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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 dingledoodle squigglie dKosagnocchi dividerthingie fold after a word from our sponsor...

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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:
 

Friday:
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!
Friday photo Friday_zpse6d0c09a.jpg
Saturday:
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.
Saturday AM photo SaturdayAM_zpsf4c31ce6.jpg

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...
Saturday PM photo SaturdayPM_zpsc8388bd9.jpg

Sunday:
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.
Sunday AM photo SundayPM_zps69513058.jpg

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!
Sunday PM photo SundayDinner_zpsbcbf4a4d.jpg

Monday:
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.
Monday photo MondayBefore_zps752b80eb.jpg

We walked across the mall towards the National History and American History Museums, where I snapped this shot of the Capitol...
Monday Just Before photo MondayafterLunch_zps157c991d.jpg

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.
Monday Should Have Been photo MondayAfter_zpsd0e84491.jpg

On the way to dinner these blossoms reminded us there is always beauty to be found, even in grief.
Monday Beauty photo MondayBeforeDinner_zps76350c6c.jpg

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.

Tuesday:
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.
Tuesday 1 photo Tuesday1_zps78f368d7.jpg

K1 took this picture after patiently waiting for the right moment.
Tuesday 2 photo Tuesday2_zpsc50f88ef.jpg

That's Mr. Brillig's hat, waved by K2, holding the seal's attention.
Tuesday 3 photo Tuesday3_zps8b53a371.jpg

Watching Casa Brillig watch lions.
Tuesday 4 photo Tuesday4_zps134951e3.jpg

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."
Tuesday 5 photo Tuesday5_zps3cb4b168.jpg

Who's watching who? That's the K's on one side of the window, and Mr. Orangutan on the other.
Tuesday 6 photo Tuesday6_zps51c1d3de.jpg

Lastly, panda. Because everyone who goes to the National Zoo wants to see a panda.
Tuesday 7 photo Tuesday7_zpsd81901f2.jpg

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.

Wednesday:
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.
Wed Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird photo Wednesday1_zps86881928.jpg

Concorde. Seems so fresh in my mind, yet had to explain to K1 what exactly it WAS.
Wed Concorde photo Wednesday2_zpse10184ba.jpg

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.
Wed Enola Gay photo Wednesday3_zps591cc913.jpg

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.
Shuttle Front photo ShuttleFront_zps8e0fe173.jpg

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 :)
Injera photo EthiopianDinner_zps068adc57.jpg

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.
Wed Wall Distance photo Wednesday5_zps97faeabd.jpg

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.
Wed Wall Close photo Wednesday6_zpsb39983a7.jpg

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.
MLK-Jefferson photo Wednesday7_zps0357c2c0.jpg

Loved this juxtaposition of two pillars of American history.
MLK-Washington photo Wednesday8_zps90a6231a.jpg

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.
Lincoln photo Wednesday9_zpse3b33aa6.jpg

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 :(.

Thursday:
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.
Thursday AM photo Thursday1_zps336f514b.jpg

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.
Thursday PM photo Thursday2_zps84853bcf.jpg

Friday:
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:
 photo 130419_PHOTO_MANHUNTBOSTON_028jpgCROParticle920-large_zpsa3b156db.jpg
It was a week of highs and lows, great fun tinged with emotional sadness. May all the weeks to come be good weeks.

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:
detroitmechworks 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

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 an emergency lack of my TC noms for you, but can I plead guilty and do better next week?

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!
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