Saturday, August 20, 2011
With more than 200 stained glass window, The National Cathedral is a magnificent place to visit on a sunny morning. Emily and I visited at the perfect time to enjoy the color that the windows cast around the huge cathedral. This is a must-see while in DC.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Emily lives near Embassy Row and so we listened to Cokie Roberts provide brief explanations of several embassies.
If you're in DC, you should check it out: Embassy Row Podcast by Woodrow Wilson House (this site hurts my eyes!)
Thursday, August 18, 2011
When I booked my flight to DC from Minneapolis on Thursday, August 18 at 7:00 PM CT, I assumed I would be in DC and with my sister by 10:30 PM ET. In reality, I was finally in DC and in her apartment on Friday, August 19 at 11:00 AM ET.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today was my last day of working at colloquium, the face-to-face instruction for Capella's counseling and psychology learners. I worked in the Phoenix Hyatt Regency today and gave career advice to about 25 learners in back to back 15 minute appointments. If I went on more of these trips I'd definitely be 30 pounds heavier as every lunch comes with a big dessert and an afternoon snack. Pictured here, you see the special cheese platter provided to the hard working Events staff. They deserve that and so much more because they work so hard to create an educationally conducive event, attempting to meet a diversity of needs.
Monday, June 20, 2011
We celebrated my colleague, Jenny's, birthday at Los Sombreros. I failed to take a photo of the birthday girl but I did capture:
* My mojito. Connoisseurs of the traditional Cuban drink will notice the lack of mint. It was there- just ground up into tiny bits. I deemed this the most disgusting mojito I've ever had.
* Mound of guacamole. My former co-worker and friend, Kyle says this is the best guacamole ever. I agree that it is good and appreciated the presentation.
* Basket of chips and pinwheels. Nobody knew what the pinwheel shaped treats were and I am pretty sure I was the only one at the table eating them.
* My colleague, Ben trying to approve of our colleague, Marcus's dinner choice, shrimp cocktail, which apparently offends Ben's sensibilities as he exclaimed, "Guh-rossssss" as it was served.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Scott and I decided at the last minute to head east on I-94 to check out Dave's Brewfarm, a windmill powered brewery in rural Wisconsin. Best. Decision. Ever. We rarely take road trips unless we are headed to South Dakota to visit my family so this adventure was a nice change. Even though I-94 isn't that scenic, we did stop in Baldwin, "the Biggest Little Town in Wisconsin, for an A&W fix for Scott. We exited I-94 onto beautiful rolling hill road and saw a herd of cattle hanging out with no signs of a fence keeping them from leaving the farm. We spotted a deer in a field of yellow wildflowers and pulled over to take a photo. It is at this point I realized I packed up all of my camera gear but left both of my memory cards behind. iPhoneograpy to the rescue. However, I didn't even attempt to capture the deer and instead appreciated the moment. As if seeing a Doe in the middle of a gorgeous field wasn't enough, we were dazzled by a fawn crossing the road on its wobbly legs. After our brush with wildlife, we set out to reach our destination, 2470 Wilson St., Wilson, Wisconsin.
We were greeted by this lovely handmade brewery sign and the home/brewery of Dave Anderson and Pamela Dixon. Even though the sign pictured above clearly marks the brewery's location, since we were the first to arrive, we somehow thought we should go to the front door (which we later confirmed is their private residence). Fortunately, a couple of regulars, Val and her husband whose name I can't remember, saved us and showed us the ropes by leading us the proper entrance. Soon lots of people were showing up with grills and food to share. It's been a long time since I've experienced such an instant community, dynamic as the people were added. We met and talked with a wonderful retired couple from White Bear Lake - Don and Noreen, who taught Mathematics at Hamline University. I talked with the Bar Manager of Blue Nile which is on my list of places to visit since I haven't been there in a long time. We also talked with Gerry, co-owner of Lowertown Wine & Spirits in St. Paul, who is awesome and has a great sense of humor. Of course, the highlight was getting a chance to talk with Dave, who is both the boss of, and sole employee of, Dave's Brewfarm. He likes to experiment and has the formal training to make it work. His wife, Pam told us of his background working in all aspects of the beer industry and the work it took to create the brewfarm while we worked our way down the list of 8 beers on our flight:
1. Wheatless Wonder
2. Hibiscus Lager
3. Amalgam II
4. Rye Knot Saison
6. Columbus Single Hope Lager
8. Lupulo Noir
I had to take a break around beer five because even though I was only drinking about 4 oz per beer, they are strong beers and I wanted to truly appreciate each one.
I left feeling like I was now part of the Dave's Brewfarm family and I can't wait to return with my beer friends (and DSLR loaded with a memory card) in tow.
Monday, May 9, 2011
I took more than 600 beautiful photos of our vacation in Florida (uploaded 203 of them) and of course on the last day of vacation, a travel day, I only took four photos, all of which were at a tourist trap on Islamorada Key called The Rain Barrel Village of Artists. So, I am left with no choice but to use this as my photo of the day!
This giant crab caught our eye on the way down but no one was in the mood to stop. Since we had plenty of time to get to the Miami airport, we decided to stop and snap a couple photos. In hindsight, I wish I had walked around the artist's village to see what it had to offer. As it was, we kept going north and Howard and Mary dropped us off about 3 hours before our flight because somehow the time zones didn't get changed when I set the alerts. It was an emotional goodbye and we hope to see Howard and Mary in Minnesota soon!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Happy Mother's Day! This photo does not reflect my feelings toward my mother, my mother-in-law or any other mothers in my life!
Howard treated us to Mother's Day brunch to celebrate Mary at Casa Marina Resort. It was a lovely start to the day and I hope that Mary felt the love. After our meal, we walked around the grounds of the beautiful resort and that is where Scott spotted the biggest and most colorful iguana I have ever seen. It was eating the grass something I didn't think iguanas did. I am starting to think that iguanas match their surroundings and this one is extra fancy because it is staying at a Waldorf Astoria resort. After brunch, we rested for awhile.
In the late afternoon we returned to Old Town so that we could enjoy the sunset on Mallory Square. To pass the time, we had drinks at the Sunset Pier bar and tried conch fritters. Apparently to understand the taste of conch, it is best to eat it as a steak or marinated in a salad. Since most anything tastes good fried, I didn't mind the conch fritter but I guarantee I wouldn't have enjoyed it as a steak. It is a popular destination for sunset entertainment. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the music of the man who said he was NPR's favorite busker, a claim I tried to fact check but came up with little evidence to prove or refute. My favorite moment of the sunset was the minutes after the sun went below the horizon. In my research for photography, I know this to be Civil Twilight. It was a beautiful end to a wonderful time in Key West.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
After breakfast, we headed back to Old Town. Howard bought us tickets to ride the Old Town Trolley so that we could see the entire island without having to walk the entire day. While the canned jokes of Louie, the driver, were a bit much to take at times, it was interesting to learn more about Key West's history and culture. At one of the stops, we decided to buy a coconut to drink its water. It was just OK but I am glad I tried it. Who doesn't like drinking out of coconuts with a straw? We then went our separate way because Howard and Mary went to the Butterfly House and we went to the cemetery - slightly different experiences! We walked around quite a bit and then headed back to the hotel before going to Stock Island to a restaurant called Hogfish Bar and Grill. When we returned to the hotel, we were able to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Since I do not often see the sun setting where I live, I find them truly spectacular when I can sit back and enjoy them.
Friday, May 6, 2011
There are roosters everywhere in Key West! This is my favorite capture of them and so it is the picture of the day!
Our first full day of vacation started with me going for a 2 mile walk down North Roosevelt Boulevard from our hotel towards Old Town. I didn't know how long or how safe it was to walk all the way downtown so I turned around to meet up with Scott, Howard and Mary. We took the free shuttle van to the Old Town area of Key West. We decided it'd be fun to just walk around and figure out what we'd want to do along the way. Our first stop was at the Custom House Museum. We didn't look at the exhibit but looked in the giftshop and took photos of the beautiful building and sculptures by J. Seward Johnson. We then went into the Clinton Square Market Mall and lured into a Seventh Day Adventist nonprofit by the calls of parrots. While I enjoyed seeing the parrots and tucan, I was not expecting a discussion of the second coming.
After walking around a bit more, Scott and Mary had their first piece of Key Lime pie because the friendly owner of Key Lime Pie Outlet, Ted, started talking them up while I was taking photos and Howard was talking on the phone with Lisa. I joined them while Ted talked with us about Key West culture. I enjoyed that his announcement that we were in a judgment free zone in Key West. I can live with that!
Scott and I continued to walk around while Howard and Mary cooled off at the hotel. We walked around most of the Old Town area and stopped to have lunch at Panini Panini. We took a photo of the Southernmost Point Buoy and dipped our toes in the water. Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped in for a cold drink at Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery. It has a great patio but the restaurant seems to be in an identity crisis as they are trying to appeal to beer, wine and frozen drink enthusiasts.
After a solid nap in the hotel, we decided to stay away from the heart of Old Town and eat somewhere that seemed a bit more local. With the help of Yelp, we chose Mo's Restaurant. It was a great experience because we were the only patrons for most of our dinner. We were given complimentary appetizer of rice and beans (I am sure it has an official name but they don't have an online menu). Scott and I both had the snapper which had an amazing sauce on top. After our dinner, we were given complimentary slices of pie to split. I guess that is the benefit of visiting during the low season.
After a day in the sun, I was more than ready to crash after dinner. So, no wild and crazy partying in Key West for us.
I attempted my first 365 photo project in 2011. I made it to Day 246.
The Nivens Family