Thursday, April 29, 2010

EF3 Tornado Hits...Home

Where do you start?
How do you express the total relief
that your mother was untouched and left safe..
then,
when you lay eyes on the destruction,
left behind a violent wind
,a monster of devastation,
as it tore through
the homes on the streets of your childhood?
How do you explain
that while you are so happy and full of relief,
you can also be so full of utter
disbelief and sorrow?
You say,
"Pull up up those cowgirl boots and get over it!"
"There is much to be done"
I would like to take a moment to
Thank everyone..
and I do mean, everyone
who helped and are helping those in the areas
around Mama's.
People have come from all over to help..
Power Companies, Police departments, Red Cross and so many
I can't even begin to think I could name them all..
We want to thank you..
And mostly
Thanks be to God for placing his hand down
over my mother!
***

Monday, April 19, 2010

With One Foot in the New Milinium the Other Slides Back to the 1700's

An Afternoon At Mount Vernon
Friday morning dawned bright and beautiful, what a great day for an adventure!

Michael and I headed north towards Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The home of our first President

George Washington.

We arrived and parked in a lot that was over flowing…

I have no idea why

I would have thought the beautiful home and grounds

of one of “our” most historic figures

would not be covered with tourist on this warm spring day…

I rather enjoyed the dream of walking right up,

maybe being introduced as welcome visitors,

sitting for a “spot o’ tea” ,

then taking a personally guided tour of the grounds…

Hey, a woman can get caught up in her day dreams..especially given a couple hours between point A and point B..

So, Cousin George wasn’t there to greet us

and Martha offered us no tea..

While walking along the actual grounds and along the same hallways,

while running your hand over the very same banister

that once felt the warmth of their hands long ago …

if you just barely squinted your eyes and cocked an ear

you could just almost “hear”

the rustle of a many layered dress as

Martha would have passed this way…

or maybe even the far off whispered sound

of a General’s voice

as he arrived home

coming through the door…

So we did not sit for tea,

all the same I truly enjoyed our time at Mount Vernon.

We began our visit in the Orientation Center

viewing Mount Vernon in miniature .

.a one-twelfth scale exact replica of the mansion

with 22 rooms containing

hundreds of tiny objects

including oil paintings, china, books,

and more than 100 tables and chairs.

A little girls (or an older gamma’s) dream come true …

except it was out of reach behind glass!

While there we watched an 18 minute “action adventure” film

which introduced us to the young Washington

who was to become

“The Father of His Country”.

then upon leaving the the center

we walked upon the grounds that

oh, so many years ago the Washington’s called home.

Mount Vernon

sits upon a gently sloping hill beside the Potomac river..

sporting a long porch on the rivers side

to sit in the shade and catch an afternoons pleasant breeze.

After leaving the kitchen we quickly headed in the direction

of the “Old Vault”

that first housed the earthly remains of our first president..

In his will George made arrangements

for a new burial tomb to be built..

knowing that erosion would ill afford

a good resting spot for him and his prodigy

at the present site of the old tomb.
The new tomb was finally constructed in 1831,

where the Washingtons remains rest today.
From there we headed out

by way of the Museum and education center…

Here, we were also not permitted to take pictures

and this area was being watched over

by some extremely serious looking

security guards..

Didn’t help matters when Michael said rather loudly..

“Hey Donna here’s you a good picture of the copula and dove weather vane..”…

Well, that big guard furrowed his brow,


set his jaw and leveled a very hard look at me!

Needless to say ,

I took no “accidental” pictures in the museum!
***



***
Some facts below I have found on a most wonderful web site


from Mount Vernon


and would highly recommend you


spend some time navigating among its pages


for an in-depth look at the life and times of


George and Martha Washington and of Mount Vernon…


On this web site I have also found a “Virtual tour” of the mansion..


Please, click on this site and enjoy a tour…


we were not allowed to use our cameras “inside”


except for in the visiting servants quarters and the kitchen.


and the couple of times my camera “accidently clicked”


while hanging around my neck the pictures


it produced were mainly


different parts of the nice lady standing in front of me…

Be sure and watch for the key


hanging downstairs on the wall between


the bedroom and dining room!


It is the very key of the Bastille


,a present from General Lafayette in 1790.


It is said that Pres. Washington was so proud of this


that he hung it there on the wall


and there it has been ever since!

On the floor above,


the very bed he slept and perished on


can be seen in his bedchambers


…upon his death..


the room was closed and


Martha moved to another bedchambers


on the next floor up…


(so they said was customary of the times.)


www.mountvernon.org/virtual/index.cfm/ss/29/

Washington greatly expanded his Mount Vernon plantation. He increased the acreage from 2,100 to 8,000, rebuilt the simple farmhouse he inherited into a 2-1/2 story, 20-room Mansion, and designed and built all 12 outbuildings.
Washington chose to aband tobacco farming around 1765, ending his economic dependence on English agents to sell his tobacco and giving Mount Vernon greater autonomy and self-sufficiency. His main crop became wheat, but he experimented with over 60 field crops. Fish from the Potomac was also an important source of food and cash.
Increasingly conscious of the injustice of slavery, his will freed the 122 slaves that were in his posession at the time of his death. He trained slaves as gardeners, shoemakers, carpenters and weavers to help prepare them for their freedom.
Creative and persistent in solving problems, Washington overcame the poor soil at Mount Vernon by starting an innovative plan of crop rotation (switching crop type every year) and mulching, which made his farmland able to sustain its yields. He also introduced the mule to America in a successful effort to find an animal better suited to farm work than the horse.


www.mountvernon.org/learn/explore_mv/lndex.cfm/

If sometime in the future,


you should find yourself in the neighborhood


stop by and give the Washington’s a visit!

***

Patriots' Day

April 19th


The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

(Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cherry Blossoms, Dinosaurs, a Spyglass, and Our Family


Easter weekend
Michael and I
took the opportunity
to have us a little
Out and about.
We started out in Virginia
with a show and the next day
spent the most of the afternoon at Mount Vernon.

(Now, for those of you who don't know when you are getting a blog posting together , the first picture you "upload" will be the last picture seen..so this morning at 7:30 I started uploading pictures...seven and a half hours later I have quit before I got to Mt. Vernon..we will have to let that part of the trip come in a few days!)

***

Friday afternoon,

Michael and I arrive in Washington DC..

It was beautiful!!!

Remember, it's spring!!

It's Easter and it's the Cherry Blossom Festival!



We drive through headed to our hotel,

the Fairfax on Embassy Row.

Beautiful Cherry blossoms

cover the landscape!


















We had a nice evening meal ...

then retiring to our room

for some rest and relaxation

before yet another day filled with

many sights to behold...

Somehow, somewhere the hotel room

pictures must have wound

up floating out in space

because this is where I "uploaded" them...

Oh, well that part doesn't really matter..

it was a four diamond


ultra nice hotel (Thank you, Michael!)


A nice fluffy robe was laid out on the bed,

adorned with the hotel crest...

But, this picture that follows is what

really,really

impressed me!

It must have ..

while preparations were under way to wash off some of

the days accumulated git and grime..

what should I spy on the shower wall?

I quickly turned and exited the bathroom..
to retrieve the camera!

ANYONE, with children or elderly

in the house needs a faucet such as this!


I don't know if I am behind the times

but, all in all,

I was impressed!

Now, aren't you kind of surprised

I didn't

take a picture of the phone by

the toilet?


***
The next morning,

dawned early and bright..

We prepared ourselves for a day of sight seeing..

Leaving the hotel, we walked a couple of blocks past several

ornate embassy buildings to DuPont Circle...







We spied the Metro and headed toward it

for a quick trip down to the National Mall

and the Smithsonian's..

...as we drew closer,

what should catch our eye

but the bright red neon of

promised ,warm, glazed southern confections!!

Yep,

KRISPY KREME!!!!
While preparing to board the train

our phones rang...

so after departure and assent to the street

we took a moment to return the calls.

then we were on our way
to the National Mall.

Building of the Washington monument
began in the year 1848..
however, due to lack of funds, and other
intervening circumstances..
such as the
War between the states..
there was a hiatus in the construction
for some forty years..
causing the apparent color shift some 150 feet up,
(even though rock came from the same quarry)
and a new law in Washington D.C.
proclaiming no construction on any monuments to
begin until all funds where obtained.
(can you see the color difference?)



And around to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History..

Now, for those who have not been, yet plan to go..

when picking out which Smithsonian to visit..

I would highly suggest no more than ONE a day..

They are not only big,

"Ginormous",

they are packed so full of

sights and educational info

one a day is quite enough..

***
In 1826, James Smithson, a British scientist, drew up his last will and testament, naming his nephew as beneficiary. Smithson stipulated that, should the nephew die without heirs (as he would in 1835), the estate should go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”

The motives behind Smithson’s bequest remain mysterious. He never traveled to the United States and seems to have had no correspondence with anyone here. Some have suggested that his bequest was motivated in part by revenge against the rigidities of British society, which had denied Smithson, who was illegitimate, the right to use his father’s name. Others have suggested it reflected his interest in the Enlightenment ideals of democracy and universal education.

Smithson died in 1829, and six years later, President Andrew Jackson announced the bequest to Congress. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. In September 1838, Smithson’s legacy, which amounted to more than 100,000 gold sovereigns, was delivered to the mint at Philadelphia. Recoined in U.S. currency, the gift amounted to more than $500,000.

After eight years of sometimes heated debate, an Act of Congress signed by President James K. Polk on Aug. 10, 1846, established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian.

*****









When we exited the museum

it was well past time for lunch ...

even though I had worn..

some good walking shoes the old dogs

were barking.

Our plans had been to have our mid-day

repast at the union station'

same as last year...

Sooo..

we had an idea
...an on and off trolley tour..

right to the station..
then a pick up

out front..

I do enjoy the trolley tours



Union Station is the grand ceremonial train station designed to be the entrance to Washington, D.C., when it opened in 1908.

It is one of the busiest and best-known places in Washington, D.C., visited by 32 million people each year. The terminal is served by Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter railroads, and the Washington Metro transit system of buses and subway trains. The facility serves as the headquarters of Amtrak.


Union station boast over one hundred shops and restaraunts


















The White House prepares for
the annual Easter egg hunt
(would that be the natioal egg party?)
"I regret that I have but one life to give for my country"
Patrick Henry
National Archives




National hot dog stand?


Chinatown

Fresh handmade noodles daily
The ornate arch spanning the street
was presented to
America from the Peoples Republic of China
From Bejing to Washington,D.C.
one capital city to another






On the evening of April 14, 1865, while attending a special performance of the comedy, "Our American Cousin," President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Accompanying him at Ford's Theater that night were his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, a twenty-eight year-old officer named Major Henry R. Rathbone, and Rathbone's fiancee, Clara Harris. After the play was in progress, a figure with a drawn derringer pistol stepped into the presidential box, aimed, and fired. The president slumped forward.

The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, dropped the pistol and waved a dagger. Rathbone lunged at him, and though slashed in the arm, forced the killer to the railing. Booth leapt from the balcony and caught the spur of his left boot on a flag draped over the rail, and shattered a bone in his leg on landing. Though injured, he rushed out the back door, and disappeared into the night on horseback.

A doctor in the audience immediately went upstairs to the box. The bullet had entered through Lincoln's left ear and lodged behind his right eye. He was paralyzed and barely breathing. He was carried across Tenth Street, to a boarding-house opposite the theater, but the doctors' best efforts failed. Nine hours later, at 7:22 AM on April 15th, Lincoln died.

Petersen boarding house





The Mayflower hotel,
very interesting history!






That evening we dined at
"The Jockey Club"...
Google it when you have time..
read the history and be sure and
drool over the menu...
I partook of the
Pomergranate Glazed Duck!!!
With the first bite...
my eyes did a double back flip in my head
and until today just thinking about
that wonderful meal
brings on the threat of petit mal sezures!
Sunday morning we head back south,
back to Virginia




leaving Washington behind
driving through Manassas
(a stop for another time)












We pick up Carrie and join
Bill, Felice, Michael & Big Bill
at Rosa's for an Easter feast..






Michael enjoyed his new spy glass from Mt. Vernon
Michael tells his Papa all about his troubles.
He does not want to stay at school
(daycare) while his Mommy works..
he wants to go home and play!

Papa listens carefully as Michael relates his woes
Papa explains to Michael,
how he has to go to school so he will be safe while
his Mommy is at work,
that we all
(Mommy, Baba, Grandpa, Aunt Carrie, Uncle Joe,
Gamma and Papa)
love him very much and
if there ever came a time he needed us..
at least one if not all of us would be there for him.

A loving tender moment
After we enjoyed our meal and the good company
it was time to get back on the road.
Carrie joined us for a week
and then the next Sunday
a quick trip back
to Virginia.



This time The Hall family
met us downtown
at Millers for a bite to eat.

When we first arrived they
already had a table..
and Michael was cutting some Z's
in his stroller.




Michael wakes up for cheese stick appetizers
However, he decides he only wants
the "stick" (crust)
Sharring with his Aunt Carrie..
he gives her the "inside" cheese.

On the mall.

Our Children.
Michael and I head back...
Tomorrow will dawn early.
***
Post script: For some reason the blogger this posting has been on a vexing
champain...first taking an exteremly long time uploading pictures to loosing all my typing not once but, three times..
So please overlook the fact that the whole first week end is not here..I will get around to posting Mount Vernon..(It was my faveorite site seeing event of the week-end) and I appologize for not replacing all the information about the sites in Washington this last time..for the life of me I can't remember which President ate tuna salad sandwiches every day for years in the Mayflower hotel and I also can't remember which one termed the phrase "lobbiest" at the same hotel...
so please do "google" some of the sites , if you are at all interested...
It is a very interesting town with a Very interesting history
and after all it is
"Our" town.
Mount Vernon next time.