Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Better Time for Mount Vernon?

The niece came out on Thursday night (niece-in-law, actually, but she and her husband have been together practically half their lives), she had business in DC but flew out a day early to spend some time with us.  We're mega-low on money, but we haven't seen family in over a year, and we couldn't just sit at home and stare at each other.  We thought about going to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, where she's never been and had expressed interest in, but then she mentioned that she was already planning on going with coworkers the next day.  So it seemed silly to take her there, even though she said that would be fine.  I knew she'd never been to Mt. Vernon (I knew because I'd asked), but I was iffy on the cost (fifteen bucks per person, sixty bucks for the load of us).  Tommy and I talked, and decided that, dammit, we were going to take her because . . . well, because.

I went online to check the hours and, surprise, surprise, it's HOME-SCHOOLER day!  Knocked 23 bucks off the bill, which was great.  Plus, our beautiful niece treated us to breakfast at the little diner we've become enamored of, so the day wasn't so disastrous, though, even if it had been, it would have been worth it to have a good day with her. 

Learned some cool things at Mt. Vernon, bought a pretty little Christmas ornament (marked down to $6.99!).  Sadly, that purchase inspired me to hit the White House gift shop site when I got home and order two more ornaments, which were NOT marked down.  Goodness. 

I know it's a 2009 ornament, but I fell in love with the look (and it's the year our President was inaugurated)!

The hiking about Mt. Vernon was a bit tough on me (we did the full walk-about, down to the shores of the Potomac, around to the tomb and slave quarters, and then up through the forest trail).  About 3 1/2 hours of walking, and the plantar fasciitis and back pain were, at times, troubling.  Not the fasciitis so much at the time--that was later, after it'd had a chance to seize up.  The grounds were amazing, the heirloom sheep and cows wonderful (and sweet--I love petting sheep, go figure), and the company marvelous.  We were the last ones through on the mansion tour, which gave us time to dawdle and really enjoy. 

It was a sad night last night, though.  Disappointing.  Not going to go into it much, other than to say that sometimes it's a real eye-opener, hearing what people consider wrenching or devastating.  To have suffering a lifetime of being ostracized, tortured, outcast, rejected, loudly and cruelly publicly ridiculed, and terrified of social situations from dating to just walking through a grocery store because of how people react to how your body looks compared with not having cool clothes?  As someone whose mom used to sew our clothes from patterns, the results having uneven legs, uneven hems, and crooked zippers set into hideously garish floral fabrics, I've suffered both bad fashion and being condemned by society for how my body looks.  Believe me, the fashion grief doesn't even begin to compare.  On the one hand, I'm relieved--if that's the worst someone's suffered on the social devastation front, that's wonderful!  On the other hand, if that's the only comparison to be made, there's no common frame of reference in this at all.  It's not a huge deal, but it is a bit hurtful to think that what I've gone through is being compared to the pain of having a cheap wardrobe. 

Here are some pictures from Mount Vernon.  I'm glad we went when we did--it got super cold today!

Red Devon heirloom cowses

The Mansion

Washington Family tomb

1 comment:

  1. Yay for family visits and cultural enrichment. I wonder how Mount Vernon compares with Monticello. Have you been there? I have not visited either yet.
    The heirloom cows remind me of my grandpa, he raised cattle and for the last few decades of his life it seemed like it was just for fun, he hardly ever sold any and he kept collecting different breeds. I was too young to pay attention so I don't know what breeds, but I remember a beautiful Texas Longhorn cow with gorgeous horns.
    Oh, and heirloom sheep remind me of a book I read called Three Bags Full about a shepherd who collects heirloom sheep. He dies and the story is told from the perspective of the sheep as they try to solve his murder. There's a sort of Hamlet twist too. I highly recommend it.
    My take on the fashion vs body ridicule. Having also experienced both, the body-shaming is definitely worse. But before I got bigger, the only perspective I had was the fashion-shaming. See, my mom didn't sew my clothes or buy cheap clothing, she simply stopped buying me anything to wear after I hit my growth spurt in 6th grade. I outgrew everything and had to wear a pair of jeans that my neighbor cast off, they had a huge hole in the butt so I scavenged a greasy hoodie because it was the only thing I could find that was long enough to cover the hole. My mom didn't notice my need, and made fun of my "choice" to wear the things I did. This went on until I was 16 and could get a job and buy my own clothes. So I felt great shame about what I wore, and a lot of self pity because it was something that I felt was inflicted on me against my will. Later I became a clothes hoarder. I've never thrown any clothing out and I buy tons! I held on to everything long after I got too big for it or it went out of style. I did recently purge everything and it felt so good.
    On the other hand, I was skinny for most of my life, but I never shamed anyone for their bodies. I think that most people think of weight as a choice that's as easy to change as your clothes. That's one reason they don't understand how bad it feels to make fun of somebody for their size. Another point to ponder is that when we're young and beautiful, we don't have any perspective on what it feels like to have body issues that we can't really fix. Gray or thinning hair, wrinkles, bad teeth, extra weight are all things that seem to be choices, and it isn't until we're older that we realize what it feels like to live with those "flaws". Of course there is cosmetic surgery but that isn't as easy as they think. So, for a lot of people, the only comparison they can think of is having to wear ugly clothes. It doesn't meant they don't sympathize, it's just that they haven't learned yet.
    I had a lot of friends through my ex, that are part of a community of rock stars, strippers, and all-around beautiful people. When I started to age and didn't look gorgeous all of the time, I lost their respect. They've treated me like I disappeared and if I expect their friendship, I should lose weight, get some fake boobs, etc. I do not miss them. There are plenty of people that are not like that, and it doesn't matter what the shallow people think.