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broodings from the burrow

July 31, 2019

posted by soe 1:19 am

Rudi on the Lawn

Every summer, the National Building Museum turns the main hall of its massive Renaissance Revival-era into an interactive seasonal installation. Rudi and I have never managed to get to it, but this morning the museum waived the admission charge for residents in our ward (D.C. is divided into eight of them of roughly equal population) and we decided to check it out.

It was hard work.

Putting My Feet Up

While previous installations have included ball pit beaches and musical tube beehives, among others, this year the theme is Lawn.

Lawn at the Building Museum

Built onto scaffolding located between the first and third floors, the Astro-turf lawn slopes from the top, home to bean bag tosses and a “swimming pool” of sorts, to a mid-level plateau with Adirondack chairs, and down a steep hill full of children rolling and running and shouting. Dangling over the top two levels are dozens of hammocks into which the soothing stories of celebrities’ summers past are piped. Because the main hall soars four stories in the air, you manage to pick up the hint of a breeze as you lie there with your feet up and your eyes closed. Adding to the illusion of being outdoors are the ambient noises emitting around the floor — lawn mowers, crickets chirping, children shrieking from afar.


It was very well done, and I’d say that if you have a few hours to spend, it’s worth the expense, particularly if, like us, you lack your own personal lawn.


Our visit also included the cost of visiting the other exhibitions, so we took in collections about how homes have changed over the U.S.’s history, animals in architectural details, and building blocks (the National Building Museum is a family-friendly destination). My two favorites were the photo exhibition about basketball hoops around the world and how they tell a universal, yet highly local, story (note to my parents, I was not the only person to take out a garage window with a basketball) and Flickering Treasures, a story about Baltimore’s movie and neighborhood theaters through time. While 240 theaters called Maryland’s most famous city home, they are down to five currently in operation (up from three a couple years ago). It was a fascinating story about segregation, modernization, and localization (they had fewer studio-run theaters than most cities of comparable size).

Rudi in the Baltimore Movie Theater Exhibition at the National Building Museum

Category: arts,dc life. There is/are 2 Comments.

July 30, 2019

ten books set locally i’d like to read
posted by soe 1:28 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie week, where host Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to make up our own bookish topic.

I recently finished one book that starts in Washington, D.C., and another that includes D.C. among several settings, which made me think about other books set in the area. Rather than give you a list of books set here that I’d recommend (although I’d be happy to do so if you leave a note in the comments), I thought I’d share ten books set locally that I’d like to read:

  1. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson* (ya)
  2. Rebound by Kwame Alexander (mg)
  3. Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi* (ya)
  4. The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks (mg)
  5. Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen Shogan (adult)
  6. All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones (adult)
  7. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (ya)
  8. Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker (adult)
  9. Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (ya)
  10. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (adult)

*I own a copy and have no excuse why I haven’t read it yet.

Have you read any of these books?

Category: books. There is/are 5 Comments.

July 29, 2019

notes from the garden: end of july
posted by soe 1:02 am

Late July Garden Update

While the larger blooms of my flowers have died off, I still have some smaller flowers to enjoy while I water.

Late July Garden Update

My bronze fennel is now over six feet tall, with sprigs of Queen Anne’s Lace-like blossoms. I don’t especially have any call for six feet of the mildly anise-flavored herb, so mostly I’m using it to prop up the tomato plant next to it, which is equally tall.

Late July Garden Update

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July 28, 2019

six in six
posted by soe 1:11 am

Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm and raidergirl3 at an adventure in reading highlighted a meme that Jo at The Book Jotter runs annually, considering the first half of a reading year. It seemed fun, and she has a ton of categories to choose from, so play along if you’d like.

Here are my chosen selections:

  1. Six bookshops I have visited
    1. Politics and Prose is the biggest bookstore in D.C. and my favorite. It now boasts three locations: its flagship store in Chevy Chase with its expansive children’s section and two outposts in newer, hipper neighborhoods at Union Market and The Wharf.
    2. Kramerbooks is my local bookshop (and restaurant and bar) and has recently expanded. It keeps late hours on a daily basis in case you have a book emergency in the wee smalls.
    3. Capitol Hill Books is a used bookshop adjacent to Eastern Market and is the sort of used bookshop that immediately makes you love its owners and fear for their safety. They have removed the piles of books from the stairs since we moved here and have begun hostly monthly Saturday afternoon happy hours in their back garden.
    4. Bridge Street Books in Georgetown is the last indie bookshop in the lower part of the neighborhood. Beloved by university professors, it has a great poetry collection and a number of books in foreign languages, as well as a discount table out front and the usual bestsellers. Plus, it faces down an Amazon storefront on a daily basis.
    5. East City Books is just a couple blocks from Capitol Hill Books, but instead of selling used and antiquarian tomes, it is home to newer books. It has an excellent children’s and YA section downstairs (and spacious stroller parking in their pedestrian alley) and welcomes the dogs of the neighborhood (it has an alcove with their photos featured).
    6. Loyalty Bookstore is the new name of Upshur Street Books after the original owner sold it to two of his booksellers. They are a small, highly curated shop and are highly attuned to the needs of their Petworth neighborhood. If you go on a weekend evening, you can go to the bar next door for literary-themed cocktails.
  2. Six new authors to me
    1. Jasmine Guillory (The Proposal)
    2. Sonali Dev (Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors)
    3. Mary H.K. Choi (Emergency Contact)
    4. Stephanie Garber (Caraval)
    5. Nnedi Okorafor (Akata Witch)
    6. Ngozi Ukazu (Check, Please!)
  3. Six favourite places to read
    1. The couch
    2. The park
    3. The Western-facing patio of the coffeehouse near my apartment
    4. The metro
    5. At the sink while washing dishes (audiobooks, obviously)
    6. In line at Trader Joe’s
  4. Six series of books read or started
    1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (recently finished #2)
    2. Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery by A.J. Herbert (#1)
    3. Gethsemane Brown Mysteries by Alexia Gordon (#1)
    4. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend (#1)
    5. Lady Sherlock by Sherry Thomas (#3)
    6. Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn (#4)
  5. Six books I started in the first six months of the year and was still caught up with in July
    1. Jasper Fforde’s Early Riser
    2. The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
    3. Naughty on Ice by Maia Chance
    4. Front Desk by Kelly Yang
    5. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
    6. Insomnia by Marina Benjamin
  6. Six authors I read last year — but not so far this year
    1. Neil Gaiman
    2. Barbara Kingsolver
    3. Andrew Shaffer
    4. Melissa Albert
    5. Leigh Bardugo
    6. Karina Yan Glaser
Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.

July 27, 2019

melody for the morning
posted by soe 2:33 am

I was watching Star Wars tonight and after it ended, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice came on. This song, “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, is featured in a very early scene of the movie and I found myself singing along, even though Rudi was asleep in the other room. Tomorrow, I intend to sing along at full volume and bop around the Burrow in an effort to literally shake off my blues. I hope you find it similarly invigorating, both mentally and physically.

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July 26, 2019

flowering, pete’s, and job-free
posted by soe 12:18 am

Crape Myrtle

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. The crape myrtle are particularly lovely this summer.

2. We went out for pizza on Tuesday, courtesy of a Christmas gift from my parents.

3. Our baseball game Monday evening got rained out and rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Rudi had to work, but Sarah and I got to enjoy the perks of unemployment and spent the afternoon cheering the Nationals to victory through a gloriously sunny day game.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.