Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Delaware/DC trip

I flew back to the East Coast a few weeks after my New Hampshire trip for a work conference in Washington DC. I am the regional coordinator for a federally funded Alzheimer's caregiver support program in Portland and it was my year to attend and see what others' are doing with their grant money. It was really inspiring and I also reconnected with some of my peers and mentors from the academic world. It was just what I needed to get myself motivated to work on dementia publications.

When I left Portland, it was beautiful. I was able to see all three mountains to the north from the plane. In the picture below, you can see Rainier and Adams. I love where I live.
I flew out 4 days before the conference started so I could visit with one of my best friends, Jessica. We went to grad school together, drove across the country, traveled through Europe for 7 weeks, and now I would finally get to meet her little man, Robbie.

He is such a cute kid and a great dancer!
Jessica and her family live in Bethany Beach, Delaware. I was feeling really fortunate to be able to spend 4 days at the beach! We took walks, ate good food, and just enjoyed summer life at the beach.

This is the Bethany Beach boardwalk.
Bethany Surf Shop..... I had been to this beach before, but it was just a drive through. I had fun this time with the name being everywhere....
Jess and I at the beach.
More Bethany name madness.....
There was an air show in Ocean City, Maryland and a stealth bomber flew overhead. It was my first sighting. This picture doesn't do it justice.
On another walk back from the beach with Mom and Dad.
Beach time.
I couldn't leave this area without eating RITA's water ice. Seriously, I love this stuff so much, I looked at how much it would cost to start a franchise in Portland. Only $400,000..... hmm... gonna have to think about that one.
Robbie at the playground.
Photo fun.

One last photo before driving West to DC. This was where my trip started to go a bit weird.... My computer charger had died, so I was in a hurry to get to an Apple store in Annapolis, Maryland. A radio station broadcast that there was hours of traffic on the bay bridge, which would definitely endanger my ability to pick up a charger, which meant I wouldn't be able to enter grades for my classes!!! Panic!!!! So, what did I do? I floored it about 10 seconds after hearing that report. Wouldn't you know, there was a small town police officer waiting for me to speed by. It was terrible. I told him my story and he decreased the speeding offense so my fine wouldn't be so much. Thanks guy. Did I mention that while he was talking, it was difficult to not laugh because honest to God he looked and sounded like a hybrid of Boss Hogg and George W Bush Junior? While he was talking, I was thinking, "I didn't know Maryland folks had this accent?".... Thankfully, I did end up getting my charger and made it to the rental car place and hotel area in pretty good time.
Once I arrived at the hotel, I was given this room. It was the size of about 3 rooms. It had a wet bar, two flat screens, a full dining room table. Cool right?? No. It had no bed. All I wanted was a big, plushy hotel bed.... Not in this room. I went downstairs to get a different room, which they did. While I was making my room switch, I got stuck in the elevator- for 50 minutes. I was by myself, and luckily had my cell phone to keep me company. It was about 90 degrees in DC and Air conditioning would have been nice. It was stuffy and my non-existent fear of small spaces was becoming more existent... They finally got me out and were falling all over themselves to make me happy.
They started with a free $50 meal. It was delicious. I also managed to get free internet for my entire stay(yeah...nice hotels charge for internet these days!!!) and they took one night off my final bill, which is good because my salary is paid from the same pot.
This is what 3 days of this conference looked like. There were good sessions and bad sessions.
I managed to get out for a nice dinner with a colleague. Yummo.
My flight was scheduled to depart the day after the conference, giving me nearly 8 hours of tourist time. I'm ashamed to admit that I lived 2 1/2 hours from DC for 3 years and I never saw the sights. It was one of those things where you keep saying you will go, but never make the time because you have nothing but time.... lame, I know.

I made a nice walking loop around DC. My first visit was to see Mr. Abe.
Then the Korean War Monument.
That is a wall of stars in the picture above. Please see the picture below to get goose bumps.
My Grandmother's first husband represents one of those people. Thinking of her heartbreak made me tear up.

Next stop was the Washington Monument. This picture is looking straight up. The lines and angles of this structure were fascinating.

I then made my way to the museums. Here are some photos of some of my favorite pieces I saw along the way. Art is cool.

Then to the Smithsonian. I couldn't help but think of my nephew and his future in aeronautical engineering. I'm so proud of Christian! He is going to Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, Arizona in August, with a scholarship!
Wouldn't you know, the suit in this picture is the first suit to ever enter space? I'm not going to lie- I have a recent infatuation with space, the stars, planets, galaxies, etc..... The Smithsonian was a real treat.

My very favorite stop on this trip was the National Museum of the American Indian. I LOVED this museum. A definite must see if you go to DC.

I couldn't resist standing in traffic to take this photo. This is how they use the bike lanes in Washington DC.
I saw Samuel L. Jackson? Well, I saw his wax twin....
This is a pretty representative photo of DC architecture. I walked for 8 hours straight and my feet were aching, but there was so much to see!
The Capitol Building...
And President Obama's house! Finally- My tour was complete!
The next morning at the airport, I had my last Dunkin Donuts coffee. I love Dunkin Donuts. I'm so glad they aren't out West, because I would spend a lot of money there.
This was a nice welcome home- Mama Hood and all her glory.
It was a great trip. I'm a lucky girl.

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