Saturday, May 30, 2009

Black Tie 1

I am learning that Washington DC thrives on luncheons, fundraisers, galas, and black-tie dinners. One of the unexpected benefits of being here is getting to experience some of these high society affairs. (Talking to the long-timers here, it really isn't a benefit. They long ago had their fill of black-tie affairs but continue to attend because it goes with the territory.)

AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) is one of the worlds premier association for the advancement of air and space endeavors. Every year, for about 80 years, they present a number of awards for significant achievements in the field. (My co-worker, the lawyer/lobbyist, calls them the "Geek Awards".) Some of the awardees over the years have been the greatest names in the development of air (commercial and military)and space travel: Orville Wright, William Boeing, James Doolittle, Robert Goddard, Werner von Braun, and Donald Douglass are just a few of the people presented AIAA awards through the years.

In mid-May, AIAA held their annual "Awards Spotlight Gala" in DC. Boeing was a sponsor of the event and "bought" two tables at the event. One of the main Boeing people involved in AIAA is a man I know from Seattle, Dave Knowlen. Dave, knowing that I am working in DC now, invited Barb and I to attend the event with him. So we did. It was held at the beautiful at the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Ave. (As it turned out, Dave was given the Distinguished Service award for his long involvement and significant contributions to AIAA.)

Here are a few pics from the evening:

Who's lookin' fine?

The ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building

Congratulations, Dave!

Berkeley Plantation

We continue to be fascinated by the long and rich history in this area.

On the trip home from Williamsburg, we drove highway 5 along the James River, up river from the Jamestown settlement. It is a beautiful drive and we found that there are quite a few historic plantations along the river. We stopped and toured one called Berkeley Plantation. We spent time touring the buildings and the grounds to get a sense of the rich history of this particular plantation.

Berkeley was originally settled in 1619 but later abandoned after several savage attacks by Indians. Eventually the property was purchased by Benjamin Harrison V, who later became one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His son, William Henry Harrison, one day to become the 9th president of the United States, was born and raised there. (William Henry was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president.) (Click any of those names to learn more about the Harrisons.)

During the Civil War, General McClellan encamped with 140,000 Union troops during the summer of 1862. The tune "TAPS" was written and first played during this encampment. President Lincoln visited the General twice that summer.

The plantation home was built in 1726. It has been beautifully kept and was wonderful to tour.

Only two of the outbuildings still remain. There are about 1,000 acres, many still farmed.

Other firsts claimed at Berkeley: the first official Thanksgiving on December 4, 1609, and the first bourbon whiskey distilled there in 1621.

To learn more about Berkeley, check out these links:

The history lesson is over.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg

Well, if you ever want to feel like you have stepped into another place and time, visit Colonial Williamsburg. Once the capitol of Virginia between 1699-1780, the town has been restored to show people what life was like in colonial times, but more importantly to show us what America stands for and the battle raged for our freedom. We took the weekend of May 15-17 to visit Williamsburg and are SO glad we did!! The town has been restored, there are people dressed in period clothing, and there are re-enactments going on showing what was happening during the time of the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Colonial Streets


Letting off the cannons to celebrate the signing of the Declaration!!

Dan got into trouble!! We got caught in a "little" rain storm!

It was well worth the trip and we want to go back to see Jamestown!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mother's Day

As much as I am enjoying our adventure in DC, I always miss my kids .... some times more than others. Mother's Day was one of those times. We did talk to or Skype with each of them that day, which was wonderful. But, this being DC, I wanted to do something on Mother's Day that Dan and I hadn't done yet ..... go to the National Zoo.

I thought it might be a good way to spend a nice May afternoon, and perhaps forget for a while how I miss the kids. It didn't work out that way. See what I mean?

"Mom, Mom, feed me! I'm hungry!"

"Aww, Mom, I don't want to go out and get some exercise. I'm too tired."

"I don't want to sit up straight ... I'm comfortable like this."

"Mom Mom, look at this cool fort! How come they won't let me in?"

"I told you you could have a COUPLE of friends sleep over!"

"I can't take my eye off her or she will take off like a flash! I wish malls had fenced in play areas!"

"But, Mom, this is how ALL the kids wear their hair now!"

I love you, kids!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NUTS !!!

Nuts. Didn't even see this one coming!

I am sure you all have been to a museum or antique shop and had the experience of seeing something familiar from your past. I can remember seeing items on display that would strike a chord with me ..... "oh my gosh, I remember that my grandmother had one of those applesauce grinders" , or "I remember my sister had one of those lunch boxes", or "my Mom had a ......". Those of you who are our age, you know what I am talking about? The mere sight of something familiar, but perhaps long ago forgotten brings a smile to your face as a wave of nostalgia sweeps over you.

But this time, WHAM! The wave was really a slap upside the head. Oh, it really shouldn't have been a big deal. I mean, it was just Tupperware kitchen canisters .... UGLY orange Tupperware canisters. See if you agree:

But this particular orange Tupperware was in the Julia Childs exhibit at the Smithsonian American History Museum. What made this Tupperware a unique experience is that Barb and I owned a set of our own at one time during our married life. Of course, it was when orange was cool, but still, we are now at that age where we are starting to see things WE owned, not Mom, not Grandma, but we as adults owned ..... in a museum.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Siblings in Town

O for joy when family reunites. We were blessed when Paul & Donna, and Chuck & Donna all came to see us in early May. What a joy to all be together, and for the first time since Justin and Renee's wedding in Lander in Sept, 2006. We spent several days seeing all the sights that topped their "to-see" list. It is fun seeing DC through the eyes of those who come to visit. And with each visitor, we see something new as well. And did we have FUN!! Oh how we laugh when we are all together. You will probably recognize some of the backgrounds in these pics, but enjoy them anyway.

At the Capitol Building

At the Smithsonian Museums

Guess Where?

At the Library of Congress

At the National Botanical Garden

Thanks for coming, P, D, C, D! Hope to see you again soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When the Kids Came

We had a great time in April when all the kids came to Virginia. They came in shifts but we had a few days overlapped where all five were here at one time. All our guest bedrooms were filled with our family! Nate and Shell came on April 10th and stayed until the 18th. Callie and Matt arrived April 15th, and Kacie on the 16th, and they all left on the 20th. They were all eager to see the sights of DC so we kept on the go all week long. Here is the listing of all we did and saw...

Deer sighting - five or so in the woods
Smithsonian American History Museum
Culpepper, VA: dinner with Jared and Lydia Gwaltney

Easter Dinner
The Masters Tournament

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
Capitol tour
Library of Congress
National Archives: the documents of freedom, the BIG exhibit

Dinner at Capitol Brewing Company for Nate's B-D Union Station

National Cathedral

Holocaust Museum
Jefferson Memorial (from across the Tidal Basin)

Callie and Matt arrive

The White House area
Washington Monument
White House tour
The Old Executive Office Building
WWII Memorial
Korean War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Viet Nam War Memorial
Declaration of Independence Memorial Park

Old Ebbitt Grill for Dinner
Kacie arrives

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Iwo Jima Memorial
The Netherlands Carillon
My offices (old and new)

Nate and Shell leave
Capitol tour
Library of Congress, with exhibits
Starbucks at the old Fireman's Assurance Building

Embassy Road
National Cathedral (with the bag pipers)
Georgetown: shopping and dinner at J. Paul's

The National Archives, the documents of freedom

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum
The Smithsonian American History Museum
The National Holocaust Museum
The White House
Marine One bringing the President home
Deer sighting - one in the neighbors yard (PS - We saw about a dozen in two groups last night!)

What a whirlwind week - what fun it was! We were able to check off some places we hadn't been to yet. We took loads of pics - there were so many good ones we could hardly cull them down to a reasonable size. So instead we broke them into three package.

First, is the time when just Nate and Shell were here:

This next batch is when we had all five kids here:

And the last batch taken after Nate and Shell left:

We were blessed to have them all here.