Archive for September, 2011

Yesterday was another wonderful – and wet – adventure in DC! First, took the metro and walked a few blocks to the Middle East Institute (MEI) to shelve some new journals that had arrived. I’m simply volunteering some of my time to an amazing educational institute’s library until they have a new librarian in place.

But first! A stop at one of my fav Starbucks nearby. Relaxed and enjoyed a cup of hot Passion tea, read an article I had copied a few days earlier from a Fortune magazine, and munched on a delicious granola bar. From there it was off to the MEI!

I opened packages of new journals that had arrived during the last couple of months and shelved them. But first I made notes of each one to add to an EXCEL sheet I’ve created so that there is a record of the new holdings. I also re-shelved books that had been used by those who research. It really is best if users do not re-shelve books themselves. Shelving by the Library of Congress number system or the Dewey decimal system in not difficult, but it does take extreme concentration and practice to do it correctly. And that explanation is the reason most libraries have many signs telling patrons/researchers not to shelve after using!! As we say in the wild and wooly library world :-), “If an item is misshelved, and we cannot find it, then we might as well not have it.”

After that I walked in the pouring rain to the nearest metro station, rode to Union Station, and took another short walk to Bistro Bis for the most delicious onion soup (oops! excuse me – Onion Soup Les Halles) ever!

I started with a cup of hot Earl Grey, which was perfect after a walk in the rain. Even with an umbrella it was a rather soaking day! Enjoyed the mildly sweet tea while reading another article I had copied a few days ago. By now it was after 1:00pm and not many people for the usual enjoyment of people watching, so reading was fairly uninterrupted.

Then my soup arrived, along with a basket of baguette slices and a small ramekin of soft whipped butter. Now my primary dilemma was where to start!

I chose the soup, filled to the rim with about the tastiest beef broth ever created. Stuffed full with tiny slices of onions, onions, and more onions. Croutons soaked in this tastiest beef broth ever created. (oh? did I say that already?) Fully covered in melted gruyère cheese. Oh how I wish I had a bowl this morning for breakfast!

After deciding to immediately dig my spoon into all this gooey wonderfulness, my next dilemma was figuring out how to deal with the spoon and all the cheese that hangs down into the soup. Truly – you know what I mean. An elegant French restaurant – what to do? Well, I did what I always do. . . used the fingers. How else does one pull off the hanging cheese? Does that technique seem tackier than having cheese hanging off your chin? Plus, I would be paying $ for it, it was my cheese now, I could do whatever I wanted with it, right? Yep! Finger food time! The toasted cheese is a favorite, so I even pulled it off the rim of the bowl and ate that with my fingers as well. Seriously people – it was just too delicious to leave behind!

Soon there were no crumbs, no onion, and no cheese, left on the table. It was done, and tummy was full.

From there I walked (again in the rain!) to the Library of Congress where I sat in that gorgeous Main Reading Room for just about an hour of research. I had emailed the LOC earlier that morning to request a book I wanted for certain historical information. The book was waiting for me at the central desk of the Reading Room, I requested it by my name, sat down and read the parts that I needed, took notes (including, of course, enough for a citation), then caught the metro back to the New Carrollton stop.

A day of knowledge, discovery, and . . . did I mention I ate the most delicious onion soup ever? 🙂


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Last week was surely not the best week of my life, but defintely not the worst. First, due to Hurricane Irene my apartment had no electricity from Saturday night until Thursday evening. Well, no fun, right? Wrong!! My friend Alexis offered me a place to sleep in her home, with a choice of a large blow-up mattress or a little sofa in the corner. I chose the sofa because it just looked so cozy. There were clean sheets involved either way, and who doesn’t love clean sheets!

I was home in the dark on Saturday night, but by Sunday I was pretty miserable without my computer which offers me news and TV shows and facebook and email and twitter and blogs and all the other connective features to help me keep up with the rest of the world. Oh you know, I was just plain pouty!

So I took off to Alexis’ home and stayed for four nights. If I got on her nerves, she didn’t let it show. Now, her kitty Snickers is a different story. Snickers let me know each day that I was a kink in her routine! Oh, she was not mean in any way, and she even let me scratch behind her ears a little bit every night. But you know how it is with animals; she just did not know me and we could not explain to her why I was in her home. Poor Snickers was just confused.

Thursday morning before the electricity came back on, my car broke down. Major repair. Major money. dang. However, I was able to pull into a parking lot, call a garage near my apartment that would take the car, call AAA to tow the car for me, and wait in a safe place. See? Blessings abounded this past week! Plus, I just happened to have pulled into a strip mall parking lot, just a few feet from Panera Bread.

I had gone that morning for fasting lab work, and as we all know, fasting means not only no food but no morning coffee! And here I was – Panera Bread. It was like a gift from God, and I now had official permission to go in there and get the sweetest and gooiest pastry I could find. Because I was stressing. And pouting. And what helps more than processed sugar!!

Therefore, I purchased my coffee and a pecan roll. You know, the cinnamon rolls loaded on top with lots of sticky glaze and huge pecans. It really was truly a huge pastry, and I could not eat it all. But before I threw away the leftovers, I gobbled up all the sticky pecans on top. Because I needed the protein, you know. Health comes first! OK. . . .sometimes.

Finally got the car back on Saturday afternoon. Very glad I could do so. Went to the grocery store and replaced some of all I lost in my refrig from the storm, and felt very thankful that I was back home. I was also thankful for the week I spent with Alexis and thought I would share a picture taken from my little bed – my own little corner with my stuff. Yes, in many many ways it was really a great week!

Yep! All my necessities, from my computer to my fan and cell phone and coffee and batteries and remotes for TV and DVR and etc etc. Pioneer necessities.

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I’m posting this info a little late in the week because I just got my electricity back this afternoon!! Yay all you BGE folks that worked to get my power back on! Thank you thank you. You may start billing me again.

First last week came the earthquake – which scared the heck out of me! Then the following day we pulled together at the library and shelved the hundreds of books that ended up on the floor. The Book Truck Brigade.

Then Saturday came hours and more hours of rain from hurricane Irene, followed by the winds. I believe the winds only got to 40 mph, but because of the soggy ground (I guess), many trees feel and poof! Soon there were over 800,000 area customers without power. Including me. Dang. But you know me! I’m fine. My gas stove works and I perk my morning coffee. I have plenty to eat and I can read and nap and blah blah blah.

By 1:00pm Sunday I really wanted Internet, so I call my friend Alexis, who is also without power, and off we go to Barnes and Noble for coffee and an outlet. Even though I did not buy anything more than coffee, I am a B & N regular, in person and online. So I didn’t feel guilty about using their power with no real purchase that same day. The purchase will just come at a later date!

Electrical outlets were all filled in the coffee bar area, and as we were leaving the store I noticed an outlet in a fairly empty space. We decided to sit on the floor and plug in! We unloaded all our stuff and I’m thinking to myself, “I am such a pioneer. Nothing holds me down for long. I can forge ahead – don’t need the luxury of a cushy chair or the perfect lighting or any of that stuff. I can just sit here on the floor and take care of what I need to do.” Yeah. As I finish that thought with, “Yes, I am such a pioneer.” I study our array of two computers and two cell phones charging up batteries, and I think, “Well, maybe not.”

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