Tuesday, June 26, 2007

justifying my feelings

Normally I would just link to this article, but I thought it should be put out here in all its glory. This should help you understand even more of why I felt this way and this way (in case you didn't already see it the way I do). Thank you New York Times and Maureen Dowd and my wonderful roommate as well for forwarding it on to me. Brilliant. I have placed in BOLD some of my personal favorite quotes.

OP-ED COLUMNIST - New York Times

A Vice President Without Borders, Bordering on Lunacy

Published: June 24, 2007

It's hard to imagine how Dick Cheney could get more dastardly, unless J.K. Rowling has him knock off Harry Potter next month.

Harry's cloak of invisibility would be no match for Vice's culture of invisibility.

I've always thought Cheney was way out there — the most Voldemort-like official I've run across. But even in my harshest musings about the vice president, I never imagined that he would declare himself not only above the law, not only above the president, but actually his own dark planet — a separate entity from the White House.

I guess a man who can wait 14 hours before he lets it dribble out that he shot his friend in the face has no limit on what he thinks he can keep secret. Still, it's quite a leap to go from hiding in a secure, undisclosed location in the capital to hiding in a secure, undisclosed location in the Constitution.

Dr. No used to just blow off the public and Congress as he cooked up his shady schemes. Now, in a breathtaking act of arrant arrogance, he's blowing off his own administration.

Henry Waxman, the California congressman who looks like an accountant and bites like a pit bull, is making the most of Congress's ability, at long last, to scrutinize Cheney's chicanery.

On Thursday, Mr. Waxman revealed that after four years of refusing to cooperate with the government unit that oversees classified documents, the vice president tried to shut down the unit rather than comply with the law ensuring that sensitive data is protected. The National Archives appealed to the Justice Department, but who knows how much justice there is at Justice, now that the White House has so blatantly politicized it?

Cheney's office denied doing anything wrong, but Cheney's office is also denying it's an office. Tricky Dick Deuce declared himself exempt from a rule that applies to everyone else in the executive branch, instructing the National Archives that the Office of the Vice President is not an "entity within the executive branch" and therefore is not subject to presidential executive orders.

"It's absurd, reflecting his view from the first day he got into office that laws don't apply to him," Representative Waxman told me. "The irony is, he's taking the position that he's not part of the executive branch."

Ah, if only that were true. Then maybe W. would be able to close Gitmo, which Vice has insisted he not do. And Condi wouldn't have to worry every night that she'll wake up to find crazy Dick bombing Iran, whispering to W. that they have to do it before that weak sister Hillary takes over.

"Your decision to exempt your office from the president's order is problematic because it could place national security secrets at risk," Mr. Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Cheney.

Of course, it's doubtful, now that Vice has done so much to put our national security at risk, that he'll suddenly listen to reason.

Cheney and Cheney's Cheney, David Addington, his equally belligerent, ideological and shadowy lawyer and chief of staff, have no shame. After claiming executive privilege to withhold the energy task force names and protect Scooter Libby, they now act outraged that Vice should be seen as part of the executive branch.

Cheney, they argue, is the president of the Senate, so he's also part of the legislative branch. Vice is casting himself as a constitutional chimera, an extralegal creature with the body of a snake and the head of a sea monster. It's a new level of gall, to avoid accountability by saying you're part of a legislative branch that you've spent six years trying to weaken.

But gall is the specialty of Addington, who has done his best to give his boss the powers of a king. He was the main author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, and he helped stonewall the 9/11 commission. He led the fights supporting holding terrorism suspects without access to courts and against giving Congress and environmentalists access to information about the energy industry big shots who secretly advised Cheney on energy policy.

Dana Perino, a White House press spokeswoman, had to go out on Friday and defend Cheney's bizarre contention that he is his own government. "This is an interesting constitutional question that legal scholars can debate," she said.

I love that Cheney was able to bully Colin Powell, Pentagon generals and George Tenet when drumming up his fake case for war, but when he tried to push around the little guys, the National Archive data collectors — I'm visualizing dedicated "We the People" wonky types with glasses and pocket protectors — they pushed back.

Archivists are the new macho heroes of Washington.

GO FIGHT WIN - ARCHIVISTS! Whoohoo! Can you even believe this is going on?! Talk about a lack of integrity!

Monday, June 25, 2007

European Juxtaposition

These buildings, the Louvre and the British Museum, have many things in common. They both house world renowned museums, they both have numerous pillars and dramatic pediments, and they both have new construction made out of glass. Both are incredibly amazing and these pictures just don't do them justice.

The Louvre - Paris, France

The British Museum - London, England

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"and you may ask yourself- well ... how did I get here?"

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?
-Talking Heads, "Once in A Lifetime"

One could say that I have been on an extremely interesting literary kick these days. Apparently it started in April with a book I began reading in May 2006. I had put it down and forgot about it until April 2007 when the weather turned nice again. For some reason I like to read on the metro in the Spring and not so much in the winter. I think its just easier to listen to the pod on the metro when you have a winter coat and hat on and two bags on your shoulder (the purse and the gym bag - in case you wanted to be able to visualize it). So anyway - I was hungry to read again come April and picked up The Collapse. I was coming up on my beach vacation to North Carolina when I decided to stop by my neighborhood used book shop on The Hill for some reading material. While I have The Kite Runner sitting on my shelf at home, just waiting for me to dive into it and love it (like EVERYONE says I will), I don't feel like reading it yet. Don't get me wrong, I want to read it (thanks for the Christmas gift April - you are the best) and I will. I just don't feel like it right now. The other day I made a statement casually about why I hadn't started reading it yet and I think that it actually might be the real reason why I haven't. I said, "For some reason I like to read all these popular books after everyone else has read them. After they are the "it" book to read." I am not trying to be "to cool" for the cool book, but I just feel like there is too much pressure I guess. Plus they are often cheaper once the hype has died down.

But I digress, as I am sure you are quite accustomed to by now. This strange literary kick I am speaking of is that I have only been reading books that have to do with how the world ended up like this - that's the best way I can describe it. These books address the environment, economics, sociology, history, cultural studies and now a little bit of psychology. So how did I get on this kick? The answer to that question encapsulates everything that is Bethany Johnson - so we won't even attempt at answering it (I believe that is a life-long pursuit that no one person has tried to take on just yet). But this particular literary fetish was facilitated by my inquiry at the used book store for something along the lines of The Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel. I felt like I was learning so many new and interesting ideas and ways to see our global culture and how we got to this point that I wanted more. I felt like my mind was stretching and the ideas were just soooo interesting to think about. The clerk was extremely helpful and suggested a bunch of books - two of which I purchased. Freakanomics and Fast Food Nation. This then lead me to comb the economic and social science sections of bookstores for another batch of thought provoking and mind blowing books. I limited myself to purchasing two books again. I am now reading Generation Me and it is fascinating! You especially know you picked the right two books to read when the first one you pick up (Generation Me) quotes the book you have already bought to read next (Bowling Alone). Needless to say I was pretty pleased with my choices.

I decided to get Generation Me because it addresses the demographic that I find myself in - mid-twenties, college educated, upper-middle class background. I am extremely interested how my age group is dealing with this historically new modern life we lead ... basically I am wondering if my feelings and experiences (as well as those around me) are "normal" or "typical". And how does this shift from the past effect us, our relationships, our happiness - our lives in general? I am also interested in this because I feel like many of us have such different mid-twenties experiences than our parents. Isn't that interesting? Lots of things I think, feel, want, and do are pretty traditionally rooted and I wonder how to reconcile all of this with my day to day modern life. Lots of aspects of modern life are pretty great and amazing - but I still feel we are missing some things. So far this book is blowing my mind. My next post will have quotes as I dive into understanding my generation a little bit more. I have already marked some amazing points the author is making ... hope you won't mind another book review!

To be continued ....

Rodin Sculpture

Sometimes I feel that really great pictures get lost when viewed with a collection. We skim over individuals all too quickly in pursuit of the next beautiful shot. When perusing my photo collection the other day (when I was inspired to create my photo groupings ONE, TWO, and THREE) I was setting aside some of the photos I liked from my trip to Europe in February. I posted a link to my flickr page for each city (London, Paris and Rome) but I didn't post any of the actual pictures on my blog. I like a lot of the photos I took and so I have decided to post a few here and there. These first two are from the Musee Rodin in Paris.

The Thinker

Sculpture is so interesting to me. Both of these examples of Rodin's work are bronze casts, which is even more work than a marble sculpture. The human form is also especially intriguing to me ... the definition of muscles and the fine balance of proportion is amazing!

Ahhh ... so soak it all up! Ponder and view the work of Rodin!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What Ever Happened To ...

  • Taking a chance
  • Being yourself
  • Thinking that others are pretty great
  • Being humble
  • Making the effort
  • Remembering who you are and where you came from
  • Giving
  • Loving
  • Trying

Just some thoughts I had today ... whatever happened to all these things?

Where did the good go?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Would You Like Lies with That?

I don't think I have yet blogged about the book I am currently reading - Fast Food Nation (PS there is a great preview of the book here, you can even read some of the chapters). As is often the case, I hear the movie isn't nearly as good and apparently it is more of a movie than a documentary - its nonfiction. So read it, don't watch it. Seriously. Unless you are Number4 ... and I have already told her not to read it, but everyone else - READ THIS BOOK. It is amazing. I thought it was going to be spouting out all these statistics and figures and health charts illustrating just how unhealthy fast food is for us. But I quickly realized that, no ... that job is left (rightly and effectively so) to the movie Super Size Me - see it! Eric Schlosser, the author, has even written a kids version of the book titled Chew on This. Check out the cover of the paperback edition:

I love the burger and cross bones - sooo awesome.

Anyway - the book is about the economics behind the fast food industry and all of the food production industries that supply it. Extremely fascinating. I would have blogged about it more as I was reading it, but I was trying to be less preachy and "weighty" in my blogging material. Blogs are suppose to be fun too - right?! But as I am nearing the end of the book I simply must share some of the closing thoughts. Often times while reading all these books that I have been interested in lately pertaining to the world economy, both locally and globally, I keep thinking ... "Ok I see the benefit of capitalism and the concept of the free market. But people don't know the price (environmental, social, biological, emotional, etc., etc.) behind their purchases. We only know that we want stuff and we want it cheap." The idea that the free market checks itself just never seems to sit right with me and I feel like the machine is just going to run its course and should we just let it? I don't know! And then I read this and it all clicked for me:

"There is nothing inevitable about the fast food nation that surrounds us - about its marketing strategies, labor policies, and agricultural techniques, about its relentless drive for conformity and cheapness. The triumph of McDonald's and its imitators was by no means preordained. During the past two decades, rhetoric about the "free market" has cloaked changes in the nation's economy that bear little relation to real competition or freedom of choice. [Schlosser goes on to talk about how industries always work hard against the restraints of the market in the name of big profits.]

"The market is a tool, and a useful one. But the worship of this tool is a hollow faith. Far more important than any tool is what you make with it. May of America's greatest accomplishments stand in complete defiance of the free market: the prohibition of child labor, the establishment of a minimum wage, the creation of wilderness areas and national parks ...

"... The twenty-first [century] will no doubt be marked by a struggle to curtail excessive corporate power. The great challenge now facing counties throughout the world is how to find a proper balance between the efficiency and the amorality of the market. Over the past twenty years the United States has swung too far in one direction, weakening the regulations that safeguard workers, consumers, and the environment. An economic system promising freedom has too often become a means of denying it, as the narrow dictates of the market gain precedence over more important democratic values."
(Excerpts from pages 260 and 261 of Fastfood Nation by Eric Schlosser)

WOW ... that is all I can say. Schlosser just articulated everything I was feeling but couldn't quite connect together. The market is amoral! (What a revelation to me - I never even thought about it like that!) It is the people involved with the market that should impose morality onto it - to make it work for us. Just because the market trends may go in one direction or another, doesn't mean its not harmful in the long run - its amoral, it doesn't know or care or comprehend suffering or injustice or damage. A market doesn't have to be unbridled to be free ... we can reign it in now and again and still keep the integrity of competition and choice.

This leads me to my most favorite thought these days ... just because its legal, doesn't mean its right. We can't legislate morality very effectively (nor do I believe we should) but we are responsible for our own actions. When it comes to the health aspects of eating fast food - we have the choice to eat it or not to eat it. But the economic side does not have to roll along the way it is now with low paying and dangerous jobs (seriously read the book). Go with your gut people. Trust your inner moral compass - don't just depend on the market or the government to tell you what is acceptable.

And as for me - I can't wait to get to Oregon where I will have the ease of locating and buying free-range and locally grown food ... those tree-huggers in the Pacific Northwest are big on that stuff.

I Mean ... Seriously

Are all Capricorns having difficult work situations? I mean ... seriously. The Universe simply must know me because my horoscope (yet again) is spot on:

Even if you have built a strong foundation at work, now you may be ready to make changes. If you've been slowly getting agitated over a dysfunctional situation, let it come to a head without forcing the issue. You may be fed up with irresolvable tensions and could be tempted to take drastic action. Move forward cautiously or you might inadvertently stir up a hornet's nest. Monday, June 18, 2007

Looks like I need to be careful - eek!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

(photo grouping #3) Circles

Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Musee de Orsday - Paris, France

Friday, June 15, 2007

Overheard on the Metro Today

"When I am at the gym, I don't want to remember that I am doing something good for myself. And so I don't want to watch CNN while doing it."
I don't know about you, but I have to do the exact opposite than this woman when I am at the gym. I have to constantly remind myself that I am doing something good for my health while slaving away on the elliptical. In fact I always watch CNN when doing my cardio. All the crazy things going on in the world help to distract me from my sweating and strained breathing. I even sometimes tear up while reading the closed captioning on the screen. Terrible things are happening to people right now while I am burning 500 calories! Doesn't the boggle your mind?

This world is just straight up crazy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This One's For Me (sorry if its a yawn to you)

I dedicate this post to myself ... my future home owning self. Now I know that home ownership is a long way off, but its always good to have goals. Goals that entail determining what type of furniture you would like to one day buy. Now you know that I definitely have my priorities straight in life. Anyway -

I have this thing for upholstered furniture. I love the fabrics and styles they can come in - there is so much room to make these pieces your own! I also love the antique brass upholstery tacks on the sides! The details are awesome. I really like this chair, but its white silk (so not practical) and it might not be that comfortable (no arms ... hmm):

In which case I could also go for something like these chairs below (there is a matching couch as well). These are French Art Deco but you can find something similar from Pottery Barn - alas, both options are much too expensive for me.
Or these chairs would work ... I love the tanned brown leather.

Oh - this chair is HEAVEN (why are all these chairs light fabrics ??) I LOVE the quilted look and how low it is to the ground. So pretty.

Or how about a dark wood dinning room table (with turned legs of course - my favorite) surrounded by six of these babies (re-upholstered in some delightful fabric). I hate when dinning chairs are uncomfortable and these would be so nice!

And don't even get me started on looking for chandeliers ... I don't just want one in my dinning room - I want one in my Master bedroom OR my Master bathroom (not both - just one depending on my house one day) as well! In fact, I would consider forgoing the dinning room chandelier for one in my Master suite. Silly - this I know. But a girl has got to dream big while she is still single and before she has a man in her life to crush all her dreams of a frilly and romantic bedroom!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

(photo grouping #2) Crowns, Knights, and Keys


London, England

Boston, Massachusetts
Even crowned in death.

London, England


London, England
(close to Westminster Abbey)
I love the weathering on this and the feather headdress. So dramatic!

Paris, France
(Hotel de Invalides)
Not a great picture - I couldn't get close enough ... but its a window knight - how cool is that?!


Rome, Italy
The bees on this fountain are the symbol of the Barberini family that commissioned it.

Rome, Italy
I love the detail on the keys, they are big and chunky. I couldn't get a picture without the birds - boo!

Rome, Italy
(St. Peter's Basilica)
This motif was carved at the base of all fours of the canopy. Carved out of marble and inlaid with red ... a lost art!

Rome, Italy
(St. Peter's Square)
I love the marble against that beautiful blue sky!

Of course all the key pictures were taken in Rome. Keys are a big theme in Rome because of Peter. Christ bestowed the keys of the priesthood on Peter:
"And I will agive unto thee the bkeys of the ckingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt dbind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

(photo grouping #1) Equestrian Statues

Do you ever take a look through your pictures and realize that you forgot that you took some pretty cool shots? I did that tonight. I also noticed that I tend to shoot similar subjects and so I have decided to group some shots. I will be posting my photographic realizations these next few days.

To begin with we have equestrian statues ... lots of big, old cities have them. It was a big thing to depict men (usually - see DC's one exception here) on horseback, very honorable or something like that. Often the horses and their riders are high up, so that is the main reason I like to take pictures of them - they offer an interesting angle. The funny thing is that I don't even particularly like horses.

Anyway - here is a random sample of equestrian statues I have photographed in multiple countries (it feels cool to say that, I am not gonna lie). The more I look at them, the more I like them. I'm glad I snapped these photos.

Outside the Louvre

Elgin Marbles - British Museum

Washington, DC

Beacon Hill - Boston, MA

Washington, DC

Library of Congress - Washington, DC

Outside Buckingham Palace - London, England

Ok, so this last one is actually a lion but I think it still fits.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pineapple Welcome

Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Beacon Hill
Boston, Massachusetts

I always knew that the pineapple was a symbol of welcome and I found two great colonial examples of how early America influenced that. I love it! I would love to find an antique brass door ornament like these above and put it on my house one day! Check out what I learned:

"Today the pineapple is known as a universal symbol of hospitality and welcome. It suggests to all a sign of friendliness, warmth, cheer, and graciousness.

Since the 17th century, the pineapple has been a favorite fruit of the wealthy. In colonial America, families would set fresh pineapple on their tables when visitors joined them, and it would be served as a special dessert. This was the utmost symbol of welcome. Often, when visitors stayed the night, they would be given the bedroom with pineapples carved in the bedposts or headboard."

"It is hardly surprising that this communal symbol of friendship and hospitality also became a favorite motif of architects, artisans and craftsmen throughout the colonies. hey sculpted pineapples into door lintels; stenciled pineapples on walls and canvas mats; wove pineapples into tablecloths, napkins, carpets and draperies; and cast pineapples into metal hot plates. There were whole pineapples carved of wood; pineapples executed in the finest china kilns; pineapples painted onto the backs of chairs and tops of chests."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007


I didn't want to be a copy-cat and include this link on my blog, but then I actually plugged in my name and received the following definition and I HAD to post it, because well - it is true:

Bethany Johnson --

A master blogger

I also tried my blogging name:

Baroque --


A poltergeist sent back in time to change the course of history forever

The only problem I discovered is that you can re-submit and get a different answer every time ... I know I know ... I should have realized it just randomly generates phrases, but still I was sad. When I plugged in my full name - this was the first definition ... for reals! But the second one I kept getting stupid ones and finally just gave up and kept this one.

Try it out for yourself - just once - and tell me how the dictionary defines you!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

on the lighter side (first figuratively, then literally)

Today was the most beautiful day ... I just want to soak it all in before the terrible heat and humidity grabs hold of this city. I went on a walk around Capitol Hill today on my lunch break and found some new houses that I liked ... I want to own a house on Capitol Hill someday they are just so wonderfully old and strong and detailed and all DIFFERENT (that is my favorite part - the styles are so eclectic) ... sigh. Perhaps they just looked even more wonderful today because the cool breeze was blowing through my hair and I was taking it all in.

In other happiness I saw my first fireflies of the season tonight. I remember the first time I saw one in real life. It was my first time to DC in the summer of 2001. My parents and I were walking down by the reflecting pool, making our way to the Lincoln Memorial (this was before the World War II Memorial was built). It was dusk and the fireflies were just starting to come out! It was wonderful. I was so excited to see them in real life - how they suddenly light up and then just as quickly fade into the darkness. I had read books that mentioned them, but I had never seen them, such things don't exist in the west I guess or maybe they just don't exist in suburbia.

I still want to try to catch fireflies in a jar someday ... wouldn't that be fun? Ah, these are the good parts of summer ... if only I had a porch. And some fresh lemonade. One day - when I have my Capitol Hill house!

P.S. - did you know that the process of light production in fireflies is called bioluminescence. Its function in the adult beetles is primarily to locate other individuals of the same species for reproduction. Many species, especially in the genus Photinus (genus), are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. Photinus females generally do not fly, but give a flash response to males of their own species (from wikipedia).

Of course the cool light action would have to do with reproduction ... figures.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Cool DC Life

After work I usually spend an hour or so at the gym ... sweating it out. Today, however I had the IN to a Capitol Hill presentation on displacement and I did some celebrity stalking - all at the same time!

Ryan Gosling was the celebrity (as well as Ben Mackenzie from the OC - but he didn't speak and all I saw was the back of his head) and let's just get it all said and done so we can move on to what he said and what the !Enough campaign is all about. Ok - he looked really really good. Scruffy (just the way I like my men), brooding, contemplative, and sincere. He was wearing a white collard shirt, open at the neck, with a suite jacket. His hair was short and messy (kind of like the picture here but a bit longer; and he was talking mostly about Norther Uganda, not Darfur like his shirt says) and he looked really really good. He sounded EXACTLY like he does as Noah in The Notebook. It was dreamy.

Take a good long look ...
and now lets move on to what was said and what I observed at the presentation.
P.S. - check what his wiki says about his family:
Ryan Gosling was born in London, Ontario and raised in the small paper mill town
of Cornwall. His parents, who were Mormons, divorced when he was young.
And this article confirms it in his own words ...
another peep in Hollywood (or at least a former peep)

First and foremost - the room in the Dirkson Senate Building was FULL of young female hill staffers. Multiple presenters, including Mr. Gosling, commented on the youthfulness of the Hill. It was interesting to see how the ENOUGH campaign was using celebrity to promote the cause - which is totally the thing to do. Mission - create awareness (because really that is the first step to success - people need to know about it). How to accomplish this mission? - enlist the visibility of a celebrity. CHECK.

All the speakers encouraged us to send letters to the President of the United States ... does that really work? Perhaps I am skeptical. Also, they asked the audience (mainly staffers of Senate and Congressional offices) to go to work tomorrow and ask their bosses to "sign on" ... I hate to break it to them - but that crowd was mostly interns that are lucky to even say hello to their bosses the Congressmen/women or Senators, let alone suggest they support a US delegate to the peace talks in Uganda (there I go again with the skepticism).

But really - lots of good things were said. There was an aura of hope in that room, even though the topic is seemingly hopeless. Children being stolen from their beds in the night to be enlisted in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Really tragic things are going on there ... its hard to believe, but I know its true especially because my roommie lived in Uganda running a medical clinic for four months. Its bad there and she didn't even really deal with the LRA or the issues of Northern Uganda.

In conclusion, it was a good presentation and Ryan Gosling was sincere in his desire to make a difference ... to do something more.

In response to the looks on the people's faces in a displacement camp - looks that seemed to say "you can help us" he said,

"I'm just an actor ... I just pretend to be people who you think can help you ... I am just a guy."

But he realized he could help by speaking about his experience. He said of a boy he met in a camp,

"This little tiny boy was more of a man than I will ever be."

The five minute film Displace Me was also touching. Demonstrating the many peoples around this world that are displaced from their homes because of war. The destruction of culture, families, tradition, health, and other basic fundamental qualities of life that occur due to displacement. It is heart breaking. The movie ended with this great reminder:


Lets make them end sooner, rather than later.

Monday, June 04, 2007

oh happy day!

I just registered for my first term of graduate school! How fun is that! I know its totally dorky - but I am really really excited about it. School doesn't even start until late September (so late huh - don't be jealous ... school goes until mid June) but I am ecstatic! Probably because I am taking some really interesting classes -

- Research Methods (ok - not that cool)

- Introduction to Historic Preservation (cool)

- 19th Century Architecture (getting cooler)

- Seminar on Green Cities (coolest)

I still have a myriad of details to work out - student loans, health insurance, etc. but I am so happy to now have my schedule set. Maybe I will pick up one of the books on the reading list ... yeah, that sounds like a great idea!

You laugh - but I think I just might.

[end geek girl excitement]

Saturday, June 02, 2007

a gem of a park ... unfortunately it is made out of pebbles

My last reflection that had been overlooked in the past month or so was my little excursion to a park in my neighborhood. Meridian Hill Park is a beautiful Italian style garden park with balustrades (which I love), alcoves, stairways, balconies, and a large stepped fountain. The design is just great! I have been meaning to take a walk through it since it is only 6 or so blocks from my house and now that the weather was getting nice, I decided to do it one Saturday morning.

This is the classic photo of the fountain that everyone takes. It is built on a hill so the water cascades down 13 different steps or basins. I was hoping for some more flowers around the sides of the pools ... sadly it wasn't living up to its glory at the moment.

Water is such an interesting thing to watch or photograph - catching the movement in one moment as it breaks over the edge!

My only other complaint about Meridian Hill park (besides the lack of up keep on cleanliness and on planting) is that the stunning architecture is composed of concrete aggregate ... apparently it was an experiment ... who thought that was a good idea?! I hate it. I want a clean smooth service ... it looks outdated, not classic like the forms it has been shaped into.

The over all view of the water feature ... cascading down the hill. Very beautiful. Can you believe that this is in the middle of DC?

I love that there were these banisters on the stairways - it makes the garden feel like a room or an extension of your living space. It feels very romantic, like a fairytale. Couldn't you just picture running down these steps in a ball gown and into the arms of prince charming? (Ok - I just lost half my readers in this moment - sorry, I am done now!)

I had to take a picture of the balustrades up close to show you how sad it is that it is made out of concrete aggregate! What a crime of aesthetics! In case you don't know - concrete aggregate consists of small pebbles specially selected for size and color from which forms are pulled while the surface is still susceptible to treatment. Wire brushing and acid washing are then used to expose the texture. YUCK!

Meridian Hill Park has the only female equestrian statue in DC - it's Joan of Arc of course. You all know by now how much I love oxidized bronze ... its so green, runny, and pretty. I like the angles I could get too of this statue since it was so high up.

This fountain is very much like the large fountains in St. Peter's Square in Rome outside the Vatican. The Italians are so good - I love how the large scale compliments the details found in everything.

Eastern Market Fire

The next item on my reflection list (and in my iphoto) is the fire that occurred in Eastern Market on April 30, 2007. The 134 year old market is located on Capital Hill. Funny thing was that morning I was planning on taking the long way to work and get off the metro at Eastern market instead of the Capitol South, the stop before because I wanted to stop by and grab something for breakfast at the market. But once I was on the metro with my headphones on I was in auto-pilot and got off at my usual stop Capitol South like every other robotic hill staffer or LOC bookworm. It wasn't until I was half-way to work when I realized I got off too soon. I hate when I feel like a zombie and don't even think about what I am doing - I just follow my routine and am not even aware of the world around me. That makes me feel like I am just barely getting by in life and not really living.

Anyway - it was a somber mood when I went by the Market on my lunch break. I couldn't believe how the windows had just melted - they looked like sheets of caramel or satin curtains the way they draped down in the frames. It was a sad sight. Thankfully no-one was hurt in the fire that occurred early in the morning before anyone arrived.

These were taken over the course of two days after the fire. Easter Market will be missed and I am sad that the beautiful architecture was damaged.