Photo credit: White HouseNUMBER 45: This morning I came downstairs to find Annabelle had turned "Strawberry Shortcake" on the television.
IMHO, "Strawberry Shortcake" is a poor choice any day of the week, but today it was an especially awful option, as the 45th presidential inauguration was underway at the same time. We switched channels, post haste.
The very first image that flashed on our screen was a statue. "That's the Statue of Freedom!" CJ declared, much to my amazement. I didn't know that, myself. It sits atop the U.S. Congress, and CJ tells me "it's MUCH older than the Statue of Liberty." Where did CJ learn all this? He says he read it on Wikipedia. I asked him if went looking for a Statue of Freedom article, and he said, 'no,' that he'd followed a link from the Statue of Liberty page.
Made by Thomas Crawford, it's 19 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 15,000 pounds. The statue was hoisted above the capitol building in late 1863, in sections, with the final section, its head and shoulders, placed on Dec. 2.
A striking image at today's inauguration were the five enormous flags draped on the front of the capital. We noticed that the flags had different star fields. Two of them were "Betsy Ross flags," with 13 stars in a circle. Next to them were flags that reflect the U.S. flag that was adopted when the President-elect's home state became part of the United States. In Obama's case, that was Illinois, which entered the Union on Dec. 3, 1818. That flag featured 21 stars. In the center was the familiar 50-star flag.
We listened to Myrlie Evers-Williams deliver the invocation. A life long civil rights advocate, she was the first woman ever to do so. And Richard Blanco broke all sorts of ground when he recited the inaugural poem.
Born in Spain to Cuban exiles, Blanco was the first Hispanic, LGBT person and youngest-ever to recite a poem at the swearing-in ceremony.
We LOVED the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's performance of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The 280-voice choir knocked it out of the park!
We heard Kelly Clarkson sing a crazy good version of "My Country 'Tis of Thee," James Taylor performed a lovely rendition of "America the Beautiful," and Beyonce sang the national anthem. And, of course, we watched V.P. Joe Biden and President Barack Obama be sworn in.
What a sight it was to see the Capitol Mall filled to capacity - a sea of humanity, people of all ages and colors, waving American flags. Here's a photo of that same area taken just the day before, by the ISS.
While Obama was giving his inaugural speech, CJ said, "It must be hard to memorize all this!" At that point, we had a quick lesson about the Teleprompter.
After the swearing in ceremony, we kept the TV on so we could see the parade. We were especially hoping to see the NASA paraders - including a replica of the Curiosity Rover, along with MSL science team members.
And the Orion space capsule was accompanied by NASA Astronauts Lee Morin, Alvin Drew, Kjell Lindgren, Serena Aunon, Kate Rubins, and Mike Massimino.
Unfortunately, the coverage we were watching (MSNBC) didn't show either. Drat! In retrospect, we should have tuned into C-SPAN. ...
This morning, Christian found the official 57th Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies Guide for Producers and Correspondents in PDF form.
It included the inauguration schedule of events from start to finish, and even included the recipes for all of the delectable dishes to be served at the inaugural luncheon. There were wonderful things like Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce; Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction; and last but not least, a dessert of Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey.
I wanted to make something from the luncheon for our dinner, bust since Mommy spent an hour plus painting ponies today, followed by 7 hours working on the roof, it wasn't, unfortunately, going to be any of the above. So the poor family had to settle for Sautéed Spinach. Here's the recipe:
8 oz baby spinach
¼ cup shallot, minced
½ tablespoon olive oil
pinch sea salt
pinch cracked black pepper
- Pre heat a large heavy bottom sauté pan on high heat.
- Sauté shallot in oil until tender.
- Add the baby spinach and season with salt and pepper cooking only until spinach leaves are wilted. Remove from pan and hold warm.
It probably won't shock you to learn the kids weren't thrilled with the dish. I told them that if they ever wanted to be president, they had to eat their spinach. They managed to choke it down. :)