Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bev at the Mosque
It is hard to keep up an interesting blog when there is a weekly column to write, a full time job to focus on, and a novel in the works. There are days when I feel like I spend my entire life writing about life, and not living life. Sometimes it helps to stop writing for a few days so I can get out there and find something to write about again.

But today has been a fun day! My girlfriend Bev is serving a one year tour as a diplomat in Pakistan. She is back in the States training for a few weeks, and I had the chance to spend a few hours visiting with her this evening. We swapped stories about boys and international intrigue and ate ice cream. It was the perfect girls' night. Bev has some amazing stories about her adventures in Pakistan. I have posted a picture of Bev at a mosque. She will be starting her own blog soon, and when she does, I will link it to mine.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Happy Presidents Day.
I am enjoying my three day weekend by doing as little as possible. So far I have succeeded. The past week has just been a nice normal week with some extra time to catch up with friends. For about the past year my friends and I have been doing something we call the Ethnic Dinner Night. We pick a restaurant based solely on reviews and ethnicity and go there. We have had a lot of fun and success with this in the past. This month we chose an Afghan restaurant with rave reviews in Georgetown. Much to our surprise, when we got there the restaurant was gone. Packed, boarded up, and gone. Keep in mind we had called ahead to make reservations. The night wasn't ruined though. We just picked a similar restaurant a few doors down and had a fun night there instead. Everyone was a good sport considering the cold and delayed time.
Today I am off to join some girlfriends to see "Bride and Prejudice." Anyone who knows me probably already knows what a huge "Pride and Prejudice" fan I am. I'm looking forward to an afternoon out with the girls.
Have a great week!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Baby Porter

I just thought it would be fun to post a few pictures of the world's cutest newest nephew. This is Porter Stephen Gresko, born January 26, 2005.

Its been a good week, capped by a great evening. Tonight I joined some friends for an organ recital at the National Cathedral. It was a beautiful recital, held in an equally beautiful building. I plan to go back for future concerts.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Saturday, February 5
I'm home! I'm home! I'm home! I miss everything about my home! I had a great time out on the road, but I'm mostly just really happy to be back in my own apartment. All it would take to make this place perfect is if a butler mysteriously appeared and did 2 weeks of road trip laundry for me! Or maybe what I really need is a wife. I hear wives are good for laundry and cooking dinner. I could really use a wife right about now...

Friday, February 04, 2005

The week in Miami has been fun, successful, and long. On Thursday we toured 8 hotels, 1 restaurant, the convention center, and a special events venue. I was able to pick the perfect hotel for our group. My first choice is the National Hotel in South Beach. Its close to the convention center, has a great outdoor bar, a couple of restaurants, and a totally unique personality. For my boys that are going on this trip- BRING YOUR WIVES. They will love this place!!! We're in a great location, right off restaurant row with tons of shopping they can walk to. You will love it, they will love it, and they will love you for bringing them!
We've seen all sorts of things here in Miami. Its a fun city with lots to do and see. And the weather just makes it that much more fun! I can't wait to come back in September.
Below you will find the pictures of the hotel I picked. Also, a few pics from other hotels. We also toured Parrot Jungle Island. Its basically a little tropical zoo in the middle of town. It has special events capabilities, which is why we were there. I had fun meeting a few of the animals up close and personal. I took a few pictures and posted them for the benefit of some of my littler friends who will love them!
I'm looking forward to getting back to DC and my real life tomorrow. Its been a fun trip, but 12 days on the road is a bit much. Its raining here in Miami today, so I won't be hanging out on the beach. But its still 78 degrees!!! I love Florida!!

Here is the front of the National. This is my first choice hotel for our stay when we return for IACP in September.

Its not the greatest picture in the world. BUT! You can kind of see the art deco style of the National. Its a beautiful hotel with lots of fun art deco styling inside that is so popular in South Beach Miami.

The pool view of the back of the National. They have a tiki bar (roof just barely seen on the left), outdoor fitness center, private cabanas, business center, and more. Oh, and its the closest hotel to the convention center. Its not all about the fun and games!

Back entrance of the National from the boardwalk.

View from the back of the National!!

When we arrived at the Wyndham the entire staff greeted us on the steps and clapped and cheered as we walked in! Talk about fun entrances!

The Wyndham greeted us with champagne!

The view from one of the many hotels! (can't keep them all straight at his point)

This picture is for my mother and all other food decorating designers- this "palm tree" was made out of fruit balls pinned with toothpicks into a pineapple core. The "sand" around the tree was brown sugar. And they had carved watermelons with flamingos on them. AND! in the sand they had little key lime pies. It was very good!

An albino crocodile named Hank

This goat was trying very hard to eat my camera!

Its Crush the Sea Turtle- again for my favorite girls in Palm Bay!

This is a lemur- for my favorite two girls in Palm Bay- dig a tunnel, dig dig a tunnel! Sing it with my girls!

Another shot from Parrot Island.

Sammie's cousin! Her name is Hanna. She was named after her best friend Jack Hanna- she used to perform with him on tv.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Today was my first day on the IACP Hotel Lottery Tour in Miami, FL. The weather here is absolutely gorgeous- high 70's, sunny, PERFECT. We are touring all of the hotels that will be participating in the IACP convention in September. We visited several places today, including Vizcaya, an historic landmark mansion. And we visited the Starlight Room, a famous ballroom where the Rat Pack and Jackie Gleason used to perform.
Every place we go they serve more fabulous hors d'oerves and champagne. By the end of the day most of my touring companions were a little bit tipsy! But we are having a wonderful time!!!

Another shot of the Starlight Room. Its just beautiful up there!!! Please Scott, can I plan an event up there???

A better shot of the Starlight Room- 75,000 twinkling lights on the ceiling.

The ceiling of the Starlight Room.

There were 3 different photo shoots going on while we visited. This is a young woman in her quinceneros dress. She was just beautiful.

The entry way to Vizcaya.

A garden at Vizcaya

In front of Vizcaya there is a concrete/stone boat floating in the water. Here's half of it. Due to the large crowd, I had trouble getting decent pictures.

This the "front patio" of Vizcaya. The front door to the mansion is the waterfront. This is a picture from the modeling shoot we saw going on.

Bridge at Vizcaya

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

SHOT Show is finally over. We had a very successful and enjoyable show. Here are the last of the pictures I took while I was there. Sunday night was the Beretta Holdings Awards dinner. Staff from all of the Beretta owned companies were there. It was held at the Venetian hotel and had a cowboy theme. (Interesting concept- western cowboy theme in a fancy italian hotel- go figure.) For reasons unknown to me there was a shortage of tables and chairs. The hotel started scrambling to get us more seats. But in the meantime, several of us just pulled together a few small cocktail tables and made due. The whole situation was rather comical. For months now our boss, Scott, has been telling us that "LE now has a seat at the head table. We're not sitting at the kids table anymore." So when suddenly the LE department is sitting at tiny tables in the back of the room, we couldn't help but start making jokes about the kids table. You can see in the pictures below that we had fun at our little tables in the back. Eventually, they did catch on and bring us regular sized tables.
The last day of the show was Monday. It was the slowest I have ever seen a show. But we still had a good time and lots of success in the booth. All is well that ends well, right?
I am now sitting in a hotel room in Miami. I am here for a few days for the IACP hotel lottery. I am getting shuffled from one hotel to the next for the rest of the week checking out all the hotel rooms and amenities Miami has to offer. Later this week, my friend Juli and her 2 daughters are coming to join me. We plan to spend some quality girl time here in South Beach!
All in all though, I can't wait to get home!!

Here is the one and only picture where I managed to get Scott in the shot. This was after the end of the awards dinner (as you can see by the number of empty beer bottles in front of Blake). I think Blake was the only person who wore a cowboy hat. (I only wore cowgirl boots.)

I forget what the song was, but here is Chamberlain doing a little jig to a country tune for us. He's got his hands on his belt and a cigar hanging out of his mouth.

This may be my favorite picture of Laurel from the trip. She's singing the "Devil Went Down to Georgia" to Aaron.

Kelli and Blake posing for the camera

Daren Domanski, Jason Kellog, Jim Bradley, and Len Lucas- we may have been demoted to the kids table but we had fun back there anyway. We all joked and laughed about it.

more fun at the "kids table"

at the table- clockwise- chris durant, me, blake beidleman, (not seen) daren domanski, bob, jason kellog, massimo marchi, len lucas (not really seen), mike chamberlain, laurel smith, and kelli blinn

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