Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm moving back to Texas!!

Faithful subjects,

I have an equation for you:

TX>DC+VA

Or, I am moving back to Texas. In two weeks. "The Supremacy of Texas" is a topic of conversation that I am quite good at, a subject on which I could write a book, and something that Texans understand, and other people do not fully grasp. (This is good, because otherwise they would be Texan, too, and we'd run out of room).

Austin, Texas, is where I'll call home (again), and to say I'm thrilled is the understatement of the year.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the adventures had here. Here are a few I've chronicled on ze blog - in no particular order:
Wow. And that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. It's been a very full two years. Great adventure indeed. I'll be here 2 more weeks and am packing in a couple more adventures before I say adios!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Act of Culture

This brought tears to my eyes - how beautiful! Click here to see what happened in a Philadelphia Macy's last month. Long live good singers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quotes getting me through life lately

These are the quotes that are pinned in my cubicle above my computer.... much-needed reminders to get through ye old workday:

"He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill."
~ Edmund Burke


"Choose not to be harmed and you won't feel harmed. Don't feel harmed and you haven't been."
~ Marcus Aurelius


THIS is the day that the Lord has made.


"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine... to Him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen."
~ Paul's letter to the Ephesians 3:20-21


"Fortune favors the brave."
~ Virgil

"We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained."
~ Marie Curie


"How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!"
~ Thomas Jefferson
"Christ must increase,
but I must decrease."
~ John 3:30

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dubya.

Oh, how I've missed you, Mr. President.



Just finished watching Matt Lauer's interview with George W. Bush. I don't care who you are. George is a great man. I'm grateful to know he is enjoying life now and staying out of the public eye, though I do miss knowing a man with integrity is leading our nation. And oh how I miss that West Texas drawl. I bought his memoir Decision Points on amazon and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Reports that the interview didn't score as well on the ratings as other lame shows says less about Bush and more about the sad state of our country.

Just a plug for a great man. Happy Veteran's Day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life lately

Insurance is really amazing. I went to the pharmacy today and walked out with two prescriptions that totaled $20. Total. So fortunate to have a stellar co-pay.

So yeah I'm not feeling up to snuff. Haven't for nearly a month. I'm snuggled up in my big chair in sweatpants and my favorite long-sleeve Ags for Bush shirt listening to Picardy III and plotting my next trip to Texas (10 days away!).

Dinner of vegan black bean mango chili was not the comfort food I was hoping for. Shocking.

I think I'm going to watch Little Women and drink hot tea.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. I love the fall, falling leaves, crisp weather.

This blog post is turning into what I detest about blogs: blah blah this is my day blah blah so I'm ending this post.

That is all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Honor Flight







Honor Flight. is. awesome.

Check out honorflight.org for more info. This superb organization coordinates World War II veterans' visits to DC: They start off with a surprise greeting at the airport, take the veterans to the memorials and a special ceremony. When the day is over, there's a dance at the airport, then they load up and head back to their home state.

If this doesn't make you proud to be an American, I don't know what will. So many of the men and women I've been able to shake hands with and thank for their service say they had no such reception when they came back to the States from the war.

Honor Flight is a chance to honor our veterans like nothing you've ever seen. What a brilliant way to show love to the Greatest Generation.

Click on the box below to see a bunch of my photos on Picasa. These are from the September 11 (Alabama) and October 16 (North Carolina and South Carolina) Honor Flights I've participated in. You can tell what's going on in most of the photos, but do let me know if you have any questions. :)

Honor Flight 2010



Merinda came to DC!!

Quite remiss in reporting on Merinda's visit to DC last month!!! Had a blast.... gorgeous weekend. We went to the H Street Festival, Virginia Wine Festival, Annapolis, MD, met Third Day (and stayed for their concert, too), Restoration Arlington....and caught up on life amidst meals at McDonald's and Talulla...and places in between. SO great to see you after soooo long!

Odd little devil at the Wine Festival...


I can't take credit for any of the cool Wine Fest photos that follow...








The music was just too good.....


Onward to Annapolis, Marlyand where we went shopping, had crab cakes, and visited the Naval Academy. Note: good to visit on not-the-weekend.... you can actually get inside the chapel!



Extremely beautiful chapel. Gorgeous stained glass all over the place...


...aaand that's the extent of the photos from the weekend. Sadly didn't take my camera everywhere we went..... Come back and visit, Merinda!! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

NYC!

It's true: I'd never been to New York City until this Labor Day weekend. Oh my goodness. It was infinitely cooler than I ever thought it could be! I went with some spiffy people who knew the city well. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

Arrived by bus late Friday night. Goal: get a photo with some good-looking NYPD Blues.....



Well-informed citizen spouting angry opinion for a news camera...



There's a lot going on here...



We went kayaking for free on the Hudson River! Magnificent. We were a little shocked when the water (that was all over us because it was super windy) tasted salty. "Huh! I was expecting....chemicals!"



Because this is a totally normal thing to see.



Really? Designer mice? If only I ruled the world.... things like pro sports and designer catnip would be eradicated.



Spices



Oh Francisco, help me with my problems.....



Dutch Kills - really cool speakeasy in Queens. I'll have a Marie Antoinette.... or the best Caipirinha I've had in the states....



A RAT!!!! IN THE SUBWAY!! Visions of Adventures in Babysitting....



Turtle Island (?) in Central Park, where we sat like lizards



Sweet, sweet family sang beautiful songs and sounded like the Von Trap family. Who is this guy with no shirt on? Really!



Continuing with The Sound of Music theme, a group of sisters came to listen, as Andrew looks on...



TCFS (too cool for school) Statue of Liberty



Regal cathedral in the midst of the chaos of the city...



Brazilian Festival! Largest in the world (outside of Brazil, of course).



I was able to use the one thing I know how to say in Portuguese with this guy: "I speak a little Portuguese."



Check out the tats on this dude.



Right you are, sir. Right you are.



Victory!!



Capoiera!



Check out the bewildered guard inside the Ann Taylor store



All tuckered out. GREAT trip. Who's ready for another one???

Day of Solitude

One of the many perks of working at IJM is that in addition to a generous number of vacation days staff may take one Day of Solitude. Splendid. I went to the Leesylvania State Park, former home of the Lee family... as in Light Horse Harry and Robert E. Went on a little hike, had a picnic, got eaten alive 97 times (no lie) by chiggers or flies or something.... and most importantly had good one on one time with God. Here are some photos from the day.....









This is at the top of a hill overlooking the Potomac. A canon was once here during the Civil War.



This is what remains of one of the old Lee homes



Erosion.



What more do you need: sweet tea, the good book, a spiffy leather journal, and a camera....



I walked along this shoreline for quite awhile... so nice.



I later moved on to Po Hick State Park, just because I liked the name. Sat and watched fishing boats go by....



Kayaks for rent! Note to self. Po Hick.



I like oak trees... reminds me of home.


The End.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Costa Rica - Pura Vida


And now, it's time for the unveiling of Funny Quotes by Amy and Emily: the Costa Rica Edition.


Amy and I took a fantabulous trip to Costa Rica where we made a point of not being connected to technology (other than Amy's incessantly wanting to know what time it was...because she lost her watch while surfing....and okay, I like to know what time it is, too - so we took turns wearing my watch and asking each other what time is was...). Here are a few excerpts from my journal:

....Sitting in the airport, making comparisons, per usual. Same backpack, in a capital city, on the verge of a new awakening - I can feel it. I crave the unknown. But I still like to have some semblance of control... as in I chose to go to Costa Rica, I packed my bags with my stuff, I, I, I, and somehow that sort of "unknowing" is preferred to the unknowns of career, future, relationships, etc? Weird. .....

On the road from Liberia to Tamarindo..... we shared a Cliff bar...(rationing for the week ahead in case we had to survive solely on meal bars), then Amy burst out the Sour Patch Kids and I devored approximately 20 after Successful Week One of abstaining from sugar. Crazy headache ensued for the next 12 hours.

Inside Jokes Amy and I Find Hilarious But Will Make Little Sense to the Rest of You:

A: "That's a chocolate lab. I mean a vanilla lab. I mean...."

E: "I'm thinking drunk driving would be best in terms of overall health." (on the decision of whether or not to drive from the B&B into town for our "night out" in Tamarindo, thus avoiding a potentially shady walk home)



That's what she said jokes...

E: "I kind of remember going down a gravel road." (Got massively lost on day 3 of driving the rental)
A: "Oh, did you?!" (aka the Human Compass)

POTHOLE!!! (they're everywhere).

"Ooh! Look! Is that a rice paddy??..... or just a flooded pasture?"

"What is it with all these animals?!?"

...And here I sit on the front porch of our little cabin (in Buena Vista). We are seriously IN the clouds. I wish a picture would capture it, but this is one of those moments where a photograph would ruin it. It is SO peaceful... I can't hear anyone else. Massages at 3pm and 4pm from Anna Rosa, the blind woman down the lane. I'm drinking my cup of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee in a Rey Cafe square mug, sitting on my cheap Imperial beach towel because the back of my legs are seriously purple from the sun and surfing....


E: "No really, I think it's clearing up."
A: "Whatever."
E: "No, I see things I didn't see before."
(loud clap of thunder)
A: (look that says, "you are a complete idiot."

"Look! It's a volcano!!.... oh wait, it's a house up close."
"Look! It's a volcano!!...oh wait, it's a factory."

E: "Oh, I'm glad I'm from Texas and have been able to do things like ride horses without having to wear a bright blue helmet and look like a dummy."

A: "I'm going to my office."

....Breakfast: rice, beans, pineapple (best ever!), watermelon, coffee.....meal bar. Went on the super long, super fun waterslide four times with the help of Carlos "call me Tarzan." This place is incredible....

Then went on the aerial tour by ourselves. Sixteen hanging bridges high over the canopy. At the end of the trail, the lady asked what wildlife we'd seen.

E: "Wildlife? We were supposed to see wildlife?"
Lady: "Are you telling me you didn't see ANY monkey or birds?"
E: "Ummm.... I guess we should have kept all the screaming and the "OH MY GOSH WE'RE GOING TO DIE" to a minimum..."

A: "Ok well, we're not getting on the internet. That was the whole purpose of this trip. To disconnect from electricity."

....Later that day, we went on a tractor ride (yes, a tractor) down to the hot springs. Magnificent. Sat in the sauna for a miserable 5 minutes, put on volcanic mud, showered off, then skipped through 5 pools with varying temperatures of hot. Lots of people toward the end. Met some from Atlanta and Northern Virginia. The rest, we determined, were snobby Germans.....

A: "What is it with all these iguanas?" (said when encountering any reptile)

....Massive flock of every kind of bird known to man passed over the cabin in the middle of the night. It was dreadful. Also, woke up in a panic about the BBQ, work, babysitting Mary-Kate Olsen (what?!), and other dramatic things....

....CANOPY TOUR!! So fun. I went first and it was grand. Went on ten different ziplines, 1.5 of them flying upside down! Our guides made it even more fun....

...Today we drove back to Liberia, had lunch (ceviche), went to the grocery store like a couple of locals, then headed for a pleace where they recommended a 4x4 for very obvious reasons. The silver bullet prevailed, as did our nerves, and we arrived at La Carolina Lodge. TOTALLY off the beaten path. Met Jacqueline, Alejandro, and Yerlynn, wandered around the grounds, stable, spring-fed hot tub, massive porches, and HAMMOCKS where we spent most of the afternoon....


Later that night, we made a list of things we are good at that would somehow give us the ability to live in Costa Rica and be awesome 1/2 the year. Results were inconclusive.

A: "Don't feel bad there's nothing you could do...... Or you could do......."
E: "Or what? I could do administrative work?!?!"
A: "Or you could do expeditions, I was going to say."

A: "Are we there yet?!"

E: (in regards to the British couple) "They look so timid. I kind of want to go up to them and say, 'BOO!'"

IT'S STILL IN FIRST GEAR!!!!

E: "Oh look! There's one other car. That means he's mine." (I have no clue what this one means - Amy?)

....Remember when Emily said to pay at Buena Vista with cash, thus eliminating the cash supply for La Carolina, so we had to drive like a bat out of hell to Bijuanges or something to go to the bank? Then we found the bank next to the police station and the ATM came back with the blue screen of death and said "383," so Emily goes to tell the now 6 policemen gathered, waving her hands and saying, "no vale." Then one of them followed us in, saw the blue screen, and said, "your PIN." Oh. ......

A: "Callete! Estupido!"
A: "What is it with all these burned cows?"
A: (whenever we saw calves) "Heifers!!"

It was an amazing adventure, and I highly recommend a trip to northwest Costa Rica. Go here to see my spiffy photos. Go here to see Amy's!



The End.