Thursday, February 11, 2016

Longwood Gardens: The Children's Garden

Because winter can get a tad dreary in the Northern Hemisphere, I share with you more colorful photos from my Longwood Gardens visit. You may read previous posts about that trip here and here. Within the gigantic conservatory, there is a corner designed to be enjoyed by children, although it is not particularly interactive unless one wishes to stick one's hand into various water fountains -- which of course can be fun!
These serpents and the boiling cauldron were particularly impressive!
A peaceful corner...
This bird blew bubbles in the water every so often. Yellow light is from the stained glass window.
And in keeping with bird theme, later outside in the gardens I spotted a real bird - apparently a red-tailed hawk.
Even more Longwood photos to follow eventually!

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Life has once again gotten in the way of blogging.  The new job and longer commute are truly cutting into my writing time, and certainly there is less time for various adventures. So, I'll update you on some of what I have been doing.

Reading...One benefit of the commute is having more time to read. Since the beginning of the year I have read five books, including one in Latvian. Gloria Steinem's newest book, "My Life of the Road," was very informative; it includes many interesting stories and anecdotes from her life spent traveling to places around the country to work with various community organizations, civil rights movements, and individuals. The Latvian book I read was a memoir by Krišjānis Barons, and I would recommend it to all of my Latvian friends.

Enjoying...In an effort to stave off the winter doldrums, as well as to spend time with friends and enjoy some of Washington's cultural riches, in recent weeks I attended both a concert and a comedy show. The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington is celebrating its 35th year, and they kicked it off with a performance at the Barns of Wolf Trap. Although I had been to the outdoor amphitheater at Wolf Trap for numerous summer concerts, this was my first event at the Barns - which are two beautiful old barns stitched together to create an intimate concert venue as well as bar area. The atmosphere was cozy, and the concert was very good. Another Washington institution is the Capitol Steps, a musical satire ensemble, which - as their slogan puts it - puts the "mock" in democracy. Interestingly, the Steps are also celebrating their 35th anniversary this year. Particularly in this crazy election cycle the group had much to satirize, though one of my favorite pieces featured Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor waiting for the women's bathroom at the Supreme Court, and breaking out into song to rhapsodize about their crushes on Anthony Scalia. For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of video clips of skits we saw. The first is Bernie Sanders singing "If There Were No Rich Men."

And "Lirty Dies: A Nunch of Butts..."
The Steps perform every Friday and Saturday night at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, and I'd say it's a "must do" for any Washingtonian. It was an entertaining way to finish the workweek.

Socializing...Although football does not interest me in the least, I always look forward to the elaborate Super Bowl party that some friends invite me to every year. And one of the most laughter-filled evenings in recent memory took place at a Tex-Mex restaurant with seven former co-workers. The get-together had been organized by a former colleague visiting from Ecuador; we had not seen in six months, so it was truly great to catch up. How fortunate that our party of eight was essentially given a private room, as our loud chattering and laughter would probably been annoying to anyone sitting nearby! In the coming weeks I'm looking forward to seeing another friend visiting from overseas.