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23 July 2005

What happens when you let a clown juggle? Well, apparently she juggles rubber chickens. Or rubber chickenettes. Now, I have a lovely photo to prove my point, but apparently when I returned from Santa Barbara, I left my card reader on my desk, because Ellen and Shelly had my laptop. And my card reader is still sitting on my desk at home while I have these marvelous photos from today, so Mary will have to post her photos first (but she doesn't have photos of herself juggling.)

That is a somewhat cryptic way to start my report on How I Spent My Day. I finally found something to eat last night: a package of WeightWatcher "Fruities" (like big jujubes) that had been sitting in my purse for 2 years, but they somehow calmed the hunger pangs long enough for me to go to sleep. It was midnight here, and only 9 p.m. at home, but it had been a long day and I was able to get to sleep after all, waking at 6 a.m., the time I would be waking up at home.

Still grumpy that this big fancy-schmancy hotel has no continental breakfast, I went downstairs to the conference room they are using as a "restaurant" while the hotel is being renovated and there was this marvelous spread. Nobody to seat me, people eating, and things started to look up. Well, they did offer breakfast after all.

I availed myself of a selection of eggs and meats and fruit and bread and then a guy came to give me coffee and orange juice. I was feeling downright warm and fuzzy about the Hilton Hotel until he presented me with my $12 bill. Apparently the buffet is $12. I'm sure glad I found this out after eating a big breakfast. I would hate to have been told that a bowl of Rice Krispies and a banana was going to cost me $12!!

There was still an hour and a half before Mary was going to pick me up and I had no book to read, so I lay down on the bed and was able to fall asleep for half an hour or so.

The lovely thing about meeting people you know from their on-line journals is that you aren't meeting "strangers," you're meeting friends you just never saw in person before. This was definitely the case with Mary.

As I got off the elevator, she was there to deliver a big hug and we started talking as if we had just chatted on the phone yesterday. There was no need to give background information about anything, because we both have been following each other's lives for years. I found her an absolute delight--as I would show you, if I could post photos. But just wait a couple of days and watch puppies in the meantime...

We drove to the Shady Grove Metro station, my old stomping grounds. When I lived here for several weeks a few years back, in my pre-journaling days, I commuted from Shady Grove. The weather today was hot and humid and unpleasant, but not unbearable, so except for not having enough cloth to keep the sweat from dripping in my eyes all day, and not being able to move with much speed (given that "speed" is not my forte even on good days), it really wasn't awful. Spring weather would have been nicer, but I was in a lovely city with lovely company and couldn't really complain.

We took the metro down to L'Enfant Plaza station, a couple of blocks from the new National Museum of the American Indian which is located near the Capitol Building and opened in September of last year. What an absolutely delightful addition to The Smithsonian family.

It's a multi-media experience, without allowing "technology" to overshadow the view of Indian culture...not "Native American" culture, because Mexican and South American tribes are included as well.

A special exhibit was devoted to the work of modern artists George Morrison and Alan Houser. Morrison's work was a combination of paintings and some incredible woodwork. His wood collages were breathtakingly beautiful and made you think "gee...I'll bet I could do that" (but of course if I tried, it would never look like what he did...check in a couple of days for photos. grrr).

Houser's work was primarily sculpture, but what amazing sculpture. I particularly loved his mother/child sculptures, but all of them were just breathtaking in their nobility, their serenity, and their beauty.

We took a break to go have lunch in the Mitsitam Cafe, which serves meals and snacks based on the indigenous foods and culinary traditions of the Americas. (The word "mitsitam" means "let's eat" in the Piscataway and Delaware language.) It's one of the few restaurants I've seen which has a map to direct you to the particular geographic location from which you want to order food. I can't remember what region I was in but I had a "chicken tamal" (not "tamale") with peanut sauce, plantains, and grain salad. Very tasty.

Then we went back to the exhibitions and through two sections, one of which gave you a strong sense of the blending of the Indian tradition with the seasons, and things of nature. Interviews with Indians of various tribes discussed customs and TV pieces demonstrated modern day Indians continuing to keep the old traditions alive.

A history section gave an excellent overview of how various tribes have fared in this country, along with filmed interviews with, again, with representatives from a number of tribes. I found the Seminole history particularly poignant. By the time we had come to the end of the exhibit, my ire at how Indians have been treated through the years (which has always upset me) was even more acute.

But it was getting late. We had reservations at a French restaurant (Bistrot du Coin) at Dupont Circle, where we were meeting "My Joe" (or is it "Her Joe" or just Joe?) and Walt. We limped into the restaurant (well, I limped, Mary walked), sweaty and thirsty. Joe was sitting at the bar with a huge bottle of carbonated water, which we polished off in nothing flat. It tasted so good!

When Walt arrived, we went to our table and had a gourmet dinner, which included escargot and crab quiche for appetizers, chicken, sea bass and duck for main course, and crème brulee, hazelnut mousse and lemon tart for dessert. We finished several hours ago, and I still can't walk comfortably!

We found Joe every bit as delightful as Mary. It doesn't hurt that they share our delight in Stan Freberg, W.C. Fields, and Tom Lehrer. We speak the same language.

When dinner was finished, Joe dropped us back at the Metro Station and went on home himself. The rest of us went to the Chevy Chase Community Center, where Mary had her juggling "meeting." The "meeting" consists of a bunch of jugglers practicing. Some amazing stuff! The one who was best of the group who was there that night was a 12 year old boy, who could juggle 8 balls and did a great job with the clubs. Mary is in the process of getting her old clown juggling skills polished up again. She kept saying she isn't as good as the others, but you couldn't prove it by me. It was so much fun watching them all, hearing them talk about juggling, etc. A whole new world for me.

Of course, many photos were taken, which will be posted when I get home.

Finally the juggling meeting broke up and we came back here to the hotel, where Mary came in to pick up my copy of Harry Potter," so she can read it and I don't have to carry it home with me.

There is a huge orange full moon outside our hotel room. I think I was successful in getting a decent photo of it. Of course, I won't know until I can look at it on the computer.

Now I'm going to carefully log on and see if I can post this and pick up e-mail in under 30 minutes tonight!


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Harry, Weasley, Hagrid

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