Sunday, May 31, 2009

Annapolis, Maryland

Natalie, Emily, and I went to Annapolis, MD yesterday!  What a beautiful place.  Established in 1649.  How cool is that?

Boats:


Boat with cute flag:


Pansies in hanging baskets on the bridge (we walked across to have delectable seafood at Carrol's Creek).


Revolutionary War!  I walked where Marquis de Lafayette walked!


This home just made me happy:


We walked through the Naval Academy - beautiful campus!
Funny part in trip:
(Background: we're walking on the main street, and a group of pub-crawl/scavenger hunters runs up to a guy in the full Navy white uniform).

"Excuse me sir, are you a midshipman?  We need a picture with a midshipman."

Well, let's take a step back.  We're in Annapolis, Maryland, home of the United States Naval Academy.  Here walks a handsome gent with white shoes, white pants, white shirt, and white hat (with appropriate government-regulation navy paraphernalia where appropriate).

Yikes, thanks for asking - I hear they have a real problem with young cadet-like people wearing uniforms just for the heck of it to throw tourists off.  The poor kid almost got assaulted by the tipsy crew.  Humorous nonetheless.

Officers' houses were a) huge with b) grand screened porches.  Quite nice.

Here's the chapel - there was a wedding taking place so we weren't able to see the inside.


Massive trees, perfect breeze, just the right amount of sunshine.  Glorious day in Annapolis, MD.

Memorial Day in DC

Overdue: pictures from Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery.  The pictures really speak for themselves, but nonetheless I may add random chatter.  President Obama came and spoke (saw the motorcade, not the man), as did Admiral Mike Mullen.  Patriotism was shooting through my veins.  I am so thankful for those that fight for our freedom.  I am forever indebted.







Patriotic Pete was also Johnny on the spot, for he had a flag tucked into his shirt collar.  Watch and learn, children.


Too many people.  We barely missed the cutoff to be in the pavilion, and instead watched/listened to the ceremony while sitting on a hill nearby.











God Bless America.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seen in DC Today

Natalie and I went to the edge of the Memorial Day Weekend Concert on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. TONS of people in line.  Really we just went to make sure there were enough people there.  We were the 12th men, so to speak, ready to stand in and sit in VIP spots if any were vacant.  Turns out, everyone and their ugly Fifi dog were there, so all bases were covered.  We went home and watched it on tv (and I cried of course).  Here are some shots from our walk:

Long line. Boy Scouts, Iraqi vets, high school class trips, the whole gamut of usual suspects.  (sidenote: Rolling Thunder was this weekend - it's when thousands and thousands of Vietnam vets ride motorcycles into town, hold a vigil at the Vietnam Memorial, and have a rally of sorts Sunday at high noon from the Pentagon to the Capitol.  I was at church and didn't make it.... but trust me, there are all kinds of interesting people that have descended upon the city this weekend.)

Hey look! It's the GM Factory on the west side of the Capitol!  Tax dollars at work.

Also, people needing to bike. 


This is also funny.  At the top of one of the sides of the USDA building are two naked cherub men and a crest that says, "Fruits."

Freaks of Nature vs. Organics

While at Safeway... or was it Trader Joe's?... I encountered a freak of nature in a container of strawberries, and of course I had to buy it.  Check out how HUGE this thing is!!

It's like 4 strawberries in one!  Things like this freak me out.



And then I went to the farmer's market 2 blocks from the casa and bought these beauties:

Delicious!! Fresh!! Flavorful!! Not creepy!!

Charlottesville Visit

I did a rather poor job of chronicling the girls trip to Charlottesville a couple of weeks ago.  I DID take a couple of good ones... 

So... if for some reason I get banned from moving back to Texas for my retirement, I will move to Charlottesville.  Might just kick the Bowers' out of their home.  This is the view from their back deck.



I could spend hours and hours out here.  And I did.  And it was awesome.



Highly entertaining: Bob-Dog riding the 4-wheeler side-saddle and pointing out which trees he wants to cut down.



I really like pictures of the underside of umbrellas.



Great weekend, many laughs, many fewer pictures.

Staff Hooky Day

The good people at IJM (Gary) thought it would be great to take a staff hooky day. And we did! May 8, we took off after prayer and went to the American History Museum. SO FUN.  I saw a lot that I missed on the first trip with Amy and Sheridan!  Here are some highlights.

Washington's Roman-soldier-like sandal:


I like this phrase.


Presidential Streets: See the CStat George Bush Drive!!! Gig 'em!



Vote people. For the love.


Zaccheus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he. 
He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Saviour passed that way HE looked up in the tree
And he said, "Zaccheus, you come down!
For I'm going to your house today...."

.... this little guy welcomed me at the opening of the section on the American Revolution, and I had to think of good ol' Zaccheus.


Sheridan!  Here's Winchester, General Sheridan's horse!



Julia Childs' kitchen was on display.  She was a) tall and b) a spy! Love it. 


Thank goodness there are pictures in books.


Gary and one of the tour guides....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle....

Today's main goal was to go on a bike ride.

(Due to a temper tantrum over a month ago that I am not particularly proud of, I broke the needle on my front tire.  I thought the entire wheel was thus broken.  I've put off going to a bike shop for weeks.  Finally took the front wheel off the bike and had it by my door for a week.  Then, one day I had a startling thought: what if the needle was actually attached to the tube?  Sure enough.  And imagine that: I have 2 spare tubes.  How funny would it have been if I had taken the entire wheel into a bike shop?!?! I crack myself up thinking about it.)

My bike is entirely too nice (and I am entirely too... American? Old?) for me to not know how to change a bike tire.

Classic.  So perhaps I shouldn't put a "Specialized" sticker on my car to show how adventurous and awesome and athletic I am, despite the fact that I have the gear of a seasoned cyclist.

On to research cycling people in the area.  Could re-become a hobby.  Stay tuned.

(Oh, and I didn't go on a bike ride today because I mindlessly started giving myself a pedicure.  Tomorrow it is.....)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember that time?

Remember that time I lost a very special necklace and prayed it hadn't accidentally slipped out of my fingers and onto the ground (instead of into my purse)?

And remember when I woke up in the middle of the night, paralyzed that perhaps I had left the necklace in the pocket of my slacks that I had taken to the dry cleaners?

Oh, and how about that time that I picked up my dry cleaning and distrustfully glared at the woman behind the counter, certain that she had already hocked the necklace and was secretly cackling inside as she told me, "no, I no see nothing."

Ah yes, and then I returned home, cleaned out my purse, and found the necklace tangled up with several strings of beads.

This was my week.  Now it is over.  Necklace found, praise God.  I was starting to distrust everyone around me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Soapbox

Please watch John Piper's response to Obama's stance on abortion.

I'm tried of hearing that there are bigger fish to fry, that there are other issues far more important than abortion that our politicians need to concern themselves with.

Let me just say that if you do not believe in the fundamental things like the SANCTITY OF LIFE, there are far bigger issues at hand, such as why in the heck you are a leader in our country.

Yo mama was pro-life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mourning the loss of packages of mangoes...

Sad news has come to my kitchen.  I'm going to have to cut back on my chili mangoes for two reasons:
1) The Trader Joe's version (to which I am addicted) is processed in a facility that also processes wheat-containing foods.  Thus, the mangoes have traces of wheat. 
2) They give you massive heartburn when you eat them and then go for a jog!  Trust me - I attempted to run today.  It was painful.

Please join me in a moment of silence for the absence of this fine food in my pantry.

Amen.

"If love is the answer, would you please rephrase the question?"
Lily Tomlin

Celebrity sightings.. by other people

So Nathan comes to DC to visit, and gets to see the President, Malia, AND Sasha.  What the heck.  I've been scouring the skies for Marine One, Two, and Three (just kidding - I don't know their names, but I do find it a bit ridiculous that he has to travel with three helicopters.  I say this tongue-in-cheek because if my man Huckabee were in the White House, I'd say, "heck yes! This is America! We do things RIGHT!")  


AND dear Erica served PIERCE BROSNAN a decaf soy latte yesterday!! How cool is that??

(Note: the entire time I lived in Austin I never got to see Matthew McConaughey. Don't judge.  I find him attractive.  BUT I did get to see George and Barbara Bush while in Houston.  One of the major highlights of my time there.)

Calm Down. For the Love.

People, this should be the least of your worries.

Calm down. Seriously.

(thanks for getting me riled up, Sher....this is INSANE.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

4 great videos

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I present the Dove Self Esteem Fund (thanks, Annie!).  I saw the "Onslaught" video at the Texas Women's Conference a couple of years ago... this is a GREAT soapbox issue.  Check it out! 

Lethargic Ramblings

EEK! It has been a week.  I'm sorry there haven't been any awesome postings to entertain you.  I'm back.  I was reading a book.  And sleeping.

DUDES. G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  I'm biting the proverbial bullet and am starting to eat healthy again.  This is a great book - recommended.

Today the high has been in the low 60s. Low SIXTIES! In May!! That is awesome.  It is chilly.

Please be patient - I will soon post pictures of life lately... it just requires entirely too much energy to connect my camera and wait for the pictures to upload.  Sad.  

Come on, folks, I need a soapbox and am taking suggestions.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things I slightly miss about Texas.. part 2

1. Matamoros Taco Hut.  You are what you eat, but who cares at this point?  Government cheese, guacamole to die for, the perfect hotness of queso.  Their "quesadilla" is not like a normal quesadilla. Theirs is a giant deep-fried taco that will make you physically ill for 24 hours afterwards.... but it is oh-so worth it.

2. Easy access to nice people.  They are here, folks, they are.  You just have to look for them a bit longer.

3. Dewberries you can pick on the side of the road.  Jury is still out on this one... but it was a lot easier to walk down to the creek amidst the chiggers and poison ivy and pick buckets of dewberries... that somehow mysteriously disappeared by the time we made it back to the house.  Oh, well, we can buy a dewberry pie from Friday's Fried Chicken.

4. I've said it once, I'll say it again: I'll have no complaining of sub-par HEBs. Those places are legit.  And cheap.  Everything is more expensive here.

BUT

1. We have a large number of military strength present.

2. The state I live in has been established for over 400 years. That is cool - admit it.

3. Virginia is a gorgeous state with 4 seasons. Very nice.

4. Umm... I live here. Clearly.

random list

sooo... I don't have much of anything to say, but you get to read it nonetheless.

1. snakes eating mice is equally as creepy as digging slimy hairs out of the sink.

2. I think I might hold out on paying my debt in hopes that I will be bailed out.

3. I broke the needle on my tire on my bike a couple of weeks ago and have yet to get it fixed.

4. Mom sent a box of my summer clothes and I feel like I went on a massive shopping spree.  

5. I am grateful on a daily basis that I bank with USAA. Save with USAA. Credit card with USAA. Car insurance with USAA. Renters insurance with USAA. That awesome.

6. Loves it when O'Reilly says, "you'd better shut up or I'm gonna cut off your mic!"

7. I want to go to Cuba. Badly.

8. Is tired of this random list with absolutely no structure other than the natural stream of thought taking place in my head.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Emma is the new Emily

FINALLY.

After twelve years of being the number one girls name, Emily has taken a step down to be replaced by Emma.  Looky here (thanks for the info, Daddo).

I would like to thank the Academy for my reign of awesomeness (because, come on, anyone who has met me is bound to name their daughter after me in hopes that they too will be great).  Despite the fact that I know (...err...vaguely think I remember) 2 people naming their daughters after me.... I'm pretty sure I can contribute to the 12-year reign.

In other news, Emily is once again embarking on becoming a rare and unusual first name.  It's been real, it's been fun, but come on, try to be a little original and pick another name.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Before-I-Die List

Being a person who enjoys goals and milestones, I've decided to reinstate the ol' things-I-want-to-accomplish-before-I-die list:

Part I:
  • visit a coffee plantation
  • ride a zipline through the rainforest
  • go on an african safari
  • write a book
  • own a house with a porch and rocking chairs
  • go to denmark and try to fit in with the locals
  • australia
  • speak spanish again
  • learn farsi
  • keep a flowering plant alive for more than a month
  • have children
  • open a store
  • scuba dive in a shark-proof cage
  • run for office
  • learn how to use my macbook
  • get invited to the white house
  • ride on the great indian railway
  • walk where Jesus walked in israel
  • be a good dancer
  • play the piano - well - again
  • navigate a boat in the ocean
  • sew
  • teach sunday school
  • visit every state: thus far i've only been to 13: texas, oklahoma, kansas, arkansas, mississippi, alabama, georgia, florida, virginia, california, new mexico, colorado, tennessee.
  • visit as many countries as possible: thus far i've only been to 5: u.s.a., mexico, ecuador, malaysia, indonesia.
  • submit a secret to post secret
  • have a vineyard

And a couple of things I've already accomplished:
  • scuba dive with sharks (black-tip reef shark)
  • stand at the mouth of an active volcano
  • spend the night in an airport
  • compete in a spelling bee (6th place, baby!)
  • compete in a horse show
  • perfect the art of sweet tea with lemons and mint
  • live by myself
  • bake excellent chocolate chip cookies
  • survive a mexican water park
  • kill a buck
  • meet mike huckabee
  • climb chichen itza (quite an acomplishment for me)
  • meet mattress mack
  • go to the iraq embassy (sorry, i'm still obsessed with this)

Please feel free to offer suggestions on other cool things I can aim to accomplish in this short life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dreariness

This weather is ridiculously dreadful.  I feel as if I've been drugged. I got home just before 6, made a feeble attempt at completing the Pasa Doble dance on the Dancing with the Stars workout video, and mindlessly sat watching Fox News and flipping through Time magazine and turning my nose up at the blatant bias of the 100 Most Powerful People in the World... or some list like that.

And now I sit on my bed, it's 7:30, and I could seriously go straight to bed.  I don't feel sick, I just feel as if I've been up for 20 hours doing hard stuff.

Happy Cinco de Mayo. (Being the good Texican I am, I celebrated from afar by going to Chipotle with some friends from work. I do what I can).

Goodnight.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Passport DC: Nepal Embassy!

Last but not least, Nepal.  Just down the street from Iraq. An unassuming house that smelled absolutely delicious on the inside.  We got there after they had closed, but they let us in anyway, and gave us hot tea.



This is some sort of sword that Nepal is known for... and apparently any Nepalese man who is really a man knows how to use one of these things.


Nepalese temple mini:

Really sweet Nepalese girl:


I know this might make me sound like a traitor, but the azaleas here in the DC are absolutely beautiful and much fuller than any I have seen in the greater Buffalo Bayou area. Ima Hogg has nothing on the azaleas here. There, I said it.

Passport DC: Iraq Embassy!

Oh yes I did.  But first, to get your bearings.  This is funny.  The Buddhist Center:



is right across the street from the Catholic cathedral:


that is right across from the Iraqi Embassy. Funny.

Such a small world! I ran into Kristy and Alex from IJM - and they too love cultural fun!!  I was clearly ecstatic to see them.


Oh yes I did. Girl, yes I did.



This was the plaque on the top of the plasma screen TV: "To the Iraq Embassy from Logistics 2010, You're Friends in Freedom". Funny: it should be "your" not "you're"... and who the heck is this company and why are they giving plasma screens out like candy?  This was in the room with the military medals/shields/man standing in the corner wearing camo whose name was Ismael Hussain.  This was all very strange to me.  I was in 1st grade in the heat of Desert Storm (get it?), and Saddam Hussein was and still is the ultimate enemy.  Being inside the embassy was a bit surreal.

Beautiful piece of art:


Oh, and they had dates and really good yogurt!  We arrived at the very end of the tour, but they graciously let us in just under the wire.  Creepiest embassy, but also exhilarating in my weird sort of way.