Three Days Later…

I just haven’t had the energy or time to blog about our next days here.  I’ve blogged… but it’s been for my work sessions!  I know this is a long post, but that’s the way it goes.

IMG_1657 Sunday we slept in slightly after our late night, had a nice breakfast buffet at our hotel, then set out for the trip up to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (say that three times fast).  IMG_1668 We took the Metro and arrived in plenty of time to attend the Noon Mass with the choir.  It was beautiful.  We also spent some time after Mass touring the Basilica.

Then we headed back towards downtown with a stop in Chinatown for a yummy lunch.  We wanted to find a place in that happy medium between “authentic and new” and “safe to eat,” and I think we did, maybe leaning a little more towards the latter, but oh well.  It was really tasty!  We had at that point really started to perfect our budget meals – finding two meals on the menu the three of us all liked and sharing them all.  That left room for our nightly ice cream treat (not shared) without too much guilt.  After that, we took the Metro one stop north to the convention center so I could check in for my conference, then we decided to go out to the Pentagon to see the memorial, which was more incredible than I could have ever imagined.  Perhaps it is because it memorializes something that happened in my lifetime, but the symbolism displayed and the thought that had to have gone into the creation of the memorial is breathtaking.  You really have to see it and walk it to get it.  The war memorials were moving, but nothing like this for me.  We headed back to the hotel for our ice cream and a movie, and I mapped out my next day, of work.

IMG_1688 And that next day started brutally with a 7:15 alarm (ok, so it wasn’t all that brutal) and a brisk 6-block walk in the humidity to the convention center.  My work stuf is blogged on EdTech Avenue – I won’t repeat and bore you with it here.  I had sessions in the morning then visited the exhibit hall, met Mom and Jo for a quick lunch, had another session then was done.  Many sessions are available through “video-on-demand,” which means I can watch them later – when I’m not on brain-overload from the rest!  I took my stuff back to the hotel and met Mom and Jo at the Air and Space Museum.  That was cool!  I don’t think I could spend all day in there, but parts of it were very interesting and engaging.  From there we met my friend Cara for dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, and of course had to all go get some ice cream!  I had promised Cara that I had found her favorite ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s there… so we had to go there.  That was in the Old Post Office Pavilion, which was a neat spot too.  IMG_1717We even stayed longer and took in a “tower tour” to see the tall bell tower and look out over the city.  One of our tour guides said if you can’t get to the top of the Washington Monument (tickets are free but usually are gone soon after it opens), this is a close second, and the view was fantastic!   I only wish we had had a better view of the White House from there – it was pretty blocked by trees and the Treasury building.  By then we were pooped and headed back to the hotel.  After all, my next morning was to start even earlier!!

Bright and early at 6:45, that lovely alarm woke me again.  I had to go to a breakfast and overview meeting by a software company I had some interest in regarding an upgrade.  The free breakfast was good, but I’m not sure I got a lot out of the presentation.  Oh well, Tuesday was full of sessions, exhibits, posters, and very little rest and eating.  Then I met Mom and Jo down at the National Mall so we could see the war memorials in the daylight.  I’m glad we did that – the Korean and Vietnam memorials aren’t very well lit, so we really could see more of them in the day.  Tuesday evening we all went to a vendor appreciation party – Mom included – at a nearby “lounge” (bar).  They had brought in dueling pianos, as per usual for this party, and it was a great time.  It was loud for Mom, but I caught her laughing and smiling a few times too!  We headed back around 9, stopped for our ice cream, and they watched a movie while I packed up and got ready for our last day.

Wednesday I had just one morning session then spent a few hours in the exhibit hall sitting in on some demos, mostly of student response systems.  That was a better use of my time than I expected!  I also talked to some vendors and got some questions answered.  I met Mom and Jo for lunch (they spent the late morning touring the Capitol), a little souvenir shopping, and a quick trip back to the hotel to get our bags, then it was back to the Metro and to the airport!  Jo’s flight went off early, but before Mom’s and mine could take off, we were on a “ground stop,” we think due to weather in the area.  It was a bumpy flight in parts (enough to make me really nervous once), but overall it was good.  I’m glad we didn’t leave any earlier!

I can’t wait to get back home and see my boys.  Although it made it much easier to be able to actually SEE them using Skype, sometimes more than once a day, I still missed them terribly.  I saw many reasons each day to affirm my decision to NOT bring Mac along, but it didn’t mean I missed him any less or didn’t wish they were both with me.  I will be glad to be back in my own bed and be able to kiss my little boy and check on him before I go to sleep.  :)

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