Angus Barn

Less Than Stellar Service But a Stellar Little Boy

Today was a busy day. My mother and stepfather were coming up for the day so we could go to the Angus Barn to celebrate my mom’s birthday, so after Daniel got up at 6:30, it was time for me to clean a little more after I had shocked my system with copious amounts of pumpkin spice coffee.  Litter! Toilets! Floors! Oh my! My mother and stepfather were originally supposed to arrive at 10:30 but didn’t actually arrive until noon, giving us time to play outside before lunch.

sidewalk chalk alphabet

Practicing his letters


sidewalk chalk

The young artist


The afternoon passed quickly.  Daniel had lunch and then “quiet time,” which is anything but quiet.  Jimmy and my stepfather worked on a house project, and my mother and I chit chatted. Before long, it was time for us to get ready to go eat.

Child and starfish

He has nicer clothes than I do

We are big fans of the Angus Barn but alas, tonight it didn’t live up to its reputation and our prior experiences there.  The service was very slow. We had made a reservation for 5:30 to ensure we were able to get home reasonably close to Daniel’s bedtime and to ensure that my mother and stepfather were able to get on the road at a decent hour since they couldn’t spend the night. We didn’t leave the restaurant until after 8. The food was just OK, and we were frustrated by the slowness.

We’ve eaten there many times before and 9 times out of 10, the experience is top-notch.  I know that any restaurant can have an off night but it was frustrating that it was tonight of all nights. I worry that it made my mom’s birthday dinner seem less special since the meal was expensive but may not have been worth it tonight. Everything seemed a little off.

The bright spot was Daniel.  He was wonderful. He was charming and sweet the entire night. Despite being tired and hungry, he behaved beautifully and we resorted to videos on my iPhone only as a last resort when we were waiting for the entree and he began to fidget.  We didn’t get home until almost 9, an hour past his bedtime, and we still managed to brush teeth, read stories, do the starfish chart and the bedroom routine without any meltdowns.  That little boy was out within minutes of his head hitting the pillow.


Daniel and his adoring public


Mother and child

Daniel and his adoring mommy


May we all sleep well. I know I’m looking forward to a very quiet day tomorrow.

How is your weekend so far?

35 Years and 1 Week

I made it.  I survived my first week as a 35-year-old, and I thought I better chronicle it before my memory begins to slip now that I’ve entered my dotage.

September 8

I commemorated my last day as a 34-year-old by doing glamorous activities like mopping my floors.  It’s amazing how much you can sweat pushing a mop around.

Clearly aging gracelessly. Fare-the-well, 34.

September 9

On Sunday, my actual birthday, we celebrated by eating Mexican, my traditional cuisine on my birthday.  Why?  I don’t know.  I think it’s because I am seldom able to eat Mexican and figure no one can deny me a birthday wish.

After eating chips, salsa, fries, grilled chicken and fried ice cream, Daniel began to refer to it as his birthday.

Chips and salsa rock!

Gimme that ice cream!

No outing to a Mexican restaurant on your birthday would be complete without the waitstaff serenading you while you wear a sombrero and try not to blush out of mortification. I failed. I always thought I looked pretty good in a sombrero, so it could be worse I suppose.

A sombrero should become a regular part of my wardrobe, right?

Oh, the sugar is kicking in, and this no-napping little boy has little patience for a mommy who wants to cuddle.

Let go, Mommy! You’re smushing me!

September 11

Week two of soccer! Daniel continues to excel at running in the wrong direction, picking flowers, putting the cones on his head and rolling around in the grass.  I predict a glorious career in soccer for him!

Why am I here again?

September 13

I finally met Laura in person after trying to plan lunch for a month.  She was lovely, and I think we could have chatted all day.  Sometimes you meet someone and you know instantly that you have met a kindred spirit.  I don’t know if she felt that way, but I did! Less happily, the garlic and other spices from lunch at La Shish lingered the rest of the day, gifting me with horrific breath no amount of tic tacs would tame.  The food was great, so I suppose the dragon breath was worth it.  She suggested that I sign up for the Fall Mondo Beyondo course, and I did.  I’m excited to see what I discover about my dreams.

September 14

A few coworkers and I traveled to Edenton for a meeting, leaving Raleigh at 6:45 AM.  I thought we were going to Elizabeth City, which is a bit further away, but it turns out our destination was Edenton.  See?  My mind is going already.  I have pretty awesome coworkers, and the 3-hour trip each way was made tolerable by gossiping, doing each other’s hair (not really), sharing our mutual dislike and making fun of The Sound of Music and stopping for peanuts.

My meeting was about 500 feet away. What a view!

Bertie County Peanuts; Made in NC of course!

September 15

Despite our ongoing battle with carpet beetles (seriously – it’s still ongoing), I thought it would be a great idea to take Daniel to BugFest at the Museum of Natural Sciences.  Bugs!  Bugs everywhere!  It was fun even though both of us refused to touch any insect.  I did glower at the beetle exhibits and noted that carpet beetles were not represented.  Can I tell you how happy I am not to live around the equator?  They have HUGE, terrifying insects.  I would faint if I ever saw a beetle or cockroach the size of some of the ones I saw.  Even their moths and butterflies look like they could carry off a small child.  It reminds me of the ant scene at the end of 100 Years of Solitude.

Later that evening, the three of us got gussied up and met my parents at The Angus Barn for my official birthday dinner.  Steak, shrimp, crackers, pickles, wine, dessert and cappuccino served to us by a former student whom I student taught back in 1998.  Yikes.  She recognized me, so I must still resemble my younger self a bit.   Daniel behaved beautifully because we had promised him chocolate, which he began to demand loudly as soon as he declared himself finished with his dinner.  Happy to reward his good behavior with sugar, Jimmy and Daniel were able to go to the kitchen so that Daniel could make his own sundae.

Dapper Daniel ready for a night on the town

Let me eat in peace!

Full of sugar and no nap, Daniel fell asleep on the way home, cuddling his new stuffed kitty.

September 16

And on this day, we rested, too worn out to do anything productive.  The weather cooperated by being chilly and rainy all day.

I can nap here, right?

Being 35 hasn’t been so bad.  Or maybe I just don’t remember.

The Feasting Continues

The Angus Barn is kid-friendly with a toy chest they can rummage in

As if it weren’t gluttony enough to have a bunch of yummy leftovers from Thanksgiving in the refrigerator, my mother’s birthday was yesterday, and she decided she wanted to celebrate by going to the Angus Barn since she hadn’t been there in a while.  If you aren’t familiar with the restaurant, it’s an upscale steak house.  The head chef is well known for winning an Iron Chef battle against Cat Cora.  Honestly, J and I weren’t exactly in the mood for it since we’d had several days of rich food, but hey, she was paying, so who were we to look a gift horse in the mouth?

Self-made ice cream sundae. Yum!

We took Daniel with us.  It wasn’t his first time – we celebrated my very first Mother’s Day there with brunch when he was 11 months old–but the Angus Barn isn’t somewhere we’d typically take him even though it has rustic decor and is fairly family friendly.  We compensated by getting a reservation for 5pm and not having a pre-dinner drink in the Wild Turkey Lounge.

J and I were a bit anxious, especially since Daniel had a very late nap, but he did beautifully.  Of course we packed about 14 books, a zillion trains and a variety of snacks to bribe – I mean to keep him entertained. Daniel may not eat vegetables, but he is a steak connoisseur, enjoying more of J’s prime rib than he did.  I was pleased that he also tried a few spoonfuls of sweet potato bisque (which was disappointingly not nearly as good as it has been in the past).  Being very full, we skipped dessert in favor of cappuccino, but Daniel had ice cream.  It was cool because our server took us back to the kitchen for him to customize his ice cream with sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry.  Very cool!

The Angus Barn was decorated for Christmas, and they go all out.  There was lots for Daniel to look at, and I think that helped keep him entertained.  On the way out, he grabbed a couple of apples and chowed down on one on the way home.

Best of all, we now have steak leftovers to go with our turkey.  Will my waistline ever recover?

What is your favorite restaurant in which to celebrate special occasions?

Posing in front of the huge tree in the lobby