Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter


Happy Easter from the House of Mugwump...and Aunt Agnes!


The Easter Bunny ate all the carrots and drank the juice Annie left out for him!


My grandmother was a china painter and several of her pieces are in lovely Easter colors like the robin's egg blue vase and egg. I always show Annie the signature of her great grandmother on the bottom of these special pieces.


German bunnies and German eggs


Have a wonderful blessed day with family and friends! Eat some chocolate! I had French Silk Pie for breakfast with my tea...so bad, and yet so very good!

Enjoy the day,
Robyn





Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame

Stone carved statue in the National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

My heart was breaking as I watched the flames rise from the Cathedral of Notre Dame yesterday. Having had such a moving visit to the National Cathedral in D.C. recently, I am so very sad to see such beauty destroyed. 

I was awed by the magnificence of Notre Dame at the age of twenty one. The Rose Windows were works of art, as well as works of devotion. The beauty...made by the hands of men...was beyond description with words. The centuries old wood was gorgeous. 

As I said here after our visit to the cathedral in D.C., it is beyond a spiritual experience. It is a monument of hope. It is a vessel of devotion. It is a testament of faith. It is a source of serenity and solace for those who seek comfort within it's walls. Notre Dame was all these things, and more. I hope it will be again.

 I am so grateful to have had that experience...seeing Notre Dame...so many years ago.
I like visiting churches...and lighting candles. It's not so much a religious thing as a spiritual thing. I like that these houses of worship can unite us, even as they lay in rubble and ash.

What a painful day yesterday.

Enjoy the day,
Robyn





Friday, April 12, 2019

Days 4 & 5


Are you still with me? 

Mid week we moved from the Residence Inn in Alexandria to The Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue to meet up with our Board of Governors family. We stayed in this historic hotel when we visited D.C. with the BOG in 2008. You can see the White House from here, and the Mall and all the museums and the Capitol are within walking distance.
 This hotel has had many famous patrons...including Lincoln...and is where the term "lobbying" came to be. Going back to 1850 power brokers met here, in the lobby, to wheel and deal. The term lobbying became synonymous with The Willard. 


By the time we were settled into our new digs, it was early afternoon. We headed for The Mall. We decided to try and get into the new African American Museum. Last time we were here we visited the Native American Museum, also new at that time. We really enjoyed the Native American Museum. Highly recommend it!

We were lucky and had only a short wait.


This museum is informative and important. It is also physically demanding. You descend a quarter of a mile...three stories...underground in an elevator the size of a room...a packed with people elevator. 


It opens into a very low ceiling room which is very dark. The exhibits are plentiful and there is a lot to read. Photography is difficult. I took very few pics as I was busy reading and moving with the crowd. 


As you move through the exhibit areas you come to ramps that take you to the next level. The ramps are steep. This museum takes a lot of energy. 



Finally...somebody she recognizes!

When you reach the current era, you have walked a couple of miles. And, symbolically, you have risen from the dark...enclosed...into the open light.
It's a moving experience. 


We walked up The Mall to the Museum of American History. This museum does not look at all like the same museum I visited as a child, or that we visited a decade ago. It has been completely renovated. Again, I didn't take many photos. 


...a ladies pocket


a chatelaine


a "huswife"

The museum was getting ready to close. 

Full disclosure...this was our last full day on our own. The next day, my husband had meetings so we had real time restraints. While in D.C. our group went to the Supreme Court to be sworn in and to hear an oral argument. We did this the last time so we didn't go. There are limited slots available. The Supreme Court is smaller than you might think. You are not that far away from the bench. The lawyers being sworn in are, of course, on the other side of the "bar" and are even closer to the justices. It was a great experience...no photos in the court.

They also went to the Holocaust Museum. We had recently been to the one in St. Petersburg, Florida and you had to be there at 7:30 a.m. We passed. They also went to The White House. Again, we passed.

***********************************


The next day we got started early. I have photos of these three on my kitchen windowsill. It was from our last trip here. Now, we have a newer version. He's located in the Sculpture Garden outside the Archives.


The Archives...the place where all the paper lives. You will have to take my word for it...no photos in the Archives. The light is kept very low to help preserve the documents. They are under glass in metal cases. We saw them all...the Declaration Of Independence...still in readable condition. The Bill of Rights. And, the Constitution...so faded and pale...the ink appears to be sepia colored. It is moving to see the signatures...what is left of them...up close. It was a short and sweet visit.


We moved up The Mall toward The Capitol.


It was a gorgeous day and it felt good to be outside in the sunshine among the cherry blossoms.
Remember this is the busiest time of year in Washington. The spring breakers and tourists fill the city. Congress was in session so the place was hopping!


We walked around outside.We did the inside on our last visit. A must see for every U.S citizen, but too much going on for a family trying to relax and enjoy some Mother Nature.


Such a beautiful building.


The Supreme Court


The Library of Congress. We had wanted to go to the Library but ran out of time. It's beautiful inside, and another place I recommend as a place to see when visiting D.C.


We enjoyed our time in our nation's capital so much. Of course, it's "going home" for me. I've seen all these places many times before, but I love sharing them with my family. Surprisingly, I can still manage to navigate the city all these years later. I still remember where to turn!

One more post to finish things off. 

Enjoy the day,
Robyn













Tuesday, April 9, 2019

National Gallery of Art Day 3



The National Gallery of Art is my favorite! It is beautiful, and elegant, and family friendly. I chose to spend my birthday strolling it's many galleries with my family. 

Before our trip, I purchased Annie a Ralph Lauren teddy bear sweater. She has a tee shirt with a teddy on it that she loves, and I thought she'd get a kick out of having a sweater with a ted. She liked it so much she wanted me to get one...so I did. We wore them on my b-day...perfect sweater weather!



It added to the fun of the day! Plus...the flag!


We got an early start, beat the traffic, and snagged a parking space right out front.
 Mr. MW read the book Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson some time ago and has wanted to see this painting ever since. Meet Ginevra Benci...painted in 1478 in celebration of her marriage. She was sixteen and belonged to a wealthy family. Da Vinci was 23.
 The juniper tree surrounding her is a symbol of feminine virtue. This painting is the only Da Vinci displayed in the Western Hemisphere. 
She is a small painting...as is Mona Lisa. You can see her up close without glass. When I saw the Mona Lisa, decades ago in Paris, you could view her up close, too. Now she's behind all sorts of barriers and a protective shield. I hope Ginevra does not suffer the same fate in the future. 
She has been cut down. It is believed she had her hands showing originally. We're fortunate this much of the portrait has survived.


This is the back of the painting. Again, juniper trees. It's beautiful in it's dark colors. You can see on the bottom of the painting where it was cut down.


Annie enjoyed meeting Ginevra...we have been talking about her for months. The guard in the room was the very best! He and my husband had a long talk about the painting and her history. Fun time!



This beauty was my favorite...black and red with gold. She is beautiful and a good size...


and very old...circa 1240! She's gorgeous!

The favorite gallery for me...the American...the folk art. I'll let you enjoy.











I love all paintings by Edward Hicks...they are wonderful!




Beautiful American style!


Renoir...


and Manet.


The Degas Little Dancer...two of them. They are so beautiful. Their tutus and bodice and shoes are made from linen and covered in beeswax. There are many Little Dancer's by Degas all over the world...a total of 28.


These two...the same model at ages fourteen and sixteen. They are exquisite! Fascinating!


We played tourist and ate hot dogs from a street vender while sitting in the car with this as our view...the Constitution Avenue entrance to the museum. It was cold, but the sun was warm. Perfect.

We popped into every gift shop of all the museums we visited...the National Gallery shop is so fun! I'll share our goodies on another post.

We were anxious to get out of D.C. before the mass exodus to Virginia known as rush hour started. Mr. MW asked what I wanted to do for the rest of the afternoon...all day he said it was my day. What a nice fellow I have had the fortune to spend the last forty years with.

My answer was a trip to George and Martha's. So off we went...back across the river to Virginia. Driving down the George Washington Parkway is a trip down memory lane for me. The picnic areas on the Potomac where I spent many Sundays picnicking with my parents and grandparents are a bittersweet memory for me. It has not changed since those memories were made with loved ones long gone.


I didn't want to tour the house or museum this late in the day. We did that a few years ago and it is highly recommended, but we had already seen it all. Annie was getting tired, too. I just wanted to pick up a few goodies in the gift shop and soak up the ambiance of this wonderful place. Mount Vernon has a fabulous gift shop...two, actually, one more geared to kids and the other higher end collectibles. The books they offer are vast...adult's and children's. Lot and lots of books! 

This year my birthday presents came from Mount Vernon...it was a wonderfully perfect day! 


Annie and I documenting our bear sweaters...and I proceeded to cover mine up. How many people do you know with pics from inside the ladies room in the National Gallery? What a special birthday!

Whew...that was a long one!

Hope you enjoyed the National Gallery of Art!

Thanks for all the lovely comments so many of you have left on previous posts about our trip. I'm going to try to reply to them all here on the blog. I still have more museums if you are up for it.

Enjoy the day,
Robyn

p.s. Congrats to UVA!!! Wahoos wah!