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July 22, 2004

Second-to-last day in IL

So, the scheduled time of departure is somewhere around the 7am hour on Saturday morning.

I'm almost ready to go. The majority of the stuff I am bringing is currently piled in my sister's room. I forgot she'd be coming home before I leave... she'll have to do some fancy maneuvering to get around it. Ha.

I now have a pod attached to my car. It's not a trailer, it's a pod. Think "Flight of the Navigator." That's what it looks like. Kinda cute, actually. Fits my car's "personality" pretty well. In fact, the hitch people called this morning to tell me the hitch on my "little car" was ready. Hee. My little Malibu. *pets* I hope my little V6 engine holds out! *crosses fingers*

I had an eye doctor appointment today. $239. After insurance. Good god! Those are some expensive contact lenses, let me tell ya. I had a bit of sticker shock. Meep. I checked 1-800-CONTACTS, though, and it turned out to be about the same. Bummer! And keeping with the medical theme here, tomorrow I have a full-out physical. Like, with drawing of blood and everything. EEEP! I do not like people piercing my skin and taking my blood. *chews fingernails*

Tonight, though, I went to Meg's for one last Indian Garden meal. Yummeh! Really good to see people one last time. Jamie, Craig, Em, Frank, Elenid, Meghan, and Anthony. Good, good times. And Sarah came! Yesterday, I randomly called her because I hadn't talked to her in a while, and she was like "Guess where I'm sitting right now? A's apartment in Chicago!" She thought I was in Washington this week, and I, obviously, thought she was down in central IL where she lives, so that was cool. I'm really glad I got to see her before I left, because I think New Years might have been the last time we got together. Goodness!

And that is really all the updating I have in me at the moment. I have to pack up the things that are strewn across my bed, so that I can SLEEP in it. And then I will sleep, because I'm a tad bit tired at the moment. *yawn*

T minus about 33 hours before I ship out.

July 20, 2004

The Nation's Capital

The trip to Washington, DC was wonderful. It was a much-needed vacation in the midst of a lot of stress and craziness. The last time I had a true *vacation* was probably when I visited Heather last year.

Jess and I arrived Thursday, on time. We met Greg for dinner, which was fun. Always good to see Greg. We ate at a brewery near the Capitol, then walked down the mall a bit and met my parents at the Capitol Steps for the Navy band. 'Twas fun.

Friday was the sight seeing day. The fam and I went to the Building Museum, where we saw exhibits on concrete, the Disney Concert Hall in LA (can't wait to see that in preson!), and more. The building itself was breathtaking, with columns that were probably 70 or 80 feet high! Beautiful. Afterwards, we headed to the Spy Museum, which itself was very cool. It went through the history of spying, showing techniques, equipment, and famous spies and their stories. Very neat. Definitely to be recommended if anyone is headed out that way. Then we grabbed lunch, took a little rest at the fountain in the Sculpture Garden, saw the World War II Memorial (very cool), and walked. A lot.

Friday night, we grabbed a quick dinner of snacks in the hotel, and then tried to make our way to Georgetown for "drinks after the rehearsal dinner" for the wedding. Man, the traffic is... unlike anything I have seen! We also wanted to drive by the memorials at night, but after crossing the bridge to Arlington Cemetary four times (everything seemed to dump us out on that bridge!), managing to drive past the Jefferson and WWII memorials, and getting stuck in yet more traffic, we gave up and tried to make our way BACK to Georgetown. Gosh. Traffic... it sucks. But! We met up with the wedding crew, which was nice. Had some drinks, chatted a bit, and then headed home about midnight. We missed our road (nothing, nothing is marked), and Dad decided to just try this new way. Well, after crossing the river, the road took a sudden turn back southward, and with NO side streets or places at all to turn around, took us right back to Georgetown! And all the traffic! AHHHHHH!!! We finally did manage to find the hotel.... after hours and hours and HOURS in the car.

Saturday was a slow morning. We got up, had breakfast, and got ready for the wedding. We the schedule said to catch the bus at 1:15; however, our info was wrong, and we were actually supposed to catch it at 2. But... 2:00 came and went... no bus. 2:15, 2:25... there were probably 25 or 30 people waiting for the bus. Phone calls were made. The bus would be there. 2:30. The church is a half hour away, and the wedding starts at 3. 2:40, we gave up and drove. Fast. Everyone was scrambling for rides, but they held the ceremony and we made it! WHEW!

The wedding was beautiful. Gorgeous. Completely wonderful. They wrote their own vows, and that had us all in tears. Everything was perfect. The buses DID show up to take the crew to the country club for the reception... too bad we had our car there at that point! The club, too, was gorgeous. My mom kept telling me to keep notes on how to throw the perfect wedding. Everything was perfectly orchestrated, for the entire weekend! Nearly everyone was from out of town, and it was choreographed perfectly from event to event. They had a mother-daughter dance in addition to the usual ones, and that was really sweet. And afterwards, they put sparklers in the lawn to make a pathway out to the limo, and it was so pretty in the dark with the sparklers! Very cool.

Sunday morning was the brunch, also very nice. After the brunch, Dad and Jess dropped Mom and me off at our next hotel, and headed off to Baltimore to fly home. Mom and I were staying at the Radisson Barcelo in Dupont Circle. Location was fabulous (close to any sort of public transport you could want, right on Embassy Row, near Georgetown AND the center of DC), but the hotel was not. We had an enormous room, which was quite nice, but we didn't want to walk on the carpet without shoes on. We were next door to a smoking room, so could smell smoke. The bathroom was very clean, but the carpet... gross. And the restaurant had the worst, most expensive breakfast buffet known to man. Don't stay there.

Anyway. After we checked in, we took a stroll down Embassy Row and looked at all the embassies(? Is that how you spell that?). We also took a tour of Pres. Wilson's home, which was surprisingly extremely cool! In the evening, we went to the Kennedy Center to see The Producers. Excellent show. It is an equal opportunity offender. No group is sacred. No matter who you are, you WILL be made fun of in some form. But it was very good! It would be neat to see with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. Laughed a lot. Yay! Plus, the Kennedy Center is very cool in and of itself. Saw a free concert beforehand, by some summer youth groups, and they were amazing.

Monday was another ay of sight seeing. We started off the day at the Holocaust Museum. That was the single most powerful thing I have seen or done in as long as I can remember. My god. I was so close to tears at least a dozen times. Intense, powerful, moving... it is a MUST SEE if you are going to DC. It was so well done, it was amazing. I can't say enough about it!

After the Holocaust Museum, we went to the National Gallery of Art. I do love art museums! We saw the only Da Vinci in North America. My favorite exhibit, as always, is the Impressionists. Love them. They have such a neat history, too, the Impressionists. They also had some neat sculptures, some Rembrandts... Very cool place. Afterwards, we took another little rest at the Sculpture Garden fountain (best. fountain. ever), and then did some shopping at Union Station while we waited for Greg to get off work.

We tried to go to a Moroccan place for dinner, but they didn't take credit. Who doesn't take credit! Needless to say, we did not have $26 per person in cash. Would have been very cool. We went to an Irish pub instead, which was quite neat. Greg's roommate met up with us, and it was a nice dinner. Good times.

Then, back to the hotel. Tired!

Today, Tuesday, Mom and I went to the National Cathedral. Also breathtaking. We took a behind-the-scenes tour, which was so neat! They took us up into the towers, pointed out some of the intricate windows, showed us the attic space (surprisingly, very cool). We got to go out on the roof for a breathtaking view of Washington, got to see the massive stained glass windows at eye level. So, so cool.

And then we came home. We got in early, and that was that. A wonderful trip. The weather was gorgeous the entire time, which was wonderful! Perfect timing. Perfect. Yay! Great time spent with the Fam (even though two of them had to leave early) before I move.

And now, I pack...

July 15, 2004

Soon it will be time to say good-bye

I'm starting to get a little melancholy here. Saturday was the most wonderful going-away party ever, at Meg's. Got to see most everyone, and hang out and chat and laugh and have fun. *sniffle* I'm gonna miss doing that!

Tuesday evening was my going-away dinner after work. We went to Tango in N'ville and had tappas and sangria on the rooftop, and basically just talked and had a good time. Wish we'd have done that more often, because I really like a lot of the people I work with. Worked. I don't work there anymore.

And then yesterday was my last day at work. It was crazy and busy, and there was a bit of a mess I was trying to deal with. It didn't feel like my last day. I forgot some things in my desk, and I didn't have time to take files off my computer with me that I wanted to have record of. Boo. I was rushed, and that wasn't good, but at least I wasn't dwelling on the fact it was my last day. Which I would have done if I'd spent the day cleaning out my desk and finishing up loose ends. I hate leaving things for others to finish, and there was a lot of that, but it couldn't be helped. *sigh*

So, I'm heading to Washington, DC today. Going to see Greg! *bounces* That's exciting. I can't remember the last time I saw him, actually. Then tomorrow is sight-seeing, Saturday/Sunday are Lisa's wedding festivities, and then Monday and Tuesday, I'll tool around DC with my mom. Last alone-time with my momma.

Be home Tuesday night, and then I have the wonderful, gloriously fun (NOT!) job of packing up the rest of my life.

I'm excited and terrified in about equal parts.

July 09, 2004

Out with a bang... or something like it

The Boss called yesterday, on my day off. This happens often, and at first I was all ready to be irritated. Because... my day off! Pffft. But then I listened to the message (which, by the way, could rival one of my grandmother's... it was about five minutes long, and an entire one-sided conversation in and of itself!).

Apparently, I was the top banker in Illinois this quarter, and was thus invited to the Most Valuable Branch luncheon, which is today. I'm not sure why they waited until the afternoon before the luncheon to let me know, but they did. She said to go straight to the luncheon at 11:45, rather than go into work first. Score! I did have to call back and ask about hours, because if I start four hours later today than planned, I won't make my hours this week. And I'd rather go in to work for a few hours and get paid, than have a lazy morning and not. But-- DOUBLE score!-- she said not to worry about it. Whee!

So anyway, I guess this is a nice way to end my time here. Last year started out rocky -- really rocky. There was a point where I was looking elsewhere. I'm glad I stuck it out, though, as the second half of last year turned up. We got more help, I was more comfortable with the job, and I started really getting to know the customers. I started to almost *gasp* enjoy my job. It wasn't without bumps and annoyances, but it was a thousand times better than it started. I'm just glad I was able to leave on a high note like this. Kind of puts a nice cap on things.


Last night, I organized my CDs. Really, really organized them. I threw away ALL the jewel cases that take up a ton of room, and put everything into a massive CD binder. I actually got them all into one binder, and realized it was too small, had to take everything out, and exchange it for the larger one. But now they're there, organized by single artist (and then loosely by musical type, but more by order of favorite), soundtracks (and further divided into Disney, Broadway, and movies), *Nsync (get their own section), Christmas, and burned CDs (compliations, live shows, etc). Whew! It was quite a feat, but I'm feeling rather proud, and really organized. And! All the duplicates (which I make of my favorite CDs as to not ruin the original, and also to be able to listen both in the car and in the house) are nicely in my car visor holder, ready to be moved back into the vehicle.

Go me!

I also packed away picture frames and decorate-y things, which filled one small box and part of another, which will be further filled with non-decorate-y things that need to go with me, anyway. And I cleaned out a few drawers, and got rid of a bunch of clothes I don't want anymore (packed up and ready for Am Vets, whenever they're in the area next), and yes. The room looks like a tornado hit it, but it's getting there. I'm not sure I'll tackle the attic or my loft before I go, as most of that is class projects from grade school, old toys, etc., but that'll be there for me to go through next time I'm home.

And now that I've had my lazy morning, I should actually get ready for work. Yes.

July 06, 2004

The days go by, and things get better.

Six days of work.

Seventeen days of Illinois residency (six of which to be spent in Washington, DC).

Twenty-six days before I start my new job.

My little heart is beating a bit more nervously lately. It's all coming so fast. I don't have enough time. To pack, to see my friends, to fit in all the things I want to do before I move.

The nerves were bound to set in at some point. It's suddenly so real, so immediate. Before I know it, the car will be packed, I'll have pet the cat one last time, said goodbye to the only house I've ever called home, and I'll be on my way.

Scary? Yes. Exciting? Yes. One part anxiety, one part thrill. I've been looking forward to this for a long time, and it's happening. Maybe not as fluidly as I'd hoped, but it'll fall into place soon enough. *nods*

July 05, 2004

Happy Birthday, America

Well, it's July 5th, but anyway. Heh.

My cousins were in from Kansas City this weekend. It was V's 20th birthday on the 3rd. Happy Birthday, V! Good to see them.

Let's see. Saturday, worked. Went to Grandma's after work to meet with the fam. The "kids" headed back to N'Ville for Ribfest. We parked at the bank, and then walked about a mile and a half to where Ribfest was being held. Paid our $5 to get in, made our way over to the food, and it started pouring. I'm talking serious rain here, folks. We turned around and left, without getting a single bite of food. The walk back was rough, as I was in flip flops. It's quite difficult to walk in a torrential downpour in flip flops. Even though we had umbrellas, we were soaked from head to toe, right down to the skin. So wet we could squeeze water out of our clothes. Got back to Grandma's, and Jess and I went with Mom and my aunt to Kohl's to purchase some dry clothes. I luckily had a second pair of capris with me, so I just bought new underwear. *laugh*

Had the birthday celebration, ate WAY too much, and headed home.

Sunday, we got a late start, and got to Grandma's about lunchtime. Ate again and went to the parade. There was a Canadian marching band in the Fourth of July parade, which I found amusing. It was a pretty decent parade, although I was disappointed in the performance of the shopping cart drill team. They didn't do nearly as complicated a routine from last year. The bagpipes were my favorite, as usual.

Ate dinner (way too much), watched some 4th of July specials, watched the Cubs/Sox game, went for a walk, ate dessert.... can we say the theme of the weekend was Eating?

So that's what I did this weekend. And today, I've been organizing things. Whee. My time is getting short! EEEP!