Monday, September 30, 2013

Empty Halls and Spaces of a Government Shutdown

It hasn't even happened yet, but this is what it might look like if the government shuts down at midnight tonight. We have received all the official notifications and a lot of people have spent a lot of time preparing for it. These photos were actually taken in the Madison Building cafeteria at around 3:30 in the afternoon. Since I still can't walk from a toe mishap about a month ago I sometimes wander up to the sixth floor to get a change of scenery. All is quiet at this time of day and I can see our house from here. I'm looking forward to having a few days off. Wouldn't you know I already had a sick day planned for doctor appointments and Friday is a scheduled day off. But every extra day off for me is wonderful. Let's hope it actually happens. Working in the private sector for thirty years makes this all seem very strange, and completely avoidable. But that was in Milwaukee. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eastern Market

We took a walk to our friend's house this afternoon. She lives a little past Eastern Market. When we arrived at her house, she wasn't there, so we sat on the porch for a few minutes admiring the view and the activity on the sidewalk in front of us. Then the mosquitos came out in full force. We left a message and went on our way. Returning back, we stopped by Eastern Market and checked out the flea market, and the other vendors. We haven't been inside the actual market for quite some time, and went through to admire the blowfish, the turkey legs, the meat, the beautiful flowers, and fruit. Whatever you need is here but we were not in need of any items today. It is always colorful, and crowded, and people all seem to be very up beat. We visited this place several times before we moved here. We never thought it would become just another part of our neighborhood. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon

After our usual Saturday brunch at McLean Family Restaurant - where today Mark Levin and Sanjay Gupta were also chatting about with friends - we thought a short ride to see the new George Washington Presidential Library was in order. We had passed by the area several times since the groundbreaking, and heard on the news yesterday that it would be opening.  It sits right across from Mount Vernon on the George Washington Parkway. It doesn't appear to be a place that you can just drop in and look around. It's intended to be a destination for visiting scholars and will house only GW's papers,all the books written about him, and all things digital. All other personal artifacts and such will remain at the estate, more or less. Perhaps there will be presentations that one could attend, but it appears to be more scholastic in nature rather than just interested to learn more. If anyone deserves a library is it George Washington. He was a remarkable person...and seemed to be a nice guy. I've never heard of anything really negative about him, and someone would have found something by now. Now that's something really unique in this day and age. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The "Mane" Event

The colorful Latino Festival had a parade down Constitution Avenue recently. It included exhuberant participants from all Latino cultures, rather than a specific country. The only reason I know that is because I asked one of the participants. When we walked back home along the Mall on the side of the Art museums, a curious spectacle came in to view. Yes, there are park police on horseback and I have even seen a Clydesdale in front of Bullfeathers. But I really liked the gray horse with the corn rowed mane that was standing by the handler, waiting for the next event to begin. The horses always attract a lot of attention,  but even more in this location. We started our walk with the goal of attending the Library of Congress book festival, and ended up seeing a parade, with motorcycles, and some beautiful horses. I don't recall running in to these types of things in Milwaukee, except at the Sate Fair. But we didn't live downtown there. It is very entertaining to be close to the action, as long as it is as entertaining as this. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Accidental Work of Art

In order to get in to the Capitol Visitor Center to see the movie, exhibits, and take a tour of the Capitol, you need to have a small white square sticker with a date and time stamp affixed on your person. Oftentimes, the stickers remain on until someone notices that they should be removed. Apparently the point that everyone notices they forgot to remove the sticker is on a sign across the street from the American Indian Museum. It actually looks like an accidentally created work of art - to me. Some stickers were very worn while others were recently placed. It just goes to show you that people sometimes like to copy what others do before them. It's obviously not harmful, but could potentially get quite messy, depending on your point of view. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Basis Charter School, Portrait Gallery, Archives and Navy Memorial

Our grandson changed schools this year. He attended a DC public school a block from his house through fourth grade. On his assigned baby sitting days it was really easy for my husband to pick him up because it was so close. The new school, Basis Charter School, is still in the neighborhood, but not nearly as close. One could argue that the location is even better. If you look up one side of the street, the Portrait Gallery can be seen. Down the other side of the street is the National Archives Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. In between the school and the Archives is the Navy Memorial with fountains, occasional Navy Band concerts, and very scenic views of city life. I'm not certain the boys understand the significance of all this, but I know my husband does. He even enjoys the one day a week bus ride he takes to pick the ten year old up after school. I'm sure soon that will come to an end, but in the mean time he is thoroughly enjoying it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Favorite Sign

Any time we need to get on the freeway it's an easy path to take because it is only a couple blocks away. Right after the ramp, the view from the expressway is also very pleasant. You can see our house, the Capitol Building and House Office Buildings, and all the construction going on around Nationals Stadium. There's also a billboard that I really like. It usually has something to do with Apple, and lately the IPad. It shows someone digitally creating art and I associate with it because that's what I primarily use my IPad for. I always sketched and water colored and worked with pastels, but the iPad takes the cake. Just check out my Etsy shop and Facebook page. It's literally changed my life in such a good way!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Latino Festival Parade

This weekend we attended the Library of Congress National Book Festival on the Mall. On the walk home we heard a very rhythmic drum beat and muted flute sound emanating from the sculpture garden area across from the Archives and noticed folks walking towards us in very colorful costumes. It was a parade moving its way down Constitution Avenue which was lined on both sides of the street with festive onlookers. I asked one of the participants what the celebration was about.  He said it was the Latino Festival. Just a few months ago there was a similar sort if thing right in front of the Capitol, but this was a generic parade and included motorcycle riding Hispanics to boot. We started out the afternoon in search of the book festival, but always end up seeing so much more. That is probably the main reason we like living on Capitol Hill. Haven't seen this many parades since I can remember.