Friday, June 26, 2009

arlington, the rap

this video is brilliant. unlike most parodies, it goes strong all the way to the end with the rapper's dead on observations. the part about riding the green line was hysterical, and so, so true.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

:::mom's visit, part 2:::

as i started putting this post together i realized how completely disjointed the chronology was in the previous post. to avoid any further confusion, i'm going to do part 2 as a numbered list of the things that we did that isn't tied down to any sort of timeline.

1. the american history musuem currently has an excellent exhibit about abraham lincoln. after experiencing it for myself, i would recommend it as a must see to anyone in the area. included in the exhibit were two facial casts of lincoln's head made at different points in his life, campaign signs and banners from his presidential campaign, his famous stove pipe top hat, the last cup he was purported to have drunk from before he went to ford's theatre, and the blood stained cuffs of one of the actresses who rushed to the president's aid after he was shot.

i took a lot of photos, but the lighting was so low that many of them didn't turn out well enough to post.

this quote from mary todd lincoln made me feel so sad. as you read it you can almost feel their weariness --

"During the drive he was so gay, that I said to him, laughingly, "Dear husband, you almost startled me by your great cheerfulness," he replied, "and well I may feel so, Mary, I consider this day, the war, has come to a close" -- and then added "We must both, be more cheerful in the future -- between the war and the loss of our darling Willie -- we have both, been very miserable."

from their we moved to an exhibit showcasing the dresses of the first ladies. they even had a dress of martha washington's from 1780 (not pictued).

2. on friday night we planned to meet my sister and brother-in-law at the natural history museum to watch night at the museum 2 at the imax theater. while we were waiting for them we popped upstairs to see the hope diamond and the rest of the jewelery on the second floor.

i generally forget in my day-to-day life that there are such stunning things in existence, and that at one point someone actually owned and wore such things. yeesh.

it was fun to seeing night at the musuem 2 in situ. for us, the best part of the movie was seeing so many familiar museum pieces come to life, especially degas's little dancer. we thought the movie had some funny parts, but we weren't blown away by it.

2. we had a great lunch at tenh penh, a thai restaurant on ten pennsylvania avenue. get it? ten penn...tenh penh.

we enjoyed the complimentary edamame that reminded me of a time that my mom and i bought a tray of edamame at a japanese market in costa mesa, ate them all on the way home, and got really sick afterwards. fiber!

these spring rolls were so good. i'd definitely go back there one day.

3. i could tell that my mom wanted to stop by the national gallery of art to see the beautiful painting. on the day we decided to go we needed a place to eat lunch, so i started looking for somewhere to go on washingtonian.

through an article on their website i learned that garden cafe in national gallery had recently been transformed into the garden café españa in conjunction with two exhibits of spanish art that have recently opened. the menu was created by a spanish chef who has many restaurants in the dc area, and gives diners the option between ordering off the menu or selecting from the buffet. after looking at the menu online, we decided before we left that we could not pass up the buffet.

the food was excellent in every way. it was fresh, simple, elegant, flavorful and beautifully presented. i wish that i could eat that way every single day.

i'm going to make you look at this menu --

Rustic bread

Spanish white anchovies in olive oil

Gazpacho al estilo de Algeciras
Classic chilled Spanish soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and bread,
sharpened with sherry vinegar

Quesos surtidos con picos y membrillo

Selection of Spanish cheeses with crispy mini breadsticks and quince paste

Pasamontes Manchego, D.O. Manchego
Sheep’s milk cheese, sweet and tangy

Idiazábal, D.O. Idiazábal
Sheep’s milk cheese, smoked, nutty flavor

Garrotxa, Catalonia
Semisoft goat’s milk cheese, delicate, with a hint of nuttiness

Picón, D.O. Picón
Blue cheese of sheep, cow, and goat’s milk


Selection of Spanish cured meats

Jamón Serrano
18-month salt-cured Serrano ham

A slightly cured pork sausage, seasoned with pimentón and garlic

Lomo embuchadoPalacios
Cured pork loin with a smoky flavor and seasoned with herbs

Empanadas de pollos ensapados
Chicken and bacon empanada with caramelized onion, raisins, and lemon

Ensalada de endibias con queso de cabra, almendras, y naranjas
Endive salad with goat cheese, almonds, and oranges

Ensalada de lentejas con queso Picón
Lentil salad with Picón cheese and aged sherry vinegar

Albóndigas con ciruelas
Meatballs with plums

Pisto Manchego con flores de calabacín
Castilian-style zucchini and its flowers, with peppers, eggplant, and tomato

Flan al estilo de mi madre
Spanish flan in my mother’s style with seasonal berries

everything was excellent. we loved that the buffet wasn't set up to overwhelm you with quauntity, but to highlight each selection in a way that made you respect the food that you were eating. we had a wonderful lunch and were excited to receive our complimentary recipe cards, which can you download by clicking on the link.

4. after brunch we wandered around admiring the architecture and details of the museum...

and the lovely artwork, which i think speaks for itself...

The Alba Madonna, c. 1510, raphael

Geese; Girls in Bonnets, Geese [recto], 1884-1888, gauguin
(these were sketches he had done)

Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy, 1888, seurat
{a zoomed in look}

Girl With a Hoop, 1885, renoir

Miss Mary Ellison, c. 1880, cassatt

The Railway, 1873, eduoard manet

The Peppermint Bottle , 1893/1895, Cézanne

Cape Cod Evening, 1939, hopper

Allies Day, May 1917, 1917, childe hassam

George Washington, c. 1821, gilbert stuart

A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, jean-honoré fragonard

i don't think i realized before that so many of these iconic pieces of art were in america, let alone in dc. they also have the only da vinci in the western hemisphere, but it was...ugly, so i'm not posting a picture of it. and yes, you were allowed to take pictures here. i heard someone ask a guard.

phew. this post took me over two hours to put together. if anyone thinks bloggers are lazy, they clearly don't know what they're talking about.

stay tuned for a final wrap-up post sometime next week. i just don't have it in me right now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

:::today is a great day:::

because i didn't have any carbs for breakfast because i ate way too much bread last night. i made up for bad behavior.

because the humidity is only at 66%! it feels so liberating! in a passing greeting this morning someone said to me, 'it's hard working in a desert.' oh pish posh. heat without humidity is the perfect formula for a happy summer.

because i'm going to paper source tonight!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

:::mom's visit, part 1:::

my mom was finally able to make it out to dc for a visit. finally! she stayed with me most of the days, and we had such a nice time visiting local sites, going out to eat, and staying up late talking and talking.

one of the first places we visited was the folger shakespeare library, which is just two blocks away from my house. believe it or not, i'd never been there before even though i pass it all the time. if anything, taking my mom around made me realize that there are still some things i want to experience here.

i think out of all the places we went, the folger was one of the most pleasant surprise. the great hall is tiny, tiny, but beautifully covered in deeply stained oak paneling. the current exhibit is called 'the curatorial eye' and contains various pieces from the library's vault. my absolute favorite case contained books that were printed on and bound and covered with recycled materials.

one of the techniques people employed to reuse paper people was to literally scratch ink off the pages. below, you can see another technique whereby they glued together pages from older manuscripts to build up a cover. the archivists didn't even know the manuscripts were there until they started restoring the books. isn't that amazing? paper was so expensive and they had such a desire to print that they came up with numerous ways to reuse materials.

this was a display of that included some beautifully decorated papers.

i forgot to mention that we also got to look at an authentic first folio, and we were able to 'flip' through it on a digital display. no pictures allowed. sorry!

i made sure we went dowtown one day so that i could show my mom the office and parade her around to meet all of my coworkers. before that we met my friend and coworker LP at the famous old ebbitt for lunch. we didn't see any movers and shakers inside the restaraunt, but LP did notice the dc chief of police standing outside.

after a long visit at the office, and a longer stop by macy's so that we could by that woman some decent walking shoes, we walked over to gifford's for some ice cream. again, this was another first for me, and it was another good surprise.

mom is holding my cone of swiss chocolate (good gracious! the hands down winner) and her cup of chocolate chocolate chip (mama!) is on the table. the table, coincidentally, happened to be in one of my favorite color combination (remember my bathroom?).

at long last i was able to take my mother on sister lantos's capitol tour. it was amazing. i had gone once before with her on a sunday afternoon, so the capitol was fairly empty. this time, however, it was swarming with tours, staffers, and even a few congresswomen who recognized sister lantos.

my mom had so much fun listening to sister lantos describe the history of the building and the people who have served and worked there over the years.

i am still surprised by some of the elaborate design in various places throughout the capitol. in all, the whole building was beautiful and very moving.

now on to stunning and gorgeous.

there are three buildings that make up the library of congress, and i've been to every single one but the jefferson building, which is the main event. looky here, looky here...

stunned? in awe?

i fell in love with the color scheme -- soft yellows, goldish oranges, pale and vibrant greens, and touches of that beautiful tuscan red.

here is a peak into the reading room. i don't know if i would get a thing done if i was studying in there. i'd be too busy gawking at all the marble, gilding, and dark woodwork.

the library has one of only three remaining perfect vellum copies of the original Gutenburg Bible on display. after taking a few non-flash pictures, i was trying to get a nice macro shot of the text when i was yanked away from the display by my purse strap. i turned around to see my mom vigorously jabbing at a 'do not take pictures of the Gutenburg Bible' sign. oi.

i truly hate it when people take pictures of things that they aren't supposed to, so i felt pretty bad about that. i can plead honest ignorance, however, since some museums do allow you to take photos of rare and old artwork.

as penance for my sins i dragged the sign in front of the case and planted it in plain sight for any other trigger happy tourists. sorry loc!

i knew i had to take my mom to good stuff to try their delicious burgers, fries, vidalia onion petals, and shakes. she loved it! she had the prez obama and i had spike's 5 napkin. i made her try ever one of the flavored mayonaisses, and she agreed with me that the old bay combination could easily be struck off the menu. the rest -- mango, chipotle, rooster sauce -- are really good though.

afterward, we both had toasted marshmallow shakes. that evening they were less toasted-marshmallowy and more creamy-vanilla-like, but still oh so good.

i know that was a lot and there isn't any clear sense of chronology, but bare with me. part 2 is up next.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

:::adult behavior:::

in between the more exciting things that happened to me last week, i went to my first professional conference as a full-blown adult. watch out world.

{during my cab ride in the wee smalls}

the annual conference of the special libraries association was in dc this year at the brand new convention center near chinatown. though the decor was standard conference center bland, the gigantic scale of everything made me feel like i was an ant inside the astrodome.

these are only four of the 8 or 16 (i forgot) escalators that you see as soon as you walk in the front door. the place is huge, with additional conference space across the street that is connected by an overhead walkway.

since my class was on the saturday (ovah-time!) before things officially kicked off, there weren't many sessions being offered, and because of that, we weren't taking up much space. the endocrine society was having their annual meeting as well -- endo09. so clever, those endocrinologists are.

i saw a huge banner for one of our clients, and a program schedule with a picture of someone that i recognized right away as current fda commissioner margaret hamburg. i felt jazzed that i knew who she was, but it was also one of those moments when you realize how adult-ish you've become. why do i know this stuff? why, why, why?

the class, in general, was mostly over my head and not what i expected. however, it was an eye opener. though we aren't really employing any practices that require these techniques in our library, maybe we should be. actually, we probably should be, but things are pretty low-tech in my library, and, well...who knows. i walk in darkness most of the time.

at lunch time i learned that a box lunch was part of our registration fee. hurrah! i loved box lunches, i really do. they're like little noontime care packages. i took the soda because it was there, even though i don't like soda. i regretted it the entire time i was drinking my way through the can. waste not want not. poor choices, the inebility to stop myself, regrets -- that pretty much explains my eating habits.

after eating i took some time to wander around the facilities. though the decor in general was fairly sterile, there were some very interesting art pieces hung throughout the convention center. as far as i could tell, most of them were on the subject of minority groups, which i thought was a nice nod to the long time residents of dc and the neighborhood the convention center is in.

as far as i can tell, however, there isn't a large native population here, so maybe the art work was about america's minority groups and not just dc's. either way, this was my absolute favorite piece in the whole center.

since the plaquard with the artist's name and information was completely worn out, i couldn't get more information about this piece. it's either depicting the current location of native tribes, the original location of native tribes, or the location of current reservations. i really wish i knew more about this piece. i showed a picture of it to my mom, and she thinks the idea is that the map has been faded out with tears. oh, my native people. can you see eastern cherokee? those are my people.

after lunch it was back to work for more lessons and exercises that were far beyond my comprehension. this was my favorite slide of all because it's almost completely indecernable to me at this point. i'm not entirely sure what a filing indicator is, but i promise that i'll NEVER USE ONE!

we finally finished right on the nose at 5 pm, and i swiftly left the conference center and hopped in another cab to go home. all in all, it was a very informative and revealing day with the added benefits of meeting new people, exchanging business cards, and a free conference tote. the whole day was worth it just for the conference tote. swag. i'm a sucker for it.