Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I swear, I have the very best of intentions when it comes to blogging, but the worst follow through.  The truth is, 2014 has turned out to be a bit of a whirlwind, and it’s difficulty for me to believe it’s almost the end of March and I haven’t blogged since January. February was a big month. The old Blog had it’s tenth birthday in February, and I didn’t even mention it!  So, Happy Belated Birthday Blog, I’m sorry we don’t spend enough time together, you deserve better!

Back to February. February 2014 ended up being unbelievable, and I want to preface this by saying that it is an inaccurate representation of my real life.  I spent most of 2013 halfway crippled, and I vowed that as soon as I was able to do fun things again I would take advantage of any and all opportunities, because you really don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, YOLO.  Thanks to some amazing friends, I had some awesome opportunities, and I feel extremely lucky.

First this happened – (THANKS LIBBY AND CBS!)

Super SecurityImage

Super Awkward

Super Halftime with Bruno


The football didn’t end up being all that exciting, but I got to hear Queen Latifah sing America The Beautiful with a children’s choir, and I got to wear a ski cap that had lights on it that was part of the half time light show.  I freaking love light shows.  And fireworks.  And Bruno Mars.  It was a really great day, the Broncos notwithstanding.  We had to go through airport style security that was pretty intense, but it’s nice to feel safe.

The second spectacular occurrence in February 2014 was that I went skiing in Austria with a group of 15 great friends. I mean, the ALPS! Who knew?  The mountains were breathtakingly impressive, the snow was exceptional, the company was first rate.  I will admit that the combination of jet lag, altitude, and apre’ ski was aggressive, and not for the faint of heart, but it was all worth it.

Good Morning Zurich! ImageImage


ImagePowder Day!


Austria was an epic experience.  We spent three days in Solden, which is a giant ski resort comprised of three mountains connected with extensive gondolas.  One day we skied in Ishgl, where we had the pleasure of skiing from Austria and into Switzerland for lunch.  We spent a day in St. Anton, where the snow was less impressive than Solden or Ishgl, but the apre ski was amazing.  We stayed in this great solid house with a big basement that had a pool table, ping pong, and foosball.  When we weren’t skiing, we cooked a lot of food, drank beer, ordered pizza, and laughed.


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Getting back to real life has been more difficult that I anticipated.  It’s been six weeks and one day since my surgery, and I’ve been back at work for more than three weeks.  I may have hit the ground a little aggressively, but there were some things I could not help. I could not help that I HAD to go see Libby run in the New York Marathon the first week in November.  It’s not my fault that it got cancelled last year. Libby had to train twice, and the least I could do was rebook my trip.  Plus, I really wanted to go, and I needed to see Betsy and Andrew and meet sweet baby Cash.  I can’t help it that being in New York necessitates a lot of walking.  Going to New York left me in the Boot for an extra week, but I was able to get around surprisingly well, and I don’t think the extra boot walking caused any lasting damage.

I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of music this month, which I was not expecting.  The first weekend I was back in Charleston, someone gave me a ticket to the Robert Earl Keen show at the Charleston Music Hall, at the last minute, so I had to go to that.  Then Michael Franti was at the Music Farm and I went with my sweet friend Anita.  Finally, The Avett Brothers played at the Coliseum last week, and those tickets were purchased this summer.  All three shows were fantastic.  I’ve seen REK and The Avett Brothers at the Georgia Theater, and it’s hard to compare any show to a Theater show, but the Charleston Music Hall is a really cool venue if you ever get a chance to see it, and the Avett Brothers are a completely different band than they were in the Georgia Theater days.  When I first saw the Avett Brothers in 2007, it was three guys, and the entire show was high energy Bluegrass Ska music.  Now there are seven or eight band members, and it’s a much more professional production.  It’s nice to watch a band grow up.  The show last week was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.  It was well paced, with lots of old music, and lots of new music, and we stood up the entire time.  The only thing I did not understand was the couple with the baby in the Bjorn in front of us.  Or the other couple with the two boys, aged maybe four and six.  The two boys were clearly miserable, with the four year old plugging his ears the whole time.  How is that fun for anyone involved?  And they stayed almost the entire show.  It’s not normal for kids to stay out til 11 on a school night, right?

Speaking of music, I’ve been enjoying the new Katy Perry album.  Hate all you want, she’s fun.  Also, I love Eminem.  I tolerate Rihanna when she is playing with Eminem.  I love that this new song is about seeming crazy.  I realized the other day that a casual observer would think I spend all day talking to myself.  But the reality is that not I’m talking to myself, I’m talking to the inanimate objects around me.  Example, I’m pulling sheets out of the dryer, and they are not dry,  “Dude!  You aren’t dry at all!  Look at this, you’ve gotten all wadded and tangled up, you are never going to dry that way.  Get back in there.”

The weather has been crazy, yesterday it was 83 degrees, 90% humidity.  This morning it was 50 degrees, 60% humidity, with winds 20 mph.  The former is a lot hotter than you’d think, and the latter is a lot colder than you’d expect.  I’ve completed all of the levels of candy crush, and now we wait for an update.  In television news, you should be watching The Blacklist.  That is the only new television show I can definitely vouch for as amazing.  If you watch Homeland and Scandal, you should be reading this weekly blog series The Heroine Watch.  It definitely enhances what otherwise has been a season of extremely depressing and upsetting story lines.

I can’t wait until I can run and go to yoga and play tennis again, I’m hoping to be able to start doing more in the next couple of week.  I’ve been walking a mile in the morning and a mile at night, and standing up at my desk during the day, and I’ve been able to do that with occasional pain.  The range of motion in my ankle is limited in all directions, but I believe that it is getting a little better every day.  I still have some numbness in my big toe and on the outside of my heel, but the scar is healing well.

Until then, Briscoe and her pink gorilla are making sure my yoga mat feels loved.


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Last night I slept in the front room of Betsy and Andrew’s apartment in the east village. There was a cacophony of thunder and strobe lightening outside, and I made the mistake of reading about the storm chasers who died on Friday by a particularly unpredictable tornado whilst I was brushing my teeth.

Needless to say, I dreamed of severe weather, and awoke in a panic at 5 am, convinced that the quaking ground and roaring din was the tornado I had been anxiously awaiting in my dreams. Imagine my shock when I realized it was just a street cleaning truck and it wasn’t even raining outside.

By the time I made it out on the street to catch a cab to the airport, it was raining again, and catching a cab involved some drama. But there was no traffic to the airport despite the rain, and I encountered no lines to check my bag and make it through security. I was real proud of myself, to arrive, coffee in hand, with plenty of time to spare.

Then my flight was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. Apparently the weather in NYC was so bad that the plane couldn’t leave DC. I missed my connection before I even boarded my first flight.

This series of events has resulted in my sitting at a brewery at IAD at 3:30 on the Monday afternoon. When I sat down, I ordered a beer. The server didn’t speak excellent English, and it took me a second to realize what she was asking me. She was asking if I also wanted a shot of liquor with my beer. I can’t tell if this is a reflection on me personally, or on the average Dulles traveller, but either way I told her the beer was all I needed at the moment.

New York was a blast, I got to see my friends with the following professional monikers: CBS, ESPN, the bartender/drummer, the publisher, the lawyer, the pregnant lawyer, the music CPA, the movie director, the special agent, the bartender with the rose tattoo, and my high school JV cheerleading coach. The space law professor and the animator were regrettable out of town, along with the blond lawyer and his fantastic fabric wife, and the blond cousin and his redheaded wife who is now also cousin. But that just means I will have to come back soon!

Thursday I was suppose to meet my favorite teacher of all time at the metropolitan museum of art where she and her husband were leading a group of kids (including their 4! Kids). My phone died, and I was sitting on the steps outside waiting until the appointed time to go inside. Mardi came up from behind and grabbed me and said – I would know the back of your head and jawline anywhere! You look exactly the same as you did when you were 14! Which I took as an extreme compliment. It was amazing to reconnect and meet her kids and wander the streets of New York for a little while!

Friday afternoon I met the movie director in Williamsburg. We had lunch, and then prowled around looking for a dive bar the director had heard was interesting. We had all but given up when we stumbled upon it.

It was the perfect Athens bar, conveniently relocated to Williamsburg for our beer tasting pleasure. Since it was happy hour, we enjoyed $2 cans of tecate and bud light. You decide which one I enjoyed. The bar wasn’t deserted, but it wasn’t crowded. It was a nice little motley crew of hipsters (townies?) enjoying a Friday afternoon sip.

The director and I were deep in conversations involving relationships and life and timing and other discussions on QUALITY and limiting the IS and other such deep discussions of life and learning, when a long haired fellow across the bar points at me and says “Hey! Are you a lawyer?”, and I turn around (with the knowledge that no one is behind me) and look to my right and left before saying, “Me?”, “yeah, are you a lawyer?” (I am technically a lawyer, but I’m not literally practicing law, so I forget this fact sometimes), and so I hesitatingly wake up from the discussion I was in and say, “um, yeah, I guess so!” And he replys, “This guy went to law school with you!” To which I say awkwardly and reflexively without looking at who he is pointing to – “Hi! I’m Charlsie!” To which the person next to him replies, “I know.”

Turns out it was an old Athens friend that I never expected to run into at the very Athens bar in Williamsburg. I like to believe that Athens is a universally recognized lifestyle that is transferable around the world. Or at least up and down the east coast.

Friday night we went to the Yankees game, and stopped by a bar called Stan’s before entering the stadium. All I could think as we navigated the crowd was, dang, I’ve never seen so many Yankees in my life. Lots of Yankees. To be clear, I love Yankees. Just a little overwhelming at first. Noteworthy at least. The night was full of corn dogs, hot dogs, popcorn, I threw out some braves trash talk for good measure, and capped off with some good ole Sinatra and a horrifically hot subway trip home.

Fingers crossed my plane takes off in an hour. XO

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Charleston is the biggest city I’ve ever lived in, besides the summer I spent in Rome, Italy (I also spent a summer in Rome, Georgia, but that is entirely beside the point). When I go home to Augusta, I am impressed by the breadth of the sidewalks and the dampness of the dirt, and the abundance of organic material. It makes me realize that there are not a ton of trees in charleston, shade and yards are scarce, and the sidewalks are narrow. It makes me feel like Charleston is a city, a real city!

Right now, I’m drinking a glass of red wine, a Tempranillo, at the Sofitel in downtown DC, waiting for Bizzy to get off work. I’m reading a copy of High Fidelity that I swiped from Bizzy’s house (I accidentally left my nook at home, buried somewhere in my covers). I went to lunch with Cybil, and all in all, this visit has capped off a month of excellent friend contact and quality time.

My plan was to go to New York tomorrow via bus, and watch Libby run in the New York marathon. Hurricane Sandy (superstorm sandy? Dr. Sandy? Professor Sandy? Judge Sandy? Dean Sandy?) has interrupted these plans.

I called US airways to request a rebooking under the travel advisory on Wednesday, as Laguardia was indefinitely closed, and traveling to New York seemed ill advised. I wanted to fly home Sunday from DCA. They said they would be happy to change my return flight for $175. This seemed ridiculous to me.

On Heather’s advice, I took to twitter, and very nicely requested help from the US airlines twitter people. They were unable to rebook me completely, but my original Monday flight from LGA to CHS had a layover in DC, and they were able to delete the first leg of my return trip, preserving my DCA>CHS flight. So, yay twitter! And yay for an extra long weekend in DC.

DC is a stark reminder that Charleston is less of a real city, and move of the movie set of a city. Charleston downtown is so compact, and quiet, and quaint. As a side note, apparently only Europeans stay at the Sofitel. I’m picking up fashion trends from the European teenagers. Braids and big neck scarves, leather jackets and fur cuffs.

Last night, we went to the drag queen race in DuPont circle. It was amazing. This bar has the perfect pitched conversational murmur, in a dim lit red and stained wood setting. Outside, the overcast sky and the wind gusts down the streets shake the trees, and the huddled figures with scarfs and mittens, boots and long jackets, bring on an element of late fall, November, and the cusp of winter that is not yet available in my southern coastal movie set.

Libby will still be running on Sunday – I wish I could be there, and I’m so proud of her training and dedication and fundraising.

I hope you all have a spectacular weekend full of ethnic food, old friends, cozy dark bars, an international community, drag queens, roof tops, bodegas, craft beer, red blends, sweaters, leather jackets, deep conversations about life and love, tall boots, hot coffee, yoga, falling leaves, and good music (with soul! With feeling! With funk! Chasing that old time feeling). I think that is enough for one weekend.



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Last May, I was in Chicago for a conference the week before Memorial Day.  That friday, I flew from Chicago to Charleston for Jennifer’s bachelorette party.  I opted for the earlier flight with the connection, which was not intelligent.  That particular Friday, summer thunderstorms raged across the Southeast, and I ended up sitting in a bar in the Charlotte airport, praying my flight would take off.  While waiting, I made friends with some guys who were also heading to Charleston, and it turned out they were great friends with my friend’s little brother, and we had all sorts of mutual connections.  Eventually, after boarding the flight, sitting on the runway, and having the flight canceled, my three new friends and I rented a car and drove to Charleston.  I had already done background checks on my new friends via text, so they weren’t absolute strangers, and they weren’t all traveling together either, we had all four run into each other waiting on the flight. 

As I was pulling out of the rental car lot at 12:30 am in the torrential downpour, my mom called.  “Hey, where are you?”  “Flight canceled, had to rent a car, driving to Charleston.”  “By yourself?!”   Pause.  “No. With Friends!”  Pause.  “Friends.  Like friends you just met at the airport, or friends you’ve known for a long time.”  Seriously, why would she assume I’d just met them, even if I did?  “Friends I just met but we know all the same people and I checked them out and I’m going to be okay let me call you later!”  Eventually I gave her their names and our connections and it was fine.  In the end, we split the $200 cost of the rental car four ways, and made it to Charleston around 3 am.  One of my new friends did not have a checkbook or cash, and he promised to mail me a check as soon as he got back to New York.  He worked in publishing, and also promised to send me books.  The promise of books alone was extremely exciting, and he was nice enough to ask me all about what sort of books I enjoyed and who my favorite authors were. 

As Monday was a holiday, the first business day after our Friday night trek was the following Tuesday.  On Wednesday afternoon, I returned home from work to find a large box on my doorstep.  True to his word, my New York friend had overnighted me a check for $50, and an impressive array of books.  Y’all, seriously, this was probably one of the most exciting presents I have received in recent memory.  I ripped into the box, and spent a long time sorting through my newly acquired treasures, which included coffee table books, cook books, hardback short stories, paper backs, including books that were already in print and not yet published.  I was struck by the obvious thoughtfulness that went into the book selection.  I told him I enjoyed classics, loved Fitzgerald, and above all, enjoyed a good story, specifically novels and short stories.  I’ve been meaning to tell you all about the books he sent me, and which ones I would recommend, but it has taken me months to read them all.  I have included the covers that I found particularly engaging, but you can’t always judge a book by its cover, I just didn’t want y’all to miss the pretty cover artwork.   

My favorite of all the covers and the books in general was the short story collection – Stories.  This collection was put together by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantoni, and includes stories by all sorts of amazing writers, some you will recognize, some you might not.  In the introduction, Neil relates a discussion concerning short story anthologies in which he and Al came to the conclusion that the only thing they really cared about, when it came down to it, were the stories.  That good writing was important, but the stories were where the real magic happened.  The reason he reads comes down to four words.  “…and then what happened?”  This entire short story collection was built on those four words.  The dedication says it all – For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told.  I could talk about this book forever, and I was going to tell you which stories were my favorites, but I realized I’d basically need to copy the table of contents for that to happen. 

I’m realizing it could take me days to get through all my thoughts about these books, so I’m going to have to come back to this discussion.  In other news, it has been raining pretty consistently for about the past week, I’m still eating lots of oysters, Briscoe looks like a muppet dog because she hasn’t had a hair cut in so long (someone called her Benji the other day), and we had a fire drill at work this morning.

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I’m leaving in a few minutes to drive to the ATL so I can fly to New Orleans in the morning.  Betsy and Andrew are getting married on Saturday, and the weekend is going to be slam packed with excitement.  My flight lands around noon tomorrow, Todd is suppose to take the day off from the Dome(and maybe pick me up from the airport, if I’m lucky), and everyone arriving for the wedding should be there by the time the crawfish boil starts tomorrow night.  Todd has also promised a St. Patrick’s day parade at some point, and definitely some green beer. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone, so many special friends from the law school years, and I’m so excited for Betsy and Andrew.  I tell Betsy all the time that I want to be just like her when I grow up.  She’s such an amazing friend and I’m always impressed with how she and Andrew are able to have common goals and dreams and actively pursues these goals and dreams together in a successful and exciting way.  I love them.  And I love Kaya too. 

Pray that it doesn’t rain, and I hope that your Friday the 13th is as fun as mine promises to be!


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I missed the cutoff to check my bag on my flight this morning by two minutes. Then I threw a fit at the ticket counter begging and crying to have them make an exception. They wouldn’t.
And the only real consequences are that it cost me an extra $50 and I will get into new york one hour later than expected. Which will make zero difference in my life or even my day.
Even so I fumed and stomped around and pouted. My mom, who dropped me off simply turned around and picked me up and we went to popeye’s and got a sausage biscuit and a coke then we drove through magnolia cemetary. Magnolia is the old augusta cemetary – mama’s grandparents and family are buried there. The magnolias are blooming right now. And the sweltering heat intensified the sweet magnolia infused breeze and the sunshiny shade of those ancient trees helped me get a grip on my frustration. June 5th is the day of Alice’s funeral – 28 years ago today – four months before I was born.
When I re-entered the airport I watched the families of fort gordon solider’s hug their sons/fathers/husbands goodbye at the security gate. Their departure from their loved ones made me even more ashamed by my childish behavior this morning.
A group of soliders are currently sitting behind me – and I am shocked, as always, by how young they look. I swear these boys can’t be 20 years old. But they appear to be in high spirits and I am impressed by their commitment and sacrifice.

Boarding soon – see you soon!

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This was actually on Saturday night at the House of Blues where we about got kicked for being cute and young and fun.  Hey, it happens. 

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Stop Signs

Let’s talk for a second about stop signs.  First, I’m going to address four way stops.  When you roll up to a four way stop, and there are other cars around, which ever car got there first gets to go first.  If the car that got there first is going straight, and you are turning right, you can go ahead and turn right before the person across from you turns left, because the driver turning left has to wait on the driver going straight.  And, from what I understand, if you all roll up at the same time, the driver going straight has the right away, then the driver turning right, the then driver turning left.  Left always goes last if everything else is equal, and straight always goes first.  Please STOP me if you learned something different.  (haha, I’m so punny).

Now let’s talk about two way stops, where there is a busy road, and you are on a smaller road, either trying to cross the busy road or turn onto the busy road from the smaller road.  The rules are basically the same, but sort of different because you are trying to not get killed by oncoming traffic on busy road.  What makes sense to me, and what seems the most safe in my experience, is that  if you are sitting at the stop sign, and there is another car sitting at the stop sign on the other side of the busy street, REGARDLESS of who got there first – the person turning right is probably going to go when ever it wants – and not worry too much about the other car, because they only need one lane to be clear to turn.  But if one car is going straight across busy road, and one car is turning left onto busy road, the car going straight should go first.  Then the car going left can turn. 

Obviously, if there are lots of cars in line, and all the cars on one side are going straight and all the cars on the other are turning left, they should take turns, straight, left, straight, left, etc.

But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe I have this theory wrong.  Because every time I try to give the person going straight the right of way, they sit there like I’m stupid and wave to me to go ahead and go, which seems dangerous because sometimes I react to their waving by assuming the coast is clear, when really it isn’t.

Was I taught wrong?  Or is the world just full of terrible drivers? 

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