Blue Moon Birthday
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December 31, 2009. We spent New Years Eve at the Fairmont in Washington, D.C. This is "our" Fairmont because, over the last three years, my daughters and I came here on a number of weekends so my wife could write her dissertation at home without interruptions. The warm hotel staff is what kept us coming back. Over time they even began to greet my two girls by name when we arrived. On this visit, we took my wife to celebrate the completion of her doctorate and also her birthday. As the sun went down, we skated outdoors under a string of lights at a rink on the National Mall. Then we roamed through the Smithsonian's botanical gardens and gazed through its glass ceiling at the moon. It was a blue moon, the second full moon in the month, on the last night of the year and of the decade. The next morning, we started the day with our favorite Fairmont brunch followed by a quiet birthday celebration. The photo shows mom--turning 40 on January 1st--opening gifts with our daughters in the bright atrium of the hotel lobby. -Ben V., Baltimore MD