On to Boston...

Trip Start Sep 09, 2009
Trip End Oct 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Monday, October 5, 2009

I have a small loose stack of fall leaves on the desk next to the computer, green/gold and dry. I felt the bite of fall in the air today for the first time, which was too bad because after a week of wearing jeans-and-toe-supportive-shoes, I put on a skirt and sandals.  Oh, well.  Wasn't bad.  Refreshing.

A few highlights before I close up blog-shop in DC:
1. Had wonderful time yesterday solo-touristing, mostly at the Renwick Gallery. The 2009 Renwick Gallery Invitational exhibit was featured, and I was a goner, even buying the catalog,  despite my recent unloading of nearly 20 pounds of printed matter (or maybe because of it).  Told myself it was for my qilt mini-group, the No Problems, particularly for the knitters among them:  I think you will love the work of Mark Newport, who knits  gigantic costumes for superheroes, those we know and some he invented, such as "Sweaterman" and "Bobbleman."  He also showed a quilt of laminated comic book pages.  And then there was the tape of a performance piece in which he sits in a chair in a cream colored hero suit, with built-in gloves and feet, not to mention a hood obscuring his face, and knits to the Lone Ranger music. Loved the other work in that show, too.  And the scale of that gallery is good, not overwhelming.

2. Delighted w/all that I had lunch at a place  nearby called Pot Belly, which was apt because I am definitely developing one.  Too many trip treats.  Esp. carrot cake in England, for some reason.

3.  THEN walked over to look at the Obama White House. I can tell it is much happier.  Took many pictures of it from different angles.  No sign of Obama, but some other tourists were convinced they'd seen Biden and wife coming out of West Wing.  All this viewed through the iron railing, of course.  And many police watching us.

4. Walked two long blocks (DC blocks seem so damned long)  to the Commerce Dept., where there's a half-assed White House visitor's center, now that the average tourist can't actually go in the WH.  Everything was still Bushed!  Oh, yes!  I chose a sympathetic young male clerk in the gift shop and voiced a complaint.  "He's gone!" I said.  "Thank God!  Now why is he featured in video and guidebook?"  He said new versions were on their way.  I asked if I were the first person to ask about this and he shook his head and smiled, "No."

Many homeless wander the nation's capital.  Twice I've had them stare at me in public places, which made me feel intimidated until I realized they were hypervigilant  and doing it to everyone.

Also--a special message to Wendy and Elisabeth:  Went to see a big show of WPA paintings at the National Museum of American Art, and near the entrance, pride of place, was a big painting of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction, only the north tower built, with a wonderful view over Ft. Point toward Marin.  I swooned.  Looked at the label:  Ray Strong, 1933-34! How I wish they'd had a postcard of it.

I did went to the WPA show with Sarah Burns, wife of one of Jerry's  Smithsonian colleagues and an old friend.  She lives in Virginia and came into the District to meet me.  Her husband is Ken Burns's uncle, and of course the National Park series has been on the past week--we've been trying to keep up with it.  I don't know if you remember a fascinating part where they feature a couple in the 30's-40's (I think) who went to many parks, just the two of them, the husband eventually rigging up what must have been one of the first campers.  After the husband died, the wife took one last National Park trip and wrote after she returned home, to paraphrase, "I felt as though a jeweled coat had fallen from my shoulders, and I'd forgotten what it felt like to wear it."  I thought that was so beautiful, and so did Sarah.  She had already decided to ask Ken how he got that woman's writings.

Tomorrow to Boston at midday out of Dulles. Tonight I call Leah to set up the particulars...
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eptak on

I have seen a photo of that Ray Strong painting, but not the real deal. What a great surprise! Loving these blogs, Liz. Keep it up.

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