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I went to Washington, D.C. this weekend and had a really lovely time. I mean, seriously, a wonderful time. I purposefully (and successfully) didn't think about work at all, and became all happy and rested and then bubbled up with hope and delight and plans and ideas. After touring about in the morning and mid afternoon, I'd head back to the room after a fairly early dinner (usually with a cupcake in hand) and spend the evening cross stitching in the room's super comfy chair whilst listening to music or reading or reading whilst bathing. I had bought this album by Olafur Arnalds and Alice Sara Ott called “The Chopin Project” and have been listening to it for days and days.

Of course, work has nearly sucked out all the joy.

Still.

There is an Elaine de Kooning exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which was the reason I went. She painted my favorite portrait in the place: JFK in greens and yellows and blues and light. I visit it every time I go, and I loved having a chance to see more of her work. I also went to the National Archives, the National Zoo (the suck, honestly (so many school children. Quite possibly all the school children), though I did see one and a quarter pandas before tossing my hands up in defeat and heading toward the exit. Pro tip: if you're going, get off on the Cleveland Park station. The walk is lovely and flat and there's a huge Art Deco style building and it will have you searching for the cost of homes ($210,000 for 400 square feet! I could live in 400 square feet!) The Woodley Park station is torture and hate and fear and loathing (by method of hill).

There was also food, so much food, and by liberal use of Yelp, it was all very good food: The Pita House in Alexandria (which is divine. Laura and I went there for my birthday two years ago and I've been dreaming of it since), Hill County BBQ (near the NPG), Old Ebbit's Grill (near the White House), Paul's Bakery (at the Navy Memorial. I even forgive them for putting olive in my ciabatta roll because the sandwich: mozarella, pesto, tomatoes, and arugula, was so perfect), Los Cuates (fresh, fantastic Mexican in Alexandria). And cupcakes. I might have visited Alexandria Cupcakes three times. It couldn't be helped! (coconut, carrot, lemon, vanilla with raspberry, strawberry, chocolate with mocha icing). The boxes held two! I couldn't just buy one. That would have been unAmerican.

Of course, my favorite part of D.C. is the metro. I stayed in Alexandria at the Hilton near the King Street metro and the Amtrak, which is so incredibly convenient. I could walk to the hotel from the Amtrak station (after a mere ten hour train ride) then take the metro into the city, thus never stepping foot into a D.C. cab, which is always my goal.

anyway. Back now. It was a crazy time to take vacation, especially as I had just been out of the office the week before for a conference. I'm still not caught up. I may never be caught up (especially because I'm anti-working weekends this year). Particularly as my boss and I had a very odd four hour meeting that ended up including a surprise lunch (student appreciation day happened outside her door. totally forgot about that.) It's just been two days and I'm already feeling a bit defeated and my lovely vacation glow of energy and excitement are pretty much tamped down.

For fun today, I delivered a gift that I picked up from the White House Visitor's Center (quite a nice little quasi museum btw, though I was more enamored of the space, the Malcolm Baldrige Great Hall, which had belonged to the patent office and had the most amazing plaster ceiling) to a coworker who has a weird Taft thing. She was very excited that I had found a bookmark that had President Taft in his car. (A serious Taft thing. She managed to rename our "social wellness committee", which she leads, to T.A.F.T ...let me think: Something and Fellowship Tribute committee. They picked the acronym and then made up a name to go with it.)
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