Archive for the ‘ Etcetera ’ Category

Travel Cities 2010

As this has become an annual tradition, below is a summary of my trips over the year! 2010 began as a down year in travel as I started a new job and focused on buying our first home, but it was still good nonetheless:

WINTER
January 18-22 Alexandria, VA
February 3-6 San Francisco, CA
February 22-27 Vancouver, Canada

SPRING
House hunting, buying, moving …

SUMMER
June 8-10 Mountain View, CA
July 1-5 Poipu, HI
July 25-30 Alexandria, VA
August 20-23 Las Vegas, NV

FALL
September 11-13 Eden Prairie, MN
September 20-22 Milwaukee, WI
October 7-9 Chicago, IL
October 18-19 Princeton, NJ
October 20-22 Alexandria, VA
November 25-29 Eden Prairie, MN
December 13-17 Alexandria, VA
December 27-30 Eden Prairie, MN

Past travel recaps: 2007 | 2008 | 2009

In short:

  • Grounded in the Spring. For the first time in years I spent over a 3+ months in Seattle. And I must say, it was tough. The timing was right though, as we were pretty swamped with the house hunt.
  • I traveled a total of 61 days, visiting 10 cities. Last year it was 20 cities over 81 days, so less often but longer stays. Also 50/50 split between business and leisure this year.
  • Despite the drop in frequency, still managed travel about 44K miles, which is pretty close to what I did last year, due to more east coast trips.
  • Most often, I found myself in DC for work and in Minnesota visiting family. Only visited the Bay Area twice and pretty much stayed in the country besides the Winter Games.
  • Noteworthy trips of the year: Vancouver for the Olympics and my birthday, 4th of July in Kauai, and Vegas with my cousins!
  • The tally: 93 trips total over the last 4 years.

And now? New Year’s Resolution for 2011: Visit 3 [preferably new] countries. Let’s go!

Kauai from the Air
Kauai from the Air – Photo by Ryan Prins

Christmas Etymology

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! It’s holiday fun fact time again. This time a simple etymology tidbit about the word “Christmas” or “Xmas”.

The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning “Christ’s Mass”. It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038.[8] “Cristes” is from Greek Christos and “mæsse” is from Latin missa (the holy mass). In Greek, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ, and it, or the similar Roman letter X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ since the mid-16th century.[16] Hence, Xmas is sometimes used as an abbreviation for Christmas.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday

Excerpt from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

They say, Mr. President, that we are stealing away the rights of the States. So I have come to-day to advise you, that there is another State right I think we ought to steal.” Raising his head from his pile of papers, Lincoln asked, “Well, Governor, what do you want to steal now?” Seward replied, “The right to name Thanksgiving Day!” He explained that at present, Thanksgiving was celebrated on different days at the discretion of each state’s governor. Why not make it a national holiday? Lincoln immediately responded that he supposed a president “had as good a right to thank God as a Governor.” Seward then presented Lincoln with a proclamation that invited citizens “in every part of the United States,” at sea, or abroad, “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November” to give thanks to “our beneficent Father.” The proclamation also commended to God’s care “all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers,” and called on Him “to heal the wounds of the nation” and restore it to “peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

My November Guest


“My November Guest”
by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Moms and Daughters


Me and Nikki with our moms at the wedding reception in Roselle, IL

Finished Reading “Team of Rivals”

After avoiding the ending for weeks, I finally finished reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln last night, an epic multi-biography on Lincoln and his cabinet. I daresay it’s one of the most exciting US history books I’ve read; the story alone is amazing, the narrative though is outstanding.

Now I can give Ryan a break from hearing me gush about our 16th President’s magnanimity and the relationships he forged within his cabinet. Though I can’t stop thinking about my newfound admiration of William H. Seward (Secretary of State) and Edwin M. Stanton (Secretary of War)… but I digress. Abraham Lincoln? Count me awestruck.

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

- Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address 1865