Thursday, January 29, 2009


It is so ridiculously cold in my office that I am wearing my winter scarf... and am seriously considering putting on my fingerless gloves. I thought I'd warm myself (and you) up by posting some pictures from our past trips to Barbados, in honor of the fact that three weeks from now I'll be in the middle of our week long trip there. 80 degrees here I come! (honestly though, I would just be happy with an office that didn't require me to wear gloves indoors!)

Correction: TEN DAYS FROM NOW!!!!

my current desktop wallpaper on my computer

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I am beyond excited that we finally got our first big (ok, ANY) snowfall in D.C. today! I'm going to try to sneak out around lunch to take some pictures. Until then, this one from the Washington Post taken right by my old house will have to do :) (Picture also shows why I am so glad that I take the Metro to work!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

While 1.8 million people were in D.C., freezing their butts off...

Brad and I were (pretending not to be cold) in Florida!

Brad and I took a quick trip down to Florida last weekend to escape the insanity that was Washington, D.C. during the Inauguration. We were blessed with temperatures about 50 degrees warmer than it was here when we left on Saturday, although the 48 degrees with 30mph winds we experienced on the beach Tuesday were nothing to sneeze at!

After landing on Saturday, we had lunch with the parents of one of my oldest friends. It was so good to see them, catch up and talk about old times. We spent Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning with Brad's grandparents, who are snow birds up in Zephyrhills. We had a nice time and watched some really cool sky diving Sunday afternoon:

loving this sign!

Thanks for letting us crash at your place Granny and Gramps!
On Monday, we went to Busch Gardens, which we unfortunately do not have any pictures of (except the cheesy one they snap of you when you first walk in that Brad insisted we had to buy... it was like Chicago all over again!). We had a great time and I felt like I was 17 again, riding all the coasters (except the "new" scary one that drops you at a 90 degree angle!). The weather was really nice, if not a little windy, and we had a really great time. I can't say enough how impressed Brad and I were with not only my willingness to ride all the same coasters I rode ten years ago, but my insisting that go on each of them multiple times! Go me! ;)

On Tuesday, we bummed around in the morning, drove all the way to Carrollwood to go to my favorite thai place for lunch - love you Jasmine Thai!!! - and then headed over to the beach to watch the sunset. Correction, tried to watch the sunset. What we ended up with was a cloudy, windy mess and a great sunset up until about 15 minutes before the sun actually went down. Boo on you sunset. So we hung out at Caddy's, had some adult beverages and grilled shrimp and enjoyed cold weather beaching, one of my favorite winter activities!
cold weather beaching my friend!

a pina colada makes everything better a beautiful sunset swallowed up in clouds

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bittersweat Tears

In case you needed another reason to cry today... (ok, probaby only GVV-ers will cry at this!)

Voinovich statement

Good Bye GVV

Some of you may have seen the news today that my old boss, Senator Voinovich, has decided to retire in 2010, at the end of his current term.

I have very mixed emotions about this. As he says in the statement on his web site, our nation is going through some of its most difficult times since the Great Depression. This could either inspire someone into public service or make them shy away. I have no doubt that if he were 40 years younger, the Senator wouldn't be going anywhere. But life as a Member of Congress is exhausting. Voting until 2am. Flying back and forth from DC to Ohio every weekend (which some Members don't do, but Senator Voinovich does). Maintaining two residences. 14 hour days with back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings. Hundreds of policy and political memos. Nightly fundraisers. This is taxing to the youngest members. It must be even more taxing to someone who has been in political life for over 40 years.

I have such a great and profound respect for the Senator, perhaps more so than any other politician. I am proud of the times he has stood up for what he believed it, even if it wasn't popular, even if the party didn't like it. I am proud of the times he has stood up to the media (my favorite would be when The Other Paper in Columbus declared him the "Sexiest Man in Washington). I have a deep admiration for the love he has for his family, especially his wife. "Mrs. V" is truly the love of his life and we should all be so blessed to have a marriage that wonderful, that loving, that strong.

Most of all, I am most proud to have worked for him for five years. My first job was with his office. I started as a lowly intern and worked my way up. I can firmly say that were it not for him, and the opportunities afforded to me, I would not be where I am today. It saddens me to see him retire, but it makes me smile to think of him fishing with his grandkids, his "babe" by his side.

Thank you, Senator Voinovich, for everything. You will be sorely missed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why we are leaving town January 17-21

(my whitty commentary in red)

Bridges, streets being closed for inauguration

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writers Eileen Sullivan And Matthew Barakat, Associated Press Writers – 55 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Police are blocking off all bridges crossing the Potomac River into Washington and a huge chunk of downtown when Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, securing the largest area of the nation's capital for any inauguration.

Some 3.5 square miles of downtown, including the business district (where I work... people are apparently planning on sleeping in their offices here... that would take me back to my Congress days for sure!) and government buildings surrounding the National Mall, will be closed to traffic starting the afternoon of Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration, and remain closed until the morning rush hour on Jan. 21 (I hope Brad reads this because I am now SO THANKFUL that we are not coming back until Wednesday morning!), Barack Obama's first full day as president. The Secret Service announced the closures Wednesday.

U.S. intelligence officials say they know of no specific, credible terror threat, but the celebration surrounding inauguration of the nation's first black president remains an attractive target for international and domestic terrorists.

The agency plans to set up 13 security stations to screen anyone arriving for the inauguration parade along Pennsylvania Avenue. Additional screening facilities will be near the Capitol and the White House. The screening stations open at 7 a.m. on Inauguration Day.

Officials estimate between 2 million and 3 million people will travel to Washington for the event. (this city can be clausterphobic and annoying when there aren't extra people here... an additional 1.5 - 2 mill? Forget it)

The Secret Service also warned that only two screening stations will be set up for people moving from the National Mall to the parade route after Obama takes his oath. (not sure what genius came up with this, since most of the people follow this exact timeline) The National Mall stretches from the Capitol to the Potomac.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, security has grown with each inauguration. "I think it will be the most security, as far as I'm aware, that any inauguration has had," Chertoff said.

With Potomac River bridges into Washington closed, Virginia transportation officials decided that all but official and authorized vehicles will be barred from inbound Interstate 66 and Interstate 395 inside the Interstate 495 Beltway that circles the capital. This means you couldn't even drive to the exit to get off at for our place from further south in VA... our exit, a whole 14 miles south of D.C. This will be a logistical nightmare for anyone even trying to move around Northern Virginia, let alone get into D.C.

Virginia State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty said security played a role in the decision to close the highways and bridges, but the primary motivation was traffic management — motorists would have nowhere to go as they draw near the capital.

Except for one major bridge connecting the city with southern Maryland, traffic will not be disrupted on other highways entering the city. Still, Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari was skeptical about driving in Washington on Inauguration Day.

"Everyone needs to understand there will be severe congestion," (of course 395 and 66 face "severe congestion" during a normal rush hour, so I'm not sure how this would be any different!) Porcari said. "Taking transit is the only way to get to D.C. Finding a parking spot will be like winning the lottery — it won't happen."

Even using mass transit will be dicey. Officials with Metro, the Washington area's transit system, said subway trains will be packed for the inauguration and that passengers should expect long lines. This is ironic, since the train I was on this morning on my way into work at 8am was packed to the brim with normal commuters, as it is every day. And "long lines" in Metro terms is probably different than "long lines" in Joe six-pack terms.

"We've been planning all along to be prepared to carry a tremendous amount of people," spokesman Steve Taubenkibel said.

An unresolved question for Metro officials is how train operators, bus drivers and technicians will get to work with all the street and bridge closings. oops...

Joe Cardone, resident manager of Washington's historic Mayflower Hotel, faces a similar problem for hotel staff members needed to provide services to the guests who have fully booked the facility.

If workers live in the city, Cardone said they will likely walk, ride bicycles or take Metro rail or buses to work. Some may end up bunking at the hotel, possibly in unused meeting rooms.
"We have seasoned staff that's been through inaugurations before, so they know how to prepare themselves for traffic jams and difficulties getting in," he said. "They just add an hour or so for travel."

And if this didn't get you in the mood for the Obamapolooza in two weeks, here's a photo of the Capitol I snapped while I was on the Hill this morning... all decked out in scaffolding, a stage and lots of unsturdy looking VIP bleechers

Monday, January 5, 2009

"I wonder what the Saull's did for NYE, did while they were in Ohio, ate on Christmas?"

New Year's Eve five course fantastic dinner at Stardust diner - SO good!

enjoying a Columbus Blue Jackets NHL game in Columbus! Thanks Brian!

Christmas morning breakfast in bed... strawberry (Eggo) waffles, sausage, banana, coffee and juice!
Christmas "dinner"... steaks, brown rice, mixed veggies and a nice 2005 Pinot Noir

"I wonder what the Saull's got for Christmas?"

an iPod! an iPod! an iPod!!!!!

yummy beach reading
a remote for my camera? SWEET!

OSU watch from Dad Tuff
lovin' on something (might be foot lotion...)
wallet that attaches to your key chain... perfect stocking stuffer!

"I wonder what the Saull's Christmas tree looked like?"

I know these are the questions that keep you up at night! SO I thought I'd come back from my two week blogging vacation and give you an answer:

from our April weekend in Hershey, PA
October anniversary trip to Chicago

Pinocchio! He was MIA last year, lost in our honeymoon stuff, but here he is, fresh from Pisa, Italy. Italians always hang small, wooden Pinocchio's on their trees for good luck.

December NYC trip