Monday, January 16, 2017

Our Home, Yes I Am Home, Home is When I'm Alone With You

So, I wrote my whole travelogue posts, but what have I been doing since then? Inquiring minds want to know...Or else they can't be bothered, but I'm going to tell you all anyway.

I got back on Friday evening. We dropped Coadster off at Union Station, so she could catch a train for NYC to spend NYE there with a college friend. Stinky and I took turns driving home. We had a great time on vacation, but man was it great to be home. John and I stayed up talking until after midnight that night and that is REALLY late for us.

I also didn't run or ride bikes at all on vacation, even though we did average about 21,000 steps per day and one day walked over 23,000 steps. I didn't read a book either while we were gone, but I did educate the hell out of myself in other ways for that week.

The first thing I did on Saturday was ride bikes, go for a run and read 100 pages of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn".

The other big news is that Coadster got engaged the day after she got back from her trip. They had picked out the ring in May, so it wasn't a huge shock to any of us. She isn't a fan of diamonds, so she wanted her birth stone. I'm not one much for jewelry, but even I know that it's gorgeous.

 I have spent the last couple of weeks spoiling cats...

...And reading books.

I also got to meet my friend Burne's rescue donkey named Mojo. I love him ever so much. Apparently, I'm a fan of jack asses.

So, things are getting back to normal at our place.

We even got my commuter bike all set-up. The cables broke, so we took it to the shop and got a new chain on, it's recabled, John put on new brake pads and I had the bike shop dude put on some bright red bar tape. Sexy!

I'm hoping to hunker down, start training for running and bike races coming up, get some work done around the house and get some book reading hibernating done during the next couple of colder months. There's no place like home. There's no place like home...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

And Now My Mind is Working Overtime, It's Been a Looooooong Day.

On our last day, we got up and got moving by 9 so we could get to the Air in Space Museum before it opened and hopefully not have to wait in line very long. Although the line was long, it was a good plan, because I wait was easily doable.

We checked out the gift shop and I bought a pair of Einstein socks. When I went to put my card in the machine, it gave me the screen for a debit card, even though it was a credit card and not a bank one. the woman told me to put my car d back and try again, so I did.

We looked around at the flight stuff and then got a snack before we headed to the space stuff.

The space stuff was really cool too.

And my girls were very sweet about posing for dorky photos.

We headed to the Holocaust Museum and past an Art Museum that had some really cool sculptures.

The Holocaust Museum was very well done and of course, really intense.

I thought the section where they take you through the life of a Jewish child during the Holocaust was the most powerful. You really feel it as you walk through and follow the story. It's such a sad, sad chapter in world history.

While we were at the Holocaust Museum, I got a call and voice mail message. I checked it out and called back my credit card company because they said that someone made some weird charges. I thought it might just be that we were in D.C., but when they told me what the charges were, I knew I had been hacked. $300 on clothes? Me? I might spend that much on food...So, I instantly spazzed (one of my "strengths") and they stopped my card and took the charges off, but I only had one other card with me, which was Mine and John's joint account. We only put so much money in it to take care of bills and mortgage, so we only had $100 dollars left. It was our last day, but we still needed money for food for the rest of that day and the way home and gas to get us home the next day.

I texted John to ask him if he could slide even $100 more into our account, and because he is so wonderful, he said he just slid the money he was going to put in for next month a little earlier. Whew! I had to take the girls outside because the Holocaust Museum is cavernous with tons of background noise and I am quickly becoming a deaf old woman.

Because the lines were so long and we still had a few things we wanted to see that day, we never got to see the rest of the Holocaust Museum. We did, however, go to the National Archives and see one of the Declarations of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights AND the Magna Carta.

We headed to the National Gallery again. My friend Annie had told us about a great gelato cafe right before you get to the underground tunnel to go to the other art building. Since we never got lunch, we decided gelato would be a lovely meal.

The tunnel between the two building was its own art installation. So cool.

The other side of the National Gallery was most of the abstract and more modern art. Coadster doesn't really appreciate art that's just a colored piece of cloth or other things she could just do herself, but she does love Pop Art.

 Apparently, it was my day to see car art.

We headed out of the museum and went to the National Cathedral to meet my friend Kit. I met her back in the 80's during my activist days and haven't seen her since 1987. She asked us to meet her at the cathedral, but sadly, it was already closed. The outside was pretty damn impressive, though.

We walked over to a Mexican restaurant and had a lovely meal and a great conversation. The girls and I headed home early, so we could clean and pack and then we all just passed out in our respective beds. It may not have been as spectacular as our first day, and there were certainly some problems (one BIG one), but it was a very nice way to end our trip.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Free at Last. They Took Your Life. They Could Not Take Your Pride.

Stinky listening intently to President Lincoln.

Wednesday was a good day too. We decided to go check out Ford's Theater. its' free, but if you buy your tickets on-line, it costs $3 per person. We did that and were very glad we did. We also went on the first tour at 9, which happened to be another good idea.

We walked to the theater from Union Station, got there around 8:45 and there was already a line. They let us in, we picked up our tickets at Will Call and headed into the museum part. There were many videos and posters and information about Lincoln's presidency, the Civil War and John Wilkes Booth's plot to first kidnap him and then the change to kill President Lincoln instead.

We wandered around and learned so much and then headed to the theater for the presentation.

At first I thought, uh oh. A ranger standing on the stage and talking? Could be a regular snooze fest. Luckily, I was wrong. The ranger did get up on the stage and talk to us about what happened with Lincoln's assassination, but he was entertaining and informative and he told us fun details about how Grant was supposed to go with Lincoln, but Grant's wife couldn't stand Mrs. Lincoln, so they had to make up an excuse to get out of it.

After the presentation, they take you across the street to see the house where Lincoln died. there is another post death museum there and they talk about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth and how delusional he was.

After we got done at Ford's Theater, we headed to Starbucks for caffeine and croissants before we went to the zoo.

I finally got a to see a live panda! Stinky wanted to see giraffes but we were told they were all in Florida for the Winter. What are they? Retirees?

We had a good time at the zoo. We all agreed that the reptile area was our favorite. We saw a snake eating another snake. EW!, but cool.

We went to the rain forest area for just a little minute, as there were birds just flying around and Coadster finds birds creepy. You can see her on the left of this photo keeping a safe distance.

We finally ate lunch and then headed to the National Gallery. We saw lots and lots of religious art and some other cool exhibits.

I'm a fan of the Impressionists, so we checked some of their paintings too. Right as the museum was closing and we were getting ready to leave, we found there was a whole other building to see. We would try to check it out the next day...Our last day in town.

We headed over to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was very well done.

While we were there, we saw a man with his daughter who was about 6 or 7. They went to each quote, his daughter read it and her dad asked her what she thought it meant. Then he talked to her about the meaning. Mostly about coming at the world with love, and fighting for justice and civil rights for yourself and everyone else who is being oppressed. It was so sweet and powerful, that the girls and I were close to tears.

On the way back, we stopped at what I believe was the World War I Monument? It was simple but pretty at night.

Then we went to dinner at an old firehouse. It was good for the most part, but the mussels on my seafood pizza were so overcooked I couldn't eat them. I tried, but they were like rubber. the rest of the pizza was good, though...

My friend Annie met us there. She lives in Virginia and is an activist and mom and an all around incredible woman. I met her on RAGBRAI a couple of years ago and I just love her. The girls had a great time talking to her too.

We headed home and cleaned watched another girl movie before bed. We went to bed early, so we could get up early and make the most of our last day in D.C.

I CanSee a New Horizon. Underneath the Blazin' Sky.

On Tuesday we got going pretty early. We wanted to get our Library of Congress library cards before we met John's family.

 I thought it was just going to be a library, where you went to some kind of desk, filled out the paperwork and got your card. Boy, was I wrong.

The building was gorgeous. Pretty much every little corner of it.

And they even had their own exhibits.

We spent way more time than we thought we would at the library.

The exhibits were engrossing.

We finally tore ourselves away from all of the amazing information and checked out what the actual library part of the Library of Congress looks like. We saw a woman sitting down there and as John pointed out, she was texting. I really want to go in there and read some cool shit if I ever get to go back to D.C. and if I do, you can bet your sweet bippy I won't waste that time texting.

So, we finally got our library cards and they are good for the next two years.

John's family rolled in from Virginia and we met them at the botanical gardens. If you look closely into the silver balls, you can see Stinky's bright pink jacket.

The gardens were lovely, but oh so packed. You could barely find a place to stand without people pressing you along.

We headed to the Native American Museum after that. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. The building was beautiful, but there wasn't much in it. Maybe I'm spoiled by going to the Herd Museum every month when I was a kid in Phoenix, but to me it seems like with so many tribes and so much culture and art and such a sad, sad history from all of us illegal immigrants who came to the US since the Mayflower and before and how badly we STILL treat the actual people who have a right to live in our fine country, that there would be several buildings of exhibits. I thought the gift store had more stuff in it than what I saw from the exhibits. A few of the exhibits I saw were really good and interesting, I just wanted more of that.

It was 64 degrees on that Tuesday and so it was really nice walking around. We ate lunch and then headed to the American History Museum. Stinky loved the African American exhibit and the First Ladies floor. Coadster loved all of it and was a wealth of knowledge any time we had questions about anything.

I was overly excited to see Julia Child's kitchen up close and personal like.

John and his family left us at the museum to get back to John's sister's house. John and his mom were flying back to Iowa pretty early the next day and they had to go home and pack. We definitely missed them after they left.

After the museums closed we walked to the Jefferson Monument, and walked and walked and walked...Even though our feet were killing us, we were lucky enough to see an incredible sunset behind it.

The monument itself was pretty cool too.

And we had this view on the way back. Not too shabby.

We took an Uber to the Georgetown area and hit another Happy Hour with drink and appetizer specials and I FINALLY got the crab cake sandwich I had been fantasizing about since we got to D.C.

 Then Stinky wanted to go the St Elmo's Fire Bar, which is really called The Tombs. We went there, but did walk around to some of the shops in Georgetown first, because we wanted to make extra special sure our feet would fall off by the end of the night...

Since it was just across the street, I made the girls check out the stairs from "The Exorcist". It was sufficiently creepy.

We took another Uber home and our driver was a very interesting character. She talked to all of the cars as if they could hear her through hers and their windows and I have never been honked at by so many people in my life. I'm happy to say that we made it home okay, though.