Over Memorial Weekend, Mike and I traveled through miles and miles of back country like this:
And through Lima, Ohio (proof below... fellow Gleeks unite!)
And through Pittsburgh (where we got to visit for a bit with our favorite Pittsburgh-ites) until we got to Washington DC! It was fab. We stayed with Mike's sister and fam for a few days, played lots of games, ate lots of really good food, and did a lot of fun touring downtown.

Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln MemorialTickling breakReading breakThere were a LOT of motorcycles in DC. It was pretty entertaining to see the different things written on their leather vests (Masonic symbols, Vietnam/Iraq veterans, "bikers for Jesus," etc.)
Our niece and nephew were good sports as we walked all over the city, always smiling and laughing despite the heat, and always up for a good knock-knock joke.The Supreme Court! So freaking cool.

I love the subway. I know it's weird, considering how dirty and gross it is, but I just have a thing for subways.

On Memorial Day itself we went to Arlington Cemetery. It was really neat to be there on the day we honor those who died for our freedom. We even got to see the 21 gun salute!

Mike ate the Washington Memorial.

The Capitol!

My one request was to go to the Library of Congress. I didn't know Mike took this picture, but I think it pretty well captures my joy/awe. Did you know they have a statue of Shakespeare there?

Not pictured:
--The nasty smell of the lake in the Constitution Gardens
-Our sweat drenched clothes
-The most awesome used bookstore. Of. All. Time.
-Ecuadorian (or was it Salvadorian?) and Thai food
-Potomac River
-Union Station
-Our corny gifts

We had a great time and loved being there. We wish we could have stayed longer! Thanks for letting us come take over your weekend!


Book Reviews

School's Out! I have time to read again. It's great. Here's the latest...

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: The best part of this book was the setting. You gotta admit, a depression-era circus train is great fodder for story telling. My favorite character was Rosie, the Polish elephant, although the human characters also managed to draw me in with their dreams and their flaws. I also really liked the ending. There were unfortunately a few too-graphic parts, which make me hesitate to recommend it to anyone though. B-

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa: I was nervous going into this book, since it was originally written in Japanese. Translated novels feel more impersonal to me, due to the additional step placed between the reader and the author. However, this book still managed to win me over. It's a short (only 164 pages) and simple story of friendship. This is a feel-good book the way feel-good books were meant to be written; not fluffy and hollow, but warm and life-affirming. Definitely a worthy read. A-

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: Oy vey. The more time goes by, the more I realize how much I really dislike The Historian. This book is, in a word, disappointing. It had all the ingredients (suspense, intrigue, romantic tension, secrets, etc.) but it just didn't work for the following reasons: 1)Length. It should have been half as long as it was. 2)Character development. The characters all resembled each other way too much, and most of the characters served no real purpose. 3)Plot. Oh man, I cannot tell you how incredibly disappointing the finale was. You plod through page after page just to find out what the big secret is, and then the big secret reveals itself to be... something spectacularly stupid. I think I laughed (guffawed?) out loud out of frustration. Not worth the 600+ pages it took to get there. There are plenty of well-written, perfectly chilling gothic novels out there. This is not one of them. D

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: I started reading this book because of its title. You have to admit, that is an awesome title. The main character, Flavia, is pretty awesome herself. She is as clever as she is cunning, and drew me in with her sharp wit and wicked observations. I think I was so taken with Flavia that I felt let down by everything else. It was a good story, just not as good as it could have been. Flavia herself is freakin bomb. But nothing else in the story lived up to her. I liked it well enough, I just think Flavia deserves the extraordinary. B+

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Confession. I have not actually finished this novel. I'm not sure I want to though. I'm only about 50 pages in, but from what I can gather so far, this book seems to be about justifying affairs. And that's it. No deeper message, no social commentary, no nothing. I don't like any of the characters (they can all go jump off a cliff for all I care) and I'm not really interested in reading about their inner angst. Is there a reason I should finish reading this?

Next on my list:
Well-Manered Assassin by Countess Aline Romananos
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (don't judge.)