Showing posts from April, 2010

Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals

As I prepared for our Spring Break Adventure, I couldn't help but think of those twenty-some hours in the car that would be perfect listening!  Knowing that my idea might not be received with equal amounts of enthusiasm, I tried to think of something fun - something that would let the kids close their eyes for a moment and use their imagination.  So in between videos of Night at the Museum:  The Smithsonian and High School Musical 3 , I slipped in The Carnival of the Animals (Le carnaval des animaux) by the French Romantic composer, Saint-Saens. Camille Saint-Saens 1835 - 1921 Saint-Saens was a serious French composer.  As I imagined him, I thought of my grandfather who looked old to me for the entire 33 years that I knew him.  As we listened to the piece, and the analysis of it by Leonard Bernstein,  it became clear that, just like my grandfather, the very serious Saint-Saens had an intelligent sense of humor!   The Carnival of the Animals was composed in Febr

Welcome Home!

At last our jouney ends.  We say good-bye to our big adventure. A friendly bellhop hauls five suitcases, two coolers, sleeping bags and blankies to our SUV. Three grown men decide how to pack it all in! As vacations go, all good things must come to an end..... ...but laundry never does!!!!

Washington, D.C. - These Keds Were Made For Walking

For our final day in D.C., I suggested to my husband that we take a double decker bus tour of the city. His response?  Why should we pay for a tour when we can go everywhere we want by foot or train!  (Did I mention that it was a record-breaking ninety-some degree day?) Our first stop by train and by foot was Arlington National Cemetery. It's a place both somber and breathtaking., We paid tribute to the unknown soldier, and counted the price of our freedom. Our next stop on the Metro -  lunch at Union Station. An active train depot, Union Station is another example of beautiful architecture.  Filled with shops and restaurants, we recharged for our next stop. Two train stops and three walking blocks later, we arrived at the Kids' much anticipated attraction, the International Spy museum. Here, the kids assumed a different identity, crawled through heating vents to spy on us (the parents), learned the tricks to unlocking doors without keys and other such use

Washington, D.C. - A-LOT-A History

The Smithsonian Museum of  Natural His tory Our second day touring D.C., we visited The Museum of Natural History and The Museum of American History.  The amazing architecture of the buildings was worth the trip in and of itself! Our first stop at the Natural History museum was the infamous Hope Diamond.  The Hope Diamond is a large, 45.52 carats deep-blue diamond.  Not only is it famous for being big and beautiful, it is famous for its illustrious and sordid past. According to legends, the original form of the Hope Diamond was stolen from an eye of a sculpted statue of the goddess, Sita, the wife of Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu.  Because it was believed to have been stolen, it was also believed to have been cursed!  While this tale is believed to be the invention of the Victorian era to add mystique to the stone and increase its sales appeal, I could imagine it would make a pretty good statue eye.  The stone actually glows in the dark! After exposure to short-wave ultra

Washington, D.C. - Trains, Planes and No Automobiles

This morning we awoke to our first day as tourists in Washington, D.C..  Since there is virtually no parking in D.C., we decided to leave our car in its $33 per day hotel parking garage and ride the D.C. transortation of choice, The Metro.  Our first destination was, therefore, the Metro ticket machine.  There really should be signs above the ticket machines.  One that reads "Locals", and one that reads "Tourists".  After trying to figure out where we were, where we were going, and how much it would cost to get there, it was obvious that no local wanted to be stuck in line behind us!  Fortunately for us, Subway Mike came to our rescue.  He calculated our train ride, helped us purchase our tickets and pointed us to the right side of he tracks. He even offered to take a picture of our family in the subway!  I have decided to include the photo in this blog because, being the sole photographer on the trip, it may be one of the only photos that I am actually in! Our