Jul 12, 2004

I am a bad blogger. I know – it has been like two weeks since I have posted. Before I go into detail on recent happenings, I want to share something very strange happened to me a few weekends ago. I decided to take the Metro to the Smithsonian. I went down to the platform and was standing waiting for my train. As it approached, I tried to gauge when door would stop near me, starting walking toward one, but it passed by me. I stood back and another door passed by me and stopped. It was the closest so I approached it. Behind the glass of the door was a man that looked kind of familiar. As I walked to the door it opened and the man took a step out and looked up at me and said, “What are you doing here?” It was my Trig teacher from Austin Community College last semester!! I asked him the same thing. I was completely taken aback… how could I run into somebody else in this huge urban jungle that isn’t even from here??? Turns out he was in town with his parents to visit the WWII memorial. His father is a WWII vet and they finally had time to come out and see it before he had to go back to Austin for the second summer session at ACC. We had a nice talk for a few minutes and I managed to snap a picture. Then we parted ways. The experience was very interesting and amazing.

Holly came to visit me during the July 4th weekend. She arrived early in the morning of July 1st into Baltimore Washington International Airport. Her flight was slightly delayed and she didn’t arrive until about 1:30 am. We drove back and didn’t get to Arlington until almost 3:00 am. Thursday I had to run to work for a little while and I was able to show Holly Bolling AFB and the building that I work in. Then we went over to the national mall and checked out a folk festival, the US Capitol, Union Station and then we wanted to see the WWII memorial at night. They do a good job of lighting most memorials at night – they look very different at night compared to day.

Friday we visited the Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, Sculpture Gardens, Old Post Office and Lincoln Memorial. The Library of Congress is a fine example of workmanship. The colors in the murals and in the mosaics are strikingly beautiful. The lighting through the windows from the sun danced off the walls and ceilings and brought out the richness of the tones. This is one place you should come see if you are in the area. The Botanical Gardens were nice. I’m not much of a plant person, but it is interesting to see different plants all together in the same place. They had different environments for different areas of the world. They had a jungle/rainforest, dry area, desert area... it was pretty neat. My favorite was the one that had many plants that we have in Texas – it reminded me of home! The Sculpture Gardens were pretty cool – lots of very large works of art in an outside garden. But the best part was a surprise to us. As we walked closer to the garden, we could hear the smooth sounds of some lively jazz grow louder as we walked closer. When we got there, people were sitting about on the grass on blankets with picnic baskets. Every Friday evening, the museum has live jazz and the café serves simple refreshments and beverages. But you can also bring whatever you want to eat or drink too. We decided to finish some sandwiches that we saved from earlier and then bought a slice of chocolate cake. The crowd grew thicker as the evening progressed. We moved on from there and ventured over to the Old Post Office. It was once the main post office for the DC area back in the early 1900’s. Unfortunately, the area outgrew the facility in a few years and they had to move on. The district wanted to tear the building down, but public outcry saved the building from the wrecking ball and it was restored to its former glory. It is the tallest building in DC (the Washington Monument is the tallest structure by law) and has an observation tower that is accessible by anyone for free. The top of the tower is staffed by a Park Ranger who was happy to answer all and any questions. It was a great view! The tower also houses the congressional bells that are rung for special events. Lastly, we checked out the Lincoln Memorial at night. It was crowded and very busy, so we headed home.

Saturday we visited the Korean War Memorial and World War II Memorial (during daylight this time). The Korean War Memorial is a very well designed one. It consists of a group of soldiers on patrol in Korea. The figures are very life-size and real looking. The fatigue and anguish on the faces of the men is gut wrenching. It looks like the men are actually marching and interacting with each other. In the pictures that I took, it looks like the men are going about their business, but are frozen in time. Check out the pictures if you can. Then we made it back to the WWII memorial for a look during the day. Holly was impressed as I am seeing it again.

Sunday we went stopped by a local restaurant called Cosi for some breakfast before church. They had delicious bagel sandwiches. We went to church and then returned to the apartment for a very wet cook out. The rain came down all afternoon and we had planned to BBQ some meat and enjoy the afternoon by the pool. But the rain hampered that plan. It was great since the families of Kenny, Frank and Del were all in town. But we had to bring the grills under cover so that we could cook! Holly and I enjoyed some grilled rib eyes and lobster with baked potato and a bottle of wine. It was a great supper! After a short break, we all made our way to the shore of the Potomac River on Bolling AFB to watch the fireworks from the Mall. The fireworks were cool, but to tell you the truth, the fireworks were not very impressive. I realized this during the show and thought, “maybe it was because they were a few miles away,” or “maybe it was because we couldn’t clearly hear the crack and book of the fireworks exploding above us in the sky.” But then the finale came… and it was not much of a finale. Just a few sparkly fireworks and then it was over. There really was no finale. So – we all agreed in discussion after the show that it just kinda… well… sucked.

Monday brought us to the National Cathedral. The Cathedral is a beautiful place. The architecture, craftsmanship and artwork are breathtaking. Everywhere you look, inside and out, there is something new. Everything is unique and you will not see the same thing in two places. The stained glass is another thing that is simply amazing. The colors they used are vibrant. But the best part was the sounds. As we walked into the Cathedral, we could hear the sounds or the choir. Their voices gently floated through the air, resonating throughout the inside of the hall. It was an exquisite sound – almost like watching a movie. It was so dramatic, but yet smooth and soft. It is hard to explain, you need to go there if you ever have the chance. Be sure to visit in the afternoon right before a service or during an afternoon weekday service. The choir will be singing and if you stay quiet, you can observe. We took a stroll through the gardens on the property and Holly was very impressed. They were beautiful and picturesque. One very nice touch: there were benches all around the building and garden. You can stop and take in the scenery every few steps if you like.

We returned to the apartment and changed for dinner. We went to a tapas restaurant I have been eyeing for some time now called La Tasca. The food was fantastic and the service was excellent. We ordered four tapas dishes and ended up having to order a fifth to fill us up. We had a great time and enjoyed the meal. It was a first for the both of us.

Tuesday morning we had to wake up quite early so that we could drive up to BWI for her 6:50 am flight. We made it in good time and she even had time to grab a bite before the flight. All in all – we had a fantastic time. It was so good to see Holly again. Seeing her was like a dream! It was weird at first that she was here with me. I hadn’t seen her in more than a month, so we kinda’ had to readjust! But it was like we had just seen each other or something. Then, as Monday approached, I knew that it would be a while before I would see her again. I caught myself thinking several times on Monday, “She’ll be gone in a few hours.” Seeing her face and being able to hold her again was such a morale booster. I can’t wait to see her again in a few months -- hopefully in September. There are quite a few pictures from her visit located in week 9.

This past weekend I explored a little bit. I took metro to the Dupont Circle area just to check it out. There were lots of restaurants, coffee shops and places to hang out. I also saw the documentary “Super Size Me.” It’s about a guy that eats nothing but McDonald’s for 28 days to see what the effects are on his body. He went from being very healthy to a 20+ lbs heavier, high cholesterol, liver clogged fool. It was mostly informational with the drama of his stuffing his face and getting sick. Saturday I helped my friend Wendy move from an apartment on the 4th floor to a 14th floor condo. I met Wendy at Crosspoint and found out that she also works at the office. Her friends Joy (another Crosspointer) and Tom (both also work at the office) also helped out. There was supposed to be more help, but it never showed. It was a heck of a challenge, but we got it done in just under ten hours. I also had to drive the U-Haul a few miles to the new place and then we had to make a marathon run back to the U-Haul before they closed. Man I was sore on Sunday, but I really did enjoy helping her move and spending some time with everyone.

This coming weekend I am going to a Michael W. Smith / MercyMe / David Crowder Band concert with a group from Grace Community Church. I really like MercyMe and David Crowder but am not really familiar with MWS. Looks like it will be hot and humid this week with more rain. When does it cool down here?
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