Thursday, October 23, 2014

Here or There?

Since the usual entry and exit door is closed for repairs at the Library of Congress Madison Building, my route to the temporary entrance to the other side of the building changed my walking pattern. From the temporary exit, my walk takes me to Second Street. Saint Peter's Church, residential homes and parks that greet me along the way. There is hardly any traffic and a lot less pedestrians. There is something serene about it all. It is a huge contrast to the usual route I've taken for the last eight years. First Street, on the other hand, is filled with every kind of moving vehicle, restaurants, food trucks, Capitol South Metro, House Office Buildings, congested walkways, and oftentimes rude people who stand in the middle of the sidewalk and won't budge. When I asked my husband which one he preferred, it was a no brainier in favor of First Street. Maybe I need to start a blog about the differences between he and I rather than the differences between the Midwest and Capitol Hill. Or maybe they are one in the same!?







Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Since it is just disgusting outside today, it makes me feel better to just look at the sunshine in photos rather than think about the ugly rain I just walked through for the third time. It might be even more annoying because I have to work rather than lounge around at home! Nevertheless the US Botanic Garden always offers a delightful scene regardless of the time of year. The leaves are just starting to turn golden, the pomegranates are getting bigger, and the views of the Capitol building are gorgeous at any angle. Add to that the fluffy purple stuff that adds a touch of fairyland next the the black eyed Susans, it could put anyone in a better state of mind. The front entrance was blocked off I am sure for the planned Christmas decorations that grab the attention of visitors and locals alike. Our friends from Wisconsin have plastered autumn colors in full swing on Facebook. I'm looking forward to the change here a few weeks later. Now, do I have to go back outside? 








Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Old Habits Are Hard to Break - Even for a Week

A notice was sent last week that the yellow door corner entrance to the Madison Building would be closed for repairs. This is the entrance I've used since starting employment at the Library of Congress eight years ago. It is also right across from Capitol South Metro. I forgot about it until I reached the building this morning. It requires an additional walk of one more block to reach the red door entrance. That's not so bad, but everything is in reverse on that side compared to what I am used to. That's not a big deal either. But it still feels weird to do everything in reverse. You walk down un to the building rather than up because of the hill. The police faces were the same, the line started to the right rather than the left. The X-ray machine was a bit touchy - not unusual. When I returned to work after lunch I was already the 2500th person to have passed through since Monday. I put a note on my desk to remind myself to turn left rather than right when I leave. It all sounds foolish to even comment about it. But for these kinds of things I am beginning to feel my age, and every minute counts.





Monday, October 20, 2014

Exchanging Pounds at Union Station

Since we still had about sixty dollars in pounds from our trip to England and France this month, we decided to take our Monday morning walk towards Union Station to exchange the money rather than stroll along the Mall. Union Station is only a few blocks away. If we take First Street and head North, we walk a straight path past the Library, the Capitol, and the Senate Office Buildings and get there in about twenty minutes. The Exchange is on the second level, where all the shops are located.  The first floor is still undergoing major renovation, and the place is teeming with travelers. The "basement" level has a movie theatre and fast food restaurants. A huge parking garage in the rear connects to the terminal. There is always a line of folks waiting for cabs, or getting tickets for the tour buses. My husband is dying to take a train somewhere. He absolutely loves Union Station and the city itself. Wen we started walking back home towards Pete's for breakfast, he always asks the same question..."how could you ever leave this place?" I'm not quite sure how to answer. 













Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Silver Line

We haven't been to one of our favorite lunch spots for awhile so we headed out to McLean/Tysons Corners to have lunch at Cafe Deluxe near Crate and Barrel. It gets really busy and very noisy after twelve noon so we like to get there before that time. Since we were in this neighborhood last the new silver line metro opened. We've been watching the construction over the last several years. I am not a fan of metro, even though the silver line passes right by our house at Capitol South two blocks away. Maybe it was just my imagination or the time of the day, but the traffic seemed less congested along the Dolly Madison Parkway to our destination riding alongside the tracks. It looks as though there is still a lot of digging going on for perhaps more parking spaces near the stations. I know a few people at work who prefer to still drive in because there is no place to park the car, and not easy to cross the busy traffic lanes on foot. At the Tysons station is a new office and apartment building that look almost done. Off in the distance are more cranes and more construction. Maybe one of these days we will try the silver line to Tysons? If it were up to my husband we would. Wonder what the fare is from here to there....I'm thinking the car will do just fine. 






Saturday, October 18, 2014

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

We've been watching the construction over the last couple years. Right next to the house office buildings and two blocks down the street from us is a new memorial. It was dedicated while we were away on our vacation earlier this month. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was quite stunning in the bright fall afternoon sky. It was already attracting a lot of foot traffic. The flowing water feature is highlighted with a five point star that represents the branches of the armed services. The Army, Navy, and Coast Guard are most dear to me as our family members served in WWII and for the last twenty years with three deployments overseas. The glass walls are etched with stories from every day people and their personal lives and struggles. George Washington and Bob Dole are prominent, and so appropriate. So now when we walk to the US Botanical Garden, this spot offers another place to stop, sit, and reflect on a lot of things.  It will be interesting to see it change with the seasons, but the feeling one senses while meandering about it will remain the same.