Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Miss Rose Goes To Washington

We spent the bulk of last week in Washington D.C., there for the sake of a conference Christine was attending for work. Miss Rose and I wandered the city as best we could, in-between naps and such. Neither of us had been to the city before, but apparently Christine had, at least once or twice.

Our airplane was small, which meant the washroom, where I changed the young lady, was also small.

The rainbow ring around the airplane as we neared the city. That means good luck, yes?
Tuesday, March 31, 2015: We flew in, later afternoon. At least the flight was only an hour-plus, but the wee lass was a bit tricky to wrangle. We made hotel, showed Rose some episodes of some of her toddler-shows, and almost immediately crashed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015: Woke early in Washington, apparently a day that Rose considered was best for eating blueberries while lying down (for some reason). After Christine left for her conference, Rose and I headed out to meet up with poet Reb Livingston and her son Gideon at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Café for lunch, and bookstore wandering. Before we met them, we wandered a bit around Dupont Circle, and Rose ran around where the empty fountain (seasonal, I presume) sits. 

Reb and I have been occasional correspondents for some time now, so good to finally be able to meet in person (especially since I haven’t yet attended an AWP, where, apparently, everyone meets everybody). Livingston was also the publisher of Lea Graham’s trade poetry collection, the last title for her series of titles under No Tell Books. Now she's part of Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and was also kind enough to pass along a copy of her novel, Bombyonder (2014), published by Bitter Cherry Books, an extension of Coconut. Much thanks!

Although I’m disappointed: after days of planning, I never did get to open with my “Doctor Livingston, I presume.” I mean, I bet she’s never heard anyone offer her that before. Ever.

We returned to the hotel for her nap, just in time. Post-nap, we headed off to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which was absolutely incredible. Disappointing, a bit, that the museum had a small display for Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space (including his space suit and a couple of other things), but nothing for Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space (from whom Rose was given one of her middle names). Still: we stood by Apollo 11 and marvelled, not just at how small the capsule really is, but how completely cool to be able to be standing by such a thing.

The rockets were completely, entirely cool. I really can't say that enough.

Given how often Christine attended space-camp as a teen, I suspected we had no option but to visit here. I picked up some postcards to send folk back home, and a small space shuttle toy for Rose.

Just behind the museum, the stretch of parks and other spaces between the Washington Monument and the Capital Building.

After spending most of the day in the ring sling (I didn't dare let her run around the bookstore or the museum, etcetera), we were both starting to wear.

Although I did wish we'd the time to visit the Capital Building, the Washington Monument and even Grant's Tomb, given that we were so close (and, as Groucho Marx knew, where no-one is buried).

Thursday, April 2, 2015: A morning off to the Washington Zoo, where Rose meandered very slowly, which means we didn’t see much at all, but at least she got some exercise.

Somehow, she absolutely fascinated by the cobblestone.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of the Washington Metro system. Although I don’t understand all the exhaust that lives in the tunnels; are the trains powered by coal? I don’t see or smell the same kind of exhaust from any of the subways in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Explain? [Someone finally did: not coal, but a matter of accumulated exhaust that simply has nowhere else to go]

In the zoo (once we finally arrived; we got slightly turned around upon leaving the subway) we saw spotted leopards, giant pandas, elephants and a zebra. She made her elephant noises, she made her lion/dragon noises, she made her dog noises (we saw a dog on the way in). Given Rose’s schedule, we didn’t go much further into the zoo, but stopped briefly for food before heading back to the hotel for her nap. She was asleep before we left the train.

Sleeps, sleeps. She did sleep.

Post-nap we were off again, this time to visit poet Rod Smith at his bookstore gig, Bridge Street Books, where I picked up some titles from him directly, as well as some from store itself, including his newest poetry collection, TOUCHE (Wave Books, 2015). I brought along my copy of his previous poetry collection, Deed (University of Iowa Press, 2007), which he was kind enough to sign (and I remember enjoying). Also picked up a Susan Howe title I didn’t have, her Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 (New Directions, 1996), and a title (and poet) I wasn’t aware of previously, Elizabeth Arnold's Civilization (Flood Editions, 2006). I’d love to see more books from Flood Editions, but they just don’t make it up our way (there is so much I'm missing!). When in American bookstores, I always keep my eye open. Smith was also kind enough to pass along some review copies from his Edge Books, which I haven't had a chance to go through yet (hoping soon, once I'm back at my desk, properly).
It was good to meet Mr. Smith also, but my exhaustion from carrying baby for a couple of days prevented me from remembering to capture a photo of us in the store. I've only been kicking myself daily for that, since.

Slowly back towards the centre (ish), I fed Rose some dinner-ish on a small patch of grass just by the bridge. Yoghurt, cheese, crackers. Given that she’d been much of the day and the day prior in the ring sling, I figured I really needed to allow her some running space. I really didn’t want her running around in the museums, given the crowds (apparently kids are off school this week, which brings the incredible crowds to just about everything we’ve been attempting). She ate some yoghurt, and said hello to a dog.

Heading back, we met up with Christine and our pal Wendy (also here for the conference) for dinner, just by Dupont Circle. After carrying the wee lass around for two days of hotel and tourist, I was about ready to crash (which meant again: a lack of photos). Already looking forward to home, where I can just set her loose and not worry.

Friday, April 3, 2015: Our last day in Washington, we wandered our morning over to the National Museum of Natural History (where the above photo was taken). Given we were only at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature recently, it became easier to compare: I think I prefer our museum, at least for stuff for younger folk. We did see some exhibits that appealed, including an array of fish that caught her attention for more than a few minutes. The immobile (non-living) fish had to be super-large for her to be paying attention.

There were some pretty cool exhibits, including some mummies from Ancient Egypt, which Rose ran by quickly and I wasn't able to see more than skim. It was good, at least, to allow her to run around a bit.

After seeing various animals, we discovered the Hope Diamond was at the museum, which seemed rather odd. I went to see, just to be able to say that I had.

Once leaving, we shared a pretzel and wandered into the Sculpture Gardens, among the cherry blossoms. Yes, they exist. Yes, around the same time there was a freezing rain warning in Ottawa. What the?

And, also, a spider sculpture by the same artist who has the spider sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Canada, back home in that Ottawa.

She was asleep, again, before we landed back at the hotel. Given we had to check out by 3pm, her nearly three hour nap began in the ring sling, and ended in the ring sling. Dropped bags off at the front desk before meeting Christine at Air and Space (so she, too, could re-visit space-y things), and wandered around there a bit. A bit. A wee bit. And once done, we headed back for bags, and off to the airport [the worst part: getting to the airport and checking email to discover a good pal from high school lives in Washington D.C. and I COMPLETELY forgot; aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgh]. The wee lass (eventually) crashed on the plane. Home.


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