Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cherry Blossoms!

On St Patrick's Day we braved the marathon traffic in DC and went on a short cruise to see the cherry blossoms! Each spring DC is filled to bursting with beautiful pink and white blossoms, and slightly less beautiful hordes of tourists. But this is early season and it was mostly manageable. After the cruise we had a loverly seafood lunch and then walked around a bit of the Tidal Basin, home to the cherry trees, and temporarily choked with pedestrians, strollers, photographers, and random bikers who think it will be nice to ride along the water in spite of the hordes of tourists, pedestrians, and strollers. C'est la vie, right? We all have to get along!

Hayes Point Park, lined with flowering trees, but not all of them cherry trees. It was still pretty! Must admit though, I'm an evergreen snob, and while this is nice, I wish the not-yet-flowered trees didn't look so dead!

The Washington Monument... again. It's amazingly visible from the river parts of DC!

It's not only the pink trees that are pretty right now - there are yellow ones too!

Very Von Zaurunyonesque: the Jefferson Memorial and cherry blossoms.

Ian with Marta and baby Maggie. She's the sweetest baby ever!

Ian is a good sport. I told him to look tall, and he obliged nicely. What a guy!

After lunch we walked around the Tidal Basin where the more than 3000 cherry trees are planted. The trees more or less ring the basin and were a gift from Japan in 1912. This is the 100th year of cherry blossoms in Washington. This stretch of trees goes towards the Jefferson memorial.

The cherry trees with Rosslyn, VA, in the background. The white monument on the left side of the photo is apparently the new Martin Luther King, Jr, memorial. Apparently it's nicer from a distance, but we haven't been to see it close up yet.

You can see the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in front of the Washington Monument in the background of this photo if you squint.

Lots o' photos of cherry blossoms. I'll spare you a run through the thesaurus for synonyms for "lovely."

The Washington Monument is everywhere!

Toddler blossoms!

Baby blossoms!!

Spring miscellany

A few important lifestyle shots from our early spring activities.

Yeti paws! Safety orange! Ian got 5-finger shoes for water walking and trail walking (maybe) in Haiti. Now he's got to break them in and get the little muscles in his feet up to speed to support him without padding. So far, so good!

It's a dog's life!

Ian has begun breaking his own rules about no dogs on the furniture. Guita is allowed to sit in his lap when he's on the red chair, and you can see how tough it's been for her to adjust. Last night Hugo started going after her paws hanging over the edge of the chair - it was funny to watch her not understand what exactly was attacking her!

Poor puppy!!

Great Falls

One winter-ish afternoon in January, we took Guita to Great Falls for a little hike. It was my first time too, and we had a great time. Great Falls is the Potomac River's last big push through mountains before it hits the Chesapeake flatlands, and the waterfall shows the intensity of the river. Guita liked it too.

Great Falls landscape, part 1. This is the quintessential view of the waterfall. It's a lot of river that passes through a pretty narrow channel. It would be something to see at leaf changing season, but we've heard the crowds make it quite unpleasant at weekends. Maybe next time we're in town it will work out!

Great Falls landscape, part 2. This is the lower view of the falls, and the sun even tried to come out!

And the amazing Von Zaurunyons themselves! There's not much we like better these days than blocking up a perfectly good photo with our bright and smiling faces!

Adventure Dog models her world peace-and-love collar and leash set. She loves hiking, but she hates stopping for pictures. Too bad for her we've got the upper hand!

Rushing water.... It's really an amazing force to push through rock and mountains.

Ahh, stagnant water. How beautifully you reflect the sky and the forest around you! Bummer 'bout the mosquitoes you'll produce this summer!

And after all that hiking, she has to share her bed with the cat! It's a dog's life.

Christmas! In March!

OK - I'm a little behind the times, but who doesn't like to remember a happy holiday?

On Christmas Eve Day we attended a Ural Philharmonic performance of European Christmas music and an amazing Scheherazade at the Kennedy Center. The weather was perfect, the music was awesome, and the company all we could ask for!

Ian and I posed for a portrait. I'm wearing my Chiapas shawl - hard to imagine barefoot little girls running around selling chicles (gum) in these, but that's primarily who wears them!

The Capitol Christmas tree in all its glory.

The Capitol Christmas tree, dramatically improved by Jaye and me!

A Thomas-like train, and the base of the White House South Lawn Christmas "tree."

More trains, part of a town, and an idea of the tourist density. It was packed.

Three trains, three systems!

Crossing the bridge!

Looking down the central stairwell at the Asian Art Gallery. The piece descending towards the fountain is a chain of monkeys, each formed from an artistic rendering of the word "monkey" in a different language. This would be an awesome birthday present if anyone wanted to give it to me, along with a several story stairwell for display purposes! Below are some of the monkeys.

Last monkey!

And another cute monkey who didn't make it into the chain, lucky for me!

The Botanical Garden displays the major buildings in Washington, DC, made of bits of twigs and other things natural. This is the Native American Smithsonian museum, a stunning building with interesting displays and the best food at the east end of the Mall.

The Capitol with its dome....

The Supreme Court.

And finally the Old Executive Office Building with a train that looks like Thomas to me (though I'm no expert).