Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Past Two Months

So I guess I have been slacking on posting recently. Instead of trying to catch up, I am going to summarize the last two months. Here are the things we have done:

  • Toured the Capitol Building, Library of Congress, and Supreme Court Buildings.

  • Visited Natural History, American History, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of American History, Hirshorn Museum, Smithsonian Castle, and the majority of the Smithsonian gardens.

  • Went to the Washington DC temple. It took us 2-3 hours to get there and the same to get home using public transportation, but it was beautiful!

  • Went to the beach and an air show in Delaware.

  • Toured the George Washington Masonic Temple. Very interesting.

  • Watched the fireworks on the National Mall following a concert at the Capitol building.

  • Visited the United States Botanical Gardens. They had some great plant combinations there.

  • Went to the Kennilworth aquatic gardens and saw lots of water lilies, lotuses, and wetlands.

  • Went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and saw people from Wales making shoes and carving stones.
  • Saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the national archives. We also saw Shaquille O'Neal's shoe and a bathtub made large enough to hold President Taft.

  • Went to Eastern Market and bought some squash and looked at all the stuff for sale.
  • Went to New York for the Hill Comorah Pagent with my family.

  • Went to the top of the Washington Monument.

  • Visited the WWII Memorial, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lincoln, and Einstein Monuments.

  • I also went to the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks, and Hillwood during a work field trip.

  • Found lots of bugs in our apartment including crickets that jump really really high straight at you.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Clapping With Myself (And Another Kid)

This story is dedicated to Isaac Selin, my little bro who's serving a mission right now. Some of you will know why. Others will not. But it's a pretty funny story anyways. Don't worry though Isaac, I'll copy it and send it in an email to you too.

So, on Independence Day we went to the concert on the west lawn of the Capitol Building. Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Sesame Street characters, and other musicians were present. We were seated on the lawn so that the stage was off a little bit to our right side and about 100 yards in front of us. We had to wait out on the lawn for about 5 hours from when we got there until the concert started. I noticed a family sitting in front of us. They had two boys maybe the ages 6 and 9. The real reason I noticed was because the 6 year old had his shirt off and was always complaining and fighting over the umbrella they brought to shade them from the sun. We ignored them, played some games and waited for the concert to start.

About 1/4 of the way through the concert after a song or video or something, I finished my applauding and waited patiently for whatever was to come next. I hadn't noticed the abnoxiously long clapping that was going on...Wait, I get ahead of myself. I didn't hear any clapping that sounded out of the ordinary. But I did hear the 9 year old in front of me turn to his dad and say, "Dad, did you hear that? I was the last one in the whole crowd to clap!" And with that challenge, I proceded to clap once, loudly, and very noticibly so that the kid knew that he was no longer the last one. He stopped talking, looked back to see who did it, turned back facing forward (to hide his anger, embarassment, and fear) and then clapped again.

I clapped again.

(You could tell that he was getting pretty annoyed)

He clapped.

I clapped three times.

He clapped.

I conceded defeat for the time being.

I didn't bother challenging him again for a little while, because I knew that he would be on the lookout for whoever had played that nasty trick on him before. I layed low until about 20 minutes later after the Sesame Street gang had sang their songs. As the applause died down, I looked forward to find the boy. There he was. I could see him preparing his hands to clap as soon as everybody else had stopped. This was my chance.

I'm pleased to say that my applause did not die down with the rest of the crowd. As the silence grew, there was only one sound wafting throug the air. The steady "Clap...Clap...Clap..." of my hands rang to the Capitol and back. "Clap...Clap...Clap..." I continued, seeing the boy still waiting for whoever the morn was that kept on clapping. "Clap...Clap...Clap..." He was really getting worried now. He didn't know what to do. He thought whoever it was would keep clapping through the next song, thus negating his attempts to be the last clap. "Clap...Clap...Clap..." I kept on going. I was determined to win this showdown. I didn't care if I made the kid cry. "Clap...Clap...Clap..." I wasn't paying attention to all of the other spectators who were turning their heads my way. This was none of their business. Between you, little kid, and me.


I would've gone all night if I had to. Unfortunately, my wife stopped me. And sure enough, as soon as I stopped, he clapped, and that was it. Best two out of three. I got beat in a clapping contest by a 9 year-old. To him there is only one thing I want to say,...

"Good Form Jack! Good Form!"