I spent most of the past week in Baltimore - DC - NH visiting adult kids and growing grandkids -- and unplugged from the Internet most of that time.
My three kids were born in South Dakota, but all ended up on the East Coast, far, far away and in a different time zone. Fortunately -- it's a great place to visit! And this year, the weather was PERFECT, sunny and 70s to low 80s every day except one. I wish I'd have taken more photos, but I was too busy enjoying time with the kids to be searching out blog worthy photo ops at every turn. Sorry about that!
I've decided to break the trip into "chunks" - -sharing a few highlights from each leg of the trip in separate posts. Today is Part I: Lincoln to Baltimore to DC.
I flew into BWI - Baltimore. My daughter Allison (almost 27) just moved there 4 days before I arrived. She is working as a New Student Programs / Parent & Family Orientation Coordinator at the University of Maryland Office of Orientation in College Park, MD. She decided to commute from Baltimore, where housing prices aren't QUITE so crazy expensive -- and I suspect the fact that Baltimore is closer to Philadelphia just might have been a factor.
Here she is during her first week on the job. (She's the one in the black shirt.) Here's a better shot of Allison (sans shades) and her very nice boyfriend Ben. Aren't they a cute couple? Ben just started a new job in Philadelphia.
She'll also be attending grad school in her spare time! Busy girl! She picked me up at the airport in her little copper-colored near-vintage compact car which she named Penny back when she was in high school. We chatted our way to DC where we met up with her brother Jeff (32), who works at the Congressional Budget Office. We "hung out" as the kids would say, at his apartment, and the next day Allison went to Philadelphia for a wedding and Jeff went to work and I went to the Smithsonian! I could spend a week touring Smithsonian museums, but this trip I chose to visit the American History Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
Inside, I saw this unique abstract flag-like sculpture hanging above the entrance to the Star Spangled Banner exhibit. The people in the lower right hand corner give you a sense of scale -- it was REALLY big!
I also got to see the original ruby slippers worn by Dorothy (Judy Garland) in The Wizard of Oz movie, which I watched every year as a kid (but ran upstairs to hide under the covers when the winged monkeys showed up).
It was such a BEAUTIFUL day, I decided I wanted to spend part of it outside, so I bought a small bag of popcorn and sat outside. This friendly little bird apparently wanted me to share my popcorn:
Then I wandered down the street to the Natural History Museum, where I hoped to see the live butterfly exhibit -- but it was sold out.
There were some other cool exhibits, though -- sharks and dinosaurs -- I heard one little boy say, "I wish I LIVED in this place!!"
After work, Jeff and I saw the movie, The 100 Foot Journey. It was EXCELLENT!! I am guessing Helen Mirren will get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, and Charlotte Le Bon deserves a nomination for Best Supporting Actress IMHO. I think we'll see a lot more of her in years to come. It was a delightful mix of culture clash, comedy, romance, haute cuisine, and beautiful cinematography (set in the French countryside). But it was not just a "chick flick." My son genuinely enjoyed it -- and he thinks it should get an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. The screenplay was based on a book by Richard Morais.
The next day we took in another movie -- Boyhood.
I would also highly recommend this film. It was filmed over a 12-year period, and it is a very realistic look at fractured family life with a mostly upbeat vibe. Although it is a fictionalized account, it seemed like an ultra-condensed version of a reality TV series. But it was exceptionally well done, and well acted. Patricia Arquette played the mom, and Ethan Hawke played the "real" dad. The screenplay is by Richard Linklater, who also directed the move -- and his real life daughter played the daughter / sister role.
And then we ate some fantastic Portuguese spicy chicken and Jeff scored four great tickets to the Baltimore Orioles / St. Louis Cardinals baseball game for Sunday afternoon. But I'm getting ahead of myself.... Stay tuned for Part II.