Friday, October 29, 2010
It's the end of October - only two days until November is here. That's just amazing. This year has flown by like none I've ever experienced. Before we know it, we'll be back in Knoxville and this two-year stint in DC will seem dreamlike and a bit surreal.
It has been a good two years. In so many ways, I'm going to miss being here, although I'm eager to get home at the same time. This next month will be spent boxing up belongings, and cleaning out the corners of the closet where the dog hairs accumulate; checking off the last few items on our DC Bucket List; walking and walking and walking as much as we possibly can while we're still here.
November has traditionally been NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo for me, over the past three or four years, anyway. While I won't be getting my novel written next month - I'm not even going to sign up for it this year - I will be participating in NaBloPoMo both here and over at quirk. Linda had a great idea about what to do at quirk next month, and I hope to join in with it, although after we talked about it one time, we completely neglected mentioning it again, so I may be off base...but I'm going to do it anyway. Linda? Are you in?
I think that this November, on this blog, I'm going to focus on all the things I'll miss about living here in Arlington, along with updating my sketchbook project pages. There are so many things, I don't think I'll have any trouble filling up an entire month...we'll see how that goes, the closer time gets to our actual move date...
Happy End-of-October, people. May your costumes be scary, and your candy plentiful.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
One of the myriad things I'll miss about living in Arlington is our Verizon Fios Cable/Internet service. Honestly - in almost two years, I've not had ONE SINGLE ISSUE with them.
We've never lost service.
Never had unexplained down-time on the internets.
Never had to deal with customer service.
Never had a failed DVR.
Never had a problem changing premium channel subscriptions.
Not. One. Issue.
When we go back to Knoxville next month, we will be forced to give up that luxury and sign up with Comcast again, because that's the only provider available in our area. It's what we had before we moved up here, and it will probably be what we have until the day we die or the day that internet connectivity streams over the air and you can just connect via brainwave.
We had plenty of Comcast customer service issues before - including several internet and cable outages, DVRs that magically terminated all service right at the moment they were supposed to be recording shows (including at least one that had to be replaced outright, if I'm recalling correctly.) We had On Demand movies that were not rented, but charged for anyway, ones that were rented and never worked and charged for anyway and some that we watched that we never saw on our bill.
In short...Comcast is run by evil idiotic monkeys.
And I can prove it.
When we set up our internet and cable here with Verizon, it was a simple matter of filling out some online forms and scheduling a service date for installation, which cost us absolutely nothing. The Verizon technician showed up on time, hooked us up, handed me the secure connection information, tipped his hat and rode off into the sunset.
Okay. He didn't have on a hat.
To reinstate our internet and cable in Comcast, we started out the same way. I filled out all the appropriate online forms, selected a package, chose an installation date (for the low, low price of $49.95...to hook a cable to the wall...) entered the info for a credit check, etc. When I got to the end, I had a choice to "Go Back" or "Go to Online Chat."
Uh. I don't want to chat. If I wanted to chat, I could have called. I just want to to finish, get a confirmation code and be on my merry way.
Nope. "Go to Online Chat" was my only option, so I selected it.
What follows is the actual text of the chat. I'm playing the part of "Ronald."
That would be Dr. SmartyPants, in case you were wondering. He was sitting next to me, alternately laughing uncontrollably and fuming at the moronocracy of monopoly-based corporations...
No, moronocracy isn't a word. But it should be...
Comments in italics are not part of the original online chat...just part of my own personal thought process...
user Ronald_ has entered room
analyst Husain has entered room
Hello Ronald_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Husain. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Glad to have you on chat today.How are you doing ?
Fine, thanks. How are you?
See - I started out polite.
I'm also fine. Thank you for asking.I'm glad to hear that you are doing good.
Really? It takes that many words? Shouldn't you be doing something on your computer like hooking me up with the cable?
Ronald,may I ask you if you are an existing customer with Comcast?
Irritated much? I'm not sure if I'm answering the "May I ask you" part or the "existing customer" part...
Then,welcome to Comcast services first.
You are welcome.
If I understand you want services at ADDRESS ,City: KNOXVILLE,Zip: xxxxx, Am I correct ?
I've already input that information into the very detailed form that came before the chat session...
Thank you for confirming.
I am pulling up your address in our database.Please allow me a moment.
Thank you for your patience.I have found your address in our database.
WooHoo! We exist!
Now I will be creating Comcast account for you.Please stay online with me.
We would require your full SSN to see if there is deposit required or not.
Your personal information is also to ensure that we do not allow unauthorized parties access to your account as we know how important customer security is to many of us.
Many of us? Are there people in your organization that don't care about customer security?
This is also done for your protection to prevent service from being placed in your name without your authorization.
i already entered that information into your online form
Ooohhh...Ronald's feeling snippy, now...but seriously...why ask for it in the form if I have to give it here? Because you know, people love to give out their social security numbers in chat windows. It's like candy at a parade...here you go Husain! Enjoy!
I can understand your concern.
Due to your personal information security it's not show in web order.
Please provide me right now.
Husain needs some English grammar training. Plus? He's a little bossy.
I can assure you that our chat is secure and that your information will not be retained.
I don't understand your last line, *showing
In above sentence I did typo mistake.
I think maybe his real name is Yoda.
Congratulation! I'm happy to inform you that you are not required to pay anything as a result of your credit check.
I must say you have a great credit standing.
Gee - thanks for the props, man...
will this take much longer? i was hoping that by handling this online it would be a quick process.
I will make it very fast for you.
Please do not you worry.
But I am you worrying, because this is already not a fast for me process. This is a slow for me process and the worry is for me happening now.
If I understand you are requesting for Digital Preferred with Performance - Special Offer, Am I correct ?
AS I ALREADY ENTERED IN THE ONLINE FORM, YOU TWIT.
Thank you for confirming.
I will be fulfilling your order now, Ronald.Please allow me few more minutes to complete this.
At this point, an interminable wait began, where I would periodically type and erase asinine and non-complementary phrases directed at Husain, Comcast and customer service representatives in general. I cannot print them here as I run a G-rated establishment, people...
In case you have questions,feel free to send a message.
At the end of the chat sesion I will provide you account number.
Please bear with me.
Thank you for your patience and time.
The time since Husain said it would be a "few minutes" is about 20 here. Perhaps a few in his native language is much different than a few in English. In English, a "few" is around 3. Am I wrong?
A technician would be visiting at your place to install these services.What would be appropriate date and time Or will you go with your schedule date as per order information.
original scheduled date as i already entered earlier this afternoon
That's why I entered it into the order information. Because that was the time I wanted. Is that hard to understand? Why do you have the option of entering the information in the first place?
Is Husain beginning to sense my irritation? Nahhh...
Your installation date is set this 11/xx/2010 between 8AM-11AM.Please take note of the installation date and during that time someone 18+ and who speaks English should be present.Our technicians will be calling you 15 minutes before the installation takes place.
Is that fine with you ?
Oh, look! He's excited!
Last minute,I will be providing you account number .
When we create new account it takes time, however, I did my best for you.
Now he's just sucking up. I could get a mortgage faster than this.
Congratulation your account has been created with us. Your account number is XXXXXXX.
I have added you e-mail address in our database so you will get confirmation mail from Comcast.
I hope that I was able to resolve your concern today .
I didn't have any concern. I just wanted to fill out an online form.
thank you. are we finished with everything, now?
Yes.We are all finished
About freakin' time.
You are most welcome ! If it's not too much to ask, please take the 3-question survey at the end of this chat by clicking on the "END SESSION" button. We truly appreciate your feedback.It's very important for me.
Oh, there will be feedback...
Have a good time ahead !
Please take the short survey for me.
may i please have your full name or employee number for my records?
We always ask for this information, just in case there is a misunderstanding - I wasn't picking on Husain... I've never had anyone turn me down.
You will get it everything in mail.
Actually, that turned out to be a lie. I got nothing in the email that pertained to Husain. In fact, the email was completely useless and of no help to me at all. If a technician shows up at my house to install my cable and internet, it will be a miracle.
No need to worry.
Is that fine with you ?
how long before my email should be received?
You will receive it after 1 or 2 hours.
I would like it before we end the chat session.
your employee info. This is just for my personal records, so I can refer to it if there are any problems.
You will get e-mail after completing the procedure by clicking "End Session " .
Ronald, we have some own limitation.We are not allowed to share our employee ID on over the chat.
I have some own limitation, too.
I hope you can understand.
What, are you Crocodile Dundee?
I will always happy to assist you.
So...I can just call up Comcast and ask for Husain and I'll get to talk to you?
I gave you my SSN over chat. How about an extension number for a telephone or a last name or anything that can refer back to you.
Please stay online with me.
Chat Initialized:bunch of crap letters
Chat script records.
Basically he sent me this transcript of our chat history. With no last name, no extension number, no nothing...
Is that okay ?
No. Not really, but I can see that it's all I'm going to get from you. I'll be sure to fill out the survey.
And I did. It had absolutely nothing to do with the process that we went through. It was a survey that asked if my concern was dealt with appropriately...I didn't have a concern. It asked if I was satisfied with the process...
I'll let you figure that one out for yourselves...
PS: Just to elevate my confidence in Comcast, I saw this tweet from a Knoxville tweep today...
So long, Verizon...I'll miss you...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This is the time of year when the light gets so amazing in the afternoon.
The golden-dappled-sunlight factor gets kicked up to an 11.
Colors explode all over your camera lens.
It's time to soak it all in before it all goes away in The Darkness...
But I won't think about that, now.
I'll think about that...
tomor...okay, probably in February
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument on Sunday. We've lived in DC almost two years, and have not made it there before Sunday because, as I have mentioned before, we are lazy about arranging things that require pre-planning.
The day before we went, I went on a photo tour with PhotoTour Excursions, and so my camera was set on Manual mode. (I'll tell you all about the photo tour tomorrow, I promise...I know I'm all out of order...) I use Manual here and there, but generally rely on the Aperature Priority mode for most of my shooting, and so when we got to the top of the Washington Monument, I started snapping away...not even considering my camera's settings. I was so excited to be up there, I didn't even look at the preview panel on the back of the camera ONCE during the time we were up there.
The last thing I shot on Saturday was inside the National Gallery of Art - there's a really great installation between the east and west buildings with randomly generated LEDs over a moving sidewalk...so, very low-light, indoor conditions...
All that to say...when I started shooting the views from the top of the Washington Monument, my camera was still set on those conditions...perfect for the corridor in the National Gallery - not so great for a bright sunny almost noon-day landscape...
I didn't discover my error until we were back at the base of the monument - when I snapped a photo of the boys and decided to check it on the back of the camera...
...which actually turned out to be kind of cool for this shot...except you can't even see the massive 555 feet tall monument behind them...
And then I started looking back at the photos I took at the top of the monument and realized they all looked like this...
...that's when I started banging my head against the white marble bench the boys were standing on.
I mean, good grief! What a fabulous photographer I am! I DIDN'T EVEN CHECK MY SETTINGS. ONCE. I'm pretty sure Canon will be revoking my rights to use of their camera any day now.
BUT...because I shot in RAW, rather than in jpeg, I was able to recover some of the data that was hiding there in the blown out whites of that photograph, and walk away with a couple of decent images.
Not GREAT images, but decent enough to show I've been there...
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
So, I've been writing this post in my head about nasty, disgusting people and their public bathroom habits? And by people I mean women? Who should know better?
But I just can't do it.
There are some things that southern girls just can't talk about in public. There are certain things that offend the delicate sensibilities of my ancestral heritage. There are topics that cannot be broached in mixed company.
I might get the vapors and have to retreat to my fainting couch.
So I'm going to talk about Realtors®, instead. Actually, I'm going to rant about a particular type of Realtor®, one that defies all common decency and understanding.
I'll preface it by stating that our house in Arlington is on the market, and the Realtors® who have listed the house, and the lady who owns the house DO NOT FALL IN THE CATEGORY OF Realtors® OF WHICH I AM SPEAKING. They have been wonderful and considerate and excellent at checking to make sure we haven't been overly inconvenienced. I appreciate that very much.
I actually appreciate it even more, now that I've met the OTHER kind of Realtor®. Some of the other Realtors® who have shown the house have also fallen into the nice and considerate category and I can only assume that they are the Realtors® who have actually lived in houses that at some point were on the market, or have great common sense and compassion for others who are living in that situation.
Now, we run a fairly tight ship around here, so it's not too much of a stretch to keep the house tidy and neat for potential viewers, thank goodness, but the fact remains that I have two active boys and two dogs, and that we spend a great deal of our time here, as we homeschool. This means that when someone wants to come and see the house, I've got to get the school stuff put away, get the boys and dogs ready and go out so we aren't in the way. We have a nice park nearby, so that's fine, too - I just need an hour or so to get my act together. I'M VERY FLEXIBLE. No really, Melinda...stop laughing. I am.
But let me just run few a couple of Realtor® encounters...
- There was the Realtor® who walked in the house without calling, while we were watching TV on a Sunday afternoon. He saw us sitting there. Then he just opened the door and started walking in. The dogs convinced him that was a bad idea. When I asked him if I could help him, he was irritated that we were home.
- There was the Realtor® that called at 2:25 on Saturday afternoon, while I was in the shower, to tell me she was bringing her clients by at 2:30. When I called her back at 2:30, they were pulling up outside the house. Wouldn't that have been a fun showing? Look at the lovely vintage tile in the bathroom! Oh, and the naked lady!
- There was the Realtor® who called to schedule a showing, but wanted a window between 2 and 6 pm. I explained that I'd need it narrowed down a little more and why, and he promised to call me when they were 15-20 minutes away. He showed up at supper time. Without calling. Needless to say, we didn't leave for that showing.
- There were the THREE different Realtors® who walked into my house without knocking this past Sunday, assuming we were having an open house. The sign out front doesn't say open house. (I got paranoid after the second Realtor® walked in and checked the sign, but it didn't say anything about it being open.) There's no sign on the door saying open house. There are barefoot people laying around on the living room floor watching TV. Open house? Really?
- And there was a Realtor® who called the wrong number and left a message with the wrong people that he would be bringing a client by at 11:30. He called at 11:20. We weren't home, but I got a message from the person he called at 11:35. I hope the dogs didn't scare him too much.
Mercy. It's gotten to where I don't like to hear the phone ring anymore, but I know if I don't answer it, people will just WALK RIGHT INTO MY HOUSE.
Please don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. It's not every day, and it's only for a short time, but if you are a Realtor® and you're reading this, please give a half-second's consideration to the person living in the house you are showing, okay? Call the day before whenever possible. Schedule an extremely tight window of time for the showing. DON'T WALK INTO PEOPLE'S HOUSES without making a phone call first.
It's just not cool, man.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I mentioned on Sunday that I had a meeting to go to that afternoon and that I'd fill you in on it when I got more details, and then I didn't fill you in on it.
Because I'm awesome.
So I'll fill you in now, okay?
Because I'm so super excited, but trying to stay all cool like it's no big deal, but underneath the surface I'm all shimmery and sparkly and such a freakin' goober and OMG and all that.
I've been invited to participate in a show at Fathom Gallery in DC! The show is called Instant DC and is a photography exhibit for iphoneographers, specifically those in the DC area. The organizer of the exhibit, James Campbell, has put together a fantastic group of photographers, and I'm completely gobsmacked to be included, quite honestly. A three-person jury will select the photos that will be exhibited from those on our flickr photostream, so I don't exactly know which ones will be in the show, but there should be about 10 of them.
So, here's the thing...if you happen to live anywhere around the DC area, I'd LOVE for you to come to the show. It opens on Thursday, November 18 at the Fathom Gallery in Logan Circle, and tickets are available for pre-purchase here. Tickets will be available at the door as well, but there is a discount for purchasing early. Even if you don't purchase early, the tickets are only $5 for opening night. It's a short show - runs through Saturday, November 20, so put it on your calendar and tell all your friends and feel free to blog about it or tweet it or whatever it is you do...you can even snatch that sweet little animated gif up there and put it on your own blog, if you want...
Spread the word people...iphoneography is art...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Did you know that the Washington National Cathedral in DC took 83 years to build?
That the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon there?
That President Eisenhower's funeral was there in 1969, President Reagan's in 2004 and President Ford's in 2007?
And most importantly...the thing that you absolutely have to know is that up high...
Sits a grotesque with a face you may not expect...
Come on....duh duh duh duh da duh duh da dum....
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
If you've been to DC and you've taken a tour of the Capitol building, you know what kinds of treasures those halls hold, right? Frescoes, statuary, documents, whisper spots, ghosts of Senators past...oh, no, wait...that was a live one, sorry...
Anyhow...we'd been to the new Visitor Center and looked around at some of the statues and read up on the full-size model of Freedom and perused the gift shop and ate in the cafeteria, but we hadn't actually had a tour yet, because it involves pre-planning and we're lazy. But a few weeks ago, when it occurred to us that our time in DC was winding down quickly, we scheduled a public tour through the Visitor Center and the boys, Dr. SmartyPants and I headed down on a Friday to check it out.
We were in a group of about 30-40 people, all wearing headphones so we could listen to the very bored tour guide tell us about the paintings, etc., and we spent approximately 2.3 seconds at each stop (please don't stop for more than just a second to get a photo...we have to move a lot of people through here...). While we saw some really amazing things, and had a nice time, the whole tour took about 30 minutes and when the guide dropped us off at the gift shop, we were kind of confused...you know...like, that's it? He told us to feel free to walk over to our representative's office and pick up passes for the House Chamber, if we wanted to see that, and have a nice daythankyouforvisitingyournation'scapitol.
We didn't have time to go to see our representative that day, but I decided that when Kristi came to visit, we'd stop by together to pick up gallery passes before the tour, and that would at least extend the experience for a little while. So, I scheduled another tour and thought that was that.
On the day we decided to tour the Capitol, Kristi, Derek, Joshua and I stopped by the Rayburn Building to visit our representative and pick up our passes for the House Chamber gallery. When we got there I decided to ask the staffer that gave us the passes if the representative was in.
Two minutes later, we were escorted into his office, we had our picture made and he invited us to sit down on the couch. He was only in the office for a couple of hours, so we had caught him by chance, but he sat down with us and talked to the boys about his job as a congressman, how laws are passed, why he has such a nice view of the Capitol dome from his window, etc. He spent about 15 minutes with us, and as we were walking out of the office, he asked if we had taken the tour of the Capitol yet.
|I'm especially proud of the way Joshua took great care with his personal hygiene that morning...Sheesh, kid...buy a hairbrush...|
We told him no, and he asked his staff in the reception area to please give us a tour. Now, they schedule tours through the office, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but they took us right then.
For TWO HOURS, people. Mr. Johnson, our tour guide, took us (the FOUR of us) all over that building. We saw the crypt and the rotunda, where we could stand and gawk as long as we wanted. We experienced the whispering spot in the old House chamber, but also saw where Lincoln sat. We heard about every painting in the rotunda, including the one where Jefferson is standing on Adams' toe. We walked through the halls on the Senate side, passing Joe Lieberman in the process. We walked through the old Supreme Court chamber and the old Senate chamber, wandered the halls on the House side and rubbed our hands on the toe of Will Rogers' shoe for good luck. We walked up the stairs that the Presidents walk down to be inaugurated. We sat in the House chamber while he pointed out the bullet hole from the shooting by Puerto Rican Nationalists in 1954...
In short...it was an amazing tour. We talked about it the rest of the week. We pitied Dr. SmartyPants that he hadn't been with us for that one. We bragged to family and friends and anyone else who would listen.
So the lesson here is...take the time to run by and say hi to your Representatives and Senators, people...they really do work for you, after all...
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I didn't intend to run away and neglect you, my friends...I had plans and things scheduled and set and technology let me down.
Please forgive me.
Honestly - the technology is still acting a little strange. Blogger, in particular.
Anyone else having trouble?
We have a 5K to run this morning, and I have an interesting meeting scheduled for this afternoon and if all goes well, I promise to catch you all up on what's been going on, okay?
Until then...relax and enjoy your Sunday, okay?
Monday, October 11, 2010
Soooooo...what can I tell you about The National Archives? Well. I'll tell you. I learned some interesting things...
Now, The Archives is chock full of old documents and photographs and letters, but there are the crown jewels that make the place incredible. One of those documents is the Magna Carta, from 1215 and still in amazing shape. Another is the original Declaration of Independence from 1776, which is in terrible shape, but still awesome to see.
Then, of course, there is The Constitution of The United States of America, ratified in 1787 and amended only 27 times since then - The Bill of Rights added 10 amendments in 1791, and the other 17 amendments were scattered over the next 200 years.
It's the CONSTITUTION, man. It's an amazing document of the ages, so Kristi and I were taking our time looking at the four cases that house the four pages in the center of the display area on what appears to be the altar to democracy. When we got to the last case, we met up with a security guard who I can only assume was studying to be a docent on the side.
In correspondence school.
That she ordered out of the back of MAD Magazine.
As we approached, she (let's just call her "Rosie." I don't know why. She just looked like a "Rosie.") saw us reading the last part of the document, and asked Kristi to read the last paragraph out loud.
Like in school. "Read this part OUT LOUD for the rest of the class, please." Man, I hated that.
So, Kristi starts reading, and does really well (good job, Kris...) until she gets to this part...
Wait...here's a closer look...
You can clearly see that it says, "TAWIFNEFS," or maybe "FAMIFAFS," or something like that. It's that weird, calligraphic script that those wily founding fathers used to use in order to confuse the regular people with their fanciness.
In any case, Kristi gets bogged down there, I'm peering over the case trying to decipher the words, the line is getting backed up behind us and the security guard starts talking to us as if we were not terribly bright children.
Rosie: "Read it again. OUT LOUD."
Kristi: "Yes, Ma'am. Done in convention..."
Rosie: "Go to the dates. Do you see the dates?"
Kristi: "Yes Ma'am. (Please understand the woman has a gun. A docent. WITH A GUN.) The seventeenth of September in the Year of our Lord.."
Rosie: "Did you see that? 'The Year of our Lord?' Mmmhmmm..."
Kristi: "Yes Ma'am. That's the only date I see."
Rosie: "Well, you need to keep reading."
Kristi: "...Yes Ma'am. (Suddenly the gun begins to look threatening instead of security-inducing.) I just don't see another date."
Rosie: "You will if you keep reading. Keep reading...OUT LOUD."
Kristi: "...And of the Independence of the United States the Twelfth...I can't read this next word here."
Rosie: "You see...the twelfth. That's the day they started writing the Constitution*. The next part says, 'In Wings.'"
Kristi: "In Wings?"
Rosie: "Yes. In Wings. It's what they would write when they were doing the Lord's work. IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD. In WINGS."
Diahn: "I think it says, In Witness**."
Rosie: "In WINGS."
Diahn: "In witness?"
Rosie: "IN WINGS."
Diahn: "Yes Ma'am."
*This is, surprisingly, not correct. The constitutional convention began in May of 1787 and lasted through ratification in September. The "Twelfth" referred to here is the twelfth year of the independence of the United States.
**It does, indeed say "In Witness."
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Quite possibly my favorite line in any movie ever made.
Made even more perfect by a screeching hippopotamus.
Because everything is better with a hippo, people.
You know I'm right.
I'm traveling tomorrow, so the National Archives and Capitol stories will have to wait until next week...but they are coming, folks...
cross my heart...
Friday, October 08, 2010
I mentioned the other day that I was out playing tourist in DC this week, and I thought I'd take a moment to catch you up on what we've been doing.
My friend, K, came up on Saturday. Her daughter was participating in a national youth leadership conference, and so K came along and stayed with us to see all the sights. I tried very hard to squeeze in as much as possible in the short time she was here, and I'm afraid I ran her all over town in an effort to see EVERYTHING. We did, of course, fall short of that goal.
I've lived here 20 months and still haven't seen everything.
But we made a valiant effort.
In four days, we managed to see:
The Lincoln Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The World War II Memorial
The Washington Monument
The White House (from the outside)
The National Archives*
The Smithsonian Castle
The Smithsonian Museum of American History
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
The Rayburn House Office Building
The United States Capitol*
The Library of Congress
The Supreme Court
The United States Botanic Gardens
The Jefferson Memorial
The FDR Memorial
The National Cathedral
The US Marine Corp War Memorial (aka Iwo Jima)
Phew. I'm tired just looking at that list...
*These two trips in particular require their own post...look for them in the next couple of days.
If you like a good visual (and just to further cement my geek status), here's a map of everywhere we went...
View Washington DC Tour in a larger map
You should be able to zoom in to see the particulars, and click on the placemarks to see what each location is and a representative photo...