Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Marvelous Weekend Part 1

Last Friday morning, dressed in capris and a polo top with sandals, I dropped my wife at the train station, to begin her travel to visit with her sister in the midwest.  Thus, my adventure (including a museum visit, a meet-up with a blogger in the area, and an evening session with a photographer/makeup artist for some professional pictures) began...things I've wanted to do for a long time.

First stop was a nail salon (not my regular one), to get my nails made a bit more suitable for the weekend.  I knew my fingernails needed filled, but I didn't want them to do that, so it took several coats of bright red polish over top, to make them look good.  My toes also needed attention - the shellac was getting rough on the edges, so for not much more than the cost of repairing the rough spots on each toe, they replaced the old silver shellac with a darker shade of silver, and painted them the same shade of red as my fingers.  Due to the underlying silver color, the red came out a bit darker, but that's not a major problem.   (My nails show up as almost the proper colors below.  But the carpet is actually tan, not green!  Sorry!)  Then I changed into a skirt and blouse in their restroom...

Thus began my marvelous weekend!  

There was plenty of time to get to my hotel.   Or so I thought... but Friday afternoon's traffic was frightful, made worse by the fact that I was traveling unfamiliar roads, guided only by a GPS.  That's not fun, particularly in bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic.  The long and short of it is:  I got there, safe and sound, with no issue (other than frayed nerves and shortness of time.)   But I had time to freshen up for dinner (you know the drill - shave, apply new makeup, change outfits, and so on...)

Meg, one of the girls whose blog I follow, met me at the hotel at the appointed time.  We went to a nearby restaurant for dinner, as planned.  Both of us ordered sandwiches, but when they arrived, surprise!  They weren't just conventional sandwiches, they were super-size.  Each half was almost the size of a regular sandwich.  It's tough to even think about dessert, when you're stuffed like the proverbial holiday bird...  And, we didn't even eat all of our fries!  

Meg was planning to attend a Tom Paxton "folk concert" being held that evening in one of the suburban Virginia local parks, and she invited me to go along.  The weather was perfect for outdoor entertainment (at the right price - free), the company was good, and I wanted to be out-and-about in a skirt.  So, I went along.

For those of you who don't remember Tom Paxton - and yours truly initially fell into that category - go here: (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahWcocGtEyA) for a refresher.  Then if you're like me, it all comes into focus...   It was wonderful to hear this live performance, and I had a great time!   Thanks go out to Meg for suggesting it!

Afterward, I went back to my hotel room, to clean up the teenage-girl-like disaster of clothes I had strewn around the room, while hunting the exact outfit I wanted to wear.   In all my past travels, I NEVER had been able to carry all my girl things (with the exception of shoes) in one suitcase.  But this time I did.  That's because I didn't bring anything androgynous, except the clothes I left the house in that morning, and which were now in the dirty laundry bag to take home.  Mandy had "kicked the door off the closet" for the weekend, would have to wear skirts and blouses all weekend (including the drive home), and was feeling fabulous!

Saturday I was on my own, as Meg had other plans.  But I'd planned for a solo day anyway, so that was no problem.  My agenda was simple -  visit the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, which is the Smithsonian's repository for aviation and space displays too big or too numerous for the Smithsonian down on the Mall in DC.  I'd previously been to that museum, so Udvar-Hazy was now the must-see.

That place is huge!  You can tell from these pictures, one outside and one inside...it seems to go on "forever."  The big black bulge in the picture below is an observation tower.  I was in one of the first groups of the day to visit, and the view is spectacular.   The airport is nearby, and planes can be seen taking off or landing - though the runways were relatively quiet at that hour of the morning.

There are lots of displays, enough to satisfy everyone.   They've even suspended aircraft from the ceiling...   Some of these planes are from all over the world, the manufacturers of which I've never heard about before. But all are wonderful to see.  And if you read every bit of signage plus take detailed pictures of each plane, you will need at least two days to cover everything.  Didn't take me quite that long...LOL!

Stay tuned for Part 2


  1. Hi Mandy!

    It sounds like a really great weekend!

    Your nails look great in that photo - I hope they went well with your outfits, and I hope you looked as fabulous as you felt :-)

    The whole weekend in girl mode, skirts, with no chance of escape back to androgynous clothes? What a thrill!!!

    I hope that your interactions with people along the way were positive! I love to hear about successful outings :-)

    That air and space museum sounds like a lot of fun. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. Reminds me that the Space Shuttle Endeavour is on display here. I took the kids there about 18 months ago.

    Glad you're having fun!


    1. Hi Jen,

      Yes, it sure was fun...but I'll let you tell me how I looked, when I get to posting "a few of the pictures from my makeover" in the last installment!

      It definitely was my first time to spend so long in girl mode, without any access to regular clothes...and it worked out just fine. No people problems at all. I may not be able to do that again till next yea. While my other excursions will involve dressing, they will also involve needing my regular clothes. Including my trip to the west coast in January. So I wait with anticipation of doing it all again!

      Be safe...


      PS: My ear lobes may never be the same after 3 days of wearing clip-on earrings. Hopefully they'll toughen up a bit for the trip to the west coast! Wish I could get them pierced, but like the wearing of skirts, that won't "fly" at home.

  2. There is nothing more delightful than reading about other girls' fun weekends, how they've been nicely treated like a woman and done plenty of interesting things along the way. Thanks for sharing, Mandy. Beautiful nails, by the way. Sue x

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I feel the same way as I read blogs about what other girls are doing. Often they are my inspiration to just "do it."

      So my blog is my feeble little attempt to actually contribute something back to the community - volunteering is not possible due to my home situation. If anything I do is encouragement for others to move forward, I'm glad to have been able to help!

      If I can go with red nails again at some point, I may just try that same salon...I agree with you - they turned out very nice!

      Thanks again,


  3. Mandy -

    Meg's a great gal, isn't she? I'll always be thankful to her, for meeting me in VA, then taking me out to the Udvar-Hazy Center - somewhere I'd never have reached without a car.

    Your earlobes will toughen up with repeated use of clip ons, but it makes so much more sense to get ear piercings. If I weren't looking for a job, I'd have already done so myself....

    But back to Udvar-Hazy.... Did you get to see MY favorite exhibit? No, it's not the Space Shuttle - excessive technology to achieve what could have been done more economically using the simpler technology the Russians used. Instead, it's the Enola Gay - the most controversial exhibit there. The fact that America could (in the 1940's) spend billions in secret, get stuck with a weapon it had to use for political reasons, and then use it in a way that may have saved 1.25 million lives by sacrificing the lives of maybe 250 thousand - this will have meaning long after they forget the space shuttle. (It's too bad that we have virtually forgotten the Apollo missions and their technology - they are much more important in the grand scheme of things....)

    Now if only we could get this country looking forward again....


  4. Hi Marian,

    I really enjoyed meeting Meg - and absolutely yes, she's a lovely lady. I hope we can manage to meet up again at some point! The Udvar-Hazy Center is isolated from the world - it really does require a car to get there "conveniently." So it was very nice of her to take you!

    As for the Enola Gay (and it's sister ship BocksCar, which I've seen at the air museum near Dayton), there were a number of folks who appeared to be from the Orient at Udvar-Hazy that day. And most of them seemed to linger at the E-G, taking pictures, and talking in their own languages. (For privacy? Or they don't speak English? My money's on privacy.) It must be a very melancholy moment for them, especially those who lost family. Very sad for everyone. But not many Americans were paying it much attention...a sign of the times?

    The Space Shuttle is a highlight for me only because our family watched its the first launch from Cape Canaveral.

    I haven't heard much about the original Mercury astronauts in a long time...as you say, they seem to have been forgotten. Did anyone realize that former astronaut and Senator John Glenn, the last surviving member of that exclusive group, is now 93 years old, and had a heart valve replaced in June of this year? It was in USA Today, but not sure if any other publications picked it up!

    I'm not as familiar with the other "newer" astronauts. But they all deserve more remembrance than they get...

    Dear Readers, Please Note: Political comment: one of the very few I make. Ignore if you wish...

    Look up divisiveness in your Funk & Wagnalls... "di-vi-sive; adjective: causing a lot of disagreement between people and causing them to separate into different groups." Sound familiar in today's United States? Moving forward is likely to be a tough thing for a while...until we all (collectively) start to pull together.

    End of political comment!

    Marian, I wish my travel plans for January could include NYC - I'd love to meet you. But we already know what happens to the Lake Shore train in the winter...snow makes it the Late Shore. Remember last year? Can't do that again. We'll work something else out - eventually.

    Meanwhile, I wish you all the best with the interview...hope it lands you a good job!


  5. Marian and Mandy
    Your two notes about the Enola Gay struck a note with me. My father fought on Okinawa and was there while it was being used as a staging area for the planned invasion of Japan. Every time I see those estimates of 1-1.5 million projected casualties that an invasion may have entailed I wonder if I would be around today.
    Just my musing