Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rosa Parks Colleagues at the Capitol Visitor Center

After hearing all the press about the Rosa Parks statue unveiling yesterday at the Capitol, I thought it was a good time to revisit the Capitol Visitor Center on my afternoon walk. Of course I wouldn't get an invitation to such an event and don't really get in to the Capitol Building routinely. But the statues spread out in to the visitor center and there are several women represented there from Helen Keller to Sacajawea. I'm not sure how the decision is made regarding full body or bust only, but the most striking statue of all is Freedom. The replica outsizes them all, but has a very different purpose. The place was quite empty when I arrived there today...a great time to visit. But when I was leaving a huge class of girls from a Catholic high school came storming down the stairs. I knew for certain because I wore a plaid skirt just like that so many years ago. And then I wondered if any one of them might become one of these treasured ladies I just saw. One never knows. But it was a great change of scenery and even better because it is so easy to walk to through the underground tunnels. And that is definitely something that never happened in Milwaukee- and they could use some tunnels with all the snow they had today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zazzle LITDigitalArt

I started drawing again when the iPad was introduced a couple years ago. Last year I created a personal website,, to showcase my art. Since it is all hand painted and digitally created, there are several additional ways to share and market these images. Traditionally, I took out an ad in the Hill Rag for six months and printed images to display at the Library, the Clara Barton National Historic Site, and the Wagtime Too Shop on M Street. Non traditionally, My Etsy site, LIT Digital Paintings, can be used to commission original works of art. Fine Art America is great to purchase original paintings and photographs in a variety of sizes and materials. And Zazzle is really cool because all the images can be printed on a variety of non art products, like an iPad cover or coffee mug. Please see It is really time consuming to set up, maintain, and update these sites and physical places, but really allows for a great opportunity to showcase work. Please check out my Facebook page, Lois Ivancin Tavaf LITs Digital Paintings, and click the "like" button. I'd be forever grateful! It's tough loving the arts, but also so rewarding. I'm just glad I have a real job too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine

Tubby the Tuba, the Ugly Duckling, and White Christmas are the memories I associate with Danny Kaye. I can't say how many times we played that music, but I've seen White Christmas just about 25 times or more. So the new exhibit about Danny Kaye and his wife Sylvia Fine at the Library of Congress reminded me of all that. I really didn't know his wife had such a huge part in his success. Their daughter is supposed to participate in a program about them in March. I'd like to attend, but regular staff usually aren't invited, though I have been fortunate to see a few interesting events at the last minute. I know I would never have had these opportunities in the health care world in Milwaukee, which is one of the reasons I like working at the Library. Better yet, I just have to walk down a couple flights of stairs to see it. The exhibit closes on July 27.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Parking Armor

You're gonna need more than this to protect your car bumper. Having had the luxury of a two car garage, surface parking, and driveway in Milwaukee, street parking is for the birds. This hopeful person put a bumper protector on their car. It was obviously brand new. We decided to keep our 2005 Subaru Forester because we don't really care if it gets hit or dinged, which it does routinely, by other cars pulling in and out of some very tight spots. There really isn't a solution except to move to a place that has underground parking, or not own a vehicle. Although I have to say that any accident I had was in a parking structure. So I suppose for us it's better to deal with street parking and the occasional dent here and there. The problem with this vehicle armor is that is hardly covers the rear. And it doesn't look so hot. Now let's see how long it lasts.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bamboo Stylus Artist Tools

The other day I noticed that the nib on my Bamboo stylus was torn. I can't say I am surprised because it is the stylus of choice that is used to create all my art. Since I started to draw again when the first generation IPad surfaced a couple years ago, it's been an interesting experience. No longer do I need watercolor paints, or pastels, or ink. All I need is my IPad and stylus. I've researched styli and tried a couple different devices, but find the Bamboo suits my need the best. So I went on Amazon, ordered a new pen in green (my favorite color), and also two packs of nibs - a pack of firm and a pack of soft. It seems odd that the stylus comes with a quick start guide. Now I can get back to what I like doing the most and have an extra pen and nibs in reserve. I think I'll try the Bamboo paper app too. I always loved walking through art stores and looking at all the great stuff. Now I can do it all from my couch, including the art!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

UPS, Taxes, and One Way

It's that time of year again. Since we moved from Milwaukee to DC, we still have our accountant in Wisconsin do the taxes. It's probably not necessary anymore, but its not something either one of us cares to do. We put all our tax information together, stuffed it in an envelope, and rode to the UPS store in Alexandria. We usually walk to the neighborhood branch just down the street, but it was a miserable day for a walk. It was busy around the shopping mall there, as it was lunch time, a Saturday, and a tight parking lot. There didn't seem to be enough space for all these cars. The UPS store was empty when we entered, and became busy while we were there. Upon leaving, we got back in the car and tried to make out way out. It just seemed unusually tight. Then I saw a man making faces at us and mouthing the words "one way!" As we were driving towards him. Then it dawned on me that this parking lot was intended to be one way only, as was obvious by the big arrows on the pavement and the ONE WAY letters upon entry. We just didn't notice them. OOPS!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cafe Deluxe Tyson's

May be it was just a lousy, rainy day. Or may be it really isn't as good as it used to be. I'm getting tired of making excuses for places we used to like - a lot! We always worried we would never find restaurants we liked as much as the ones we frequented in Milwaukee. Cafe Deluxe became one of those here. We tried going to the one located in Tysons for lunch last Friday, but couldn't find a parking place, so we left. Because it has a covered parking area, we tried again today because of the rain, sleet, and snow mix. There was only one parking spot left when we arrived, and it was going on 1 PM. We ended up waiting close to 30 minutes and getting entertained by toddlers throwing around the pagers that are given to customers to let them know the table is ready. We were finally seated, and were handed menus with different items. It was so loud we were hardly able to have a conversation. My husband did not like the Greek salad he usually gets. The turkey BLT was substituted with a turkey Reuben. We don't care for mussels, and they were front and center. I left my comments on the feedback card after being asked by the manager. I'm hoping this was an unusual day rather than what might turn in to a routine. We haven't been having much luck lately. The food is all tasting mainstream and airplane like rather than unique and interesting. We had the same experience at Hawk and Dove earlier this week. When going out becomes a hassle, we'll need to decide if it's worth it. But what will we do when we have out of town visitors? Darn it!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nips Chocolate Parfait

My husband loves candy. He also loves sugar cubes to chew on with his tea. But he is very particular about the type of candy he purchases. Any time we go to CVS or Walgreens, he checks out the candy aisle. Harris Teeter doesn't carry the brand he likes. I've ordered a few different types in bulk through Amazon including Bali's Best Coffee Candy assortment that arrives in four gallon sized containers. They last a long time and he keeps his pockets and the car stashed. The latest brand he likes is called Nips. There are several flavors, but he prefers the chocolate parfait. Since the supply of decaf tea K cups was running low I convinced him it was a good idea to order some Nips, in bulk, at the same time. It all arrived yesterday so the variety and supply has expanded - and his waistline hasn't changed a bit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Madison Building Signs

Way finding was always a challenge in the hospital setting. We even stooped to color coded lines on the floor to direct traffic in the main corridor. It's no different here at the Library of Congress Madison Building, or any large building for that matter. I remember being terribly confused when I came here for my job interview. So with a lot of planning, the new signs are now getting installed. One unique characteristic about the Madison Building is that it is a large square with an interior core. My understanding is that the primary purpose of the building was to house books but it is being used for both books and offices. Each corner of the building is color coded using a different primary color. As an example, all the doors, stairwells, handrails, bathrooms, and signs of the SW corner across from Capitol South Metro are gold/yellow. I suppose that was the only way to tell one end from the other. So the new signs reflect the old design scheme of gold, green, blue, red, and a new fifth color - bronze - for the center area. As usual, the signage is intense on the lower levels and tapers off the higher you venture. I was surprised to see pay phones as a line item, but they do still exist. I'm not sure how helpful the new way finding will be. One could argue it looks better, but more importantly, it is something else you can stare out while waiting for the elevator.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Card Catalogues

> In college, we started noticing something called a computer by having to go to the gym, get a "card" with holes punched in it, collect one for each class, and use them to complete registration. We actually typed our papers on a typewriter, used carbon paper, erasable paper, and liquid paper! My first real experience using computers was after I graduated in nursing working in the intensive care unit and the heart cath lab. All other computer orientation since those days was on the job training. I spent a lot of time in the library for both undergraduate and graduate school and frequented the card catalogues to figure out where whatever I needed was located. I haven't thought much about card catalogues until I took my afternoon walk to the lower level of the Library of Congress. Someone is making a move. What struck me was not only the sheer number of these space killing wooden monstrosities, but how old and dilapidated they looked. They were up against the corridor walls winding almost the entire square length of the Madison Building. I suppose if you are a librarian, or have anything to do with a library, this may be an expected or even interesting sight. It looks like ancient history to me. I hope someone can make good use of these items. Firewood anyone?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hawk N Dove - Disappointed

We've been waiting a long time for Hawk N Dove to reopen. We've been going there since long before we moved to DC. So today we asked our friend to join us for lunch thinking it might be less busy on the President's Day holiday. We had a seat where the sun was reflecting off a shiny car right in to my eyes, the food was awful, and there were only two stalls in the women's restroom. Of course, I had to wait. The place looked nice enough, but a lot like all the other new places in the neighborhood. They were serving brunch, which was fine with us, but everything tastes like airplane food and mass produced. Once it got busy, the folks who sat next to us left in a huff because no one came to wait on them. We can forgive the place being new, and staff are adjusting to the environment. I suppose if the place is geared to clientele who will be drinking and snacking all evening it's a great spot for that. There is an upstairs with a separate bar and additional tables for a private party or overflow. And I suppose if you never knew the old place, it would be adequate. There is something about the restaurants on Barrack's Row and the surrounding area....we just don't like them. Sorry! I am really disappointed, but I don't think it makes any difference.