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Neale's 24/7 Coverage

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, October 1, 2007

New mom Tracey Neale thought she understood how adopting twins would change her life. She had no clue.

"It's turned upside down," the bleary-eyed Neale told us. "It's one thing to intellectualize it. It's another thing to live it."

After working with a private adoption agency for more than a year, the Channel 9 anchor headed to Ethiopia in August to pick up 13-month-old Eyasu Nigel Neale and Emebet Nigella Neale, who spent their early months in an orphanage. Neale and the babies spent 10 days in Addis Ababa adjusting to each other, and returned to Washington early last month.

The 40-year-old single mom got a crash course on baby life -- dirty diapers, barely sleeping -- while getting to know the two little personalities that now share her world. Neale had received pictures of the babies before she left for Africa, and thought she had them all figured out: Son Eyasu, the older twin, looked like the big, protective one; daughter Emebet looked small and shy.

But "they're the exact opposite of what I'd thought they'd be," she said. "He's the cuddle bunny, and she's the strong-willed, independent one. This girl is destined to be something."

There are still a few details to work out -- finding a nanny, catching up on sleep -- before Neale returns to work next week. No rush, though: "I am totally loving" being a mom, she said. "I'm surprised I didn't do it years ago."

SORRY, YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST

One in an occasional series of dispatches from parties you should have crashed.

Occasion: Friday's inaugural black-tie gala of the Workhouse Arts Center at Lorton.

Site: The District's former prison, now a 55-acre performing and studio arts complex.

Draw: A modern dance performance by Mikhail Baryshnikov, multi-generational heartthrob to ballet devotees, "Turning Point" (1977) fans and "Sex and the City" (2004) groupies. "He was sex personified," sighed one female guest. Shorter than you expect (5-7) and slightly craggy, but still hot at 59.

Cost: $2,500 a head, with the $1.3 million raised split between the Workhouse and Baryshnikov Dance Foundation. "It's a very nice way to start, isn't it?" grinned board Chairman John Ariail.

VIPs: Former governor/Senate candidate Mark Warner schmoozing for dollars during cocktail hour; the man he wants to replace, Sen. John Warner, arriving just in time for the show in the former prison gym.

Menu: Outstanding -- chef Cathal Armstrong closed his Old Town restaurant, Eve, for the night to prepare lobster bisque, beef filet, halibut and tart Tatin for 250.

Bar: Open, plus chardonnay and merlot with dinner.

Doctor in the house: At the post-performance party, Baryshnikov was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Conservatory of Shenandoah University, and called it a "beautiful irony" that the "minimum security" prison was transformed into a "maximum creative facility."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Jenna Bush and Henry Hager having a romantic dinner at New Heights restaurant Saturday night. The author and her fiance dined on the patio. She had heirloom tomato salad and black beans; he ordered pork tenderloin with tempura bacon. They shared a bottle of cabernet and ended the evening with champagne.

Isaiah Washington at a shady outdoor table at Cafe Deluxe in Cleveland Park yesterday. The "Bionic Woman" actor (sharp in a suit and sunglasses) caused a murmur from the crowd when he walked in; he brunched on steak and eggs.

Gabrielle Union barhopping Friday night: first enjoying wine on Poste's patio with Lou Gossett Jr., then joining friends at Zola lounge where the actress -- in striped red and navy sweater, black leggings, jean jacket -- drank shiraz and nibbled on lobster roll, garlic chicken and strawberries with cream.

QUOTE

"I haven't had this many lawyers in my house since Frank Sinatra sued me."

-- Author Kitty Kelley at Friday's book party for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court." Kelley welcomed legal eagles such as Bob Barnett, Bill Bennett, Richard Ben-Veniste, Abbe Lowell, Greg Craig and Ben Ginsberg. No Supremes; probably too busy preparing for today's opening of the new term.

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