Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wonderful Dinner

Today after work I met up with my uncle Roland for dinner. He's in town for a conference thing. We had the most wonderful dinner at the hotel restaurant!

Roland is great. We don't know each other all that well because he's lived so far away for so long, but we really had a great chat tonight. We have a lot more in common than I realised. Also, he told me the story of meeting is birth siblings (he was adopted), and it was really great to hear that in his own words. My grandma had a very different perspective on the events, and she had been the one to tell me about it previously.

All in all, a very good day filled with great conversation, great wine, and great food.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Singing in Arlington

Yesterday I went to my first Sacred Harp singing since moving to DC. J and D came with me, and we drove out to Arlington. It was fairly small (3-4 on a part most of the time) and I think they were really glad to have us. It had some weak moments, and some strong moments, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I even got up the courage to lead a few songs by myself! We did a few songs from the Christian Harmony book (7 shapes) that were very nice also, but different sounding harmonies from Sacred Harp. It sure felt good to sing again.

This coming Saturday is the Folklore Society of Greater Washington annual mini-festival, and the same group will be singing at that in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to the festival a lot! Especially the sessions on Balkan and Bulgarian singing and some of the fiddling sessions.

Today I finally got some feature writing assignments for SGS, which is very exciting to me. So far I've got 5 features on my list of assignments, and I'll be sure to post when they are published! It looks like they want a couple on Canadian contributions to Folkways to be published in the fall, but I'll be doing the writing and collecting of images and whatnot for those too.

Also on my horizon is to prepare my thesis to submit it for publication. The Smithsonian has an academic press for publishing the research of employees and fellows, and I qualify for that. I don't know if my thesis will pass the peer review process here because they publish short books in series rather than a journal, but I'm going to try anyways.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday evening

Today I did almost nothing. I was out far too late last night, and slept all day to make up for it. J and I watched two movies this evening and I ate boiled potatoes and cauliflower for dinner. In spite of these uneventful events, I'm in a wonderful mood because tomorrow we're going to a singing. I've been without singing since June and I'm so excited to make some music again!

Yesterday afternoon I left work early (with permission of course) and went to the American Indian Museum. I just loved it there! Their three permanent exhibits were so exciting and full of life. There was lots of interactive technology and lots of videos of interviews. They really gave the impression that the exhibits were being presented in the words of the people they were about while captivating my attention and my senses.

Afterwards I met up with J's friend David and went to the Kennedy Center to see a local afro-funk band called Chopteeth. They were playing on the Millennium Stage, a performance area built into a lobby where they put on free shows every day of the year. Wow. What an incredible building. I have to make a point of going to see the NSO while I'm here. Maybe I'll be able to get a cheap student ticket in the gallery...

Tonight I will sleep with sweet dreams of music.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sleepy Thursday

Yesterday I went for a warm, sunny walk in the mall. I know it will be even more beautiful in the spring, but I'm just really blown away by the architecture and the enormity of everything.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Holiday Monday

Ahhh, lazy Monday.  Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day (and, incidentally, 50% off day at Value Village).  I've done little today... shopped at bit, lost a scrabble game, cleaned the floors.  I bought a copy of An Equal Music by Vikram Seth, one of my favourite authors.  I've read this book before; it was given to me as a gift.  However, as with most of my favourite books, I gave it away to someone I felt should read it and haven't seen that copy again.  I hope it was passed to someone else when he finished reading it.  Seth describes music in such a profound way.  He completely describes my experience of it, even something as simple as warming up on a scale.  Also, it's about the second violinist in a string quartet.  I love that.

I bought two other books for $0.40 each (a steal, really).  Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and Shadow Theater by Fiona Cheong.  Both look to be excellent reads.  I'm so excited to finally have time to read novels again for the first time in years!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday afternoon

Today was cold, cold, cold. Even by Edmonton standards. The wind was a rip-roaring -15C at least, and I left my favourite hat in Canada.  However, I (and some others) braved the cold and headed to the small but wonderful Takoma farmers market.  Mushrooms galore!  Never have I seen so many different mushrooms in one place.  I got some fresh shiitakes for dinner tonight.  I also got some maple candies mmmm.

This afternoon J and I met with Jon and Celia in Silver Spring (one neighbourhood over) for lunch and a movie.  We saw Juno--what a great movie!  We all really liked it.  Now just settling into some blanket-warmed relaxation with a DVD.

Museums, Markets and More

Yesterday was a busy and wonderful Saturday. I had my first pilates class (a great workout) followed by a trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum with J and 3 other friends. Sadly, I forgot to bring extra camera batteries, so I only got about 4 pics before the battery died, but they're good ones. After the museum we went to dinner at the Elephant and Castle (yay for pub food!), followed by a rousing game of Carcasonne (very fun game).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Birthday Fun

I had a great day.  I finished off a project this morning at work, then T (my supervisor) took me for lunch at this great little pub in the Eastern Market.  I had a crab cake sandwich.  So yummy!  Afterwards we walked back, a pretty good hike.  We passed the capitol building and the library of congress, among other fantastic buildings.  It was a beautiful day for a walk.

This evening J and I hosted games night/birthday party, although no games were actually cracked open because everyone was too tired.  It was delicious dinner and desert with wine, and full of good conversation.

I got two great b-day presents: my key card to get into the office (yay for not having to stand in the hall and wait for someone to walk by!) and my USD Visa (yay for not having to pay additional currency conversion fees!).  Now I can feel fully settled.

Tomorrow I'm going to go to my first Pilates class (I hope it's good!) then to the Air and Space museum, which looks totally great from first glance.  I'm so excited!  This will be a fun long weekend.

Happy Birthday!

to me.  :-)

I think it will be a good day today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Copy and Paste

... is what I did today.  It was actually more complicated than that, but it really did involve a lot of copying and pasting.  Yay for web development!  My supervisor T. says I'm learning very marketable skills, and I'm all for that.  I'm learning .net web programming, but it's still kinda a mystery to me.  I faith that all will be revealed soon though.

The archives are pretty great.  The archive in my building is not very large in area, yet it contains sooo much really interesting stuff.  In addition to the Folkways records, there are all the original masters, production docs like interviews and notes (not all of which made it into the liner notes) and all sorts of metadata.  It's pretty mind boggling to see it all.

On another note, I finally registered in a Pilates class.  I think it'll be really good for my back, and I get a discount for the yoga drop-in classes at the studio.  Also, I got a passkey for the gym in the building where I work.  I'm going to try to exercise there 2 or 3 days a week after work or during my lunch break.  Now that I'm done school I feel like the world is my oyster...

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Day

So today was my first day at the Smithsonian.  It was a tad overwhelming, but they seem pretty happy to have me and the projects sound interesting.  One thing that's kind of cool is that they all know about Alberta because of the 2006 Folklife festival, and many of the people I met have visited there.  Also, Toby and others were quite surprised to learn that I had such a large hand (literally) in scanning the Folkways LP covers and liner notes in 2004.  What a summer that was...

After I finished my first day in the office (a little early) I went for a walk around the mall and downtown.  All I can say is "wow."  The architecture is unbelievable.  Although I'm sure there a tonnes of photos online, I'll take my camera with me tomorrow and try to take some photos for myself if I have time.  Also, the White House is waayy bigger than it looks in the movies.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Unnecessary luxuries

Today I bought a chef knife.  I shouldn't have, I know... it was $45 and I'm on a budget.  But cooking with the wrong knives is just not as much fun.  It's so sharp!  And the handle is the perfect shape for my hand.  It's a great knife.

I also bought wine at the Safeway.  Benziger Sauvignon Blanc for $10.  TEN DOLLARS.  So cheap for such good wine.  This was a good day.

I bought an alarm clock today too.  When I got it home I learned that the time is set automatically according to time zone, with a switch for daylight savings.  However, there is only the option for Pacific, Mountain, Central, or Eastern Standard Times.  What about Newfoundland?  Or if I plan to travel with it overseas?  Or if I were the type of person who likes to set my clocks fast?  What a silly design that it doesn't let you change the time on it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday night

This afternoon I made mmmdelishus soup.  It's a recipe for Potato-Sausage soup that I got from some forums:

4 cups chicken stock
4-5 potatos
1 onion
2 spicy Italian sausages
1 bunch of spinach

1. sautee the onion, add the broth and bring to a boil
2. add the potatoes, chopped to bite size
3. removed the sausage casing and brown in a skillet, then add to the soup.  I also usually add 2 bay leaves ad some thyme, though these weren't in the original recipe
4. cook for 1.5 hours then add spinach (chopped) and cook for another half hour or so

Later in the evening J. and I went for games night with her friends.  It was very fun with great conversation.  We played Metro and Fluxx, both pretty easy games to catch on to.  I need to buy me some more board games back in Edmonton...

This morning it's raining

I was planning on going for a walk around the neighbourhood... I might still, but my umbrella is all bent so I don't know how much good it will do me.  I can't plug my iPod into Jen's stereo so I'm listening to some of her CDs this morning.  Tori Amos, "Under the Pink," is a total flashback to high school... I remember playing these songs on piano and singing along. 

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I approve

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Getting Lost... not so bad, really.  It took me half an hour today to find L'enfant Plaza after coming out of the L'enfant Plaza Metro station.  It really shouldn't have been so hard, but I came out of the farthest exit from the actual plaza, and then guessed incorrectly which direction to go to find another exit at street level.  But I got a nice tour of downtown.  The lack of highrises is a little disconcerting at first, but these short buildings are still surprisingly imposing.

The CFCH office is great, and it looks like I'll get my own desk (small though it may be).  Haven't met anyone that I'll be working with yet, but I have my ID badge.

Next for some grocery shopping... let's see if Whole Foods is everything wonderful that I've heard about it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thursday morning

I watched the sunrise through the window in my DC apartment.  The apartment and roommate Jenny are great.  I think I'm going to like it here a lot!  It's also very warm compared to Edmonton and not as humid as I had expected.

My flights were all on time yesterday with no delays at customs or long lineups to wait in.  The first thing I did when I got here was to hook up my wireless router to get internet to my laptop... I'm such a nerd.