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Greetings & Welcome

December 10, 2008

This web log is about all sorts of things, whatever I feel like writing about I reckon; travel journals, things I like, things I dislike, technology reviews, short stories, whatever.  Check out my latest posts below.  My recent two month European road trip journal and photographs are here as well as my recent winter west coast US road trip / hiking trip, just click the tabs above.

Click the Cool Things tab to see what else I find interesting or cool.  Enjoy your stay and please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Cheers,
Maggie

R & R in DC

April 27, 2010

One of the cool things about my job is that I get to take “home time” pretty much wherever I want.   This time, I chose Washington DC in the springtime.   I had been planning this trip for some time now, hopefully to catch the cherry blossoms and general blooming spring.   I’ve just arrived but I fear I may have missed it, we’ll see.

Getting here last night was a chore.   After a long day, I parked at a truck stop in Jessup, MD; it was about as close as I could get.   After packing and emptying out my fridge, I hiked up to the main building to get a taxi.   I had called a couple of cab companies two weeks ago to get an idea of how much it would be to get me to downtown DC and I was told about $50.00.   After calling one taxi company, I got a call back from the driver on approach an said he was driving a Lincoln Town Car.   “A Town Car” I exclaimed.  “I called a taxi, not a Limo”.   David, the driver, said “it’s all good, I’m a taxi service”.   When he pulled up, I opened the door and <!–more–>asked him how much it would be and he said $85.   No way am I paying $85 for this ride.   I told him I had called his service and asked how much it would be and they said $50.   I told him I’d call another taxi and that I didn’t need him and shoo’d him away.

But, of course, he wouldn’t let up.   He kept telling me that no one would take me to DC for less than that.  Yeah, whatever.  I called Yellow Cab and asked them on the phone how much it would be and the guy said probably between $35 and $40.  So, I said c’mon then.   After I had called the other company, David called me back and kept going on about how it really costs that much and that he was sitting down to dinner with his family when he came to get me.  Oh, wah, poor baby, I thought to myself.   As I was saying goodbye, he then said he would take me for $55.   “Sorry bub, you blew your chance” and I hung up.

While I was waiting for the next driver, a lady, about my age, approached me and said “I’m sorry, I was in the restaurant and couldn’t help noticing, are you trying to get a taxi”?   “Yeah” I said.  “I called a taxi and that guy showed up in a town car and tried to rip me off”.   “I called another service so we’ll see what happens”.   This lady then explained that she was worried about me asked me if I had enough money for the ride and she offered me some money if I needed it.   Well, I just about dropped a tear right then and there.   I told her I was fine and thanked her for her kindness.   We got to talking and her and husband, who were having dinner in the restaurant, are from Florida.   He’s a truck driver and she’s learning.   We chatted a while longer till the next driver arrived and I bid her farewell.   How about that?  There are indeed some truly good people in the world.

The Yellow Cab driver arrived, in a real yellow cab this time, and I asked him how much it would be and he said $60.  Oh c’mon, what the…?  It was getting late and I got in, steaming of course.   Alex, the Driver, seemed nice enough though, but I got out my iPhone GPS and tracked the ride just in case, you know.   He took me the most direct route, 26.5 miles right to the Washington DC HI Hostel and the tab was $51.75.  OK, I can deal with that.   I tipped him a little and got out.

I got checked in and signed up for a tour of the Library of Congress in the morning.   My room is on the eighth floor and I came to the stairs before the elevator and I wondered if my knees would hold up, so I gave it a shot, wearing my pack and all.   It reminded me of a hostel in Germany I stayed in, on the top floor.   I needed the exercise and it felt good, it got the ole ticker going and I made it, a bit winded but not arresting in a cardiac fashion or anything.   I found my room bed and met my roommates from Toronto.   They were all turning in and I thought that sounded like a Capitol idea.   I’ll explore the hostel in the morning.

Cheers,

Maggie

Swift Driving Academy, a student’s experience

February 25, 2010

This post is this student’s account of attending the Swift Driving Academy at Lewiston, ID. It’s taken from emails I sent to friends and family while going through the experience and this account is intended to be a reference for others considering attending this school as well as an accounting of a cool experience.

Prior to attending, I had talked with my Swift recruiter on several occasions, filled out the applications, they did a background check on me, and I had to get my Commercial Driver Instruction Permit. I picked up the CDL book at the DMV in Bellingham, Washington and started studying. Swift’s web site also had course content I had to study and exams I had to pass.

After three or four days of studying, I went to the DMV and took three tests; general knowledge, air brakes and combination vehicles and passed all with flying colors. I also had to pay the Read more…

And now for something completely different

February 25, 2010

Hi All,

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything, I’ve been a little busy you see. As you know, I had been looking for a job in my field for a few months and my particular industry is dryzabone so to speak. I’ve had some interviews here and there, but nothing came of them. It’s frustrating to say the least, that my full time job is looking for a job. It’s frustrating that a couple hundred or more of my colleagues in my industry have been laid off recently and are in a pickle. It’s frustrating that things do not seem to be getting better. I’m sure they will eventually and my message to my friends out there who are still employed – do what you have to do to keep that job, even if you’re miserable. Just tough it out.

I’ve been trying to balance the job search with trying to make the most out of the time I have available. Trying to balance being responsible with a little self indulgence. Even though I’ve been unemployed (by choice for the first few months) for over a year now, it’s been one of the most enjoyable and growth years ever. I’ve traveled, spent quality time with friends and developed those relationships and Read more…

Deadwood Revival closes out Elizabeth Park concert series

August 28, 2009

Elizabeth Park concert series and Deadwood Revival

DSCN8019 copyLast night marked the end of the summer concert in the park series at Elizabeth Park in Bellingham Washington and regional band Deadwood Revival brought it to a fine end indeed. Sponsored by the Eldridge Society and supported by Bellingham Parks and Recreation, this series takes place throughout July and August in a four block by four block park historic Bellingham neighborhood; complete with play area for kids, tennis courts, lots of trees and grass, a lovely fountain area, and no kidding – a big gazebo.

I really looked forward to these concerts each Thursday night from 6:00 – 8:00 and spending quality time with my neighbors and dear friends Dorothy, Barb, Sharon, and Jan. It’s a great way to wind down, relax, people watch, enjoy the awesome weather, and each other’s company. You can tap your feet to and dance along with some great music each week from Marimba, Latin, Jazz, Salsa, and Reggae, to a Klezmer band, Bluegrass, Indie Rock, Blues, Swing, and Pop.

The music is typically not so loud that you can’t hear each other or yourself talk. Most folks bring blankets or chairs and relax on the grass under the huge trees and chat, listen to the music, nibble on a nice meal or snacks, and many go down down front or into the gazebo to dance.

DSCN8243 DSCN8221

Last night’s band and one of my favorites of the series was hillbilly bluegrass band Deadwood Revival. This was the first time I had heard them and I really enjoyed their polished sound. Jason on banjo, Kim on guitar, Ches on bass and Julie on fiddle make for a nice rounded sound and blended harmonies. They played a nice mix of original music and some classics; I had a chance to talk with them a bit during their break and found them to be nice folk. Apparently, they play all over the PNW in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I for one will be keeping an eye out for them in the future and I hope you do the same. Check out their web site and performance schedule. You can download their songs in mp3 format at the right or buy their CDs from their site.

2009 Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Schedule:

  • June 25 • Bentgrass (NW String Band)
  • July 2 • Yambique (Latin, Jazz & Salsa)
  • July 9 • Amber Darland (Local Folk/Pop/Rock Singer-Songwriter)
  • July 16 • Juba Marimba (Rhythmical Instrumental African Dancing Band)
  • July 23• Deadfish Rising (Progressive/Americana/Reggae)
  • July 30 • What the Chelm (Local Klezmer Band)
  • August 6 • Saltwater Octet (Swing & Dance music made up of Bellingham’s finest musicians)
  • August 13 • The Prozac Mountain Boys (Keeping the Pacific NW Safe for Bluegrass)
  • August 20 • Dagwoods (From Rock to Blues, and Straight-up Pop)
  • August 27 • Deadwood Revival (Unforgettable Hillbilly Jam-Grass Music)

I can’t wait for next year, neither can Jan, Barb and Dorothy.

JanBarbDorothy

Toad

August 21, 2009

there once was a toad
that sat on the road
a car came a long
then angels sang a song
now toad is part of the road

– Maggie Williams, 3rd grade, yeah it’s missing a few syllables