Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Break, Part 2: The Cherry Blossom Festival

Monday we got up early and ate breakfast, that took Tom's are in for an oil-change and a quick check-up. As that was being done, we went to a nearby store so I could look for a bathing suit. The hotel we booked had a pool, and my suimming suit is old and too big.

Tom didn't understand by reluctance and by antipathy for the whole suimsuit-shopping experience until he got to see what it was like. So many of the suits were tacky or the wrong color for me. Of the few non-tacky, right-colored suits, few had my size. Of the ones my size, I'd be spilling out the top or spilling out the bottom, but the next size up was just too big. Then I convinced Tom to try picking one, and of course the one he picked for me was perfect. Guys are great like that sometimes. (Later we would discover that the hotel's pool was closed, but that's okay. I needed a new suit anyway.)

We hit the road and the closer we got to D.C., the nicer the weather got and the bluer the sky was. We got stuck in traffic and arrived in the capital city later than we'd hoped, but it was still early enough to throw on some lighter clothes and see the sights.

We walked from our hotel to the White House, next the World War II Memorial, then over to the Basin where the blossoming of the cherry trees is most spectacular. We made it all the way to the Jefferson Monument. By then, I was feeling peckish, so we took a train up to Georgetown to find a restaurant.

In Georgetown, we wandered onto some side-streets and found a French Bistro. They took us to the patio (patio dining is an essential part of life in D.C.) where a man was playing guitar. He was silver-haired, in his 60s and had an accent we couldn't quite discern (from somewhere in Central or South America, perhaps?). The food was not remarkable, but the musician's set list certainly was. It included such hits as "Sunshiny Day," "Girl From Ipanema," "Funiculi," "Bippity Boppity Boo," "Yellow Submarine," "Karma Chameleon," "Proud Mary," "Country Road (Take Me Home)," "Livin' La Vida Loca," and "My Girl." We were shaking from trying not to laugh out loud, but somehow we managed it. It was chilly as we walked back to the hotel.

Tuesday I put on a pretty dress -- my long, black Betsy Johnson with the tiny pink flowers printed all over it. I paired it with my cute pink cardigan, with makes the dress look more pink than black. We bought sandwhiches at Whole Foods and had a picnic on a patch of grass in the Mall. Then I took Tom to the Smithsonian Castle. Behind it are beautiful gardens and sculptural elements and cherry trees blooming. I took a photo of Tom and asked him to take one of me, but he wanted to wait for a backdrop he liked more.

After that we went to a gallery and sculpture garden. In the garden, Yoko Ono had left a tree for people to tie wishes on (see photo at left, downloaded from A woman was going to get more wish slips as we circled the tree reading wishes in many languages, written by children and adults. Some were innocent ("I want a puppy." "I wish every little girl has a dolly to play with."), greedy ("I wish I had a million dollars."), altruistic ("I wish for world peace.") or sad ("I wish my mommy didn't cry so much.")

We passed a crazy sculpture that I had to get a shot of, and I took pictures of Tom, too. Then we went to the National Gallery so I could use the bathroom. We looked at the beautiful paintings and sculptures, then they shooed us out because it was closing. We tried to get to the Library of Congress before it closed, but we were too late. We made a plan to go to the hotel, then walk to Adams Morgan to find a restaurant.

I told Tom I really wanted to get a picture of us. The next thing I knew, we were on the escalator down to the train, and I was upset. He saw the look on my face and asked what was wrong. "I had one thing I wanted to do today: get a picture of us, and we didn't." I am embarrassed to admit, I even cried a little, less because of the picture than because I felt like he wasn't listening to me. He promised we'd get a picture, but I was skeptical. During the train ride, he exclaimed, "If you grab your stuff, we could jump off right now at this stop and we'd be at the Basin in a couple of minutes." But it was too split-second for me to decide. Besides, I'd been crying, which is rarely a good look for me.

We went back to the hotel to take showers (it was hot and quite polleny. I had a rash, perhaps from the new sunscreen I got). Then we got all dressed up and walked to Adams Morgan. I took Tom to an Ethiopian restaurant Rose had introduced me to. Tom really liked the place. Then we took a cab home because it was chilly and I was exhausted. In fact, I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. I didn't even follow my usual evening ritual of scrubbing my face and applying lotion.

The next morning, it was the day we were scheduled to leave. The sky was white, the weather drizzly. For the past two days, my hair had been perfect and my outfits adorable. Wednesday my hair was frizzy, my clothing was warm but not notably cute, my rash was worse, my ankle hurt and my eyes were puffy and dark from my allergies. Oh, I felt attractive. Nonetheless, Tom offered to go out so I could get my picture. After how upset I was the night before, I couldn't really say no, so we trooped over to the Lincoln Monument.

He snapped an unattractive profile of me on the way and a nice fellow-tourist snapped a shot of the two of us on the steps that I had to heavily doctor on my computer. (She framed it strangely and didn't use a flash, so Tom and I looked like a silhouette.) Anyway, I managed to let all my grumpiness go, because he was really trying to make me happy. Then we checked out and headed for home.

That night, Tom made me delicious pasta with tomato and zucchini and just enough cheese. It was light and fresh and I managed to eat a few chunks of zucchini before it started making me gag. I've learned that I don't mind zucchini as a flavoring in a dish and I can handle small amounts of it, lightly cooked. So once it made me gag, I started eatting around it and went back for seconds and thirds. He's such a great cook! For dessert we had lightly sugared strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

As we were talking about our trip, he told me, "You know, when we passed Yoko's tree, I couldn't think of anything to wish for, besides ending war or curing diseases -- cheesy stuff like that. I thought, 'There's nothing I want right now. '" He mentioned how lucky he was to feel that way. "You know what?" I replied, "I had the exact same thought!" And it's true. As I looked at that tree, I was glad they'd run out of strips of paper to wish on, because I couldn't think of anything I really needed. Life was as perfect as it can be.

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