Saturday, May 24, 2008


So...Marco talked me in to staying until Tuesday morning. See, my sweet Nem is coming to town for a conference on Monday, so we're going out to din din that evening for old time's sake. I met both Marco and Nem when I was temping at an organization that led to my eventual job track. The agency had a big USAID contract to do work in developing countries in the area of maternal and child health. Or as Marc put it last night, "We're in the business of saving mothers and babies." I worked in the resource center, i.e. tiny library. It was pretty easy work, and fascinating to boot. I read journal articles and then routed them around to the more senior staff to see who wanted to read what. Believe it or not, we did have the internets, but dead tree was still standard.


Yesterday I think I walked at least 10 miles. By the time I got home mid-afternoon, my legs and feet were so tired I thought I was going to die. Of course I didn't. But I did have to take a nap and bunches of ibuprofen. Which reminds me, I need to put some in my backpack.

The itinerary yesterday was the National Zoo and then the Museum of Natural History. Both were full of rambunctious children with their contact information pinned or stickered to their clothes. They screamed a lot. The zoo took up a lot of time and walking, so by the time I got to the Museum of Natural History I was pooped and not particularly interested in wading through the throngs. I sought refuge in the only unpopulated exhibit: DC Birds.

Hidden away in the basement was a somewhat grisly collection of taxidermied remains, poorly lit and locked in display cases. The birds were dusty, faded and rather gross. The owls in particular were lacking tufts of feathers, and the brighter warblers were barely showing their colors.

I was surprised, however, at the sizes of the birds. None of them was as big or as small as I had always typed them. There were also a number of extinct specimens, such as Passenger Pigeons and a Carolina Parakeet. I tried my hand at IDing some of the warblers, but was not particularly successful.

Hippo, above, taken for Nemoid's sake.

Off to the Portrait Gallery.