Tuesday, August 7, 2012

July Stories: DC

The Tale of the Sun People:

Long ago in days of fun,
There lived a people of the sun.
They loved the heat and the heat loved them.
They worked in it, played in it, laughed in it, too.
Because they knew the sun, and the sun knew them.

There came a time when they wanted to travel,
To see the world and their dreams unravel. 
They knew they could handle
All kinds of scandal
Because they knew the sun, and the sun knew them.

They wanted greener, they wanted hills.
They wanted big lakes and ducks with bills.
They had heard of a wicked, watery foe,
A creature that existed where they might go.
Yet they were mighty, burning with pride.
For they knew the sun, and the sun knew them.

They arrived in the east, and took in a breath.
Yet they were unable, feeling pain in their chest.
The heat was unbearable, how could this be!
The creature was too strong, this "humidity".
They looked to the sun, their long time sire,
Yet the water-filled air quenched their fire.
And they drowned.

The end.

This is kind of what it's like to move from Arizona to Virginia.

Been there, sweat that.

More about this later...

July was a really busy month, and so I've decided to split up our little adventures by calling them "July Stories", even though the posts will be in August!

After the infamous blackout, (during which my husband's parents came into town), we cherished our returned power and enjoyed a really fun Fourth of July.
It was great to actually host them in our apartment for a few days!
(Read the "blackout" post to see where we left off!)

I went to work very festive that day, sporting my patriotic toes from the evening before.

We made a perfect Fourth of July meal, including grilled corn and hamburgers, chips, watermelon, and homemade oreo ice cream. 

There's nothing better than grilled corn with garlic salt and chili powder! Mmmm.

Once it got dark, we made our way over to the nearby baseball field to watch the fireworks!
There was still no power in the area, so it was especially dark on the surrounding streets.

It was a pretty perfect evening.
The weather was gorgeous, cool and breezy. It was the perfect way to spend the holiday!

The next night, we got ready to head out on our weekend trip.
I was taking a day off so that we could have a three-day weekend to Washington DC.
We were starting in Gettysburg, then heading in to DC until Sunday night.

The drive over was really fun!
We grabbed some popsicles we had bought earlier, and enjoyed the scenic drive.
Unfortunately, Dusty had a lot of homework to work on throughout the trip, so he stayed pretty busy.

For me, Gettysburg was one of the highlights of the trip. Being in a place with so much history, in a town that has continued to exist where men marched...it's a pretty stunning visual. You can't help but walk in solemnity.

We started out the morning on a high note. We stayed in a lovely hotel, with a really cool coffee bar. I felt really old-fashioned, in the saloon-like atmosphere.
Also, I had on my awesome new hat from Ruche. Which Dusty was not a fan of.
But he came around eventually :)

We arrived at the museum, and looked around there for a while before setting out on the actual tour of the property and seeing the actual town of Gettysburg.

Hanging with Abe.
Gettysburg itself was beautiful.
There were flowers blooming, and lots of old houses laced with history and their own age-old memories.

We ate lunch at an adorable place called Gettysburg Cupcake Cafe.

We went in on a whim, and were so glad we did!
It was so sweet. It wasn't crowded, and the food was delicious. It was a great place to keep cool for a while, and enjoy some food and conversation.

Look at the details of this place!
It was small, but completely adorable.

Our table.

We all had sandwiches, which were really yummy. We split the grilled turkey guacamole sandwich, and the grilled cheese with a delicious balsamic glaze.

Afterwards, we walked the streets a little, and came to a little ice cream shop.
We couldn't resist!

One of the coolest things was this plaque we noticed before we went in.
On the side of the building, there were actually bullet holes from the war!


Here are some of my favorite shots from our tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.
We were able to drive around in our car, using a CD-guided tour and labeled check-points around the extensive property. It was nice to have air-conditioning, and to be able to have an intimate tour, just the four of us (rather than in a bus full of people). We were able to go at our own pace, and get out and walk around when we wanted a closer look.

At one point, we climbed a tall tower that gave us a panoramic view of the battlefield.
It was breathtaking.

See that hill in the center distance? That's Little Round Top!
 There were a lot of monuments, and sobering tributes to the events that took place so many years ago.

On Little Round Top.

We spent some time at the Soldiers' National Monument, which was the quietest and most solemn of the day. It was a beautiful cemetery, with large trees and lots of shade.

Some of the small plaques of tribute were heartbreaking.

"The Muffled Drum's Sad Roll Has Beat
The Soldier's Last Tattoo
No More on Life's Parade Shall Meet
That Brave and Fallen Few"

"On Fame's Eternal Camping-Ground
Their Silent Tents Are Spread,
And Glory Guards With Solemn Round
The Bivouac Of The Dead"
There were several areas lined with small numbered square stones, dedicated to those soldiers that were buried but unknown.

It's hard to imagine that many people all in one place, at one time.
It's even hard to write about. It was a heavy day.

With all of these images running through our minds, we were happy to be heading to Washington DC to our new hotel that evening, and to a really fun dinner in Georgetown.
Our hotel was located in a fun downtown area.

Paul and Rhonda had gotten a recommendation for a really fun Italian restaurant called Filomena.
And boy, did it deliver!
It's located in the middle of Georgetown, and is open late, so it was perfect.

You enter the front door, and there's a little lobby area with a room to the right, connected to the outdoor display window. In that kitchen-like room, there were women hand-rolling ravioli. Amazing!
You descend down a long flight of stairs to enter the actual restaurant. The gaudiest, most intensely themed space I've ever seen!! And it was packed.

Happy Fourth!
What better way to celebrate than to have Uncle Sams hanging from the rafters?

We had such a blast.

I noticed a little section labeled "Filomena's Tomato Sauce" on the menu and, come to find out, this was one of Clint Eastwood's favorite restaurants!!
Apparently, he loved the tomato sauce so much that he sent his Production Film Team and the cast of "Flags of our Fathers" to Filomena to try it!
Pretty cool.

 So of course, Dusty and I got the hand-rolled ravioli with the famous tomato sauce.

Oh so yummy!

We enjoyed some fancy desserts and (of course) some coffee.

Definitely another highlight for me!

We spent the next 2 days in Washington D.C.

Enter, the Tale of the Sun People.

I don't think I've ever been so hot, humid, disgusting, sweaty, uncomfortable, attacked-by-the-weather in my life. Essentially, our experience with Arizona heat turned on us, and we drowned.
It was 106 on Saturday, and I don't know what the humidity was, but it was at least 1057, whatever that number may mean to you.

Naturally, we went to Arlington Cemetery at noon. Dead noon. Is that a saying? It is now. And if it was before, now I know why.

As stated before, us Sun People know heat. We know the sun. We understand 118 degree weather. But this? This was an entirely different animal.
We were soaked through. Not to try and make you gag.

Despite our suffering (and stupidity at challenging the infamous Dead Noon), we saw some incredible things.

I don't have any more pictures from that first day, because I think I spent the entire day passed-out-yet-still-standing. An anomaly I'm still researching.

We went to the Holocaust museum, which was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. I had never gotten up enough courage to face it, knowing it would be another heavy experience. But it was worth it.

(Side note: another glaring sign of the end times, were the countless screaming children running around the Holocaust museum. If parents these days can't even teach their children respect in a place like that, what hope do we have!?)

That night, we met up with our friends Jeremiah and Christina, who have been long-time friends of the Schanakers.
They were also shocked and dismayed that we made it out alive, after spending all day outside on one of the hottest days of the year. We had dinner with them and ended up having some really delicious frozen yogurt at Tangy Sweet. They have some delightful Green Tea tart yogurt, which is probably my new favorite. The tarter, the better!

The next day, our last day, we just went around naked and didn't even bother with deodorant, because what was the point?

Okay, that didn't really happen, but I think I had a dream like that.

We started out clean and fresh! If only we could stay that way all day...
We spent a lot of time in museums on Sunday, hoping to dodge the heat and praying we weren't completely soaked through and disgusting by the end. We were, of course.
One thing that didn't help was walking the few miles to our favorite burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, taking breaks in the shade, and then walking up to the front doors....to see that it isn't even open on Sundays.


There's not much I can say about that devastation. We walked into a burrito place next door, and unfortunately had to sit on bar stools facing ceiling to floor mirrors, exposing our red faces with giant droplets of sweat running down our noses. We were cute.

Determined survivors.

At least there was cheery fruit and vegetable art.

They were truly two peas in a pod.
Or rather, two halves of the same avocado.

As he kissed her, her face turned bright red in delight.

Again, we did have some definite highlights of the day.

For me, it was going to my favorite museum: The National Gallery of Art!
I think Dusty and I spent about 5 hours there, last time we went.
Poor guy.

My favorite, John Singleton Copley. An artist I studied in school.
Vincent Van Gogh. (The guy in the middle).
Do we look haggard?
Monet, Monet.

They had some incredible exhibits in the basement of the gallery, complete with furniture, sculptures and art.

Pretty incredible!

We also spent some time in the Air and Space Museum, although I must confess, we just paid like 30 bucks to sit in the nice and cold theater to cool off. Rhonda fell right asleep.
It was the most expensive, and probably the most needed, nap she's ever had.

Lastly, we toured around a few monuments.
On our way to Lincoln, Dusty and I chased some geese.
Another highlight.

Mostly because I have actual proof of the disgusting air.
We wiped our lense down for the hundredth time, trying to rid the lense of the moisture in the air, but it was impossible.
It might have been because we were wiping it down with our sweat-soaked shirts, but truly. I'm calling this proof.

We had fun, anyway.


We're weird. We were also were incoherently dazed from heat exhaustion (sweat exhaustion? exceedingly abundant sweat expenditure?).

We ended on an angry high note.
High, because the weather turned cool and it started to rain as we headed back to our hotel to leave.
Angry, because it waited until we were leaving to cool off and rain.
So it was kind of a lullaby-turned-screech note. Awwwaaagghhhh.

We ended with some treats, to ease the pain, and called it a day.

Crazy ice-cream parlor art.
Can't make this stuff up.
What a great trip.
And a great visit from the Schanakers!
Adventurous, spontaneous, unique, and all-around great.


In love,


  1. I am laughing out loud. First at your poem which is completely, totally correct. And the way you told the escapades, well, you tell it well, Caitlin. We should have taken more pictures of our disgusting bodies so that we'd have more proof. You just look cute in all of them. Fun, fun memories:)

  2. So I have to ask, how do you know about Good Stuff in DC? It is not the sort of place that you are likely to happen on by chance. It is one of my wife Alison (who you have not met) and my favorite places in DC. Sadly we are only infrequently able to eat their now as we are usually only in the city on Sundays, and as you discovered, it is not open on Sundays. It's too bad I didn't know you were wanting to go, or I could have told you that! The house where Alison lived before we got married this past January is right around the corner from Good Stuff so we used to go there all the time. In fact, we were at that very house eating lunch with her old roommates after church on the day you tried to go to Good Stuff. In fact, had we not received that lunch invitation there is a good chance we would have gone to Burrito Brothers that Sunday, which we also often do. So we very nearly could have run into you!

    1. Hey Garrett!
      Actually, the only reason we know about it is because of our friends (Jeremiah and Christina) who live there! The first time we went to DC, Christina introduced us to it. :) We've been obsessed ever since!
      That's so funny, we could have ran into each other!
      But I definitely won't be trying to go to Good Stuff on a Sunday again, not in the heat, anyway! ;)

    2. Ah, that makes sense. It is very good food.:)

      I know Christina and Jeremiah well. In fact (as you may recall) it was at their wedding that I met you! Also, interestingly enough, we went to a movie with them the evening before you saw them in DC as you describe above. :)

      I told Rhonda this as well, but if you ever want to know more about DC and all it contains, particularly the memorials on the national mall, I would love to tell you all about it. I came out here originally to work as a park ranger on the mall, and have sense worked in Shenandoah, and now as a part of the Civil War sesquicentennial team. So I am quite familiar with details and stories of much of DC as well as the surrounding area. It sounds like you did perfectly well on your own, but just so you know, if you are ever in northern virginia and want to know more of the history at a battlefield, or in DC, it is my job to tell people about them. :)

      And if you are ever hanging out with Christina and Jeremiah and want more company, do let us know. I know that I don't really know you and don't know Dusty well, (and neither of you have met my wife) so don't in any way feel like you should include us, but I wanted you to know that if you ever want more fellow Arizona friends, we are here and available. :)

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