Here are Suzy & Ray as I portrayed us in my last set of paper dolls who went to DC.

Wednesday January 21

It's now been several days since we returned home... Getting back in gear was made more difficult by an attack of Ozarks' ice. With some time to reflect & now with power again, I can finish the job of reporting on our experience in Washington. I'll follow with further thoughts later....

Today we did a bit more tourist strolling around with fewer crowds & not quite as cold. It was still crowded when we got to the Mall. Quite a few charter busses lined up along the streets near the Smithsonian. I still didn't get to go through the National Archives because the line was more than an hour long. Guess we'll just have to go back again sometime......

("Later Thoughts" will have more paper doll info.)

Kathleen's apartment building, Imperial House - 18th & Q please. Taxi drivers in DC are as crazy as anywhere else, but they get you where you need to go if the streets aren't blocked off.

Cheryl & Helen worked the desk at Imperial House & thought we were crazy to keep going out in the cold & crowds.

The neighborhood is full of old mansions that have been converted into apartments or embassies. This is the Embassy of Argentina. Turkey, Malaysia, Botswana & several others were nearby. The Vice-President's residence is a few blocks away & the sound of motorcades often echoes through the street.

DuPont Circle is a neat area with quite a mix of people & architecture.

click here for more info

We visited several stores including Whole Foods, a neat used book store & Beadazzled. You didn't really think I could go somewhere without finding a bead store, did you? If it hadn't been so cold, there were other stores & museums we would have loved to see.


Our last outing

We had dinner on Wednesday evening with Brian Lessenberry, one of my former students. Brian was on the famous Quiz Bowl team that won the Vanderbilt Tournament & had a great season. Ray & I took them a bunch of places & really enjoyed the gang. One of our kids! He attended Georgetown, then grad school in New York & now works next door to the White House. His job involves military research & analysis so I really can't tell you more about it because I really don't know. (Not attributable..)

The changing administration means his workplace will see management changes & he'll be busy sharing his work with the new team. Brian's description of last week was similar to the end of school; seniors glad to be getting out, but sad to be going. It will be tough for a lot of these folks to find work now. Wednesday found a bunch of newbies walking the halls lost like freshmen on the first day of classes & trying to figure out what to do. Brian is in the bureaucracy that stays put when administrations change. One time when not being promoted may be a good thing.

We met for dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill close to the White House.

This is a really neat place & popular with folks who work at the White House compound. The history of the restaurant goes back to 1856. Check out their web site

Our table was near the bar - a replica of an older one. Very cozy & just oozes "insider" ambiance. The crab cakes were excellent & served with a chipoltle sweet potato gratin..mmmm..

It was fun to visit, but we had an early flight to prepare for, so had to call it an evening fairly early. I hope Brian continues to do well & helps keep us safe through his work...whatever it is!

We COULD rule the world!!


After the inauguration, we got back to the apartment as fast as we could to get warmed up. Kathleen had soup, hot drinks & blankets ready for us. We spent the afternoon & evening eating & watching the parade & inaugural balls. I really liked Michelle Obama's dress for the ceremony, but wasn't wild about her ball gown. The Obamas look like a very happy couple & quite glad to be interacting with people at all the stops. The military ball dance was sweet.

I'm excited to see what they are able to do to influence the country's future. Michelle is so smart & talented that I'm sure she will do many good things while First Lady. It's going to be interesting!

The old buildings of DuPont Circle are being preserved as part of history. At least the facade must be kept, many have old fronts & very modern interiors. I wouldn't want to drive around the Circle, it's a challenge to navigate. Traffic was a nightmare for many since areas were blocked off, delivery trucks couldn't get through & it was a real hassle for those trying to work through inauguration week.

The DuPont Circle Metro station. I like the metro in DC & it usually is a very good way to get around. Not on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday while we were there! It was much easier to walk 2 miles than deal with the crowd. Amazingly, only one person was hurt on the metro during the crush on inauguration day.

To get to the station, you have to go down the 4 story escalator! UP was not working...... thankfully we were going down. Those coming up didn't look happy at all!

Obama's picture was on everything you can think of! Our only souvenirs were a few buttons since we didn't have much room or money. We did keep our metro tickets with his picture.


Thursday morning - EARLY!

We got away from Kathleen's place before 5:00. Out to Dulles Airport with no significant problems. The flight took off on time, easy trip to Charlotte, no extra time in the airport today! Got to XNA with no trouble & were home by mid afternoon. Tired, but glad to have had this opportunity of a lifetime.

The Lone Sailor

This is part of the Navy Memorial. The sailor has been in place for several years, but the surrounding bronze murals are fairly new. Below is the depiction of Theodore Roosevelt reviewing the Great White Fleet. In the museum, there are a lot of neat displays & a new program for Navy veterans to log in & find friends & fellow sailors. Ray hasn't finished his log, but will soon.

Next, The National Museum of Natural History. Much of this has been redone since our last visit. The mammal area was quite nifty. This cute little critter is a Fairy Armadillo. Much nicer than the ones around here!

After seeing the Hope Diamond & other amazing jewelry, we headed for the Gem & Mineral area. VERY COOL!! I don't remember what most of them actually are, but some are totally surreal.

Modern art? Special effects?

The collapse of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man?

Actually, it's concretized sand from France. Cool!

Incan ruins? A starship?

Some are just disgusting.....but malachite beads are so pretty!

The central figure of the museum.

There are plenty of sources to see more details & close-up pictures. I wanted to show what we saw & did, but really can't explain the emotions of the events. "Amazing" is the word we keep coming back to, inadequate though it is.