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Just Exploring Wintery Washington

 

When you’re walking outside with your coat open because 30 degrees feels like spring, you know it’s been too cold. 

Since coming back to D.C. from Houston holidays, we’ve mostly stayed indoors, on our couch, under two or three layers of clothes. Our apartment doesn’t heat well, but at least it offers shelter from the wind that turns 4 degrees into “feels like -11.” 

Last week, a broken water main at work extended my winter break by a few days. Back to the couch! But cabin fever is real (the term turns 100 this year), and after seeing photos of the frozen reflecting pool, I wanted to witness some of the winter-transformed city. What I learned from that endless 2015 Boston winter was getting outside helps winter blues, as long as you bundle correctly. 

Here are a few photos from the times we’ve dared venture out. 

Meridian Park fountain

Meridian Park fountain

 
 
Joan of Arc  

Joan of Arc 

 
"Stay off"

"Stay off"

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This Christmas display was on W between 15th and 14th Streets NW last week. I hope it morphs into a Valentine's Day decoration in the next few weeks. 

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On Serendipitous Travel Moments, or Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

For one of the classes I’m auditing this semester, I’ve been reading Henry Brooks Adams’s autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams. Adams was the grandson and great-grandson of presidents, and though he worked as private secretary to his ambassador father, wrote, and taught at Harvard, in reading his autobiography, you get the sense that he never really did anything.  He did marry, and his wife, Marian (“Clover”) committed suicide by drinking photo developing chemicals. You don’t learn about this in his book, because he doesn’t mention Clover or her death at all. 

Although Adams didn’t talk about his wife’s death, he commissioned a statue in her memory (Atlas Obscura has a great post about the memorial). Today, you can visit the Adams Memorial at Rock Creek Cemetery in D.C. We spent a few days in Washington over our spring break. I thought about looking for the statue, but spent the time visiting museums and friends instead.

On our first day, we went to the Smithsonian American Art museum. On the second floor, we walked around a corner and there was a replica of the Adams Memorial. Had I read that Atlas Obscura post, or done any research beyond a quick Google maps search, I would have known this was here. Finding it by accident was more fun.

Replica of the creepy Adams Memorial.

Replica of the creepy Adams Memorial.

On our first day, we went to the Smithsonian American Art museum. On the second floor, we walked around a corner and there was a replica of the Adams Memorial. Had I read that Atlas Obscura post, or done any research beyond a quick Google maps search, I would have known this was here. Finding it by accident was more fun.

A few years ago, I arrived in San Francisco for a work trip on the last day of the Garry Winogrand exhibition at SFMoMA. I dropped my bags at a friend’s and ran over there for the last few hours of the show. What I didn’t realize (because again, no planning) was that it was also the last day the art museum would be open for the next three years, so admission was free and there were activities (like hat making) happening around the building. I saw the Winogrand, and as the museum closed, watched a dance performance in the lobby.

I love incidents like this. I could have planned for either of them (we know I need to work on my planning). But if I figure out where the thing is, how to get to the thing, and if the thing will be open, that seems like enough planning ahead. I like going out to see what I can find — or what will find me. 

#FriFotos: Best of 2013

As I scrolled through my photos from 2013, looking for my best ones, I actually forgot about "best" and started marking favorites instead. Most of these choices are sentimental, selected more for the experience they represent than quality. 

So, here we go. 

Flowers… always flowers. 

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Louisville 

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This picture really is not that good, but it is Steve Buttleman, Churchill Downs bugler, bugling the call to post -- taken from inside the pagoda. And that was awesome. 

This picture really is not that good, but it is Steve Buttleman, Churchill Downs bugler, bugling the call to post -- taken from inside the pagoda. And that was awesome. 

Travels

Hot chicken in Nashville

Hot chicken in Nashville

A path in Asheville

A path in Asheville

Alphorn players in the Berner Oberland

Alphorn players in the Berner Oberland

My first Swiss cow parade 

My first Swiss cow parade 

People

Grandma and the best little dog of three

Grandma and the best little dog of three

Gabe is a mountain man

Gabe is a mountain man

I took a break in 2013 from the Photo a Day project, but I'm going to try to do it again in 2014. You can follow that here. Past attempts include 2010-11 (started in the summer) and 2012. If you're doing a similar project, Iet me know where I can follow you. 

Photos from a September Louisville Jaunt

In September, I entered some photos into a competition sponsored by Preservation Louisville. I did not win, but I loved biking and driving around to the different buildings on their Top 10 Preservation Successes list. Here are some of my favorite shots from my jaunt about town.

Shawnee Library

Shawnee Library

I always like going new places, and there were several buildings on that list that I'd never seen (and still haven't -- after one long bike ride and a shorter drive, I abandoned the farther locations). The Shawnee Library was new to me. I loved the addition so much that I took most of my pictures from the back. Because it was Sunday morning, the library was closed, but I'll have to go back to see what it looks like inside. 

Union Station - TARC  

Union Station - TARC  

I've been inside Union Station before, and the inside is as beautiful as the exterior. There's also an original mule-drawn trolley inside. Definitely worth a visit. 

West Grocery & Liquor Store

West Grocery & Liquor Store

This building was not on the Preservation Success List, but I love this entrance and its sassy paint. 

Morning Glory galore

Morning Glory galore

Finally, I biked through an alley to get to one of the locations and found this wall of morning glory. I don't care if it's an invasive vine, this flower makes me happy. 

Have you found any gems in your home base lately? 

Is Spring Here?

It's coming. It's March, and it may still be 32 degrees out, but I can see tiny red leaf-buds on a tree through my living room window. So you know this blog is about to turn into a bunch of this:  

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I can't wait.

#FriFotos - Views

I spent too long going through photos today looking for the perfect photo of sweeping views for today's #FriFotos theme. I finally settled on something less grand. 

View out the window of a bathroom at Mammy's hostel in Lome, Togo

This is the view out of a window in the bathroom of the hostel where the Peace Corps lodged us for our first few days of training. My first morning in Togo, I woke up under a mosquito net to unfamiliar sounds -- a rooster, a street vendor's cries. My shower was cold (but cold running water, better than bucket baths in my future). I stopped back in the bathroom to take this photo before heading to my first Togolese breakfast, excited about all my "firsts" after days of "lasts" in the States (last hot shower in the States, last margarita, last sleep).