Friday, May 30, 2008

More from Arlington...

Jeremy and I have had a monstrous daily commute into Arlington (just outside D.C.) for our internship.

We drive about 45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Haymarket to the Vienna/Fairfax Metro stop, where we search for parking.

(Here's an uncharacteristically clear view of U.S. 66 from the Metro walkover:)

We take the Metro from Vienna/Fairfax to Court House, which, as you can see, is seven stops. Normally, that would only take about 15 minutes, but they've been doing work on the tracks all week, so it's taken closer to 25.

(Here's me waiting patiently at the Metro stop:)

And finally, it arrives:

Finally, we are in downtown Arlington, where we work on the top floor of this building:

While we wait for the afternoon Metro traffic to die down, we sometimes hang out here and have a beer. It is about 20 steps from our office.

From the balcony at the office, we have a decent view of some D.C. staples. In the distance here (on the right hand side), you can see the Jefferson Memorial. To the right of that is the Potomac River.

At the center of this picture, in the distance, you can see the Capitol building and the Washington Monument.

And to the extreme left of those, you have the National Cathedral.

Other than working, we have been hanging out with my very gracious Virginia family, along with the pups. Here's me and Nacho:

And Jeremy with Oscar:

Our projects wrap up today, so we will be homeward bound soon!

Catching Up...

No, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth, but the way I felt last week, I was kind of wishing I had. Jeremy and I both came down with nasty colds. Mine blossomed into the worst sinus infection I've ever had.

We're both on the mend now, so I'll share with you what we've been up to. While working at, Jeremy and I have been compiling and editing videos for a multimedia wine guide. We've visited 12 vineyards, which isn't a bad way to spend your working days!

Here's an unripened grape vine (I forget which kind of grape it produces). Come October, the grapes will be ready for plucking, and they will be made into wine.

Here is a worker at Breax Vineyard showing off a bottle of sweet wine.

We got very familiar with Virginia wines while here, and we really enjoyed them. In particular, the Norton grape, which is indigenous to Virginia, and Cabernet Franc, which grows very well here.

We also came across a wine made from elderberries. (Quoting Monty Python: "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!")

Not only was the elderberry syrup made at the vineyard tasty, it is also very good for respiratory issues and allergies. I have both of these problems, so we bought two bottles of the syrup!

Overall, it was a great experience, though it ended up being a lot of work! The best part (aside from the wine tastings) is that we learned a lot about the technology that we will need to make us competitive in the media world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Need A Hybrid!...

Many, many congratulations go out to my very talented husband, who this week landed a job at The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville, Fla.

I am so proud of him. He flew down Wednesday for an intense 2-day interview. Obviously he nailed it, because they offered him the job on the spot.

Jeremy will be writing features, mainly dealing with homes and gardening. He'll also get to branch out and do some multimedia stuff, so he can incorporate what we've learning at the University of Alabama.

The position is a big departure from the investigative work he was doing in Naples, but he says he is up for the change. He feels like he'll really get to be creative and step outside of his comfort zone to tell stories that are important to people.

The thing that he likes most about the newspaper, though, is the positivity that radiates through the newsroom. In this day and age of shrinking circulations and staffs, it's nice to know there is a newspaper that has a positive outlook on the future.

We'll likely look for a place on the west side of Jacksonville, since I probably won't need to be on campus everyday. It'll be a hike, but if Jeremy is doing what he loves at a place he'll enjoy, it'll be worth it.

Besides, he's worth the trip!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Curse of the Currency...

Welcome back to Floodgate 2008!

Uncle Keith, Kyle, Jeremy, and Aunt Lucille's dad spent the ripping the carpet out of the basement.

First they had to take apart the two water beds:

Here's a look at the room we're staying in, sans carpet:

And here's the water pump, where the trouble began:

Needless to say, it was a tiring day for the guys. I went on a lunch/beer run and helped do a little housework upstairs.

Then, just when we thought things were looking up, we had a furry visitor scurry across the living room.

Unfortunately, I didn't catch a picture of the mouse, but I did take some pictures of the aftermath:

Here's the living room, where the great caper occurred:

Jeremy was our brave captor, though he clearly did not enjoy it!

Uncle Keith and Kyle were kind enough to take the little fella outside and release him.

I feel compelled at this point to tell you that floods and mice are not regular occurrences at my aunt and uncle's house. In fact, the flood was a first and the mouse was the second since they moved in several years ago.

Now, I'm not a superstitious person. However, there is one thing that has been proven to deliver bad luck to me and my family for years:

Every time my family has uncovered a $2, something terrible has happened. Usually, it is financial.

This time was no exception.

When they were clearing out Quest's water bed, that is exactly what they found beneath the mattress.

It never fails...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Swim Dachshund, Swim!...

We had an eventful night last night at my aunt and uncle's place in Virginia, where Jeremy and I are camping out during our 3-week internship at

At about midnight, my cousins and I were playing Scene It!, with the puppies asleep on my lap, when I put my foot on the floor and stepped right into a puddle. I was astonished! I wondered how in the world the dogs could have peed on the floor right under my feet without my noticing.

I went to the bathroom to get some paper towels when I unwittingly kicked my foot into a huge, cold puddle of water, soaking the ankles of my jeans.

"That's a bit unusual," I thought, still wondering if the dogs had peed a huge, clear puddle in the bathroom.

When I went out to inform the others of my find, we noticed water was also coming in on the tile near where we were sitting. Within moments, every tiled area of the basement was flooded.

As we scrambled to figure out what was happening, we noticed the carpet was taking on the properties of a small amusement park wave pool. Every step we took left a watery imprint.

We sprang to life, unplugging electrical appliances and moving all of our luggage upstairs. My uncle managed to get the water pump working, stopping the flood from worsening.

In the midst of this scurry, one of the dogs decided to poo right in the walkway where we were trying to shuttle all the stuff upstairs. I guess that showed us for blaming the first puddle on them!

After everything was safe, we all had a good laugh, because, really, what else can you do? We stayed up drinking beers and making snarky comments while watching The Patriot in the dry upstairs living room.

I must say, nothing is every dull around here!

His Name is Dan Uggla!...

Saturday night Jeremy and I took our cousins, Quest, Kyle, and Chase, to a Marlins/Nationals game. We had a fantastic time.

First, we did the 45-minute drive to the Metro station...

(Here we are waiting to board the Metro.)

Then there was the 40-minute ride on the Metro:

(Here's Chase taking in the scenery in his Marlins gear!)

Then, the 20-minute walk to the stadium. Still, it beat trying to find and pay for parking at the game!

Once we got there, Chase got to meet Abe Lincoln, one of the presidents who races in the famed "Presidents Race" at every Nationals game.

Sadly, Abe did not win. He tried to showboat, and blew it at the end!

Nationals Park was great. It is a brand new stadium, just opened this year. It's not huge, like some baseball stadiums, which made it a bit cozier.

Everything still had that "new stadium feel," which was cool.

It was a bit weird cheering loudly against the home team. Thankfully, we were on the last row at the very top of the stadium, so no one could through things at us from behind!

Here was our view when we turned around (note the Washington Monument in the distance!):

The game was excellent. The very first pitch of the game, Cody Ross hit a home run! Shortly after that, Wes Helms hit another.

Then came Dan Uggla...

(Sadly, I did not take this picture!)

As of Sunday, Uggla has hit seven home runs in the past nine games. We got to see the whopper, though; a grand slam hit to center field!! It was awesome!

The Marlins ended the game with a great double play, capping off an outstanding victory. We won 11-0!!

Here you can see Kyle, Quest, and Chase celebrating that 11-run score:

The Marlins are really shocking everyone with their playing this year (except me, who had faith all along). They were expected to be in dead last, due to their very young team and the fact that they have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball.

But, against all odds, the Marlins sweep of the Nationals this weekend established their rank at the best team in baseball right now.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Flags, More Fun...

Jeremy and I finally ventured to Six Flags Over Georgia last Sunday to reward ourselves for the completion of the semester!

Perhaps you have seen the commercials for Six Flags... If you haven't, the general gist is below. The crazy dude tells you that the more fun you're having, the more flags it is worth. And, of course, 6 flags is the highest rating!

So, in staying true to the absolute nerds that we are, Jeremy and I documented our day using the "flag system." Enjoy:

Our first ride of the day was the Georgia Scorcher. You can't tell from this picture, but you're basically standing up throughout the ride. Your seat has some give, so when you go through the loops, you're midair most of the time.

I, being a true roller coaster junkie , gave it the full 6 flags.

As you can see, Jeremy was not a fan: (only 1 flag from him!)

Next, we went on a pretty pathetic log flume ride... twice. Here's me emerging from the ladies room after trying to dry off: (3 flags)

Next, we went on another log flume ride, Splash Water Falls. Here's Jeremy standing on the bridge after the ride: (3 flags)

Afterwards, I had a delicious soft pretzel while we dried off! (4 flags)

We didn't have to wait for too long during the day, but there was a substantial wait at Thunder River. Here's us at the back of the line: (1 flag)

And here's me at the top following the ride: (5 flags)

Of course, we were the ones who got splashed in the back by a tidal wave and nailed in the face by mean people with water cannons. We spent the rest of the day soaked: (0 flags)

Jeremy decided he'd had enough roller coasters, so I went on Superman by myself. In case you can't tell from this picture, you are actually riding the ride with your belly to the ground!

The coolest part of the ride is when you go through a loop backwards and upside down! Wild! The climb to the top while you're face is to the ground is a little unnerving! (5 flags)

I actually did get Jeremy on the Goliath coaster. It's 200 feet tall, and spans 8.5 acres! There are also several zero-gravity zones, where you are literally suspended above your seat in midair. It is wicked!

I rode Goliath 3 times, and Jeremy rode it once. My thoughts: (7 flags)

Needless to say, we had a great time. While the customer service there is a bit lacking (they should take a lesson from Disney), the lines weren't bad, the weather was nice, and the roller coasters were amazing.

We felt the day deserved all 6 flags!