Back Home

We are back from Washington DC….it was a busy vacation!  I had a list of things I wanted my family to see…the monuments, Union Station, Ebeneezer’s Coffee shop, the National Zoo and botanical gardens adjacent to the Capitol….the last two are things I wanted to see on previous trips to DC but didn’t have the time for.  Ebeneezer’s coffee house is like a really nice Starbucks with a big basement that is used as a church.  It was formerly a crack house. Mark Batterson is the lead pastor there, and I’ve read most of his books.  I went to church in the basement on a previous visit.  Our current church is using his a s a model.  We saw the monuments twice; first on a 6 hour daytime tour that included lots of time at the monuments and an hour boat tour of the Potomic River.  We also went on a night tour when the monuments were lit up. 

I love DC trivia…there are no skyscrapers as there is a limit to the height of buildings (no new building may be more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street in front of it, or greater than 130 feet tall).  Because of that, many buildings have multiple levels of basements.  The Pentagon is the largest office building (I believe in the world).  It has 15 stories UNDER the building!  When I worked on Capitol Hill, many buildings had at least 5 underground floors.  Because they can’t build up,space in DC is at a premium.  I haven’t yet been at a hotel that has a pool.  An acre lot in DC goes for 10 million.  Union station is a train depot that used to be a mecca for the homeless and drug users.  The city remodeled it and now it’s akin to a combination mall/train station with many restaurants and shops.  At Union Station there is a replica of the Liberty Bell…it was replicated to include a typo on the original Liberty Bell…Pennsylvania is spelled with only one N.

We had a bit of time the last day…I had no more that I had wanted my family to see, so I left it up to them to do what they wanted our last half day.  My daughter wanted to go to the National Archive…I’d never thought to go there.  It turned out it was amazing.  We saw the original hand-written Declaration  of Independence.  No computers or typewriters used then.  Pen (feather quill pens) on sheepskin parchment.  We also saw  the original Constitution and Bill of Rights.  I actually saw George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s signatures….Abraham Lincoln had beautiful handwriting! So many signatures of people I’ve learned of in history classes and books.  It made them seem real, history came to life.

And now I am officially 10 years cancer-free!


We are leaving for Washington DC tomorrow, our latest family vacation.  I’m glad we do that,we have a tradition of taking a week every year to go somewhere else as a family.  My kids are adults now, but still like our family time.  Lots of adventures!

Washington DC was my idea.  I’ve been there twice…once for an AACR conference and once to work on Capitol Hill with the PEW Foundation.  I’d never wanted to go to DC…no interest in politics or history, but the first time I went for the AACR conference, I fell in love with the city.  There are so many stories and so much trivia about the city that is fascinating. Twenty Smithsonian museums, all free.  It’s a beautiful and clean city, with sculpture gardens and works of art everywhere.  I decided my husband and kids need to see DC at least once in their lifetime!  The last two times I missed the U.S. Horticultural Gardens and the Nation Zoo…we’ll see them this trip…giant pandas!  I love that you can almost cross the streets and be in a different state.

We fly out tomorrow.  Another cool thing is that my ten year cancer-free anniversary will be while we are there…on the 16th.  Best way to celebrate it with the people who mean the most to me!  Can you believe I’m almost  decade past a terminal diagnosis???