If I thought I was tired yesterday, today I am as tired as George Washington himself, listless on his death bed with pneumonia and 800,000 leeches attached to his body. You don't realize the depth of the tired until you stop moving for a bit, as I have done now, then get up again and stiffen like one of those wacky fainting goats. I saw both Mount Vernon and goats today, along with a slew of other memorials, monuments, presidential residentials, and some very amusing and elaborate chickens. I did more Rocky-style running up marble steps and the steep back lawn of Mount Vernon, and a mad Olympic-flame-style dash through a crowded local mall to find a hat and scarf with seven minutes to spare. Thank you, treadmill, because otherwise I would be a frigging goner here for sure, wheezing and hobbling and waving people to go on without me. I do wish I would have brought Mr11's spring shoes though, and do not doubt for one moment that I would not have employed them and perhaps rented them out for 5-minute intervals to dapper Italian tourists.

My day nearly was derailed completely, or should I say debussed, when in the hotel lobby this morning I returned from a quick bathroom stop to find every single member of our group and the bus GONE. OHHHH, I said to myself, THAT AIN'T GOOD. I called Mr11's teacher on her cell phone:


Teacher: Hello?

Me: Hi. It's Marianne.


Me: I am not there.

Teacher: No! I guess you aren't! Ha ha ha!

Me: Where are you? I don't see the bus.

Teacher: We are around the corner all the way to the right.

Me: I'll be right there. Heh.


First stop was Arlington National Cemetery. It was actually much larger than I imagined and much prettier, with rolling hills and big trees. I was glad to see it, and would have liked to have sat there awhile away from the crowds and groups to just sit and think and take it in for a bit. We were shooed away from JFK's gravesite after just a couple of minutes by a rather adamant security guy (they are all adamant here), but not told why. As we shooed and shuffled, some actual DC looking types walked quickly by us. It turned out we had to vacate so the Prime Minister of Lebanon could pay his respects for 2 minutes then motor out again in one of those big scary black vans. Well, I guess it was important enough for him to want to do, even if he didn't hang out for long. I suppose dignitaries have to do all kinds of dignified things on state visits, going through Washington much like I am, see-this-see-this-see-this-eat-some-shit-see-this-see-this-see-this-bathroom-break-see-this-see-this-drop.

I feel bad for saying this, but I am being honest here, because this is MY site and I can say what I like, and because my opinion doesn't matter whatsoever. Watching the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier kind of disturbed me. I understand that the guard positions are a great military honor, but the precision robotic perfection demanded, not to mention that the guards also cannot watch any TV, go on the net, listen to radio, or do anything but study about Arlington for six months. They can never swear or drink alcohol the rest of their lives. Really, I think the poor unknown souls lost in war would probably just say, "Hey, you know, I really wish I could have gone back to my family, but it's gonna be OK. I know you appreciate my service and sacrifice and I would have a beer with you and talk about stuff and laugh and enjoy life if I were still alive. Thanks and all." It just seemed kind of not American to me, not what any of those guys were fighting for, anyway.

Space shuttle disaster? Check. Jefferson? Check. WWII? Check. FDR? Check. Iwo Jima? Check. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to see them, particularly the Roosevelt site, because I am a real fan of his words and it is a really cool design as well, but I think the kids would have understood more about what it all stands for by just spending time and talking to some veterans and immigrants, and hearing their real stories. People who get what "Freedom is not free" is all about.

Front of the White House? Check. Drive by Pentagon and a billion other important places? Check. Go to Mount Vernon, not see the mansion because the line was too long? Check. But I did get to see the Dung Repository, have some nice conversations about life and travel and politics, watch my son run and wrestle and play on the big green lawn, and I laughed at the sounds of two tiny hungry black lambs.

Dinner? Oh my. Here's the list: HEY, ASSISTANT MANAGER/ORDER TAKER AT FUDDRUCKERS IN ALEXANDRIA, VA. ! 1. You Are A Giant Bitch 2. You Are The Single Worst Person I Have Ever Encountered At A Restaurant 3. Your Hair Is Overbleached And Your Grammar Is Poor 4. You Were So Shitty To All Of Those Nice Kids, FOR NOTHING 5. You Are Damn Lucky It Wasn't Me Who Told You That You SUCK, Because I Would Have Been Much Meaner And Blunter And Punched You In Your Hillbilly Teeth

An evening hour or so spent in the very lovely town of Alexandria, VA., listening to ghost stories from an early-1800s clad young lady was very enjoyable. Then I got back on the bus, got to the hotel, and did this.

More tomorrow, then to New York City. Time to sleep.