And boy oh boy, did I ever take advantage of it!
After getting off work Friday, I napped for a few hours, then made myself wake up so I could flip back to sleeping at night. I spent the afternoon watching Law & Order reruns, then eventually went out. I dropped my wash off at the dry cleaners, then decided to perform my civic duty of eating Tofu Green Curry at as many Thai restaurants as I can find.
Then it was off to Ikea. I mostly just took pictures for some ideas, but also picked up some UNICEF Christmas cards, cookie tins, and a new duvet and duvet cover (which I had planned to purchase). After that, went back to my room where, using FaceTime on my iPad, hung out with Shawna….she in southeastern VA, and me in Northern VA. It was fun….we had a couple of drinks and chatted for a while. Then I Skyped with my family (we don’t have Macs at home, so no FaceTime), and then fell asleep. Hard.
I slept in until the housekeeper opened my door at 9am. It was high time I woke up anyway, as I overslept past my planned workout class at the local gym. I took a shower, got dressed, and was out the door a little after 10.
I headed up to the city and started by hiking through the monuments. Washington Monument is closed still from the earthquake damage, but could still see from a small distance. Then it was the WWII memorial, which is one of my favorites. Then on to Vietnam, and then Korea, which is another big favorite of mine. The final one I went to was the new MLK memorial monument. I’m sad to say I was disappointed by it. The quotes engraved were inspiring, the I didn’t feel the monument itself was.
I will say that the MLK monument got me thinking about extremism, and how it’s bad in all forms. He advocated peace to drive social change, even while his counterparts advocated violence. This will be thoughts for a longer post in a future date, but it got me thinking about the differences in approach to Veganism I’ve seen, the Occupy movement, Egypt, and Libya. Certainly thought-provoking.
Then I hopped the train to Dupont Circle. I had two goals going there; hitting up a Japanese shop to look for Christmas gifts for A, and to have lunch at a local vegan place. Ginzu didn’t have anything that jumped out as gift-worthy, and both vegan places weren’t open! I did go to a cool knitting/yarn shop though. I’m halfway through with knitting my first hat, and I was feeling rather adventerous. I left without anything, but it was still cool (just too $$$). Anyway, one of the restaurants is closed on Saturday’s, and the other doesn’t open until 5pm. Ugh. I did go to a nice Greek place I’d never been to before. I was the ONLY diner. The lentil soup was good, and I had their vegan platter, which was a mixed bag. The eggplant dish was great, as was the cucumber/tomato/red onion/bell pepper salad. The beets though, were SO good. Beets are my current “project” food (it’s when I tackle a food I’ve previously disliked until I find a way to enjoy it – or at least say I gave it one heck of an effort). The zucchini dish was decent enough, but not stellar, and I didn’t like the fava been one at all. It came with pita slices too, and I had a little of one, but otherwise didn’t (that gluten thing). I also had a glass of Greek red wine. It was too vinegary for me…though that didn’t stop me from finishing the glass. Ya know…just to be sure I didn’t actually love it.
From there, I made my first ever visit to the largest Roman Catholic church in North America – and one of the 10 largest in the world. It’s part of the Catholic University of America, and is called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I really is huge, and I stayed for evening Mass. I admit, that I didn’t get what I was expecting (visually, not Mass-wise). I was expecting something like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or any of the big and old churches I grew up around. It wasn’t. It was beautiful on the outside, and to some, I’m sure it’s very beautiful on the inside. To me, it was over the top American tacky. I don’t mean to be mean, as I’m sure they do some wonderful things there, but when there’s a 20 foot image of Jesus behind the altar made in tiny colorful tiles, and they portray him as blonde…I take a bit of issue. Jesus was Middle Eastern…I doubt he was blonde! But that aside, I didn’t appreciate the art of the Basilica, and I really wanted to.
I headed back to the hotel after that, got hungry, and went to Wegman’s for their multiple buffet bars of awesome. I had a huge salad, and while sitting in the dining area, popped in headphones and Skyped with my family. It was cool. I want to make my parents and sister start using it so they can see the kids and we can see them. It’s way cool.
So one more cool thing before I go. While I was working nights the other night, I was looking for fabric shops in the DC area. I wanted to find a place that may have something unique for A for Christmas – something you can’t get at Joann or Hancock fabrics. Something funky and fun. What I found while searching was a sewing studio called Bits of Thread, and they just happen to have a sewing 101 camp tomorrow! I signed up online for the waitlist (it was full)…but was called this afternoon saying I had a spot. SO…I’m taking a sewing class tomorrow! Hey…may as well take advantage of the time I’m spending here, right!