January 07, 2009

history lesson on vacation

I got to watch lots of things during my "winter break." In the past, this break was the time that I discovered a new TV show. During the past few years, I've found 24, Heroes, Firefly, Gossip Girl and Chuck with a few more I've forgotten I'm sure.
This year, I watched Lost: season 4 (I had given up after episode 4 this past year, but they were all still online), Smallville: season 5, a few episodes of Gilmore Girls: season 4, a few episodes of Arrested Development, lots of Anthony Bourdain (which had marathons galore!), and movies like Wall*E (with my parents), Hancock and Seven Pounds (I liked it) and a disturbing Audrey Hepburn/Shirley MacLaine movie called The Children's Hour.

And while Lost was good, my favorite thing was actually something I found on C-SPAN. Yes, that's right....it was a fantastic documentary on the White House. I was flipping through the channels and happened upon it and couldn't turn it off. I came in about half way through, but still loved it!

One little building in the whole United States so full of history. It was so interesting to see all the changes that have been done to it. All the improvements by different presidents. Those who left behind a big mark on it. Theodore Roosevelt built the West Wing so his bedroom wouldn't have to be across the hallway from the offices. Harry Truman gutted the entire 1st floor leaving only the shell so that steel beams could replace the old wooden ones (you can see a photo of it here). He also added the Truman Balcony, which at the time caused quite a stir with the public because it changed the look of the outside.
It's interesting too how many of the presidents say that they consider Lincoln to be the best president that we ever had. His portraits seemed to be the favorite of all the artwork that hangs there.
It was also neat to see the private family rooms and hallways. Just imagine that being your home?! You pick out some of the artwork, but so much of it is already in place when you arrive. You sit on the couches and read in the corners. I wonder what Obama's little girls will think when they get their rooms and run up and down the halls like Roosevelt's kiddos did so long ago. Imagine getting in trouble for running/throwing balls/slamming doors/stomping on the floor in "the House!"

Anyway, it was such a well done documentary. If it's ever on again, you should check it out. I'm hoping it will because I'd love to see the beginning again. I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the White House on a field trip as a kid. It was decorated for Christmas and just beautiful. Now, I'm dying to do it again. So much history to soak in!

***listening to the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack while typing tonight.

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