Spreading Capital in the Capitol

When my plane skidded into DC, it was on the heels
of the health care reform bill. . . and from the looks of it

. . . the heels of its passage had
skidded over Mr. Obama as well

*   *   *   *

After our HQ meeting, I stopped in to visit
our Oppositional Defiance Disorder Diva
our Gal Monday-thru-Friday
our Nancy Drew of the District
our Indy Jones of the Dakotas
a/k/a Spiderwoman Sara
able to leap tall regions in a single bound
Anyhoo, Spidey was in a high-level meeting
with boss woman and OMG!!!   Guess who else??

No, not Nancy Drew or Mr. Obama,
but more astonishingly, Ms. Dee!
And all the way from East Bethel!!
The karmic coordination of stars caused
a temporary celestial rip in the universe
allowing Dee, me and Sara to slip through
and magically appear in DC at the same time !!

A perfect trifecta, dear Reader !

A picturesque corner of famed Pennsylvania Avenue,
a street once so shoddy and run-down it was filled with
saloons, theaters, cheap hotels, and houses of ill repute

Thanks Neighborhood Revitalization Project. . .  (I think)

One of 80 or so surviving “call boxes” that morphed from “street furniture”
into “street art”  — thanks to clever preservationists. . .

*  *  *

Upon arriving at my hotel, I discovered
the National Geographic Museum was hosting
the last night of an exhibit of one of the greatest
archaeological finds of the 20th Century

I’m talkin’ the life-size army that stood guard for centuries
at the tomb of China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Hua. . .

The Terra Cotta Warriors. . .

They were discovered in southern China
in the 1970’s by Xi’an province farmers plowing their fields

Designed to protect China’s first Emperor in his afterlife,
over 7,000 of the life-sized figures of clay
were buried in massive pits nearly 2,000 years ago

Incredibly, each warrior’s face was carefully sculpted
to be distinctly different . . .

Back in the gift shop,
my clay escort scorned small talk.
We got along very well.

Yet his inscrutable silence spoke volumes. . .

One could argue that the Emperor’s insistence on
after-life body guards may have been a tad excessive

That night, in my dreams,
the terra cotta warriors
were multiplying at an alarming rate. . .

I was lucky to catch the last day
of the exhibit’s run in DC
but what a thrill it would be
to visit the archaeological site . . .


Another whimsical call box

Corners of the capitol capture
a haunting Civil-War era.

Other parts – not so much

Only America could produce a pretzel of such proportions
it’s owner must register with local law enforcement . .






Eager to see the Tidal Basin’s springtime flower show,
a throng of excited locals pause to cross the pond. . .

I had no idea there were so many different species of blossoms. . . .

In the name of international friendship,
the mayor of Tokyo gifted the city of Washington
2,000 Japanese cherry trees.
The trees arrived in America in 1910.
However, after inspection by the USDA,
all 2,000 were declared diseased and had to be burned!

Luckily this did not cause a rift in US-Japanese relations
because in 1912, the mayor of Tokyo tried again !
This time the 3,020 trees were accepted (whew)
and most of the cherry saplings were planted along the Tidal Basin

For sure the blooms are quite spectacular. . .


But sometimes the tsunami of humanity
takes the bloom off the blossoms. . .

Witness Dee, who crowed about strolling out
early one morning and, astonishingly enough,
finding the whole bloomin’ Tidal Basin to herself. . .


Some freakishly magical phenomenon, I tell you what

Check out that traffic dirge on the left . . .

DC goes nutty with the cherry festivities.
An exhibit at the Renwick I read about after the fact,
sounded most intriguing – “The Art of Gaman.”

‘Gaman’ is the Japanese for “bearing the seemingly
unbearable with dignity and patience.”

The exhibit featured arts and crafts of Japanese-Americans
forced into American internment camps from 1942-1946.
Such resourceful citizens took used scraps and found material
to create remarkable furniture and crafts.

In the lobby of Sara’s mod apartment,
medieval tile art from the funky ’60’s. . .

Huzzah!  Me and Dee in DC
on Sara’s swanky penthouse rooftop at sunset !!
But of course, Ms. S is uber particular
about scheduling her rooftop viewings. . .

. . .Yes, Missy is quite particular about her schedule.
See rooftop relaxing requires a fine bottle of muscatel.

 Okay, a cheap bottle of wine will do too.

Such are the talents of Sara’s hosting it’s true
that though with trepidation she will lend you her key
Even as you run amok among all the crazies
Without messin’ with your personal peccadillos
she trusts that your feet will climb all the nasty hill-o’s
and eventually come to rest at her casa of pillows.

Her overly-developed library tech brain
Means she never suffers fools – so from idiocy refrain !
And did I mention her seaworthy Kon-Tiki air mattress
that she presto-produces for her whacked-out guests-es ?
On top of all that she stocks wholesome pre-cooked meals
Like mini spinach quiches, roast veggies and teas.
But now sadly she’s leavin’ our great Cap-ee-tell
to greener pastures out in Denver’s western Dells.
But luckily for us all, she’s movin’ a bit closer
So best of luck Cowgirl, we virtually toast yer…

*    *    *     *    *

Our first night’s celebratory supper meant Legal Seafoods
in buzzing Chinatown.
(okay so I strong-armed everyone)
… after a hard day’s work.

Our second evening in which I was accused of harassing our hostess
took place at the Lebanese Taverna in Woodley Park. . .
Sara and Dee shared a platter featuring lamb bits,
in dubious shapes, perhaps not suitable for impressionable children . .



Don’t worry, bead happy. . .

Along Connecticut Avenue

Get off my tail, buddy


“No seriously, a little more to the left…”

The alarmingly friendly “Grits,”
who was delirious upon spotting me
perusing the goods in a Moto-Photo shop.

Grits seemed upset as I began to leave Moto-Photo.
He wasn’t done fawning all over me. . .
I miss Grits, still think about him, our time was so fleeting,
but I don’t think it would have worked out,
what with the obsessive possessive whiff I was sensing. . .

Belgian Beer was all the rage in DC.
Trends moving faster out East
certainly faster than Congress…

At the end of a loooong day
it’s easy to misinterpret staring for rudeness

While dashing to catch that night’s performance of Richard II
at the Shakespeare’s Harman Theatre. . .
I ran across the beautiful Jetta
strolling between Eastern Market
and the Capital South ‘hoods.

Walking towards the National Mall,
a capital day for a stroll . . .

All variety of trees donated from different nations
are planted and duly placqued on the Capitol grounds . . .

Hard to believe so many bozos can end up inhabiting such a majestic building .  .  .

A month earlier, due to snowstorm after snowstorm,
our meeting had been postponed
Making the rescheduling at the peak
of cherry blossom bloom all the sweeter !

A haunting monument to General Grant. . .
Savior of the Union, Guardian of the Capital,
Viewer of the Wading Pool,
Lover of Fine Cigars that eventually did him in. . .

This chilling battlefield monument is one of two flanking
General Grant as he stares darkly down the National Mall
from his beloved horse Cincinnati
defending Washington on his bronze saddle. . .


While Margit ethnically twirled her toes in Morocco,
I roamed my haunts in DC – stopping at a favored coffee shop –
that even the soft-shoeing, cappuccino-aficionado, lofty coffee-swilling Ms. Margit
could not find fault with !  (I’m pretty sure anyway. . . )

Washington’s cafes are similar to Parisian ones
in that they sell baked treats to furry locals,
but Americans draw the line
at seating furrier residents indoors.

How gauche of les Americains!  N’est-ce pas?

Mais bien sur, mon ami. . .

Thank goodness someone aced their high school French !



A peek at some of  Map Guy’s fascinating prints. . .

A sneak peek at Map Guy

Watch where you’re steppin’ Sailor. . .

Iranian emigre with her beautiful jewelry


 Sometimes, if it’s sunny out,
wandering the market can be seriously draining.
In those situations, it’s nice to be carry-size. . .

Blue and brown



Happy days !


Larry the Resourceful Recycler of antique coins
re-salvaging typewriter keys and such. . .

Produce bonanza

Inside the renovated market. . .

In the renowned cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian
Fry bread from the great Northwest, and mashed taters, grace this daredevil’s plate

His seatmate went with a Southwest taco schmear

With all the fantastic Native fare available,
our merry Aussie-accented host told us
the best seller was still the fried chicken and french fries. . .
O Dios Mio, Jamie Oliver, avert your eyes

My Northwest juniper cedar plank salmon with quinoa
and funky root vegetables, one of which suspiciously resembled an escargot
Sacre bleu !  But it tasted like zucchini, I later assured a visibly frightened Dee
(still scarred from a gift of boxed! escargots from a former supervisor)

White House security detail riding around the Ellipses. . .


One of the “salad shops” Sara and I visited the last night
before S flew off to deliver Denver to deployment,
and I returned to the shenanigans of region 18,
stirred, not shaken. . .

Five minutes into my meal,
from under the salad I was happily munching,
a tobacco-colored critter emerged . . .
I blinked to make sure I wasn’t imagining the little weasel
Nope, there he was,
leisurely creeping over a piece of spinach
with his efficient little feetsies

Cozy late-night bookshop on Connecticut Avenue

S declared I was overreacting.   Not about the bookshop,
but about the creepy navigator in my greens.
S claimed she would have just flipped
the little sucker out and continued on with her meal.
S’s sang-froid is admirable if not totally incomprehensible to me. . .

S raved about the joint’s authentically zippy yogurt
Now that was awesome. . .
and likely too chilly to sustain any trail-blazing critters. . .

S’s ancestors grace a tabletop with Shakesbear
and her tastefully-chosen Silpada pieces. . .

Just around the corner from S’s apartment. . .
Fascinating architecture abounds in the Embassy-rich neighborhood

Bashful Boo Boo. . .

Historic repository of many many Washington secrets,
the elegant Willard Hotel was also the site
of the infamous birth of the term “Lobbyists”


Before heading back to Eastern Market on Sunday,
I stop at the venerable Teaism in historic Penn Quarter

where I am compelled to order their signature
cilantro scrambled eggs with tea-smoked salmon

a flowery corner of Sunday’s Dupont Circle Market . . .

A See-No-Evil gargoyle relief at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building Plaza
Apropos, eh?

Adverts for two Shakespearean plays that were
(a) playing staggered shows at the same time; and
(b) featured the same actor in both lead role(s).
Sacre bleu !

Remarkable, as in,
I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yestiddy. . .

Richard II  — a mind-blowing play,
on account of the mind-blowing 3-hour long production.
(Sara warned me)
And did I mention that usually I need
an interpreter for original Shakespeare revivals?
And usually need to be personally revived after the first hour?
And that I didn’t need to be revived at this really splendid production?

National Portrait Gallery – so . . . .  pulchritudinous,
your average adjective just can’t cover it. .  .


Gift Shoppe.
Where cheesy gifts



Exterior of Crime and Punishment Museum.
Dillinger’s infamous smirk is skulking behind the branch.

Helpful information abounds

The little shop I didn’t get around to pillaging, that is, visiting

Dupont Circle flowers grace a drug store

Maggie – the last neighborhood pooch to say adieu
as me and my bags rolled towards the metro .  . .
Ta ta, for now. . .

In the underground, adverts continue to taunt . . .

In the aftermath . . .

Globe-trekker Dee returned home to East Bethel,
and, not unlike a Grimm’s character,
fell into a deep slumber for 15 straight hours!
When she awoke, seven dwarfs weren’t staring at her,
just Marty, Dawson, Alissa, Ripple and Lily.

Meanwhile, Sara returned from her recon to Colorado.
May her new Denver adventures
spirit her through any wild rodeo rides ahead.

And may we all meet again
in another future cosmic astro alignment. . . .

4 thoughts on “Spreading Capital in the Capitol

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