Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lincoln Memorial

The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service, and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit.
The term "National Mall" commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center.
The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.
The Smithsonian is an institution that manages a whole range of museums across the city of Washington. The collection of the Smithsonian was originally housed at a castle-like structure, the appropriately named Smithsonian Castle.
Below: A long distance view of the Washington National Cathedral. Amazing that we could have possibly missed seeing this incredible edifice on the landscape!
Arlington Cemetary Hit the link. This place is amazing!
Lovely winter sky below, don't you think? I like the way the sun is
trying to burst through the clouds.
The memorial marking of Martin Luther King Jr's famous speech given here on this very spot: I HAVE A DREAM!
I was very moved by this memorial of Abraham Lincoln. It was followed by an hour going through the historical replay of this man's life at the Museum of American History.
Suffice to say, it is one of those experiences that simply cannot leave one unchanged
- plain and simple!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

With Love To Nicole and her daddy Brian

May the Lord continue to Bless and Keep Us All in His loving care!
We took this shot at the annual Gym Get-Together January 1, 2010. As you can see, not everyone is there. Good thing too - the stage is getting rather small.
For fun, I've included the blog pic I have on file of you and your cousins the last time you were present with us for this family tradition.
We look forward to a day in the future when that might happen again and of course
we insist that you bring your Dad and Hildy & Jared along too. :)
Blessed 2010!

Friday, January 15, 2010

She Eats Crow

I interrupt the regularly scheduled posting of our family breakaway to Washington DC for this important announcement. Are ya ready for this one?
It's a CONFESSION....and I am posting this primarily for the benefit of my niece Nicole Pts in Naples, my two sisters and my mom, whom have all played a direct role in this latest development....
Remember the knitting frenzy of November and the chiding you had to endure from me over the myriad side trips to Knitting Nancy's? (Okay, okay - not exactly myriad trips then).
Remember me yawning copiously on the beach pretending to be completely disinterested?

I came home, happily went about the recap of the memories for my blog using the theme of knitting (like a shameless fraud! :) and then - quite strangely, without explanation and before I even knew what was happening - went to visit sister Pauline with a reckless request to help me start a pair of slippers for my grandchildren.
Without skipping a beat, my sweet sister waltzed off to get a spare ball of wool, some needles and a do-able pattern.
What a generous act of faith and commitment on her part to tutor this skeptical proselyte!
I can only imagine how I looked making stabs at it with those things on my lap - I certainly felt like a quadriplegic.
As per typical, undoing many (okay, okay, MYRIAD then) ridiculous mistakes was part of the learning curve for me.
But here's the weird part: I actually enjoyed the process, humbling as it was. It took me far longer than average to get the job done but now, I can truly knit, purl, cast-on and bind-off with confidence! Not only that, but I felted these today and they actually shrunk to exactly the size I need for grand-daughter Juliana.
Please note the felted ankle flowers which mark the leg-warmer/slipper as right and left. (Puff and swell goes the chest)
Delight has trumped Disregard - and I have my beloved, eminently patient sister Pauline to thank for it. Here's to many more hours between us with conversation and the clicking of needles!

Next time we meet Nikki - I'll have my Fabric Art bag from Spun on the beach too!
Lessons learned?
You are never too old to learn something new.
Never scoff at the opportunity to learn a new trick - you may end up eating crow.
Like me. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Library of Congress

I know. I know.
Some of you equate library with all that is dull and boring.
The Thomas Jefferson Building is unbelievably stunning.
Barry and I spent almost an entire day in this and the Capitol Building alone.
Click these links and prepared to be amazed. Otherwise, let the images from my own simple digital camera do the 'talking'!
I must resign to let them speak for me because quite frankly - the sights left me breathless.

The Library of Congress was established in 1800 when the American government moved from Philadelphia to the new capital of Washington on the Potomac River. For 97 years the Library was housed in various locations within the Capitol Building. The first separate Library of Congress Building, known today as the Thomas Jefferson Building, was suggested by Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford in 1871, authorized in 1886, and finally completed in 1897.

There was a fascinating display on the Gutenberg Bible which I was NOT allowed to take any pictures of. When my spotty internet connection starts behaving (Grrr...) I will link a site so you can "see" it for yourself.
I loved the art work etched into the coves of the vaulted ceiling in the Bible display area.
Above and below are three means of recording Holy Writ: Oral tradition, Monastery scribes manually making copies of scripture and then lo and behold - Johann Gutenberg who was inspired to invent the printing press in the 1500's to make it possible for every average man to possess their own Bible.

When its doors were opened to the public on November 1, 1897, the new Library of Congress building was an unparalleled national achievement; its 23-carat gold-plated dome capped the "largest, costliest, and safest" library building in the world. Its elaborately decorated facade and interior, for which more than forty American painters and sculptors produced commissioned works of art, were designed to show how the United States could surpass European libraries in grandeur and devotion to classical culture and to inspire optimism about America's future. A contemporary guidebook boasted: "America is justly proud of this gorgeous and palatial monument to its National sympathy and appreciation of Literature, Science, and Art. It has been designed and executed solely by American art and American labor (and is) a fitting tribute for the great thoughts of generations past, present, and to be." This new national Temple of the Arts immediately met with overwhelming approval from the American public.

The frieze of the Rotunda of the United States Capitol contains a painted panorama depicting significant events in American history. Thomas U. Walter's 1859 cross-section drawing of the new dome (constructed 1855-1863) shows a recessed belt atop the Rotunda walls with relief sculpture. Eventually it was painted in true fresco, a difficult and exacting technique in which the pigments are applied directly onto wet plaster. As the plaster cures the colors become part of the wall. Consequently, each section of plaster must be painted the day it is laid. In 1877 the Architect of the Capitol reported, "The belt of the Rotunda intended to be enriched with basso relievos [low relief] is being embellished in real fresco representing in light and shadow events in our history arranged in chronological order, beginning with the Landing of Columbus . . . ." The frieze is painted in grisaille, a monochrome of whites and browns that resembles sculpture. It measures 8 feet 4 inches in height and approximately 300 feet in circumference. It starts 58 feet above the floor.
Below, an Oil Canvas of The Declaration of Independence
It was the first painting that Trumbull completed for the rotunda. An iconic image and probably the most widely recognized of the paintings in the rotunda, the painting was commissioned in 1817, purchased in 1819 and placed in 1826.

The painting depicts John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and the principal author, Thomas Jefferson—members of the Committee of Five, which drafted the Declaration of Independence—presenting the declaration to the Second Continental Congress and President John Hancock in July 1776 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Below, an oil canvas depiction of The Baptism of Pocahontas; it was painted by John Gadsby Chapman, given the commission in 1837. The painting was placed in 1840. It depicts Pocahontas in white as she is baptized (under the name "Rebecca") by the Anglican priest Alexander Whiteaker in Jamestown, Virginia. This event is believed to have taken place in 1613 or 1614. The baptism occurred before her marriage to Englishman John Rolfe who stands behind her. Their union is said to be the first recorded marriage between a European and a Native American. The scene symbolizes the belief of some Americans at the time that native tribes should accept Christianity and other European customs of the period.
Below, The Embarkation of the Pilgrims was also commissioned in 1837 and placed in 1844. Painted by Robert W. Weir, it depicts the Pilgrims on the deck of the ship Speedwell as they depart Delfshaven in South Holland on July 22, 1620. The Pilgrims traveled aboard the Speedwell to Southampton. There they met additional colonists and transferred to the Mayflower.

The painting shows William Brewster, holding the Bible, and pastor John Robinson leading Governor Carver, William Bradford, Miles Standish, and their families in prayer. The rainbow, at the left side of the painting, symbolizes hope and divine protection.
Below, The Discovery of the Mississippi was the last painting to be commissioned by Congress for the rotunda. William H. Powell was given the commission in 1847, and the painting was finally purchased in 1855. At the center of the canvas, Spanish navigator and conquistador Hernando de Soto is seen riding a white horse. De Soto is thought to have become the first European to see the Mississippi River in 1541.
The painting depicts de Soto and his troops approaching Native Americans in front of tepees, with a chief holding a peace pipe. The foreground is filled by weapons and soldiers to represent the devastating battle at Mauvila (or Mabila), in which de Soto suffered a Pyrrhic victory over Choctaws under Tuscaloosa. To the right, a monk prays as a large crucifix is set into the ground.