Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Come one, Come All: Inauguration Day!

30th Street Station, Philadelphia. Middle of the night. It is a beautiful and regal station. Our train was late so we sat down with Dunkin Donuts coffee and bagels and hung out and made friends. We met these college kids from Houston who were in some kind of photography class. They even took pictures of us waiting.Once on the train, we got back-to-back booths in the cafe car and toasted with a locally-brewed Philly beer, Yuengling, America's Oldest Brewery that we've never heard of (to the bartender's amusement). Joey and Em made friends with this delightful woman from Danville California, also heading to the inauguration (of course.)

Once out upon the streets of DC, we begin to realize JUST HOW COLD it is. And the subway had closed at 2 a.m so we realized we'd have to hail a taxi. A job which was much more difficult than it looks in movies, because they all ignored us or refused to go to the neighborhood where we needed to go. It was Joey's big moment when he finally got us a cab: SUCCESS.

We had the nicest driver of all time. He seemed to be of Caribbean origin and was playing "no woman, no cry" when we got in. We had a lovely conversation about music and the spirit and, although we were prepared to pay about $10 each, the whole ride was only $21. We were very happy with our luck despite Mercury being Retrograde.

Layering up at Abby's house. You just can't resist this priceless pic of Em. One cannot possibly be prepared enough for sixteen hours of freezing temps. But we tried.

Walking though the historic streets of Mount Pleasant neighborhood, 3:30 a.m. Meeting up with strangers for quick chats and well wishes.

Bundled! And I whined about bringing a blanket! Addie made me, and I kept saying, oh I'm not gonna want to carry around a blanket. HA! I needed this thing all day long and I could have used two or three MORE.

Walking to the subway station, through the icy streets of Washington DC, 3:30 a.m.

We took the Metro downtown at 4:00 a.m. and arrived at a wild gathering site. People were congregating for miles, it seemed, lining up all along the street in droves. Our friend Micilin told us on the phone that she was in front of the Starbuck's but it seemed impossible to get into the heart of that crowd. For awhile we followed the flow of foot traffic but eventually turned around and decided to make our way into the Starbuck's and thus the front of the "line" that ended up making no difference anyway.

Inside the insane Starbuck's on 7th. This girl was doing a pretty great job getting everyone's orders under control. Walking into that mess, you would never have thought it possible.

this video might capture it better (inside the Starbucks that we pushed our way into)

Feeling the crunch. Here we are, you can see the security gate in the background, and the crowd around us just condenses and condenses until the air is squeezed out of our very lungs. Have you ever seen shrink-wrap? Kinda like that. We got to know our neighbors very well, leaning our weary heads against them and trying to keep each other's spirits up.

Here is what it looks like from the other side. When you finally get through that gate, you pop through with the force of a tidal wave behind you. It reminds me of getting born. And it is 11:30 a.m. and the ceremony is about to begin and you look behind you at all those sweet faces who are not going to get in and have waited since last night and they can't turn around or move at all and they have to squat and pee right where they are and your heart just breaks.

Now here we are finally on the parade route. This is our lovely friend Micilin who came down from NYC and with whom we bonded wonderfully thoughout this nutso experience. We were able to make a nice little spot on a grassy knoll right across from the National Archives Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, which was, incidentally, right where Pres. Obama got out of the car and walked the parade route.

This was a common sight. Groups of military men and other uniformed dudes standing around chatting about their lives and where they're from. It was frustrating to me because I was so intimately aware of the insanity of that crowd outside the gates and how they could use a little authority helping them out. There was PLENTY of security inside the gates, but NONE outside.

Listening to the swearing-in over the loudspeakers. Addie goes wild with her pompoms when our new president is announced!

who would've thought? Miss Patriotic!

As the parade finally gets started (2 hours late in the freezing cold) the crowd grows as well as the excitement.

And here is the infamous moment. If you look very closely you can see Barack Obama getting out of his car and waving at the crowd. We have a few more pictures but they are even more blurry. The point is, we were there!

We met back up with Joey and Em after fighting some heavy crowds walking up the streets. Here we are back at the Metro station. This one's for you Pops.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Quality sucks, purpose lacks, but its way too fun to use old videos to make new videos.
La dee da

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Basking in Baltimore!

In case you missed my first posting about our trip, I wrote about the last day and night below Mikie's rad video. I will be following this here lil story with a whole description of Inauguration Day, but for now...heeeeerre's Baltimore!

Here we are, bright and refreshed after about ten hours of deep unshaken utterly comfy and untouchable sleep. It was past 2 in the afternoon when we finally walked down to a cute little neighborhood coffee shop with Jacob, our loyal and attentive chaperone. This place, Common Ground, served deliciously locally roasted coffee and was a tiny VERY WARM little nook. Just what we needed! Here I am posing outside. Their neighborhood is called Hampden and has a Portland feel to it.

We went in a little gift shop with items from around the world. The woman in there talked to us all about her recent trip to Peru with her kids and husband, doing the four day perilous hike to Machu Picchu and the highest lake in the world. We got the travel bug, bigtime! She was also super nice and excited about the inauguration, telling us how emotional she felt when Obama spoke and when the poem was read. It made us feel really good to have been there. She also had this adorable little dog Phoebe, who took a liking to Em.

Here is Joey in a rad antique store that was like 3 stories of nooks and crannies and all sorts of goodies. He was reading his new book that he got in the used bookstore next door. We were looking at vintage clothes galore downstairs!
A lovely little street.

Joey wasn't too happy that all my pictures around town must insist on having living people in them. The red church doors just weren't cool enough on their own. Still, we got Fofe to smile somehow, so it's all worth it!
Here is the famous warm and cozy home of Jacob and Stephanie Chilton. Their gorgeous cat is Betty aka Butters. We took to calling her Betsy. She was a real love and gave us that cat-energy we'd been lacking! Softness and purring warmth..mmmmm.

Again, Butters. In the kitchen.
We went out for Thai food and then to a rad bar called the Brewer's Art where you go downstairs and around into little hidden corners and it feels like an old speak-easy. Our booth was in a basement nook all its own. And they brew their own wonderful beer which is not too expensive. HUH?! how does that happen!!! Here's Em, me and Stephanie indulging. Stephanie was a little sick and stuck to soda water but was still good-natured to hang out with us late into the night.
Jacob and Joey got along famously. They were calling each other "brothers from another mother." At this point they had discovered that they have the exact same tastes in food and spices. Addie looks on good-humoredly.


Back at home, we danced the night out to our new favorite song "Halo" by Beyonce. Why we have all found an extreme delight in Beyonce of late, we couldn't say. And yet it's true. We were calling this song our Obama song and dancing in tribute to him and his family and our whole experience welcoming in our new prez.

While you were freezing...

we have our own version of inauguratory fun.

(Almost) the Last Day of our Trip

In Baltimore, Jacob Chilton, our wondrous host, took us down to the shipping harbor of the Chesapeake Bay in the morning. Joey wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean. It was FROZEN and there were little birds skating across the ice. However, the day was a temperate 35 degrees that to us felt like heaven. We were right next to the Maryland Science Academy which had a bustling cafeteria in which we bought coffee. Then we faked rides on the inoperative carousel with lovingly painted horses such as this blue bubble fiasco that Emily rides here.
Jacob shows off the Clifford dog carousel member.

Here we are at the Baltimore Greyhound Station, heading to Philadelphia.

In the Metro station in Philly we had a little time to kill and finally got to use our beloved Subway coupons which we brought all the way from California. Buy one, get one free!
Our plane was delayed by over two hours so here we are waiting and snacking (as usual) in the airport in Philadelphia.

Emily caught with her hand in the bag!

On a plane that has been delayed for "mechanical issues" you are a little more nervous than usual. For some reason, all of our hearts were racing with anxiety as we took off in the dark over Philly and looked at the city lights below. I had to close my window. The whole flight was a bit harrowing, like when we went to land in Salt Lake and suddenly rocketed back upwards through the sky, away from the airport. Joey thought we had a rogue pilot. I was more wary of the foggy rainy airspace.

But we made it to SLC, only to find that our connecting flight to Sacramento was cancelled and we'd have to stay in a hotel provided by the airline. We called Matt and Amy who woke up the kids and came to hang out with us at 1:00 in the morning! Here's Emily trying (again!) to get ahold of her work and cover her shift the next day. All kinds of confusion ensued.

Bella showed up with beautiful handmade Valentines for each of us. Each one made with special attention to details and colors based on our personalities. She was shy to give them at first, being very sleepy but it didn't take long for her to reclaim her usual pizzazz!
Matt tries out the window-seat-sleeping-cot.

Amy, the mommy who ALWAYS goes with the flow!

And, bright and early, Matt takes Joey and Em to the airport. Still half asleep. They barely made it!
Addie and I caught a flight a few hours later. Amy took us to the airport with the kids and guess who we spotted??!! THE NARD!!! Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) was in Utah for Sundance Film Festival. I noted many more hip and beautiful people than normally allowed in American airports. Thank you Salt Lake City for being attractive!

Back in California, getting Diet Coke and fries at WillieBurger on X Street in Sacramento in the drizzling rain, we said to ourselves, HOME SWEET HOME. it is always fun to imagine being a traveler in your own city and, settling into big orange cozy couches at Javalounge, we thought how impressed we'd be by good old Sacramento.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Hey everyone! It's January and already I'm itching for summer travels!

Start thinking about our big trip this summer. Darin and I are very serious about going to Glacier National Park. We also hope to meet up with Matt and Amy and kids in Utah first and go to South Dakota, see the sights on the western side of that state like the Badlands, Wounded Knee, and the Black Hills (Deadwood, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore?) then loop up through southern Montana, stopping by Devil's Tower and the Battle of Little Bighorn, and then up to Glacier which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the United States. There is a road called Going to the Sun Road which is closed except in summer. So August will be a good time for this trip. I will look into it extensively and try to plan hikes and all kinds of fascinating things we can see and where we can camp and so forth. Does anybody have requirements or suggestions for the dates? I am just hoping to go sometime in August and we can probably make it a two week road trip or so. I know Joey and Emily want to maybe do a bigger road trip of their own that includes the Pacific Northwest so we can all meet up somewhere out on the glorious road!

Any thoughts, ideas, concerns?

Friday, January 16, 2009


This is for Jarom and Bella and Oey! Its a fun project called SEA KITTENS!!

P.E.T.A created this website to teach kids about endangered species and I love it! You can create your own "sea kitten" and if you go to their website, they have animated story books that have morals and lessons about endangered species all throughout! They are worth looking at and I know Jarom and Bella especially will love to create their own little pets!

Anyways, here is my SeaKitten! Her name is Elaine!

Create Your Own Sea Kitten at!

They have princess dresses and lipstick and mustaches and mohawks :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

happy birthday pops!!!

64 proud and noble years old!!!

here's dad banging the gong at mongolian barbecue to announce and celebrate his own birthday! just kidding, he didn't actually announce anything but banging this thing a few times added to our loud and lively discussions was probably more noise than anyone in that restaurant bargained for!we had a huge and delicious feast. here are dad and mom probably laughing at something embarrassing and ridiciulous that one of them said.insane fullness requires a rest against the wall. emily apparently made the wiser choice to stop eating before that point, so she is content to gaze into the's our whole gang except momma who took the picture. we had a real blast. i didn't mean to include this next one but it shows the manic quality of the evening.

so maybe i'll go ahead and include this one too. classic photo concern on faces--

back at my house we played Scene-It and addie made dad a cake. here she is presenting it:and he's happy!

sylvan even got to help out with the cake consumption!

it was a really nice night and we love you so much pops. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! let's do some good solid hikes this year and keep you younger and younger all the time! YOU ARE THE BEST DAD A CRAZY GROUP OF KIDS COULD EVER WANT!