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.