Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Ever Trip to D.C. - continued

  • Uncle Bucks - a restaurant we found near our actual destination. I didn't want to eat at a national chain, so we found this place, and it lived up to its name. The people there were "real, live Southerners," which was too exciting to me. I heard accents, I saw a man kiss a woman's hand, I ate corn fritters.
  • Luray Caverns - it's this really cool place that is full of stalactites and stalagmites. One of the cool things about it is an organ that uses the formations for the sounds.
  • Next to the caverns is a car museum. Our fee for the caverns included the museum, so we walked around it. It seemed like a random thing to be next to the caverns, but it had some pretty sweet old cars.
  • Skyline Drive - beautiful drive through part of the Shenandoah National Park, I think.
  • Margherita pizza for dinner - delicious!


  • D.C. Temple - Sadly, when we got there, we realized it was closed. The visitor's center was open, though, so we went in and walked through a beautiful exhibit they have right now of bronze sculptures depicting scenes of the Savior and His mortal ministry.
  • Mt. Vernon - I was so excited to go there, and it was great! We first watched a little orientation video for Mt. Vernon (hosted by Pat Sajak, no less), as well as a short video about Pres. Washington. The video made me even more excited about being there because I was reminded about what a statesman he was. The grounds were totally beautiful - I can see why Pres. Washington loved his home so much.

There were many things that I didn't get to see. Hopefully I can return sometime, so I can visit more places. I agree with my friend that fall would be a good time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Ever Trip to D.C.

I'm halfway done with my trip to D.C. I am SO GLAD that I have had the opportunity to come here. You probably know that I am in to history, you know that I'm in to America and its founding, so I'm having an amazing trip. So far, this is what I have done:


  • Library of Congress - The Great Hall is beautiful. The architecture is Neo-classical, I believe, and the inscriptions on the walls about learning, books, and God are wonderful. A Gutenberg Bible was there, amongst many other very cool things.
  • Good Stuff Eatery - Local, greasy burger and fry joint. Yummy!
  • We saw the Supreme Court building, as well as the Capital Building. We actually tried to go into the Capital, but water bottles are not allowed, and as we had nice, non-disposable ones, we left.
  • The National Archives - Amazing!! I got to see the Magna Carta (started to tear up), the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. The Declaration is so faded, one can hardly see any of the writing, but it was still awesome to see that original document. I was really touched by a man who was behind us in line that I overheard explaining the value of some of those documents - invaluable.
  • National Museum of Art - This is my favorite museum that I visited. It had a French painters exhibit, where I saw many pieces of art in person that I have seen pictures of - Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, David, etc.
  • Museum of Natural History and Museum of American History - Hope Diamond, Dorothy's ruby slippers, Kermit, etc.
  • Chinatown - We just went to dinner there. The part I saw wasn't very impressive.
  • We dealt with a couple of hiccups - I guess after seeing so much the day before we had to make a payment for it in the form of broken water heater and car.
  • Arlington National Cemetery - I really like cemeteries, and I wish we had more time for this special one. We only had time to walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where we watched the changing of the guard. Then we had to book it back to the metro. The rows of graves are impressive. I was also glad for the reverence given by the spectators during the changing of the guard, which kind of took awhile. It was a very formal, deliberate event.
  • Holocaust Museum - One picks up an I.D. card before starting the tour. The card contains the story of one actual person who lived during the Holocaust. You turn the page at specific times during the three floors of the tour. I didn't get too involved during the first floor of the tour, but it got to me during the second, and I certainly shed some tears, which seem to be coming back now. I didn't even read everything or look at or watch everything I could have. It's just awful to think about what happened. And it's not like it doesn't happen today - there's definitely still genocide today. The last floor has stories about many people who helped hide people during the Holocaust, and that was wonderful to learn about. There were many people who helped, which is heartening.
  • The National Portrait Gallery - Very cool! It has portrait paintings of important people in American history (and not-so-important, as well. The biggest painting we saw was of LL Cool J - what??).
  • Dinner at Clyde's, which is in or near Chinatown (although it wasn't Chinese food) - Yummy!
  • Washington Monument - Too bad we didn't think ahead about getting tickets to go to the top. It was still awesome to see!
  • World War II Memorial - I don't know if I was aware of this memorial. It is really beautiful with pillars (each has the name of a different state on it) bordering a pool of water with fountains in it.
  • Lincoln Memorial - I kept thinking about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Mr. Smith is very reverent about seeing Lincoln. I wish the people there would have been quiet - I think that would have made the experience even better, but the memorial is very impressive. It was very important for me to see it, and I'm so glad I did.
  • Church, End of World Cup (yea Spain!), dinner, and Just Dance. I don't think I have heard of Just Dance before. It's a Wii dance game - I might have to look into purchasing that sometime.
Now you know more than you wanted to, and just think, there's more to come . . .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Observation

I had an appointment with a periodontist yesterday for the first time in my life. My dentist referred me to her. It was kind of weird, and I will tell you why. As the pronoun a couple of sentences ago suggests, the periodontist is a woman. Have you ever had a female dentist? I haven't - weird. Like my dad said, female doctors - yes. Female dentists - no. Have you had a female dentist? I have friends and acquaintances that are dentists - they are all males. To my knowledge there is no kind of law or anything barring women from being dentists, so I just wonder why there is so much disparity. It doesn't bother me - maybe guys just like being dentists, and women are attracted to other professions. It is just strange in today's world. I've had both male and female doctors, both male and female massage therapists, etc. I guess I've never had a male dental hygienist, nor a female chiropractor. Anyway, it was just something I noticed - curious.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One of My Favorite Patriotic Songs

You can listen to this song while you read my 4th of July post, if you want. Or you can just watch it; it's one of my faves.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise . . .
15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance . . .
16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. (1 Nephi 13)

I love these verses, written by a man who lived in the Americas 600 years B.C., close to 2000 years before Columbus was inspired to come to the Americas, and a few hundred more before the pilgrims came. I love the United States of America - I love the principles it was founded upon. I love those who fought for independence, and I love the Founding Fathers for all that they did, like writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Today we live in a time of apology for who we are and what we mean, which is absurd to me. Those who came before us tried a new and exciting - an inspired and well-thought-out and debated - experiment. It was an experiment that succeeded and brought hope to other people throughout the world. It gave a Dream to the world - a dream that I'm so grateful to be a part of. All of the success comes from the Lord and is really a part of His work. Our danger today is in forgetting - forgetting Him and forgetting what history teaches us; that this experiment really works. It works better than any other imperfect system I know of. God bless America, and may we put in the effort that we each need to in order to preserve this great experiment.

Grandpa Christensen

My dad sent me this picture of my grandpa (and my grandma) - tears! He was a great man, and I'm excited to see him again someday. I would have included this in my Father's Day post if I'd had it then.