Slushy and Cold Days in Montreal

Posted by barb on Dec 22, 2008 in Pictures, Travels

After a bit of…um…schimpfing…we drove up to Montreal yesterday. Once we got onto the main highway, the roads were fairly clear. The wind was blowing, so snow swirled on the roadways, but mostly visibility was good. Montreal proper was actually worse than the highways – sloppy and slushy and slippery. But, with only one wrong turn (which actually made the directions easier), we made it to the hotel, checked in and parked in the underground garage.

On tap for the day? Shopping!

We bundled up (it was *cold*), grabbed lunch, then took the metro to Old Montreal. Jo came with us, so she could pick out a new outfit and a couple things for her friends back home. We also took in Notre Dame Cathedral in the snow — very pretty.

Jo enjoys a sloppy hot chocolate (with yummy real whipped cream)

After a bit more shopping, finally making into a little mall (for warmth!), we settled down for hot cocoa. I also got new mittens and a hat (tuque or tuke), which helped me keep warmer.

Next stop? A Hello Kitty shop!!!! I picked up a few fun things, and we headed back to the hotel for a while. We needed to rest from the trudging around in the slush and the cold.

Finally we walked down Saint Catherine’s Street, stopping at Addition Elle – an awesome “plus sized” shop (unlike Lane Bryant, their most common fabric is *cotton*, not polyester or some crappy, shiny, wrinkle-attractor). I ended up finding a cute new winter coat, so I spent way more than I should have. Oh well – it’s so much better than the one I had.

Jo checks out Ogilvy's window display

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to press our noses against the Ogilvy’s window – dressed up for the holidays.

The morning was cold. Cold, cold. Frost-bite cold. Cold, cold, cold. (Woke up to -8 degrees F). We bundled up and went found a crepe place on St. Cate’s. Very cold breakfast — the crepes were warm, but we sat by the window, which was very, very, very cold.

Jo outside the Canadian Center for Architecture

Then we walked to the Canadian Centre for Architecture. We spent some time there – the special exhibit was about ways that people change and interact with their surroundings, featuring exhibits on guerrilla art and gardening, among other things. We also walked through the restored Victorian house which had been turned into a reading and meeting area (so no Victorian furniture or decor). Finally looked at the exhibit on sky lights. It didn’t take us very long — I’m glad we went once, but we don’t feel the need to go again.

Finally we met up with Andrew’s friend and his wife for lunch. We had been thinking about going to the Botanical Garden, but I didn’t feel like walking much more (I’d forgotten how tiring it is to walk in the slush and ice), and I really didn’t want to drive home in the dark. So, we headed back to the “country” and Andrew’s parents’ house.

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Playing in DC

Posted by barb on Jul 14, 2007 in Around DC, Pictures

We took a trip into DC today to see a couple little things that I’ve been wanting to see. First on our list was an R2-D2 mailbox. I’d heard rumor that there was on at L’Enphant Plaza, so our first stop was there. Sadly, we walked all around that area and couldn’t find it. It may well still be there, but I didn’t have any better directions, so we gave up.

Jo Looking at the Capitol

We trekked up to the main DC post office near Union Station from there, stopping along the way for Jo to take a look at the Capitol. We did stop at a shop and found the 5 best motorcycle jackets ever, but alas we didn’t come for that so we left empty handed. There was some kind of police event downtown, as we saw bunches of police cars and motorcycles on the Mall. And the police cars were from many non-DC-area jurisdictions.

The second place I’d heard there there was an R2-D2 mailbox was the DC post office, so we popped in there, but still didn’t see one. Andrew asked at the counter, and they told us to go to the Union Station post office. Fortunately, Union Station was just across the street (I’m not sure either of us could have walked much more before lunch!)

R2D2 Mailbox!

And it was there! Cute as everything! Andrew had even saved one of our outgoing pieces of mail so I could mail it from there. He took a picture, but hasn’t uploaded them yet.

Jo at the Bead Museum

From there (and after lunch), we went to the Bead Museum. We’d tried to get there earlier this year, when they had a Shakespeare bead exhibit, but a migraine kept us from going. (Damn migraines!) They’ve now set up and exhibit on cowrie shell beads. The museum is rather small, but then, beads are generally fairly small. There is a permanent collection tracing beads back to 12,000 BCE to the present. It’s an impressive collection, especially the beads made before modern times.

On our way back to the Metro, we stumbled upon a cheese shop – Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop. Naturally we had to stop in, and we came home with a couple of stinky cheeses (yum!).

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Too Hot to Bike

Posted by barb on Jul 15, 2006 in Around DC, Pictures

Four Spring screen by Dewing

This weekend was just too hot and too humid to bike. Friday night we went to a movie (The Devil Wears Prada, if you’re wondering), and I felt like I was having trouble breathing just walking into the theatre. Gotta love 80% humidity with >90° temps.

So, we took the opportunity to knock off a couple items off of our summer “to-see” list.

One item on the list was a small exhibit at the Freer Gallery called Pretty Women. It was an enjoyable exhibit. I didn’t snap any pictures, but did get one by one of the same artists featured in the Pretty Women exhibit.

Next on the list were the Muppets at the American History Museum. The museum has a display of Muppets voiced by Jim Henson, and some later Muppets from The Dark Crystal (the latter ones are not near the 3rd floor display of the other Muppets – you’ll need to search a bit, but I think they were on 1st floor, if I remember correctly). The display is only up until September, when they’re closing the museum for renovations. Here are a few of my pictures (I’m posting thumbnail sizes to fit more pics in this entry – click an image for a larger view at Flickr):
Early Muppets voiced by Jim Henson Swedish Chef Later Muppets voiced by Jim Henson Emmet and Ma Otter Muppets from Him Henson Dark Crystal Muppets_1

Smithsonian Carousel

After lunch, we walked down to the Air & Space Museum to see Magnificent Desolation, and IMAX movie about the moon landings. The movie was really cool, and probably the closest I’ll ever get to walking on the moon. We still want to see the Roving Mars IMAX movie (also at the Air & Space), and Aliens of the Deep (at the Natural History Museum) – looks like we’ll have to make another trip down to the Smithsonian this summer.




Posted by barb on Nov 23, 2005 in Pictures, Random Thoughts

As is becoming our Thanksgiving Day tradition, Andrew and I spent the day down at the Smithsonian. We started at the National Air and Space Museum, with hopes of seeing Magnificent Desolation, the moon-IMAX movie; however, we were too late for the first showing, so we moved on.

From there, we stopped at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, which neither of us had walked through before.
Figure detail by Jacques Lipchitz   Sphere, No. 6 by Arnaldo Pomodoro

On the way to our next stop, we took a long-cut by the carousel so I could snap a few pictures.
Smithsonian Carousel   Smithsonian Carousel

Next we went to the Natural History Museum to check out the Columbian Gold exhibit.
Votive   Columbian gold pieces

Then we topped off the day at the World War II Memorial
Plaza and Atlantic Pavillion   Washington Monument from the Memorial

When we got home, Andrew cooked up a Thanksgiving feast for us, and we had a quiet evening at home. All-in-all, a great day.

All of my pictures for the day are in my Flickr photo album.

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Cambridge Saturday

Posted by barb on Nov 5, 2005 in Pictures, Travels

Felicia with Memorial Hall at Harvard

With the conference behind me, Andrew and I have a full weekend to play in Boston and Cambridge. Today we walked to Harvard to check out the Natural History Museum (and Peabody Musuem, which are both in the same builing). We walked through campus to get to the museums (that’s Memorial Hall in the picture – Felicia’s there, too, if you look very closely).

The Natural History Museum had a nice collection of minerals and the requisite room of stuffed animals and skeletons. There was also a room full of glass flower models. A fun surprise was the Day of the Dead displays in the Peabody Museum.

Gypsum   Ladyslipper Glass Model

Day of the Dead display

After that we walked to the MIT Museum. There was a fun exhibit of kinetic sculptures by Arthur Ganson (very hard to get a good picture of, though, given that the museum doesn’t allow flash photography). There was also an exhibit on Harold Edgerton on his work creating pictures of fast processes (like the milk drop pictures, and pictures of cats lapping water, etc.). Definately a fun museum for the nerds in the family.

Water under a strobe   Andrew's after-image in the strobe room

I’ll post all my pictures later – I’ve got some of them up on my Flickr “Boston Pics” set

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Pope-Leighey House and Woodlawn Plantation

Posted by barb on Jun 28, 2005 in Around DC, Pictures

While Dad was in town, Andrew and I decided to take him to the Frank Lloyd Wright house near DC. Dad has always admired FLW’s designs, but has never seen one of the houses up close. The Pope-Leighey house is one of FLW’s Usonian houses — “modestly scaled”, affordable, and well-designed houses.

Pope-Leighy House

It was interesting to go there with Dad, who has been a carpenter his entire life — over 40 years. I’ve heard him lament many times about architects. The problem, it seems, is that while architects may be able to design buildings that look good, they frequently aren’t in touch with the more practical aspects of home building. It seems that FLW wasn’t much different. As we walked around the outside, there were several things that Dad pointed out as being impractical or just not a great idea. For example, the outside walls when down on top of the foundation. While it looked kind of cool, Dad mentioned that this is a good way to get water into the house, unless it’s sealed in some way (i.e. caulking), which had not been done on this house.

But overall, Dad really liked the house — he likes the way the FLW designed houses for their lot, and tried to use whatever was in the lot (like a hill or trees) to compliment his design with help of Eventscape.

Here’s a picture Dad by the side of the house, and one of the window by the children’s room. There weren’t many full-sized windows around, but the small row of windows seen in this picture ringed the entire house. From the outside, I wondered how there could possibly be enough light in the house, and yet this ring of small windows were more than sufficient.

Dad at the Pope-Leighy House   Pope-Leighy House

Afterwards touring the Pope-Leighey house, we toured the Woodlawn Plantation. This was a plantation on land that George Washington gave to Martha’s granddaughter, Eleanor “Nelly” Custis Lewis, and her husband Major Lawrence. It was still a nice tour, with a knowledgeable tour guide and period furniture in the house (some of it original). As with the Pope-Leighey house, pictures were not allowed inside, but here are a couple of the house and grounds:

Fountain at the Woodlawn Plantation   Woodlawn Plantation house


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