Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Year in Review


Several days of snow and geese hanging out by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria. Mik and Orchids exhibit at National Museum of Natural History and statue at National Museum of the American Indian.


Mik and I visited the National Building Museum to check out their current exhibits at the time, which included the building model exhibit called "HOT TO COLD: Around the World in 800 Feet."

Dad and I went to Mount Vernon on President's Day when the George Washington Birthday Parade in Alexandria was cancelled due to cold weather (Potomac was even frozen)

[Top Left] Mom and I checked out Capitol Hill Books to find some 1940s books for my collection. [Top Right] For Valentine's Day, I took Mik to the Newseum for his first time and he was impressed by the Berlin Wall pieces. [Bottom Left] Mik loves to nap on the Metro. [Bottom Right] I enjoyed see Rosanne Cash at the Fox in Tucson.


I took Mom to see the Oak Ridge Boys at The Birchmere, which has become our favorite concert venue because it's small and it's dinner and a show style.

[Top Left] We got our first Amazon Echo. Mik now also has one in his room. I love it for playing music, but the reason we both love them is that now makes controlling the Hue lights much easier, which we started putting in other places besides just Mik's room. [Top Right] Grumpy statue on our porch covered with snow. [Bottom Left] Dad took us on a private tour of the Capitol for the first time after he started working in Visitor Center. I laid on the ground to get this photo. [Bottom Right] Mom and I saw Angela Lansbury in The Blithe Spirit at National Theatre.

Mom, Dad, and I visited National Harbor on Easter mainly to check out the Peeps, but also because I had been wanting to ride the Capitol Wheel.

Mik and I saw Opening Day this year at National's Park and enjoyed trying out the new grilled cheese concession stand.

During Grandpa and Jeannie's visit, we went to the National Cherry Blossom Parade, National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Udvar-Hazy Center.

We experienced some of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death events. Mik and I saw Lincoln's carriage at the National Museum of American History and the reenactment of Lincoln's last ride. Dad and I saw the beginning and end of the Lincoln Tribute event at Ford's Theater, which reenacted Lincoln getting shot and the updates throughout the night until the announcement of Lincoln's death in the morning.


Dad, Mik, and I spent a few days in Shenandoah National Park and also went to the Natural Bridge, Washington, and Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

Mik and I went to Disneyland in May, since we were doing the D23 Expo this year and got Premier Passes and there's now a Hyatt Place close enough to walk from where we can use Mom's Hyatt points. Ended up also being there for the start of the 60th Anniversary celebration and did the 24-hour event from 6am, although we only lasted until about 2pm, but that's longer than Mik ever lasts in the parks even when we start at 8am.


I spent most of June at the cottage in Michigan.

Mik turned 21 and got to celebrate three times. First was with Dad, who took him out to dinner on his birthday. Mom took him out for lunch a few days later when she got back in town. Then when I got home from the cottage I made him a pina colada mug cake.


[Top Left] Dad and I watched the Capitol Fourth rehearsals, which included Alabama. [Top Right] Mom, Mik, and I watched the D.C. fireworks from the boat, where Mom and Dad now live. [Bottom Left] Mik got his own Amazon Echo. [Bottom Right] Dad and I went to the Star Wars Day game at Nationals Park.


Mik and I went to the D23 Expo. This time we managed to get Sorcerer tickets, which made a huge difference. The past two Expos we mainly did everything in a day and never tried to even do the presentations. This time we spent most of the entire four days there and did went to quite a few presentations. Mik's favorite parts were seeing George Lucas and Johnny Depp at the Disney Legend's ceremony and the Disney Interactive presentation. My favorite part was seeing Richard Sherman perform a song during the Disney Legend's ceremony.


Mom, Mik, and I spent Labor Day weekend in Illinois and Mom and I happened upon Norway, Illinois.

Mom and I went to the Brad Paisley concert at Jiffy Lube Live. I didn't like the venue, so we didn't actually stay to see him perform. However, we really did enjoy the radio fest before the concert that included Rainey Qualley and saw Mickey Guyton perform, who was the person I really went to the concert to see.


For my birthday, Mik, Mom, and I went to Nashville. We saw the Opry at the Ryman as well as the Grand Ole Opry House, where we also saw the Oak Ridge Boys for the Opry's 90th Birthday Bash Concert. Mik only went with the the Ryman show, but he loved Nashville for the food, Goo Goo Clusters, and the car museum.

I spent a week in Paris with my godmother. We climbed to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, which I have been wanting to do for years after only going to the first floor back in 1999. I also finally got to Disneyland Paris.

In Paris, I also found the same spot to take a photo as the only photo I could find of me from my first Paris trip in 1999.

Mik and I fit in one more Disneyland trip while we had Premier Passes this year since we had DVC points left for the year and wouldn't be able to do Disneyland again until at least next D23 Expo. Plus, Mickey's Halloween Party is way better at Disneyland than the Magic Kingdom, although Disneyland Paris does have the best Halloween decorations.


We took a day trip to see the last of the fall colors on Skyline Drive.

Dad and I put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.


Dad and I decorated the boat for Christmas.

We went on a 4-day Bahamian Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream, so we've now been on all the Disney cruise ships.

Mik was hesitant to go see the National Tree after the state trees being all the same looking last year, but I convinced him to give it another try. He really enjoyed it now that it was back to the traditional style of having ornaments made by people from each state/territory.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How many CSAs does it take to do a two man lift?

Two times in a row we ended up post boarded connecting through DFW. The first time it made sense as our flight was late and they were boarding by the time we got to gate. This time connection was a little close for preboarding, but we still got there 15 minutes before boarding. They immediately called for CSAs for an aisle chair and they wouldn't have really made the call much earlier even if we had been there. 15 minutes pass and two calls later and still no one, so they begin regular boarding to help ensure flight gets out on time. Final boarding call and probably three calls later and we've got one CSA. Finally, two more show up and by the time rest of flight gets on plane and we can do the aisle chair transfer two more show up. And we did in fact need one of those two guys because only the first of the first three knew how to do the transfer. The CSAs in general seem to be horrible at DFW, but I've got to imagine it's partly being understaffed and/or that you can get really spread out with taking people to connecting gates. However, awesome gate agents!!! Mik was getting a little nervous about missing flight, though.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Why I don't trust Mom for logistics

That seems like she really made a plan. She even went as far as to say how we were getting from airport to home when all I really meant when I said, "How am I getting home?" was "How am I getting to O'Hare for my flight?"

But here's the next part of the conversation.

Thankfully, I had an award ticket and she did get it changed for only like $20. And I had purposely planned to come home Friday so I had an extra day before needing to be home Sunday, but that was meant for in case weather messed up my scheduled flight.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Garden: 2015 Edition

While we did in fact have garden attempts in Alabama, it seems I never actually posted them. They were major fails other than we always had more than enough rosemary, but that came with the house. The raspberries did seem like a success, but we planted them not long before we moved and only got to enjoy a few of those. Anyways, having a porch was one of my must haves when we were condo hunting and the main reason was to be able to garden.

Months ago (maybe even like a year ago) I got the idea that we should make a planter using an old Chevy tailgate. We didn't exactly end up doing that, but we did get an old Chevy tailgate and incorporate it into the garden decor. Dad was going to build a planter and attach it, but it was getting time to plant and we happened across some planter boxes at Ikea that ended up making an even better set up.

The garden also includes a Grumpy pot, two big pots for tomatoes, and, of course, our Disney patio decorations.

My penguin army had been lined up against the wall where the planter now is, but they have not been banished from the porch quite yet. Mik said when we first moved in that they should only be for winter, but then he changed it until there wasn't a spot for them to be out them. For now they are in the corner, but I might eventually add another planter over there and then perhaps only only leave a few out and only bring them all out in front of the tailgate as our holiday decorations.

We planted the garden about four weeks ago now and so far everything looks good. We planted grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, purple beans, dill, edamame, and spinach. Below are some of the photos I've taken of the garden over the past few weeks.

Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover

Yesterday at sort of the last minute I decided to see what the WW2 Flyover I had been hearing about was all about and ended up calling Mom to see if I could watch it from her office. After going into work with her, Dad texted me that Mik and I should take the Metro to Archives and check out the Flyover. Thanks, Dad, but already had my own plan. I mainly choose to view it from Mom's office to avoid the crowds on the National Mall, but Dad watched some of it on his lunch break at the Capitol and said based on my photos I had a better view. It definitely was a great view and I even managed to get some decent photos, which while I was doing it I wasn't so sure if they were coming out all that great. Some of my favs are below the break.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

National Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade 2015

Mom keeps saying I've done everything in D.C. and while that's not even close to true (one of the biggest reasons why I love D.C.!),  I have seen the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade before. I planned to go this year anyways, but it ended up working out even better that Grandpa and Jeannie were in town and the four of us went together.

After the parade we walked over to the Tidal Basin. It was crazy crowded as can be expected, but it is also the peak and worthwhile to see. Plus, I was the only one of us that had seen the MLK Jr Memorial before.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mount Vernon 1992? vs. 2015

Earlier this year Dad and I visited Mount Vernon on President's Day. I made him take a picture of me on the porch because I recently remembered seeing on of Grandma and I on the back porch the first time I went to Mount Vernon (1992?). I tried to find it again to do the collage, but it wasn't clearly in the 1990s photo box. In putting the photos back in Mik's closet after the new floor was installed, I finally found the photo (it had actually been in a photo album). With just a vague memory of the photo, we actually managed to get it at almost the same angle and with me in almost the same spot. Even scaffolding is in both!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter at National Harbor

No fishing and catching Easter dinner this year (I love living in Alexandria, but I also really miss the lake), but we did go all the way to Maryland. When I was telling Mom and Dad about this year's winners yesterday, I was surprised neither of them had ever heard of the annual contest. Well, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, but seriously it's like a huge annual tradition in the area and how had they at least not heard about it going on this year. Thus, it seemed a must to check them out in person this year.

I have also been wanting to go on the Capital Wheel since the first time we went over the bridge to Maryland to go to the nearest Aldi. Recently Mom found a list that was something like tourist must dos for D.C. area residents and the wheel was actually mentioned as one of the NOT dos, so naturally that made me want to ride it even more. I get what it was saying that you don't necessary get much of a view of D.C., but really what do you expect you're not exactly all that close. However, it still is a great view of the Potomac and it's interesting to see both the Washington Monument and George Washington Masonic National Memorial from it. Plus, you go around a bunch of times. Definitely the longest Ferris wheel ride I've ever been on besides the London Eye, but that's just one time around like the biggest one really slowly.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Oak Ridge Boys at The Birchmere

Finally found a music venue that I like besides the Ryman. Awesome night out with Mom.

Favorite Parts: "Sacrifice…for me" and "Y'All Come Back Saloon"

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time for New Winter Gear

I thought I was all good for winter. I had some nice waterproof gloves, but I let Mik borrow them in November and he stole them and couldn't stop talking about how awesome his gloves were until last week he lost one and we both very much mourn that loss because I've had them 10 years and have never found another pair that fit good like them.

I also thought I had great winter boots, which were another thing I had got for my Antarctica trip in 2004. Well, I pulled them out for the first time in probably seven years and as I went to loosen the laces the top started coming apart from the rubber bottom. I took it to show Mik because I thought he'd find it funny, but instead he had the same feeling about it as the lost glove and said, "that sucks."

Well, it's 9 degrees today and Dad and I are venturing out for President's Day and I'm not letting the lack of my warmest stuff stop us. At least I still got long underwear, wool socks, beanie, and a good winter coat. My regular waterproof hiking boots aren't too bad either.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

10 Degrees

The outside temperature that turns the cooler into a freezer and makes the inside temperature of our condo drop below 65 for the first time this winter. The bottles stored in a cooler inside the cooler are still liquid, though. And, yes, I did finally give in and turn on the heat today.