Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things in Omaha That Made Me Laugh (or Smile or Otherwise Happy)

When I go to Omaha, as I now do at least once a year, the impression that is given is that I go to visit my Poodle. Which is true. Why else would a person go to Omaha, Nebraska for vacation if not for a Poodle? But there is something else I get from it. For me, being in JP's beautiful Old Market loft apartment is like a spa vacation. First of all, JP is just the consummate host. He insists on paying for everything. (Sometimes I force him to let me pay for things but it always involves threatening to create a scene). Second, he's the sort of host who says, "Wake me when you get up". Like, if he were by himself he'd wake up when he freaking wanted to but he doesn't want me to have to fend for myself. (I don't wake him up. I get up and make coffee and he hears me and comes toddling out). Which leads me to #3: he makes sure there is coffee around because he knows I love it; even though he doesn't really drink coffee. (His friend Minogue also knows this about both of us and when she came over she brought a bag of coffee from Scooters, the local beanery). And that parenthetical statement leads me to No. 4, which is that JP has some really nice friends and they are all super nice to me. Actually, they make me feel a little like a local hero.

But most of all, it is a spa vacation because the whole time I am there we do whatever we want. We eat when, where and what we want, drink when and where we want, watch stuff on TV if we want, sit around talking if we want, entertain if we want. There is not a smitch of obligation about the time and it feels languorous and restorative - a total break and the complete opposite of my real life, which is full of obligation and deadline and expectation and responsibility. (Not that there is ultimately anything wrong with that but lordy, a girl needs a break once in a while).

The other thing about being in Omaha is that there is a lot of laughing. And laughing is a very healthy thing.

Miss Smay, holding forth. Always amusing.

The birthday boy received a lot of gifts to ease his transition into his golden years. Like reading glasses and adult diapers.

They were pretty comfy.
They also provided a source of endless amusement for Miss Smay.

Here he is, using a diaper to assist his Lady Gaga impersonation.
Jon (pretty much all JP's friends are required by law to have a name that begins with "J". I was grandfathered in) wasn't any good at the Kung Fu dance on the Wii so he used the controller as a microphone and rocked out instead.

Then we danced.

Minogue, the most photogenic woman in the world. Also one of the sweetest. Provided, that is, she does not receive crappy service in her favorite restaurant. You do not want to be on the receiving end of her ire in that circumstance.
My Poodle...who I love very much.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pop Quiz

The Child is on summer break (at least until summer school starts), The Spouse is taking the week off and MAB is on vacation.

What is wrong with this picture?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Things in Washington DC That Made Me Cry

This is me, striding the Halls of Power. We had a meeting with an aide in Senator Murray's office. You have to go through security (of course) to get into any of the senate office buildings but once in you can walk through the halls, passing the large and impressive offices of the senators. There was something magnificent about that.

When we had our meeting in Senator Murray's office we acted very professionally and cool. Until the aide offered us tickets to the galleries for the House and Senate, giving us passage into the places where laws are passed. I can't tell you why, but I lost it.

They were debating amendments to the Wall Street reform bill when we were there. Only 2 senators were on the floor at the time but it was quite something to look down on all those desks (which we weren't allowed to photograph), desks that are as old as the Capitol itself. And it was restorative to listen to the remarks of the senators, who were thoughtful, well-spoken and not remotely hysterical. It was a reminder that the sound bites we get may be full of clamouring partisanship but the real work is conducted without fisticuffs.

The trolley was moving quickly through Arlington so it was hard to get a good shot. But that was appropriate because I was blubbering like a baby.

Julia's pots and pans. 'Nuff said.

No photography was allowed in the exhibit where the Smithsonian displays the flag that flew over Fort McKinley...the flag that inspired the "Star Spangled Banner". So this artwork will have to fill in. But seeing that tattered old mess with it's smattering of hand-sewn stars blew my mind.

The lunch counter from Gainsborough, North Carolina; site of one of the sit-ins from the Civil Rights movement.
These beautiful young people did a 20 minute program about the importance of song in the Civil Rights movement. It was incredibly moving and by the time they wrapped up I was once again embarrassing MAB with my weeping.

This is me (with -from the top- Rachael, Mary and Lisa) on the staircase at Gadsby's Pub, the oldest tavern in Alexandria. All the big names from the birth of our nation used to get their drink on here. (We were there for the final feast of the conference). These stairs lead to the room where Thomas Jefferson held his inaugural dinner and dance. Thomas Freaking Jefferson walked on these stairs, people. Thomas Jefferson!

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Betcha Thought I Had Run Away from Home, Huh?

I learned a few things in May. One of them was that while traveling can be veryvery fun and veryvery educational and veryvery stimulating, it also plays hell with your real life. A week in DC, 5 very busy days at home and then a long weekend in Omaha just threw me right off course. It's simply amazing how well established habits can be blown all the bits by that much disruption, however pleasant, to the regular course of things.

I'm trying to get back on track. I just have to find the track.