Thursday, 1 April 2010

Old friend, new locale

This has been the month of visitors, here in DC.  Not just because of the Cherry Blossom festival which brings hundreds of thousands of people into the city, but because several of my friends and family members have come to visit us in the last few weeks!

Aaron was in town interviewing for a job at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT).  In case you are wondering, no, it's not the same as the organization where I work - the CDA.  Anyway... we got a couple of days with Aaron in DC around his big interview and tried to make the most of it before jetting off to New York.  We took him to Good Stuff Eatery for burgers and milkshakes, took a long stroll on the Mall around midnight, and spent a pleasant evening introducing Aaron to a few of our friends at Buffalo Billiards.  All-in-all a good time... though too short.

Fortunately, Aaron got the job!!  So he and his fabulous girlfriend Amber will be moving to DC in August!  This is fortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I took exactly zero decent pictures of Aaron's trip.  (That's one of his talents - avoiding photos.)  But now we'll have ample time to remedy that situation.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

On Broadway

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to NYC for a Broadway Weekend with a few of my girlfriends.  Though it poured buckets of rain the entire time we were there, we managed to enjoy ourselves.  We just had to stay inside more than we thought.  This meant skipping Central Park, but ducking into several yummy restaurants and taking in two shows.  Plus, my good friend Caris was in town from Oregon.  The rain was not going to get us down!  Even the crazy bus ride home didn't ruin it... but that's a story for another post.

Our first meal - Brunch at Sarahbeth's on the Upper East Side

Spotted this cutie on the street after Brunch

We took in the matinee of Chicago when the weather turned sour

Thankful for my rain boots and umbrella!

In the Heights!  So, so good!

Inside the theater waiting for In the Heights to start

Monday, 22 February 2010

Spring vs. Winter

The recent snow storms that struck the Mid Atlantic created great photography opportunities!  When we moved to DC last Spring I took pictures of our view to show my family back home.  And as the snow piled up over the last couple of weeks I documented how our view changed.  As you can see the view last week was significantly different.

After reviewing the options, I choose Spring.  Please come back soon!!

For more photos of the storms' aftermath check out my "Just a Bud" blog here.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Visiting Orlando – Top 10 Tips to Save Your Sanity

Tim and I recently did a weekend getaway to Orlando for Valentine’s weekend (sunshine and roller coasters are much more enjoyable than a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers). During our time there we learned a few things and thought we would pass them on. These tips stem directly from our joys and frustrations on the trip:
  1. Research the parks before arriving in Orlando. I mean, watching the hotel info channel at 1 AM the day you are going to go to the park is great, but… well, enough said.
  2. If traveling without children Universal Studios is a one day adventure not to miss. Both parks can be experienced in one day, no matter what the guy at the gate says. Just keep moving and you’ll get it done. It’s a long day but well worth it. Every ride we went on was awesome.
  3. If you are going to do Disney World, stay at one of the Disney Resorts. There are 22 to choose from, so I think you can find one you will enjoy and in your price range. Reasoning for #3 is explained in #4.  Read on. :)
  4. All transportation within the Disney complex is free and you will have to use it. Disney World occupies 55 square miles and over 28,000 acres. All transportation to the park from outside the complex is expensive, not to mention impossible to figure out.  So save yourself the hassle.
  5. Understanding Disney’s internal bus system requires a minimum of a college degree; a masters is preferred. (I still don’t know how it works…)
  6. If you don’t want children invading every inch of your vacation, Disney is not for you.  And we only did Epcot - the more adult of the Disney parks!
  7. Even though the Hotel claims to be a mile from Disney, remember Disney is HUGE and 1 mile to the outskirts of the Disney complex can still mean 5 miles from anywhere you actually want to be. Walking is not an option, believe me.
  8. The Epcot fireworks and laser show is worth every penny of the Epcot entrance fee. Even if that is all you see, its worth it.
  9. This one is Tim's favorite: Make sure you look presentable at all times. You will end up in countless pictures taken by random Asian people rapidly darting about snapping pictures as if they are documenting the experience for National Geographic.
  10. Michael Daley (of Michael Daley Destinations) is a pretty rad limovan chauffeur. For the same price as a standard cab he got us around and took care of us in his sweet ride. Visit his site here.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you visit Orlando and enjoy all the area has to offer!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Life Saver

I've said this a million times, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record I'll say it again.  I absolutely love my husband.  There are a zillion reasons why, but today I'll share one specific reason.  He is, quite literally, a life saver.

Heading home from Christmas and News Years with the families in Oregon we had a layover in Houston.  We grabbed dinner and sat together chatting while watching an NFL game we cared nothing about.  About 45 minutes before we needed to head to our gate we decided to head that way anyway.  As we strolled down the hallway we suddenly heard people shouting ahead of us.  A man had just collapsed on the floor!

I tapped Tim's arm and pointed toward the man, "Tim, look, that guy just collapsed!!".  Tim, being the cool-headed one of the two of us, calmly took off his backpack and set it down, stripped off his coat and set it down, then walked assertively toward the scene of the incident.

And... I collected Tim's belongings and got out of the way.  Yup, I'm trained in CPR and First Aid, but somehow I just figured I'd better watch our stuff.  Obviously Tim's more of a Good Samaritan than I am.

Tim took control of the scene.  The guy was unresponsive, was not breathing and didn't have a pulse.  Tim started compressions.  Someone brought an AED from the wall and Tim and another guy got it hooked up.  When they took his shirt off we saw that he had a large scar on his chest - evidence of previous bypass surgery.  The AED advised a shock.  And shocked him.  His body shook and his arms and legs wiggled.  I felt like I was watching ER.

After 15 minutes, the Paramedics finally arrived and by that time the man had a pulse and sporadic breath!  He was still unconscious but there were signs of life which was encouraging.  Tim stayed on to help with the transition of care, giving all the information he knew about the incident, what he had done to help and his contact information.  And I stood back and secretly took photos with my cell phone.

Continental Airlines held the plane for us and we boarded still in a state of adrenalin rush.  Tim felt good about using the skills he had studied and I felt extremely proud to call him "mine".

But we still wanted to know what happened next.  The man was 64, of European descent and was traveling from Los Angeles.  But that's about all we knew.  He was traveling alone, so we imagined that if he regained consciousness he would do so without anyone by his side.  We wanted to know he was OK and with someone he loved.

Two weeks passed.  Then Tim got a call from a woman with a British accent.  She said she was the daughter of the man whose life Tim had saved.  This was the news we had been waiting for!  The doctors had told her that only 5% of people who experience this type of cardiac event survive if the event happens outside of a hospital.  But her father was one of the very lucky few.  He had woken up two days after the incident with no brain damage and was going to be completely fine!  They surgically inserted an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator (AICD) to help restart his heart in the event of a similar event in the future.  The woman said Tim's quick action saved her father's life.  

Pretty good reason to be proud of and love your man, huh?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Christmas and New Years

One of the great things about DC is that if your job is at all tied to the federal government this place pretty much shuts down for the holidays.  Every federal holiday.  This means an abundance of 3 day weekends and the week off between Christmas and New Years.

So, we headed out West and spent Christmas and New Years in Oregon visiting family and friends.  We had to fly on Christmas Eve, but we caught the same flight as our friend Anna so we at least enjoyed the company of a good friend all the way to Portland.  And even the small child throwing up in front of us (and all over Tim's coat under my seat) on the last leg of our journey wasn't going to dampen our spirits.

We spent the first few days in Portland with Tim's aunt and uncle and got to see just about all of Tim's side of the family while we were there.  And then we spent six whole days with our immediate families together on the Seymour ranch in Haines.  It was a very low-key and enjoyable time together.  There was lots of food, good conversation, card games, even some crafting.  And it snowed!

AND while we were there, we celebrated the fact that my mom kicked breast cancer's butt!!  She had her last treatment just after Christmas and just like that the worst of it was over!  They just got back from Hawaii, celebrating and enjoying the warm weather.  I'd say that's a pretty good way to celebrate making it through such an ordeal!

It was a little hard coming back to the fast pace of DC after such a relaxing time in Oregon.  But in many ways our time there reaffirmed to us both that we are exactly where we belong right now, and exactly where we want to be.  That's good to know.

There are far too many photos of Christmas and New Years to post here... but a good collection of them can be found here

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Halloween visitors

This is Tim's aunt Cindy and her man Byron.  They're pretty fun folks.  And they came to visit us in DC!  Granted, that was back in October and I'm just getting around to sharing the news now, but still.  They came over Halloween weekend and we had so much fun!

We took them to Eastern Market where we ate yummy food, saw a super cute pumpkin-costumed dog and purchased fresh veggies for Byron's home-made dinner that night.  Can I just say YUM?!?

We also walked out to Roosevelt Island and enjoyed all the Fall colors.



And went to the Newseum - my new favorite museum in DC!!

Then stopped by Ford's Theater and the house across the street where Lincoln died.


And stopped by the White House at sunset.  We even saw the president's helicopter come in for a landing then quickly take off with the president inside and the other two decoy choppers.  Pretty cool!


And every night we went to Capitol City Brewery at Byron's insistence.  Gotta have that local micro-brew.

On our way to and from all of these places we naturally stopped by the monuments - Washington, Lincoln, Korean War, WWII, the Navy Memorial etc.  And stopped in at the National Archives to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  For some reason we also have the Magna Carta at the moment.  So we got three documents for the (free) price of two!  Lucky us.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

So, you're becoming Catholic?

Shortly after we moved to DC, Tim began attending Mass at St. Peter's of Capitol Hill.  It's this really beautiful cathedral between our flat and the Capitol.  I loved walking by this beautiful, old building when I first visited DC in January.  And now that we've taken up residence nearby, I love hearing the church bells when we have the doors open to let the cool, fresh air flow in.

But, for Tim, this place holds more meaning than a beautiful facade and the ringing of church bells.  To him, it's a place of peace, faith and inspiration.  He has long felt drawn to Catholicism, but recently decided to take action.  For several months he attended Catechism classes on Saturday mornings among other activities.  It's been really interesting and somewhat inspirational to watch him grow and find his place in the faith community.

So, a couple of days after I returned from El Salvador we had six of Tim's Catholic relatives in town for his confirmation.  Our marriage was "validated" in the Catholic church on the 21st with Tim's cousin Joe and his wife June as witnesses, and then Tim was confirmed on Sunday the 22nd of November.  We had a really great time with family in town and it was special to have them here for the Confirmation service. 

Tim's cousin Mary Hellen, Great Aunt Clare, Grandma Barbie, Tim, Father Burn, Joe, Aunt Kat and June after Tim's Confirmation.

Much more could be said about all the discussions Tim and I had before his confirmation and those we continue to have now.  But really, all that needs saying is that two people who love one another don't have to be identical in the ways I thought they did growing up.  We don't have to believe exactly the same things; differences can spark important conversations and make us stronger.  And I wouldn't have it any different.  So, a big congrats to Tim, and here's to many more years of learning from one another as we change and grow.

Friday, 22 January 2010

The New Left and Jesuit Martyres

Since I promised updates, let's start from the beginning of the months of silence and work from there.

In November I got to take my first trip to Latin America with my organization, the CDA.  We took a small delegation to El Salvador to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Jesuit Massacres there.  It was my first trip to El Salvador and I traveled with people who had been involved there during the civil war 20 years ago.  Their stories and familiarity with the country brought a whole new life to our trip.  Many of them had close encounters with death and were reunited with old friends for the first time since they left during the worst years of the war.

Our delegation participated in the official vigil at the University where the Jesuit priests were massacred,  attended official government ceremonies and met with numerous governmental and community leaders to discuss the future of the country after the recent FMLN victory in the presidential election.  We also traveled to the countryside to take aid to those who were affected by the floods which happened shortly before our arrival.  It has been interesting to watch how the Funes government has responded to the needs of El Salvador - keeping an eye toward the poor and the helpless.

To see all the photos from our trip, click here.  For the grouping of photos I whittled down for facebook, this is your link.

Just a couple:

LOVE this girl.

In front of the presidential palace.

The Alfombras commemorating the massacre.  They are made of meticulously placed sand.  This is on the campus of the university where the Jesuits were killed.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

...New Post Here...

At the urging of some of you, I'm jumping back into the blogosphere.  November and December were really rough on me, mostly due to work but also due to my extremely hectic social life (*winks*).  And Tranquila Seeker suffered.  But no more!  Check back soon for updates on what's been going on in the last couple of months - there's been a lot, obviously.

More soon.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Stair Fun

I've been making a concerted effort to take the stairs whenever possible lately.  It's my little way of adding a bit more exercise into my daily routine.  And it feels good.  Then I saw this video on one of the fitness blogs I follow and it made me wish my stairs, which I usually have all to myself, were like these ones!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Dog's Leg Steals His Bone...?

Don't you just hate it when your leg tries to steal your food from you?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Fall Reflections

"Reflection Tree"

All you Summer-lovers out there who are still trying to eek out the last bit of use of your tanks, shorts and flip-flops... you might want to cover your ears (or eyes, as it were).  'Cause here's the thing... I LOVE Fall!  I mean, I very much enjoy summer sun-dresses, water sports and barbecues, but I love everything about this season between Summer and Winter. 

I love the fact that we don't sweat when we're outside.  And all the cute sweaters and jackets.  I love the crisp air that hints at all the changes yet to come.  And the colors - ohhhh the colors.  The changing of the leaves in Oregon was beautiful, and I can only imagine what it will be like out here, where the Fall Colors are 'famous'. 

Every Fall causes me to reflect on the changes in my own life as well.  And inevitably there are many.  This Fall is no different...

The biggest change is a new personal passion that has recently come to my attention.  As I've already discussed, I recently realized the extent of my photography obsession which has been growing for years now.  With a little encouragement from my mother-in-law and husband, along with a dose of self-realization, I decided I might be able to do something with this obsession.  I'm far from "doing something" truly meaningful with it, but at this point I am enjoying the digital photography and Photoshop learning process.  There's just so much to explore!  And you know what they say - Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life!  That's a pretty good goal to aim for.  You can follow my journey over at Just a Bud.

As I continue to reflect on the changes in my own life this season, I'd love to hear what the crisp air of the changing season has brought into your life!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Is that really necessary?

It's noon, and I'm still mentally disturbed by what I saw this morning. 

Tim and I had a nice little stroll to the Metro where he "dropped me off" with a kiss goodbye and the usual well-wishes for a good day at work.  I snagged my daily Express newspaper (news. brief.) from my favorite Express distribution dude at Capitol South and headed for the escalator as usual.  That's where the pleasantries stopped and the creepies crept in. 

At the top of the escalator there was a man (I assume it was a man) dressed as the grim reaper.  I couldn't see his face (does the grim reaper have a face?), but I could hear his evil laugh and I could definitely see the very large poster he carried. On it was a blown up image of a bloody fetus' head.

Are you disturbed yet?

As if that wasn't enough, Grim had some form of voice amplifying device that made it impossible to block him out.  He was laughing the most evil laugh I have ever heard in my life.  (Worse than Heath Ledger as The Joker or the laugh from MJ's Thriller.  And, no, I am not exaggerating.)  Once his sinister laugh dissipated he proclaimed, "Keep fighting for the right to kill your babies and I will reward you for eternity...." punctuated by more evil chuckles.

Can you see why I am still disturbed hours later?