01/16/2009: For my first day in D.C. ( I was staying in Alexandria, VA) my initial plan was to get on a tour trolley and go to some of the monuments. That didn't happen. The trolley was supposed to be a 2 day ticket with three different routes to switch between. Because of street closings, they were selling tickets for 2 hours for a particular route good for one day only at the same price. Well, I'm no sucker! I went to plan B - The International Spy Museum.
The Spy Museum was cool! First you went up in this elevator with flashing lights to a room full of information to choose a fake identity. A little while later, doors automatically opened to the "briefing room" which had a small theater that gave information about the museum and a history about spies. The next room had gadgets and technology. I climbed through an air duct which allowed you to spy on other people visiting the museum, listened to bugs which were placed in different rooms and saw a great video about female spies or Femmes Fatales (the video was shown in a vanity mirror!). I could go on and on, but instead let me give two thumbs up and recommend it to everyone!
I then headed to Union Station to have lunch with John Mataya, a long time friend of my brother's. The station had all sorts of scaffolding up for a stage and there were tons of people. I had originally planned on meeting Kenn there later to go shopping, so I did not take any pictures inside. We ended up shopping at Pentagon City Mall instead. I had a nice lunch with John, but felt a little envious when I found out he had tickets to the Inauguration!
I headed off from lunch. I tried stopping in at my representative's office, but he wasn't in yet. Unfortunately, I didn't have a Senator to visit. I left the Longwell House Office Building and headed to the Mall. I got to walk by the place all the excitement would be happening. In the picture to the right, I am standing in front of the Capital. Chairs were already set up. There were port-a-potties EVERYWHERE!
I walked by the National Gallery of Art.
Can you see me?
I went to the National Museum of Natural History. It was so enormous! They recently added an area just about the depths of the ocean. There was so much to take in. I went into their Butterfly Sanctuary. It had all sorts of butterflies in all different stages. Upon leaving, you had to check your self in a mirror to make sure one wasn't hitching a ride on you!
Above: Close-up of three butterflies, Overview of Butterfly Sanctuary
Middle: Agates, the Hope Diamond and Glow in the Dark rocks.
Below: California Two-Spot Octopus, Overview of Ocean Display
I was in the museum until it closed. I headed back to the metro and had dinner with Kenn, Shane, Nate and Dawn at a wonderful family style Italian place.
01/17/2009: Kenn and I went to the National Cathedral. It was amazing and huge! We arrived just as a service was ending, so we wandered around and then went up to the top floor to look at the views. You could see all over. There were pictures placed around to identify what you were looking at. We had a wonderful tour from one of the docents. She had more information than I care to write about, but it was all very interesting. My favorites were the stained glass and the mosaics. The building is 100 years old and took 83 years to complete. There are several tombs and crypts throughout. The bells weigh in at over 400 tons! It was designed in the traditional gothic style with beautiful arches inside and out.
Top Row Left to Right: Top floor window view, Science & Space window, Mosaic detail.
Bottom Row Left to Right: Main Chapel, colors on wall from stained glass windows, and stained glass detail.
01/18/2009: Ken, Shane and I headed to King Street in Alexandria. We walked down by the pier. There was a Coast Guard boat there. It was pretty cold, so we stopped in an Irish pub with a big fire place until Nate could join us.
01/19/2009: Dawn and I headed to the MoveOn.org Obama display in Georgetown and to the Torpedo Galleries. The exhibit was great! We got our picture taken with a poster of Obama and looked around at all the amazing art people had created. I hadn't brought my camera, so I took a bunch of pictures with my phone - I'll get those online soon as Stu shows me how! In the mean time you can see pictures at http://politeinpublic.com/event/614/manifest/20090119_PLT08_1229
(search for image 318, 319) and at
01/20/2009: The big day! Kenn and I headed out at around 7 a.m. We skipped the first metro train because it was so full. Kenn had the great idea to get in towards the end of the train. We were stuffed in like sardines! The train had to skip a stop because the line just to get out of the station was up to the platform! We got off at the Gallery Pl./Chinatown stop, walked about a block and came to a stop in awe of the blockade of people lining the street. The intersection of 7th and D was packed with people. We decided to try going around the block. Two blocks up and two blocks over there were fences blocking the way. We decided just to get in line.
I was in line for about 5 1/2 hours. It was FREEZING. I couldn't feel my toes. I managed to get behind a few women from Ohio who helped me through the line. I lost track of Ken about an hour in. He then headed out of line to find a bathroom! There was no way I was going to get out of line. It would have taken me just as long to get out as is had to move the few feet forward I had managed.
People flicked off Bush's helicopter as it flew over. They chanted "Let us in!". When Obama started his speech, man held up a small radio. You could hear his voice echoing off the buildings. The crowd quieted and leaned in to hear. There were tears in many people's eyes including my own. Cheers rang out in the street when it was done.
Right before getting to the security gate, things got VERY squished. I thought I'd have bruises. Groups of 20 or so were led to go through the gates. I set my things on the table, walked through the medal detector and I was in! Kenn joined me about two hours later.
The parade finally started. Anticipation was high. People were everywhere - lining the blocks, standing on platforms, piggy backing, even in the trees. I held my spot on some stairs where I could see over the crowd. Finally Obama arrived. I had my camera ready was scanning over the heads of the pressing crowds. He passed out of range. Confusion set in around me. Where was he? Then someone shouted, "He's getting out of the car!" I ran after him with about 2 thousand other people. I saw him! If I were only a few inched taller I could have gotten a picture. As I ran trying to get through the crowd and possibly ahead of the car, my asthma kicked in. I had to stop. I headed back defeated. Then I heard somebody say, "Here comes Biden!" The crowds had thinned due to all those following Obama. I saw a women sitting on the edge of a chair just behind the crowds. She had slipped off the chair and hurt her ankle. I stood behind her on the chair just as Biden was walking by. He was all smiles and so was I!
02/21/2009: The Torpedo gallery was down by the pier. It is a great old building with three floors of artists' studios with displays set up. We spent a lot of time there with many temptations. I spoke to one woman about her pottery and about my summer attempts. She had some advice and lots of stories. It made me miss my studio gals!
01/22/2009: For my last day, Dawn and I headed back into D.C. We to the metro back to Keith Ellison's office. He was in a meeting when we got there, so we had lunch there in the building. We returned to his office and waited for him to come out. He was about to leave for a vote, but was nice enough to pose for this picture and didn't seem rushed. I gave him one of the patches I had made. He thanked me and headed off.
We then walked over to the White House. There were a lot of nice buildings on the way. When we got there the side walk was crowded with people. It was exciting to think that Obama could be looking out the window while I was taking a picture! I turned and took a picture of what his view would be.