February 4, 2015 – Wow, what a day

Today I woke up so tired. I thought I would just go back to sleep but I knew I could not do that.  So, I got up and down to the conference by 8, had a bite to eat and then headed over to the ballroom to see what was going to happen. Today was Capital Visits Day.   So the morning was a round table discussion by a group of elected officials moderated by Mary Bono who is a retired Congresswoman from California. Up there on the stage was my Congressman Paul Tonko, Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick from PA, retired Congressman NIck Rahall from West VA, and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard from California.  The New York group was sitting towards the back of the room but Paul got a great cheer when he was announced.  Grand fun.  Then at one point he really got my attention when I heard my name coming from the Stage… Wow, that was cool..  Got the attention of a lot of my colleagues. Not sure they believed me when I told them this guy knows what we do and cares about our work and does reach out the community members.  Everyone there from our district had a story about how they had met him along the way.  That is very good.

So after that morning session we headed for the Capital for Reception in the Hart Senate Office Building.  They had food which was very good since it was lunch time and we were all hungry.  The speakers were good. All supporters of the drug free communities support program grants.  We heard from Senator Grassley for Iowa, Senator Kelly Ayotte from NH, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from RI, and Senator Rob Portman from OH.  We left to walk over to the Rayburn Office Building where Paul Tonko’s office is.  There were four of us from the District and we waited until about 1:30 and then started our meeting with Jeff Morgan J.D. who I have gotten to know over the last year.  Then the Congressman came in although we were warned he had to leave to go and vote shortly. But we got a lot of what we wanted to say said and then went over some other items with Jeff.  It was a good visit.

Then we decided not to go to the Senator meeting since there are over 100 New York State folks here and lots of them are new coalitions and only certain people were told they could speak and the others were to say nothing.  So why go right/?? So we broke up, Kristin went to the  Natural History Museum, Davia and Marilyn went to  the Botanical Gardens, and I went for a walk.  Lovely time I had.

First I went and sat in Bertoldi Park for a few minutes and just enjoyed the feeling of the warm sun. It must have been up in the 50’s. Just wonderful and warm.  Then I walked over by the Botanical Gardens to the Reflecting Pool. There were three women there who were trying to take pictures of each other. I offered to take their picture and we got into a lovely conversation. Two of the women were from Brazil and one from Belgium. They were lots of fun. All three were studying English. 2 for a month and the other for two weeks. Hoping to increase their skills. They asked about renting a car to drive to NY City. I told them to take the train. Much better way to travel and you don’t need a car in NY City. They accepted that as a good idea.  So I got hugs and kisses and said goodbye and moved on.

Further long I watch a little kid about 18 months trying to throw Cherrios to to the seagulls. It was pretty funny to watch for a minute. Then I walked on to the Bus to go back to the hotel.  Sat across from one of the presenters from yesterday who talked about engaging the Faith Community in Prevention efforts.  We N chatted about some program.strategies and I learned about a program for Senior Citizens which might be really helpful to us.

addendum  while I was walking in DC I saw a bus with an ad on the side featuring Alexa Chung, my cousin… too cool

Once back at the hotel I got rid of my jacket and went for a walk around the National Harbor.  Went into several stores and sat on the pier and had a snack and got a cup of coffee.  Stood and talked with Davia when I ran into her. And then headed back to the hotel.  Called Denis and then called my buddy Judi and arranged to meet for a drink at 7 pm.  Had a great little visit and am now watching the Mentalist. Going to be sad then that show goes away.  I like it.

So, It was a good day.  Tomorrow will be long but at the end I will be back up with my little girls so that is good news.

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