Friday, July 29, 2011

US Botanic Gardens

I like pictures of flowers.  There, I said it!  And that really shouldn't be a surprise by now.  Of all the flowers to take pictures of orchids are by far my favorite, well, because they are my favorite flower.  They come in so many colors, shapes and sizes.  With spots and with tendrils.  They're clean and simple, while at the same time wild and complex.  I love 'em.  And while Krohn Conservatory has a decent selection of ordids, I have to say, the US Botanic Garden's collection was magnificent. The rest of the the conservatory was comparable to Krohn, in size and selection (maybe a tad better.  And, likewise, free to the public).  But the orchids, they blew my mind!  It was like orchid nirvana and I was on a high.  I looked left...ORCHIDS.  I looked right....ORCHIDS!!  ORCHIDS ORCHIDS ORCHIDS!!!  It was pure euphoric madness!  And, I must say this, I love Antoine...he's such a trooper when I start geeking out in moments like this.  In fact, he not only tolerates my orchid nerd-gasms...but he actually goes along and points out interesting blooms that I might have missed or haven't gotten to yet.  I just love that about him!  Anywho, here's a crap ton of pictures of flowers...

(You really should have seen this coming!)

*Prepare yourself...the next several pictures are, in fact, NOT orchids (scary, I know!) 


I hope you all have a super fantastic weekend.  A and I are heading to northern Ohio this weekend for a family reunion.  I also get to see my HLP on Sunday, which I am ridiculously happy about!  See you next week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Monuments

 Tuesday, after I was dismissed from my workshop at LoC, Antoine and I decided to spend the evening touring the monuments on the National Mall.  We planned to make our way from the Smithsonian Metro station to the Washington monument, the World War II memorial, Vietnam Veterans memorial, the Lincoln memorial, the Korean War Veterans memorial, the FDR memorial and the Jefferson memorial.  The latter two were the ones I was most interested in seeing...since I hadn't ever seen them up close before.  Unfortunately, by the time we made it to the Lincoln memorial we were soaked with sweat and drained of all our energy.  We were able to see the Korean War memorial, but didn't have the energy to walk around the tidal basin to the FDR or Jefferson memorials.  I guess that just means we'll have to go back to DC sometime in the future...when it's not over 100 degrees outside!

 Washington Monument

 World War II Memorial, the newest of all the memorials and monuments (however, come August 28th, the MLK Memorial will be the newest addition)

 There are two larger pillars/arches on either side of the fountain, one says "Pacific" and the other "Atlantic"...depicting the two theatres of the war.  Each of the smaller surrounding pillars has the name of either a state, territory or district that participated in the war and a wreath above the inscription.

 Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Statue just outside of the the Vietnam memorial

 Sadly, the reflecting pool that sits between the World War II and the Lincoln memorials was under construction and completely drained and dug up.  Antoine was a little bummed, since he had never seen it in person and it is just a prominent and infamous part of the Mall.  Still, the Lincoln memorial was hopping with people.

 The Korean War Veterans Memorial is probably my favorite of all the memorials.  I think it's the most emotional, with it's platoon of statue soldiers in full gear, making their way across the memorial.  This monument gives all Korean War Veterans and lost soldiers a face, which I find moving.  I remember when I visited DC in the 7th grade on a class trip, this was the memorial that stood out to me the most...and it still does.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Museums and Arlington National Cemetery

Since the workshop I was attending at the Library of Congress took place Monday through Friday, Antoine and I decided to make use of the my free plane ticket and some hotel rewards points we had from his consulting and turned my business trip into vacation.  We stayed in DC the weekend before and after my workshop, trying to see as many sights as we could without completely melting in the blistering heat and humidity.  In our first round of sightseeing we went to a couple of Smithsonian museums and Arlington National Cemetery (note to self: never go to Arlington National Cemetery, or any place where there is relatively little shade and tons of walking, when it's nearly 100 degrees outisde).  Here are some of the highlights...

 The underground tunnel between the two wings of the National Gallery...complete with moving sidewalks and twinkly walls and ceiling.

I apologize for Antoine being out of focus, but I wanted you to get a better idea of the awesomeness of the tunnel!

 The Smithsonian Institution building (also known as "the Castle") was the home of the original Smithsonian.

 Inside the Castle

Arlington National Cemetery

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holy Motherf#@king Library, Batman!!

As you may or may not know by now, last week I was in the hot-sticky-mess known as Washington, DC.  But you may be wondering, why?  Why, oh why, Jessica where you in DC during the hottest week of the year?!?  Are you stupid?  Yes, yes I am...stupid for Library Preservation! 

I was actually in DC on business, attending a Preservation workshop at none other than the Library of Congress!  It was amaz-tastic, to say the least!  Preservation (what I do) isn't a big topic in opportunities for staff development that are actually legit and useful are few and far between.  So when a week-long workshop at the Library of Congress my boss told me, "You're going!"  And my little book-nerd heart went pitter-patter.  Not only was this the first useful Preservation intensive that's come up in the last four years that I've been working here, but I'd never been to the LoC!  And now I can say honestly, that place is the shit!

LoC consists of three buildings named after three "green people from history times" (aka, dead presidents): the Jefferson (the oldest of all the buildings), the Adams building and the Madison building (the newest/ugliest...the one where most of our workshop was held).  As far as wow-factor, the Jefferson building is where it's at!  The other two buildings are okay (the Adams has some interesting Art Deco elements), but the main interest is what's inside.  But with the Jefferson, the building itself is drop-dead gorgeous!  Built in 1897, the Jefferson is all marble, gold detail, and mosaic wall panels and it sits directly across the street from the Capitol building.  Seriously, how could you not love going to work when your building looks like this...


The main reading room in the Jefferson building (we got an impromptu behind-the-scenes view, so all I had on me was my iPhone!  Normally, the public has to view this reading room from behind a glass wall that prevents you from seeing a lot of it, but not us...we were allowed to look over a private balcony off the closed stacks and take it all in!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Alive!

I know I've been awol for the last week and a half, but it's been crazy-nuts-busy up in here!  Seriously, what with packing, flying to DC, attending a week long workshop at the Library of Congress, melting into a giant pile of human goo in the heat and humidity of Washington DC in mid/late July, and then coming back home and sorting through laundry, running errands, and adjusting to being back in the office!  Oh, and then there's the 450 pictures I took while I was in DC!  Ugh!!  My head is spinning!  I plan on spending the evening doing absolutely nothing, except maybe some puppy snuggling, and then I'll be back, for real, tomorrow with the first of many installments of my DC recap.  Catch you on the flippity-flop!