Our Nation’s Capital

Last week, I embarked on my first work trip of Lexi’s life. I’m not going to lie, it was brutal for everyone involved. For obvious reasons, Lexi did not sleep very well, which means that the Irishman didn’t sleep either. Since I was fretting about both of them, I slept horribly and when I did actually manage to fall asleep, my body was urging me awake just a short while later to deal with the fact that I was mother away from my nursling. While I am grateful for the invention of the breast pump, I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can take a sledgehammer to it no longer need it.

Still, I was in one of my favorite cities, so during my free time at the conference, I did my best to uncurl from the fetal position on my hotel room floor and I forced myself to go out and see the sights. We were staying at the Hilton Hotel off of Dupont Circle, which happens to be where Hinkley attempted to assassinate President Reagan. In short, it was the perfect place for a bunch of crime folks to gather.

And here’s Dupont Circle. Look the trees still have leaves! I don’t know why, but Dupont Circle always reminds me of the movie the American President.

The first day we went exploring, our final destination was the Holocaust Museum, which was a moving and harrowing experience. It was a cold, windy and blustery day, but I figured that since we set out to walk 3 miles there, we might as well take some pictures of important places along the way. We walked down Embassy Row and made our way over to the White House.

I’m not sure where the government is going to cut funds from to deal with our financial crisis, but I can tell you that it won’t come from the White House’s landscape budget – as you can see in the above picture, the White House is looking rather colorless and pitiful these days.

Speaking of which, we saw the Occupy DC folks not far from the White House in their tents and makeshift shelters. It was such a chilly day that everyone there must have been inside their tents when we walked by.

Our next stop was the Washington Monument. Alas, it was damaged in the freak earthquake that affected DC a couple of months back so we couldn’t climb it. Oh and in the picture below, I wasn’t posing, I was bracing myself against the wind!

After the Holocaust Museum, which really affected me since it featured so many exhibits on children, we walked back to the hotel to go to that evening’s work events. Upon our return, we realized that in all, we logged more than 7 miles hoofing it around the city. I have to say, that is one of my favorite things about big cities. Who needs the gym when you’re logging 10 miles a day just walking around?

The next day, the day dawned bright…and cold. It wasn’t as cold as my mountains, but it was still pretty brisk. Still, I was eager to see the sun after so many dreary days, so we set off to get a tour of the Capitol Building.

Gosh, what a difference the sun makes! During our tour of the Capitol, we saw the old Supreme Court chamber (which they used before they had their own building).

And we saw the frescoes in both the old Capitol rotunda…

 as well as that of the new (and current) dome.

I don’t know why, but I have such a fascination with taking pictures of ceilings. I swear, half of my pictures from Paris are with my camera pointed up. We also saw a number of wonderful sculptures, like this one of Honest Abe.

Finally, I stood in the center of the crypt, which is not only the center of the Capitol building, but also the exact center of the entire city. Based on the depression left in the marble, I probably wasn’t the first person with this idea.

The last thing we did before leaving the city was to head over to the Supreme Court building.

I must say that this is my absolute favorite place in the city. I am so reverent of our civil liberties. While the courts are not perfect (by a long shot), they have had the courage to remedy a number of wrongs with regard to social inequities and for that, I am grateful.

Even though I barely had any free time to go exploring, I saw enough to reignite my love of the city. Washington D.C. (my place of birth) will always beckon me. I was saying as much to my friend as we were leaving the city and I was questioning my decision to live in a rural part of North Carolina. Was I out of my mind to live in the middle of nowhere? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Parker and Lexi to be raised with more culture, museums and diversity?  Perhaps I should consider a move down the line?

And then we got stuck in traffic. And it took us almost 3 hours to go 10 miles. And I took back everything I said about questioning my decision to live on the edge of the earth. And 8 hours later as I was about to cross from Tennessee into North Carolina, I saw this glorious sight.

Home. I was almost there. It may not have the Smithsonian, but it has the three precious people who mean the world to me and as long as I have them, what more could I possibly need?

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