Thursday, October 27, 2016

A John Coltrane Odyssey Lecture at the Library of Congress

I am always looking for programs and lectures of interest at the Library of Congress. Most, if not all of them, are free. Plus, it's only two blocks from our house so it's not a hassle to get there, except to go through the usual security issues. But I'm used to that because I worked there for ten years. I just happened upon a lecture about John Coltrane, presented by Andrew White. I personally have no interest in jazz, but I do like music. But our friends from Milwaukee will be visiting next week and this is right up their alley - I think. So I was able to order up four free tickets, and asked our friend from here if she would also like to join us as we typically get together when everyone is in town. So I'm hoping it's worth the effort. Even if it's not, it's a great excuse to get together for a free event in a delightful venue. And it always feels so much nicer going in to the library for these types of things as a retiree!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

LlBean Beats Out Cole Haan Winter Coat

I have a very old and very heavy suede fur lined coat that weighs a ton. It's nice, but it is really heavy! And for daily walking in winter, it's okay - but it's not waterproof and the wind manages to creep in. The last few winters in DC have felt like Milwaukee, so I've been on the look out for a functional winter coat that can keep the wind, cold, and rain off me. Since I retired in February, I have been slowly exchanging work and business attire for retired attire. I found a great looking Cole Haan coat that was thirty per cent off.  It was a longer length with faux fur trim. But I'm not so sure it was water proof, it had an asymmetrical cut, and it was more in the line of my old school thinking. So before I considered it we went to my new go to place LLBean. We found a few options, but there was one that I kept trying on and driving my husband nuts with. He is more in to looks than function, and sometimes looks just don't fill the bill. This LlBean knee length down coat, that is water repellant, and has all kinds of adjusting features to it, just seemed to be more in line with what I needed for the upcoming windy and cold days of winter. Forget about looks! It's nothing particularly fashionable, but will hopefully keep me warm when walking and standing in one place like for Inauguration Day, which has routinely been very cold!  Now I'm waiting for the first day to try it out. I hope it does all that it says it will!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kevin Schwartz Persian Literary History Lecture at the Library of Congress

We routinely attend presentations and lectures at the Library of Congress. I worked at the library for ten years and just retired in February. It always feels so much nicer entering the library as a retiree than as an employee! And so it was today to attend the lecture on Persian literary history by Dr. Kevin Schwartz. It was held in the Middle Eastern division in the Jefferson Building. For these presentations,  I generally go for the ride, so to speak. These sessions are more in line with subject matter that my husband prefers and understands. But it would help if the microphone was used! It's difficult enough to try and understand the information, but I'd like to be able to hear it too. Since I am not the person to ask, my husband felt it was well presented and comprehensive, well thought out and expertly done. But it's something only a scholar can appreciate! The surroundings are magnificent, and I invariably run in to someone I used to work with. So in the end it is worth the walk over. I am looking forward to another presentation coming up next month about how the Great Gatsby is portrayed in movies. It's these things we would miss if and when we ever move from DC. We talk about that a lot, but don't seem to have the energy to do more than that.

Monday, October 24, 2016

In Search of Wooden Ducks - Thanks Etsy!

Our son has a collection of six wooden ducks/geese that he purchased at Eastern Market down the street several years ago. They have since moved away from DC, and he asked if we could check to see if the flea market still sells these items there. We checked both Saturday and Sunday, but none of the vendors had them. Our son usually can find whatever he is looking for on line. But having also searched what might be available out there, I came up with nothing. Then I thought of Etsy, and I know he didn't! I have an Etsy shop for my digital art custom pet portraits and thought someone might have these fifteen inch bamboo carved statues because there are so many vintage and variety shops on Etsy. I found five vendors who sold them, but not one of them had six in total. Three of the shops were in England! There was a collection of three, which I thought would work nicely, and another shop that hand painted them in to various costumes. I contacted each one of the shop owners to see if they could obtain six, or give me an idea where I might be able to locate them. One vendor was able to muster up four more - she had them in her barn! So between the two vendors in the U.K., I was able to put together a grouping that worked. After checking with our son to make sure the statues met his requirements (plain, undecorated, go with the current items he already had), I made two purchases using Etsy. I've never purchased anything using Etsy before, and was impressed with the quick response time of all the folks I dealt with, and the ease of check out. I guess the real test will be to see how all these ducks/geese look upon arrival. It was an interesting process. And our contribution to our son's house decor came all the way from across the ocean - with the shipping costs that goes along with it!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

TCM Traveltalks With James Kirkpatrick - the Capital City

After watching a movie on TCM last evening, we always stay tuned at the end to see what tidbit comes on. Traveltalks, with James Kirkpatrick, showcased the Capital City - Washington DC. What was interesting is that it was made in 1940. The landmarks all look the same, but the people, cars, streets and overall feel of the city was quite different compared to today. We think we saw our house as the Capitol building grounds were shown. After all, our house was built in the 1890's, long before the single House Office Building that we live near is seen on the film. Things were so much less congested, and the apparel of the day had a familiar style - obviously a lot more formal. Now that we have actually lived here over ten years now, it's always fun to see how the city is depicted in books and movies. My husband always says that it had to be impressive to see this back in the day if you had never been here before. These photos are taken from the movie off our TV screen. We found it quite entertaining.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bartholdi Park Update

We love walking through Bartholdi Park. When we first moved to DC, the beautiful fountain was being restored. It seemed to take forever to get it completed. Almost every walk we took ended up around there on the way back home. For the last several months, the park has been walled off for more renovation. So we haven't been able to walk through it most of the year. Then last week, the walls started to come down, and it looks as though it might finally be fully restored. Apparently, better lighting, more accessible pathways, rain gardens, additional seating, and a different variety of plants are included in the updates. For those who don't have a spot to sit outside on nice days, this is the place. On the Fourth of July, it's another area to watch the fireworks. Regardless of the reason for being there, it's another lovely garden to visit. Let's hope it doesn't need any more renovation for awhile.