Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Family Affair

We were graced by the moms last weekend. It was wonderful. I think they really enjoyed themselves and didn't kill us in the process! It helps that they get along so well. Mothers-in-law in the same hotel room - jealous? The weather was not so cooperative, but on the 'glass is half full' side, it didn't rain as much as they had predicted and we never saw the dangerous storms they had said would hit us on Saturday.

High points:

  • They cooked dinner for us on Thursday - what a treat. They were only mildly amused by our tiny kitchen.
  • Fri: Got to sit in on one of E*'s med school lectures. It was pretty cool, except the professor was covering the entire digestive system and we were SUPER hungry.
  • Walked east to the White House; took your standard tourists pics there.
  • Proceeded to the Mall and hit the WWII memorial (E*'s fav), reflecting pool, Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean Memorials, and finally dragged ourselves to the Smithsonian metro stop.
  • Ate leftovers and watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
  • Sat: lazy morning followed by musuems. Freer & Sackler Gallery was first: ancient pottery for E*'s mom and Hokusai for me. We whizzed through the impressionist section of the National Gallery for Cezanne (not worth the wait in line) and a little Renoir and Manet.
  • Dinner at the Reef! I think their favorite part was that the fish tanks flanking our table housed 4 of the characters from Finding Nemo.

They had an early flight out on Sunday morning and of course, the weather cleared up about 2 hours after they left.
It was really nice to have them both here.They loved seeing our apartment and pointing out all the little pieces from our families' homes that they recognized. The neighborhood wasn't too shabby either - their hotel was about a 4 min. walk from our place.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A tale of two bridges

It finally happened. They blew up the bridge. The old Jamestown bridge was demolished yesterday. My dad got to watch from a DEM boat and got the whole thing on film (it's a Rhode Island thing, you understand).

Here are 2 before and after shots. I know its hard to see the difference, but trust us, this is significant. They built the new bridge in 1992 and named it the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge. But no one ever called it that. The old bridge was from 1940. That's 14 years of old bridge and new bridge living side by side. Last time I was home, I think my family and neighbors spent at least 45 minutes discussing the bridges and demolition day.

I once heard that they almost filmed part of True Lies here so they could use the footage of the bridge explosion.

This article has links to video of the demolition.

RIP old Jamestown Bridge

Friday, April 07, 2006

I can't think of a pun for 'cherry blossoms'

I don't know how the cherry blossoms are fairing now after the odd weather we've had this week. They supposedly peaked last Thursday and Friday, but then we got zapped with a small cold snap and intermittent rain. I'll survey the damage this weekend.
For the last month, my grandmother has inquired about the cherry blossoms every time we've talked on the phone (at least once a week). She LOVES them. She's also quite irked that my mom is not expressing the same excitement over them - the moms are coming to visit in less than 2 weeks. Anyway, you may remember that I was at a loss as to what to get Gram for her 80th birthday. Well, of course I was informed the day before my trip to RI that the flowers had suddenly bloomed. I learned that their 'peak' is not like autumn in New England. It's not a gradual transition whose climax lasts for almost 2 weeks. The local news reported that the peak would last about 2 days. That left me no time to take any photos. Or so I thought. A certain friend of mine did not see my imminent departure to RI as an obstacle to photo-taking. Her response was, (on Thursday night) "just get up early and take the pictures before work. You know, sunrise IS the best time for that kind of photography." Awesome. I sort of just laughed at her. I was going to have a suitcase with me for cryin' out loud!

But then I went home and thought about it. And thought about how much my gram wanted to see the cherry blossoms. And how I was being whiny. I turned it into an adventure.

On Friday morning I got up around 6:30, made coffee for my Newport Yachting Center travel mug, finished last-minute packing, and headed for the 14th St. bus to take me down to the Tidal Basin. I maneuvered that suitcase around the tourists and elderly people who must have agreed that 7:30 am is the best cherry blossom viewing time. I took about 20 photos; most of them weren't that great because I didn't have time to run around the entire basin looking for the best shot. But a few were exactly what I had been hoping for. I spent Friday night on my parents' computer, photoshopping a couple of the best ones to bring out the colors. I printed them Saturday morning, stuck the best one in a frame and she got to unwrap it at the restaurant after we all surprised the hell out of her. I think she was very pleased.

On Sunday we took her to see IMAX: Deep Sea 3D; narrated by Kate Winslet and Johnnie Depp. It was really amazing. I'm so glad she suggested we see it. AND Alan Shawn Feinstein was there to greet us and tell us all how wonderful children are - to reward all the children in the theater for being so great, he passed out free hologram cards. Or as he called them, "cahhds".

Frothy morning

My mornings have improved dramatically recently because I found my milk frother in RI last weekend. I shall explain. Once upon a time in high school, I worked at several cafes and thought it was appropriate for me to get more in the coffee groove. So I bought a french press (I think it was in anticipation of living in a dorm room) and not soon thereafter, a Bodum milk frother. I'm not sure I ever used that french press in the dorm room. But I did use the milk frother at my parents' house to enliven their crappy, weak coffee. The 2 pieces of the milk frother got separated at some point and for the last 3 years, I've been unable to get the 2 pieces in the same place at the same time. I find the glass beaker part and tell myself to put it in a safe place so when I find the plunger, they can be reunited. But I always managed to lose part 1 just before finding part 2. Yada yada yada, I found the plunger in our DC apt. 3 weeks ago and the glass beaker in my parents' liquor cabinet last weekend. Ta-da! So my mornings have gotten better because I get a yummy cafe latte with foam on top right at my desk. Our office orders fair-trade, organic coffee from Mexico - we don't mess around.

I think I'll keep this post short and save the other topics on my mind for some up-coming posts. I don't like the marathon entries I tend to write that cover too many topics. Even I can barely read them to the end without getting distracted.