Washington DC 2016

It was time for my randomly booked vacation week, and while I waited and waited for the DC Bloody Mary Fest to announce a date, so I could change my week and try to go at that time, they take forever and I finally gave up and just booked a trip to visit Cassie during my already booked week. So I went Thursday night til Monday night, and it wouldn’t be one of my vacations unless it threatened rain the entire time and was cool and gloomy. It ended up only in the 50s most of the time, but I didn’t get really rained on until leaving for the airport to go home. And really, 50s is ok, it’s not hot and unpleasant, and not freezing.

Arrived Thursday late afternoon and basically just hung out, with the intent to go to bed fairly early so we could get up early to make the trek down to the Williamsburg area. The main reason to go down there was to try to visit the field of President heads that was featured in Smithsonian Magazine a few months ago. From our recon, it looked like it wouldn’t be too hard to just drive by the farmhouse and keep going, because it looked like a normal road. When we got there we found it was a private road, which we went down anyway, but there was a ton of construction going on on the property, and no way to drive past the house toward the heads. Lots of people were around and looking at us as we turned around, so sadly, no President head photos. Since we were down that way, and we didn’t have an interest in spending $50 to visit Colonial Williamsburg reenactment site, we passed that and went to the real historical site of the Jamestowne colony. When you approach the area of the colony, you come to this fancy building, and for $17 you get to go through the site and see reenacters and exhibits, and learn about the colony….we bought tickets, but then looking through the map brochure, I noticed that this wasn’t really where we wanted to be. We had planned to visit the actual site, where they’re still doing archaeological digs, and was part of the National Park system. So we asked the ticket lady and she said no, that wasn’t where we were, we had to keep driving past that area, and gave us a refund. We almost got fooled into another “silly” reenactment area!! (Ok it’s probably nice, it’s part of the Virginia Museum system or whatever, but it’s not the National Park). Cheaters. Stealing the park’s tourists. We got where we wanted to be, and spent a few hours walking around the original colony site and seeing some of the current digs still being worked on. It was neat. Grabbed some food, got a speeding ticket 🙁 and headed back to Reston for the night.

Saturday was still gloomy, but had a better forecast (no rain) than Sunday so our goal was the National Arboretum in DC. Grabbed some brunch (even if I didn’t attend a bloody mary fest, I made my own, with 4 different places), and on the way to brunch passed Arlington Cemetery, and decided to detour and go visit since I hadn’t been there before. It was really nice, and we had perfect timing to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Spent a few hours walking around there, and decided to go to the Arboretum anyway, though it was late. I was hungry by then, and another potential bloody mary stop I had mapped out was on the way so we stopped at Union Market to grab one. Union Market is a really cool place full of all kinds of different little lunch counters set up. Very hipster lol. All the food offerings looked really good, if I lived there I’d definitely frequent it. It’s sorta what the new Expo Market in Buffalo is aspiring to be, but 4 times as big. My bloody mary from Buffalo and Bergen came with a bagel sandwich with lox, cream cheese, onion and capers. Dear lord it was ridiculous, and it was a good lunch. Eventually made it to the Arboretum with an hour to go, and checked out just a little bit of it. It would be a cool place to visit again, lots of trails to investigate. Saturday night we went to see Cassie’s friend play jazz at a cajun place in Manassas.

Sunday was supposed to storm so we chose that day to go to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum in VA so I could see the space shuttle Discovery. Gah. I’d been to the DC Air and Space a few times, and I’m really not an airplane person, but space craft is a different story. It is so amazing, and I wasn’t sure I’d not cry (I wanted to, but I managed to keep it in). All the other air craft at the museum is nice too, some really cool looking planes, the Concorde, plus the ridiculously awesome SR-71 Blackbird spy plane (the other centerpiece of the museum after the shuttle). But the shuttle!!! They did a super nice job with the hangar they built for it, and your initial impression of it when you walk in, it’s awesome. That’s the only word for it, used the appropriate way. Full of awe. I get amazed sometimes about what humans have accomplished, this was one of those times. They have a whole host of other space craft, like the various Mercury capsules (they had John Glenn’s Friendship 7 in the restoration hangar, which was awesome), and an area of hanging satellites which were super cool. Just so much awesome. Highly recommended. (That night, we looked up where the other shuttles ended up and Atlantis is at Kennedy Space Center, in an equally awesome display, so now I have to go there, and one ended up in LA and their eventual permanent display is going to have it displayed vertically with the rocket boosters, which will also be amazing). I managed to only spend $50 at the gift shop, and $12 of that was to become a member of the Smithsonian (suggestive selling at work). I got a mug in the shape of the bottom of a rocket, a neat 3-d metal puzzle/model of the shuttle, a shuttle pen (not an astronaut pen, those are $30) and a memo holder that looks like Sputnik!!! So cool, so nerdy.

Monday Cassie had to work and I had the whole day to be a tourist before my flight home, so she dropped me off at the subway and I went downtown. My plan was the National Zoo, and then I figured I’d stop by the monuments for a bit because I hadn’t gone to them since the 8th grade class field trip in 1994. Then there was a fog advisory, and I thought, holy crap that’s probably awesome looking so I flipped my plan and went to the monuments first (the fog had lifted mostly by the time I got there but there was still a bit hiding the top of Washington, so it was neat). I started with the Einstein statue on the way to Lincoln, where I spent 5 minutes watching a bird fight. It was so weird. Einstein is a little pudgy and cute. Onto Lincoln and the reflecting pool. I thought about renting a bike share, because I knew it was going to be a bit of a hike to get from Lincoln to Jefferson, but I didn’t know what I’d do with it while I went into the monuments, since I had no lock so I just walked. FDR was one of my goals because I’d never been to that monument, and along the way was the Korean War monument (new since my last visit 22 years ago lol) and MLK monument (new in the last few years). The Korea monument was really very nice, no one was at MLK because it’s sorta in between the reflecting pool area, and the tidal basin, and if you’re walking the signage isn’t fantastic to get to the tidal basin. I had to back track a bit to find where I needed to go to get to MLK and FDR. Lots of people at FDR because there were buses. FDR, my fav president! He had a nice memorial with lots of waterfalls, lots of great quotes, and everything had braille which I thought was neat. One area of these bronze columns and bronze panels could have used some interpretation, I really couldn’t figure out what it was representing, and I tried to listen into one of the field trips but couldn’t quite hear. Since I had already made it that far, I continued walking to the Jefferson Memorial, which we had only driven by on the bus in 8th grade. He has a nice fairly simple memorial, with a nice view across the tidal pool. I was ready to move on to the zoo, so I googled the closest metro stop, and walking there took me past Washington (which I also haven’t really been to, but am not really interested in). So I saw them all except Vietnam, which I’ve been to twice, and there was no need to visit again (I have no family attachment, and you only really need to look up Thomas Fox, the guy who’s name my childhood street was named after, once.)

The National Zoo was fairly nice, though not my favourite zoo ever. They have giant pandas, including a baby, which is the main draw to the zoo at the moment. It is an Olmsted designed park/zoo (it seems like they all are!), and I actually hated the layout. It wasn’t really a loop, so I ended up missing things, having to back track to areas 3 or 4 times, and when I decided I was done and it was time to leave (skipping Amazonia because I wasn’t backtracking AGAIN), I had to walk through the entire zoo again to get out and get back to the metro, which was a mile away. The sun finally came out while at the zoo and it got pretty hot, and I got sunburned of course. The pandas were nice to see, tho I’d seen some, and a baby, in San Diego with the Foos. Buffalo Zoo has a nicer bird house, with a ton of birds, where DC’s had a parrot a duck and 2 peacocks….I thought I was missing something. They had 2 sand cats, which were super cute (they look like house cats, but live in the desert), and 2 adorable baby fennec foxes. They had a bunch of big cats, lions, tigers, cheetah. A whole group of elephants. It was nice, just not mind blowing. The Phoenix zoo’s monkey enclosure where they run around you was one of the best zoo things I’ve been in, nothing like that here.

So I headed back to the subway, and to Reston and Cassie picked me up at the station. Grabbed dinner, and relaxed before my flight. Enter giant thunderstorms and torrential rain. My flight was delayed, but then not delayed. Of course, the exact time we had to leave for the airport was the worst of the rain, and I had to run to the car through rivers of water running down the sidewalks, and step into a pond in the parking lot to get in the car, where the water was over my shoes and my sneakers filled with enough water that I had to pour it out. So my flight home I had soaking wet freezing feet, but at least it wasn’t cancelled like my normal luck flying. Then I get home to find my furnace has broken and it was 58 in my house, so I couldn’t even get warm lol. Life.

Had a great time, saw so much stuff. I bought a jawbone fitness tracker a few months ago, and this was my first vacation with it, and I had been wondering how much walking you/I do on vacation. In my normal life, though I walk a lot at work, I rarely get over the 10,000 step goal unless I’ve jogged 2 miles and/or went shopping somewhere. The Arlington day measured almost 12,000 steps, 5 miles, but Monday…dear god I got almost 28,000 steps, which was 12 miles LOL. My feet were hurting so bad at the end when I had to walk all the way back through the zoo, and I was so hot, but no blisters, so that’s good. I’d not have made it if there were blisters. The other 2 days hovered around 6-7k, which seems kinda low. I chalk it up to the tracker not being good at measuring “slow walking”, which there was a lot of at the museum. Suuuuper sore now though, I think I’ll be just fine sitting on the couch all day waiting for the furnace guy.

Asides:

  • DC is a good place to take a family because all of the Smithsonian related museums are free. So if you’ve got a couple and a bunch of kids, you aren’t spending $100s to get entry into each museum. I guess parking is expensive ($15 flat at Udvar, hourly at Arlington, $25 or something at the zoo), but if you stay in the right place, a lot is walkable.
  • I know that we were probably equally obnoxious to other visitors when we went in 8th grade, but we didn’t all have our heads in our phones, taking tons of selfies with selfie sticks, etc. I do remember a teacher scolding me and a friend for imitating a statue of a nurse holding a body (WWII female/nurse memorial or something), and I didn’t understand it as disrespectful at the time, but it was, and these kids were the same…taking photos behind the men standing in a bread line at the FDR memorial…but here, their teachers were taking the photos, not scolding them.
  • I had to pee at the Lincoln Memorial, and the bathrooms are ground level to the left if you’re looking at the front. I mention this because there is also a small museum on that side, with photos of the construction, different events and protests there, and it was really cool and probably not many people know it’s there. THEN you can take an elevator back up into the memorial instead of going back out and taking the stairs again (because I wasn’t done shooting it).

 

And now a political aside. All these Presidential monuments feature quotes from each one, profound, inspiring statements from speeches and writings. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, these quotes and these accomplishments are inspiring. Then you think about what this election has become, and the things that get said, and wonder….in 2050, or 2100, what is President Trump’s memorial going to look like? (Who am I kidding, President Trump will start building his own monument as soon as he takes the oath.) Something gold and phallic I’m sure (yes I know all obelisks are phallic, but it will be the greatest, the most phallic obelisk). Epic quotes like, “I have the best words” and “bleeding out of wherever”…”I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”…”The beauty of me is that I’m very rich”…”My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

What have we become?

dream

I had a baby, and I did not care about it AT ALL. I had no attachment to it whatever, I wasn’t even sure it was alive because it didn’t cry or make and noise, or move really. I left it with someone to go on vacation, and came back and hadn’t missed it at all (“it” lol, it was a boy). I picked it up to try to act like a real mom, and burp it, and it finally started moving and stuff. I had no equipment for a baby, like a crib or changing table, or diapers or anything. I was holding it and I realized that it was going to turn into a crazy serial killer, or possessed demon like the kid in the Omen, because of a lack of parental attachment. And as I was holding it, it started turning red and shaking, the eyes turned red, and steam was coming out of it’s ears and I was like, yep, I was right, it’s already a demon, I should kill it. Suddenly it got really small, and fit in my hand like an action figure, so I figured I could just squeeze it to death and I did, and popped it’s arms and legs off. Problem solved.

dream

I had this amazing Harry Potter dream. I was at Hogwarts, but it was in the 1920s, and I was part of a group who basically started the Daily Prophet and created all these changes at the school. We started the Prophet on thin pieces of wood, and each one was hand etched by this one kid. I couldn’t believe how much work it was, and I kept saying, we’re wizards, we should be able to create something to make this easier. Then there were weird things about the school, like there were no bathrooms. There was also some kind of time travel portal a girl accidentally found, which took her to a department store in the 1970s. She was trying on make up and a guy walked by her all glammed up, and she asked him if he was sick, and he want off on her for being judgmental about how he dressed, that he must be sick or gay, and she was like, I’m just asking cuz you have blue eye lids (he had bright blue eye shadow on), and then he was totally ok, because she was into how he dressed and she liked David Bowie (although she’s from 1920 and wouldn’t know him). She got a bunch of stuff from the store and was going to go back through the portal, but security came and thought she was stealing, so they chased her around and they ended up back in the castle somehow, and we all had to hide from security. So I ended up hiding on top of a very steep roof with another student from the Prophet. I was trying to convince him, again, that we could do the paper easier than hand etching each one, and that we saw the muggle world in the 70s could mass produce stuff, so we should invent it now in the 20s.

 

I don’t remember much, but omg it was such an awesome dream. There was loads more I forgot while I kept sleeping.

Prince

So, Prince died. That was a surprise. I can’t say it’s affected me at all, as I was never a Prince fan. I didn’t dislike him, I liked all the big hits, but for whatever reason he never appealed to me the way other pop stars from that era did, and I didn’t pay much attention to him. He was a great musician, and he’ll be missed.

dream

My job was taken over by a cult. Specifically it was the Meyerism cult from the new show on Hulu, The Path, which also seems pretty much based on Scientology. We were on a compound but somehow were still a casino, and my manager Jerry came back from disability and was like, what the hellll happened here? So basically, he was the only person at work who wasn’t in the cult, and he was astounded to see me participating in all the cult things, prayers and whatever. Of course we couldn’t talk freely so I had to get him a message that we’d talk later, and I was able to tell him that I was just pretending to be in the cult, so I could keep my job. But he was like, I’m not in the cult and I still have my job. He just couldn’t get over me being in the cult, because he knew how much of a non-believer in anything I was. I kept insisting I was just pretending, faking it, but apparently I was doing a pretty good job because I guess I was pretty high up and respected in the cult. I was able to fall right into their schemes, and was good at manipulating people’s feelings and get them to join in.

Then periods of waking up and other dreams, then back to the cult.

I don’t remember much but it was something about, like,…a vampire jesus baby savior feeding on the leader to become the new savior/leader.

Sigh…

I don’t want to only post about how much my head hurts, but my head hurts. It makes me super depressed. Super hopeless. It’s been over a week. I thought I was over the hump of this particular headache yesterday, because it wasn’t very bothersome until late before I went to bed. But woke up with it back strong. On my days off. Again. With plans to see Avenue Q with a bunch of people from work tomorrow. I’m so tired of it.

I’m also even more tired of the election than before. Primary next Tuesday, and NY actually matters as neither nomination has been decided. I still don’t really know who to vote for. I change my mind constantly. I’m angry about it all, all the time. Maybe that’s why my head hurts. haha Trump is coming to Buffalo on Monday, and I really want to go see the shit show, but I’m not willing to call in sick for it. I may go photograph the crowds/protest before work. My mind is still constantly getting blown when I find out people I had respect for, or at least thought were marginally intelligent, are Trump supporters. It makes me sad.

So it goes….

So it turns out I did not “qualify” for the drug trial. My contact couldn’t figure out why because I clearly fit what they needed, with 26 out of 36 days with a headache. I’m really bummed about it. I am never going to get better.

She said there is another different trial coming up in May to try for. If that doesn’t work I’m just going to go to illegal drugs. There is nothing else for me to do.

Blaaaah

I hate my head. It hurts all the time. I get no relief from any medicine I have taken, so I’m joining a drug trial. I can’t talk about it on “social media”, so that’s all I say (plus I don’t know anything else about it to say). On one hand, I hope it works. On the other, I hope it doesn’t because once the trial is over I won’t be able to get it anymore, or once it’s released it’ll be too expensive for me to get. Fucking US health insurance. (Of course, once President Trump makes me move to Canada, I’ll be able to get whatever I want).

Should I ever find a “cure” for my headaches, I feel like my life would change. I can’t enjoy anything. I had to leave where we were and go home to bed Wed night because my head hurt so bad. It was fine until I went for my run, then it started pounding at the end and never stopped. So now I’m scared to run again. I’m scared to do anything. It’s always there in the back of my mind, making me worry that I’m going to get a headache any time I do anything – concert, road trip, vacation, work, whatever. Headache free, I could take over the world!! Or at least enjoy life.

But on the other side of the coin, my headaches are so much a part of who I am, if they were gone I don’t know who I’d be. And if I’m honest, they are an easy excuse for me to not participate in things I don’t want to do because I’m an introvert. If I don’t want to go to a party, I can just say I have a headache, and I am probably not lying.

Today I skipped out on the St Patrick’s Day parade with J because 1. I didn’t want to go. 2. I have been so tired lately. 3. Wednesday’s headache is still hanging around, I can feel it waiting to pounce. I probably would have made myself go if not for #3, to be a good girlfriend and a good sport, pretend I’m fun and personable, but I so much don’t want to risk feeling like I’m going to die the entire day, and then at work til 5am.

I hate it. Add it into my general depression and unhappiness lately.

Adult fun

The political stuff just keeps getting worse. I can’t even.

So, lots of activities lately. Went to an Escape Room experience with J, Phil and his sister, and Winkleman…it was…HARRY POTTER THEMED! When I saw it existed I knew Phil and I had to go. You didn’t actually need to know anything about Harry Potter to play, but it did kinda make it more fun for us. The room was decorated super nice, in the theme, so it was neat. It was kinda hard to get started, we had some issues, got a bit annoyed at each other, but once we got going it was fine and we “escaped”. We want to do some more, and there are lots of places like this popping up.

Buffalo Bloody Mary fest finally came yaaaaay! I was excited. Jeff managed to find a ticket on fb, so he came with J and me. 10 bars provided samples, and there were some food samples (maybe could have used more food). It was a good time. Full write up on Bloody Queen City.  We went to Left Bank after for brunch, since we didn’t really eat at the fest. It was good, hadn’t been there before, but by that point we were bloody mary-ed out, so I didn’t try theirs.

Adam and Jory came up for me and Adam to go exploring. That was a giant fail though, but I think that deserves another whiny post. Got dinner, hung out at my house, no big deal but it was a good time.

Coming up J and I are going to see the BPO play Bowie. My mom thinks it’d be lame, I think it’ll be interesting. And we got the tickets on their leap day sale so it was way cheaper (not sure I’d have paid full price). The next day will be our last Sabres game of the year with Phil, and Porter and his fiance, since the Sabres are once again not making the playoffs (as expected…but next year, watch out. The way Eichel and Reinhart are gelling right now, so awesome).

And I’m trying to get a group from work together to go see Avenue Q. Got about 10 people interested, we’ll see who actually pays. I’m bad at getting groups together.

I’ve been trying to get into running. I reached that point in my weight where I always said would make me start doing something about it, like going to the gym. Only I’m lazy, and even though I have access to the gym at work for free, I don’t want to drive there mid afternoon to go, and I don’t want to stay after work at 4am to go…so running. No real equipment needed, and no need to go anywhere to do it. So I started a Couch to 5k app in the fall. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, AT ALL, since I was never active and always shuffle walked in gym class LOL. It ended up going pretty well – until it got cold. I never need a big excuse to not be active, so the cold worked well haha. But now it’s getting nice again and I’m trying to restart it. I’ve managed to run 22 minutes straight, but I am not matching the distance I’m supposed to be at in those 22 minutes (2.25 miles). Whatever. J says I’ve got good form, so that’s good. Just going to keep at it (but not today LOL).

Been thinking a lot lately about how I miss the old internet. Might write a thing about it later.

Super Tuesday

It’s Super Tuesday. Not exactly meaningful to me in NY as our primary is not for a few more weeks, but hugely important to the country. This election is…gross. It’s truly making me want to throw up when I really think about it. How is this possibly happening that Donald Trump (Drumpf! lol) is the GOP front runner? I know that the GOP themselves are asking the same question, and imploding around what’s happening but…seriously…A racist, sexist buffoon could be the AMERICAN PRESIDENT! Now I am not the most patriotic person in the country, but it still is AMERICA! And this is how a large group of people want to represent the country to the world??

I know the late night shows have been loving this election, and I’ve laughed along with their bits, but the underlying truth that they expose is scary, and it’s not funny anymore.

People keep saying there is no way Trump could win the general election, but then he keeps winning primaries…and by A LOT! Whaaaaat??? The words that come out of his mouth should make everyone cringe, not nod in agreement. It shouldn’t be ok to act the way he acts. I’ll start to agree, he could never win, and then I hear more and more people support him, and I get scared that we are really underestimating the ignorance of the US population. I think that there is no way any educated person, GOP or Democrat could vote for Trump, and then I remember how many uneducated people there are out there. It’s terrifying.

To look at the other side, I honestly don’t know who to vote for in the Democratic primary. I feel like I need to vote strategically, rather than with what my actual beliefs might be. Who will win over the GOP nominee/Trump? There is such inexplicable virulent hatred for Hillary Clinton (like, not normal hatred, extreme uncalled for hatred, like she killed your dog and drank it’s blood hatred) that I think middle of the road, independent, whatever you want to call it voters might actually vote for Trump over her. And then Bernie Sanders being labeled a socialist, when people don’t even really know what that means, will scare too many people away….but into the arms of Trump? I just don’t know.  Then my dad adds in the historic perspective – this happened previously in my parents life with Carter vs Reagan. Reagan was able to earn a lot of Democratic votes by playing the “make America great again” card just like Trump, including my Democratic pro-union grandfather. The US looked weak over the Iran hostages, and he pledged to “make America great again”, and won. Could that really happen again with Trump vs whoever? Could people really be that swayed by nonsensical rhetoric with no action plan behind it? Can educated people look past the racism, classism, sexism, and general grossness, can they get past the cognitive dissonance they feel, and actually vote for him?

Ugh.

I miss Sarah Palin. And Dubya. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.