We were two rooms down from Andy's parents at the hotel. His mom had used one of the hotel pricing web sites and got a really incredible deal on the room price. Erin and Owen were due to arrive Saturday by train and his parents had already eaten dinner, so we ended up getting burgers via room service. I ate a lot of red meat this weekend, and I'm due to have my cholesterol checked on Tuesday -- I hope cholesterol is like HA1C and is measured over the course of months.
On Saturday we walked to the craft show which was the centerpiece of our visit. It was nice, but there were too many booths and spectators for the area in which it was held. I went into mall phobia (which a few people have theorized is another aspect of dissociating) both days, but it was worth it. Between us we could easily have burned 60k or so without really trying. As it was, we ordered some new dishes (very pretty ceramic which are works of art but meant to be used) and two glass goblets, but didn't bring any loot home with us. We have a whole bunch of business cards for a few years down the road when we actually need to get stuff. The dishes won't be started for about ten weeks, so hopefully by then we'll know where we'll be living.
I'll let Andy write about his favorite booths, but mine included a woman who makes brilliantly-colored aluminum bowls with a very lacy feel to them; a man who makes quilts out of wood (he carves the drape into them; you have to get really close to see they're carvings, and even then it really takes a touch to be sure); a man who makes gorgeous 18k jewelry from nature patterns, like baby hydrangea flowers or really tiny pine cones); a man who carved nested wooden bowls which look more fragile than they really are; and a man and woman who craft boxes from some really interesting woods.
It turns out that one of Andy's friends from Northwestern, Bryan, is now in DC (Turnberry take note, if we forget then remind us to give you his info). He met us for dinner on Saturday evening, then had a long discussion with Andy's dad while Andy worked on Erin's webpage and I dozed in our room. In the end we decided to meet Bryan again for dinner on Sunday, and tried to lure him to the craft show. Andy and I stayed up a bit later than we expected, but it was worth it.
This morning Andy's dad checked us out, then we headed over to another hotel for Sunday brunch. Then it was back to the craft show to waffle over some hydrangea earrings and a business-card box for Andy, and to place the actual order for the dishes after giving ourselves a night to decide on patterns and pieces and such. I went and looked at my favorite booths several times, running into various permutations of Andy's family at random intervals. Finally we all decided we were done and looked around at a few exhibits in the rest of the museum; the Smithsonian Museum of Building. I probably will not be asking for an insomniacs' bed, which has a huge hammer suspended over it.
We headed out for the National Mall and our first stop was the Air and Space Museum. The missiles leftover from the Cold War are huge, and the space shuttle command modules were small. There was a mock-up tour of Space Lab and some neat information on space suits and comparisons between science fiction and what really happened. There was a planetarium and I'm a sucker for them, so of course I went. They no longer have the big projectors which were so often treated as a character in planetarium shows; instead 6 computers rendered the images. They also really seemed to want to be an I-MAX. There were fewer stars than I would have liked, but some really gorgeous Hubble telescope images which were rendered in full glory.
We walked over to the Washington Monument but didn't take the elevator ride up, then we walked to the Lincoln Memorial, wherein Andy identified two types of Greek pillars. Of course I will never be able to see the place without thinking of a certain Pinky and the Brain episode, but it was contemplative nonetheless. It was getting close to the time when Erin and Owen had to catch their train and Tom and Emily had to go to the airport, and we had to go back to the hotel to get our bags. We shamelessly cabbed it, though Andy reckons we walked at least three, perhaps as many as five, miles today.
After we'd all hugged and the others left we waited for Bryan, who got there fairly quickly. The burger joint Tanner had recommended was in Arlington in Crystal City. Getting there was quite an adventure due to some confusing street layouts, bad Mapquest directions, and some misunderstanding from the directions we got when Andy broke down and called the place. Still, dinner and the company was good, and we got to the airport with almost an hour to spare. Today, which was clear weather-wise, we had a jetway; go fig. The flight was uneventful and I finished The Silmarillion finally. Andy got a touch sick from dinner; not food poisoning, but vaguely unpleasant. We're tentatively guessing it was the mustard, since it was the only thing he doesn't usually eat.
I may link in some URLs for the various crafters tomorrow. Now it's time to go snuggle with my poor sick husband and get climbed on by the kitties.