Oh! But on a rather cool note, remember my ridiculously rich cousin? The one who bought that awesome house with the Norman banquet hall in the basement? It was featured in Alabama Heritage Magazine! Check it out! That's where my family has Thanksgiving. Make sure to click on all the pictures. There's a really nice one of the banquet hall. It is so frakking awesome.
I am not generally a huge a fan of the 4th of July. For some weird and contrary reason it tends to bring out the cynic in me. And as a child, I didn't really like fireworks. Way too loud for my poor little ears. So, I was not especially excited about this particular holiday. However. Give Patty a prize because her 4th of July plans ended up restoring my faith in the holiday.
It was kind of a random...no, wait. In the spirit of the day let's call it diverse. It was a diverse day. Patty and I started out by watching "History of the World, Part One" over breakfast. Then we did some reading and after lunch moved on to some S2 Doctor Who. (As an aside, Patty a few weeks ago finished getting our basement room arranged and I am in love with it. I love watching TV down there!) Then it was time for the part of the day that I was feeling some trepidation over. We had decided to venture down to the National Mall to join 700,000 of our fellow citizens for some fireworks. So we got some water and our SmartTrip cards and headed off on the Metro. So far, so good. The train wasn't too crowded, and there were a lot of trains running, so we didn't have to wait to change trains. We chatted about Who, which is the current pastime of choice in the Mir/Kid/Wench household. What Patty and I had neglected to do before leaving the house was to check the weather. We get down to Mall, and follow the crowds trying to find a check point to get actually onto the Mall. Oh look we said! It looks like we can go through the Native American museum! Brilliant! So in we go, get our bags checked. We get inside and there are all these people just kinda hanging out. "I'm a little hungry," Patty declared. So we decided to go check out the museum cafe. We have heard this cafe's praises sung many a time. And it is well deserved. They have like, real food there! It's incredible. We ended up only getting fry bread, because that is how we roll, but it was really tasty. So we ventured back up to see if we can get onto the lawn. No, we cannot. Why? Because there's a tornado watch, and the Mall has been cleared. Nevertheless, we venture back outside to see what we can see. We walked around a bit and discussed, and eventually we decided to go check out the Freer Museum. It was sprinkling a bit, but the policeman we asked said the fireworks hadn't been cancelled, so we figured we might as well stick around. Of course as we were walking it started to rain for real. We didn't make it all the way to the Freer and just sort of ended up in the Hirshhorn. Modern art isn't really my thing, but again we figured we were there, so we might as well look around. There were some...interesting pieces. It was annoying because some of the museum was blocked off, so we couldn't look at everything. All in all though it was very oh, let's say Cultural. So, it finally stopped raining so once more, out we venture! It was still only about 7, so we still had two hours to kill until the fireworks started. "Crap!" we realize. Now the ground is wet and we didn't bring anything to sit on. "Let's go find a CVS and buy something, then we can sit on the bags," said Patty. Plus, we were hungry again. Modern art really takes it out of you. So back on the Metro and over to Chinatown. After some grumbling and wandering around, we finally settled on Fado's Irish pub. Because what better way to celebrate the American holiday than with fake foreign food. It was actually really quite good. We chatted more about Doctor Who and how I have an unnatural obsession with Ianto. Good times. It was late enough then that we decided to forego CVS. We could just stand. So we started walking back down to the Mall. As we were walking, we started to hear this...sound. A joyful noise. It turned out it was a New Orleans style jazz band with like, 12 trombones and children that had just set up on a street corner. It was FANTASTIC. They were all really great musicians, and really happy to be there. Some of the kids had horns and some had percussion instruments and people were dancing around. We stayed and watched and danced a bit and then the fireworks started. We ran the last two blocks down to the Mall and managed to find a pretty good view. We completely missed the official concert, but that didn't really matter. It was so amazing to stand in the middle of the street with all these strangers and watch the fireworks going off over the Washington Monument. Absolutely worth every moment of rain and modern art. After it finished we started walking back up to Chinatown to get back on the Metro. The jazz band was still playing so we stopped again to listen. There was a bigger audience this time and it was so much fun. The musicians would come over and pull people up to dance. The mix of people enjoying this was really wonderful too. There was this middleaged white guy rocking it out on the washboard, and this fantastic gay guy breaking it down on the dance floor. There was a mama next to us who was trying to teach her son to play the tambourine "with attitude." And over to one side there was a hippie grooving arrythmically. That was the point at which my faith in the 4th was restored. Alas, we both have work today, so before we were really ready, we had to leave. We got back on the Metro and came home. People were still setting off fireworks, so we stood for a moment on the train platform that overlooks our neighborhood and watched them go off. I didn't have to hear "Proud to be an American" or "God bless the USA" once. So, all in all a perfect holiday!
I think the family is out sight-seeing now, though I haven't heard from them yet. Tonight we are meeting for dinner and a play at the Arena stage which I am v. excited about. And tomorrow, THE WORLD!