Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Georgia State Capitol

I still need to bake some pies tonight, so we'll see how far I get in this post before I call it quits for the day. 

Today was our Downtown Atlanta day! Our first stop was a visit to the capitol building, which turned into a big long adventure to find a women's washroom for Zoë. When she mentioned she needed to use the facilities, Phoebe also started chirping about needing to go "Pee! Pee! Pee! Pee!" but she wasn't as much of a problem as Zoë was because Phoebe has no qualms whatsoever about using the toilet in the men's restroom. Zoë, on the other hand, was not as keen on entering the men's room. 

She and I went all over the place and found multiple men's rooms and only one women's washroom...that was closed for renovations...before we caved and asked the nice workers setting up Christmas decorations where we could find the women's washroom.

The man we asked stared at me for a minute in complete confusion.

"Oh! You want the bathroom!" he said. 

"Yes..." I said.

Look, I don't leave my house a lot, so I just call things what I want to call them without fully realizing it might not be what it's called here. Further, when I'm nervous or formal or hanging around my Canadian friends and family, more Canadianisms slip in. This was a case of nervous formality. 

"Excuse me," I'd said. "We're on a bit of a wild goose chase for the women's washroom. Do you happen to know where one is?"

Was that an awkward way to ask? Maybe.

Americans don't even say washroom, so that was one point against me. I'm pretty sure they say "wild goose chase" (though I know a few saying they don't use, like, "That really threw a spanner into the works!"). But, to be fair, I don't think we were even supposed to be in the place that we were. We were utterly lost from trying to hunt down bathrooms that either were labeled for men only, or were closed for constructions, or didn't seem to exist at all.

And signs that say "please use north staircase" mean very little to me because I have no idea which way is north.

Anyway, he ushered us to a (service!) elevator and as the doors were closing, pressed the button for the first floor, stepped out of the elevator and, as the doors were closing, instructed us to turn left. 

That's all we got.

But we found the toilets! And then we found the rest of our crew!

Here are Benjamin and Zoë at the (staged in the hallway) podium:

Alexander tried for a picture but he was just too short and the efforts made to get him high enough were not fruitful. Rachel and Miriam already had their picture taken here when they were pages for the senate (?) session earlier this year.

We started our tour at the fourth floor, where we got to see many little exhibits and got an excellent view of the truly massive Christmas tree they're putting up.

Here's Auntie Em, Rachel, and Alexander looking at the tree and the ceiling:

And here we are looking across to where Miriam and Grandpa were:

This sign is asking for the reason the right whale was chosen as Georgia's state marine mammal:

I joked that it was because choosing the wrong whale would have just been silly (but I think the answer is really that it's the most endangered species of whale on the planet).

One of the more popular exhibits at the museum (that's what they call the exhibits set up in the hallways of the capitol building) is a two-headed cow:

When Auntie Josie (who is currently in Austria visiting Uncle Patrick) saw my post about the two-headed cow, she sent me this beautiful poem by Laura Gilpin:

Tomorrow, when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.

But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass.
And as he stares into the sky, there
are twice as many stars as usual.

There are many things that can be considered love notes, I think. Poems are one of them. Not the act of composing a poem for someone, necessarily, but simply sharing one, of letting someone know you are thinking about them. There are many things besides poetry, though, that can be considered love notes. 

But Josie has sent me a few poems recently and I love it! I love that she's reading poems, I love that poems make her think about me, I love that she sees poetry in my life and helps me connect with that poetry. 

She's a good sister. I truly lucked out in the sister department. 

Anyway, while we were looking for the toilets, they lit the tree! It looks rather spectacular!

Here's Phoebe crawling up a big set of stairs toward the bust of James Oglethorpe (the founder of Georgia):

And here we are voting about whether or not to stop at Andrew's office on the way to the parking lot. 

"We are in the capitol building," Andrew said, "So any vote we make in here will be binding."

However, although we voted in favour of visiting his office, he decided it wouldn't be worth it. He didn't bring his office keys with him, so we wouldn't even get to go inside, and security is so tight these days that he's only allowed on his floor of the building (so he can't even go visit professors in another department without making an appointment and riding up to their floor from the lobby (because his card will only allow him to travel to his office floor, see, while another person's card would only allow them to activate the elevator for their office floor)). So we skipped touring his office. 

But her we are walking back to the parking lot...Phoebe loved balancing on this wall:

And Zoë and Alexander gravitated toward Auntie Emily and helped keep her hands warm (it was a little nippy today)!

From here we headed to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, but I'll write about that later because...I need to go bake a pie!

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