Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bits and pieces

What to post about, what to post about? :)

Not much is going on for me right now besides work and getting ready for fall.

I still enjoy snuggling with the family's latest baby, "Ranger". I have never considered myself a cat person - I'm for dogs all the way! - but Ranger has almost changed my mind. :)

I can't wait for the homeschool co-op to start again - I'm teaching two classes this year, "Writing and Composition" and "Film and Television," both at the upper high school level - but just in case the year doesn't go as smoothly as I anticipate, I'm prepared (see above :)).

This morning, after I was unable to sleep in (my last chance to do so for eight more days, but my body is used to getting up at 5 AM these days), Maggie and I ducked out for a little shopping and lunch date. I had money in my pocket to spend on new shoes for fall, and legitimate reason (it seems like all my shoes save pumps are literally falling apart!), but I couldn't find anything I liked that also fit well. Eep. Time to go to the mall, I guess.

I was in the mood to explore, so we ducked into the new Irish pub in town to check it out. No pictures, as I did not have a camera with me. Unfortunately the menu failed to grab either of us (the most "interesting" thing listed was a grilled chicken breast stuffed with apples and brie with plum sauce, but it was the only interesting thing and was priced quite a bit higher than the rest of the menu). Maggie ended up ordering a pub salad, and I went for the fish and chips. Maggie's salad was a bit of a flop - a very large bowl of lettuce with a few (very few) slices of green pepper and cucumber - but my fish and chips were actually better than the average seafood restaurants' around here. We both fell head over heels in love with their thick steak fries in malt vinegar. I don't know what they do to those potatoes, but goodness! Mmm!

The atmosphere was fun - lots of Irish folk music - but if we returned I think I'd throw "high dining" to the wind and aim for the fried. :)

My car air conditioning lost its oomph this week and though I was only without it for a few days, I am grateful to my dad for recharging it. I have had about enough of summer. I am looking forward to fall, sweaters, and tights!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sightseeing in D.C.

One of the things I love the most about living in beautiful southern Maryland is being within easy day-trip distance of our nation's capitol. I love the pulse of the city, the opportunity to people-watch, and most of all I love all the knowledge that is within such easy reach within the city. I love to spend a day in the museums and memorials.

Today I was exploring for the first time with my younger siblings Anna (16), Elizabeth and Allen (13), and Ruth (9). This is the first time the kids and I have hit the city sans parents (although my father metroed in later and took us all to dinner after a long day of walking).

In spite of the recent accidents that seem to be plaguing the Metro system, I love the convenience of the system. Here we are departing!

Something about riding Metro never grows old for kids. :)

We were destined for the American History Museum, but the peril of walking in D.C. is that there is always something fascinating that calls for a stop and a perusal... like the sculpture garden, one of my personal favorites. I love the playfulness of many modern sculptures and I'm fascinated by shape and form, period!

I loved this fun take on "The Thinker!"

Something else I love about sculpture is the way it changes as you change positions.

We did finally make it to the American History Museum and the display we came to see - the film and television "Hall of Fame"!

We found Dorothy's slippers...

Kermit the frog (I was sad to discover that none of my siblings had any clue who "Kermie" was!!!)...

And Oscar the Grouch! :)

Downstairs in the Lobby, I found another dear childhood friend! :)

After we finished in the American History Museum and met Dad, several of my siblings wanted to revisit the Natural History Museum. If I had to look at the Hope diamond or dino skeletons one more time, I was going to die... so Ruth and I parted for a quick run through the art gallery!

My favorite display was easily this new display of light and motion called "Multiverse." This is easily worth going to the gallery for alone! Try as I might, I could not get any pictures that came close to capturing the incredible beauty of this piece...

... However, this video at least gives you a sense of it.
Some of the pieces that Ruth and I deemed among our favorites included these geometric-y pieces.

We also found this picture by Jean DuBuffet, titled (very loosely translated) "Facade of a City Block". In fact, we liked it so much that we memorized the artist name so we could come home and google the picture!

This picture is too small to show much detail, but each of the little white spots in the windows is a face with its own personality! It truly captures the idea of a city block!

Maggie and I had visited Chop't during our last trip to D.C. for a concert at Strathmore, and so we walked to Chinatown for dinner.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Chop't, it's like a giant salad bar stuffed with the most awesome of ingredients, like black beans, chickpeas, sesame noodles, grilled tuna, avacado, edamame, hearts of palm, kalamata olives, goat cheese, craisins, and much, much more. You select your lettuce base, pile on the toppings, and the chefs then dice all your tastiness together with a mezzaluna knife (like this one). Everything ends up nicely distributed, so you get a bit of each flavor in each bite!

It was delicious as always. :)

It was a lovely trip, but my poor feet have had it. :) As one of my favorite books as a child ends: "At the end of a long, long day, it's nice to be alone and think about tomorrow."