Friday, October 31, 2014

From Turkeys to Opera, A Trip to Lynchburg, Virginia

Since our son and his family left DC for Lynchburg six months ago, we decided it was time to take a road trip this weekend. Our dear friends from Milwaukee came in to town yesterday, so we planned to take an overnight jaunt together. On the way we saw a truck full of turkeys - feathers flying - on their way to several Thanksgiving feasts. We reached Skyline Drive and headed in to the Shenandoah Valley. The scenery is gorgeous this time of year. It was almost a four hour drive when we found our hotel on Main Street, just a couple blocks from where they live. The biggest event was to see the 1890's warehouse that they are planning to turn in to their residential space on the third floor, overlooking the James River. The renovation is about to begin and we're anxious to see the end result - in about a year. In the mean time, the first floor houses a wedding venue and there's a lot of other space that will become available in this multi functional building. Obviously things are so very different here than in DC. After tomorrow I'll be able to make a thoughtful impression. In the meantime it is quite an experience. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Capitol Dome Encased in Scaffolding

The Washington Monument was covered in scaffolding for many months due to earthquake damage repairs. Now it is the Capitol Building taking a turn to hide itself behind the scaffolding that has been slowly creeping up over the last many weeks. This repair work is required maintenance and restoration - not just for the dome but the exterior building as well. From any angle the work in progress can be seen. I'm sure this is going to last quite a while, as most things do around here. It's taken over a month to repair and paint the columns in front of our condo building. The Washington Monument was lit up at night throughout the process making for an interesting spectacle.  But it was a welcome sight to have it restored and looking normal again. I have a high school friend who gives dome tours. I don't think I'll be going on one any time soon. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Finding Andrew Jackson on the Mall

We had a friend in Milwaukee who would scour the grounds of the park near our house with a metal detector. He raised a few dollars along the way. When we first moved to DC,  it was not at all uncommon to find money on the street. Given the amount of foot traffic and activities, it was especially lucrative on the Mall. Maybe because of the recession, folks seem to take the time to bend down more often when they see something that looks vaguely familiar. For whatever reason, there hasn't been much of anything to be found - until yesterday. You could say my husband hit the jack pot on his daily morning walk. Near the art museum was a folded bill tucked between two cars. When he opened it up, it turned out to be the picture of Andrew Jackson - a tidy sum. On the reverse side were two names and numbers - Tommy 13, and Diane 5. Do you suppose they were ages? Or the amount of money owed? There was no one else in sight, so what is one supposed to do? Bring it home of course. And he didn't even need a metal detector. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Etsy and Twitter Milestones

I started my Etsy Shop about two years ago. I sell most of my digital art on Etsy. A lot of it is pet portraits, but I also do people and places. Yesterday I hit a milestone of selling 100 paintings. It's so exciting to think that in such a short period of time I was able to get this far. I've also been trying to build up my twitter followers and hit 900 yesterday. That doesn't seem like much but it takes a lot of time to keep all these social media options alive and well. I'm also keeping a Facebook Digital Art page updated with daily feeds, as well as submitted daily writings and photos for this blog. Because I enjoy it so much it doesn't feel like work. But the performance measurement work I do in the real world makes me appreciate every goal and milestone. There's always room to step back and celebrate even the smallest accomplishments - especially when it's a hobby! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Meteopolitain in Paris and the Sculpture Garden

Since I began working a part time schedule in March, I always join my husband on a Monday morning walk to the Mall. Then we stop for breakfast at Pete's across from the Library on Second Street right off Pennsylvania Avenue. Since we are past the summer months, I don't have to get up so early to beat the heat. So we leave whenever I finally wake up. Since it is later in the morning, the Smithsonian museums and gardens are just opening. When we passed by the Sculpture Garden that is across from the Archives, there was a sign that looked vaguely familiar, so I snapped a picture. When we came home I rummaged though the photos I had just taken when we visited friends in France and England earlier this month. And there is was. Right in front of the George Clooney wedding photo at the magazine stand on the street corner in Paris was the sign for the Metropolitain - or metro - in France. It was an exact match of the sign in the sculpture garden. The metro signs in DC are nothing like this. But DC is nothing like Paris - in more ways than one. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wagtime Anniversary and Digital Art - It's a Dog's World

I had the good fortune of meeting Lisa Schrieber two years ago and have displayed my digital art at Wagtime Too on Capitol Hill since then. There are close to 100 pet portraits in the storefront. It all starts with a completed digital painting of someone's favorite pet, then collecting all the materials to prepare them for the art "gallery." The portraits are printed using my desktop printer on 8 1/2x 11 photo paper, and mounted on foam board using a spray glue - outside of course. Then an industrial strength Velcro is applied to the back and corners of the foam board. Because the heat and cold can play havoc on any artwork, industrial strength is required. Some of the furry faces have begun to fade a bit without protective glass. My digital pieces at home have stood up well out of the sunlight. But because these are digital paintings, they can be easily replaced - just print up another one. This all started at the same time of the year we attend the Dog Show at the Oatlands Plantation in Middleburg, Virginia. In fact, we went yesterday to see the Borzoi in particular. So you could say everything goes to the dogs in October, but for the best of reasons. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Middleburg Virginia Dog Show and Borzoi

I love Borzois. I love fall.  I love old plantations and rides in the countryside. This was the fourth year we ventured out to the Middleburg Dog Show at the Oatlands Plantation in Middleburg, Virginia. It was a beautiful day for the ride, and an even better day to get my fix of Borzois. Our Tatiana was a wonderful dog, and I still miss her. Yes, there were obviously other dogs there, but I hardly noticed them. I prefer large dogs to small, but it does give anyone a great opportunity to see all the different breeds and varieties.  That's how we found the dog we preferred all those years ago by visiting a dog show in Wisconsin, and meeting a breeder from Indiana. While we were watching the borzois in the ring today, we talked to an owner who lives in Old Town Alexandria. I gave her my contact information so she could send me some news about a breeder she knows well. We are on the fence about getting another one for so many reasons. In the meantime, I could do baby sitting for her dog, a grand eight year old lovely lady. All in all it was a delightful day to spend with our friend, the setting was grand, and the Borzois never looked better.