Well, now that I'm in between chopping for the chili and chopping for the albondigas I'm taking a breather to go back and share a little of what I've been up to here on That Other Coast.
The flight (which left an hour+ late), while bumpy in parts was peaceful -- my naps were only interrupted by the bouncy bits of the country. Yes, I was going to stitch my way across the country, but I napped instead. Sue me. I still recommend Virgin America. It doesn't go t many cities, but if it travels your route, give it a try.
I arrived to my sister's festivly decorated house ....
Those are some of my BIL's marathon medals. My sister points out that she has more, but they wouldn't all fit on the bannister. Sure they're not Christms, but they are darn festive. They also function as jingle bells as you go up the stairs.
On one of the stairs below Medal Row live these three happy fellows--
Sure one guy's a timer, but he's still festive. It is a rahter suspicious look his candle friend in slanting his way.
I've told you a bit about my day 1 in the city, but for those of you contemplating a trip here goes my opinions on the matter and some pics to entice you.
First of all, as I've probably said before, no trip to DC is complete for me without some qaulity bonding time with Jenny Holzer's "For SAAM" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
I was NEVER a modern art person. Never. Then I met "For SAAM." Now I want to go see every Jenny Holzer I can. You can get a brief bit on her here and see lots of pics of her various light installations. The closest I can come to explining why is saying that the I started reading the messages that "For SAAM" was scrolling and became thoroughly addicted. When I first started watching it it was scrolling something along the lines of "I see you I hear you I like you I watch you I follow you You are the only one You are my only one".... and it became more and more stalkeresque. I don't know it was just fascinating. I'm still planning an hour or so of just watching it this trip.
The SAAM (and its sister facility the Renwick) is lovely. There's a great gallery of presidential portraits (some of which I shared during last year's adventure). As a matter of fact I headed towards the museum on the morning of day 2 only to find the street blocked, tons of black SUVs gathered around, tons of cops, and a motorcade speeding passed. It was the day that George and Laura were visiting their new portraits. If you want more on the adventure see this article. I promise to bring you full Ruth-ish cover later. Anyway, the SAAM has wonderful art and it's a great building.... I know, I know, for those of you friendly with the place there is the whole tree incident, but the roof they took out the tree for is pretty darn cool. The building used to be the old Patent Office Building, and if you know yor history you'll already be telling your family that that is where Lincoln's Second Inaugural Ball was held (it was the biggest space in the City at the time). Currently they have a special exhibit on Lincoln's Inaugural Ball which is very cool. It even includes waltz instructions on the floor so you can learn while viewing. Hmm I have pictures of that... I'll post those another day.
Sice I was thwarted on day 2 in my plans to go to the SAAM I headed off to the newly reopened Smithsonian American History Museum. Yes, it's better (at least they dusted), but there are still issues [we'll get back to those]. Let's start with coolness. The new Star Spangled Banner installation is amazing! Here's the entry--
And the back structure --
You can't take pictures inside the actual installation, but trust em it's marvelous... save for one small thing. You see it's kept dark in there for the flag's sake. I'm more than fine with that, but there's this one glass on glass sculpture right up next to the flag window on one end of the walkway that's obviously suposed to be seen, btu there's no light on it whatsoever. I ran my hands over it-- it's not in braille so what gives SAAM? Light it or toss it.
More later. Gotta stir the chili and take Princess for a walk.
I've put together a couple versions of this little bit of holiday fluff from Anna(aka Stitch Bitch) and LisaV --
Candy cane or peppermint patties? Peppermint patties.
Sugar or gingerbread cookies? Either as long as they are soft/chewy.
Tinsel or beaded strands? Tinsel. Gotta be tinsel. We actually have this funny family thing-- my mom came from a long line of before-their-time recyclers, and one of the hings they did was pull the tinsel down a piece at a time and align it like new in a flat box for use the next year. In all my years growing up we never bought tinsel, but we used it every year. lol Oh, and of course it had to be put up one strand at a time.
Multi-colored or same-colored lights? Depends on my mood. Usually though, multi-colored. And I can sit in a dark room watching a lit Christmas tree for hours quite happily (I don't even need to be drinking first!)
Flashing or still lights? Still.
Wreaths or mistletoe/holly? Wreaths for decorating around the place, but mostly holly for xs ornies for some reason.
Rudolph or Frosty? Totally Rudolph!
Sledding or snowball fights? I've never been sledding, but I have had a couple fun snowball battles.
Snow or ice/icicles? Snow. Ice scares me.
Snow hat or earmuffs? I don't own earmuffs or a snow hat. I do, however, have a really long scarf which I lap over my head and ears when I'm out wandering through DC.
Getting or giving? Err, both. I like seeing what people think of, but I love finding what I think is perfect.
Snow days or plow trucks? Err, snow days I think. I probably shouldn't vote being a Californian and all.
Stockings or presents? Gotta go with both.... just remember there's a smaller chance something totally befuddling will be in your stocking.
Cookies & milk or letter to Santa? I only ever made lists for Santa (focused little bugger that I was), so I have to go with cookies. Although I've written a letter from Santa regarding the quality of some cookies left out on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Day. Gotta be day!
Log Burning Channel or real thing? What kind of question is that????? What's with that log burning channel anyway? Who thought that up? I can only believe that it's still on only because no one's watching TV anyway so it can't get beat in the ratings.
Cards or e-mails? Cards... usually sent at the end of January lol
Shoveling or cleaning off the car? You do realize there's a REASON for living in California, right?
Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.
Real tree or Artificial? I come from an artificial family (that sounds bad, doesn't it? lol), but I can see the niftiness of real. It's just that the fake ones are so reliable for ornament space.
When do you put up the tree? If I had space for one I'd probably do it the week after Thanksgiving.
When do you take the tree down? Probably the middle of January should I ever have a place for a tree.
Do you like eggnog? No -- I can say that for certain now that my friend Judy insisted I try it. It sounded icky before I ever tried it, and it lived up to my expectations.
Favorite gift received as a child? Tie -- an antique, barrel-topped chest from my grandpa (probably his grandfather's) and a stuffed German shepherd which was "hidden" under the pine tree in the front yard for me to find -- I squealed and ran out in pjs (sockless) over the wet lawn to go "rescue" him
Hardest person to buy for? Currently, my sister.
Easiest person to buy for? Currently, my friend Jenn because she really likes going to Coldwater's spa so those spa gift cards make her soooo happy
Do you have a nativity scene? I have several. The real question is when will I have space to put them up?
Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can't really remember.
Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Carol -- either the really old one that was called "Scrooge" or the one with George C. Scott
When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually I shop all year, but this year I sort of lost it. I'm not sure I ever really got around to truly thoughtful "Christmas shopping."
Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anyone who answers something other than "Christmas cookies" is either delusional or a liar.
Favorite Christmas song? "In the Bleak Midwinter" although if you catch me humming a Christmas song without thinking about it, it will probably be "Mele Kalikimaka." No, I have no idea why I do. Oh, and at any point during the year when I'm annoyed about something I'm likely to muter-hum "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" under my breath. Try it sometime. It's really perfect for mutter-singing through clenched teeth.
Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel!
Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Sure.
Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel
Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Stores that start their Christmas displays at Halloween and radio stations that go "all Christmas" before mid December.
Favorite ornament theme or color? Birds, houses, all sorts of things.... just traditional-ish stuff, not golfing santas or flamingos
Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey or my sister's prime rib
What do you want for Christmas this year? World peace (I piss all my friend's off by asking for that for every giftable even-- have for years) and a new job where they would tell me I was "invaluable" AND cut my pay 40%+