog from this event... yes, we are documenting this AND yes, there are pictures! :-)

Here's the activity description copied from the Born 2 Dance Studio website:

Make this Valentine's Day one to remember as you surprise him with the most sensual of dances, drawing from the repertoire of Exotic Dance movements and concepts you will learn in this workshop. The workshop is designed for any woman who wants to revive her femininity and express her sensuality--all in a classy and graceful manner. Specifically, the workshop will teach striptease, sensual dancing, seductive catwalk and floor movements. No prior dance experience required. Guaranteed to be an intense workout! Recommended attire: Comfortable workout clothes. High heels optional.

We were all a little nervous/hesitant about this activity... while it's one thing to dance around in your bedroom (whether in front of someone special or alone), it's something completely different doing this in front of other people, led by an instructor, and surrounded by mirrors. But, in the spirit of TAOS, we went into the studio open-minded, joined the eight other participants and our instructor (Michelle) and promptly donned our high heels.

Blogger's note: We were dressed in workout clothes and relatively standard high heels - well, 2 of us wore leopard print peep toes... but a couple of girls in the class who were obviously regular attendees had on acrylic heels with lights in the soles that illuminated whenever their feet tapped the floor... yes, we were a little intimidated. Another participant wore glamorous jewelry and full make-up for the class...

The class began with a warm-up to loosen our necks, hips, shoulders... then we started learning the choreography. Right away, we felt at ease and were even smiling at ourselves in the mirrors as we imitated the moves demonstrated by Michelle. She was a great instructor with an obvious amount of "professional" dancing experience. She made us feel comfortable doing these exotic dance movements and our inhibitions quickly faded away. One TAOS member was so impressed with herself that she commented several times, "I'm actually pretty good at this!" As the class continued and our exotic dance movements progressed into a full-fledged "routine", we occasionally giggled and felt mildly ridiculous, but enjoyed ourselves much more than we anticipated! Near the end of the workshop, Instructor Michelle, asked all the participants if we planned to perform our routine for anyone special for Valentine's Day, the TAOS members all responded "OMG, NO!" However, my suspicion is that more than one of us DID perform our newly learned exotic dance for her husband... mums the word on who did what!

Below is the description of the routine e-mailed to us by Instructor Michelle following the workshop... just in case we needed to refer to our "notes". Again, the language and description of the movements caused us to giggle, but we also realized that this type of dancing IS serious business and a lot harder than you would think! Yes, we really are mature 30-somethings! (ha!) Maybe our "followers" would want to try it out for themselves... enjoy!

Dance incorporating a chair/sofa

Valentine’s Day

Entrance - sexy walk, using arms and eye contact – 8 count (can be more if you are in a large room)

Pose when you get half way across floor (hold for 4 counts looking at him)

Continue walking to the chair

When you are directly in front of it - do a quick pivot turn so your bootie faces the chair (move it around - this is the first time the person in the chair will be gazing at your bod - work it. And if you have a big men’s shirt on, this is a nice time to move it around and show bootie shorts, a thong, whatever) When you are finished; turn head and look behind at him (over your shoulder)

Continue walking and make a full circle and a 1/2 around the chair; until you are standing behind it - 8 count or more

Put right hand (big gesture) on back of chair/on person in the chair; then put left hand (big gesture) up

Plie behind chair (you could rub your hands on person’s shoulders and down his arms as you plie and come up) 4 or 8 counts

Continue walking clockwise ½ way around the chair, right arm can graze the side of chair/person, as you move past - 4 or 8 count

Stop in front of chair facing chair/person

Move hips side-to-side and touch self (head, next, chest hips, etc. while moving)

If person in the chair has knees together legs closed – bend over, arch back, and place hands inside the person’s knees and gently push them apart

Turn body slightly left and to the side as you lift and place your right foot up on the chair in btwn the person’s open legs and put your right arm on person's shoulder or around back of the neck

Hip Roll with right leg on the chair – slow 8 count

(Balance on his shoulders, as necessary) Lift foot off of chair and place it back down on the floor

Walk around the chair in the opposite direction until you are in front of person again

Note whether or not his legs are still open (if not, slink down and push them open again)

Turn body to face sideways and sit on person’s left leg and place right hand on chair or around the back of next

Arch to the back as far as you feel comfortable, raising your left leg up with a pointed toe – 4 count

Push yourself back up; or pull against back of chair/his arm to get back up - 4 count

Move into floor work:

Put both hands on seat btwn his legs and turn body to face him, knee down and go to floor and sit with right knee bent and left knee bent the opposite way on the floor. (Alternative: Slide off of his leg on to the floor and turn around and sit with your right knee bent and left knee bent the opposite way on the floor)

Stretch right arm (Big gesture) on floor toward chair, then the left arm (big gesture) lift hips off of the floor leaning toward chair and sit back down; lift hips again

stretch both arms out on floor reaching toward chair and now head, slide hands and "drag" them back toward body

With left hand stroke inner right thigh, use left hand to push leg out into straight or bent leg (yoga pigeon pose, if you have the flexibility)

Use left hand to pick left leg up and bend it in front of you, foot on the floor and looking at person in chair

Lean back on both hands on the floor and lift the other leg and put right foot on the floor next to the left

Shimmy back to floor, or just lay down and straighten legs on the floor

While lying on your back on the floor – bend knees and lift legs into the air, cross ankles with legs straight and toes pointed (Optional "money shot" lift booties in the air a few inches and hold - 2 to 4 counts)

Bend right leg and rub it up and down against the left leg straightened behind it (cricket) and reverse (4 counts on each leg)

Uncross ankles and put big toes together side by side (legs are straight and toes are pointed) Begin single leg circles with right leg and then alternate using left leg (Keep the leg not making circular motion straight in the air with toes pointed). 4 circles on each leg.

Cross ankles again and swing both legs (bent and together) back and forth like a pendulum 4 swings in both directions

Uncross ankles and put big toes together side by side (legs are straight and toes are pointed), slide both hands up the leg from thighs to ankles. Use hands to open both legs wide in a “V” and do a peek-a-boo with head thru the legs

Optional: Open and close legs 4 times (do not use momentum – slowly open and close them)

Lower both feet to a flat position on the floor, knees are bent and facing the ceiling, legs are apart… Lift the pelvis and hips off of the floor – 4 count; lower them back down to the floor - 4 count

Lift up – 1 count; lower 1 count; repeat 3 times and leave pelvis and hips in up position on the 3rd repetition

Do a circle with the hips in the air – optional: repeat

Lower pelvis and hips to the floor and straighten your left leg down on the floor (leave the right in bent position) hands are flat on the floor near hips

Arch back and lift upper body off the floor so you are in a seated position with bent knees, move them around to the left and kneel

Options for getting up:
Use his chair for support – bend right knee and push up, then left

Crawl closer to his chair and use his legs to help push your up

(You can lean over and give him a kiss and end your dance here)

Or you can add a lap dance:

Move in close to the person's body and step over legs – first with right leg, then left

Tease with your hips – side-to-side just slightly above the person's lap

Lower yourself down further (sit on the person if you want) – do circular rotations with your chest - 8 circles clockwise

Lift up (off lap) and touch the top of the person's head, shoulders, chest, etc. (BREATHE)

Lower yourself down again (sit on the person if you want) – do circular rotations with your chest - in the opposite direction – 8 circles

With each hand firmly on the person's shoulders/back of chair

Step right leg back over the person's leg and push yourself off and bring your left leg up and over the person's other leg…

Walk backwards using sexy arms – 8 count

(You can end the dance here)

Or, add the strip tease with large men’s shirt/robe (Recommend rayon/blend rather than 100% cotton, only the last button in the front is closed, sleeves are rolled to be about ¾ on your arms):

Facing the chair move holding the collar/buttons area of shirt in each hand, moving it around – to take it off: Slide your right arm over to your left (Inside the shirt) and move your left arm out of the left sleeve; next move in a circle, when back is facing the chair use your left hand to move the right arm out of the right sleeve; when you eventually face the chair both arms are “free” inside shirt. Begin to turn the shirt around from the inside so the back of shirt is now facing front. Optional – put shirt in move and use both hands to unsnap your bra – toss it towards chair…

Let go of shirt and move hips in a circle until shirt hits the ground. Optional: step the left foot out of the shirt on the floor, then “kick” the shirt with right foot

You can end dance by walking over to shirt, arch back as you bend over to pick it up – bring it up sexy. Then stand up, throw shirt over your shoulder, wink and walk away.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TAOS Activity #7 - Adult Cupcakes Demo and Wine Tasting

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
6:30 - 9:30pm
Open Kitchen
7115 Leesburg Pike #107
Falls Church, VA 22043

From the website:
"Join Open Kitchen for this delicious demonstration class where Chef Matt will delight and surprise you with a variety of “adult” cupcakes, from his famous Guinness Cupcakes to Red Velvet Chocolate Port Cupcakes. You’ll learn how easy and joyful it is to bake delicious cupcakes from scratch. Once these scrumptious treats are baked and frosted, our Wine Expert Andy Hoyle will step in and share his recommendations for pairing them with an assortment of white, red, and sparkling wines. You will learn which cupcakes pair best with certain wines and why."

This activity was not as hands on as previous ones, but with the holidays right around the corner this demo sounded too fun to pass up. We arrived at Open Kitchen and took our seats at the bar which had an excellent view of the
kitchen. We enjoyed a small appetizer plate of meats and cheeses while the handsome Chef Matt demonstrated how to make the first cupcakes on the menu, Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes with Meyer Lemon Chardonnay Frosting. After he was finished with the demonstration, wine expert Andy explained why he chose each wine to go with the cupcakes. We got to taste each of the cupcakes on the menu and the wines together…and each “taste” of wine was a very generous portion! Wine Expert Andy ended each explanation by saying, “Enjoy…and have fun with it!” in his cheerful southern accent.
The cupcakes tasted better as we drank more wine…was this the reason for the generous pours?


Blueberry-Lemon Cupcakes with Meyer Lemon Chardonnay Frosting paired with Osborne Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Santa Maria, Spain

White Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Fresh Strawberries and Basil paired with Segura Viudas, Aria Pinot Noir Brut, Cava Spain

Lemon-Macadamia Cupcakes with Rosemary paired with Sauvignon Blanc, Vermonte, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Dark Chocolate and Chipotle Cupcakes with Candied Orange Peel paired with Banfi Rosa Regale, Strevi, Italy

Red Velvet Chocolate Port Cupcakes paired with Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port, Amador County, CA

Guinness Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting paired with Guinness Beer

We enjoyed this activity even though it was a demonstration instead of a hands-on class. I doubt if we will ever make these “adult” cupcakes on our own but it was fun to learn about the wine pairings. Chef Matt was so handsome and fun that some of us are considering signing up for his soufflé class!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Activity #6 - Cheerleading!

October 18, 2010
Oakton, VA
Cost: approx $45 a person included session & lite fare afterwards
Once a Cheerleader, Always a Cheerleader….

Some of us were thinking that we all might have a similar learning curve on this activity since it had been 15-20 years since the former cheerleaders in the club actually cheered. This was NOT the case. Some members excelled….. so, RAH RAH RAH Kristin & Summer!!!!

To others (okay – maybe just OTHER) the only spirit they were able to capture was the spirit of Club TAOS… by stepping out of their comfort zone to TRY ANYTHING ONCE.

This activity was our first at-home activity and we had Christie from FoxyBodyFitness come to Shana’s house to instruct us. Christie’s company specializes in at-home personal training but Christie was kind enough to customize an hour session for us which focused on cheering. Christie was perfect –she had even created a TAOS cheer for us to learn!

In addition to learning 2 cheers, we learned how to stand and speak terms unfamiliar to some of us such as “just call it.”

We really had a blast – Ashli claimed to never have cheered but was soon teaching the “Victory” move to the hopeless member. Kristin was nominated TAOS Captain because she seemed to bounce right back into her highschool cheerleading days– complete with ponytails… and Summer deserves a big cheer herself for returning to her first post-baby activity with such spirit.

If our enthusiasm is not obvious to you in the video below, please know that we had it in our hearts…

After Christie left, we sat around Shana's kitchen table for some light dinner, drinks, and discussion. We LOVED our cheerleading session and hope to work with Christie again someday!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Activity #5 - Cupcakes, Actually!

July 28, 2010
Cupcake Tasting ~ Cupcakes, Actually!
Fairfax, VA
Cost: approx $13 per person for cupcakes and bottled water, plus drinks & dinner at Coastal Flats

We switched things up a bit this time... meeting first at Coastal Flats for drinks and dinner and debriefing of the "much ado about nothing" experience at Judy Harris' Cooking School (see Activity #4). We quickly moved onto other topics and simply catching up with one another and revisting summer vacations, etc. While three out of four TAOS members were getting their drink on - and someone was spilling her food and John Daly's on the table - our mama-to-be member "allowed" her sistas to indulge in Labor and Delivery talk. Just what every new mom needs/wants to hear 10 days before she's about to give birth, right?!?! This discussion only lasted so long, as we all realized that we'd digressed WAY too far from our original purpose of meeting (TAOS Activity #5)... and more food and drinks were (perhaps?) spilled and our too young and too full of himself waiter had one too many "cute"anecdotes... SO, we paid our bill and headed down the lane of Fairfax Corner to Cupcakes Actually, where our activity was tasting and evaluating a variety of cupcakes. After a rocking, yet somewhat amusing, start to our evening, we thought this sounded pretty fun and delicious!

The Cupcakery's website boasts:

"We are Cupcake Snobs."

"We are not bashful about our feelings for our cupcake beauties. They are made by our chefs … right in our shop kitchen in bustling Fairfax Corner. These gems aren’t your mom’s cupcakes (no offense to your mom)."

"Our weekly cupcake lineup features an exquisite variety of gourmet flavors. Our three exclusive signature cupcakes are dipped – lavishly bathed in top-coats of chocolate and caramel. Using personally-crafted recipes using local and premium ingredients, our cupcakes are made fresh from scratch daily."

This sounded like our kind of place! Indulging in the best of the best - a personal motto for many of us! Also, we had done our pre-activity homework which included: At Cupcakes Actually, we will each select two (yes, two) of their signature cupcakes priced at $3.05-$3.50 each. We will have a set of criteria by which we will conduct our own "tasting" of the cupcakes. Yes, you have to share. Upon selecting your cupcakes, you will need to consider the following:

1) The first selection should be your no-brainer, go-to cupcake -- something that you would pick without thinking twice. The one cupcake that your tummy must have. (Three words for me: Cuckoo for Coconut!)

2) The second cupcake will be a selection of something you *think* you would like, but might be a tad out of your comfort zone.

3) We must all select different cupcakes so there will be discussion. Be prepared to fight for and defend your selection.

4) You will have a "tasting sheet" for us to conduct our own cupcake tasting. Additionally, we will discuss why we chose the cupcakes we did, any emotions it evokes or fond memories that arise from the flavor, appearance and cupcake name.

So we walked up to Cupcakes Actually hoping to taste the top 2 cupcakes on our respective lists... there was a line out the door which we took as a good sign! Upon arriving at Cupcakes Actually, we had limited choices of what cupcakes we could purchase - no fighting or defending of choices here! None of the cupcakes featured on their website were available on this night... so with our mission in mind, we purchased a dozen cupcakes - at least one of each kind offered in the bakery and doubled up on a couple flavors in order to complete our dozen. We sat outside on this steamy July night and began to taste and rate our cupcakes - two different cupcakes a piece - and then we passed our cupcakes around the table so that we actually tasted 8 different cupcakes! (Sidebar: the other 4 out of the dozen were saved for our husbands - aren't we thoughtful?) We shared our reviews and rating sheet for each one we "taste tested." The clear consensus was that most of the cupcakes were dry... most of the icing was too sweet... and most of us wouldn't spend $3.50 on this kind of dessert again if we had to choose between Cupcakes Actually and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream right around the corner. There was ONE cupcake that got rave reviews from all the sistas - the flourless chocolate cupcake with decadent chocolate icing was delish!

All in all, it was a fun, low-key event filled with laughter-induced sugar highs! Wonder what will be next for Activity #6? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Activity # 4 – Herbs & Edible Flowers Cooking Class

Tuesday, June 8
Judy Harris Cooking School
Alexandria, VA
Cost: $65 per person, included dinner on premises

New TAOS rule: While on premises of an activity, please refrain from mentioning that there is a blog.

From the Judy Harris Cooking School website: "Everyone raves about our herb classes. Spring is the perfect time to explore growing, cooking and decorating with fresh herbs from your garden, pots, or market! Students visit our garden and pick a variety of fragrant herbs and colorful edible flowers. We will prepare and serve a light spring dinner. Explore how to start or enhance your herb garden, selecting the best varieties, discover top local herb markets, fun cooking techniques, pretty presentations and much more. Take home five popular herbs and a practical herb-growing guide."

Those of us who had never been to a cooking class might have expected a large kitchen and were a bit surprised when we pulled up to the modest home of Judy Harris. However, Judy greeted us with a warm welcome (as did Inge, the lovely assistant) and directed us to wash our hands and take a seat so that we could get started. A look around the kitchen let us know that Judy wasn’t one for fancy or flashy modern cooking appliances - except, of course, for the prized Vitamix 5000.

The class began with some explanation about herbs and then a stroll through Judy’s herb garden, carefully cultivated over the past few decades. We spent a lot of time in this garden learning how to smell herbs, grow them and use them. Hmmm…did we see another kind of “herb” in the very back of her garden? We would not have been surprised given Judy’s “retro” (polite way of saying stuck in 1970)

The first recipe to make and enjoy was the banana mint daiquiris. How deliciously different… and the class certainly got a bit louder from this point on. We divided into groups to make the rest of the recipes and made the wise decision of including our new friend Ruth so that we didn’t have to work quite as hard. Ruth was fun and knew everybody that was anybody in the DC metropolitan area.

Our group had the apple muffins and the sage butter. The other group had the lovage soup. You might think that is a typo – it’s not – it is lovage and if you have never tried it, you probably never will. We prepared our recipes in the food processor and did not get to use the prized Vitamix 5000 - that was for the lovage soup group.

Judy’s somewhat small kitchen got much smaller and louder during the cooking time. The groups were trying to quickly prepare their recipes with little instruction on empty stomachs after a daiquiri. This part of the class reminded us of 7th grade Home Economics - Judy would not let anyone talk while she was talking, and told us we were measuring the flour wrong because we did not “fluff” it first. It quickly got much later and was pitch dark by the time the lemon-thyme chicken was thrown onto the grill. Some students appeared a bit cranky – maybe even one or two members of TAOS - but eventually we all sat down to a delicious meal in Judy’s 1970s decorated dining room. When we say delicious, we mean it! Dessert was rosemary sorbet made in an interesting antique ice cream machine…definitely a 1972 original model!

It seemed as though we had all been through a lot to prepare this meal together and it showed. We spent dinner time getting to know each other even more and at some point we spilled the beans on the blog. Judy (& Ruth) quickly wanted all of the club & website information “this is going to be on the internet!!!??" Uh oh. We tried to remain politely tightlipped and said our goodbyes. This was a great activity – a wonderful adventure & certainly a night we will never forget.