You are Invited to My Pampered Chef Party!

Yes, I will be holding a cooking show in my home on Thursday, September 30, at 7:00pm.  Of course many of you will be unable to attend due to distance, but I want to invite you to the web show, then!  Here is the website;  just place your order before September 30, and list my name as the host.  As a side note, anyone who places an order of $60.00 or more will be allowed to choose one Pampered Chef cookbook for free!  Enjoy!

Labor Day Surprise

Continued from “Surprise Visit to DC”

Labor Day morning was pretty lazy for us.  You know, hotels in and of themselves are just plain fun!  I know that people that travel on business tire of them easily–but not the Speckhals’!

The night before, we saw someone with a box of real, fresh Krispey Kreme donuts.  We thought to ourselves, “That would be an awesome breakfast!”  I looked on our little netbook, and quickly found out that there were no Krispey Kreme donut shops within fifteen miles: and that’s a long way in a big city.  “Well, we’ll just find something else.”  By 9:30am, we were itching to check out and head to Washington!

One of the best things about our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, is that it was literally right above the DC Metro (their subway system).  I knew before we even left from home that I wanted nothing to do with driving or finding a parking spot in Washington.  I was always taught to take the Metro.  We boarded the Red Line bound for the DuPont Circle station.

Our stops went past on our way into the city: Friendship Heights, Tenlytown, Van Ness, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park/Zoo, and then came Dupont Circle.  For those of you who may know DC some, you may be asking yourself, “Why did they get off there.  It’s still a two mile walk to the White House, and more to the mall.”  The answer is that we genuinely wanted to see all of the international embassies along Massachusetts Avenue.  There was nothing too awful special about it honestly, but it was interesting to see the American headquarters of so many foreign nations.  Here is a sampling of a few that we saw along the walk:

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Ah, I forgot to mention: as we got off of the Metro at DuPont Circle, this is exactly what we saw.  You can guess what we had for breakfast!

Yes, the "Hot Now" light was really lit up. We couldn't help but take a picture

After walking past a couple dozen foreign embassies, we made our way towards the White House, the next closest attraction.  Now, you all know where I stand with the man living–I’ll just say I don’t stand with him much.  Nonetheless, the White House is still awe inspiring to see–a true symbol of our country, standing proudly as the former home of Abraham Lincoln, D.W. Eisenhower, El Renaldo Reagenas Maxiums, and George W. Bush.  It still makes me thankful to live in America, no matter if what’s his name is in office.

Afterwards, we headed toward the National Holocaust Museum.  It was incredible, yet hard to describe in detail.  It really opens your eyes to how far mankind can go in his sinfulness.  The most memorable part to me was a scaled down replica of the wall of “The Righteous Among the Nations.” The Israeli government founded and keeps the list in Jerusalem.  The wall is made up of Gentiles who sacrificed their well-being, fortune, and even lives for the Jews during the Holocaust.  Many on that list were put under the same tortures as the Jews for their compassion.  Some, nothing happened to them at all.  But all gave or risked something for others during the worst atrocity of the twentieth century.

The Capitol Building was our next stop.  We toured this historic and significant building, seeing some very famous artwork in the rotunda (which is also the place many of our presidents “lay in state” before their funeral).  My favorite part of the tour, believe it or not, was the office of the Speaker of the House.  “Why?”, you ask.  I saw the placard above the doorway that said “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.”  I simply could not help but dream of that being changed to “Speaker John Boehner”, or better yet, “Speaker Paul Ryan.”  November is too far away…

On our way back to the Metro station, we stopped by the World War II Memorial (I could write a whole article just about that!), the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  By 6:00p, we were underground on a train, on our way back to Bethesda and our car.

But wait!  We hopped off one stop early at Friendship Heights.  What was there?  Not too much except for Maggianos Little Italy! It was my first time there, and let me say that I love Italian food: but I didn’t know what Italian was until I went here.  Just look at this bruschetta, and you will understand:

Maggiano's BrushettaOne nice deal they had going on was that if you bought any entrée of pasta, they give you another one for free to take home with you!  Altogether, the atmosphere was perfect, the food one of a kind, and the price was even half-way reasonable.  What a treat!

We again took the Metro back to our hotel  hopped the car around 8:00p, and were home–what seems like a thousand miles away from DC–in just a little over 90 minutes.  Our Labor Day was a welcome little vacation that both of us enjoyed, and would do again in a heartbeat.  I have my eyes set on somewhere else for us to go on a little longer vacation next month, but I guess you all will just have to wait and see where that is.

Surprise Visit to DC

Andrea and I tend to be pretty “off the cuff” as some may say.  We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do this Labor Day.  A few things were still up in the air, so any plans we could have made probably would have been changed anyway.  Sunday afternoon, following church, we were sitting down to eat when I started to think of something fun we could do.  By the way, I love to surprise my wife–then again, what husband doesn’t?  An idea jumped into my head: we could get a hotel for a night, then spend the day sightseeing somewhere.  Unfortunately though, those plans kind of went out the window when my employer called, and wanted me to come in for a little while and run our mission control.  “Oh well!”, I thought.

After getting home from church in the evening, I got ready for work quickly, and headed out the door.  As I was pulling out, I called my employer, and he pretty much said that they ended up getting done earlier than expected–no need for me to come in!  I turned right around (tires probably squealing) and drove around the block back home.  As I ran in the door, Andrea imagined I had forgotten something (pretty common), but I surprised her when I immediately said, “Get ready: we’re going to Sonic!” (one of our eat out after evening service places).  Then suddenly, something came into my thought process–we could go on a little overnight trip somewhere for the holiday!  I rephrased my command: “Pack a bag for a night.  We’re leaving in twenty minutes!”  Did I know where we were going?  No. is one of my good internet friends.  As Andrea was packing, and I still needed to pack, I hopped on the internet, clicking the mouse and keyboard like a maniac.  “Washington D.C. sounds fun,” I thought.  I have heard that Bethesda, Maryland is a good place to stay outside of the city, so I entered in the date I wanted (that very night), preferred star rating (3 1/2 was the highest), and finally the price.  Forty-five bucks sounds like a steal.  I clicked the “Buy my hotel room now!” button, waited about five seconds, and BAM–offer accepted!  Now to pack my bag…

We drove off around 8:25pm, heading south into “countryville”, then eventually onto I-83 South towards Baltimore.  Hitting the insane Baltimore Beltway a little after nine o’clock, we figured we would be there around 10:00pm.  And so we we got to Bethesda with plenty of time to spare.  Both of us were famished (maybe not quite, but…), so we found a nearby McDonald’s while walking around the city some.  Bethesda has all of the good places to eat that we don’t have in York County: Ruth’s Chris, Mongolian BBQ, Cheesecake Factory, and some of those other once or twice a year kind of places.

Bethesda--Third most wealthy city in America

Our hotel was beautiful; it was the Hyatt Regency Bethesda Metro.  The design of it was very unique.  It’s hard to explain how it looks.  Pictures, I think, tell the best story here.

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We went to sleep that night excited for what the next day had for us.

…to be continued