I realize the shelf-life of "what I did at the inauguration" posts is just about expired, but I did promise I'd post my pictures from Monday. I started out by volunteering at the MLK Day of Service event at RFK Stadium, assembling care packages for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (does anyone else recall that "CARE package" used to mean something more specific?). Also helping us pack goodie bags were (during my shift) incoming Attorney General Eric Holder, incoming VA Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki, incoming Homeland Security Secretary Gov. Janet Napolitano, and Senator Chris Dodd (with his kids). Plus, I gather, my group just missed seeing Michelle Obama. As far as I could see, these worthies were actually taking turns working; not just gladhanding and talking to the press.
After my shift was up, I headed over to the Cannon House Office Building to visit the office of Joe Courtney. I didn't have tickets to pick up, but I thought it would be fun to see the office, and to say hello to some Courtney staffers I'd met in the course of a couple campaigns (including John Hollay, the first person I met who knew not only that Obama would be president someday, but that 2008 would be the time). I should've thought harder about this: It turned out that the very many people who did have inauguration tickets to pick up accounted for lines, at each of the public entrances, stretching halfway around the building. I decided it would be the better part of valor to leave the congressional offices to those with actual business there.
So I wandered over to the Capitol, to look at the preparations underway for Tuesday's ceremony, and then down the Mall, checking out street vendors' wares (don't let anyone tell you Obama is bad for entrepreneurship!) and stopping in to visit several museums. The U.S. Botanic Garden was a particularly welcome island of warmth on a frigid day, and I also stopped in at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (as it turned out, my spot on the Mall Tuesday would be adjacent to the Hirshhorn). And, of course, the space cadet in me finds it impossible to visit DC without at least poking my nose into the National Air & Space Museum.
Frozen but well satisfied, I headed back to the Metro, and out to the friends I was staying with in Virginia. As for Tuesday's event, until I'm able to upload my handful of cellphone images, all I can offer are my handsome commemorative tickets from the very excellent Virginia Railway Express commuter train. VRE is selling the leftover tickets to collectors, but mine are legitimately "game used":