Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I walked around DC in a sleeveless top and no coat. Fellow citizens pass me, casting crazy glances from their muffled necks and bundled torsos. It is a balmy 50 degrees, and suddenly, I am the novelty.
Fast forward to me in a tank top, driving down I-95 in 77 degree temps, desperate for some sunblock. I stop in a Travel Plaza where I am sure to find everything from beef jerky to slushis, and hopefully some much needed SPF. I ask the clerk, "Where do you stock your sunblock?" "It's winter. We don't carry that anymore." "Honey, it is 77 degrees outside; this ain't winter." Alas, I have more freckles on my left arm than my right thanks to the 16 hours of driving I completed in the past week.~~~~~~~~~~~~
We bowed our heads in prayer over dinner. I sat among my fellow alumni and some new students in the renovated student athletic complex at my alma mater. The chaplain, an old mentor of mine, read from her notes, asking God to bless our meal and thank him for the safe travels of the board members who came so far to join us that evening--- "even from Alaska," she concludes. I smiled and raised my head at the end of the prayer and was greeted by eight smiling faces around the table, all looking at me. "So, are you the alum from Alaska?" the sophomore next to me asks.
Sipping beer and wine at a Friday night tasting event, I remark at the varying degrees of yumminess. "Another pour for my friend. She came all the way from Alaska to taste these wines with you this evening," boasts my host.
L-R: Judith, me, and Ann Marie
Cotton candy delight
Monday, October 27, 2008
Multiple people queuing for taxis asking to split fares; in years past everyone took their own. Few share in this beltway.
Every restaurant features a special, low price menu, coupon to come back and see us promotion.
The annual gala that draws 500+ people each year because of its venue, timing, and theme, hosted a measly 260 revelers who barely covered the marble dance floor.
I asked our host if he was planning his typical, over the top New Year's Gala, and he said yes. I asked if he were worried about the price of tickets keeping celebrants at bay. "No. When Obama wins, people will be ready to celebrate and ring in a new year!"
How many days until the election?
Like me, she is budding red hair, has blue eyes, a hell of a temperment, and she sleeps in the fetal position-- sound like anyone you know? 5000 miles away and I am already rubbing off. God help the poor girl.
We dined at Salty’s, overlooking the Seattle waterfront, decorated with moving barges and USCG boats. On a rare and gorgeous sunny day, we enjoyed the view and ate asiago cheese crusted halibut served over purple potatoes and accompanied by roasted pears. From lunch, he dropped me off at my downtown office, where I reviewed emails and made dinner reservations.
My boss arrived in Seattle at 1900, and an hour and half later, he found me already sipping on a Cote du Rhone at Purple. Knowing that he too is a wine snob, I picked the perfect place for the two of us to relax as we spoke of the next day’s strategy meeting. I feasted on their roasted pork tenderloin accompanied by sweet roasted apples and onions. The meal was delicious, as were the pumpkin-chocolate truffles we had for dessert. For wine, he ordered a sweet pinot noir from Williamette Valley, while the chef recommended an Oregonian pinot grigio that was tart against the sweet apples in my dish.
Not done with our conversation about office changes, we headed to Vessel, where the bourbon selection more than pleased my boss. I ordered a dark and stormy and those fabulous roasted notes and marinated olives they serve on the side. My boss ordered a flight of 4 bourbons and took notes on his pda to look for at least two of them in his Anchorage liquor store.
Early the next morning, my team and I locked ourselves into a conference room and do whatever it is you do at a strategy meeting. We invited our teaming partner to join us for lunch at Wild Ginger. Enclosed in a private dining room, away from the loud, regular, lunch crowd, our sampled spring rolls, and laughed at each other using chop sticks to eat soup. I ordered their Wun Tun Mein, a phenomenal soup with lo mein noodles and fried, chicken and shrimp filled dumplings.
Over the course of the afternoon, I rcvd notification of a new Request for Proposal (RFP). Eager to utilize my teaming partner’s past performance, I called our lunch companion to meet for dinner. Very much like the morning prior, he whisked me away from my office and through Seattle traffic exiting the city. The afternoon turned warm; convertibles with tops down whizzed past us, and there I was, highlighter in hand, systematically breaking down the components of the RFP and chatting about what past projects would meet the requirements.
We passed soccer families as we pulled into EIlliot Bay Marina and parked at Palisades. Opposite from Alki and downtown Seattle, our seats offered us a view of the marina—filled with sail boats—the sunset, the ferries pulling from the harbor and into the sound, and the lights atop the needle. We started with oysters Rockafeller and ordered a bottle of Firesteed Pinot Grigio. We unfolded our notebooks and outlined our response and charted our projects while the chef prepped our dinner. We took a quick break to eat cedar plank salmon (him) and seafood chop with shrimp and dungenous crab (me). We wrapped our notes and palates with dessert—a white chocolate cake with raspberry glaze.
When my head hit the pillow at 2130 PST (early for me, I know), I started to add up my receipts from the past three days. Thank goodness for corporate accounts, right?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Brad accompanied his BM1, the Capt and his wife. The card commented on the differences in the lands within the park and the differences in height between the Japanese and these coasties. The CO comes in at 6'6", Brad is 6'4", and the BM1 is somewhere around 6 feet tall, too. Needless to say, they, um, attracted attention, as noted the Capt's blog entry:
(Along with the other cutters, CGC Munro blogs on the D17 Public Affairs website.)
Tokyo Disney was definitely a different experience than either one of the parks I've been to in the U.S.
I think the biggest things that stood out were myself and Lieutenant Anderson, our Operations Officer, who came along with me for the day. We were probably the tallest people there and our height and physical appearance attracted a lot of attention. There were lots of park visitors who stopped to take our picture.
It was definitely one of the most unusual experiences I've ever had. There was a small child who bumped into LT Anderson and then just stared up at him. It was pretty obvious that he had never seen anyone so tall in his life. His family quickly scooped him up and they were talking to each other and making hand gestures about our height and size which was funny and a little awkward, but it was all good natured.
Everyone we met at the park, both employees and tourists alike, were very friendly and animated. Everyone seemed to move with a purpose almost as if they were on a schedule and had to get everything done before the end of the day.
The park was very clean and well tended and I noticed that although the layout was very similar to the Disney Land in California, it was a lot smaller than any other Disney theme park I had ever been to.
We went on just about every ride at the park, even the "kid" rides like Snow White and Peter Pan. My favorite ride was Space Mountain, which was very similar to the ride in the U.S.
The difference in food stood out as well. There was one store that actually sold Ratatoullie, like from the movie, on little rolls. There was curry popcorn, which was delicious but not something one would usually find in the States.
I also noticed that there was more of an emphasis on the cartoon characters like Winne the Pooh, Goofy and Mickey Mouse. I tried to find some Disney Princess things for my daughters but there wasn't any in the souvenir shops or toy stores.
The parades were amazing and they had very intricate floats. The park was having its Halloween celebration while we were there and some of the floats and characters were way scarier than anything they would have in the U.S. There was a float made to look like the head of the witch from Snow White and one was an animated dragon from Sleeping Beauty that moved around and snapped its jaws. I don't think my kids would have enjoyed the parades as much, but all the other people at the park were clearly having a good time and had no problem with the scarier floats.
We spent the entire day at the park and had a chance to ride all the rides we wanted to and took a lot of pictures for my family back home. I would definitely come back with my family.
The whole trip was definitely a unique experience and I'm glad I had a chance to get off the boat and have a little fun while we were in Japan.
P.S. From the Captain: I went to Disney along with my wife who thankfully came to visit. I'm fairly certain I was ACTUALLY the tallest person in the park as I beat BM1 and Ops by a couple of inches in the height department. We all experienced quite a few people with cameras who would obviously be talking about us then someone with a camera would move away, pretending to take a picture of the group but actually taking a picture with us in the background. Some were a little bolder and asked to pose with us. Guess they had never seen a 6'6" guy with Mouse ears...
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I brush him each day, so he is not as fluffy as you would imagine a malamute (read: as seen in movies and shows), but his neck is started to "poof." I cannot quite explain it, but his breed has substantial necks for pulling (um, naturally), and his is starting to fill out more. To me, he is getting very long, but now he is starting to pack on some pounds.
In my limited research, I learned that he will look like this in the near future (different coloring, of course):
See how crazy thick is that neck? Yep, that's why they mush. Tok continues to love being socialized. Today we had a Boy Scout ring our bell, selling popcorn. Tok ran to the door with me, and I had to hold his collar as the little boy began his pitch. I accepted his pitch and asked that I settle in Tok before I filled out his order form. Tok followed my commands to sit on his living room cushion and stay while I filled out the form. I welcomed the scout and his dad into the house while I fetched my check book. They closed the door and I called Tok over to greet our guests. He loved the attention; and so, reluctantly, he went over to his cushion again as our guests left.
My goal is to have Tok used to this routine for the holidays, when many a friendly faces will grace our home. I wonder what he'll weigh then?
Friday, October 10, 2008
She and I chatted about life, work, and I got some face time with my god daughter. I grabbed the flamingo and made silly faces at the screen in hopes of establishing some sort of recognition before my arrival in a few weeks.
The best part: neither of us had showered, both had on our blue flannel pjs, both had on our glasses, and the biggest frickin smiles you can imagine.
To see her-- and Ana Sofia-- made my heart soar.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Barometer Mountain with a touch of gold
Barometer from Near IslandFloat plan over Barometer
Range from Old Woman Trail
Coast Guard Base from Old Woman Trail