Monday, March 10, 2014

I've got no strings to hold me down

It's not like I planned to see a lot of puppets at two separate museums in two different cities on two consecutive Saturdays, but sometimes that's how life shakes out.

Last Saturday, I was wrapping up at the annual Music Library Association conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I was rooming with my former boss and longtime friend, Myrna, who is the mother of Nancy Heiss (and company), the same friends I knew in high school and visited in Egypt a few years ago. They live in Durham, NC, now while Andrew works on a PhD and decided it would be worth the drive to come pick up Myrna in Atlanta to visit them in North Carolina for a few days. I was fortunate to have a few hours to tag along and hang out with the whole crew while we hit a few touristy spots. Their account of our adventures can be found here.

I took puppetry in college, and am a huge fan of puppetry anyway, so I was thrilled that there was a puppet museum in Atlanta that the Heisses wanted to check out. We saw Kermit, Miss Piggy, Emmett Otter, some other Muppets, beautiful marionettes, gorgeous puppets from other countries, and even a Skeksis! Dark Crystal may be one creepy movie, but to see an actual Skeksis was pretty rad.

We finished off our day with a romp in the Centennial Olympic Park and dinner at Waffle House (hashbrowns covered in sausage gravy for less than five dollars? yes please!) before I was off to the airport.

This weekend, Blake started his spring break. He'll have to do some work over the week, but he decided to take off this whole weekend from homework and I decided to take him on a date. After we helped clean our church building, we headed into DC (the deal is that I drive in DC proper, he drives everywhere else) and did something I didn't even know was possible.

We found a parking spot right in front of the museum we were going to.

We checked all the nearby signs multiple times, thinking our luck was too good to be true, but nothing seemed amiss other than our good fortune, so we paid and were set for a few hours. Granted, the museum didn't open for another 45 minutes, but still! Parking! Right where we wanted it!

Because of the wait time, we reversed our plan and went to our second site first - the old Post Office Tower. It offers a panoramic view of the entire city for free, a sort of well kept DC secret. Neither one of us had done it before, so I'm glad we made it! It's not quite as good a view as the top of the Capitol dome, which we got to visit last summer, but it was still pretty great.

Our excellent timing and good fortune continued when we walked back to the American History Museum as they were opening the doors. We didn't even have to wait at the doors like the fifteen poor schmucks ahead of us, because they all got in by the time we got across the sidewalk.

The purpose of our visit was to see the temporary Puppetry in America exhibit, since we're both huge fans of the Muppets. We were not disappointed - Bert & Ernie, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Swedish Chef, Boober, and Red. They also had the California Raisins, the Howdy Doody puppets, the original Snap, Crackle, and Pop, and a few puppets from The Corpse Bride. We loved it!

It was a much smaller exhibit than we anticipated, basically just a window display in the main entrance hall, so we also stopped by the Star Bangled Banner (yes, THE actual one) and an exhibit on the American presidency (including several dresses of the First Ladies). Living nearby a free museum, it's quite nice to pick and choose an exhibit or two for an hour rather than try to pack the whole thing into one day.

For lunch, we took the metro over to Capitol Hill (totally got on the platform just before a train arrived, an excellent feat on a weekend with track work) and split a pizza at We, The Pizza, then wandered around Eastern Market and bought some vegetables. The rest of our day involved grocery shopping, a nap, a little house cleaning, more good food, reading, and a movie at home.

Weekends in DC with my best friend do not disappoint!