Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Hope everyone has their Old Glory flying!  Gary dug out the flag my Mom gave him a long time ago and has it suspended from our awning.  He’s had it so long that I asked him if it had 50 stars!


As always we have our American, California and racing flags on the front of the fifth wheel.


And look at the cute stylized banner I bought the other day at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights where we had lunch. I thought it would be perfect for Memorial Day.  Food Note:  the lobster rolls were to die for!


We had lunch today at The Lobster Claw here in Saco, Maine. . .as you can see they are also decked out for the day!  Food Note #2: my clam strips were wonderful as was Gary’s haddock!


Is there a better way to honor our military and remember our loved ones on Memorial Day?  I don’t think so!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt. . .a Blogger before Blogging?

We have been visiting the presidential libraries and museums and, so far have managed to do all but Eisenhower, Ford and, of course, since I’m a Californian, Nixon and Reagan’s.   (George Bush’s is still in the planning stages, I believe.)

Some are more interesting and personal than others but last week I really enjoyed the home tour and visit of Franklin D. Roosevelt homePresidential Library and Museum in the quaint little village of Hyde Park, New York.  I was struck by the level of Eleanor Roosevelt’s importance and influence in her husband’s career, especially after he was struck by polio at the age of thirty-nine.   She served as his eyes and ears while traveling to places he wasn’t able to go.  She not only has a wing in the Museum/Library dedicated to her but she is the only First Lady who has been honored with having a National Historic Site dedicated to her!   Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site  is the location of Vall-Kill, her retreat and later home from 1945 until her death in 1962. 


As I browsed her wing in the presidential library I noted that among her many works was a syndicated column she wrote six days a week from 1935 to 1962.  Reading a snippet I noticed that it was quite short and written in a chatty personal manner.  “Hey, that sounds much like the blogs of today!”  Later on-line I found that the columns have been preserved and found subjects as Housewives, the Peace Corp, White House weddings during WWII, various causes she supports and her life and travels.  The same type things we all blog about although we don’t generally throw names like  “the new king of Saudi Arabia (1954)” and Fidel Castro into our blogs.  I liked My Day February 14, 1954 where she mentions attending an executive committee meeting of the United Nations and then later shares the Girl Scouts recipe for s’mores!


This is her May 3, 1943 column: (just happens to be my birthday)

WASHINGTON, Sunday—I have just read a book by Ethel Gorham: "So Your Husband's Gone to War!" It is entertaining and full of good common sense advice. I think pages 122 and 123 should be read and reread by every woman. It is a universal experience and sometimes it isn't only what happens in marriage.

Sisters and brothers, mothers and sons, girls and their sweethearts have sometimes found that furloughs were not all that they had planned. The men they were with were not the men who went away. Somehow, they were entirely different—moody, perhaps too gay, quite evidently covering something by the gaiety, anxious to forget instead of telling all the experiences which they want so much to hear.

This is just a sample of many other things which you will find useful in this little book and which, on the whole, is quite delightful to read. I loved the little bit about the woman who tried to give up her home and send her child away and found that it created for her husband, off at the war, only a sense of terrible insecurity, because he felt he had no real home which he remembered anywhere in the background to which he could cling, and for which he was actually fighting.

Many a husband would not have been honest enough to stop his wife in time. He might have thought he owed it to the woman to let her do the thing she thought wisest. Yet, as a matter of fact, all she needed to make the effort to go on living as usual, was the knowledge that the home he knew meant security to the man somewhere for beyond her ken.

What it must mean to those men so far away to be able to turn their thoughts for a minute to something they feel is fixed and stable in their world of home, something they love, something that is their real life, not this interim which, somehow or other, they must fight through.

And now, to something in lighter vein. Franklin P. Adams has just gotten out an anthology of light verse. It is called "Innocent Merriment," and while I know these poems are his favorites, I am sure you will find plenty of your own there, too. Who does not like Christopher Morley': "The Gospel of Mr. Pepys," ending:

"When kisses are a shilling each
We should adventure on a few."

No one could grow up without, somewhere along the road, having enjoyed Lewis Caroll's "Father William." So, when you want a pleasant hour, pick up "Innocent Merriment."



Reads like a modern blog doesn’t it?  If you could like to read more: “My Day”

Eleanor Roosevelt’s serene and peaceful Val-Kill.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our nation’s Capitol. . . cleared security and cleared security and cleared security again!

Security checks have been the norm at pretty much all of the Smithsonian and government venues we’ve visited during our month in Washington, D.C.  Normally they involve a bag check and maybe a walk through a security sensor but during the course of the tours of the U.S. Capitol and Library of Congress we went through SEVEN security checks, and that’s not including the cursory check as we exit the Library of Congress.  They begin as we enter the Longworth House Office Building to meet at Congressman Farr’s office.   I “beep” when I go through, am “wanded” and pass muster. . .we are in the building!  We met our tour guide, an intern from UC Santa Cruz, and set out on the tour.


This is just the beginning!  We walk down a long hallway between the Longworth and the Cannon House Office buildings, then another underground hall to the Capitol, stop at the security desk in the Capitol where we are issued clip-on badges and also stick-on Capitol tour badges. 

US Capitol badge

On to the galleries of the House of Representatives and Senate chambers.  On the way to the House of Representatives we wait in a line to surrender cameras and other electronics.  (I was relieved that I had left my purse with our phones in Congressman Farr’s office.)  We walk through the security check point,  I “beep” when I go through, am “wanded” and pass muster and we are seated in the House gallery.

House of Representatives badge

Walking through one of the hallways our group is nabbed by a security person:  “you don’t need those” and takes the clip-on badges.

We leave the House gallery, wind our way back to the security desk, pick up the camera and follow our tour guide back to the (same) elevator. . .hey, that’s the security person we just passed!  Are we stuck in a maze?

Then we are back into another line to surrender my camera --- is that the same room where I surrendered it for the House?  No, this is for the Senate.  I have no idea how we got here!  We weave our way up to the entrance for the Senate Gallery and, you guessed it, walk through another security check point where I “beep”, am “wanded” and pass muster (again,) and we are seated in the Senate gallery where we watch our senators at work.  They are taking a vote on a judicial appointment but don’t sit down and vote.  Instead they wander in, verbally give the clerk their vote and wander back out of the chambers.  We see John McCain!

Senate badge

Us, with Andrew Jackson in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol.


At the Library of Congress our belongings go through the conveyor belt and we walk through the sensor.  Yes, I “beep” again but, OOPS, I forgot about my IPhone in my pocket!  Back through the process again and I pass muster!


The Great Hall of the Library of Congress. . .one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen!


During the War of 1812 the British burned the Capitol and the Library of Congress.  Thomas Jefferson had acquired the largest personal collection of books in the United States and offered to sell his library to Congress as a replacement.  Congress purchased Jefferson's library for $23,950.  A second fire on Christmas Eve of 1851, destroyed nearly two thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson.  Now, the Library of Congress is attempting to reassemble Jefferson’s original collection and it is currently on special exhibit.   Couldn’t take pictures but it was awesome standing among books that he actually owned, touched and read!  (I know I’ve digressed from my “security story” but he is one of my favorites!)


As we are shooed out of the Library when it closes at 5:30 p.m. I must again open my bag for a final security check!  Whew!

Note:  At one of the security “wandings” the guard asks me if I have an artificial knee or other part. . .I say no, I am in possession of all of my original parts!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Just an ordinary day in Washington, D.C. . .Wow!

After visiting the off-the-National Mall beaten path Smithsonian Renwick Gallery we walked by the northern side of the White House.   While planning for the President’s House George Washington felt that it should be “Not too grand but grand enough” and that’s what it is.


So, since we were there we thought we might as well walk a little further (my feet weren’t hurting THAT MUCH  yet) and go around to the southern entrance.


Security personnel soon moved us away from the sidewalk saying it was a periodic thing they do.  When we noticed that the snipers on the roof of the White House and a couple of the nearby office buildings seemed to be especially vigilant we decided to hang around and see why they had shooed everyone away. 


Soon we saw people gathering on the lawn near the entrance. Something was going on!


Then one lone helicopter made a pass but flew on by.


Followed shortly by three big copters which flew east to west but these three also flew on by. (Sorry, but I couldn’t get all three in one photo.)


and then behind us from the south came ONE, then a SECOND both of which flew over the Washington Monument and the White House, and THEN a THIRD approaching much more slowly.


--- it was Air Force One with the President aboard!  I’m guessing that he was returning from the Ground Zero trip to NYC.





Coming in for the landing.  I could see Secret Service agents moving out to various places on the lawn.


On the ground at precisely 4:00 p.m.  The observers were clapping and taking pictures.  He debarked on the far side but I'm sure I saw his shoes!DSCN4807

A quick couple of minutes and Air Force One took off directly toward. . .


and over our heads!


Quite a special happening we hadn’t planned for. . .WOW!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Lunch. . .and another Carnegie Library!

Found a Carnegie Library by accident yesterday wandering around D.C.  We were driving on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Southeast section of the city when I caught a glimpse (as coach John Madden once said “out of the corner of my right eye”) down a side street. . . Carnegie Libraries have a distinctive architecture.  I told Gary to hook a U, which in the traffic took several blocks but we maneuvered back and there it was....sure appeared to be a Carnegie so I snapped a couple of photos through the window.  When we got home I looked it up and, yes, it is the Southeastern Branch which opened in 1922.  I will have to try and get back and see the interior.  This brings my total to seventy-one.  I don’t know how many are still standing but Andrew Carnegie gave grants for 1,689. . .I have a few more to visit don’t I?


Had lunch in a Cheesecake Factory in Chevy Chase - Eggs Benedict is probably my favorite breakfast and mine was SO good! Gary had a Monte Cristo sandwich he said was delicious - wish I could have had both! (but no, I didn’t!) We were too full for dessert and passed on their delicious cheesecake but wish I had gotten a piece to-go 'cause it would have gone so good last night! Oh well, saved the calories.