Thoughts from the Pacific Northwest

This post should really be titled “Thoughts from the east coast about my trip to the pacific northwest”, but that’s really just too long. I went to Seattle at the end of October and toted my camera along with me. This post is just a brain-dump of the notes I took along the way.

  • It’s a good start to the trip when the guy at borders gives you a free magazine because he can’t get your gift card to work.
  • Kate and I “share” a cell phone, although it is with Kate 90% of the time since she usually has the kids with her. Since she was taking a trip to NY the same time I was traveling she had a cell. With all the people around me on their blackberries, iphones, and other various electronic communications devices, I certainly felt like I wasn’t part of the ‘in’ crowd.
  • Airplanes are packed to the gills. Both my flights were offering free tickets (no blackouts or other restrictions) to anybody willing to bump to a later flight. I seriously considered it.
  • I was seated next to two friendly German women on the plane. It was a good thing they were friendly, because they were demanding customers. But they were so charming the flight attendant couldn’t help but chuckle every time one of them made a request.
  • Monday Night Football at 5:30PM. ‘Nuff said.
  • My hotel room was equipped with a fantastic high definition LCD widescreen. . . but the hotel had no HD signal (I checked). What’s the point?
  • I love the Pacific Northwest, but August is the time to visit. The weather was crystal clear and temperate. This time, it was foggy, cloudy, and generally what you would expect of Seattle.
  • The Seattle Public Library is absolutely amazing. I spent a good hour plus walking around the place taking pictures and marveling at the architecture and breadth of material available. I found issues of Scientific American dating back to 1867, the manuals for my 1999 Saturn, cds, dvds, sheet music, and even embroidery patterns.
  • Something you don’t see every day – while at the library, I walked past a man sitting at a desk, intent on his embroidery. I couldn’t muster up the courage to ask him if I could take a picture. I now regret that.
  • The Seattle Aquarium was fine, but a bit disappointing. Maybe I have inflated expectations due to the high quality of the Baltimore Aquarium?

So the trip to Seattle was productive and fun. And I don’t need to travel again for probably a good 6 months, because I missed the time away from my family, during which I missed Mary rolling over for the first time and Halloween (Kate was still in NY for the festivities). Although I did have a really nice Halloween substitute with some friends and their kids.

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial FountainsWe’ve talked about taking my grandfather (87-ish) to see the World War II Memorial in DC for a couple of years now. This past weekend, we finally got our acts together and did it. I know that lots of people have mixed feelings about the memorial, but the more I visit it, the more I like it. While perhaps not as iconic as some of the other tributes to people and events in DC, I think it is a beautiful and fitting way to honor those who fought and died in the second world war.

Regardless, the weather couldn’t have been nicer, and we all enjoyed an hour or so outside kicking around the monument. Simon’s frustration at not being allowed to play in the fountains and pools put a bit of a damper on his enjoyment of the trip, but I think he had fun regardless. “You had fun! You just don’t REALIZE that you had fun!”. Think that will fly?

Anyway, we got a couple of nice shots which are now posted in a set on Flickr. I like the generational shot here. That’s 4 generations of Campbells!

4 Generations at the WWII Memorial

Vacation at Home

Kate and I are taking a three day at-home vacation this weekend. No cooking, minimal sewing/computer/TV time, and lots of outings are on the docket for this weekend. Some of the things we’ll do/see include we have planned include:

  • The World War II Memorial
  • The National Geographic Museum at Explorer’s Hall
  • The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
  • Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • Swimming and other fun at Bull Run Regional Park
  • The Quinn Farm Dog Park
  • Two or three wineries in Middleburg, VA

Legg Mason Tennis Fun

Andy Roddick at the Legg Mason Tennis TournamentMy dad had 4 tickets to the first quarterfinal session of the Legg Mason Tennis tournament in Washington DC. Naturally, I couldn’t resist free admission to a sporting event, so I took Friday off and joined him at the facility right next to Rock Creek Park to take in some tennis.

I’ve never seen a real tennis match live before, and DAMN. They hit the ball hard! The first match was between two folks I’d never heard of before, but they were really entertaining. The second match of the day featured Andy Roddick and some fellow named Karlovic. Karlovic was 6-10, and sent absolute bullets over the net on his first serves. Roddick prevailed in the end, though, to the delight of the crowd.

We really enjoyed ourselves, despite the heat, and given the opportunity, I would definitely go back for more tennis fun.

Nationals Beat Braves, and I was There!

Two posts in one day! I’m on a roll. Or. . . something. I went to my first Washington Nationals game last night, and it was a blast. The worst part about it was the 45 minute-plus ride on the metro to get to and from the game (motion-sickness sucks). But the game itself and the experience was all I could have hoped for. I’m so glad baseball is back in DC.

The Nats lead for most of the game before Atlanta’s four runs in the top of the 8th gave them a 6-3 lead. I was sad to watch a bunch of people get up and leave before the National’s half of the inning. I bet they were even sadder when they heard that the Nats scored 5 runs to eventually win the game 8-6. Ha. Serves them right.

Attendance wasn’t tremendous, but there were enough people to make some noise. I hope the Nationals make the playoffs before they move out of RFK, because that place can get LOUD. Even with the diminished crowd last night, the metal bleachers were swaying with people jumping up and down after the Nationals rally in the 8th. I can’t imagine how nuts that place would be when it’s packed to the gills with people for a playoff game. I only attended a couple of Redskins games at RFK before they moved, but that place was ridiculous when it came to the noise level (Fed Ex can’t hold a candle to it, even with all the extra people they can fit in there).

So yeah. Go Nats.

PHC at Wolf Trap & Memorial Day Festivities

Last Friday, Kate and I went and saw A Prairie Home Companion at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts (see it from the sky on Google Maps). It was quite a show. The weather was beautiful, the picnic packaged by Kate was yummy, and the entertainment was enjoyable.

There were several musical guests, two of which I really enjoyed. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver did a couple of bluegrass numbers. Who knew I liked bluegrass? You can download some songs from various albums from the Discography section of their Web site. I highly recommend “Heartbreak Number Nine” from the album You Gotta Dig a Little Deeper.

We also saw Mari and Håkon Samuelsen, who are an enormously talented brother-sister duo hailing from Norway. They play the violin and cello, respectively, and performed several pieces. You can hear an arrangement of a Handel piece on their Web site, and “Mountain Vision” on the recording of Saturday’s PHC show, if you’re interested. I must say though, while these pieces are good online, watching and listening to these two do their thing live was UNBELIEVABLE.

We spent Sunday at Great Falls with my family for hiking and picnic (it was packed with people and dogs on what was another beautiful day). To round off the holiday weekend we went over to my parents house for a burgers and dogs on Monday night. My grandfather joined us, and we all stuffed ourselves silly. So here’s to our veterans and the sacrifices they made, and to our current troops defending our freedom abroad.

In other news, I felt the baby kick for the first time last week! I think we may have a little Pele on our hands. . .