Madtante came to town……

and I hope she wasn’t disappointed!

MT arrived on Friday night excited about her first trip to Washington DC.   On Saturday morning we were up and out for a tour of the US Capitol  – compliments of MT’s state Senator Claire McCaskill.   DSC04379a

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DSC04392a.The Dome is currently undergoing extensive restoration – hence the scaffolding…

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We had a tour time of 10:30am but for some reason that tour was cancelled and they fitted us into the 10am tour  –  just as well we were there early enough to join that one!    14 years living in DC and I’ve never been inside the Capitol before.   I think I was a little disappointed with the tour as I was expecting more technical/historical information than our guide provided but the “space”  of the Capitol and Dome is pretty impressive.  .DSC04412

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This covering is called the “donut”  and it’s in place while the Dome is renovated.  It’s to stop bits & pieces falling down onto the tourists. DSC04407We had a really pleasant, though disgustingly unhealthy lunch break,  (coffee & a radioactive-red cupcake for me and coffee & cheetahs & M&M’s for MT)  in the Capitol restaurant DSC04397aand then we took the tunnel to the Library of Congress.   WOW!   Next time I need to take a guided tour of this place  DSC04503.

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Then we wandered to the Hirshhorn Museum where we explored some contemporary art.  Here are my favourites: DSC04599

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DSC04612and then through the Sculpture Garden  DSC04596 Copying-001

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DSC04598aPast the National Archives …….   DSC04620aAnd past the US Naval Memorial Plaza as we headed to the train home….    DSC04618aOn Sunday MT headed out to do her own exploring while I did boring things like washing and working.   On Monday morning it was up early for poor MT as the manservant & I had to be at our respective offices by 8am so she had a bit of a wait before her flight.  I hope she enjoyed her stay and the sights of DC.  Here we are with the National Mall and Washington Monument in the background…. Emjay & MT-001

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Cee’s Foto Challenges

I was looking for a photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (vibrant colours) ….     when I came across this one that also fits Cee’s Odd Ball Photo challenge:     It’s not every day you see a traffic light peering out like a periscope from a head-dress:……

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For many years, the Caribbean Carnival Parade wound down Georgia Avenue in Washington DC one Saturday in June. It wasn’t just the costumes that were vibrant but also the atmosphere. It was one big party with paraders celebrating the Caribbean culture while the crowd on the sidelines swayed to the beat of steel drums, calypso & reggae.  Sadly, the parade is here no more – it moved to Baltimore.

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A jazzy evening….

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I’m not really a dawdling-about type of person but looking here one could believe I have a masters degree in procrastination!   I had not finished posting my November(!!) trip to Chile when I went off home to Australia for 3 weeks and here I’ve been back 3 weeks and have neither continued on with Chile nor done anything on Australia except show a photo of me with a baby.  He is a lovely special baby though!

So while I ponder the order of posting Chile & Australia, here’s what we did last night……

We attended a performance by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra titled “Forms of the Blues“.  Their concerts are most often held in the Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of American History.   The Museum’s collection includes 100,000 pages of unpublished music composed by Duke Ellington as well as Ella Fitzgerald’s famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet, Buddy Rich’s Drum set, Benny Goodman’s clarinet and John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme manuscript.

Photos are not allowed once the performance begins so I took this shot as we first sat down – the screen shows Glenn Miller because the first piece played was one he played often – St. Louis Blues March (composed by W.C. Handy)  Wonderful black & white photos were screened as Director & Conductor, Charlie Young, introduced each new piece.   The repertoire included Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis.  DSC03165-001

It was a really enjoyable concert with some standout solos; I think everyone in the orchestra got a turn to show off their talent but I was especially thrilled to see the two female members get the opportunity to really show what they could do. Jennifer Krupa on trombone and Leigh Pilzer on saxophone.  And, after every performance where I see a double bass featured I know I want to learn to play one!    

One of the great advantages to living where we do is the metro – everything is a short walk to a metro station in DC.    On our wander from the museum to the station….

The US Capitol stands out at any time but really looks grand lit up at night:  DSC03172-001

Day or night the National Archives Building always looks so formal …. DSC03175-001

Another government building –  this town is full of them!  This is the back of the Department of Justice (I think)……  DSC03169

And this is a portion of the US Navy Memorial which sits on top of a metro station…..DSC03180-001

Now I really must get back to a regular posting schedule!

 

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Photo-a-day-for-365-days Project: Shots 350-357

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On Saturday we spoke to the manservant’s parents as it was not only Christmas Day but also his mother’s birthday.  During my turn talking his mother asked what I’d bought the manservant for Christmas and I said “Alcohol” ….      There was a moment’s silence before she said  “Oh,  did he get any clothes?”                Me:   “No”                                                                                                                                 Her:    “Well,  I really would’ve rather you’d bought clothes for him than alcohol!”      LOL .     Why would I buy him clothes when I could get him a        gift I can share!   

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I’m very close to the end of this photo project now  – and my posting has nearly caught up with my shooting.

Shot  350:     The little church between the metro station and my office.  The sun was shining that early morning light on the block of apartments behind it.   If I had any software talent I’d photo-shop that out as it looks like a weird lookout.   

351  – Another of my sans-Manservant dinners.  These were simply called Vegetable rolls  – they were cold and served with a spicy dipping sauce.  They were divine!      

352   Getting close to Christmas.  Spied on one of my walks,  I love the simplicity and the colours and the little dollops of snow just to remind me that we were about to have a Northern Hemisphere Christmas.   

353  Yummy things come out of here…. 

354  Walking around the Columbia Heights neighborhood I came across this street of colourful row-houses.     

355  Icy footpath!   I know it’s blurry  but this is what happens when my neighbours don’t shovel their snow and it turns to ice.

356  –  A metro station billboard  –  I love this one.  It is currently showing in multiple metro stations.  

357  –  This was taken on the evening of December 23rd.   We visited some friends for dinner and when we came out to go home the moon was peeking through branches and everything looked really sinister.  My perception may have been affected by the wonderfully lethal champagne cocktails they served.    

The house still stands…

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in spite of the best efforts by our neighbours.

Yesterday, within the space of less than a mile there were 3 booths selling fireworks …   

The first one – not open yet -  8.30am  

The second one -  not open either:

The third one -  closest to home – open and doing business before 9am.  We didn't actually buy any -  I just noted their presence and the fact that the last one has hand written signs saying that "We do not sell things that explode, blow up or go in the air" .  In DC "legal" fireworks are sparklers less than 20 inches, crackles, strobes and fountains.  Things noted on those signs require a permit.  I don't think many people around me get permits.

  The manservant barbecued hot dogs for dinner -  the makings:

Made:  The little green bits are chopped pepper from the garden:

And this is why we don't leave the house unattended on July 4.  Neighbours setting off noisy bright things that involve burning embers flying through the air…….   that's the roof & awning of our house the embers are coming towards:

 

This can make one a little nervous. We drank heavily, whilst keeping vigil, sitting on our top deck – we constantly had things raining down on us. Everyone in our row has timber decks – a lot of us have timber fences.  It has not rained for ages and the wood was like kindling. At one stage they set a fence on fire.  They did have a fire extinguisher on hand but still ….  not cool!

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Raining over the wooden deck rails: 

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And raining down on us

  

Incoming  – from all directions!! 

  Prettiest one of the night:  


This is a small collection of the crap which made its way onto our top deck last night.  Those little stone/glass things hurt when they hit you!  

 

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Cultural Weekend – Part 1A – Saturday

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A friend came to town from Hawaii – luckily she stayed in a hotel so I didn't have to work like a maniac to make our house guest-friendly.   She was also feeling a little cold so on Saturday we did an indoor activity -  The National Portrait Gallery:  

  This building is a National Historic Landmark and is an example of Greek Revival architecture.  Construction began in 1836 and was completed 1868 – it was one of the first public buildings built in early Washington.  Porticos are modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, there is a curving double staircase, colonnades and vaulted galleries. It is joined to The Smithsonian American Art Museum and at times it is difficult to know when you've left one and entered the other.  The two buildings surround the Kogod Courtyard with its glass covered canopy:

  Theodore Roosevelt had this Steinway "Gold Grand" designed to match the newly renovated White House in 1903.  It is adorned with the original 13 State seals and is gilt in goldleaf.  Artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing painted the lid and titled it "America Receiving the Nine Muses" :

 

I didn't take a photo of this actual portrait but I found the description really amusing (and yes, she looked tired):

I loved Strong Woman and Child 1925 – Yasuo Kuniyoshi:  perhaps this is Mrs Green in comic guise:  

  I also liked this which I think was titled The Library -  I failed to note either the name or the artist.

This one had a gorgeous colour co-ordinating frame – but reading the fine print revealed it was recreated rather than a restored frame:

There was a special exhibition of Presidential cover art Time magazine  – no photos allowed past this point.

There is a large area dedicated to portraits of all the Presidents -  the Nation's only complete collection of Presidential portraits outside the White House.  This is the one I found most interesting.  Apparently quite a few of you may have had a portion of this portrait in your schools and wondered why George had clouds around his shoulder:  

 

The Adams Memorial was fascinating.  Some weekend I intend to look for Clover's gravesite at Rock Creek churchyard where the original sculpture was erected in 1891. Augustus Saint-Gaudens called it "The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding"   The public called it "Grief".   

Here is a collection of some of my favourites (click on any one a couple of times to make it larger).  I think I've just realised that I need a Part IB post to complete my trip to the museum. And, that's before I even mention that I went to the Chinese New Year Parade held in DC today  which was going to be Part 2 of my cultural w/end!

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Still at the Old Soldiers’ Home

Continuing on from Lincoln's Cottage we wandered into an area that we might not have been authorized to enter given we did not have visitors passes….    The Old Soldiers' Home. Written under the clock is SHERMAN

The Old Soldier's Home was founded in 1851 when it was called the Armed Forces Retirement Home.  At that time the US Congress legislated a "military asylum"  for invalid and disabled soldiers of the US army.   The Soldiers' Home was officially recognized as being of historic significance in 1974 when four buildings built before the Civil War were designated National Historic Landmarks.    The Soldiers' Home is the last remaining example of three original military asylums established in 1851.

The entrance to the Home is guarded by miniature cannons:  

   

We saw things we might not meant to have been photographing (Yes, it was fully operational).

  The grounds are really lovely:

  

We found an amazing tree propped up on one side

   

A WWII  vet out for his morning stroll asked where we were from (this is when an Australian accent comes in handy) and talked to us at length about this tree which he called a Missouri Hedge Tree (though I couldn't find such a tree in a quick Google search).  After telling us it was the largest hedge tree around he wandered off:   

We found an interesting tower:   -  the sign says DO NOT USE LADDER

We then left the grounds and walked to the nearby US National Cemetery which will be the final resting place of many of the men in the Old Soldiers' Home:  

 

So many graves: 

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