Sunday, June 7, 2009

My First Month Back in the USA

Here's a bit more narrative about my first couple of weeks in DC...

Ana and I have been having a whirlwind tour of restaurants and museums and scattered states along the Eastern seaboard. She's been working long hours getting the Coast Guard's blog at up and running. So far she's doing all of the writing for the blog, so check it out sometime so you too can be amazed by the overwhelmingly talented, thoroughly literate woman I married.

With her being so busy, I'm left to my own devices for much of the day. For the first few days I made myself busy by occasionally wandering around town in search of coffeeshops, bookstores, scenery, and interesting-looking buildings. Fortunately, there's no shortage of these:
buildings2 DC canal
building copy
While I may have found it all fascinating, the little dogs spent a lot of time sleeping, drooling on the pillows, and just plain bored:
Little Dogs

To change things up a bit, we made a trip down to Virginia Beach over a weekend so I could catch up with a bunch of old friends and introduce them to my relatively new wife. First on the list was Shawn Trulove. Shawn and I were classmates at the SUNY Maritime College and we both majored in Naval Architecture, so we had almost every one of our classes together after the second year there. After graduation, we were both commissioned into the Navy and were stationed in Newport, RI and Yokosuka, Japan together. Then he got married, transferred to Virginia, and became somewhat scarce for the next eight years.

We met up for dinner and I finally got to meet his beautiful wife and their absolutely hilarious little boy. Hopefully we'll be able to make it back down to their place for some grilling and whatnot before we're done here.

The next day we stopped by my old friends Ali and Greg's place to celebrate Memorial Day. Ali was also stationed in Yokosuka with me and then ended up being my roommate a couple of years later when we were both instructors at the Navy's Surface Warfare Officers School. While we were there, she met her future husband Greg. I spent my last month or so on active duty living in their spare bedroom with my two dogs and the nearly-immortal ferret (more on that some other time) while helping where I could with their home improvements.

Like an idiot, I hardly took any pictures of anything at all while I was on this trip. In fact, the only ones I got were a few goofy shots of Ali and Greg's bulldog Burlison, which Ali bought as a tiny little puppy when she was living with me forever ago:
Don't get me wrong, he's adorable, I just wish I'd've taken more photos of the folks we were there to visit and the amazing work Greg and Ali have done on the renovation of their current house there in Virginia. Blast!

I have since vowed not to make the same mistake again.

Ana's little dogs made this trip with us and it worked out fairly well. They were well-behaved and the hotel we were in allowed pets, but it was getting obvious that with all of the running around we'd have to do (much of it to places that may not be dog-friendly) we had to find somewhere else to ditch the pooches.

So the following weekend we set out for my brother-in-law John's place in Warner Robbins, Georgia to drop the little dogs off with him, his wife Brenda, and their full-sized dog Stella.

Along the way I snapped this winning photo of a random country road in Georgia:
GA Scenery1

Sometime during this trip I decided that Ana's wide open, mostly flat dashboard was a perfect place to start accumulating all sorts of odd little toys. I'm now on the lookout for every sort of movie tie-in promotional fast food kid's meal trinket I can muster. This is how it began. I'll post an "after" shot once the collection becomes more impressive/ridiculous:
Dashboard Toys

John ended up stuck at work for most of the time we were there (he's in the Air Force) so we got to hang out with Brenda and Stella a bit and spend more time that I'd've ever wanted in Warner-Robbins, Georgia. While we were there, Ana bought me a giant gumball (which I still have mixed feelings about):
It took a concerted effort over the next forty-five minutes to figure out how to actually fit it all in my mouth:
Stopped Gob
Oh, and before anyone asks what flavor it was, I think it was what confectioners refer to as "gross."

After dinner (a proper meal, not the gumball) the three of us went out to see the Disney/Pixar movie "Up" in 3D. I think 3D movies are cool and I think they make me look cool too:
3D glasses
It was a great movie and easily in the top third of the list of movies Pixar has made. Now I'm really looking forward to James Cameron's "Avatar" which should be the next big thing in 3D. Fun!

Later that night while I was walking the dogs, we stumbled across a toad with glowing demon eyes:
Demon Toad
The dogs were all sorts of intrigued by this, so I let them off leash so they could sniff it and chase it around on the concrete basketball court behind John and Brenda's place. Then Ru, the older and bolder of the pair, decided to lick it and get infected with the same demon eyes as well:

The symptoms persisted into the next morning:
Demon Puppy
Once again I failed to take pictures of any of the people we'd gone to visit, but Ana managed to snap this pic of their dog Stella helping her with her blog posting by tasting the wireless internet receiver:
After a fairly late start, we were back on the same Georgia country road headed back to Interstate 95, traffic, and Washington, DC:
GA Scenery
Along the way I tried to change Ana's mind about letting me have an armadillo, but I guess she didn't think this one was cute enough to bring home:
Pet Possum
I'm not sure what her problem was. It's not like an armadillo would be the strangest creature in the house:
Ana Knitting

Along the way, I did manage to get a lemur:

We decided to name it "Squint." But I still maintain that plush toys don't count as pets. One day I will have my lemur. In the meantime, we'll have to settle for Squint:
After a long day of driving, we managed to crash at the hotel back in the capitol at some ridiculous hour in the AM. The following morning Ana dragged herself to work and I returned to my various projects in the room:

Stay tuned. Sooner or later this picture will be made to make sense...

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