Posts Tagged ‘Middle East Institute’

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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Thursday was another amazing day in DC – someone pinch me! Arrived early for an hour of Starbucks and a delicious cup of Gold Coast with a banana. I’m in the midst of reading Imperial Hubris (au: Michael Scheuer), so I just sat there, read my book, enjoyed my coffee, and watched people come and go.

Then walked less than a block to work in the library at the Middle East Institute (MEI) for several hours (pro bono). The Institute provides a tremendous resource for scholars but are without a full-time librarian right now. Met a few new people and spent the day doing what I love to do!

When I finished at MEI, I walked up to U Street for a chili dog at Ben’s Chili Bowl, and it was as delicious as I had heard it was. I arrived about 2:45pm and the line was literally, honestly, out the door. Inside the line snaked around a little, but they are so on the ball that it didn’t take long to get my hot dog.

Old Motown coming out of the speakers. Lots of loud laughter and smiling faces. People in all types of dress (and incomes) waiting for the same thing. Didn’t take long to place my order; they have perfected their process of dealing with a crowd! I sat at the counter with my meal in a bun, trying to contemplate how on earth I would eat it without utensils (loaded with their famous chili, onions, mustard, and topped with a little bit of creamy coleslaw)! Just as I looked up to ask someone to bring me a fork, one of the cooks behind the counter brought me a fork and knife. Thank you!! And the chili really is fantabulous!! A little extra heat. I’ll surely be back.

In the meantime, here is my fav Ben’s Chili Dog video:

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