Ms. Cleaver Goes to Washington (Days 2&3: Nat'l Mall)

 

Brunch

Day Two in DC began with brunch at Afterwords Cafe, which is, I am told, an Institution. I was leaning toward sweet, so I got the French toast. Excepting blah scrambled eggs, the food was good and the service was quick and excellent. I also appreciated the complimentary orange juice.

Escalator at Dupont

Suitably fortified for the morning, I walked a block to the Dupont Circle Metro station, which has the longest escalator I'd ever seen  - seriously. I found the DC Metro to be very user-friendly and and efficient. The fares do change by destination and time of day, but $5 was more than sufficient to get me to the Mall and back again.

Washington Monument

I came out at the Smithsonian station to a large crowd of people participating in an Epilepsy Charity Walk. One of the things that becomes quickly apparent is that the National Mall is equally a gathering place for locals and tourists. Throughout the day I encountered as many local joggers, kite fliers, and Frisbee players as I did international tourists with cameras.

The Mall itself is a very beautiful and, at times, very emotional place to wander.

Washington Monument

I started my tour of the monuments at the impossible to miss Washington Monument. It's hard to grasp the scale of it without standing right next to it. I checked for tickets to enter the inside, but by the time I reached the ticket stand (around 9:45ish) they were sold out for the day. I didn't mind one way or the other, so I continued my way west toward the Lincoln Memorial.

Kites on the Nat'l Mall

Located between the Washington and Lincoln Monuments is the relatively new World War II Memorial, which was for me the most striking, and emotional, of all the monuments.

WWII Memorial

The monument is ringed with a series of bas-relief panels depicting various scenes, a family listening at the radio, soldiers in the pacific forests, nurses tending to the wounded, etc. The sculptures did an amazing job showing emotion on all the faces. I'll admit as I went from panel to panel I began to cry.

WWII Memorial

The back center features the "price of freedom" wall, with one gold star for every 100 lives lost in the wall.  This combined with the panels puts a real human perspective on the war.

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

Next up was the Lincoln Memorial. With the Lincoln (and Vietnam) Memorial, my experience was akin to seeing American Gothic in a museum - it's cool, but the imagery is so familiar, its hard to see it as anything other than the image.  The one surprise was the pennies people left on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in memoriam.

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

It was the memorials I was most unfamiliar with (WWII, Korea) that held the biggest impact. I think that impact was furthered by the fact that I knew people who had fought in those wars, whereas I didn't know anyone who had fought in Vietnam.  The life-sized sculptures at the Korea Monument in particular made it easy to image my father-in-law among them.

Korea Memorial

After the emotion of the war memorials, it was a nice change of pace to the beauty of the Tidal Basin and its 2,000 blooming cherry trees located mostly between the FDR and Jefferson Memorials.

Cherry Blossoms

Fala

Cherry Blossoms

Blazer: J. Crew Outlet

Sweater:Manu, made by me

Shawlette:Ishbel, made by me

Cherry Blossom Pin: FDR Memorial Gift Shop

Denim Skirt: Old

Boots: Naturalizers

Jefferson Memorial

Cherry Blossoms and Bridge

Jefferson Memorial

After I visited the Jefferson Memorial I worked my back to the Washington Monument, completing a five-mile loop of the major monuments. By this point my feet were killing me. I thought my boots were comfy, but not comfy enough for five miles. But the walking wasn't done yet - I only had one free day in DC, so I had to see more.

National Mall Walking Tour.jpg

After an encouraging phone call to Mr. Cleaver back at the home front, I pushed on Eastward to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I enjoyed both the pop-culture-y bits like Julia Child's kitchen and the ruby slipper, as well more educationa exhibits like Science in American Life.

Sam & Friends

Julia's Kitchen

Ruby Slippers

Atomic

Exhibits on American reactions to Atomic Energy and the Labor movement seemed especially timely in light of recent political events.

The American Twins

I was excited to discover the gallery of First Lady inaugural ball gowns at the museum and thought of how striking it was to see Michelle Obama's dark-skinned mannequin after rows and rows of white mannequins just a few exhibits away from a sit-in lunch counter.

Michelle Obama

After several hours at the American History Museum, I went to the far end of the mall to satisfy my geek leanings at the Air and Space Museum - unfortunately I only had about 30 minutes to do a whirlwind tour do to some dinner plans, but it was well worth it.

Air & Space

Gemini IV

Air & Space

Air & Space

My last day in DC was mostly spent at my conference (I tried to look very work-y).

Looking Work-y

Dress: Notary Dress, made by me.

Scarf: Vintage, purchased at Ferdinand.

Fortunately, I had five hours between the end of the conference and my flight time, so I got so see the one thing I missed the day before - the Capitol.

Capitol

Unfortunately, my coworker and I were too late for the tour, but we went to our Senators' office in the Russell building and got passes to the Gallery, which was very cool. Even cooler, I got to witness a roll-call vote for the confirmation of a NY District Court Judge.

Senate Gallery Pass

All in all, it was a very satisfying first trip to Washington D.C. I'd love to go back and spent more time there with Mr. Cleaver, particularly at the other Smithsonian museums.

For a listing of all the places I visited, check out the Google Map of my Trip, with all the locations mentioned here and in yesterday's post.

Chicago - My Favorite Places

Chicago Theatre

As long-time readers of this blog know, before my most recent move to Maine I lived in Chicago for a little over two years. I recently had the chance to return to my old stomping grounds for a work conference, and leapt at the chance and added a couple days onto my trip to revisit my favorite places and hang out my my dear friend Kasey (who graciously let me crash at her place).

So below, some of my favorite spots (including a couple of new finds).

Cheeseborger!

Loopy Yarns

Art Institute

Lurie Garden - Urbs in Horto

Seeing "Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte"

Hubbard Street Dancers

Dress Forms

Stuffed Pizza

Klassy

(A quick explanation on this photo: on the way to pizza, Kasey & I found a lost purse. We found an ID card, but  when we called the person on it, we only got a very confused young woman in Philadelphia. So we looked a bit further into the purse and found that the ID was fake, and that the purse owner liked to return one-shoulder leopard print dresses to the store after wearing them to Ne-Yo concerts at local lounges. One classy lady.)

Cuddling Monkeys

Patagonian cavy

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Orchid

Andersonville

Red Velvet Cupcake

Turtle Races

Katie Cakes

Katie Cakes

I ate my way across the city stopping at The Billy Goat Tavern of SNL sketch fame (get a minimum of a double cheezborger), Giordanos for stuffed pizza (like deep dish, but even better), Thai food at Yes, and two stops at A Taste of Heaven for lunch and breakfast (Katie Cakes!!!).

I took advantage of all the free entertainment the city had to offer - old favorites like Free Thursday evenings at the Art Institute, where I stumbled upon a promo performance by Hubbard Street Dance Company, and the Lincoln Park Zoo; along with new finds at like the Lurie Garden in Millenium Park and the Lincoln Park ConservatoryUrbs in Horto indeed! I did some shopping and picked up another sock's worth of yarn at Loopy Yarns, after visiting a co-worker in the South Loop. I also got to experience some turtle racing at Big Joe's bar.

Best of all, I got some valuable "just hanging out" time with Kasey, which included watching both the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel miniseries. (Which means I now really want to watch the Avonlea series, which my mom recorded every episode of off the Disney Channel back in the day.)

All in all, Chicago was familiar and wonderful and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to return.

Still good

 

On a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to make mention of two things:

  • Barbara Billingsley, the original Mrs. Cleaver, passed away while I was in Rhinebeck and I just wanted to acknowledge the pop culture debt I owe to her.
  • In all the Hub-bub, my 3-year blogaversary happened (on Oct 18th), without me even realizing it. So thanks to all the readers out there who keep me motivated to keep putting my words and pictures out there. I truly appreciate you all.

 

Finished Object Round Up

If you're one of my friends on Ravelry, you might have noticed that for the past several months the top half of my project page seemed pretty empty. I had no photos of anything I made in the past 4-5 months - oops!

I blame this on two things - one: I didn't feel like putting on woolly things in the middle of the summer to take pictures of them and two: something I affectionately call That [email protected]#n Sweater.

Chevron Cardigan

That [email protected]#n Sweater is the achingly lovely Joy pattern from Rowan's vintage knits - my second and not last project from that book. It's a perfect lightweight cardigan that goes with anything and I wear it probably three times a week these days.

Chevron Cardigan

So why the name? Three reasons, it's black, textured and involves the following US needle sizes: 1, 2, 3. All of this is to say, I started it January 28 and finished around July 5th. A nearly six month labor of love.  That said, I'm a huge fan of the finished product, my only caveat is that I wish I had used better quality yarn, it's made from Knit Pick's Palette, which doesn't feel as nice as I'd like and it's already doing some serious pilling, but in any case I'm sure I will wear this cardigan to the bone.

My Pillow

To make myself feel better, this is a project I completed from start to finish in about three days, one which involved a marathon session of watching The West Wing.

Pillow Pieces

The project was inspired by a similar pillow pictured in SouleMama's book Handmade Home, which I picked up at a local book signing a few weeks back. The "bluework" pattern is free on a site called Pattern Bee (which as of 9/10/09 appears to be down for maintenance - the link should be re-activated around 9/16). The fabric is from a fat quarter pack I picked up at Z Fabrics a while back. The whole thing looks very nice on my sofa.

Woven Scarf

This one you've seen a lot of, but here's me actually wearing that scarf I wove earlier this summer (June). The ladies in my knitting group like to mock me for my consistency in color selection. Looking at the items in this post and my current (unpictured) knitting project, I'd be the last one to deny it. What can I say?  I like the colors of the ocean!

Book Jacket Photo

Another scarf photo, in a long tradition of what I like to call the"Book Jacket Photo."

Ishabel Shawl

This is Ysolda's Ishbel shawl from Whimsical Little Knits, which I picked up back here and knit in  some hand-dyed lace weight from Pine Star Studio that I got at the Maine Fiber Frolic. I knit it in about 10 days and took about 2 months before I got around to blocking it, which really does make all the difference in the world.

Ishbel Shawl

This is my new favorite picture of myself. All of the knitting/weaving photos were graciously taken by Mr. Cleaver while we took a walk around Mackworth Island this Labor Day. Mr. Cleaver joined me in creating the final FO ofthe post, of contribution to Mackworth's village of Fairy Houses.

Our Fairy House

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Roadtrip: Maine Fiber Frolic

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This past Saturday, six of us from Portland Knitters on the Town took a field trip up to Windsor Maine for the Maine Fiber Frolic. There were over 200 locally-based fiber vendors and dozens of adorable animals.

Family 

The highlight of my day was holding a pair of 6-day-old cashmere goats - one who feel asleep in my arms!

Maggie

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a girl and her goat

Our Haul

The Fair is largely geared toward spinners, and my spinning friends made quite the haul (not pictured, the four raw fleeces they also took home), but there was plenty of lovely hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn to be purchased as well. Being on the poor end of my pay cycle, I only came home with one skein of yarn. A lovely hand-dyed lace weight from Pine Star Studios that will be soon made into an Ishbel shawl. The entire Pine Star booth had beautiful items, including the orange and green roving seen above.

Hopefully both Pine Star and my other local favorite, Enchanted Knoll will be at the Common Ground Fair and the fall and  regardless of whether I spin yet or not (because we all know I eventually will) I'm planning on picking up some roving. I'm hoping to pick up drop spindling in the fall. I was really entranced by it at the Frolic and really, who wouldn't want to be as cool as this guy?

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Tonight: my second night of weaving!

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