Gargoyles, Carvings, the Gift Shop and Stuff

So this would be the only pic of a gargoyle that I got.  And that’s because it was one of the ones damaged in the earthquake and was on display in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery.  I guess I need to invest in a telephoto lens or something.   


All around the Cathedral they have gargoyles and grotesques.  Very interesting and cool to learn about.  I checked out the National Cathedral website and found 5 things you need to know about gargoyles and grotesques. 

  • Gargoyles are part of the gutter system.
  • Grotesques and gargoyles are not the same thing.
  • Nobody knows how gargoyles came about.
  • Gargoyle blocks extend far back into the Cathedral.
  • Our Darth Vader gargoyle is not a gargoyle at all.

The gargoyles and grotesques weren’t the only cool things to see.  The intricate carvings throughout the Cathedral were phenomenal.  Just stunning and many you could get up close and see.


This carving below, which isn’t really a carving, but more of a representation of Judas.  I am not sure why this one moved me but it did.  It kind of made me sad but I’m not really sure why.  Have you ever come across something that struck a chord with you?


Moving on to the gift shop.  I LOVE gift shops as I can usually find something unique and interesting that catches my eye.  That day was no exception.


And as expected, they had a lot of angel stuff.

DSC06269DSC06270DSC06272  DSC06275 

And one of my favorite verses of all time. 


Now what could the other stuff be?  I’m so glad you asked!  Here are some other things that caught my eye.

Maybe I think odd things are cool but look at this.  I can’t remember what exactly it is…but I liked it.


Helen Keller is buried at the Cathedral.  See how the plaque is worn where the Braille is?  It’s because everyone touches it when they pass by it.  Including me.  Cool stuff.


I like this because it’s old.  And it’s a water fountain.  Water is refreshing.  Don’t you agree?


This is a cool view.  I dig cool views.


This is Marvin in the phone booth.  Except there was no longer a phone there so he used his iPhone.  He’s great at thinking of alternative solutions to a problem.  Like being in a phone booth that has no phone.  Why was he there to begin with?  Because my dad was a phone man so I tend to take a lot of pics of cool phones and phone booths…that’s why.  And he always agrees to model for me.  What?  You don’t do anything weird like that? 


This stone is from Mount Sinai.  That’s cool to me.


Ornamented first century stone fragment from along the Appian Way (Queen of Roads) leading into Rome.  Well, that’s pretty interesting too.


Okay this is a bathroom.  I totally have a thing about bathrooms.  Not necessarily a phobia or anything but some idiosyncrasies about them.  But that’s really a topic for another time.  But this is one of the bathrooms in the Washington National Cathedral.  Just in case you were wondering. 


What cool things interest you?  Feel free to share….

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Washington National Cathedral – A Quick Tour


We had scheduled several tours through our Congressman and the first one for the week was The Washington National Cathedral.  Normal operating hours are Mon-Fri. 10am – 5:30pm, Sat. 10am – 4:30pm however, if you book through your Congressman you will actually get to tour before it opens to the public.

We left our hotel at 7:30am and headed to the Metro (read up on how to navigate the Metro by clicking: HERE) and on the way saw Kyle from our evening at the Quarterdeck Restaurant.  Very cool to see a familiar face!

As we approached the Cathedral we noticed this outside.


Here’s the sign explaining what those stones and why they are there:


Back on August 23, 2011 there was an earthquake there.  The ground shook for less than a minute but caused the 30-foot central tower of Washington National Cathedral to whip back and forth.  Some of the 50-ton pinnacles (decorative parts of the tower) spun like tops and others fell onto the roof. 

During our tour there were two things vying for my attention.  One was the stained glass windows were captivating. 


The other thing that mesmerized me was the incredible architectural detail seen throughout the Cathedral.

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From the Washington National Cathedral website I learned that the Washington National Cathedral is called to serve as the spiritual home for the nation. It is a national treasure and an architectural feat.  It is a place for spiritual enrichment above all, whether you come here for worship, a concert, a pilgrimage, or an insightful program. It is a place open to all.

It is truly one of the most beautiful architectural sites in DC.  After completing the tour we decided to go up and visit the Pilgrim Observation Gallery so we could enjoy the generous views of the surrounding area.  From that vantage point, approximately 112’ above the ground.  It is an awesome 360’ view of DC and the surrounding area. 

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  • Have you ever visited the Washington National Cathedral?
  • What was your favorite part? 
  • Would this be on your list of must-see sights in DC?

There’s more to see so be sure and come back and check out my blog to see what other interesting things we saw!

(((hugs))) ~lisa

How to navigate around DC on the Metro

Have you ever ridden public transportation?  Prior to our DC trip we had limited experience, so let me share a little bit about riding on the DC Metro


This was a new experience for us, so we left the hotel at 7:30a.m. to take the hotel shuttle to the Rosslyn Metro station.  On the shuttle we met a couple from Beaumont, TX.  It’s funny how when you are on vacation, or are away from home for some reason, and you meet someone from your home state that you kind of feel a kinship with them! 

Since this was our first time riding the Metro, we needed some guidance on how it all worked.  We asked the first employee we came to and he was so helpful!  He suggested for us to read the signs.  Okay – maybe not the helpfulness we were looking for.  We were undeterred and looked for someone else who might have a little more patience to explain this to us.  

We met another worker, Ms. Davis, who helped us by trying to explain the difference between the cards and how it all worked.  Depending on how long you are staying and how many times you’ll get on the Metro, we recommend buying the SmarTrip® card because you get the lowest fair that way.  On Metrorail, each trip taken with a SmarTrip® card cost $1 less than those taken with a paper farecard. That’s a minimum savings of $2 per roundtrip!!  More if you are taking multiple trips like we were.  We initially purchased the paper card not realizing we were spending an extra $1 every time we rode the rail.  Good news is, you can transfer the balance to a SmarTrip® card at no cost.  To buy the card initially it is a $10 fee but $5 of that is a credit on the card that you can use for trips.

Basically, to navigate the Metro as a newbie you have to utilize the map otherwise it doesn’t really make sense.  Here’s a copy of the map we used that is available at the Metro and around town.  Also keep in mind the time of day you are traveling on the Metro as they do have a rush hour which sometimes delays the schedules. 


You will notice our map is a little worn looking.  That’s because we referred to it. 

A lot. 

There are also maps, similar to the directory maps at a mall, placed throughout the various stations.


Basically, you figure out where you want to go and locate it on the map.  If you open up the map it has a lot of landmarks on there with colored dots (which represent the rail line to use) and the corresponding station that you would need to get off at. 


So let’s say you are like us, and your first excursion of the day was to go to the Washington National Cathedral.  Your first step would be to look for it in the alphabetical list on the map. 


As you can see above, the Washington National Cathedral has a red dot (which represents the rail line it is on) and the station that you will get off at is the Tenleytown-AU station. 

Next find the station you will be departing from, and for us, it was the Rosslyn station.  You will then need to find your destination on the map, which for us, was the Tenleytown-AU station.  As you can see, the Rosslyn station is a stop on both the Orange and Blue lines and our destination is on the Red line.  This means you will have to transfer rails at some point on your trip. 

DSC09237 .

To figure out what rail to initially get on, you will need to look at the direction you need to go and find the very last stop on the current color line you are using. 

In our example, we were getting on at the Rosslyn station and we are going to use the Blue line for reference even though we could have also used the Orange line. 

::This will make more sense in a minute:: 

So starting at the Rosslyn station trace the Blue line to the right and you will “end” at the Largo Town Center station. 


The Largo Town Center Blue line will be the one that we need to get on but wait….our destination is actually on the Red line so what do we do??   Following the map you will see that we will need to get off at the Metro Center station and transfer to the Red line in order to get to the Tenleytown-AU station.  The rails run every few minutes so no worries on getting to the rail because if you miss one, another will be along shortly.  


There are several platforms to catch the rails on so how will you know which one is the one you need?  You will see signs like these in the stations.


See that big blue dot?  That tells you the way to the Blue line for Largo Town Center.  Listed under the arrow are the station stops along the way.   

They also have these signs on the platforms that tell you when the next rails are coming and unfortunately, I forgot to get a close-up of one.  Here’s an example and again, this will make more sense when you are there.


Remember, to know which red line to get on at the transfer station, you need to know the last stop on that line in the direction you are wanting to go.  In our case, it was Shady Grove station. 


All we had to do now was get on the Red Line to Shady Grove and get off at the Tenleytown-AU station and we’d be in business. 

Are y’all ready to try out your new skills?


The view from my seat.


To recap, we got on at the Rosslyn station using the Blue line for Largo Town Center station.  The rail stopped at Foggy Bottoms – GWU, Farragut West, McPherson Sq, and when it reached Metro Center station we got off.  We then found and got on the Red line for Shady Grove station.  The rail stopped at Farragut North, Dupont Circle, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Van Ness – UDC and finally at Tenleytown – AU where we got off.  The driver/conductor (I am not sure what they are called) also announces the station at the stop. 



Now I thought it was pretty awesome and even more so once we got the hang of it all. 

  • Have you ever ridden the DC Metro?
  • What was your experience?
  • What suggestion do you have to help folks navigate the DC Metro?
  • And is it just me, or was anyone else wondering if you could truly survive if you fell on the tracks and squeezed in between them like you see on the movies?  Yeah…probably just me.

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Silence and Respect – Arlington National Cemetery

Silence and Respect

After exploring around Fredericksburg, VA, we decided to go ahead and stop at Arlington National Cemetery

On our way there we saw Air Force Memorial.  This is my only shot of it as we forgot to find it once inside the cemetery.  Now how could I forget? I’m not sure but I did.  

Air Force Meorial

I had really been looking forward to visiting there and the first thing we did was look up the gravesites of two heroes.  We had never actually met them in person, but one was a friend of a friend and the other was a son of a friend, so we wanted to honor our friendships by paying our respects to their loved ones. 

My friend Cathy is someone that I met online when I learned that her son had been in a bad car accident.  He was stationed in Japan at the time and Cathy rushed to be by his side and stayed by his side until he passed nearly 6 1/2 months later.  Her courage and love and strength was amazing and inspiring to me.  I just knew that our visit to Arlington National Cemetery would not be complete without stopping to visit her son Bryce


I have another amazing and inspiring friend, CMSgt Juan Lewis and he is known as The Fired Up Chief with PEP (Pride, Enthusiasm and Passion).  I had seen the Chief mention his friend, Col. Bryan Gallagher several times and that he had visited his gravesite recently.  I took note of the name and our very first stop was to honor the friendship we have with the Chief and say hello and pay our respects to his friend.

Col. Gallagher 

I know we look hot – it’s because we are!  The weather in DC is much more humid than we are accustomed to.  Despite the weather, we were very happy to have been able to have the chance to visit these two heroes!  Do you have anyone that you know buried out at Arlington National Cemetery?

After our visit to Bryce and Col. Gallagher we headed toward the Tomb of the Unknowns to watch the Changing of The Guard.  Here’s my video of the ceremony.  Please note I am *not* a professional! 😉

Arlington National Cemetery is a place to honor, a place to remember and a place to explore.  The cemetery currently spans 624 acres and is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.  Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored here. 

While at Arlington National Cemetery you may see the laying of our Nation’s veterans (and their eligible family members) to rest with honor and respect.  Monuments, memorials and dedicated trees  commemorating individuals and significant events in our history.  Arlington National Cemetery is a living tribute to our Nation’s past. 

As we walked through the grounds it was a humbling and moving experience.  DSC06003

We also made it a point to go and see the gravesite of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and family. 


Some views from Arlington National Cemetery.


A great experience and one I encourage you NOT to miss. 

As always, I did get a patch to add to my collection.  

ANC patch 

(((hugs))) ~lisa

My necklace/bracelet jewelry holder

Who is addicted to Pinterest?  It’s okay…you can raise your hand…you are among friends here. 

I admit to having a slight addiction to Pinterest meaning that several times a day occasionally I will peruse all the boards and get lost in all the awesome things that I could create.  I was looking for a new way to hold my necklaces and bracelets so I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. 

I came across several ideas that would totally work and decided I could make one.  And when I say *I*, I mean my husband…haha!!  Here are some of the inspiration photos that I got off of Pinterest that got my creative juices flowing.

1 inspiration piece

I absolutely LOVE the hand doorknob in the pic above.  Isn’t it awesome?!  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I even looked online so if you find it be sure and leave me a comment because even though the project is finished I will add that puppy somewhere in a heartbeat. 

FTL 17il_fullxfull.357660583_tq6y

These two pics were cool looking but I wanted something larger and of course…more awesome! 

But first things first.  This is the way I used to store my necklaces.

2 how i used to store my jewelry

I know, I know.  Not very creative really, but I didn’t have a whole lot of options.  I give myself some credit for thinking to use the hangers but I admit it’s not the best solution. 

And here are my bracelets.

4 storing my jewelry

Stored neatly….well let’s just say stored in these nice plastic trays that I’ve had forever.  Thank goodness I found some cool photos to inspire me.

Because I wasn’t following an actual pattern or anything we figured we would start planning the layout to determine what size boards to purchase.

6 planning it out1

Trying to figure out the spacing was a little tough.  We measured and tried to space things out to make it look a like they were randomly placed but making sure there was enough room between the knobs for the necklaces and bracelets to hang. 

5 plan it out5.1 planning the layout

If we ever did this project again, I would space the knobs a little differently.  Seems to be a little too much spacing between the bracelet knobs, but that is more of a design flaw and not on the part of the constructor as my hubby was laying it out as requested and he did a great job. 

7 layout complete - Copy8 laying out the knobs

After figuring out the dimensions, we purchased some 1/4” 2’x4’ MDF project panel board from Home Depot for around $15 including tax. 

I purchased knobs at Hobby Lobby (a local craft store in the area) in the clearance section for around $50 for 43 knobs.  You can find knobs at any home improvement store or craft/hobby shop.  I did find some really cool looking ones but they were $4 each!  Aaaccckkk!!!  I stuck with the knobs that were around $1 each. 

A buddy of mine gave me several door pulls and we used one on this project to hold some larger earrings that don’t fit in the containers I normally use.  I have plans to use the other door pulls for another project soon.  Be sure and check back and see what I’ve created. 

After purchasing the board Marvin did a test run to see how the knobs would work.

9 trial run  

Looks like it is going to work!  He adhered the knobs and he cut down the end of the screws on the knobs as they were made to fit drawers/cabinets and were too long. 

10 how does it look

I really liked how it was turning out.  Marvin then used some leftover paint from our master bedroom/bath remodel to paint the boards.

11 painting the boards

We gathered all the knobs and started attaching them to the boards. 

12 gathering knobs13 gathering knobs14 gathering knobs

We put it together and hung it up in our closet.  It looked close to what I had envisioned in my head but not quite there yet.

15 testing how it looks

Something seemed to be missing.

17 it needs something
Marvin thought it might look more “finished” if we put a frame around it.  He bought 3 strips of molding for around $3.70 each and cut them to fit the boards.  We then gave them to my dad because we needed clamps to hold the frame together while it dried.  My dad also let us know that they sell molding with a little ridge on the back that helps it make a better frame so you might want to ask at the home improvement store if they have anything like that. 

Almost there!  Now I just need to add my jewelry.  🙂  Doing a bit of a ::happy dance:: about how it turned out.  I’m not sure if I’m going to leave the frame white, paint it green or possibly paint it another color.  What do you think?

19 that's it

Dad also created a hanging device out of scrap wood.  There were two pieces to it.  One was attached to the back of the board and angled downward and it interlocked with a piece that you attach to the wall.

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The other piece that was attached to the wall was angled upward.

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Tada!!!  The finished product!

21 finished piece

Marvin and my Dad did an awesome job of bringing to life what I had envisioned.  I think it looks awesome!  Now in the space right above the lower board I was thinking of putting our initial with buttons glued on it (another Pinterest inspiration) or maybe something else.  I was also thinking that since everything seems to be boxy looking I should try to put maybe an oval in that space.  Not sure why I’m so concerned with “decorating” my closet but those are just the things coming to my mind. 

So the total cost, not including the hanging piece my Dad made, was about $76 total.  Or about $38 for each one depending on how you like to look at things.  That’s not too bad for some custom pieces but if you are trying to keep costs low you could use scrap wood from previous projects and shop around a little more for the knobs.

22 23

  • What projects have you tried lately?
  • How do you store your jewelry?

(((hugs))) ~lisa


The old jail that never really was…

In the morning we had visited my childhood home and we headed back to the downtown Fredericksburg area to explore some more.  When my family lived there, I remember going on field trips and we visited the old jail as well.  We went to try and find it but first we needed some lunch!  We stopped at Sammy T’s.  It was pretty good.

Sammy  T's

Sammy T’s / 801 Caroline Street / Fredericksburg, VA 22401 / 540-371-2008

Sammy T’s is located just one block from the Visitor Center so after filling our tummies we headed there to get some directions.  We picked up a map of the city and started to map out our route.  While we were there I asked about the old jail as I didn’t see it on the map.  The Fredericksburg Visitor Center attendant there mentioned that years ago some folks had called it the old jail.  She said they even had a stockade out in front of it.  The real history behind the building was different.  It was actually an Old Stone Warehouse.  I learned something new!

We got the directions to what I still call the old jail and headed that way.  As we walked to our car I happened to look down a small alley/walkway and noticed this.

St. Francis

I think this is St. Francis, patron saint of animals and the environment.

We got in the car and were heading to the “old jail” (yes I know I should call it the Old Stone Warehouse but it’s just weird…that’s not how I remember it).  I saw this sign and though we didn’t stop to write anything I did think about it.

Before I die...

Would you have stopped?  What would you have written?

We finally got to the old jail.  Except it isn’t really a jail and apparently never was. According to the current owner and what I could find out online, this was actually an Old Stone Warehouse. 

Old Stone WarehouseOld Stone Warehouse2

The owner/docent was a very friendly guy who was very happy to share about the history of the building. 


We were allowed to go all throughout the building.  We went into the “basement” which used to be the first story of the building. 

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This actually used to be the front door.  Back in the 1700’s when the building was built, the front door faced the river as that is where all the boats would come to trade. 


After you go through the door you can see the Rappahannock River.



Going back up to the building we entered through what used to be the front door.


The guy had lots of antique type things and they didn’t necessarily have to do with the actual building but they were interesting to look at.  One of my favorite things that I saw were these old movie theater seats.  They looked very cool. 


It was a fun little stop and we wrapped up this part of our day so we walked back to our car and headed back to Arlington.

What fun and interesting places have you been to lately?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

What do you remember about your elementary school years?

Apparently I don’t remember all that much.  I do remember that I went to Grafton Village Elementary School


For 1st grade I had Ms. Potter.  I remember she used to wear her sweater over her shoulders and had black hair.  I used to wear my sweater like that too.  She was very nice and I remember her being patient.  One thing that stands out about 1st grade is that we used to have these workbooks that had this piece of plastic that you would put over the page and you would use a to mark your answers.  My rag that I used to erase the marks was actually one of my sisters’ old cloth diapers.  She, my sister, was allergic to pampers so she had to use cloth diapers.  That’s a story for another day.  The workbook had “characters” in it and one was a yellow poodle looking dog named Nip, and an ant named Ant.  If anyone has a copy of that workbook or a pic of Nip and/or Ant I would LOVE to see it.  Interesting that that is one of the standout memories for me from 1st grade.


In 2nd grade I had Ms. Kerwin.  I always kind of wondered whatever happened to her.  One thing I remember about her is she had really pretty hair.  Sometime during that year I had my ears pierced.  It was at a store called Leggett’s (now called Belk’s).  Back then they put a piece of ice on my earlobe to numb it and then used the earring to pierce my ear.  I actually still have one of the studs.  I don’t want to brag or anything, but it still fits. 

Sadly I don’t remember all of my teachers.  I do remember Ms. Suddeth.  She was either my 3rd or 4th grade teacher and I remember her wearing these awesome navy blue bell bottom pants.  She also had naturally wavy hair.  When I was at Grafton some of the grades were in these “open” wings and there weren’t any walls separating the rooms.  They instead had these really large dividers separating the “rooms” from each other. 

Of course I remember some of the kids as well.  In one class there was another girl named Lisa and her last name was Brown.  Tommy Sullivan was in one of my classes and I remember he liked to draw sharks.  He was good at it too, as best as I can remember.  There was also a girl named Joy in the class.  She had a leg brace on one of her legs, she had short red hair and smiled a lot.  Kind of weird the things you remember. 

I went to Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School and the teacher I remember there was Ms. Collie.  She wore heels a lot.  I was the class representative or something and had to sign all of our ID cards for some reason.  I was in the track club there too.  I actually don’t remember much besides that. 


I guess one of my strongest memories that I have revolves around a water tower at the elementary school.  Back then for PE, we used to run to and from the back of the school to the water tower.  At least that’s how I remember it.  And in my dream, I’ve run up to the water tower and as I am running back for some reason the water tower is falling towards me and I don’t seem to be able to outrun it.  I actually have had that same dream many, many times.  Not sure exactly the meaning behind it all but on our trip to Fredericksburg I of course had to stop and see it.


It does not look the same.  I clearly remember it having 4 legs and of course there wasn’t a fence around it either.  I am assuming a new one was built or something. 


  • What teachers do you remember?
  • Do you have any recurring dreams?

(((hugs))) ~lisa