I am sure each of you conjures up roughly the same images when I say "last week" ... images of the Boston Marathon bombing, aftermath and lockdown, and the West, Texas explosion. For me, however, that time was my vacation. So I'd like to take you on a week through my eyes. Follow me below the
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On Thursday April 11th I took Amtrak to Philadelphia, where a dear friend met me and together we drove to Rockville, MD. For three days we were at a music Jam... fun, friendship and music with two dozen extremely talented musicians who play live in the virtual world of Second Life. My friend was running the sound board, and I wrangled cords and tried to cut through the chaos inherent when five musicians decide to join the duo playing and need mics, instrument cords and balanced sound Right Away, so that the hundred listeners online can hear them. It's my break away from home where I relax, dance, and sing (generally off-mic, but
mistakes accidents happen :-).
On Sunday Casa Brillig flew to DC and when Jam was over I met them for a short vacation during this MA School Vacation Week. I've looked through the many pictures taken during that week, and have below a set that sums up my week:
Take a bunch of musicians, some of whom have never met each other, and let them play what they want while streaming it live over the Interwebs. We spectators were having as much fun as they look like they are!
Give randomly paired musicians one hour to come up with a song to perform together, and you get people scattered all over the hotel practicing.
10 hours and a few bottles of wine/beer/rum/whiskey/all of the above later, and you get a bunch of musicians in their jammies jamming! I will not confirm that shortly after this shot, Red Solo Cup was performed as a large group with Yours Truly at a mic...
Jam continued until about 4pm, closing with the entire assemblage performing Semisonic's Closing Time. Little did I know then how different this carefree weekend would be from the following.
Hopped the Metro and met Casa Brillig downtown, where they'd been sightseeing. We had dinner at Cafe Asia near our hotel in Rosslyn, and it was delicious!
This was planned as Smithsonian Day. We started at the wonderful Museum of the American Indian. This is one of my favorite museums anywhere... so much to see and learn, beautifully designed, and with the best lunch options on the National Mall. We purchased a cookbook because everything looked so good we wanted it all, I "settled" for a chicken tamale with aji-spiced garbonzo beans and some sort of spiced potato dish that I'm dying to try again.
We walked across the mall towards the National History and American History Museums, where I snapped this shot of the Capitol...
While at the Natural History Museum Mr. Brillig checked his Facebook, where he wondered why someone was asking if he was ok. A check of FB and Twitter quickly explained what was unfolding in Boston. When a friend currently in India texted to check in and we noticed a sudden unobtrusive yet definitely increased security presence in the Museum, it became clear everything had changed.
K1 was also getting texts from concerned friends, but K2 was unaware, so we made a conscious effort to close our Facebook and browser pages and be in the moment- although I asked JustOneMore Dad to text me updates so I would be aware but wouldn't run my battery down.
Out on the Mall we wandered over to the Carousel, where I couldn't help but think "THIS is what today is supposed to be about, kids on carousels having milkshakes, not fears for friends running the Marathon and grief for those killed and injured by the attack." The kids chose their favorites (K1 the SeaHorse, K2 a red horse) and rode the Carousel.
On the way to dinner these blossoms reminded us there is always beauty to be found, even in grief.
Came back to the hotel and after getting K2 to sleep, watched coverage with tears in our eyes until we vowed to carry on with our vacation, lest terror trump our plans.
This was our day at the Zoo, and while we took turns checking coverage, for the most part we saw the animals and mused on the damage we'd done to our Earth and its inhabitants.
K2 loves big cats, and we had him run fast as a cheetah.
K1 took this picture after patiently waiting for the right moment.
That's Mr. Brillig's hat, waved by K2, holding the seal's attention.
Watching Casa Brillig watch lions.
The sign said she liked to play with the sheet. I think she was thinking "I'll just make a fort out of this sheet and hide out in it, playing and coloring, until all this human drama lets up."
Who's watching who? That's the K's on one side of the window, and Mr. Orangutan on the other.
Lastly, panda. Because everyone who goes to the National Zoo wants to see a panda.
Ended the evening in the hotel pool/hot tub, where we met another family from the Boston area. Caught up on coverage again that evening and shut the world out for the night.
One thing we'd always wanted to do was visit the Air & Space Annex, so we rented a car to make it easier to get there and spent most of the day wandering around.
Blackbird. Imagining these flying overhead, while considering the very real implications of a terrorist attack in Boston.
Concorde. Seems so fresh in my mind, yet had to explain to K1 what exactly it WAS.
The Enola Gay. Couldn't help but imagine the fear and terror that must have enveloped an entire country when we unleashed this upon them. May we never do so again.
And lastly, what just about everyone wants to see most... a Space Shuttle. Wowza is it big! Wistful thoughts wondering whether we'll ever make it to the stars at the rate we're going.
The first place I had Ethiopian food was in DC, and it also was K1's first. Although truth be told, that first time 11 years ago she ate crackers. This time everyone enjoyed, clearing this entire plate, including the injera base! Mind you, the plate is two feet across :)
Following dinner, we spent nearly three hours visiting Memorials. Vietnam, Korea (of which I don't have a good picture), MLK Jr, and Lincoln.
From a distance, the Wall doesn't seem like such a 'big deal'... cold, impersonal, smooth and neat and orderly.
Up close, however, the personal grief of tens of thousands of families is etched forever into stone. I think it's this way with War, easy to contemplate in the abstract, but powerfully personal up close. That's the K's reflected, by the way.
This was our first time visiting the MLK Jr. Memorial, and we were struck by the hope radiating from it. I found this quote particularly inspiring as I alternately explored the site, and checked the news.
Loved this juxtaposition of two pillars of American history.
The Lincoln Memorial is hands-down my favorite spot in DC, and I love being there after dark. We stayed until the kids were too tired to keep awake, then walked back to the car.
Started packing up our stuff and learned of the tragedy in West, Texas. Overcome with anger and the feeling that sadly, small government 'thugs got exactly what they wanted. Except that innocent people, first responders and bystanders, bore the brunt of the effect. But unfortunately that's the way it always seems to be :(.
Time to head home, wondering what security would be like at the airport, and talking with K2 so he would be aware of what was going on as we couldn't shield him from the TVs and talking people at the airport. He took it well, asked questions, and we assured him he was safe. On our walk to the Metro station, we stopped to look at something that had mystified us all week... a statue/small patch of land in the middle of the street totally covered in crocheted plants and animals. Turns out it was the work of the Guerilla Stitch Brigade and it made us smile.
Boarded the plane easily, everyone heading towards Boston seemed quieter and more serious than I'm used to. The K's chose to sit together, so Mr. Brillig and I could watch onflight TV that promised a press conference with pictures of the bombers. Which, naturally, was released two minutes after the plane landed.
Friday:It was a week of highs and lows, great fun tinged with emotional sadness. May all the weeks to come be good weeks.
Woke Friday to Mr. Brillig's mom calling. "Did he leave for work yet?" "no" "Good, turn on the TV, I think he is staying home." And thus we learned of the shooting, and the manhunt, and of Mr. Brillig's Cambridge office being closed. And spent the day glued to the TV, and to Twitter. I couldn't help but reflect on that Friday oh so many years ago, when I was at a Jam making music with friends. Photo below link here:
Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
From samddobermann:Here's a great one from yesterday, by slampros. (brillig's note: this wasn't nominated until today, and it's worth seeing, so I'm including it).
From samer:harrije makes a comment that is so, so wrong. . . . and yet so, so true.
From Noddy:NormAl1792 carries employers' religious rights to their tragic conclusion on ProgLegs' diary, Family Chooses Prayer over Medicine, Kills Their Second Child in Four years.
From Puddytat:I apologize for not having nominations tonight. Combination of fighting the html gods to get the photos uploaded and a cortisone shot today in my dominant (left) hand to deal with an inflamed tendon that is making it hard to type. Yes, poor planning on my part shouldn't be andetroitmechworks hits it out of the park by beating the GOP/corporate meme by renaming the Texas fertilizer explosion
Honorary mention to DRo's comment in the same diary that really says it all about Texas deregulation
Top Mojo for yesterday, April 22nd, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic! For those of you interested in How Top Mojo Works, please see his diary FAQing Top Mojo.
1) How can people like Karl Rove... by Buckeye Nut Schell — 127
2) I'll never forget his performance of Freedom by One Pissed Off Liberal — 122
3) I was right at the foot of the stage when he began by sfbob — 104
4) "...kept amurka safe..." by mama jo — 84
5) Gee, what ever happened to the old-fashioned by ontheleftcoast — 80
6) It 's not complicated. by TomP — 77
7) This case is a terrible miscarriage of justice. by 2laneIA — 74
8) Who would have ever suspected by MBNYC — 73
9) I get sick to my stomach every time I think of him by 4CasandChlo — 73
10) Good luck with this by Mark Mywurtz — 65
11) Interesting that we look at birds as by cassandracarolina — 65
12) Meanwhile, Reince Priebus is labelling by DeadHead — 64
13) She's an embarrassment to them. by SottoVoce — 63
14) I am a public defender. by CenPhx — 62
15) And from the anthrax, by Simplify — 61
16) It is worth pointing out by Eric Blair — 61
17) Welcome back, HiH! by ericlewis0 — 59
18) For Westboro thugs , it's all about making money. by midwesterner — 58
19) We lost our Mousie today... by Ekaterin — 58
20) OOOOOOH by blue aardvark — 58
21) Republished to Birds and Birdwatching by Senor Unoball — 58
22) while we're at it by terrypinder — 58
23) WBC... "U c us in Boston?" by Man Oh Man — 57
24) Good for them. n/t by just another vet — 57
25) Our party knows what it's supposed to do by RFK Lives — 56
26) This is the most important and detailed diary by Creosote — 56
27) It's so richly ironic by MBNYC — 55
28) Throw them in maximum security. by zenbassoon — 55
29) And as an added bonus for them, by Leap Year — 54
30) Considering what I was doing then by sfbob — 53
31) These aren't Acts Of God. by Bob Love — 53
32) Happy Moon-Day, T-Dub! by NormAl1792 — 53
33) Impairments of motor and speech functions... by Egalitare — 54
Top Pictures for yesterday, April 22nd. Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!