Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter - A Few of My Favorite Things

Easter and Spring are a great combination. Yesterday was finally a really nice day to take a walk and soak in some sun. In Milwaukee, it would still be weeks from now, which is one of the main reasons we moved. So, to remind myself of the season, these are the things that make it so pleasant. We're also expecting friends from the cold country over the next two weeks, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Washington Monument Earthquake Damage Repair

Every so often when we drive by the Washington Monument, the scaffolding around the structure keeps getting higher. You can also see the progress from many different angles approaching the city. The reason for all the repairs is due to the earthquake from 2011. It's supposed to take a few months to get the scaffolding in place before the real work begins. My understanding is that it should be complete by next Spring. Unfortunately for the cherry blossom revelers, the pictures won't be as scenic or pretty. But I suppose you could say that this type of thing luckily doesn't happen that often. I remember the event well - I was on the third floor of the Madison Building and it was the weirdest feeling. I couldn't wait to get home. The monument has been closed since 2011, and now all the walkways to it are blocked off too. I've never been to the top of the Washington Monument, and not sure that I want to. But for those who really do, they're going to have to wait at least another year. In the mean time there is plenty more to do and see, especially at this time of year. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

French Onion Soup

My husband enjoys cooking, and I let him! I never really liked it because I need to follow a recipe. He, on the other hand, just mixes stuff up and voila! Something tasty, delicious, and even healthy hits the table. He has been in a French onion soup kind of mind lately. Because it is not something he would create, he has been ordering it when we go out. I don't particularly care for it as much as he does. We do, however, like to share whatever we order. So today, because he knows I don't care for the onion soup, he ordered the Manhatten clam chowder. We both enjoyed it immensely! Ironically, our friend from Wisconsin just sent a recipe for French Onion soup out of the blue. She was reading his mind all those miles away. So when she and her husband come to visit next week, maybe they will attempt making this grand thing together. It wouldn't be the first time they cooked stuff up. It happened quite often in Milwaukee. And, I'll watch from the sidelines and enjoy the final result with her husband. I hate to tell you that my husband also enjoys doing the dishes. I'm not sure what I would do without him!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Capitol Visitor Center Spring Crowds

You would never know it is Spring until you amble in to the Capitol Visitor Center. This is the time of year that the city becomes really busy and tourists abound. I wasn't surprised to find long lines waiting to see the film and take the tour. It is a really nice way to spend some time with your own out of town guests. If you know exactly when you want to visit, you can request tickets online. But you can also just walk up to the ticketing counter and get the next available time. You may have to wait a bit though. And don't forget to venture behind Freedom to see the rest of the exhibits. I like to head over to the Capitol Visitor Center once in a while for my afternoon walk. And it reminds how lucky I am that I can do just that - without a lot of planning required.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Hyacinths at the Library of Congress

I never know what I'm going to write about when the day begins, but invariably something comes up in an unexpected way. The weather around here has been downright rotten this month and everyone has about had it. The cold winters were one of the key reasons we moved from Milwaukee. While I was walking this afternoon in the Madison Building, I thought I smelled something really pretty and quite fragrant. On my way back to the office, I tracked down the scent to the lobby. What was so pleasing about the beautiful hyacinths all arranged in the center of the space was the architectural accents that surrounded them. It finally felt a little more like spring. Perhaps that was the idea, because it is pretty hard to find any sense of it OUTSIDE.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Papa Tatiana & Grandpa

Although he doesn't like to celebrate his birthday, it's not about to be forgotten by the people around him. A package arrived yesterday for Papa Tatiana from grandson number one, the elder at ten years of age, from California. It was a delicious flower cake that looked beautiful but tasted awful. But grandson number two, a mere nine years old, who lives just down the street, brought over a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that made up for the calories. They each have a different name for him, but it all means the same. So tonight we'll light the candles on the flower cake and eat a few cookies. And even though he doesn't like to be reminded, he's glad he was.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hamid Rahmanian - Shahnameh - The Epic of the Persian Kings Signed and Sealed

Last week we went to a Middle Eastern Library event about the new book illustrated by Hamid Rahmanian called Ferdowsi's Shahnameh - The Epic of the Persian Kings. He gave such a delightful presentation that he inspired us to get one book each for our two grandsons. And each was signed and sealed by Mr, Rahmanian. I can't remember the last time we bought a book. We use our iPads for everything, including all reading material. It even feels odd to hold a book. Well, this one is 10 pounds but simply beautiful. My husband is very familiar with the contents. I'm more interested in the art. We gave our grandson, who Iives here, his copy last week on Persian New Year. Today we drove to the UPS store to ship the second one out to California. There is a Facebook page on the subject, and a lot of press right now about it. Mr. Rahmanian will be in Los Angeles next week, where our grandson lives. We are hoping he has the opportunity to see him. It makes the book so much more interesting. If not, the Library taped the presentation, so we are hoping he at least checks that out. Learning about one's heritage and culture is curious. And they have a first generation transplant to talk about it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recycled Squirrel

I always think it is odd when out of towners take pictures of squirrels. After all, they are a dime a dozen. In Milwaukee, they were all over our huge backyard and annoyed the birds to no end. But if you find animals charming or cute, sometimes you get caught up in the same trap. A while back DCBlogs picked up my entry about this same subject... jt was amazing how close a camera buff got to one of the rodents in front of the Museum of Natural History. Today we took a walk to the Botanic Garden. Right before we exited the First Ladies Garden, I noticed something scurrying around the recycle trash can. And there he was, paying no attention to us, but it looked like he was behind bars in a jail. My husband wondered what would happen if he fell we stayed a few feet away to catch a photo of the little rat and see what might transpire. Unfortunately, too many people - including very loud children - were entering this same space and wanted to see what had caught our attention. I'm still struck how fearless these creatures are. But when you're hungry, it's amazing what you'll put up with, until a bunch of shrieking children show up. That's enough to scare anyone.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Danny Kaye, Sylvia Fine, Dena Kaye - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I don't usually get up early on Saturday morning, but thought it might be worth it to walk over to the Library of Congress Jefferson Building and see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." The real reason was to see Dena Kaye, daughter of Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine, give an introduction to the movie and then stay for a few questions and answers. Unexpectedly, I had already seen Dena Kaye earlier this week while I was on my afternoon walk. A live broadcast was in progress, and I stopped a minute to take a photo and watch the taping by the exhibit in the Madison Building. This morning, there were several folks in line waiting to get in to the Coolidge Theater. She only stayed a few minutes because she had to catch a train to New York. There was something enchanting about Danny Kaye... Tubby the Tuba, Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling are still loitering around my brain. White Christmas is also memorable. So we stayed to watch most of the movie, and then left to catch a late lunch. It all seemed kinda dopey and sweet at the same time. He was a remarkable personality, and I just couldn't miss hearing about it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tiny Fish Tale Anniversary - App Annie Stats

It's been a year since my StoryChimes Children's Book application, A Tiny Fish Tale, was published in ITunes. It followed my first book called The Four Promises that was published three months before. It was so exciting to see some thing I wrote actually be listed in ITunes! And as with all on line items these days, there are ways to track how they are doing. There are analytics tools available for just about everything. I can track information on my blog, Etsy Shop, Fine Art America website, Zillow Shop, and even Pinterest has something if I could just figure out how to validate the web page. For this book application, App Annie shows a variety of things including a daily update on the countries it is featured in ITunes. There are literally thousands of applications out there, so just to be noticed or featured is a treat. One day it was featured in 568 places, all over the globe. The exposure is phenomenal. I'm just glad I like fooling around with all of this, but it can sometimes get overwhelming trying to keep it all straight. It's hard to believe a year has passed since it was published, but fun to watch where it shows up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

NPR Morning Edition - Kimberly Lankford

It's nice to know famous people! And one of them is our daughter in law who happens to be an expert in personal finance. She's written a couple books and has the Ask Kim column in Kiplinger's for about as long as I've known her.  She wrote the Field Manual for military families and a lot of other Publications. Every time she has a media event I like to plug it, because she's such a nice person! And by the way, has a wonderful husband and son. Yesterday she was on NPR 's Morning Edition talking about annuities. Her expertise is on subject matter I know very little about and depend on others for a lot of help. Here is the link. You may actually learn something. I always do!