A friend from high school posted on Facebook this morning that she was going to see Regina Spektor perform. Having been a Regina Spektor fan for quite some time, I was immediately hit with pangs of jealously, which were promptly followed by waves of nostalgia and then the peculiar feeling that I refer to as happy sad set in.
I discovered Regina Spektor back in 2006 during Clay’s first deployment in the remote mountains of Afghanistan. Her songs accompanied the at-times crippling feelings of uncertainty and longing. Samson would be playing as I noted how his smell had left his side of the bed and the clothes hanging in his side of the closet. Weeks would pass before I would hear his voice – Us would often be on a loop in my head as I willed my phone to ring. And when I would finally hear his beautiful voice on the other end on the line, my heart would sing the opening notes of Fidelity.
Clay’s current position necessitates a grueling schedule that includes travel around the world that is often times last minute. When the opportunity presented itself for him to compete for it, we discussed what it would mean for our family. Perhaps we were a bit caviler but we were both of the mindset that we had gone through much more difficult separations and experiences, so while it wouldn’t be a walk in the park – it also wouldn’t be that bad. But my goodness, I’ve been missing that dorky guy when he’s away. I’ve grown soft in my years, apparently.
So when we learned that he would have a random pass (day-off) in the middle of the week, we jumped at the chance to look at each other face-to-face and have a conversation dripping with pop-culture and political puns that doesn’t takes place at 11pm on the phone. After dropping the kids off at school, we hopped on the metro and found ourselves at Founding Farmers on Pennsylvania Avenue, a super popular restaurants that we’ve been wanting to experience for ourselves (even though Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post doesn’t think it lives up to the hype).We ordered the four-cup Compass single origin french press to split, as well as Uncle Bucks’s Beignets, which came with raspberry, caramel, and chocolate sauces. Clay had the traditional ham eggs benedict with a farmers salad (we split the sides) and I had the tomato florentine eggs benedict with the leek hash browns (pictured above). We both agreed the the hollandaise sauce and leek hash browns were the best parts but overall, our meal was quite tasty. However, we probably won’t order the beignets again unless the kids are with us.
We walked off our meal to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is along the National Mall. We experienced the Trace exhibit by Ai Weiwei, which features lego portraits of individuals that have been “detained, exiled, or have south political asylum because of their actions, beliefs, or affiliations.”
We both enjoy going to art museums and appreciate many styles and techniques (we even took the same Art History class at Clemson!) but modern and conceptual art aren’t exactly our favorites. Even so, we did manage to find exhibits at the Hirshhorn that prompted some interesting discussions on our part. Like I couldn’t stop laughing at the guard (docent?) casually leaning against entrance to a room that featured a woman’s voice and falling paper. The guard was holding a folded piece of paper and looked terribly bored as she fiddled with it in her hands. As I’m typing this, I’m now wondering if she was part of the installation – maybe it was performance art? Doubtful. But possible, I suppose.
The Safe Conduct piece wins our award for the most bizarre. It apparently set in half an airport security checkpoint and half an organ bank. There is an avatar that endlessly pulls the skin off his face. Sorry – no pictures – you will have to experience that one for yourself!
One of our favorite pieces at the Hirshhorn was Abbottobad, which was a sculpture of the compared where Osama Bin Laden hid for years in Pakistan.
After the Hirshhorn, we had enough time to pop over to the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. We had been to the West Building last time we were stationed here but never made it to the East Building, so we were quite pleased we were able to fit it before having to trek it back to Virginia to pick up the kids.
This Jackson Pollock was my favorite (real original, I know…). I could stare at Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) for hours and never get bored.
Clay and I have been together for sixteen years now – we were teenagers when we met and fell in love. There are days that I can’t believe that my heart still plays the opening notes of Fidelity when he steps off an aircraft after one of his trips or that listening to Samson will immediately cause happy sad to wash over me. We have to be more purposeful about our day dates now because kids, work, life. And a lot has changed over the years. But then again, some things have stayed the same. And that is pretty amazing.