Friday, July 22, 2011


And I mean real traffic. Not that little back up stuff that I occasionally experienced in Knoxville or Murfreesboro. (Although, at the time, I thought it was bad!) I mean bumper to bumper, parking lot traffic. Below are pictures from yesterday's (Thursday)commute home. You will notice the killer traffic was going the other direction. I am extremely lucky that my commute going to and from work are not the congested directions. That is due to the fact that I am not headed into D.C. or going home to Baltimore. The fun little pictures below explain why we have not and are not going to the beach until after summer. We are only about 2 hours away but thanks to the Bay Bridge, which happens to be the only access to the beach, that time doubles and can triple if there is an accident on the bridge. We have learned that many people take off Friday so they can head over to the eastern shore Thursday afternoon to miss the maddness. So that should give you an idea of what Friday's mess looks like. Heaven help those crazy people who live "over the bridge" and have to put up with this everyday. It's amazing what people will put themselves through just to live by water.

Now, I realize traffic is always worse somewhere else (NYC, LA) but this is by far the most extreme I've witnessed. Just thankfully, I'm not usually stuck in it!

Look on down, can you see the line of cars? It was backed up for miles and miles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Trip to NYC

Last week we decided to take a weekend trip to NYC. Why not? We found out just how close we are to THE city. And, we opted to take a bus from Baltimore to NY. Best decision ever. What a breeze. Cheap tickets, WiFi on bus, and best of driving in the city! No doubt we will be doing this again. We stayed close enough to walk to Times Square but just far enough away from the madness. What I loved was that we didn't have any plans whatsoever. We were just "in" the city. Here is a little peak of our weekend fun.

A wrong turn on 34th took us to Gotham's Pizza where we sat right next to Ethan Hawke and his daughter. Looks like everyone loves a good slice. (Well, Ethan had a caesar salad.)

A place just for me!

Just walkin' the city (who knows how many miles we walked!)

Times Square

Lovely Central Park

Cutest Place

Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate (can't you just taste it?!)

Our hotel's view: Empire State Bldg on left and water on right

One day I want a roof top garden, but with a back yard too!

Last meal: Sunday lunch at Sarge's was a perfect ending to a great trip. Nothing but locals all around eating yummy food and having a good time.

Happy Birthday baby Thomas

One of my best friends and old college roomies, Sarah, gave birth to a precious baby boy named Thomas on July 12. I can't wait to meet him and love on that little baby!

Visiting with Sarah a few days before Thomas was born.

So adorable...Hard to believe my Sarah is a mommy!

Celebrating the 4th

This year we had to miss out on one of our favorite family traditions...Hatchie Bottom in Jackson. It was too expensive to fly that weekend and too far to drive. So, we took the 3 day weekend and make went to East TN to check on our house, see friends and visit with family.

Best pizza maker ever, not kidding, he's a pro

Our only request: BBQ

Beautiful picture of Boone Lake

Hanging out on the porch with my Chloe Belle

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thought you should know

As we continue to try to adjust to our new surroundings, I thought I would share some insight for my Southern friends. Below is a list of things that Clint and I have found different from the South and what we were use to. (Note: While this list may apply to other areas, I am only referring to Annapolis and the immediate surrounding area.)
1) TN Recognition
Just about everyone who has asked me where we are from (because of our accent) has themselves or knows someone who lives in TN. I have really been surprised when I tell folks and then they ask what part. Even more surprised when they know of Kingsport, Knoxville, Murfreesboro or Jackson. (Not holding my breath from Rockwood though!)
2) Sunday, Another day of the weekend
Whether or not you attend church on Sunday mornings or not, if you live in the South, you can probably still relate to the fact that many businesses are closed or have limited hours (most in observance of the Lord's Day). Well here, Sunday seems like just another Saturday. One of the first Sundays we had here we passed a school on the way to church. We were quite curious to know why there were so many cars and people filling up the lots. You can imagine our surprise to see a lacrosse tournament occurring on about 6 different fields. And, apparently this happens on most Sunday mornings. That was our first realization that we weren't in the Bible Belt anymore Toto! And, you don't have to worry about stores being closed on Sundays here. Nope, you can just about guarantee any and everything will be open, with regular hours.
3) One check or two?
Okay, this has to be the biggest shocker for us. News flash: if paying separately for your meal at a restaurant, don't assume they will split up the check. Most likely they will not ask and in many places they won't do it at all! We are so conditioned to the waiter or waitress asking, "Will this be on one check or two," that we didn't even consider the alternative. We learned this fact when our neighbors invited us to dinner with a group of people. We went to a nice place that had pretty high menu prices (as per usual here). We ordered conservatively once we saw the prices...we are on a budget, or so I thought! Food was great, but once it was time for the check, it was handed to our neighbor who busted out the phone calculator. It did cross my mind that it was a little odd that he didn't start distributing separate bills. He then did a quick average of the meal by the number of paying couples. We each paid the same amount. Okay, here is where Clint and I exchanged glances. Of course neither one of us would have said anything for fear of being labeled cheap (although I probably can be). So, we ended up paying for the guy at the end of the table's expensive steak and the other couples bottles of wine. We thought this only happened because it was such a large group. However, a few weeks later, it was confirmed, thanks to a small group lunch with my co-workers, that this was common practice. Lesson learned! No more ordering water to drink or appetizers for a meal. And, after talking with my administrative assistant, who is from NC, I'm glad to know we aren't the only Southerners taken aback by this. She said when she first moved here, her husband had it out with a manager of a restaurant who told him they did not separate bills and would only do it for them this one time but never again.

Hmm, well now ya know!