Friday, January 27, 2006


I don't really have a lot to say about this trip. Other than the fact that there were no murders outside my hotel room, which was a marked improvement from my previous trip to Baltimore.

So I guess I'll leave good enough alone. :)

Washington, DC!

In between the Cincinnati and Baltimore trips, Chad and I decided it would be fun to spend the 3-day weekend in DC. Turns out, we were right.

There were many fun things about the weekend in DC. Let me itemize them for you.

Fun Thing #1: The Hotel

Oh, dear. I think I may be becoming spoiled by nice hotel rooms. This particular hotel, however, was so unbelievably cool that as soon as I walked into my room I knew I was in danger of never wanting to come out again. We stayed at the Topaz Hotel in Dupont Circle, which provides amenities...such as a really good stereo system and a collection of mix CDs. I was really excited about this because I sometimes partake in an activity I refer to as "Annie is Having a Dance Party in her Room Tonight". However, being on the road as much as I am, it makes it difficult to do this on a regular basis. (Believe me, I've tried. But it turns out that having pretend dance parties to music coming from a laptop speaker is....well..., it's kind of awkward, to tell the truth). Other cool things about this hotel included: Aveda shampoo and conditioner, a rock in a pretty tulle bag left on my pillow, a horoscope tied in purple ribbon, Cooking Light magazines, amazing tea bags (the bags were made of silk!), a TV channel dedicated solely to showing people doing yoga by the ocean, and giraffe and leopard print bathrobes.

I refused to wear anything but my leopard print bathrobe while staying at the Topaz Hotel.


Fun Thing # 2: Jennifer McFadden (Hi, Jen!)

While in DC I was so happy to have the opportunity to visit with Jennifer (who is a fellow Colorado College alum, and also a former co-worker). Although Jennifer and I had managed to lose touch for the past year(plus), I have always referred to her as my "Renaissance Woman Friend". The girl can cook, knit, speak I don't know how many languages, and refinish furniture like nobody's business. And she's incredibly smart. For example, I remember going to her thesis defense in college. Her thesis was a narrative fiction account of an ancient Greek sculptor(forigive me, I forget his name). While discussing the intricasies of her Greek-themed thesis, Jen and her professors lapsed into a discussion held entirely in German. And I found myslef nodding along. Like I knew what the heck was going on! Ich spreche Deutsch nicht, people! The memory still makes me smile.

Anyway, it was great to see Jen and catch up. And she even surprised me with the news that in the year since we last talked, she married Ben (also a fellow CC alum). I am absolutely delighted...if there was ever a match for Jen, Ben is it! Congratulations again, you two!

Fun Thing # 3: My Walk to the White House

On Sunday morning, I decided to take a walk to the White House and The Mall. I spent a semester in DC during college, so I've seen it before. However, I never really get tired of this particular area of DC. The monuments, the history, the buildings in which so many important decisions have been's all right there in front of you; right there for you to wonder why things have happened the way they have in our history, and ponder one's hopes for the future. I love it.

Upon arrival at the front of the White House, I saw two things: (1) A bunch of guys playing street hockey, and (2) A young man walking up and down the sidewalk with a HUMUNGOUS color cut-out of our president's face strapped to his head, carrying a fluorescent pink picket sign reading "I (heart) Fascism". He was accompanied by a really old lady (she had to be at least 90 years old) carrying a fluorescent orange sign reading "George W. Sucks". I love this country. I really, really do.

Fun Thing # 4: The Seahawks/Redskins Game

The weekend in DC just happened to coincide with the Seahawks/Redskins game, which ultimately resulted in the Seahawks going to the Superbowl. Even though I'm not necessarily what one would call a football enthusiast, I agreed to meet Chad and Carlos at sports bar in Dupont Circle to watch the game. I thought it would be funny for a group of three people from Seattle to antagonize a group of hard-core Redskins fans during the game.

On my way to the sports bar, I spotted a guy from afar wearing a Seahawks jersey and a ridiculous foam Seahawks hat. My immediate thought was, "That guy has some serious balls". My second thought was, "I will call that guy 'Crazy Seahawks Guy' from now on". Crazy Seahawks Guy ended up going to the same sports bar as me.

Anyways, I don't really have too much to say about the game, other than I am glad the Seahawks won, and that my initial assumption was right - it was fun to antagonize the Redskins fans! And the Redskins fans were, in return, quite hospitable. In fact, one guy kept coming up to our booth to welcome us. He would jump up and down, and yell "Welcome to DC! Welcome to DC, BA-by! Welcome to DC!" over and over again. I thought that was quite nice of him.

From left to right: Me, Chad, Carlos and Crazy Seahawks Guy.
I don't think the guy who took this picture understood that the sole reason we wanted the picture in the first place was to have a documented history of socializing with crazy guys who wear crazy hats. This picture certainly does not do the hat justice. Oh, well.
The picture below provides a slightly better view of the hat. Please also note the guy in the white jersey (just below Crazy Seahawks Guy). He's the guy who welcomed us to DC.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


During this trip I stayed in a remote business district/suburb of Cincinnati, and didn't get a chance to explore the actual city. So I don't really have too much to say about Cincinnati.

Oh! One day there was a furnace fire in our hotel! No flames were actaully ever seen (and I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a teeny bit disappointed about that), but a grand total of 13 fire trucks showed up (I counted while standing in the parking lot, trying to keep my mind off the fact that it was FREEZING COLD and was in gym clothes, which were not exactly toasty-warm). BUT, I got to see a fire hydrant in use for the first time, which was pretty cool, and also got to watch about 30 firemen running around with pickaxes. I still don't completely understand why they were running around with pickaxes, but it was fun to watch nonetheless! I would have loved to take some pictures and post them, but I didn't have my camera with me at the time. Sorry!

The people we trained were really very nice and fun to work with, so although the trip wasn't uber exciting, it was at the very least pleasant.

And that's about all I have to say about Cincinnati!


I could eat Savannah up with a spoon.

I fell in love with Savannah upon arrival. It is a lovely town, full of lovely people and all sorts of fascinating history.

Let me take you on a pictorial tour of some of the lovely things about Savannah.

The "downtown" area of Savannah consists of 20-some squares, which are basically mini parks which break up the main roads throughout the city. Most of the squares have monuments in the are a couple pictures of my favorite square.

The plant life in Savannah was spectacular. Both of the above pictures were taken in an old graveyard (and if you read my Boston post, you know how much I love graveyards!). I'd never seen Spanish moss before in person...that stuff is cool! According to the tour guide of the ghost tour I made Aaron go on with me, Spanish moss does not live in areas that are haunted. I therefore found it curious that the cemetery was drooping with it. Maybe that means that all the souls laid to rest here are at peace....?

The bus stop signs in Savannah are Retro Fabulous!

I have a thing for pretty doors. And there were many pretty doors in Savannah.

One of my favorite sights in Savannah was watching the epitome of a man's man walking an itty bitty dog in a fuzzy pink sweater through one of the squares. This is admittedly not a very good picture, and I (as a rule) abhor the sight of dogs wearing clothes, but I thought it was too quaint not to post.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


I was in Jacksonville for three weeks during December. My observations of Jacksonville include the following:

  • There seems to be a disproportionate number of Mustangs per capita in Jacksonville. I think every third car I saw in Jacksonville was a Mustang. There was a white Mustang that parked in our hotel parking lot the whole time Aaron and I were there. It must have belonged to a hotel employee. Anyways, this particular Mustang caught our attention because it had a huge creepy decal on the rear window of a horse with human arms, showing off its beefy biceps. And it said "Don't mess with the 'Stang!". One night we were coming back to the hotel from dinner and the Mustang came peeling into the parking lot. Aaron and I were interested in seeing who drove this particular car, so we took our sweet time getting to the hotel door. And out of the Mustang pops this petite woman in her 30's wearing a mauve business suit and orthopedic shoes. Go figure.
  • Speaking of cars and such, I have never in my life seen so many custom/personalized license plates. You know - the license plates you pay extra for, and have pretty pictures on them. There were a variety of "Save the <insert cause here>!" plates (i.e., Save the turtles, whales, children, and/or other endangered species), a bunch of college/university plates, and a random plate that looked like a series of three paint slashes in an early 1990's color scheme which reminded me of the Golden Girls. If Blance DeVereaux had a car, I'm sure that would have been her license plate of choice.
  • People in Jacksonville have a really hard time spelling the name Aaron. This was observed based upon our daily visits to the Starbucks down the street from our hotel. Aaron almost always orders a venti-double-pump-no-whip-mocha, and this particular Starbucks has adopted the policy of writing the customer's name on the cup if they order somethig from the barista bar. It quickly became the highlight of my morning to see what they wrote on Aaron's cup. We saw: Aron, Erin, Aeron, Aryian, Arean, Arian, and I'm sure there were a few others. The only person who ever got it right was the store manager, who bought us drinks. She was cool. She doesn't really like Jacksonville, and is planning on moving to the Seattle area soon with her boyfriend. Way to go, Brenda!
  • I saw a lot of people wearing beer t-shirts in Jacksonville.
  • While I was in Florida, pretty much the rest of the country was experiencing an extremely cold winter storm front. Jacksonville had daytime had lows in the mid-60's, but usually we were in the 70's range. And yet, people still came to class wearing heavy winter coats and even scarves and gloves in some cases. I was wishing I had brought a pair of shorts with me the whole time I was there. One night I was watching the local news, and the weather man said that it was a perfect night for cozying up next to the fire with a hot cup of cider. WHAT?!?

Jacksonville is basically a series of strip malls and apartment complexes, so I didn't take any pictures within the city limits. However, we did take a day trip to St. Augustine, which was the first settlement in America. It was a very, very pretty city, and was crowded by touristy shops, numerous bed and breakfasts and a Thomas Kincaid gallery (Thomas Kinkaid makes me nauseous, for any of you who are wondering about my stance on his work). Here are a couple pictures taken from the old fort in St. Augustine, which was pretty cool.

We also took a weekend trip to Savannah, GA during this trip. The mere thought of Savannah now gives me the warm fuzzies, so I think it deserves its own post. However, I'm a bit blogged out for now, so I will post about Savannah at a later date.

Next stop: Cincinnati! (which I hear is a lot like Pittsburgh. That's great).


Oh, geez. My post about Boston is long overdue. It's been two months since I was there, and I fear my recollections regarding the trip have become blurry. However, I do recall liking Boston very much. Very, very much indeed. I also recall two lovely visits with my friends Rich and Stephanie. Thanks again for keeping the Sunday brunch tradition alive, you guys!

Since it's been such a long time since I was there, I will just post some Boston photos for all you all to enjoy.

Here we go!

This is the Old North Church from which the two lanterns were hung, prompting Paul Revere's famous ride through the city. You know the drill: "One if by land, two if by sea", and "The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!"

This is the Old State House, from which the Declaration of Independence was read in 1776. I love historic buildings. I love that this one is located smack dab in the middle of a modern dowtown metropolis, too. So cool.

This is a stupid picture I took in Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill is such a nice neighborhood! It's pretty, and has a good feeling to it. I would love to live there someday. However, I think you have to be filthy rich to take up residence in Beacon Hill. I'm not sure that I'll ever be filthy rich, so I settled on taking pictures of the neighborhood to keep the memory of its loveliness fresh in my mind. So I took this stupid picture and immediately two things happened. 1: I thought to myself "Well, that is a pointless picture of Beacon Hill! Why did I take that picture?" And 2: My camera battery died. Then I threw a mini-tantrum because I couldn't take any more pictures of Beacon Hill.

I really enjoy going to old graveyards and taking pictures of them. Does that make me a morbid person?

Boston girls seemed to have a penchant for wearing mini skirts and Ug-type boots. I have two concerns about this. Concern #1: It is COLD in Boston in November! REALLY cold! And it is common knowledge that being cold = goosebumps. And having goosebumps = accelerated leg hair growth. So by the end of the night, these girls were probably very cold and had stubbly leg hair. Concern #2: Ugs are funny looking, and are basically a bad fashion choice. But then again, this is coming from someone who was dead-set against capri pants when they were in the height of fashion. And then two years later I decided capri pants were THE COOLEST THING EVER. So maybe that means that I'll start wearing mini skirts and Ugg boots in 2007. I hope not, though.

This concludes my Boston post. Hopefully I will be sent to Boston again sometime soon, so I can write a better and more timely blog entry.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Um, I don't really like Pittsburgh. No offense to any of you Pittsburghians out there, but...well, your city sucks.

Some observations about Pittsburgh:

  • There is nothing to do in downtown Pittsburgh. Upon recommendation, we went to "The Strip" one night to enjoy some local nightlife, maybe catch some live music....but all we found was a butcher, a cigar bar, a florist, a crappy Irish pub which was patronized by no one under the age of 50, and a McDonald's.
  • People in Pittsburgh don't drive very well.
  • To buy beer in Pittsburgh, you have to go to a beer store. And, according to P-A State Law (and you have to say it like that: "P-A State Law"), it's illegal to buy a 6-pack from a beer store. It is equally as illegal to buy a 12-pack. You have to buy a CASE for your beer purchase to be legal. Yes, people - a CASE! I guess the law makers of P-A know how bad Pittsburgh sucks, and therefore enacted this law to help retain its citizens. "Make them drink MORE, I say, and then maybe they'll look upon this city with beer goggles! And then they'll stay!"
  • We saw a bumper sticker that said Ditch the Bitch...Let's go Fishin'! This is an example of self-explanatory suckiness.
  • I took eight pictures of the old Heinz ketchup factory, because it was one of the only cool things to look at.
  • Speaking of Heinz, they are currently restoring a bunch of old industrial buildings in the downtown area into a bunch of swanky residential lofts. The names of the loft buildings will be "Cereal", Meat", "Bean", and there are two more but I forget their names. I am sure they are equally bad building names, however.
  • The suburbs of Pittsburgh have the most lovely fall foliage I have ever seen (I had to get at least one "positive" in there, didn't I?)
  • Women sport some BIG HAIR in Pittsburgh.
  • Very many men sport rockin' mullets in Pittsburgh.
  • Pittsburgh seems to have a penchant for turning old churches into bars and/or breweries. Which is kind of cool, I guess. We went to one of them one night. It was called "The Church". The Church was actually pretty cool. Good food, good atmosphere, but bad beer. A colleague of mine stole a pint glass for me on our way out, after she discovered that I sometimes collect pint glasses to document my work travels. So that was a weird, cleptomaniac kind of way. Thanks, Jeanne!

Geez Louise, this was a negative, snotty post! My optimistic, happy self is feeling a little bit guilty right now, for dedicating all sorts of words to listing things I don't like about Pittsburgh. But, really, I would have no problem with not having to go back there again (hint, hint, Jay!)


About an hour into my 3-day jaunt to Colorado, I realized I had arrived 2 years to the very day after I had loaded all of my earthly belongings into my 1988 Toyota Cressida and left the state to move back home. The thought hit me as I cruised down I-25 in my crappy Kia Rio rental car, and it made me smile.

I went to Colorado to see Andy (who grew up in Colorado Springs, but now lives in Japan) perform with his taiko drumming group. They had come to Colorado to play at various high schools throughout the city, with a grand finale performance in the city's performance hall on Friday night. I was honored to have been invited, and - gee willikers - was I ever impressed! If you've never seen a taiko performance, I highly recommend that you do (someday....when the opportunity presents itself). Andy even had a big solo, which made me cry a little bit (happy tears, of course).

The sounds that taiko drumming creates are wonderful, but it is definitely a visual experience, as well.

The other highlights of my trip to Colorado included a visit to the mall (woo!), an evening at the Flying W Ranch (think Knotts Berry Farm, but cold, deserted and no rides - BUT they had a fantastic dinner hall, complete with a western music stage show by the Flying W Wranglers...classic!), an improptu party in the lobby of the hotel where Andy's (band?)mates were staying, brunch with my old boss, and a scrumptious dinner with my friends Kevin and Hailey (thanks again, guys!). All good stuff.

I didn't take many pictures when I was in Colorado. There were certainly many great photo ops, but I think sometimes when I have too many things to see and observe I find it too much of an interruption to reach into my purse and pull out my camera. (Translation: Sometimes, I am lazy). Therefore, given my lack of pictures, I will post a picture of my friend Josh playing air guitar instead. He seems to think that pictures of himself will make this blog site more interesting. You be the judge.

Rock on, Josh. Rock on.

All in all, I had a great time in Colorado.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Curse of the Hair in Three Acts

(Megan and her husband Oswaldo enter their new apartment from Stage Left)

Megan: Well, here we are in our new apartment. Isn't it nice?
Oswaldo: Yes, our new apartment is very nice.
M: What is that thing on our balcony ledge?
O: I don't know. Maybe it's a rodent.
M: I don't think so. It's not moving. I'll go take a closer look.

(Megan exits to the balcony)

M: Eeeeek! It is a big pile of human hair! I MUST REMOVE THE HAIR!
M: Huh?
O: NOOOOOOO! You can't remove the hair!
M: Why not?
O: Because it's a curse.
M: Whaaaat?
O: The pile of human hair means someone has cursed our apartment. We can't touch it, or the curse will be activated.
M: Oh.
O: This is bad.
M: I agree. I don't like the hair pile. I know! We could call your uncle Armando and ask him to remove the hair.
M: What?
O: Oh, Megan. A family member can't touch the hair, either!
M: Oh, I see. Can a friend remove the hair?
O: Yes, that would be OK.

(Megan on Stage Left in her new apartment; Annie on Stage Right in her new apartment)

The phone rings.

Annie: Hello?
Megan: Hey Roomie! What's up?
A: Roomie! Not much. What's up with you?
M: Oh, you know. The usual.
A: That's cool.
M: Yeah.
A: Kick ass.
M: There's a pile of human hair on my balcony. Will you come remove it? I can't touch it because it is a curse. Armando can't remove it either, because he is related to Oswaldo.
A: Oh...right. OK! I'll be there in 15 minutes.

(Annie enters Megan's new apartment from Stage Left)

Annie: Hi Roomie! I really like your new apartment! Your fireplace is pretty.
Megan: Thanks! Do you want to see the hair?
Annie: OK!

(Megan and Annie exit to the balcony)

A: That is gross.
M: Yes. It really is.
A: I need about 20 paper towels.
M: OK.

(Annie removes the hair in one very undramatic sweep of the arm).

***THE END***

The Cursed Hair

Friday, October 21, 2005


I work for a company that loves acronyms.

My old job was in a department called RBU; my team was RD. Actually, it was originally LD, but we re-orged....thus, RD. I designed training for employees of FCs, including PFRs, LPFRs, FCMs, AFCMs and HIPs. A majority of my work consisted of designing training entitled FOCL, DOT (later renamed SIT, which had an OAT component), RFFC and SP (later renamed SE). Another team was bombarded by a huge project referred to as SBB (later shortened to SB, for ease of pronunciation). And yet another team is currently working on NAP, FLB, FLBMA and TS (not to mention the 40 other classes, all of which have their own cute little acronyms).

I just trasfered to a department that delivers training to employees of LFCs, and the majority of our audience are SLCs. They are familiar with BEDE, and we train them about VB. But sometimes, I guess, we train them about JDC. But only in certain regions. Normally they work on files sent to them from the HLCs (not to be confused with the CLPCs), but the training I will do highlights files sent to them by the FCs. I think...? We also talk about how to communicate with the DCC during class. Heaven help me.

So, given this, is it any wonder that, 45 minutes into the road trip to Portland - my FIRST DAY ON THE JOB, mind you - I asked "So....why is it that are we going to Portland, again....?". I thought it was a perfectly valid question. My new co-workers (Aaron and Chad) thought it was hysterical.

Anyways, the trip was great, and I am very excited to FINALLY be writing a blog about my travels (which is why I started this whole thing to begin with!). However, given that the trip was a short one to Portland (which I have already visited; same for Aaron and Chad) I didn't take many pictures. In fact, there were exactly 3 pictures on my camera when I arrived back in Seattle.

The first was of me and my lovely friend Chelsea. Chelsea was kind enough to meet me, Aaron and Chad for drinks and food upon our arrival to Portland. It was wonderful to see her and catch up. Chelsea is currently in the midst of applying for psychology internships (the cool doctorate ones), and so I was very, very glad that she was able to meet up. Chelsea, you're fantastic!

Me and Chelsea, during my first night in Portland!

The second picture was of Aaron and Chad (taken the same night), but unfortunately it didn't turn out. Even with my impressive photo editing skills, all you could see were two noses, some teeth and a shirt collar. Dang it. Next trip I will try to get a better one.

Anyways, my first day on the job was pretty hard. I rode in a car for 3 hours, and then had dinner with a good friend. (I'm being facetious, for you literal readers out there).

The second day was much more difficult. A half hour into the class we discoved none of the passwords worked for the system we were training. Therefore, nobody could log onto VB. So Chad contacted TSG and asked them to fix the problem. He was refered to DS. While DS was working on the problem, the class was dismissed and we trainers spent the remainder of the day doing important things such as playing Text Twist, reading the Seattle Times Online and checking our frequent flyer miles. Then, the REAL fun began!

I think I'll leave out the details regarding the real fun, other than to say we had a heck of a lot of fun! Early on in the night, however, we passed under a hotel sign that reduced me to delighted and immature giggles, and resulted in my third and final Portland picture.

Not necessarily a classy picture. But I grew up in a town called Kent, so I thought it was kind of funny. "Kent HO".... Haha! HA!

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. The password situation was finally resolved, and the rest of the class went well. Oh! And one night we had dinner at this tiny hole in wall Mexican/Peruvian restuarant. They had the BEST enchiladas I've ever had, which is strange given that I was in Oregon, which is not necessarily known for it's Mexican cuisine. Go figure.

Alrighty, I guess that's about it for my Portland re-cap.

Next stop(s): Colorado, Pittsburgh and Boston! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pictures of my dog wearing clothes

My biggest pet peeve in the world is when people make their animals wear clothes. I do NOT think it's cute, nor do I think it's funny. I am being very serious right now. In fact, it makes me feel pretty angry on the inside when I see animals wearing clothes.

However, my ex-roommate (whom I still refer to as "Roomie" that weird? I hope not. Because I plan on calling Megan "Roomie" for the rest of my days, even though all indications point to the fact that we will never actually be roommates again)....where was I? Oh, OK. Anyway, early on "Roomie" and I agreed to disagree on this subject. She is one of those people who enjoy seeing animals wearing clothes, and I am one of those people who do not. So, even though I was adamant that Karma would NEVER, EVER WEAR CLOTHES from the day she entered our domestic partnership, I think Megan occassionally snuck dog clothing products into our apartment and dressed up my dog while I was gone. Whatever. I'm not bitter about it.

I have to be honest, though. There have been two occassions in which I voluntarily put clothes on my dog.
First case in point:

One time I made my dog wear green fishnets. I admit it.

The second time was today. I dropped by the old apartment to pick some stuff up and drop some things off, and found that Roomie had included a doggy Halloween hat in my bag of stuff that I was picking up. Given that I like Megan and wanted to show gratitude for her thoughtfulness, in addition to the fact that Megan has expressed that she actually misses my neurotic dog, I thought I'd buck it up and put the dang hat on Karma's head.

Happy Halloween, I guess.

So, anyways. I still get angry when I see animals in clothes. It does not make any sense to me whatsoever. However...I kind of have to dog does look pretty cute in these pictures, doesn't she?

Does that make me a hypocrite? I hope not...

P.S. I must add that Karma chewed up her Halloween hat promptly after the picture was taken. That's my girl!

Karma says: "Dogs aren't supposed to wear clothes!"