Traveling Below the Mason Dixon Line

Over Memorial Day, Matt and I ventured south to the land of the Flowering Dogwood, the Cardinal and civil war reenactments. Yes, we went to the Old Dominion State, otherwise known as Virginia.

My sister, Abby, moved to Fredericksburg, VA nearly two years ago after taking a new coaching position at the University of Mary Washington. And even though I have seen a lot of pictures of Abby’s new town, met some of her swimmers and  even took a “FaceTime tour” of her apartment, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never visited her. I know, I am a bad sister — but thankfully those days are behind us. Not only did I visit Fredericksburg, I am fairly certain that I dominated it.

After living in New York City for six years, the transition to Fredericksburg has been a little challenging for Abby. Just as she grew accustomed to city life, she moved to a fairly suburban area. While it isn’t suburban like New Hampshire with lots of trees, cows and fields – it is suburban like strip malls, chain restaurants and a slower pace of life. And while we spent a lot of time celebrating everything that is great about America: dinner at Applebees, shopping at Target and getting ice cream at the local “dairy bar” — we also got to experience a little of the history that makes Fredericksburg so special.

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Thanks Abby for an incredible trip. I can’t wait to come again — Carry me back to old Virginny!

Shake It Up

At approximately 1:53pm today, the East Coast experienced a little West Coast living. No, I am not talking about In-N-Out Burgers, but rather, an earthquake.

The earthquake is being reported as a 5.9 magnatude and was centered 90 miles outside of Washington D.C. just a few miles from my sister’s hometown of Fredericksburg, VA. People have reported feeling the quake from as far north as Vermont and as far south as Chapel Hill North Carolina. Thankfully no injuries or massive damage has been reported so far.

I was sitting in my co-workers office when I started to feel a little dizzy. It felt like the building was shaking and I blamed it on my constant state of dehydration (I know, I really need to drink more water). But then I realized it wasn’t my head spinning, but the building shaking. We evacuated the building but didn’t really have a plan in place. After standing around for 5 minutes and reading Facebook updates from friends all along the East coast, we realized that this was felt beyond NYC. Although we didn’t really feel like we were in grave danger, we decided to stay out of the building a little longer – a perfect excuse to get some ice cream! When the Black Eyed Peas concert was postponed (before eventually being cancelled) we sought shelter from the lightning in a diner where we all ordered milkshakes. Apparently at Robin Hood when life gives you lemons, we eat ice cream!

My sister’s experience was a little more intense. Pictures fell off the walls and her wine rack fell on the floor smashing her bottles of wine on the ground. She took cover in her closet with her dog Bexley.


No more wine :(


One time when Matt and I were in Florida visiting his parents, we decided to plan 9 holes of golf. In the middle of the round, the sky darkened and lightning seemed to come out of no where. We hoped in the metal golf cart and drove to a part of the path that was slightly covered and in a residential area. I knew that if you were in a car during a lightning storm, you were relatively safe; however, I wasn’t sure where I golf cart fit into that equation. With the lightning getting worse (we literally saw a bolt strict the lake no more than 100 feet from where we were) I decided to call my dad who was back in New Hampshire. He quickly told me to get out of the cart and go knock on the door of one of the houses. I knew he would be helpful even from a distance.

When Abby was hiding in the closet, she called my parents too. Clearly, us Brethauer girls have really good survival instincts – call Mom and Dad.

Thanks parents for always picking up the phone. I don’t know what we would do without you!