brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

planes, trains, and automobiles (Part 3)

East Coast Trip (Part 3) - the Mall (Washington, D.C.)

After lunch we walked to the mall. This mall has many interesting things to buy, if you're looking for cheap FBI t-shirts, or a hotdog.

But we weren't there to shop, so we walked past the vendors, past the White House and on toward the Washington monument.

The last time I was in DC visiting T and her husband, the Washington monument had scaffolding surrounding it. This visit, the stark contrast between the monument's crisp stone fa├žade and the clear blue sky was stunning.

After beginning my annoyance of my friends by stopping too frequently to take pictures, we wandered to the World War II monument.

It had not yet been constructed the last time I was here. We walked around the memorial, reading, observing, quietly discussing whether we thought the site lines of the mall were compromised by this new memorial.

I thought it was extremely well done. The fountains in the center, with Atlantic and Pacific "theaters" on each side, surrounded by pillars bearing wreathes honoring each state and territory. Powerful, yet reverent at the same time.

Walking along the reflection pool looking back at the Washington monument, I decided the site lines were not at all destroyed by the WWII Memorial, as some think, but rather enhanced.

The fountains on either side of the Washington monument add interest, and don't detract from the line stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.

On the far end of the reflection pool, we veered left and walked among the statues of the soldiers of the Korean Memorial. We silently read about the number killed and missing. Still.

The reflections in the pool and along the wall lent themselves well to quiet contemplation. It seems as if your walking among those being honored.

Towards the end of the mall I decided my ankle needed a rest, so we sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a while, talking and enjoying the beautiful weather.

Then using my limping gait and cane as excuses we took the elevator up to see Mr. Lincoln. Even more stately than I remember, he sits peering out at all in front of him.

We walked slowly along the Vietnam Memorial, pausing to look at the notes and messages left to honor some personally. I don't know why, but for some reason this memorial, more than others, always brings a tear to my eye. Perhaps it is because my dad could easily have been there.

We continued our wandering toward the Capitol. By the time we get there, both J and T were slightly annoyed with me.

Between my overall slowness because of my ankle and my stopping to take pictures, I lagged behind, causing them to stop. Many times. But being the great friends they are, they assured me they weren't annoyed.

By this time, the sun was beginning to set and we were all tired, so we made our way towards Union Station. And headed towards T's place and dinner. After dinner, we relaxed and talked for a while. Beginning plans for our next get together.

After breakfast the next morning with T, J and I headed to get our rental car.

Our first stop was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. My favorite. And we had to stop (in my opinion) because J had never seen it.

I love the quotes. I love the water. I love the statues. And the reflective space.

Maybe it's the sound of the waterfalls, or the adorable statue of Fala (FDR's dog), or that the first time I visited, the water was completely frozen, and incredibly beautiful.

Whatever it is, the FDR memorial makes me feel safe. Strolling through FDR's four terms, I feel proud of our nation's history, and certain that if we stand together, we can get through the tough times.

We wanted to stop by the Jefferson Memorial, but the close-in parking was closed, and my swollen ankle wasn't quite up to the walk around the tidal pool. The view across the water would have to suffice for this trip.

We eventually found our way to the highway, and headed north.


You can see larger versions of the images by clicking on them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

planes, trains, and automobiles (Part 2)

East Coast Trip (Part 2) - Georgetown (Washington, D.C.)

We slept well after our full day of leaf searching, wine drinking and tapas eating. The following day we got up early and hurried to the metro, stopping for coffee at a fantastic east coast establishment called Cosi.

While sipping our coffee, we walked over and met our guide, dressed complete in top hat. He gave an introduction to what lie ahead, then we started the walk from the metro stop over to Georgetown, first crossing over Rock Creek, where we heard tales of boats and summer day boat rentals.

Once we reached Georgetown, our guide pointed out buildings and architectural decorations of note. We heard about the history behind them.

The history was interesting, although we noted a few discrepancies between what our top hat wearing guide was spinning and things we had read elsewhere. But the storytelling was entertaining, if not completely accurate.

Seeing the history, is what I loved. Walking the streets, admiring the architecture, drinking in the bits of history lingering for us to see. I could imagine the horses and buggies, the trolley cars, people walking the uneven sidewalks, their extravagant parties.

We walked past houses where famous people lived and live, past houses that servants would have called home, past the houses of the rich they served who lived up the hill. Tales of current and former inhabitants were told, ranging from the slaves that first came to the area because it was part of the Underground Railroad to John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to John Kerry.

T walked slowly with me and my cane. She pointed out various interesting things; I took (perhaps too many) pictures. We didn’t listen as well as we should have to the walking tour guide. I felt a bit like I was on a field trip in college. Only with a camera in tow.

After the tour we wandered into the main business area in search of lunch. Past cute boutiques, past quaint restaurants. We settled on an Italian place that was also serving Sunday brunch. The food was delicious, some of the other patrons along with the service were atrocious.

After lunch we continued our wanderings, heading toward the mall.


You can see larger versions of the images by clicking on them.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

planes, trains, and automobiles (Part 1)

East Coast Trip (Part 1) - Shenandoah National Park (Washington, D.C.)

Leaves flew by the window of the train. Part of the reason for the trip had been to experience autumn’s vibrant palette. There hadn’t been much of a display until now.

As we traveled along the tracks, the leaves couldn’t hold onto their limbs any longer. They danced around the train as we passed. There were trees everywhere, on hillsides and across harbors, fall’s colors reflecting in the water.

I looked over; my traveling companion was asleep, missing the scenery. I was exhausted, too, but didn’t want to miss anything. It had been a great trip so far, tiring, but exhilarating at the same time. I thought back over our adventure.


I had flown into DC over a week before. Once off the plane, I hopped on the metro to meet one of my college roommates (T) at a bar in her neighborhood. She wasn’t there, yet. After finishing my first drink, I decided I should give her a call, when I realized I didn’t have a cell number for her.

I called her husband. He was out of town, which was very unfortunate, because I could have used some brotherly advice. However, a girls’ weekend was just what I needed.

He and I chatted a while, then I let him go so I could give his wife a call. He asked me to keep his wife out of trouble. I suggested the reverse might be necessary. We both laughed and then said goodbye.

Just as I dialed the number written on the napkin, she walked through the door. We gave each other a big hug and settled into our bar seats. I’d seen both she and her husband in February. However, it’s always been too long; even when it seems no time has passed at all, as it always is with all good friends.

That night we shared more stories and laughter, crab cakes and crab legs, over a glass of wine or two at J. Paul’s in Georgetown. Then home to relax and pet Joey, our cat, named after the bar that we drunkenly took her home from in college.

We drove through Shenandoah National Park the next day, even hiked* part of the Appalachian Trail. T is my only friend that might actually understand my (perhaps unhealthy) fascination with photography, and didn’t hurry me too much as we drove through the just-beginning-to-change leaves.

On the way back to the city we stopped at a couple of wineries. After J’s flight got in later that day, we all headed to Jaleo for tapas and sangria. I’d been there many years before, the first time T and I had a girls’ night in DC. I’d talked it up too much and too often since then. The sangria was better than I’d remembered. Unfortunately, the tapas did not hold a candle to the memory.


* By hiked, I of course mean hobbled about 50 yards or so. What did you expect from a girl who had only been out of her cast for a week?

You can see larger versions of the images by clicking on them.


I usually heed the be careful what you wish for warning.

As we drove back from the airport, I was saddened a little by J's sister's recount of the snow we missed while we were gone, by her report that the weather here was supposed to be nice all week. I'd silently wished it would snow again soon.

I love snow. I love watching it fall. I love seeing everything blanketed in clean, crisp white.

I could barely make out the snow on the porch roof this morning when I peeled myself out of bed. I grinned.

Various tree branches were scattered amidst the wet snow in the yard this morning. The trees still have some leaves on them. The wet snow clings to them, bending and breaking the limbs.

When I tried to check my e-mail early, I realized one had taken out my cable line. Of course I couldn't get through when I called. I can live without tv, what I can't live without is the internet access it also brings. Particularly now.

TheDog had surgery while I was gone last week. And now she needs to be closely watched. So, I have to split my work time between my office and home for the remainder of the week. That's very difficult to do with no access to e-mail.

Perhaps the coffee shop down the street won't mind me popping in every hour or so to borrow their wifi.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm off (yes, my rocker, too)

I am leaving in a little over 24 hours. I can't concentrate at work. I can't even concentrate enough to figure out what or how to pack. I'm indescribably excited.

This is my first entire-week-out-of-the-office vacation in over a year* and my first more-than-a-week vacation since I went to New Zealand over five years ago.

J and I are flying east. To many of you who live there, it won't seem as exciting as it does to me. But I've never seen real fall leaves. I've never taken a train trip. And I've never been to Boston.**

And there are so many other things I didn't get to see in my previous visits.***

We're stopping in DC, Philly, New York and Boston. A short visit to each, but friends to visit everywhere. And perhaps a few things to see and take pictures of along the way.

I'll be back, eventually. Until then, there's plenty to read linked below and to the left over there.

* I can't believe it's been a year since I went to Kauai (for those posts start here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7) on the other hand it seems like forever since I took a real, leave work behind vacation.

** OK, so I've flown into and driven out of the Boston airport, but that doesn't really count.

*** Including my New York visit in April (see here: 1 2 3 4).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

things that make you go hmmmm

Traffic was terrible. We were late. J and I quickly walked up to the check-in table. I saw him standing all the way at the other end of the table. I waited for some acknowledgement that he'd seen me. None was given.

This was the fourth year we'd volunteered for the GABF. The first was the year we met. Last year was the first that we weren't dating. This year, I wasn't nervous or worried, I really don't care anymore. I was only curious why he'd called me a few months ago. I'd decided (actually my friends had insisted) that he didn't deserve a return phone call.

We walked upstairs and found D all set to pour for one of the best local breweries. The brewery reps were great. One in particular. The three of us, as always, had a great time.

After the pouring was done, as we were deciding where to go for a drink afterward, he walked up to the table. It was almost too loud to hold a conversation. The music was still playing. There were still really loud, obnoxious drunk people milling about. And there was a brewery rep waiting for us to decide where we were drinking.

We didn't talk for very long. But long enough to exchange pleasantries. Long enough for him to ask if I got his message, months ago. I feigned that I couldn't really hear that inquiry. He asked if my number was the same. I said it was. Then D interrupted, saying we had to go, right then. He asked if I was pouring again. He said he'd come talk to me more then.

The nice brewery rep insisted on buying us beers after the festival. Insisted on buying us breakfast before our next shift. Insisted on buying us brewery t's. Alright, so the brewery really did the buying, but he did the insisting.

As we were drinking after our first shift, into the bar walked a very familiar face. He was the brewery rep from a couple of years ago. He remembered me, too. We had flirted incessantly that year, but although he was really cute and funny and he gave me his card, I never followed it up, because I was dating the other at the time. Before he left the bar, he suggested I ditch all beer-pourer protocol and come pour for them again my next shift.

Before our next shift, J and I joined our friend from the brewery we poured for the first night at the breakfast. I never drink beer before noon, but when a brewery buys you breakfast and beer, and it's their fantastic Autumn Ale on tap, well, you drink it.

Once back at the festival, being the rule follower I am, I couldn't bring myself to leave the section I was assigned on our next shift. But J and I walked by the other brewery a few *ahem* times to see if my friend from a few years ago was around. We even made friends with one of their pourers. She assured us he hadn't been there.

Later, we were talking to some random guys when the Sierra Nevada rep from last year walked up and said hello to me. Asked why we weren't pouring for him that year. I cited the "pourers rules" again. J teased me about being remembered by all of the brewery reps.

She didn't drop it at that though. After the festival she asked me if I was going to call this year's rep, since he'd handed me his card. Repeatedly. I laughed. Then reminded her that I didn't think he meant for me to call, despite what she and D thought. Reminded her that I'm dating someone. Then she reminded me that I wasn't sure he was the one for me, and that I'm sometimes a bit clueless.

After she dropped me off I began to think about what she said. About the two guys whose cards I had. Two cute guys. The situation reminded me of the other guys with potential I'd run into one day. The ones who made me question staying with someone when it wasn't working out.

A few days after the festival he called. No, not any of the brewery reps. The ex. I can't decide whether to call him back. I never did get to talk to him more at the festival. Find out why he'd called in the first place.

I'm not sure if I should let my curiousity get the best of me. If I should call him. If I should call any him.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

simple fact

he had talked her into going with his friends. in the back of her mind she had hoped that his insistence was because she had been wrong about his reasons for the tale the last time they talked.

when they met outside, he introduced her to his date. her heart sunk. it shouldn’t have. she had her own date, he just had to back out at the last minute.

during the course of the evening, their banter continued. he appeared to pay more attention to her than to his date. but the simple fact that he had a date should have told her everything she needed to know.

whatever it had been, it was over. or at least on hiatus. she would learn to live with that. she would be grateful for the friendship they were able to hold onto.