It is now hosted at: http://randaltheresa.wordpress.com. For some reason, Blogspot has started crashing my browser. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but could you please change your links. Head over now for the next installment of my epic journey to Mexico!


Decision 'O8

Canada officially declared its own federal election today. Amazingly, with election day on October 14th, it will be over weeks before its American Counterpart. Now that's and election I can get excited about.


Politics (Don't Worry, It'll Be Just This Once)

Despite the general disutility of labels in general, I am prepared to finally find a name for my political inclinations: I am a liberal-leaning independent. As a liberal sympathizer, I generally prefer the democratic platform to the republican. But as an independent, I am part of that vigorously courted class of Americans who is not completely adverse to voting for the candidate it believes will better serve the country, regardless of his political allegiances. If McCain had convinced me that he would be a better president than Obama enough to override my general preference for the democrats, he would have won me over. However, watching both the Democratic and Republican Conventions, McCain and his party has only deepened my conviction that Obama should be the next American President. In fact, I have become so disillusioned of the Republicans over the past couple of weeks that I am writing this post to ask any of you who were planning on putting your check next to the little R in November to reconsider. Here’s why:

First of all, it is always a good idea to look seriously at your political alliances. After conversing with friends, I have realized it is not a simple matter to transfer Canadian political ideas into an American election, and that I need to consider my choice carefully. So, I encourage everyone to join me in my political introspection – are you political convictions merely a product of your surroundings, or have you come to them yourself?

Second, there are numerous reasons why Obama and the Democrats have appealed to me. For one thing, as I liberal, I like their policies. But I know that any attempt to convince most conservatives to alter their fundamental belief system will be futile. So instead, I will list a few reasons why Obama would be a better president than McCain, independent of their platforms.

1. Obama is a true agent of change. As a relative newcomer and Washington outsider, who has routinely disagreed with the Bush administration, he is in a much better position to alter the course of this country in a good way. He has spent his life serving the poor and needy and is more in touch with the rising generation, who has to deal with eight years worth of Bush’s influence. John McCain has attempted to paint himself as a maverick, but can an old white, rich man, entrenched in Washington politics and greatly supportive of Bush’s policies really bring about the change we need? He wants to be independent, but he is running with Bush’s old playbook and has shown that he is unable to truly stand up to his party in choosing a running mate – opting for a hard-core conservative instead of reaching across the isle to Lieberman, his first choice. And don’t try to tell me that Palin will bring about any real change: although most people have forgotten this, she is only running to be vice-president.

2. Obama has shown much more integrity than McCain. Throughout this campaign, Obama has shown great personal integrity. Although all politicians stretch the truth and attack their opponents, Obama has played petty politics to a much lesser degree than McCain and the Republicans. For one things, the Republicans are much more consistent and personal in their attacks on Obama; the tone of the entire Republican Convention was more about mocking Obama then on promoting their own party. And their attacks are often unfounded, personal, and demeaning. Mocking his service as a community organizer and then turning around and calling him an elitist, comparing him to Paris Hilton and even sarcastically calling him a self-proclaimed Messiah. Obama’s attacks on McCain, however, have been fewer and more appropriate. They mostly focus on issues, and never stoop to the lows that I’ve seen from the McCain camp. When asked about Palin’s daughter being pregnant, for example, Obama responded that family privacy should be respected; the Republicans don’t seem to agree, since they have took aim at Michelle on many occasions.

Also, Obama is more honest than McCain. Both have stretched the truth, but according to Politifact.com, a non-partisan fact-checking website, McCain’s statements are either barely true or outright false twice as often as Obama’s. UPDATE: this issue is becoming more and more troubling for me; it seems that the McCain camp has no problem with continuing its bold-faced lies, even after they have been discredited, since most voters don't take enough time to discover their falsity. See this article.

3. Obama has shown himself to be very reasonable and intelligent. He has run his campaign amazingly: time and time again, he calmly and rationally deals with each problem and promptly brings the discussion back to the issues. And he has shown himself to be very intelligent and an extremely fast learner, which helps quell some concerns about his lack of experience. Isn’t it about time to get someone into the Whitehouse that will carefully and intelligently deliberate over our problems instead of adopting the “shoot first ask questions later” approach of George W? McCain, like Bush, seems much more prone to hasty and risky choices. The best example of this is how he handled the most important choice of his campaign: choosing a VP. Now, Sarah Palin may turn out to be a good choice, but even so, the way he selected her worries me. I mean, McCain has had months to carefully research and decide upon a running mate (especially while Obama and Hillary were still battling it out), and yet at the very last second he chooses someone he only met once and had barely vetted. To me, this just seems reckless, and is not the way I would like my president to make decisions.

4. Even as McCain announces his plans to “reach across the isle,” the Republicans are methodically tearing the country apart. Through Sarah Palin and many of the convention’s other speakers, the GOP have reignited the culture wars. More and more, they are shifting the focus of this election from important issues like the economy and the War to little things that are comparatively less important and yet extremely divisive: abortion, teen pregnancy, and the role of God in the public sphere. They are also actively attempting to pit the rural population against the urban elitists who don’t think Wasilla is “cosmopolitan enough.” (Which is quite ironic, considering that the GOP is filled with rich white men, while Obama grew up on food stamps, and got through school on student loans). A good indication of this division is the fact that after Palin's speech was the largest fundraising day ever - for the Democrats (she really made some people upset). In the end, this country needs to work together, and fostering these kinds of divisions is not the way to do it.

5. Obama will be good for America. He is extremely popular internationally, and as president, he will do a lot to restore America’s status in the world and help us make the alliances we need to stay safe and compete in the global economy. Electing Obama will also show the world that we are an intelligent, progressive country that really believes in the equality we so often profess. Imagine the children who grow up under the first black president: what better lesson in civil rights could we give?

6. Do we really need more war? OK, this one is more of an ideological complaint, but I really don’t think we should elect someone who is as committed to the war and tied to the military as much as McCain is. And I don’t see the problem with meeting hostile world leaders? Is diplomacy dead? This is not giving in, but trying to resolve problems without killing.

In conclusion, I think McCain is national hero and fairly decent guy. I was impressed with his acceptance speech. It is more his party in general who I am opposed to, and I don’t think that he is maverick enough to separate himself to a degree that would win my vote.

And that is why I support Barack Obama.



Here is a link where you can watch Radiohead's webcast of their tour-closing show in Santa Barbara. I am posting this today because this blog was on hiatus back in May, where Theresa and I, as well as the Cummings, traveled down to North Carolina to catch the show ourselves. To prevent myself from running on like a gushing fanboy, I will just say that the show was easily the best I have seen, and the culmination of my concert-going existence.


DNC 08

Watching the Democratic National Convention these last few days, I must say that it is good to see Barack and Hillary finally getting along. It seemed like their prolonged primary battle would never end, and I for one (and Theresa for another, I can safely say) will not miss it. Well, I will miss videos like these...


A Redecorated Life

This week has been one of designing, or perhaps more properly, redesigning, and I'm not just talking about this blog. For months, Theresa has been sketching and re-sketching a new design for our apartment. But since we have be transient for the last while, her careful plans have had to wait - until now. For those of you who have seen our Charlottesville apartment, you may remember our tattered furniture, most of which was obtained for free. Well, with a lot of Theresa's creativity, we have transformed our hand-me-down furniture into a set of new-looking pieces. And perhaps Theresa's biggest accomplishment was getting me involved in the whole project by allowing me to populate our walls with my musical paraphernalia. All and all, I think we were able to put together a chic living room, and we did it on an extremely small budget. But take a look yourselves (click on the pictures to make them larger).

1. Radiohead Poster, purchased at the North Carolina Radiohead concert we attended in May, displayed in a ramshackle homemade frame.
2. Our Ansel Adams print of the Redwoods, to remind us our future Californian home.
3. Rubiks Cube: one of the many useless trinkets offered by law firms during on campus interviews, transformed into a picture holder
4. DTV - its in the air.
5. Fabric curtain hiding our electronic equipment (stereo, DVD player, turntable) inside this dresser-turned-entertainment center (Fabric from IKEA)
6. Our Alberta Temple Blanket covering the loveseat that served as Theresa's nemesis during this redecorating (it doesn't match).
7. Restored Furniture: I obtained these pieces for free from a neighbor that I helped move. They were tattered, broken and ugly, but with a little paint and some new knobs, Theresa turned them into beautiful, modern pieces.
8. Album Covers: these three Wolf Parade album covers by Matt Moroz are my favorite part of the living room.
9. Miru - our Superfly Monkey
10. Sea Shell from Virginia Beach

Rising 3L

Everyone in law school circles knows that a the third year has a reputation as being the easiest. With offers in hand, most students need only to graduate, and therefore do not have the same pressures as either first or second year students do. Which means that this, the beginning of my third year here at UVa, is the perfect time to rededicate myself to blogging. And so, to my faithful readers, welcome back. You'll notice that I've redesigned my webpage, including the title, which represents the one persistent criticism my writing has faced throughout my life. Like Batman, I've embraced my deepest writing fear and displayed it prominently.

I will be continuing as I did the first go-around, with some posts about Theresa and I, some about the music I am listening to, and some random musings. I will occasionally post the continuing story of Petey, Daniel Harker and I in Mexico, and in short order, will catch you all up on our summer in California. And if you haven't already, check out the Canada Day quiz below.

So stay tuned...


The Second Annual Canada Day Quiz!

Here it is – what you have all been waiting for: the second annual “Randal and Theresa Canada Day Quiz!” The game is simple – answer the questions. And we all know you could just look up the answers on the Internet, but because this is a Canada-themed quiz, I trust you will all be polite and honest, and play the game without cheating. The answers will be posted in the comments, so take the quiz, check your answers, and post your score in the comments section (remember – we’re using the honor system). When everyone has participated, we’ll name the winners in two categories: Canadian and Non-Canadian. Prizes will follow…

1. Which of these cities is furthest north?
A. Halifax
B. Ottawa
C. Vancouver
D. Winnipeg

2. Which Canadian Province is the setting of “Anne of Green Gables?”

3. Which Canadian Cities have or will in the near future host the Olympic games?

4. Which Canadian City was named the most livable city in the world by The Economist in 2008?

5. The Parliament in which of these Canadian Capitals is pictured here?

A. Edmonton, AB
B. Regina, SK
C. Victoria, BC
D. Whitehorse, YT

History and Politics
6. What is the term for people descended from Canadian aboriginals and European settlers?

7. Which of these reasons was most influential in the building of Canada’s first transcontinental Railway?
A. To assist in the war effort during the war of 1812
B. To beat the United States in a race to build the first transcontinental railway
C. To persuade the people of Brittish Columbia to join the Canadian Confederacy
D. To transport Chinese workers to the east

8. Which of the following is NOT a registered political party in Canada?
A. The Animal Alliance Party
B. The Democracy In Action Party
C. The Christian Heritage Party
D. The Marijuana Party
E. The Work Less Party

9. During the Conscription Crisis of 1917, what group of Canadians refused to go to war?

10. Which Canadian aboriginal tribe famously dwelt in structures like the one pictured?

A. Cree
B. Inuit
C. Iroquois
D. Kwakwaka'wakw

Sports and Entertainment
11. What Canadian chanteuse won the most Juno awards (i.e. the Canadian Grammy) in 2008 (1 bonus point for naming all of the categories)?

12. What are Canada’s two national sports?

13. What is the main focus of CBC radio 3?

14. What Canadian Author penned the popular Book, “The Life of Pi?”

15. Which Canadian Hockey team made it the furthest in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

16. Which Canadian company produces the BlackBerry communications device (1 bonus point for naming where it is based)?

17. According to the Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings, which is the best Canadian University?

18. For what is the Bay of Fundy famous?

19. This is the mascot for what (1 bonus point for giving his name)?

20. As you might expect, the top two countries of origin for Canadian Immigrants are China and India. Name one of the other birth countries of Canadian immigrants that round out the top 5 (1 bonus point for naming all three).

21. Which of these figures is closest to Canada’s population (the other three are the populations of Tokyo, New York State, and the UK)?
A. 18.9 million
B. 33.3 million
C. 34.4 million
D. 60.6 million

22. Who is on the Canadian $50 bill?

23. Which Canadian author was born and raised on St. Urbain Street in the Mile End area of Montreal, Quebec, and wrote The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz?
A. Margaret Atwood
B. Stephen Leacock
C. Saul Bellow
D. Mordecai Richler

24. In what year was Quebec City founded?

25. Which Canadian-born architect built this?


My New Creative Outlet

In my farewell post, I mentioned that I am attempting to write a travel story of my trip to Mexico with my roommates a few years ago. Well, here is the first bit that I have wrote. It is a detailed narrative, so it is much longer that a blog post, but I hope you enjoy it. And feel free to leave constructive feedback. So, without further ado...

If my roommates and I acted on every inclination we ever had to travel to foreign countries, we would have likely visited an honest ¾ of the world by now. I’m sure that at one point or another, Daniel Harker, Pete or I must have said something like, “I hear that Uzbekistan is nice this time of year” at which point we would all enthusiastically plan a trip and then never mention the suggestion again. But one snowy January night the stars aligned and the patron saint of travel smiled on us such that one of our dreams of international adventure lodged itself firmly enough in our frontal lobes to survive until we found ourselves, quite unexpectedly I assure you, loading backpacks into Daniel Harker’s car with tickets to Cancun in hand. That is how our trip to Mexico began.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this adventure is the complete lack of planning that went into the whole affair. Actually, that is not completely true: we did a lot of planning, but no genuine plan came from any of it. Hours were spent arguing over every detail of the journey and pouring over a hopelessly outdated map of Mexico like a general positioning his troops for battle. We mapped and re-mapped an epic journey spanning numerous southern Mexican states that would have taken months to complete, even at a furious pace. We have one week.

This particular limitation is not, as you may guess, of our own choosing, and explaining its origin gives me a good chance to introduce my cast. Peter Leavitt, the youngest of us three, is the guy who all mothers wish their daughters would marry, which might explain why he is not actually married. He is a psychology student who likes to read books like “The End of Poverty” during Christmas break, but is also a fun party guest who is particularly popular among the fairer sex. Daniel Harker can best be described by listing his five favorite things: secrets, roller coasters, horror movies, dancing, and the beach. A mere three days after we return from Mexico, he is off to Calgary to enter the working world as a computer programmer. As for myself, I have just finished a genetics degree and will shortly attend law school in Virginia (of all places). Thanks to me, our apartment is the only one I know with its own “Philosophy Box,” and I think its fair to say that all three of us thoroughly enjoy pulling out its ideas and throwing them around: an activity that usually results in a sharp disagreement between Daniel Harker and I, who without a single recorded exception, have held exactly opposite views on absolutely everything we have ever discussed. I would probably sooner call the sky red than agree with Daniel Harker that it is blue – not by choice, mind you; it just seems that, even though he is one of my best friends, it is physically impossible for us to reach any sort of consensus. But anyway, almost immediately upon return, I will marry Theresa, my girlfriend of over a year. So, both Daniel Harker and I are about to shift our lives out of neutral, and we are lucky to be able to squeeze in even the short week that we do have in Mexico. And with that impetus, Daniel Harker puts his car and gear and we drive off, the sun setting behind the Garneu Towers.

My roommates and I are poor students. And more importantly, we are poor students who know we are poor students. So we travel cheap. Which means we’re not flying out of Edmonton; we’re not even flying out of Calgary. We are flying out of Great Falls, Montana, a good seven-hours away. And with a 9:00 AM fight, we have a full night of driving ahead of us, which wouldn’t be so bad if our car had been the kind of reliable vehicle that the Saturn commercials professed it to be. Instead, we had a car that burned more oil than it did gas: our pit stops weren’t to fill up the gas tank, but to take out one of the twenty-or-so bottles of motor-oil we had in the trunk and empty it into the engine. And to make matters worse, every few miles, Daniel Harker’s car would interrupt our otherwise excited conversation to sputter and cough violently, like an old smoker forced to run a marathon. Each time it did, we would all go silent for a moment, nobody wanting to vocalize our fear that the most backpacking we will do this week would be along the side of Highway 2 in search of a rest stop. Then the car would return to normal and the chatter resumes.

But the old girl does admirably, and we soon pull up to the Sweetgrass, Montana boarder crossing. Now, this particular port of entry has somewhat of a reputation among Albertans as the strictest crossings in the province. I can only imagine what the grizzled boarder guards must be thinking as they see us approach at two in the morning, three twenty-three year old boys sputtering up to the line in a car that reeks of oil, pretending their vehicle is not on the verge of collapse. We pull up to the window and are greeted by a clean-shaven port official whose stern demeanor suggests he believes the very notion of American freedom depends on protecting the country from Canadians who have visited a farm within the last fourteen days.

“You know your car is burning oil?” No chit-chat, this is an officer of the United States government.

“Yes officer.” This man stands directly in the path of our international adventures, and we wish to do nothing to offend him.

He drops the issue – however much he may wish to extend his jurisdiction, he’s probably unable to think of anything criminal about driving a piece of junk. “Where are you boys headed for this evening?”

“Cancun, Sir.”

The officer pauses, as if trying to remember if he had ever heard of a town called Cancun, Montana.

“Step outside of the vehicle, please.”

We are escorted into the boarder post, where a number of guards are standing around talking about the guns they received when they opened their latest chequing account (or something like that). One of them, whose name must have been Wayne or Dusty or something, came over and asked us a number of questions. After explaining our story we fill out customs declarations and give our cards to Wayne. He tells us that it will take a while to process our case and immediately goes back to rejoin his friends. We sit in that boarder post for over an hour, too nervous to speak above a whisper, while Wayne impresses his co-workers with stories of all the things he has killed with his banking-gun, our customs cards sitting on his desk the whole time. The office is otherwise empty. Finally Wayne remembers us, picks up our customs and comes back to the counter acting as if he had been locked in his office this whole time, carefully weighing the merits and risks of letting us step over that hollowed line that separates America from the stench of Canadian socialism.

“Looks like everything checks out,” says Wayne, although we all know that absolutely no checking had been done. We politely thank Wayne and go back out to our car, which we find has been searched without us even realizing it. Those boarder guards sure are sneaky little fellows.

We had anticipated a delay at the boarder – Daniel Harker’s brother has many tales of late-night boarder-crossing that have resulted in the prolonged interrogations that can only survive constitutional challenges because they are performed on non-citizens. But thanks to Wayne’s apparent disinterest, we arrive at the Great Falls airport with time enough to check out the famous Great Falls nightlife, if we had so desired. But instead we opt to stay on the straight and narrow – there will be plenty of time for nighttime festivities later.

Not wanting to pay for a week of parking, we begin looking for a suitable area nearby where we could give Daniel Harker’s car a well-deserved rest. However, the Great falls airport is in the middle of nowhere, which would probably come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been to an airport, or anyone who has ever been to Montana. I guess we should have looked into this, but I had simply assumed that the Great Falls Airport would be somewhere in the vicinity of Great Falls. Fortunately for us, another vestige of civilization often found in the middle of nowhere is the trusty service station. In this case, our salvation was called the Flying J. The J is a truck stop across the interstate and mile or so from the airport whose large parking lot particularly caught our eyes. We sputter into one of its extra large parking spots and jerk to a stop, grateful for the small miracle that Daniel Harker’s car had just pulled off by completing her journey. That we need to return all the way home in a week isn’t a worry at this point.

We go into the J’s convenience store to ask if we could leave the car here for the week. (I would rather leave it here forever, but Daniel Harker might object to my indifference to his transportation needs). The store’s cashier was a burnout with stringy hair and droopy eyelids, either from drugs or from the fact that it was two-thirty in the morning.

“Excuse me,” asks Daniel Harker. The burnout looks up. “Would it be ok if we leave our car in the parking lot for a week while we fly from the airport?”

The burnout looks a little surprised. Either this was the first time anyone had ever contemplated parking at the J and hiking over to the airport, or else he is only now realizing there is an airport nearby. He shrugs – a gesture I presume signals the affirmative. I imagine the late-night cashier probably doesn’t even have the authority to refill the hot dog warmer, let alone hand out impromptu parking passes, but I just want to get going.

We return to the car and prepare for the next leg of our journey. We have each packed a standard size bookbag with only the essentials: a couple of clothing changes, a few toiletries, and swimming suits. We shed our jackets and place them in the trunk, even though we realize very quickly that April in Montana is not t-shirt weather. But we leave them anyways, since there will be no need for coats where we are going; and besides, it’s just a short walk to the terminal. Well, that short walk turned out to be a tad longer than expected.

I never would have imagined that our trip to Mexico would include trudging for over a mile of frozen Montana foothills at 3:00 in the morning without any kind of protective clothing. But at least we can see the glowing lights of the Great Falls airport ahead, guiding us like the Moses’ pillar of fire. As my eye remains fixed on the terminal’s florescent lights, my mind’s eye is fixed on its internal heating. Shivering, I will myself to take each step, keeping in mind that at the end of this path is Cancun, with its tropical climate and shimmering beaches.

Finally we reach the airport’s glass doors, which not only offer us the warm that we desperately crave, but a view of padded benches that would be perfect for a well-needed sleep (our nocturnal journey finally starting to catch up with us). Pete, reaches for the door and pulls the handle.

It doesn’t budge.

He pulls again. Nothing.

He shakes it. I try the other door without success. The airport is locked! We are shut out in the cold. I can’t believe it. Aren’t all airports open 24 hours a day? I guess Great Falls isn’t the Metropolis I thought it was.

The three of us fan out to peer into the large windows for any sign of life. I can’t see a soul. The airport is completely deserted. I look back the way we came, back at the Flying J in the distance. Do we actually have to hike all the way back there? We certainly can’t sit at the airport’s front door for who knows how long before it opens. After a brief discussion, we decide we have no other choice. We might as well go back to our coats and try to get a few hours of sleep in the car. We start back across the parking lot, dejected.

But wait – is there someone over there? Yes, there is! Inside the booth at the parking lot’s entrance is a middle-aged and somewhat overweight woman. I haven’t the slightest clue why the airport had decided to man the parking booth all night when the airport itself is clearly disserted. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think many people come out to the middle of nowhere to park in front of a building that is locked up as tight as it would be had asbestos been found in its air ducts… although, I must admit, this is essentially what we did; except, of course, we refused to pay the $8/day to do it.

The attendant was very sympathetic to our plight, if a little surprised that anyone would want into the airport at this ungodly hour. She radioed a security guard, and a few minutes, a mustached officer drove up in his pickup and took us to the front door. He pulled out has impressive key ring and let us in the terminal. We might make it to Mexico after all. We thank the guard profusely, and run into the building, marveling at all of its modern amenities as if we had been lost in the woods for years and have just found our way back into the city. Well, I should qualify that last metaphor by specifying that its like we found ourselves back into a Montana homestead, since the walls were filled with antlers and the building’s central decoration is a stuffed cougar growling at us from some boulders set in a man-made waterfall; the escalator passing within inches of his outstretched claws.

We navigate safely past the mountain lion and find ourselves a couple of benches long enough for us to grab a quick nap. After the night we had, I think we deserve it.


That's That

If there is anyone who has not completely giving up on this blog, you may have noticed that I haven't posted anything for a month. Well, there's a good reason for that: I have decided to put it on an indefinite hiatus. I've found that there are many other things that I should/want to do more than write in this blog. For my family, who like reading what I have been up to, I will write on the Cottle Blog every once and a while to let everyone know about life in Virginia. So that's it.

Well.... that might not entirely be it. Although I am sure I want to take an extended break from this blog, I do enjoy having a creative outlet. So I have began writing (very intermittently) a travel story about my trip to Mexico a few years ago, so I will probably post that as it grows. These post will be very infrequent, but if you're board at work or something, you could pop over and see if I've updated.

Thanks for reading


The Year is Dying, Let It Die!

Dear Friends and Family,

Having lived in Virginia for an entire year, we feel ourselves expert enough on our adopted home to use the balance of this letter to provide a guide to the Old Dominion and its surrounding area:

Charlottesville: A magnificent college town so inviting that we decided to spend the entire year previous within its boundaries. During the school year, Randal spent the majority of his days in the halls of the University of Virginia School of Law, and Theresa resumed her educational career by beginning a pharmacy technician program at National College. And during the summer, this town offers many employment opportunities, such as Randal’s job as a research assistant, and Theresa’s at the student health center.

Buena Vista: The headquarters of our Cottle grandparents’ mission is a quaint town that every traveler should visit. We have spent many fun-filled days there, attending plays, having picnics, swimming in creeks, watching 4th of July fireworks and enjoying a magnificent thanksgiving feast with family.

Richmond/Williamsburg: these towns are filled with fascinating historic sites from both colonial and civil war periods, sure to delight nerdy kids and adults alike, as they delighted Randal’s parents, who came for a jam-packed two-week visit in August.

King’s Dominion: a magical amusement park where you can loop-d-loop, traverse volcanoes, ride water-slides and meet Dora the Explorer. Having enjoyed its wonders with our cousins Addy, Ben, and Matt, we can confidently recommend it to anyone who likes a little excitement in their lives.

The Outer Banks, NC: even during October, this beach getaway is perfect for a group of Law student couples who wish to spend fall break relaxing and playing in the ocean. We know this from personal experience.

Palo Alto, CA: although you might not think of California as part of Virginia’s surrounding area, it has become close to our hearts, as Randal has accepted an offer to work there next summer.

Washington DC: with its many monuments and museums, as well its spectacular temple, DC is a must-see for any Virginia visitor. We traveled to this metropolis many times, the last of which in November, where Holly spent one day of her thanksgiving visit.

Alberta: will always be home. We can’t wait to see y’all at Christmas.
- Randal and Theresa Miller