Posts filed under ‘Travel’

Mama DENIED! (Family Hike: Cunningham Falls)

A friend of mine told me a story about her 15-year old son. One day she gave him a choice–

  1. He could take out the trash
    - or -
  2. He could give his mother a hug.

“He chose to take out the trash!” my friend laughed.

I knew it was coming, but I thought with a 20 month old son, I had a good decade or so before I would encounter such a snub. Nope! Last month for my 38th Birthday Hike, our little family drove up to Catocin Mountain Park. We parked at the Visitors Center and hiked 1.4 miles to Cunningham Falls, which at 78-feet is the largest cascading falls in Maryland.

Sagan was patiently indifferent to the first 1.2 miles. He did some walking, but for the most part hitched a ride.

Cunningham Falls - Falls Trail - Hitching a Ride With Daddy
Hitching a Ride with Daddy

When we reached the final approach to the falls, however, Sagan found his passion. That last 0.2 miles was a boardwalk and he LOVED running back and forth on it.

Cunningham Falls - Falls Trail - Hi There
YEAH! Now this is where the fun is at!

He loved it so much, in fact, that when I tried to get him to stop for a second to pose for a picture with the falls, he would have none of it! He squirmed, he balked, and then…

He ran away. : )

Cunningham Falls - Falls Trail - Sagan Has More Important Things to Do Than to Pose with Mommy
See ya, Mama! I have places to go!

To be honest, it was rather worth it to see him have so much fun. After some more exploring the boardwalk, we hiked back to the visitors center and indulged in some yummy yummy Cracker Barrell on the way home. All in all, a most excellent day!

More pictures of our hike to Cunningham Falls can be found on my Flickr site.

Cunningham Falls via the Falls Nature Trail

14707 Park Central Road
Thurmont, MD

Length: 2.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 40 Feet

Links

Directions

Trail Map

April 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm 3 comments

Ba Gua in Central Park

Sagan’s Uncle Thad is a Kung Fu instructor and his Aunt Rachelle also happens to have her Shao Lin black belt. Our third full day in New York City, we travelled to Central Park to watch Thad teach a Ba Gua Broadsword class in Tupelo Meadows.

My friend from high school Brian joined us and then there was a surprise spectator as well– an Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)!

New York - Central Park - Broad Sword Practice
Broadsword Practice in Central Park

New York - Central Park - Sagan Stands During Broad Sword Practice
Sagan and Daddy Watch Broadsword Class

New York - Central Park - Sagan Studies Broad Sword 2
Sagan Studies a Broadsword

New York - Central Park - Box Turtle with Thad's Class
Box Turtle and Broadsword Class

New York - Central Park - Sagan Stalks Box Turtle (Closer)
Sagan Follows the Turtle

There was a small mishap. As Sagan worked on a poopy in the park, we were light heartedly encouraging him and joking around. Little did we know, this poopy was a free spirit which would not be contained by diapie, pants or onesie. We had packed extra diapies and wipes (an improvement upon our American Museum outing), but we did not have an extra outfit handy. Sagan spent the rest of the afternoon allegedly getting stares from strangers (I was oblivious to judgemental looks).

New York - Central Park - Sagan in Just a Diapie (By Thad Wong)
Sagan Sports Just His Diapie in Manhattan (Photo by Thad W)

We ate at a nearby Shake Shack which Sagan seemed to really enjoy. After that, we stopped by the Upper West Side Patagonia which was having their annual 50% off sale. Sagan managed to find a baby in the mirror.

New York - Sagan Sees Baby in Mirror
There’s a Baby!

At that point it was time to return to Brooklyn. We got to squeeze in some final visiting with Brian on the Subway.

It was a lovely way to spend our last full day in New York. More pictures of our outing to Central Park can be found on my Flickr site.

August 20, 2012 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

A Visit to the Google Manhattan Offices

One of my best friends from high school, Brian, lives and works in Manhattan. He invited us to come by and tour where he works. It’s just a little company by the name of “Google”. So on our second full day in New York City, we found ourselves immersed in a most impressive work environment.

Size
I had somewhat expected to get off the subway and see this giant towering skyscraper with the familiar Google logo on top. The building itself was surprisingly short, but it takes up a whole city block! It has the second largest footprint in New York City and takes nine minutes to walk around the perimeter. Inside a series of maps helps employees and guests navigate the vast offices and a number of scooters (and scooter parking areas) are scattered throughout to assist with transit. There are also a couple of ladders to give employees a more direct route between floors.

New York - Google - Scooter Parking
Scooter Parking

New York - Google - Ladder to Cafe
A Ladder to a Cafe

Art and Decor
A lot of thought went into the art and decor of the offices. Each floor, each conference room and each “mini” kitchen had a theme– they had a Pac Man mini kitchen, a conference room with bathroom-themed furniture, a jungle room. A lot of artwork was particularly appealing to geek culture– portraits of Star Wars characters and even an xkcd mural in the stairwell.

New York - Google - R2D2 and C3PO in Library
Portraits of R2D2 and C3PO in the Library

New York - Google - xkcd in Stairwell
xkcd Mural in Stairwell

New York - Google - Pac Man Hall
Hallway to the “Pac Man Mini Kitchen”

New York - Google - Ryan and Sagan in Jungle Kitchen
Ryan and Sagan in the “Jungle Mini Kitchen”

New York - Google - Bathroom Themed Conference Room
A Bathroom Themed Conference Room

Food
Google feeds their employees well. In additional to ample “mini” kitchens, there were a couple of cafes where the employees and their guests can partake in free meals. It’s good food too! Our visit was timed so that Brian was able to take us to the “small” cafe to eat. Sagan got to try quinoa for the first time along with the more familiar cantaloupe, strawberries, chicken, swiss chard, mozzarella and bread.

The cafe we were at had a Manhattan Cityscape painted on the walls and an actual water tower that was relocated and rebuilt inside the cafe. We’re told if you stand in the right spot, the painted buildings line up with the actual buildings outside. Sagan very much enjoyed taking in the view and banging on the window.

New York - Google - Sagan and Vicky Take in View From Cafe (Photo by Brian N)
Sagan Takes in View from Cafe

The Library
The library was quite impressive. One wall was covered in touch screens where you could browse through bookshelves and open up and preview books.

New York - Google - Brian at Virtual Library
Brian Demonstrates Virtual Library

The opposite wall of the library was lined with more traditional bookshelves and books, but even that had a twist. One of the bookshelves was actually a door to a hidden work room with a nice, inviting lounge chair.

Geeky Stuff
Google was a great place for “an unabashed nerd” like Ryan to visit. They had a display of old computers and video game consoles which appealed to Ryan’s habit of cataloguing museums with Creative Commons photos on Flickr. There was a community chess game going on and we met an employee who had organized a Human Turing machine (which was reminiscent of the Human Bubble Sort Ryan organized with the Neighborhood Kids). One wall sported a safe. Supposedly throughout the building there are clues to opening that safe! Perhaps we saw one of those clues– QR Codes in the tiling of one of the “mini” kitchens. A lot of walls doubled as white boards and housed formulas, notes, pseudo code or simply links to someone’s YouTube page.


Video of Human Turing Machine

New York - Google - Safe
Supposedly There Are Clues to Open This Safe

New York - Google - Sagan and Ryan with QR Code Flooring
QR Code Tiles – Possible Clue?

Nature
Google was a great place for someone nature-oriented like me to visit as well. In addition to everything mentioned so far, the offices had outdoor terraces…growing edible plants!

New York - Google - View From Terrace 2
Edible Garden on the Terrace

Google is Great for Babies!!!
Now, perhaps it is obvious that Ryan and I would enjoy a visit to Google. Get this– Google was also a great place for a baby!!! Not only were there a lot of finger foods to try, there were lots of stimulating art and colors for Sagan to look at. There were super friendly employees to smile at and large areas great for walking practice. At one point, Brian was showing us an “Explore Your World” center powered by Google Earth and a semi-circle of flat screens. While Brian was exploring his world, Sagan was exploring his, inch worming across the carpet, taking in the patterns. Finally– there was a ball pit and stuffed animals. Initially Sagan was scared of the ball pit, but he warmed up to and had an absolute blast!

New York - Google - Sagan Exploring
Brian Explores Via Google Earth, Sagan Explores Via Crawling

New York - Google - Penguin, Vicky, Sagan in Ballpit 2 (By Ryan Somma)
Playing in Ball Pit at Google

There were some more subtle perks as well that come along with working for a large company like Google. While we talked, Brian revealed that he does not have to work 80 hour weeks as rumor would lead you to believe. Furthermore, he isn’t on call 24 hours a day like Ryan and I are. And unbelievably, Brian can actually leave his laptop (and work) behind at the office– a luxury that is hard for me to fathom!

Although there was so much one can covet in that work environment, Ryan commented on the way back home, “It’s impossible to be jealous of Brian. Everything he has, he deserves.”

Ryan is right. My friend Brian is amazingly smart, extremely hardworking and then at the same time, so very generous and kind. Google not only has great taste when it comes to work environments, they apparently have impeccable taste in people as well. : )

New York - Google - Brian, Vicky, Sagan Look at Each Other (By Ryan Somma)
Thanks Brian For a Great Day!

More pictures of the Google Manhattan Campus are on my Flickr site.

July 25, 2012 at 9:25 am 1 comment

Sagan at the American Musuem of Natural History

Greetings from New York City. Ryan, Sagan and I came up for a few days to visit some family and friends! Yesterday was Sagan’s first full day in New York City. It went like this:

WTF Coffee Lab
We woke up and played at Aunt Rachelle and Uncle Thad’s apartment. In mid-morning, we all walked down to WTF Coffee Lab. Sagan partook in a Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry Smoothie. He also ate selected pieces of an oatmeal raisin scone. Meanwhile Mommy and Daddy tried out “Cold Brew” coffee– which was both delicious and delightfully nerdy (The mechanisms at WTF Coffee Lab made it reminiscent of a science lab.)

Subway to Museum
Back at Rachelle and Thad’s Sagan took a nap. When he woke up, the adults fueled up on some peanut butter toast and then headed out for adventure. On the subway, I made the realization that I had forgotten to pack diapies…. and Sagan was sort of due for a “BM”. So when we arrived at Central Park, we first did a quick lap of the area to procure some diapies and wipes. It turned out they weren’t necessary, but this was definitely a “Better Safe Than Sorry” moment.

American Museum of Natural History – Big Bang
At the museum, we first went to go see the Big Bang movie. We were surprised to hear Liam Nesson’s voice instead of Maya Angelou. The movie had been redone. Sagan did watch the happenings on the floor, but also found the time and inclination to kick the railing and to shove his hand into Aunt Rachelle’s mouth.

American Museum of Natural History – Creates of Light
After that, we went to the Creatures of Light Nature’s Bioluminescence special exhibit. This was well geared for Sagan as there were a lot of blinking lights. He particularly like pressing the green button to communicate with female fireflies and he loved walking in the pretend water (lights projected on the floor) of the Bioluminescent Bay of Vieques Island section. He did have “fussypants” moments- when I wouldn’t let him pull down a display, when I didn’t let him put a pacifier he purposefully threw on the ground back in his mouth and when we had to put things back on the shelf at the gift shop. But overall, I would say his demeanor was happy and enthralled.

American Museum of Natural History – Dinosaurs
After Bioluminescence, we had to hit up some dinosaurs. Sagan actually was wearing a little Stegosaurus on his outfit, though you can’t see it due to the ever-awesome and handy Moby Wrap.

New York - American Museum of Natural History - Ryan and Sagan with Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs!

New York - American Museum of Natural History - Vicky (Kissing), Sagan and Ryan with Stegosaurus (By Thad Wong)
Us in Front of the Stegosaurus (Photo by Thad)

American Museum of Natural History – Hall of Human Origins
We also stopped by the Hall of Human Origins where Sagan shook hands with some of his ancient ancestors. I was also surprised how small Australopithecus was. They were almost Sagan sized!

New York - American Museum of Natural History - Sagan Touchs Ancestor Skeleton (Landscape)
Well Hello! Glad to Meet You!

New York - American Museum of Natural History - Australopithecus, Ryan and Sagan (Blurry)
It’s Blurry, but Look How Small Australopithecus Is!

American Museum of Natural History – New Skills
The American Museum of Natural History is always educational, so it isn’t surprising Sagan learned some new skills. Early on, Sagan discovered his echo in the museum hallways. From that point on, whenever we were navigating between exhibits, Sagan marvelled in shouting and hearing himself reply.

Aunt Rachelle, however, taught him a more valuable life skill.

New York - American Museum of Natural History - Rachelle Teaches Sagan to Stick Out His Tongue (After)
Sagan Learns to Stick Out His Tongue

Subway Ride Back
By the time we left the museum, we had one tired baby. But we were graciously spared a spectacle on the subway. A number of strangers smiled and made faces with Sagan which kept him happy and entertained until he finally fell asleep.

American Museum of Natural History - Sagan and Daddy Rest on Subway (By Rachelle Somma)
Sagan and Daddy Rest on the Subway

Ethiopian Food
Sagan actually napped until his usual bedtime. Despite the hour, he seemed happy and awake, so we thought, “Oh okay, we can go out to dinner.” Luckily the universe was looking after us novice parents. The restaurant we chose was pretty busy, so we opted to get our order to go instead. As we waited for our food, it became clear that Sagan was ready to go back to bed. So it was very good we didn’t try to eat a meal there. Sagan did stay up long enough to try injera (He loved it!) and eat some lentils, carrots, cabbage, etc. We held off on introducing him to berbere though. : )

After his first Ethiopian food, young Sagan fell right asleep.

It was a wonderful, albeit busy day. More pictures of our visit to New York City are on my Flickr site.

July 23, 2012 at 1:00 am 4 comments

Some Things That Did Not Get Blogged About in 2011

Well, goodbye 2011! I’ve seen a number of blogs highlight their favorite posts of the year. I’m going to highlight some of the forgotten posts– the ones I never got around to writing. :)

Billy Goat Trail – A Return Trip

Billy Goat Trail - Greg, Ryan and Ryan Climb Rock Wall

My Birthday Hike this year was on Maryland’s Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River. Ryan and I thought it would be fun to do a group hike on that trail. As luck would have it, my friend Greg Z organized a group hike that following month. The weather was sketchy at first and we did have to wait out a storm under a bridge, but after that we had the trail almost all to ourselves.
Billy Goat Trail - Purple and Blue Wildflowers

My favorite part– my friend Greg Z told me when some of the people in the group were struggling on the rocks, he watched me get further and further ahead. Apparently he pointed and said, “THAT’s the one that’s pregnant.”

We walked the trail the opposite direction Ryan and I took in March. It was nice to see the trail from a different perspective. Also since it was a month later, we got to see wildflowers bloom!

A Most Pleasant Day

Mother’s Day Weekend, Ryan and I went down to visit our old neighborhood in Elizabeth City. We shared honeysuckle in our yard with some of the neighborhood kids. When Ryan went to shake Khalif’s hand, Khalif would have none of it.

“Nah, man.” Khalif said, “We hug.” And so they did. I believe that was our first neighborhood kid hug.

I was six months pregnant at the time and some of the kids marveled at how fat I was.

“It’s only temporary,” Ryan chimed in. Then when the subject came up again, “The pounds are going to just melt off.” Although he directed his statements to the kids, I know who his real target audience was! He was making sure his wife kept her self esteem in tact. : )

We went by Earth 383 for Free Comic Book Day. A number of the neighborhood kids joined us and Ryan organized a large game of RoboRally.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Moving RoboRally Pieces

One family wasn’t present, so the dogs and I walked over to their new home. When I was still a block away, the youngest kids spotted us and started shouting out my name. They ran inside and their older siblings emerged. The 17-year old son who always seemed somewhat indifferent, came running out with the biggest smile and hugged me in the middle of the street. I spent the remainder of our time in Elizabeth City visiting with that family.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Vicky and Vick (By Ryan Somma)

The next stop was Ryan’s parent’s house in Virginia Beach. When we returned home, I went swimming in the lake behind their house with my sister-in-law and her fiance. The water was the perfect temperature and it was so pleasant and relaxing to be swimming by manicured back yards along side of ducks and seagulls.

We finished our day with a big family dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. There, I got my very first Mother’s Day card… that Ryan had secretly gotten his relatives to sign. It was a great day from start to finish.

My Relatives Kick Ass…Literally

New York Shaolin Test Day - Rachelle with Broad Sword
In May, Ryan and I got to visit the New York Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. That was just an added bonus though. We were really in New York to watch my sister-in-law test for her black belt in Shao-Lin. All the forms she and her classmates had to remember and execute was simply awe-inspiring. That afternoon also brought me the worst heartburn of my entire pregnancy courtesy of a “Magic Bar” I bought as a concession. I still made it through the entire gestation period Tums-Free.

 

Seattle Bug Safari

Seattle Bug Safari - Goliath Bird Eater Tarantula 4 (By Ryan Somma)
In May, Ryan and I visited Seattle. Our outings were blogged about except the Seattle Bug Safari. We very much enjoyed our visit there. The employee working that day was extremely friendly and informative. You could also see that they take their Yelp reviews seriously. One of the reviews indicated that people were getting confused and thinking the Gift Shop was the extent of the business. When we arrived, there were signs making it clear the Bug Zoo was in the back.

Annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating

Cookie Decorating - Sagan Decorating with Daddy
My family held our annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating again this year. Although we were late on the invites, it was heavily attended. When all the sugar cookies got decorated, some enterprising young girls started to decorate the other variety of cookies. Sagan also decorated his first cookie (with Daddy’s help).

 

Bull Run Occoquan Trail – Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Henry, Sagan, Vicky (By Ryan Somma)
In December, Ryan started playing Skyrim. The scenery in that game is amazing and Ryan found all the walking in the game made him want to get out and do a real hike. So on December 3rd, our family took on a one way trip along the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. We traveled 7.5 miles from Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook. This section may not have been as scenic as Skyrim, but it was still gorgeous in its own right. You walk along the water, get to see some rapids, pass by a memorial pet rock pile and see some neat trees along the way. This outing was Sagan’s longest hike to date (post birth).

January 1, 2012 at 11:02 am 2 comments

Alex and Ryn’s Wedding

Our third full day in Washington State was Alex and Ryn’s wedding day! They got married at beautiful Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish, Washington. The gorgeous scenery was only enhanced by the scattered Pacific Northwest rain showers we had that day.

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Blooms and Ceremony Site
Blooms and the Ceremony Site

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Torch and Bridge
Torch in the Rain and Bridge

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Vicky and Ryan (By Brian N)
Ryan and I Pose Briefly in the Rain

There were a number of things I loved about the wedding. I was quite a fan of their processional song. They picked No Doubt’s “Running”! They had another great musical selection for the joint Mother-Son/Father-Daughter Dance. They picked “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Unplanned, all the guests surrounding the dancing couples started to sing along. Although a rain shower started during the ceremony, you couldn’t stop the smiles of the bride and the groom and their immediate family. Everyone was so, so happy!

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Alex and Ryn Listen to Alex's Parents 1
Listening to the Groom’s Parents

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Ryn Ring Exchange
The Bride Smiles Despite the Rain

What was most impressive about the wedding was all the handmade work behind it. Alex’s fiance, Ryn, has proven to be quite craftsy. She handmade an American Chestnut Foundation/Port Discover Themed card for Ryan and I at our wedding. With her own wedding, Ryn took on an ambitious endeavor. All the flowers (not to mention invitations and place cards and table markers) would be handmade! Now Ryan and I had a lot of handmade stuff at our wedding…. BUT we had a whole neighborhood of kids on hand to help. Ryn did recruit a number of people across the country to help make flowers (One of my contributions were the Coffee Filter Roses), but I still think the logistics of that is significantly more impressive than walking out on your front porch and saying, “Hey, you! Wanna wrap this in tulle?” : )

Although Ryn admitted at one point feeling overwhelmed by the whole flower endeavor, it came out splendidly. The centerpieces were AWESOME! Each one was a mixture of handmade flowers from friends and family across the continent. They were eccletic, gorgeous and a nice visual representation of all the love for the couple! All the favors (handmade felt flower magnets) were adorable. The wedding party bouquets were unique keepsakes. Even the table napkins were origami lotuses!

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Megan 2
Bridesmaid with Two Handmade Bouquets

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Handmade Flower Centerpieces
The Handmade Flower Centerpieces

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Lotus Napkin and Favor
Lotus Napkin and Felt Magnet Favor

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Guest Locations
Felt Flowers Line a Bulletin Board Where Guests Mark Where They are From

On top of all that, this event also delivered on my two favorite parts of weddings. Cake (They had NINE different cakes to choose from) and Dancing! Lots and lots of dancing. It was a quite a blast and a very happy day!

More pictures of Ryn and Alex’s Wedding can be found on my Flickr site.

June 20, 2011 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

The Pacific Science Center

After our visit to the Space Needle, Brian N, Ryan and I had a quick lunch and then waltzed over to the Pacific Science Center. This place was an absolute blast! The Pacific Science Center excels in hands-on activities. We very much enjoyed a number of the exhibits.

Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time
This exhibit was less hands-on than most of the others, but still full of interesting tidbits and factoids. They also managed to find a way to work The Far Side cartoons into the exhibit.

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - T-rex and Shadow
T-Rex and Shadows

Science on a Sphere
Around the Science on a Sphere display were a number of astrological displays. I got to check to see what my pregnancy weight would be on the various planets. I was a little concerned until Ryan stepped on the scale and I saw his “Earth Weight” was running high as well. I also got to fact check an Isaac Asimov story I read recently. Venus is indeed hotter than Mercury. Finally, I found amusement by the display were you could touch a real meteor rock. Ryan and I have meteorite inlays in our wedding rings… so we get to touch meteor rocks every day. : )

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Touch a Meteor
Vicky’s Left Hand (Sporting a Meteorite Wedding Ring) Touching a Meteroite

Animal Exhibits
They had a wonderful reptile section including a mesmorizing leopard gecko. I think our group favorite was the Naked Mole Rat Colony. They were well lit and busy little critters. In their community, road rage and pedestrian range doesn’t appear to exist. It was completely socially acceptable to trample over your colleagues carrying a carrot. No one seemed to mind one bit. I could have watched those things all day.

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Naked Mole Rat Colonies (By Ryan Somma)
The Naked Mole Rat Display (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Naked Mole Rats (By Ryan Somma)
Naked Mole Rats (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Kids Works and Science Playground
Here, we had a good time playing with motors and mirrors. We particularly enjoyed posing for the “Shadow Wall”, a photo-sensitive wall that would record your shadow after a regular flash. Unfortunately, those pictures didn’t come out that well. Many women struggle to lose their bellies after pregnancy. At the Pacific Science Center, I found a means to lose mine instantly before the baby is even born! : )

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - How to Erase a Pregnancy (By Ryan Somma) - Cropped
Instant Stomach Flattener!

Body Works
Body Works was super fun. We took turns maxing out the calorie counter bicycles, testing our reaction time, guessing smells, getting seriously humbled by the muscle endurance tests and checking our center of gravity.

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Brian Center of Gravity
Testing Center of Gravity

Insect Village
The insect village was pretty neat and we arrived just in time to hold a hissing cockroach. I also found a nice little spot to put my feet up.

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Vicky Rests on Caterpillar (By Brian N)
Resting on a Caterpillar (Photo by Brian N)

Tropical Butterfly House
The finale of our visit to Tropical Butterfly House. At 4000 square feet and with 500 butterflies imported weekly, it really blew away the Butterfly Pavilion I saw at the Smithsonian in 2008.

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Pink and Black Butterfly on Leaf (Off Center)
Pink and Butterfly on Leaf

Seattle - Pacific Science Center - Yellow Butterfly on Red Flower
Yellow Butterfly

We started our day being disappointed in the Science Fiction Museum. We ended our day with opposite sentiments about the Pacific Science Center. : )

More pictures of our visit to the Pacific Science Center can be found on my Flickr site.

June 13, 2011 at 1:00 am 2 comments

Space Needle

After our disappointing visit to the Science Fiction Museum and noting the weather was currently sunny and clear, Ryan, Brian N and I headed over to the Space Needle. Lines were short and the elevator ride was only 40 seconds long. Before we knew it, we were at the top taking in stunning views.

Seattle - Space Needle - View 2

Seattle - Space Needle - View 4

Seattle - Space Needle - View 6

Brian N and I have been friends since my sophmore year of high school. In the past 20 years, his keenly calibrated observations have brought me a lot of laughter. The Space Needle was no exception. At the top, we were all reading a seemingly benign sign about the history of the structure. Brian drew our attention to Edward Carlson’s original sketch of his vision. It looked like a kindergartener drew it!

Seattle - Space Needle - Original Concept
Original Space Needle Concept

Brian started to mock the design and speculated on the hand off of the design to the architects and engineers.

“You see what I’m going for, right?”

I laughed and laughed and laughed, just as I did in high school, just as I did in college and just as I continue to do well into adulthood.

On our way back down the Space Needle, our elevator gave us a preview of our next destination – The Pacific Science Center!

Seattle - Space Needle - Pacific Science Center From Elevator
The Pacific Science Center From the Space Needle Elevator

More pictures of our Space Needle visit can be found on my Flickr site.

June 10, 2011 at 1:00 am 2 comments

Seattle’s Science Fiction “Museum”

Our first day in Washington State was a nature-themed day where we hiked Cougar Mountain and visited American chestnuts. The second day was intended to be a science-themed day. My high school classmate, Brian N, was also in town for the same upcoming wedding so he joined us for a day of site-seeing in Seattle!

Our very first stop was the Science Fiction “Museum”. I put the word museum in quotes because I believe a museum should be a collection of exhibits (plural). This museum had one Science Fiction exhibit– Battlestar Galatica. It was a nice exhibit, but still just one exhibit. Apparently, the remaining Science Fiction Galleries were under renovations to accommodate a new Avatar exhibit that opens June 4th.

Seattle - Science Fiction Museum - Museum and Space Needle
Science Fiction Museum

The Science Fiction Museum was one of the few things on our agenda before we left Virginia, so we were pretty disappointed with what was actually there.

There was a small bright side. Your entry fee also included the Experience Music Project, which was hosting “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses“. Nirvana was my favorite band in high school and early college. It was a nice trip down memory lane in more ways than one. A lot of the handwritten letters, drawings and Polaroids reminded me of my own youth, particularly winter and summer breaks from college. The long nights at Denny’s; all the free time for creativity; concerts in compact, sweat-filled venues; impromptu road trips; spiral notebooks full of aspirations and witnessing young genius (AE).

And I got to learn a little more about Nirvana as well. I liked how the “NIRVANA” font I am so accustomed to wasn’t purposely selected. It was the typeset already in the machine when the Bleach album cover was designed. Since Ryan and I are currently reading up on birthing processes, I also liked that Cobain came up with the idea for the Nevermind cover after watching a film on water births. : )

Seattle - Science Fiction Museum - Vicky and Ryan in Front of Nirvana Poster (By Brian N)
Ryan and I in Front of the Nirvana Sign (Photo by Brian N)

Usually this is where I saw there are more pictures on my Flickr site… but it’s not worth a click. My Science Fiction Museum set only has five pictures in it… and none are related to science fiction. :(

June 9, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

How to Sound Like an Idiot in Washington State

As Ryan and I drove from Bellevue, Washington down to Tumwater to see the American chestnuts, we started to spy some large mountains on the horizon.

“Ooh,” I said dreamily as I tend to do in the vicinity of mountains, “I wonder which one is Rainier.”

I was expecting something like the mountains in Southwest Virginia, where it took me years (and a lot of counsel from Tony Airaghi) to pick up on the small differences of the various peaks. Such is not the case with Rainier. The very next bend Ryan and I went around, it became exceedingly obvious which mountain was Rainier.

Mount Rainier from Seattle
Gee… Which Mountain is Rainier? (Photo by Seattle.roamer)

It absolutely dominates all around it… and it’s a beauty!

June 8, 2011 at 1:00 am 5 comments

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Lake Accotink Park - Ryan Videoing Merry Go Round

Lake Accotink Park - On the Merry-Go-Round

Lake Accotink Park - Waiting for Merry-Go-Round

Lake Accotink Park - Sagan Looks Down Grate

Lake Accotink Park - Sagan By Dam

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