Archive for September, 2008

Rain, Hobbits, Waterfalls, and Football

It’s a humid, sticky, drizzly Saturday.


I had to get up at 6:00 am in order to go to the DMV to get my Virginia Driver’s License. (I needed a full hour to do my hair and makeup, since this picture will be on my license for years!!) The DMV opens at 8, but my plan was to get there at 7:30 in order to beat the crowds. Last time I went to the DMV, we arrived to see the line literally wrapped around the building. Not cool. Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one with the idea to get there early today. I arrive at 7:40 and was about the 40th person in line. Luckily, it actually moved quickly; once it opened, about 20 people were helped immediately, so I was out of there by 9:00. I look like a hobbit in my picture, though… A kinda pretty hobbit, but still a short, stumpy-necked (kinda pretty) hobbit. 🙂 Oh well.


Now I’m officially a Virginia resident and can officially reserve the tennis courts down the street whenever I want. Oh yeah, and vote…


Then, Mike and I wanted something to do before the 3:30 pm FSU game came on tv. So I thought “We live in Falls Church. We MUST have some waterfalls nearby right? Why else would this place be called ‘Falls Church’?” (In fact, according to, Falls Church “… was named for its location on the falls of the Potomac, and for a local Anglican church…”.). I checked out the local waterfalls online and we drove about 15-20 minutes to “Great Falls Park” – it’s a National Park which has HUGE falls and a famous “funnel” effect. Why don’t I just show you how cool it is?


Having my morning coffee on the way. Here’s a shout out to my CB homies!


The road into the park. It is very pretty and totally unspoiled.

On the way out, there was a deer in the road! He/she ran off before I could take a picture.


A preview of what’s to come…

Getting into the park was free today because it’s national park volunteer appreciation day (or something like that). All I know is, we didn’t have to pay $5.










This was our first view once we got out of the truck. Bailey was with us, too – this park allows dogs!




This picture doesn’t do it justice. These are huge CLIFFS and the water is everywhere. The vastness, the expanse, the majesty of it all… it was like no waterfall I’ve ever seen.


Again, you can’t see the tremendous masterpiece that this is. In a second, you’ll see a picture that will help with the perspective of sizes…


It looks dull here, but it’s not. It’s so cool.


Do you see the dark blue dot in the center, with a yellow hat? That’s a guy in a kayak. The kayak looked more like a surfboard at times, and he kept going under and being swept in circles as the whirlpool effect pulled him down. I was so afraid we were about to watch one of the drownings that the sign warned about. There were other families at the overlook with us, and we were all captivated by this guy. He would go INTO the rapids, get pulled under, flail around, come up, get a breath, go back under…and so on. It was crazy!


There he is again. He must have a death wish. He is paddling TOWARD the deadly funnel… Sometimes all we could see was his yellow hat.


I snapped this right as Bailey will pulling himself up onto a boulder. He was a natural, and maneuvered the rocks and boulders very well.


I like this picture, because Bailey is knocking me over, and I’m laughing because I know I look ridiculous.


These flowers were so pretty. I love how the centers are different colors.


More pretty flowers (ok, weeds) against the backdrop of a powerful, roaring river.


My boys. Look at Bailey’s tongue. He looks like he’s sticking it out as a picture pose!


I like the stormy skies in this picture.












This was crazy… Look at how high the water has gotten! With the picture on the right, you can KIND OF see the water in the background. What you see is the TOP of the falls, before it crashes over cliffs that are over 70 feet tall. So for the water to have risen as high as these posts is completely amazing.


Pretty tree.


We took a trail to see ruins of an old town called Matildaville.










More ruins… Do you ever wonder if what we live in today will be the ruins for another generation to see and speculate on?  I hope not…












Along the trail… The good thing about having such a gloomy, overcast day is that the lighting was great for picture-taking.


More trail pretty-ness. Everything was SO green! 


Our day of exploration is over. Time to go home…


It started POURING rain almost as soon as we got back in the truck. What perfect timing! Check out that tired puppy dog and his floppy tongue.




Good day.


(Now we’re watching the FSU game. Go Noles!)



It’s fall!

I wore a scarf two times this week! I also wore a houndstooth wool skirt for the first time ever on Thursday because I am 1 pound away from my weight goal, and it finally fits me. Wool skirt, tights, and a cute top – with jacket = cosmopolitan cool.


Here’s a picture of me in my new-to-me (I bought them at Goodwill in Tallahassee) corduroys and… a scarf!


Mike and I were on our way to Adam’s “The Office” season premiere party. But before we left, I had to snuggle up with Bailey. He is embracing the weather here, too.


Adam also hooked us up with front-row seats at the Nationals Game on Tuesday. Front row, behind the Nationals Dugout! We rubbed elbows with the mascot, I got a ball, and we watched the players get interviewed after the game by the news teams. It was all very exciting!!


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West Wing

Our friend, Adam Kincaid, hooked Mike and I up with a last-minute night tour of the West Wing. 


No pictures are allowed inside (except for the press room, of course), but here are the ones we got:

This is Mike and I at the house, before we left. Don’t we look West Wing ready?


This is a pretty shadow from the security gate outside the White House


That sign says “White House Appointment Gate” at the top. That would be us!


Yep, that’s a Secret Service vehicle. Not so secret…


The West Wing. Now, turn to the left, and you will see…


Ok, it’s kind of fuzzy, but that’s the front portico area of the White House!


A clearer picture of the White House. The half-circle window at the top, center is the President’s sitting room. We didn’t see him. Darn…


The sitting room, zoomed in. Lights out. Maybe he was in bed already? 🙂


This is the press room. It is actually REALLY small in real life!


The entrance to the West Wing…


Seals were everywhere. I wished I could get some pictures of the ones inside. They were really beautiful. 


It was exciting just being on “this” side of the fence…


This is at the end of the tour. Notice the jacket? Fall has arrived!!


Bad picture, but that’s the moon over the white house. It was really pretty in real life. You’ll have to use your imagination…


That’s all the pictures, but we did learn one kind of funny story. During the Clinton administration, Hillary had an office and her own staff. In order to maintain civility and a sense of control, the staff developed a system whereby they would turn the Lincoln bust sitting outside her office to one side or the other depending on her mood. One direction = she’s in a bad mood. Stay away! The other direction = safe; proceed. If a staffer failed to turn it, and another staffer was caught off guard, it would actually cause some mild infighting! Of course, she found out and had the bust moved right away. The bust was sitting outside the Roosevelt room when we went, and looked something like this:




And on a completely different note, my rose bush bloomed!!

It smells so pretty. This bush was a gift from Mike for Valentine’s Day. I love that it continues to thrive and give me a little treat every now and then.  (As long as I leave it alone, it doesn’t die)




Mike and Laura’s… Weekend! Of! Fun!

 It’s almost like we have friends or something…


On Saturday, we invited everyone we know in the area to come to our house and watch the first FSU game of the season (we bought it on pay-per-view). Of course, we beat them in a shut-out. Go Noles!


Our guests included:

·         My cousin, Joanne, and her family (husband Julian, daughters Alanna and Nikki)

·         A friend from home in Port St Lucie. She was actually my sister, Sarah’s, friend. Jamie Hahn came & went before we broke out the camera, so we don’t have any pictures with her in them. But that’s ok – she’s a Gator.

·         Lindsey and Ivan Portugal – Mike knew Lindsey from “TeenPact” a long time ago, and they stayed in touch. Lindsey and Ivan are newlyweds, and they brought their puppy (more like a fluff ball) to watch the game with us.

·         Adam Kincaid – Mike’s BFF, and a mutual friend from our college/Wesley days.

·         Mike Walsh, aka “Walsh” – Another throwback to college/Wesley. He and Mike were roomies the year that Mike and I dated long distance. Walsh is a Marine.

·         We invited Mike’s cousin DA and our friends Irene and BJ Lykens, but they couldn’t come… party poopers.


Here are some pictures from that night:


This picture is of everyone who was in FSU apparel 


The Boys


Lindsey and Ivan (the newlyweds), and their fluff ball, “Harmony”


Mike needs a cuddle buddy… now that he and Jason Hollister are separated…

(PS – Can you read Adam’s hat?) 🙂


This is my “first cousin, once removed”, or my cousin’s daughter: Nikki


Another “FCOR”: Alanna


My cousin Joanne, and the fluff ball


Seriously, is that even a DOG?? I don’t know why Mike was putting her on Adam’s head…


She’s so LITTLE!



Then, since that wasn’t enough socialization, my friend/former coworker, Alyssa, came into town on Sunday for business. We met up on Sunday afternoon – a beautiful day following an under-impressive but still very annoying tropical storm the previous day. The sky was crisp blue with no clouds, it was in the 70’s, and humidity was low.


Mike, Alyssa, and I toured the DC monuments, and we walked almost 7 miles!


We walked to Georgetown and found a cute place to eat dinner – it’s called Rugby. But before we found Rugby, we wandered into a college-y, bar-ish restaurant that looked interesting. After having to ask the bartender where to sit, we found a table, sat down, and waited. Finally, Eeyore – I mean, our server – came up and said “Yeah, I’ll be with you in a [starts walking away] minute.” Umm, ok. When he came back, he got our water orders, and Alyssa asked if he could also bring us menus. He came back with the water after pumping it from the well himself. He made a separate trip back to our table to drop off the menus. By “drop off,” I mean “fling.” Suffice it to say we were not impressed. But we picked up our menus to look for something to eat. Worst menu ever. It might as well have said:


·         Hamburger

·         Greasy Sandwich

·         Food Poisoning

·         Booze

We didn’t want to stay, but we felt uncomfortable leaving. We did leave, though, after putting two dollars on the table for his “trouble.” I’d say we were more than generous.


Here are the photos from our tourist explorations….


A crazy…


Fuzzy Bunny!! (Alyssa and I have weird nicknames for each other)





































Alyssa being a tourist… wait, there’s one of me being touristy coming up…


































Each of these stars represents 100 American lives lost in World War II. There are 4,048 stars on the wall.

(Yes, Jill, Mike actually counted)


On our way from WWII Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial



These ducks kept diving underwater, and it was so funny-looking with their bottoms sticking up in the air!!





I like that Lincoln’s speech includes the line above: “The judgments of the Lord..true and righteous altogether…” The whole speech is so eloquent and inspiring.


Ok, see? Here is MY touristy photo…


And finally…

Handsome man in a beautiful place! 


On a few other notes…


·         The technical writer on the contract with me at work is now working in the DC Office, too. He is British, and if he is any indication, one can use the word “cheers” to mean any or all of the following:

§         Yes

§         No

§         Sure

§         Thank you

§         Hello

§         Goodbye

§         Ok

§         “Hmm



·         And, finally, I would just like to say that I feel very cosmopolitan – riding the metro every day, working minutes from our nation’s capitol building, etc… But yesterday I was listening to the following song on my iPod, and I think I lost some coolness… The most ridiculous portion is in blue…


Veggie Tales: “What We Gonna Do?”


Oh no! What we gonna do?

The king likes Daniel

More than me and you

Oh, no! What we gonna do?

We gotta get him out of here.



We could throw him in the dungeon

We could let him rot in jail

We could drag him to the ocean

Have him eaten by a whale


We could throw him in the Tigris

Let him float a while

Then we’ll all sit back and watch him

Meet a hungry crocodile


We could put him on a camel’s back

And send him of to Ur

With a cowboy hat without a brim

A boot without a spur


We could give him jelly doughnuts

Take them all away

Or fill his ears with cheese balls

And his nostrils with sorbet


We could use him as a footstool

Or a table to play Scrabble on

Then tie him up and beat him up

And throw him out of Babylon


And it continues…




Oh – one more thing. Quote of the week:


“I have a dollar bill coin!” – Me

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“isms” (Part Two)…

This morning, I saw a commercial. Actually, a PSA. It was on in the background while I ate breakfast. I wasn’t paying attention until I heard the last line and looked up. And – it wasn’t a joke:


“Keeping DC rat-free”


I support that!! …wow.




I also read a paper that my boss found (yes, found) that is some weird right-wing conspiracy publication. They talk about “mainstream media” like it’s Satan incarnate. Entertaining, yes. Informative, no. For example, “Is Obama even a US Citizen??” and “{Insert guy’s name here – I forgot} was framed! What the Mainstream Media Won’t Report!”. And it’s not the Enquirer or anything. It’s a paper… a weird, weird paper…



The other day I had to step around a pile of newspaper and vomit to get upstairs to my office.




My car failed its safety and emissions check. You know what they do when that happens? They put a big, pink sticker on the windshield that says, “REJECTED.” 



Mike has gone crazy. I found him experimenting. He wanted to see what it was like for the dog to get up our stairs. So he was on his hands and knees, climbing the stairs on all fours. I laughed so hard… And then I tried it too.


PS – downstairs is much, much harder. The blood rushes to your head.

PPS – this is what happens when you don’t’ have any friends.



Today I met “Black Michael” (Gordon). Yup…




The other day there was a kid on the Metro with his dad. The kid looks exactly what Mike’s and my son(s) will look like. Or at least he better… So cute!


Finally, tonight (Friday) Mike and I went out to eat at Coastal Flats inside Tysons Corner mall. I tried bread pudding for the first time ever, and I LOVED it!




We explored the mall a little – I, in search of child-sized sunglasses for my freakishly narrow face – and Mike, for a winter coat (which, incidentally, inspired me to do the same. Imagine that.)


We wandered into Brooks Brothers and found some lovely items:

            Tie = $75

            Men’s Coat = $500

Woman’s Boot = $600

Men’s Coat #2 = $900

Looking wealthy = priceless


Banana Republic is now “BR” which entitles them to equally outlandish prices. $500 for a woman’s coat? Really?? Seriously???


LL Bean has a waterfall in their store. We found a catfish in the water!!



We wandered into Williams Sonoma, and picked up a schedule of their cooking technique classes for the fall. They’re free! I think we’re going to try to attend the “Comfort Foods” class in a couple weeks. So fun!


Tomorrow we are having ALL our friends up here over to watch the FSU game. So the five of us will have a blast… 🙂 Hehe… That is, if TS Hanna doesn’t ruin everything…


And on Sunday I get to see Alyssa! STINKY BUNNY! (Only she can appreciate that)