Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address at the Library of Congress

Looking out the third story window of the Library of Congress Jefferson Building Great Hall yesterday I was transported back in time to 150 years ago. There on the east steps of the Capitol Building Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address. I am certainly no expert on this subject, but always liked history. So whenever there is an opportunity to actually see items related to this and any other time period, I walk over to the Jefferson Building to see it. Working at the Library of Congress affords some very interesting opportunities. March 4th was the actual anniversary of Lincoln's second inaugural address - "with malice towards nine...." A complete copy of it was on display, as well as one from the printing office. Someone from California was waiting in line behind me. I was thinking how lucky I was to be able to just run over on my afternoon break to see the exhibit. What makes it more interesting is that I have a friend who actually "conserved" and restored this piece of work. It had to be one of the highlights of her career, but what makes it even more interesting is that there are only three degrees of separation from Lincoln, to her, to me! Living in Washington DC can oftentimes be a challenge and a frustration. But yesterday it was not. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The "Snowtorm" is Coming

Maybe it's because I am a visual creature. Or maybe some people are too lazy to notice. Every morning I look at several news sources, and in the evening my husband loves hearing about stories of the day on many different channels after he has spent the day reading about events on multiple websites. Regardless of the story line, it drives me wild when the spelling is wrong. This morning in the Washington Post, there are dire forecasts of yet another winter snowstorm - except the "s" is missing and it's a "Snowtorm." This isn't the first time - and unfortunately I see this quite frequently on websites and the scrawling news bits on the bottom of the TV screen. I used to be an editor for the school newspaper and was quite good at spelling. I know we spent a lot of time checking and rechecking not only the content but definitely the spelling. Sometimes someone catches the mistake because it is corrected. As words become shortened with the new way of communicating a lot if this hardly matters. But this is not a short version of this word- just a silly mistake and very noticeable - to me. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Grand Illusion - the Art of Theatrical Design

My only experiences with stage design was as a youngster in dance recitals and as a glee club member at concerts - and a behind the scenes tour at the Milwaukee Reparatory Theater. There is now an exhibit at the Library of Congress that highlights the process - obviously on a much bigger scale! I recently noticed the exhibit on an afternoon walk. About every four to six months something different is introduced. I once saw Danny Kaye's daughter being interviewed here. Seeing the "I Could Have Danced All Night" composition was a highlight this time. It makes me wonder if I selected the right career path based on my interest in the arts. The great thing about it is that I now work in a place where all this is unavoidable!

Monday, March 2, 2015

McLean and Tysons Keep Growing

We haven't been to McLean/Tysons for awhile - not since the Silver metro line opened several weeks ago. We like going to lunch at Cafe Deluxe because it is connected to under cover parking and is the perfect place to go in bad weather. The weather was not an issue this day, but the parking is still a nice option compared to most streets in DC. I'm sure it was our imagination, the time of day, and day of the week - but the traffic seemed to be less congested than usual. The building cranes seemed to have popped up in every direction. The new apartment and business tower that is alongside the freeway still has a way to go. All I know is I wouldn't want to live here, but it's nice to know it's only about a twenty minute drive from Capitol Hill. My husband has been suggesting he may be in need of some new pants, but wasn't in the mood to explore the options at Tysons Galleria after lunch. That place reminds us of Northbrook Court in Oakbrook Illinois - a shopping area we liked to go for more unusual items and an excuse to head to downtown Chicago for dinner. These little excursions remind us that it is too soon to give up our car because we still like to drive around a bit, and I don't like taking metro. But at least we only have one car to think about here. And that makes a big difference for a lot of reasons. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The QR Code

I was excited to find out we could deposit checks using our iPhones. It is so much easier than all the other ways...hand carry to the bank or using the ATM - which we never did. It is a real pain to even have to write a check any more, but i certainly don't mind getting one. But anything on paper seems archaic. Bar codes are another interesting option. I always knew they were out there but didn't really pay that much attention. It was in a restaurant when a friend zapped the barcode from a trivia game that was being played there, and she used an app to access it. Then I finally put two and two together (duh!) and downloaded a QR reader app too. I wasn't sure if or when I would ever use it. But since I finally paid more attention to it, I'm noticing them everywhere. I'm still not sure how it would benefit me personally to use it, and under what circumstances. I have always liked all these techy things, and am wondering how much I might be missing out on. Last weekend we discovered Foodler, but that didn't go very well. But this seems like it may be useful. What are your experiences with it? I looked it up on Wikipedia to get a bit more of a background. Then noticed it on the business card of someone we visited in St. Petersburg, and on a post office receipt asking us to participate in a customer feedback survey. None of this grabs my attention, but at least now I am prepared if I need to use it. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

LIT Digital Art Tumblr encouragement

I write this daily blog on blogger comparing life in Milwaukee to living here in DC. It's been going on for four years. I don't miss a day and am constantly on the lookout for photos, ideas, and events to share - even when we are on travel. Mobile technology has made it all the more easier. So to add to the mix, I started a blog on Tumblr specific to my digital art. I link this blogger blog to Tumblr because i am too lazy to rewrite it, then mix it up with DC photos, share a custom pet portrait to two, add a video of a sketch to portrait, and insert images of other people's blogs that I find appealing. This sort of thing takes a considerable amount of time if you are really serious about it. What I found interesting are the frequent email updates Tumblr sends that inform you of benchmarks that were reached...after the initial welcome, the achievements of reaching 25, 50, 100, etc likes or posts or whatevers. This site seems to be the most difficult to attract followers to even though I have been giving it a lot of attention. Maybe that is why they try to be so encouraging. I can say that the site itself makes everything look really nice. But it is hard to complete with all the known entities out there. I suppose as long as I enjoy doing it I will keep it up, even though the end result may not be what I had hoped for. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Helen Olivia Artichoke Replaced With American Plant Orchid and Gingko Garden Moss

The experiment with the artichoke "plant" didn't go over very well. We got it last week at Helen Olivia in Alexandria. The flower shop is scrumptious, the wrapping was wonderful, but the artichoke just didn't like where we put it. So we went to American Plant in search of an orchid...something we knew could last for a while - or at least hope we could get a few blooming flowers and change it for something else whenever that time comes. There were so many to pick from there, but we wanted something a little different than the "usual kind." We have had some success with orchids in Milwaukee. We selected one called Miltonia. It has much thinner leaves and requires more water. That might be tough to manage in our extremely dry winter environment with the heat blowing right on it. Aside from that, the location should be good. We wanted to remove it from the container and needed to find some moss to tuck in around it. So we went to Gingko Gardens in our neighborhood to find some. Our little air plant also needed replacement as it was no longer a plant and all air. We found a similar type with pink rather than red edges, and some strange moss from Norway. The folks at Gingko's are always so great. I wanted to make sure our new orchid would have whatever it needed to succeed and they were more than willing to share their expertise. I hope I am not writing about this subject again next week. I'll leave it to my husband to manage the plants. Then I can blame it on him if something happens.