WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9th So, I don’t usually do “road” reports when I travel in the U.S. but this trip was just too awesome not to share with someone! Up at 4 am (No, Bebe, I did not work out this morning J!), to check in with U.S. SCARE and fly to D.C. with Darryl Worley and his managers/musicians.  I never fly U.S. Air.  The day before we departed, the airline canceled our flight and put us on a later flight that would not work with our schedule.  Fortunately, when we changed the flight, the airplanes also changed to large jets instead of the little puddle jumper we were on.  Because the AIRLINE changed our flights, the computer automatically marked us for the strip search…extra screening on our bags and removal of most items of clothing at the checkpoint.  Although it was rainy, there was very little turbulence for which I was extremely grateful. Landed at Reagan and went to the Ritz Carlton to drop our luggage.  Departed immediately to the Pentagon.  First meeting was with Sgt. Major Tilley of the U.S. Army.  He is the person who coordinated and hosted our tour to Kuwait/Afghanistan/Uzbekistan last December.  Several of the other members of the Army that were on our tour were also there.  Karri Turner (JAG TV actress) and Bradshaw (wrestler) met up with us at the Pentagon.  It was definitely a fun reunion with lots of talk about doing the tour again this December.  After meeting with Sgt. Major Tilley and being presented with coins and pins, we met with General Keane – Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.  He was an incredible speaker and we were all enthralled to hear first hand reports of the war.  We were then escorted to the “bowels” of the Pentagon to the War Room.  THIS was the highlight of the tour.  While we were being briefed we learned that Baghdad had fallen.  The rest of my life I will always remember that I was in the War Room at the Pentagon the day that Baghdad fell.  We were also presented with a certificate and a “piece of limestone” from the Pentagon in the section where the plane hit on 9/11.  I spent most the day wiping mascara off my chin from weeping.   We got to go into the control room and visit with the men and women working there.  They were so appreciative of us taking time to stop by just to say hello and sign an autograph.  Dashed back to the hotel where Darryl was supposed to have a quick sound check.  Only the room was not set up for the evening’s activities.  So, we had a little extra time to “fluff up” for the Black Tie Gala that evening.  The purpose of our trip to DC was for Darryl to sing “Have You Forgotten” at the 2003 Annual Metro DC USO Awards Dinner.  Lots of “brass” at the event including General Myers.  We got to meet and talk to the young soldier who lost his leg and fingers to the land mine in Iraq a few weeks ago.  Also, met and talked to the soldier who had the movie made of his life – “We Were Soldiers” staring Mel Gibson.  Every other man and woman in the room had on “black” and I wore turquoise blue.  Never could get into that black-tie deal. Our group departed to the bar until 2 am when they kicked us out.  In bed at 3 am and need to be up at 7 for a workout at the Ritz Health Club then meetings all day.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10TH: Darryl’s group had an early departure for the airport.  I had to move from the Ritz to the Sheraton.  (Daughter’s a travel agent and gets special rates there!).  First meeting was for “Stars for Stripes” and was with the wife of someone in the Air Force.  Great meeting and positive reinforcement that this is something I was meant to accomplish.  My daughter arrived without incident and joined us for a horrid lunch in the hotel restaurant.  Carl – my business partner – called to say that he had been bumped off all the flights from Dayton to DC and would not be arriving until the next day. My daughter, Karri, and some friends from LA went to see my friend David Huddleston perform as Benjamin Franklin in “1776” at the Ford Theatre.  He was spectacular, as always, but I was extremely thankful that I had seen the play in New York a couple of years ago.  After 4 hours of sleep the night before, I kept nodding off!  It was so eerie to sit in the seat and look up to the booths above and see where Lincoln was shot.  After the play, we met David and went for a late night dinner.  Carl was able to join us and we closed down the restaurant.  My friends from LA had parked their car in the garage by the Theatre and didn’t realize they locked it at midnight.  So, at 2 am we were all “cabbing” it to various hotels.  Another 3 am bed time.   My daughter had registered Carl so that he could also get the travel agent rate.  Since we had his room key, it was just too tempting not to “do something” to him.  We put one single stocking in Carl’s bed…and at 3 am, I got the “call”.  “You’re not going to believe what I found in my bed….A nylon!”.  Of course I’m saying what in the world is a “nylon”?  He kept saying he didn’t know there was sticky stuff at the top.  Said he always wondered how those things stayed up.   He seemed a little too excited about it to me and I made a mental note to check his leg the next morning…

FRIDAY, APRIL 11TH: Went for a jog in the cold rain down around the Washington Monument and Capitol.  Beautiful run but probably not the smartest thing to do considering the weather.  Three meetings today on Stars for Stripes and were they ever terrific.  We secured legal services “pro bono” from a friend of mine who is an attorney in LA.   Our corporate fundraising team in LA is now confirmed.  And, finally, we met with two prospective employees who will be our first “hires” once the IRS gives us the go-ahead.  Decided I would break my “no drinking rule” and have a drink to celebrate.  I had one chocolate martini which I think qualified more as dessert than alcohol.  My daughter and I had put a pair of leopard skin thong underwear in Carl’s bed earlier in the day.  Didn’t want him to be disappointed tonight.  In the elevator on the ride up to his floor, he made the comment that if he had another nylon in his bed, he was going to stay another day and see what he got the next night.  When he called my room to say he had found the thong, I answered by saying, “So, you’ll be joining us at the Holocaust Museum at 11 am tomorrow?”.  Of course, he knew with that discovery that we had done the dirty work.  Got in bed at midnight tonight – decent hour for once.

SATURDAY, APRIL 12th  Worked out with the “bands” in my room since the health club at the hotel is not “great”.  My daughter and I headed to the Holocaust Museum.  The information and sights are chilling and will always be etched in my memory.  The horrors Hitler inflicted are atrocious and it makes me think of the things we’ve learned that Saddam has been doing to the people of Iraq.  I wonder how anyone can question why we had to take over Iraq.  After the somber morning we had, decided to go to Fashion Plaza for a little retail therapy.  Also checked out Georgetown – my favorite part of DC – for shops and great Mexican food (definitely NOT on my LA weight loss plan!).  Again got in bed at a decent hour.  Surprising for me!

SUNDAY, APRIL 13TH Up early for a jog in BEAUTIFUL weather.  Extended my path this time (hoping I wouldn’t get lost!) down to the Jefferson Memorial and along the waterfront.  Just as I was passing the Washington Monument, I saw a tall, black man approaching and could hear him talking very loudly.  He had his hands in his pants pockets and just as he got even with me, stepped right in front of me. He yelled, “I want you dead.  F….. all white Americans!”.  I never knew I could run a 4 minute mile……I was running so fast and trying to look over my shoulder at the same time that when I heard some yell “Halt”, I immediately stopped in my tracks.  When no one said anything else, I risked a glimpse in the direction where the command came from only to see a group of DC police on bikes stopped at a traffic signal.  Completed my jog without incident except for getting lost once.  And only once for me is really good. We’re on a tiny little propeller plane (my fav!) on a direct flight to Nashville.  Just what I wanted to fly U.S. Scare And a puddle jumper.  Got on to find that we had the very last seat which mean we got all the bumps and swerves.  Lots of praying and promising going on during that flight.  But, we made it back home safe and sound.  Off to Japan on Wednesday.