Wednesday, August 31, 2011

fun in the palmetto state

I just recently returned from two great weeks in South Carolina. Most of my trip was work-related, but I found the time to squeeze in some great time with friends too! If only I could just bring all of these fine folks to DC.

Below are some of the highlights from my time at home.
dinner at Za's with Rebecca and Terra- these sweet girls and I went through law school together from our very first Section 1 class, and I miss them dearly! Can't wait to meet Terra's new baby, due right around Christmas.

Part of my second week in South Carolina was spent touring the state's three research universities. I work on higher education issues as part of my portfolio, so it was great to see all that's happening at Clemson, USC and MUSC. We are very lucky to have each of these institutions in my home state!

Katy, Courtney, Laura and me with President Barker- a man who I have had tremendous respect for since I started Clemson in 1999

enjoying a gorgeous purple and orange sunset on Lake Hartwell

we had the privilege of meeting Coach Ray Tanner at USC (and seeing the two baseball national championship trophies- despite my loyalty to Clemson athletics, I can't help but cheer for Coach Tanner!

Ashley, Rebecca and I met at Yummilicious for yogurt- conversation with these girls is good for my soul. And I am so excited to celebrate the arrival of baby #2 for Ashley and Nathan! Ashley's pregnancy is truly proof that God is faithful to answer our prayers.

out and about with Hill friends in Charleston

precious Ella Grace, one of my adorable flower girls, in Charleston- hard to believe she's already 3

Hannah and Bec put together an AMAZING southern dinner- bbq ribs, collards, mac and cheese, homemade cornbread, sour cream pound cake...and margaritas from a little further south

Hurricane Irene unfortunately kept me from going down to the beach to celebrate the engagement of a dear friend, Miss Jessica Stokes, but it worked out ok because it meant more time with my mom and dad in Spartanburg. Dad is recovering well from his hip replacement and has really been the model patient! We loved having dinner at Cribb's Kitchen in Spartanburg with Mr. and Mrs. Webb.

mom and dad at Cribb's- the food was incredible

Going back to Spartanburg also meant I got to have breakfast with April! We have been friends since pre-school and went all through grade school and then to Clemson together, but I didn't see too much of her while we were students at Clemson. At least once every two weeks or so though, we'd go to the Anderson Cracker Barrel to catch up on each other's lives. So it was only fitting we did brunch at Cracker Barrel before I had to go back to DC.

pretty friend with her peach pancakes

I had a great time seeing all these familiar faces, but I sure did miss my husband! As much as I adore being in South Carolina, I was happy to get home to him and to sleep in my own bed. Thankfully football season is right around the corner, and we'll be back in the Upstate soon to cheer on the Tigers.

Monday, August 29, 2011

the end of an era

While I was home in South Carolina, most people I talked to knew about the closing of Walter Reed and were afraid Richard might be out of a job! Thankfully he has a spot at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), which is currently known as the National Naval Medical Center, or Bethesda Naval. The decision was made to combine the old Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval as part of the Base Realignment and Closure plan, and the new WRNMMC will become the largest military medical center in the country. It's actually a great move for us, as Bethesda Naval is just a few miles from our house. But while the old Walter Reed had its share of issues, it's kind of sad to see such a historic facility close. President Eisenhower died there, and more than 18,000 troops who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated there. My husband spent countless hours there over the past three years, and his education in that building has been invaluable in both the professional and personal sense.

Richard is actually rotating through several different civilian hospitals in the DC metro area this year, so he is missing the transition from two hospitals to one. We have several friends there though, and they helped complete the big patient move Friday night into Saturday. The transition was moved up a day due to Hurricane Irene, and rows of ambulances carried the wounded warriors to their new home. It should be interesting to see the merger of Army and Navy personalities and traditions. Richard will return next year for his 6th year of residency, his chief year and FINAL year, which we are both looking forward to!

You can read about the transition here and here in the Washington Post.

the old Walter Reed

historic original hospital

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

why hello south carolina

It's been two months so it's good to see you! I love being back in the place where:
  • I can eat this (a rare meat-and-two treat!):

  • here:
  • where I run into Richard's Little League baseball coach and our high school principal in the same day
  • where people hold doors and are kind and polite
  • where my social calendar stays full with lunches and dinners and visit with friends who I've known for years. Love getting to see pregnant bellies and new babies.
  • where I can travel half the state in the same time it takes me to cover 20 miles in DC
  • where Clemson football is discussed on sports talk radio- thank goodness for a break from the Redskins!
  • where I can celebrate our next-door neighbors' (who I've know my entire life) 50th wedding anniversary
  • where it's hundreds of dollars less to recover a chair and repair a timing belt
  • where I can give my brother a hard time, in person, about the goatee he's sporting
  • where I can go swimming with this adorable little girl:
  • where my mama still takes care of me, and where I can help her take car of my dad, who's recovering from a hip replacement
  • And where I can work out of an office with this gorgeous view of downtown Greenville.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SIL love

One of the best parts about marrying Richard was gaining a sister in the process. I actually lived with Richard's sister, Suzanne, before he and I got married, and I love her like she's my own. We had the best time when she visited DC last weekend!

Richard was on call Friday night, so our evening consisted of Founding Farmers, Georgetown Cupcakes, and Say Yes to the Dress. What more could a girl ask for?!

the set-up- see that off-pink chair? it's getting recovered in SC in just a few weeks. can't wait to see it new and improved!

sweet Suzie with strawberry and chocolate hazelnut cupcakes- mint julep is not pictured but was just as delicious

We needed a little exercise on Saturday to burn off our indulgence from the night before- and our planned Saturday night indulgence- so we did a bike tour of the monuments. I can't remember the last time I rode a bike but quickly picked it right back up. We had a great time! Would definitely highly recommend Bike the Sites!

WWII Memorial- probably one of my favorites

part of the Vietnam Memorial- I had actually not remembered this part of it, but these soldiers were added after Vietnam Vets complained that the original Memorial was too abstract

we looked hot in our safety vests and helmets!

just hanging with Albert Einstein- I had never seen this memorial, but it's a neat one sort of hidden off the Mall- his nose has been rubbed for luck so many times that it's a different color

back side of the Lincoln Memorial

hot and sweaty at the Jefferson Memorial

Washington Monument

After our bike-riding jaunt around the mall, we went to CoCo Sala, which is one of those places we only really go to when guests are in town because it is so unhealthy. But well-worth it!

Suzanne's beverage had a chocolate-covered banana swizzle stick

For our main course, we had blue cheese sliders, parmesan and rosemary french fries and bacon mac and cheese...with a slice of chocolate-covered bacon on top. I had never tried chocolate-covered bacon, but it was actually really tasty. Thank goodness we only go to CoCo Sala for special occasions!

And then it was time for dessert, which is the main event at CoCo Sala. I had a s'mores themed dessert, Suzanne had CoCo Sala's take on Banana's Foster, and Richard had warm sticky toffee pudding. Pure bliss! Suzanne, please come back to visit soon!

Webb trio and fabulous desserts

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

just another day in DC

Our interns' last day on the job is Friday, so the office decided to go out to a farewell lunch today. We never can choose between two Capitol Hill favorites, We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery, both owned by Spike Mendelsohn, so we split up to order and decided to eat inside We the Pizza. I thought about a Good Stuff burger and walked in briefly but couldn't ignore the call of We the Pizza's fabulous buffalo chicken pizza.

We all noticed Secret Service members on the sidewalk but figured that it was either Michelle Obama or the kids inside because they hadn't cleared out Good Stuff. But as we sat down at We the Pizza, my co-worker Anna came in with news that she had just shook Obama's hand! Apparently he was bringing in his financial team for a celebratory burger on helping reach a debt deal. Anna snapped the picture below. All the activity certainly made for an exciting lunch!

our 44th President

view of the Presidential motorcade from the 2nd floor of We the Pizza

the street was full of people waiting for a glimpse of Obama coming out

A few weeks ago, on the same day as the Congressional baseball game, Meghanne and Caleb came through town, and we got to visit very briefly at Good Stuff. Meghanne and I both agree that the toasted marshmallow milkshake is one of the best things you'll ever put in your mouth. Hope the President got to enjoy one!

loved seeing Meghanne, if only for a few minutes!