Thanksgiving 2021


After a few days in Silicon Valley (which included a job interview!), SMS and I flew to DC for Thanksgiving with my side of the family. We arrived in the late afternoon after a pleasant flight that ended with a high degree of nervousness on my part. On the approach, the pilot aborted for some reason and circled around. The reason I was nervous is that there was no overhead announcement and we were at a really low altitude near DC, which I think is unusual given all the restricted airspace. Anyway, we’re here and there were no hijacking baddies on the plane so…another thing to be thankful for!

We showed up about half an hour before dinner, which was perfect timing because we weren’t tortured by delicious smells for hours. We also didn’t ruin our appetite with appetizers since no one saved any shrimp cocktail for us (this is how you know you’re definitely back with family). Dinner was amazing and, even better, it was so nice to be with my entire family again! It was really a special and treasured occasion.

Winning Team!

Lodging-wise, we stayed at The Alexandrian which is a nice hotel right in Old Town. Saturday morning, we walked around Old Town on a beautiful, sunny, and cold day! We went to the Farmer’s Market and bought lunch. We went over to Brady’s in the mid-afternoon and hung out until it was time to go The Escape Room! Joe and Nicole have really enjoyed several in the past and since we were all around on Friday night, we went escaping! And we did with just a few minutes to spare! It was really a lot of fun. We all went out for drinks afterward. It was so nice for the eight of us to hang out for an extended amount of time.

Ed and Meg headed out on Saturday. SMS and I moved from our Old Town hotel to my parents’ apartment for the last two nights of our stay. That evening, we hung out at Brady’s and ate Faccia Luna pizza. Yum.

The next day, we hung out at the apartment until we went to Tyson’s Corner to check out the Lucid Studio. Excitingly, we got to sit in the car and go through the features with a sales agent. We were all very impressed! That night, Mom made her foil salmon for dinner, which was absolutely delicious.

We stopped by Brady’s house for a quick glass of glühwein outside before heading back into the city. We didn’t stay for long since they had to get ready for the week, but it was nice to have one last quick-ish visit.

The next day, we met up with an Ignite classmate of mine for a quick coffee. SMS and his space background were the main draw, but it was also nice to meet a classmate in person!

Futures with its amazing Green sculpture Expanded Present by Soo Sunny Park

Then we went to the Smithsonian for a visit before the airport. First, we went to the Futures exhibit at the recently re-opened Arts and Industry building. It was an interesting exhibit, but second-tier compared to other Smithsonian offerings. Next, we went to the Freer and Sackler (I think now renamed) where we saw Buddha statues and Whistler’s Peacock Room.

Then it was time to go 🙁 Mom and Dad dropped us off at the airport, where SMS grabbed a snack/meal at Ben’s Chili Bowl. My flight left about 25 minutes before his and we parted ways to go to our respective places in CA. It was an amazing holiday with family. I feel very lucky!

Jamestown, with and without an “E”


SMS and I spent the Thanksgiving weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia.  Since we were in such a historic part of the country, we decided to check out the former site of Jamestown, the first permenent English colony in the U.S.  SMS had been there when he was in junior high and remembered the glass blowing demonstration.  I had never been and really didn’t know that much about it which led to the following encounter-

Upon following Google Maps to Jamestown, we pulled into a large parking lot for a museum.  We walked inside, used the bathrooms, and then I went up to the ticket counter.  I was pretty sure we weren’t at the Jamestown site but I wanted to know where to go and since it was already 3 p.m, I wanted to make sure we didn’t go to the wrong place.

Me: “Excuse me, but is this where I buy tickets to Jamestown?”

Ticket lady: “[Loud Audible Sigh]  It’s been a long weekend.  Jamestown DOESN’T EXIST!!! IT HASN’T BEEN HERE SINCE 1624!!!!”

Me (slightly taken aback): “Um, I’m sorry.  But I thought there was a historic site to see?”

Ticket lady: “Look, this is Jamestowne with an ‘e.’  We’re a living history museum.  The archeologic site of Jamestown (which doesn’t exist) is down the road.”

Me: “So, do I need to buy a ticket here?”

Ticket Lady: “No.”

Can’t rain on my ranger parade!

Sheesh.  What a weirdo!  While I was talking to her, she had pulled out a laminated placard showing the difference between Jamestowne with an ‘e’ and Jamestown.  Jamestown is run by the National Park Service, which is great since SMS and I have an annual pass.  That meant we could get in for free, which was perfect since we didn’t have a lot of time.


First, we went to the glassblowing shop which had on-going demonstrations and was really warm from the incredibly hot oven in the center.  This was delightful since it was so cold!  We drove down to the Jamestown site proper, showed our pass, and walked to the artifact museum.  Then, we walked around the fort which hadn’t even been excavated when SMS last visited.  After looking at the fort that didn’t exist, we walked around the Newtown area, which we slightly regretted since it was so cold.  But, hey, we were there so we had to see the sights!


We hopped in the car and had dinner at La Tienda, a Spanish tapas restaurant.  It was delicious!  I wished we had bigger appetites and/or a larger group because there were several dishes I wanted to try.  But, while we were there, the berenjenas con miel and judiones fritos were particular highlights!


Other events from Thanksgiving weekend: I made a delicious but homely looking sweet potato pie.  It suffered in comparison next to my friend’s Cheesecake Factory worthy dessert.  Ah well.

Also, at a local restaurant, SMS had a fruit salad, Southern style: iceberg lettuce, canned fruit in syrup, and shredded cheddar cheese.  We were both slightly confused.  The restaurant is called The Grey Goose.  The doorstop goose out front was missing its head.  Apparently, this has been an ongoing saga where the head keeps getting knocked off despite trying to glue it back on.  The owner has now given up, per a shamelessly eavesdropped conversation on my part.


Washington DC New Year’s Weekend!

Happy New Year!

SMS and I went to Washington for the New Year’s weekend.  We arrived Friday evening and met Mom and Dad at the Old Ebbitt Grill.  SMS and I split half a dozen oysters, yum!  I had a delicious Nicoise salad for my main course and overall, it was a great dinner and fun to spend time with Mom and Dad.

The next day, Mom and Dad headed off to Wintergreen for a wild and crazy New Year’s Eve.  SMS and I went into the city.  First, we went to Eastern Market where we ran into a friend of mine from freshman year of high school.  It’s a little hard to catch up on 20 years in the course of 15 minutes, but it was really cool to see her.


We went to 7th Hill pizza which was…ok.  Not great but it did the job.  Afterwards, we drove over to the Mall.  We looked at the Hirshhorn sculpture garden on the way over to the Sackler.

The Sackler had some great exhibitions.  We saw the Art of the Qur’an, Turquoise Mountain and Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko, a visual dialogue on the immensity of the color red (sure).  There was also a modern installation inspired by Whistler’s Peacock Room, which is currently undergoing renovation in the Freer.  Although I didn’t love the modern take, it was pretty cool to see

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