Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I return to AZ refreshed by the rich company of Abby Zhao and family, refreshed by the humid lush green of Maryland and by the stimulus of once latent neurons in my roaming of national monuments and museums.

The first two days were spent resting and relishing in good home cooked meals. We visited the grounds of the Washington DC temple, a beautifully serene place and enjoyed a free concert there by famed violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. She was accompanied by the Mormon orchestra and played arrangements by Kurt Bestor based entirely on Disney music themes. I particularly enjoyed " A Whole New World" done in tango style as well as the performance from her children of "It's A Small World". The latter was clevely written to move through the diffent periods of classical music with themes from Mozart, Debussy, rachmanninoff and Gershwin ,to name just a few, peeking through.

We took a walk around a lake nearby Sunday evening where my eyes took in that living green I so missed from Houston. We even saw a deer that night.

Da, Abby's husband was kind enough to take off work so we could wander carefree for the next two days. It reminded me of my college days! We spent a great deal of time seeing the holocaust museum and pondering the power of choice. Afterwards we went to the Lincoln and washington monuments as well as the Vietnam and WW II memorials.

One cannot forget Monday nights feast of fresh shrimp and blue crab. I'm afraid my waistline won't forget either!

Day two was spent at the Smithsonians art gallery and Natural History Museum. For all you art people, see if you can name the artist of these next few famous paintings. Answers found at the bottom of the post!
I sent silly texts home complete with pictures for the kids, a running commentary of our sights.
Loved the butterfly garden!

They sent back their own adventures, going into Kent's work briefly, eating dim sum, etc. in the time I was gone Elias somehow managed to learn to push himself from the floor to a sitting position and Kent captured videos of it for me.

Unfortunately that evening Abby's middle child fell from th monkey bars and was rushed to the ER. With their Aunt and Uncle, I kept the other two occupied with dinner and Krispy Kremes. There is something mezmerising in watching balls of dough rise and drop into a vat of oil to be put through a surgery waterfall of icing!

X-rays of two broken bones and anesthetic to set them and cast to hold, SS finally came home early the next morning. Watching over CC andFF made me realize how much I missed my own kids. They are all rather close in age and similar in personality. Kent reported tha the older two were doing well but that Elias was clearly blue and having a hard time. Singing their primary songs to them while Skyping just doesn't have the same warmth in the finale of the day. As I sit on the plane writing, I can't help but think how wonderful it will be to get home and snuggle them once again.

My final day I spent at the Ford Theater and Peterson House where Lincoln died. It was perfect since I was halfway through reading Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly.
It reignite in me the desire to know more about the American history and its leaders. It is undeniable the hand of God n creating this nation.
The bed in which he died.
The ford theater where he was shot.
A letter he wrote to the parents of a fallen solider.

I had a half hour before needing to take the subway back and sneaked a peek int the Freer museum of Asian art - a hidden treasure! Half of the collection was art, sculptures, ceramics and jade carvings from china spanning many different dynasties. I had so little time to appreciate it all and could only glance at a few exhibits until I got to the highlight of the Peacock Room.

Apparently a wealthy gentle man created an entire room in his house to hold his collection of vases and ceramics from china. Everything from the shutters on the windows to the walls were painted with gold pictures of phoenixs, peacocks and chrysanthemums in an Chinese style. He then built shelving to house all of his treasures - an entire room of art! Thankfully it was never dismantled into parts but each succeeding owner added to it collection and it was moved and reassembled from place to place till it has reached it's final destination at Freer. I was rather sad at missing half the collection (the west side being artifacts from Japan) and plan to go back sometime to really relish the history of my people.
I got in on a lovely birthday dinner for Da and a mango mousse cake and bade a fond farewell to Abby and her kids. If only airfare weren't so expensive we could see so much more of each other!
This lovely lady is Abby's mother in law. She makes scarfs in her free time and graciously gave me one. I had to buy one more from her since I liked it so much!
Abby you're the best! It's wonderful to know that distance and time never really separate true friends!

I'm so grateful for this break, for the friends who I never tire of seeing and of my family and their loving support and understanding. Glad to be back!

Paintings in order: da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt.

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