Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We'll take a cup of kindness .....

... for auld lang syne.
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Happy 2009!!!

Here's to a far better 2009 --- I'm wishing for world peace and a better job. What about you?

As for resolutions I just don't know. There are so many excellent plans available, but seriously am I going to carry them through? I think I'm going to endeavor to buy much less stash this year. I have too much now. Let's try finishing some things, shall we?

At this very moment I think I'd like to finish the following in 2009 (Ya'll know I'm a mood stitcher so I reserve the right to be fickle):
1. 6 needlepoints (including my powwow shawl dancer, my second clock piece, Ladies Day, that farm piece I can't remember what threads I changed to what on, and my standing sheep)
2. Beatrix Potter's Quaker sampler (thank goodness for the BAP stitchalong blog!-- I'm counting on all of you to drag me through!!!!)
3. my Vierlanden sampler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4. Black Swan's Dragon's Lair
5. BBD flower basket
6. Quaker a la 6 mains
7. that frelling Dragon Dreams castle ornie
8. 2 belted housewarming's
9. a belated thank you
10. the Dimensions' kit "Soul Music" of howling wolf cubs
11. at least one piece for the Washington house fundraiser (I'll get back to that another day)

That's enough for now --- we'll see next December how pathetic I am at this.

On other fronts I really want to take my "book" a week pledge from last year more seriously. I did ok on and off, but certainly not for months.

You know I used to really like New Years. When I was little, but not so very little -- probably junior high and high school -- New Years was my one late night of the year. My mom, dad, and I would spend the evening with my great uncle Leo playing Tripoli (a combo of Hearts and poker). I used to looooooove that. The "rule" was that once someone was wiped out of chips the game was over. Poor mom; she'd work so hard to get rid of her chips as fast as she could after midnight, but every time her head was turned Leo would augment her pile of chips. I loved ti -- mom just wanted to get some sleep. Once we played ***gasp*** until 2am! I was in hog heaven. lol

Anyway, I don't get such glee out of New Years anymore. It means I'm closer to getting back to the office; it means I've had to NOT get another year older (holding at 32, in case you were wondering); it means the world really hasn't gotten any better/more peaceful/more considerate etc; it means I've had to say good-bye to more people who mattered.

Along that line, let me close with sad farewells to too many people gone too soon--
Arthur C. Clarke
Eddy Arnold
Tony Hillerman
Algis Budrys
Majel Barrett
Forrest J Ackerman

Ok, I've been depressing long enough. I'm going to go pour myself into bed. I wish you all a great first day of 2009 followed by an even more wonderful year!

Finishes of 2008

It is also time to move the 2008 stitched pieces list off the side bar. Here's to be 97 item 2009!

1. F&S exchange for LauraK
2. AYC's M Designs personalized sampler
3. Society RR -- my starting square
4. F&S exchange for SueW (1/22)
5. needlepoint mustard kimono (1/23)
6. PIF Kathryn 1/24
7. PIF secret 1/27
8. ornie -- make-up for Simone's exchange 1/27
9. Bride's Tree SAL -- house by JBW 1/28
10. Bride's Tree SAL -- house from LHN for JCS 1/31
11. sheep ornie -- jingle
12. Tish -- Native kinda-Christmas needlepoint 2/6
13. Sandy's The Society RR (band sampler) 2/10
14. HiH bird ornie 2/12
15. Bride's Tree SAL -- hearts in silver silk on red 2/15
16. Bride's Tree SAL -- Feb heart from Long Dog's The Token 2/19
17. PIF 2/19
18. PIF 2/19
19. PIF 2/20
20. PIF 2/20
21. Bride's Tree SAL -- Feb heart -- JBW Christmas tree 2/21
22. needlepoint -- Susan Treglown spring quilt 3/7
23. F&S -- Earth Day exchange 3/14
24. Americow 3/30
25. rabbit spool 4/3
26. floral spool 4/4
27. butterfly pendibule 4/5
28. Chris' The Society RR (ST heart)4/6
29. F&S round 6 for Mairi 4/16
30. Mt Fuji kimono needlepoint 5/10
31. F&S 4th of July exchange for Teresa 5/14
32. The Society RR May square for Sharon 5/16
33. The Society RR August square for Sharon (BC Monthly snappers) 5/23
34. M Designs wreath ornie 5/23
35. Simone's Christmas in July ornie for exchange 5/23
36. bunny ornie for Bride's Tree SAL 5/25
37. F&S round 7 for Marie P. 5/28
38. Cherished Stitches JCS ornie 5/31
39. BBD blackbird ornie 5/31
40. SB America mini sampler 6/1
41. Charland -- crooked tree ornie 6/20
42. LK "Joy" beaded ornie 6/21
43. penguin ornie 6/24
44. Elizabeth Designs Christmas House ornie 6/29
45. JABC Jingle all the way ornie x3 7/1
46. over-1, horse-drawn sleigh 7/4
47. wobbly tree ornie 7/5
48. St. Ruth's Designs Christmas house 7/6
49. LK flip it "Faith" ornie 7/7
50. Isa Vautier Joyeaux noel heart ornie 7/7
51. F&S round 8 for Janice
52. JBW stocking ornie 7/27
53. LK sheep box ornie 8/8
54. Papillon how does your garden grow ornie 8/11
55. F&S make-up squares for Tuula 8/19
56. beaded tree ornie 8/21
57. Mirabilia halloween fairy 8/22
58. beaded ball ornie 8/21
59. beaded floral pendibule 8/24
60. specialty stitches tree 8/29
61. mittens small spool ornie 9/1
62. cardinals medium spool ornie 9/1
63. glad tidings ornie 9/1
64. Charistmas Joy ornie 9/1
65. Papillon second how does your garden grow ornie 9/1
66. LHN cardinal and squirrel ornie 9/1
67. LK "Joy" beaded ornie 9/1)
68. Di's butterfly backstitching 9/4
69. Charland wobbly tree ornie 9/5
70. Pain in the fractal specialty stitch tree ornie 9/7
71. funky reindeer ornie 9/7
72. chickadee on a wire ornie 9/10
73. SB angel ornie 9/25
74. F&S fall round for April 9/28
75. Gimmies penguin clutching ball needlepoint ornie 10/1
76. Fancy Work's Nature Sings ornie 10/12
77. Cricket Collection Sheepy Hollow Sheep Christmas treat RR 10/17
78. KarenNY's Society RR 10/25
79. Sheeleen's Society RR 10/27
80. Chris' LK RR 11/2
81. HiH -- Herbert 11/4
82. KarenAZ's Prairie Schooler Christmas alphabet RR 11/17
83. Bride's Tree SAL flower basket (the one I didn't like) 11/18
84. Bride's Tree SAL flower basket pink and tangerine 11/20
85. flower basket in peach, teal, and blue 11/28
86. pendibule ornie in red Belle Soie 11/30
87. Bride's tree SAL fruit basket 11/30
88. Bride's tree SAL bird ornie biscornu 12/2
89. Maryse framed house ornie 12/5
90. Silent Night ornie 12/6
91. Bride's tree SAL angel ornie 12/8
92. Bride's tree SAL offee pot ornie 12/13
93. CCN scriptures square Believe 12/19
94. purple and yellow Dutch motif 12/25
95. rose and green Dutch motif 12/26
96. teal Long Dog motif 12/28

Books of 2008

Ok, time to get the list of 2008 reads off the sidebar to make room for this year's even longer list!!! <--that there's thinking positive in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hark how the Capitol, sweet silver Capitol.....

Greetings all -- for your daily dose of Ruth in DC, allow me to introduce you to the newly opened U.S. Capitol visitors center.

First of all, if you hadn't heard, there has been a lot of squawking over the costs ($600 million) of development for the center and of the final product doing nothing so much as making "the people's government" more remote from its people. Wanna read about the Visitors Center? How about an article about the costs issue. I concede the cost issue, and I can see the remoteness issue since instead of just walking up the stairs now your are entering an underground cavern and looking up at the Capitol from below the lawn. But I gotta say it's a marvelous view regardless --
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Here's the main hall --
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The hall hosts the ticket counter and lines, an introductory movie theater, the take-off point for tours of the Capitol, and some of the state statues (each state is entitled to have 2 sculptures displayed somewhere in the Capitol) Among the states in the visitors center are:
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Look! He's got a fetish!!! It's a bear, but I like to think of it as a friend of my badgers!
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There's also a giant model of Freedom (the figure on the top of the Capitol dome)
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Frankly, I think she looks a little shocked.

We went on the official tour of the Capitol-- which for the record is brief but nice. If you want to see more than the Rotunda, the old Supreme Court Chamber, the Crypt, and a couple other rooms (like, say you want to see the House and the Senate chambers, more of the halls, etc), you need to contact your representatives in advance to arrange a tour. But, if you are looking for a decent, not-so-very-long look at where your laws come from, the regular tour is more than acceptable. It's probably 20 minutes long and handled well (you get headsets that connect you to your live guide who can chat to you without yelling or without you having to be within a foot of her). It was enough to fascinate my 7-year old grand nephew who then wanted all the books in the gift shop about the Capitol (and has been reading them and telling everyone about the building!). Anyway, some views from the tour:
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my funniest Capitol moment:
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I mean honestly, up to the crypt? I had to laugh..... and take a picture.
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And here's my crew enjoying the center --
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my sister, my grand nephew, and my geek (aka my nephew)

And now before we run out to play in Alexandria, I have a couple more stitching things that need to get posted....
Tracey of Pals sent me this totally cool ornie in this year's exchange:
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Thanks Tracey!

And my buddy Judy gave me this for Christmas:
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See ya'll later! Have a peaceful day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas....

My BIL just took his devils food cakes out of the over, and like that wouldn't smell good enough, he also christened the floor with a large quantity of vanilla. It smells really, really, nice in here. And it will only get better -- my sister is about to begin beef bourgenoine. You see tonight we're having a meeting of the Algonquin Rectangle. Yes, I know it was the Algonquin Roundtable (aka The Vicious Circle), but since the dining room table here is a rectangle it seemed appropriate to change the name. Mind you we've already had words about that. My BIL sent out this email invtite saying he wanted to host an "old fashioned dinner party like the Algonquin Roundtable." I extrapolated. He repeatedly rolled his eyes and scoffed when I mentioned the Rectablge to folks. Last night I finally found out why -- he thought I didn't kno it was originally the "Roundtable" so he lectured me on what I was saying wrong and how I needed to stop referring to his party incorrectly. Sigh.

Loooong story over -- suffice it to say it smells really nice in here, nd the dining room table is covered with freshly polished silver, 7 million misc crystal glasses, and the beggings of the china collection. So I have ensconsed myself in the corner of the sunroom next to the "children's tree" (they'll be a picture of that later this week when I can upload some more pics).

From this place of comfort how about I try to tell you what's goofy about the Smithsonian American History Museum since I promised I would. Lots of folks who deal with these things were hoping that the closure would mean the easing of traffic choke points and the like, but that really didn't happen and some other wierdnesses cropped up. First of all, they really aren't done. The cafe is serving boxed sandwiches out of temporary refrigerators, there are still construction zones inside, drywall dust motes up in corners, and contractors and crews are measuring and moving equipment about. Because of the construction thing you get "interesting moments" like coming out of the big deal temporary exhibit of the only signed copy of the Gettysburg Address. The exhibit is nicely done, but then you leave to this--
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a maze of white-washed construction walls with "exit" arrow signs lol -- I felt a bit like an explorer.

There was also the small but lovely exhibit of musical instruments including several Stradivari (or is that Stradivarises?) instruments. In the room they have a panel of buttons where you can select soundbites of Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra performances that feature instruments like those in the collection. Next to the display you get--
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Yes, that is a foldered computer printout of the Smithsonian orchestra's appearances that they hve TAPED to the wall. lol Honestly, can't you give them a little glass-covered display box for that?

Many of you will be heartened to know that the First Lady Dresses are back. The exhibit reopened the day I visited so it was nice to be among the first on the carpet. It's nicely done. There are weirdnesses in it, but they are too hard to explain here, and I don't think they would ruin your experience. Among the viewable items are a new dress from Laura Bush and this stunning broach of Edith Wilson made for her by Lalique
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The thing is probably about 8 inches across! Imagine the collar that would go on!

I'll tour guide some more later, but for now, how about I catch up on some much overdue stitching updates?

Here's the LHN Scriptures piece I did for my niece-in-law in its box--
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The penguin ornie I needlepointed for my sister who collects penguins:
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The unfinished ornie for my BIL who has a family tradition of singing "Silent NIght" as the dinner prayer on Christmas--
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There will be a finished version of this as soon as I Can do that picture upload.

And now that she has it I can share the ornie I did for Rosalie as part of a Pals' exchange:
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More soon... gotta go find lunch. Priorities you know!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

May the merry bells keep ringing...

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 ....
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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--
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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.
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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--
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And the back structure --
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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%+

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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From #4 on HGTV's list of Top 10 Christmas Towns (ie. Alexandria, VA), here's wishing you all a simply beautiful Chistmas. Sure I know it's almost over, but that's no reason for you not to have a beautiful day!

Peace to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I wish you a Merry Christmas....

... and a peaceful Christmas Eve.
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Hello all! Greetings of the season. Guess where I am--- wanna clue....
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Yes, all the holiday best from Washington D.C.!

I know, I haven't finished discussing Thanksgiving ye, but I need to interrupt things to bring you Christmas! Ho ho ho!

[I would have been with you sooner--I was certainly planning to be with you at least once a day since the 17th (flight day), but it's just been one frelling conputer adventure after another. Honest, it's just nuts. My favorite example so far is the response to my call about having problems with the mandatory new corporate timesheet program -- I alled tech support for help and was told "Oh we don't use that." lol *I* now have to login to London to do my timesheet, but the new Overlord company's long-term employees don't use the same program. Such planning!]

The talk of the town here is The Inaugural. Shops are filled with all things Obama -- the Barak Obama paper doll book (and/or the Obama Family paper doll book), the fake Beanie Baby Barak (it's black, btw), pencils galore, inaugural mints, stickers, magnets, pins, bundles of books, and they've even already updated the presidential flash card sets. The viewing stands are going up and lots of parking and crowd warnings are being shared and debated. The Metro is testing 8-car trains which lets them haul another 300 people per train. In short, everything's abuzz. An the City is gussying up too ---
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Yup, these poor guys were out inthe 30ish degree weather painting the crosswalks. Poor guys.

Among the early fun has been ---
a brief visit to "my" For Saam by Jenny Holzer:
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and to the Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S. by Nam June Park, just around the corner from it -
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A review of the Mvsevm by David Beck --
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I wandered the sreets some that first day and finally go thte chance to take a shot of what I call "flag row" on the front of the FBI--- btw, the FBI is just about to finish celebrating its 100th anniversary this year - congrats folks!
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Well folks, I'm tired. Really, really tired. I walked allover today, went shoppingforthe tow house parties my sister has planned, and just finished my third glass of red (not my usual bevie) in tonight's wine lesson. I'm feel I'm entitled to take my tendonitis-pained ankle (according to my BIL who is a lawyer not a doctor) to bed! Peace to you all.

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Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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