Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka 2009!

Whirlwind trip after returning from Key West on Monday. We avoided the snow delays at the airports in Charlotte and Philadephia, but our Amtrak to DC was delayed a few hours. Jeff went into work on Tuesday around 6:30 after we made it in at 1 in the morning.

The drive to NC on Wednesday was a bit miserable, as we hit holiday traffic before we even left Northern Virginia. We stopped at Leslie's Mom's (Sue) place for a chance to hang out with Sue, John, Leslie, and Scott. We then kept moving to Jess's parents to hang out with the familiy for a few days.

No defined plans yet for the New Year, although it will likely be low-key. We both go back to school on January 11, but Jeff continues to work through the weeks. Speaking of school, Jess pulled all A's and a B+ this semester, while Jeff got 2 A's and a B, so we did fairly well despite the heavy academic loads. We've every intention of keeping up the good grades through the next several days.

- j&j

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Duvall street flood

Today was awesome in an unconventional way. After biking downtown, we got torential rains that flooded the main drag and kept us indoors for awhile, but we still managed to swim back to the lodge.

--j&j









- Posted using BlogPress frommy iPhone


Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the way to Key West

It was very cold in Philadelphia this morning. This is us waiting for the airport shuttle.

--j&j

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The scary effects of too much catnip

It may be time for an intervention.

--jess



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Technology!

We had to get me a PDA for my pharmocology class next semester, which was a good excuse to get an iPhone.

We will be able to take pictures and post directly from Key West, which is pretty awesome. We also purchased an underwater digital camera today. We did not use it to take this picture of Zoe.


--jess

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

This is our fourth Thanksgiving in four different places since we got married - 2006 on with Jeff's parents on a ship in Hawaii, 2007 at our place with our Hawaii friends, 2008 with Jason and Kelly in Fort Belvoir, VA and 2009 in Philadelphia. Jeff hasn't had Thanksgiving in the same place twice since 1997, so we're building a bit of a tradition. We're making a very small dinner for the two of us with a crock pot turkey breast, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, and three varieties of mini pies that are probably two slices each. We are thankful we can be together for the holiday; Jeff has a ton of papers due and Jess still has eight exams in the last three weeks of the semester.

The picture at the left was from Jeff's dining out in DC in early November. There was roast beef and a lot of toasts. Not the bread kind of toasts, more like you start eating your beef and you stick a bite in your mouth and someone toasts something, so you stand up and pretend you're not chewing while your roast beef gets cold, - kind of toast.

For those of you we haven't told, we're going to Key West right before Christmas! We are spending the actual holiday in NC and have no idea what our other plans are - hopefully will take care of that over this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

--j&j

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon 2009

I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon this morning (route displayed below). My watch time was 4:39:52, which is about 40 minutes slower than my goal time; my legs cramped at mile 20, so my running was hobbled and interspersed with lots of walking. I crossed that finish line, though, and am wondering if this is perhaps the least intelligent thing I've ever accomplished - I'm hurting from head to foot.



I'm currently thinking that I may never run this distance again, and I think I'm much more partial to ten-milers. However, the course itself was a pleasant run with lots of scenery and music along the way. The post race festivities in Arlington were very busy, although I managed to stumble to the Metro and make my way home to a shower and nap. I think it may be time for nap number two.

-Jeff

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Body Worlds 2 and Terror Behind the Walls

Jeff made a trip to Philadelphia last weekend for a couple of nights. Saturday was incredibly busy with a trip to The Franklin Institute in order to see Body Worlds 2. While the exhibit would have been interesting enough, it was even more so with Jess able to point out obscure anatomy that she is familiar with from school.

After lunch at Machismo Burrito Bar, we napped away a rainy afternoon in preparation for Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary. Although we had to wait for an hour in order to catch a bus to the building, then another hour to get into the show, it was very worth the wait; the atmosphere of a deteriorating prison makes for a great haunted house. The majority of the tour isn't haunted so much as startling, and includes five sections: intake, lock down, the infirmary, the experiment, and night watch. The staff gives out flashlights for night watch, and you navigate through the halls with no ambient light, although lock down was the most disturbing section. We'll totally go back next year.
- j&j

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Army Ten Miler

I ran in the Army Ten-Miler this morning (route displayed below). My watch time was 1:19:12, which is almost five minutes faster than my previous 10 miler. This time I don't feel beat, either, which means my training has been effective. I think I could have finished even faster, but with 30,000 registered runners, there was lots of dodging around to get ahead.



Jason and his buddy Andy also ran; I saw Jason between the 7 and 8 mile markers, and we ran together for a few minutes before I needed to pick up my pace. At the end, I met up with Kelly to look for Jason, but he was nowhere to be found.

My next race is the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25th. I'm shooting for under four hours, but I'll be happy to finish it. I'll let you know when I do.

-Jeff

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Delights

Jeff had a four-day Labor Day weekend; Jess had three days off. Due to the time off, Jess took the Amtrak down from Philadelphia to DC for a weekend away from studying and kitty-cats (they were fine upon return home).

Through a whirlwind-weekend, we visited the US Capitol Building (rotunda, right) and the Library of Congress, (left) both of which are within walking distance of Jeff's new apartment, on Saturday morning. Although the architecture and history behind the Capitol are interesting, the LOC is almost overwhelming in detail; we know there are books somewhere, but the Great Hall only has a few (including a Gutenberg Bible). We soon decided, however interesting books are, lunch was much desired, and walked over to Bullfeathers for burgers, fries and beer.

After a lazy (due to gluttony) Saturday night, we met up with Jason, Kelly, Danielle, and Jason's friend Byron on Sunday for Champagne Brunch at the Fort Belvoir Officer's Club. After stuffing ourselves full of delicious meats, fruits and pastries, who would have imagined that we would ever get hungry again! However, at least one more meal was on order, and we walked down to eat a late Mediterranean dinner at Cava Mezze, which has fantastic whipped feta with jalapeno (called Crazy feta) and asparagus large enough to prompted several minutes of discussion - why can't we get such great-quality asparagus delivered to the home?

Closing with one of the two statues Hawaii contributed to the Capitol building; it is the heaviest out of all 100 of the statues from the fifty states.

--j & j

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Starts (Officially)

Both Jess and I started classes today (although she continues with gross anatomy). Although I recently took a minor promotion at work, am training for the Marine Corps Marathon, and taking three courses, I still think I have an easier work-load that she does!

I finished my Statistics course by the skin of my teeth. Toward the end I was concerned that my grade wouldn't be sufficient enough to keep my Navy funding. However, I pulled through on the final and ended with a "B" in the course. I've also come away knowing I will never again take another mathematics-based course online; I need more interaction and discussion to understand the material.

Back on July 25th I ran the Crystal City Twilighter 5K. Again I didn't do as well as I had wanted, and I'm either not as fast as I think I should be or the conditions were not amenable as I would have liked. My next planned race is the Army Ten-Miler on October 4th. Since the MCM is three weeks later, I don't plan to push for time, but rather expect to use it as just another weekend run. Finally, I joined Potomac Runners last week to find some people to run with on the normal weekday runs; I think it will be good to have fellow runners to encourage me on a regular basis.

My tomato plant has taken off in the last week, and I started a salad pack on the Aerogarden. Maybe I'll be able to have locally-grown fresh salads in the next few weeks. Maybe the tomato will last through the winter since it is inside...

Jess and I are figuring out Labor Day plans. We will try to keep you posted of anything exciting.

-Jeff

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not dead (yet)

Hello from Philadelphia!

My schedule in PA school is a bit insane right now - sorry to people who've called that I haven't been able to get back to. The pace is extremely fast; we just started school on the 27th and have already had 24 lectures. There is a lot of information to manage, and needless to say everyone is a bit frenzied. We actually only have about 40 hours less class time than medical students; they just have more breaks. I almost think medical school would be easier!

Kitties are doing fine - Zeke was allergic to a spice in a piece of fish I gave him, so his lower lip swelled up for a few days, and it looked like he was pouting. Zoe likes to nibble on my hair while I am studying. Other than that, no kitty adventures to report.

Jeff's coming up this weekend; hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can do something fun.

--jess

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mini tour of Jess's new apartment

Hello from Philadelphia. The opening picture is for my dad (Mom, make sure he looks at it!) of the "kitty table" we built when Jeff and I went down to North Carolina, complete with Litter Robot. I stained and varnished it in the bathroom in Alexandria to make sure there was no cat hair stuck in the finish (we didn't want to risk Amtrak confiscating our stain on the train ride down). The carpeted area is definitely doing wonders for keeping the cats from tracking litter bits, and luckily they are scratching on it instead of the furniture, seeing as we forgot to move their scratching pad. I have no idea what I am going to put on top of the table yet, but I am sure I will think of something.

But I digress. As Jeff mentioned, the move was vicious - I'll just keep it short and say the movers were careless and slow. To illustrate my point, see also the picture of our ruined sofa to the right. Luckily it is microfiber. I got the grease out so it's usable, but there are holes in the fabric, so we'll either have to reupholster it or replace it after this.

On the bright side, this is my new bedroom, complete with Zoe. It's more or less set up; I just need to hang a few pictures. I love the floors here; they are reclaimed original hardwood (which means they were made into floor in the 1920s and still look fantastic).
The cats are pretty well adjusted at this point, thank goodness.

More to come.

--jess


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th!

Also, we're in Philadelphia, unpacking from our recent move. The movers we're awful: arrived in Alexandria late, loaded slow, arrived in Philadelphia late into the evening, and didn't finish unpacking until after midnight. Fortunately, only minimal furnishings were broken or soiled (although we will probably have to replace the sofa after next time we move). It is habit to think that the military-provided movers we've used in the past were less than ideal, but after this move, I now know that they've been at least competent.

Zeke and Zoe have begun to adjust, although the first day and night were a bit miserable. Zeke yowled through the night in confusion - he has made for the door a few times, and slipped past Jess into the hallway once.

We plan to knock off unpacking soon and find something to do for the evening. We'll keep you posted.

-Jeff

Friday, June 12, 2009

Maine part 2

The weather quickly went downhill after our trip to Nova Scotia; however, we still decided to explore Acadia via tandem kayak despite rain and sub-sixties temperatures. Beforehand, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, where it was so cold we pretty much took a picture and got back in the car. Wednesday's weather was bad enough that we made a day of exploring downtown Ellsworth and some of the nearby antique shops. If you're ever in Ellsworth, make sure to stop at the Mediterranean restaurant called Cleonice - it was fantastic! Afterward we ate the obligatory lobster and haddock dinner.

We got a really nice shot of Bubble Rock, which we hiked after the Great Head hike on Sunday (with blueberry soda and cake at the Jordan Pond House in between).

Since the weather wasn't improving, we left the resort a day early and split our return trip in half. En route, we stopped at the Maine Wildlife Park, where we saw moose, lynx, bears, vultures, ravens, chipmunks, turtles, and a bunch of other wildlife creatures, but no fish. Not that we were looking for fish. The animals were in cages, so they were somewhat difficult to photograph.

We got on the road shortly thereafter and stopped in Portland for an obligatory lighthouse picture. The lighthouse was attached to Fort Williams in South Portland. Portland looked like the kind of place we might revisit a few years down the road.

Finally we stopped in Scarborough at Len Libby Handmade Candies to check out the 1700 pound (771.1 kg) life-sized milk chocolate moose. Little did we know that Lenny the moose would be accompanied by Libby the bear at 380 pounds (172.4 kg) of dark chocolate, and her two cubs at 80 pounds (36.3 kg) each. Lenny had been there since 1997; the bears were more recent additions.
More photos available at our Photobucket album, as usual!

--j&j

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Maine part 1

We drove up to Ellsworth, Maine this past Friday. It is a long drive, and we made it longer by taking a route that would avoid the majority of city traffic; leaving at 6 in the morning, we didn't arrive until around 9:30 at night. Ellsworth is in the Downeast section of Maine, right near Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.

Saturday we visited the Atlantic Brewing Company to sample very small quantities of several delicious varieties of beer, root beer and blueberry soda. Afterward we started driving the park loop, which has several park ranger-selected points of interest, including fantastic overlooks and hiking trails of various difficulty. On Sunday, we hiked a moderately difficult trail starting at Sand Beach that wound up at Great Head overlook. Afterward, we had a delicious three-course seafood dinner in Bar Harbor where we were a bit under dressed.

Yesterday, we took the high speed CAT ferry from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. We only stayed the afternoon in Canada, but had a fantastic lunch on the waterfront. Today, we kept the theme water based and rented a kayak and spent a couple of hours on Long Pond. It was just a bit chilly, and we got rained on!

The area is really slow paced with great weather and better food. We tried chevre (a type of goat cheese) that was made right up the road in Lamoine; it is delicious! We also are huge fans of the maple mustard.

We'll have pictures and another update in a couple of days.

-- J & J

Thursday, June 04, 2009

They try to convince us they don't like each other.

Zoe was hanging out in the carrier, and Zeke jumped in to attack her, so Jeff seized the opportunity to shut them in and we took some jail kitty pics. Real entry coming soon!

--jess

Friday, May 08, 2009

Texas trip

We just got back from an awesome week-long trip to Texas and are settling back into our life with a couple of disgruntled kitty cats. Zoe decided to punish us by scratching and crying at the bedroom door REALLY early this morning, so needless to say I am a bit out of it! I'll make up for the short entry with lots of links. You should click on them.

Our trip consisted of road trips to College Station, Brenham, San Antonio, and Weatherford. We put a ton of miles on the rental car and had a blast. The trip to Schlitterbahn didn't work out because only part of the park was open (and not the part Jeff likes), so instead we went to a jazz garden party at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. We also checked out La Villita along the San Antonio Riverwalk and ate tons of Tex Mex and Texas barbecue (which, I admit, was ten times better than North or South Carolina barbecue, so I can no longer pick on Jeff for being a snob). There was a gallery in La Villita that had fantastic original art, but unfortunately my taste is a bit expensive... but I did figure out which gallery (Monte Wade Fine Arts Gallery) and the artist (Arlene La Dell Hayes), so maybe at some point we'll go back or some of the Texas family can check her out! I like the ones that look like a little like Don Quixote riding across Mars.

And of course we went to the Alamo. It doesn't have a basement OR Peewee Herman's bike, in case you were wondering. I know I was! Jeff rediscovered his love for Big Red soda at a cute little Mexican craft store on the walk back to the hotel from there.

There are more pictures on our Photobucket site. I haven't quite gotten everything up yet, but it's a start! The pics in the blog are from the Bluebell Creamery, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and, of course, the Alamo.


--(a very sleepy) jess

Sunday, April 26, 2009

GW Parkway Classic 2009

I ran my first 10 miler toady: GW Parkway Classic. My time, based on the chip I wore on my shoe, was 1:24:07, which beat the 1:30:00 that I had wanted. I feel beat, though.

Also, we found Jessica a place in Philadelphia last weekend. It is an older building that was recently renovated, and is totally sweet. Email us if you'd like her new address.

We are off to Texas this next week, and then even more trips after that, so expect more updates soon.

- Jeff

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kitty cable

Back in Hawaii, we always used to scatter birdseed on the lanai and keep Zeke occupied for hours. He'd get really disgruntled at the fact that there was a glass door separating him from a tasty treat. Some things never change! We can't decide whether the noises he makes at the birds are typical for cats or unique to him because he has no idea what he sounds like...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Penn State

I received an acceptance letter today into the Pennsylvania State University Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development program. I'll be starting courses this fall and graduating (likely) in the Fall of 2010.

-Jeff

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy 2009!

It was nice to get back to the Carolinas for the holidays. Every time we go, we remember how much we loved living in Columbia - the slow pace, the lack of horrible traffic, the nice people... the exact opposite of the D.C. area! Pictured right are me and my two best friends from college - a very pregnant Janice (she's due this month!) and Nikki. I thought it was pretty amusing that we were all bespectacled and nerdy looking; I'd been having trouble putting in my contacts for a couple days at that point.

We cut our trip to Columbia a little short because I ended up with a nasty sinus infection and pinkeye, and my one of my childhood docs from back home was able to work me in - which was SUPER nice of her. Picture at left pretty much shows the way I spent most of the time at my parents' - in my penguin pajamas with Zoe curled up on me. They traveled pretty well, by the way, and as you can see, they had no problems making themselves at home (although Zoe took a while to get comfortable with anyone other than Jeff and me). Zeke, of course, was all over the house from the moment we let him out of the carrier and probably would have been equally happy staying with my parents, especially since there's a lot more room in their new house for him to carouse. Sorry, Zeke! The picture at the bottom is him hanging out with my mom.

We played it pretty low key for New Year since I was still recovering.

Yesterday we gave Zoe a manicure - we don't want to declaw her, but she likes to use her claws a bit. So if you zoom in the top picture, she's wearing red "press on nails", she's all wet from a bath, AND she's sticking her tongue out!

Here's wishing everyone a great 2009!

--jess