Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yep, we got a lot of snow....

.... it was a lot worse than this photo of Pennsylvania Avenue in 1918, but back then they didn't have 4 wheel drive.

Washington, DC only gets a white Christmas about 13% of the time, so when it snows, all the photographers scramble to the National Mall to get their winter wonderland photos that you see on posters and postcards. In reality, it doesn't snow much here. But here's a photo of the National Museum of the American Indian post-snowfall. Around my neighborhood in the Baltimore area, we ended up with about 20 inches.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My hometown of Cleveland...

... has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. The C.L.E. Clothing Company comes up with the best t-shirts, and even loves to pick on the suburbs every now and then. But right now, this one is my favorite.

The Burning River Surf Club


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm hiring...

... an Elf for our shelf. I know the recession has hit everyone hard and elves are probably the first to get laid off. Santa is being ruthless this year. There are rumors that Rudolph might be let go, which is bad because then he won't have insurance to get that glowing tumor removed from his nose. Mrs. Claus is only giving sugar cookie bonuses this year, which is making everyone cranky.

But really, I do need to hire an Elf for the simple reason that the one at Nana and Poppy's house has been really useful in keeping Sadie in line. He keeps an eye on her, and she knows that the Elf will report back to Santa if she's naughty. It's a win-win situation. So, I'm taking resumes and there will likely be a lengthy interview process to make sure we get the right kind of Elf. Not like Buddy. Our house can't handle that kind of chaos.

Right now, I don't think I can even handle Sadie throwing the Baby Jesus across the room like last year.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This is laughable....

This is an ad from the 1940's from an exhibit at the National Postal Museum called Victory Mail. Let's count all the things that are innaccurate (at least by today's standards) with this image. But while we have a laugh, remember those who are in the military both here and abroad, and are protecting our country at a great personal sacrifice.

The laughable parts of this ad are:

1. The baby is sleeping.
2. Heels! At Home. Really?
3. She's skinny. Like, right after having that baby. Makes me think she must adopted, or kidnapped the kid.
4. She's actually cooking. I don't have time to cook.
5. Her make-up looks good. If it's hot enough to have a fan, her make-up should be sliding off her face.
6. Nothing I own would fit in cupboards that size. Except maybe the pen she is writing with.
7. Nobody cooks in a cute dress like that. You'll get stuff on it. The apron just delays the inevitable.
8. Does anyone's hair shimmer in the light like that? If it does, please tell me what hair product you are using.
9. Things are running smoothly? You are so lying. Or sleeping with his best friend. This goes with the fact she's wearing a dress and heels. Who is she dressed to impress? Hmmmm.....after clicking on the image, you can read that the soldier's kid brother comes over and "helps her with the garden." No wonder the soldier's son (aka. NEPHEW) looks more like him every day.
10. She really wishes she had a air conditioner. But she won't write that in the letter.

Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You want me to blog... like, for work?

I work in a weird place. Yesterday, I was actually at the Museum Support Center which is mentioned in Dan Brown's book The Lost Symbol. I had the opportunity to hang out in the wet pod, and I know what a thawing, frozen octopus smells like. It isn't pleasant.

But now you can follow some of my writing on the Smithsonian Journeys blog, every Tuesday and Thursday. This week, I wrote about Antarctica and about the people who actually LIVE there. But the video is way cool, so head over there and watch the whole thing. (And leave a comment about how much you love the blog post. I do have a boss to impress.)

And yes, Buzz Aldrin really will be on that tour to answer all of your questions. How awesome is that?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Haunting Photo of the Day....

I thought this was a cool one and worth sharing for the Holiday Season. Okay, it's not THE Holiday Season, but Halloween is pretty up there in my family. This is from Smithsonian Magazine's Photo Contest and this is the Photo of the Day for October 21st. It's called Some Kind of Alice by Stefan Andronache and was photographed in Romania.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Benjamin Bratt = Yumminess!

One of the perks of working at a notable place is that you occassionally have moments where you meet really famous people. Today wasn't my day, but my friends Anya and Charlie met Benjamin Bratt at the National Museum of the American Indian. Benjamin is part Quechua and he and his mother were also active in the protests at the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz with the American Indian Movement. As part of NMAI's mission to bring Native film to the forefront, they are showing La Mission at the museum as well as a discussion with Peter Bratt (Director) and Benjamin.

Now that all of the technical stuff is out of the way. Let's just focus on Benjamin Bratt's general yumminess. (My friend Charlie is on the far right with some of the other employees at NMAI. But really, we are all looking at Ben.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Matt did it....

Remember Where the Hell is Matt?

I sent it to my Dad, who loved it and he said, "HOW did he do that?" Here's how...

When I have down days, I watch his video of him dancing around the world and it always makes me feel better.

Here is the end result (and as of today there have been over 24 million views):

Anthropology at it's best!

When I was a college student studying anthropology in the mid-1990's, there was a new view of Anthropology. Basically, it was to listen to the cultures and learn from them, rather than telling them whether or not they are civilized. Since the announcement of the 2016 Olympics will be in Rio de Janeiro, there have been a lot of people concerned about what will happen to the Indigenous communities in Brazil. This issues there are heated, and many tribes are facing extinction.

But let's, for a moment, consider how anthropology is approached today. Embedding yourself into the culture you are studying is still believed to be much better than "armchair anthropology"- where college professors don't go anywhere, but ponitificate about the civilized and uncivilized peoples of planet Earth. Here, National Geographic created a show to be broadcasted in the U.K. based on Cultural Anthropology with people from the South Pacific ~ with a twist. Now... this is my kind of reality show.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I haven't posted lately about Harry Potter...

... but this is cool. This was the concept art for the death of Dumbledore by Adam Brockbank, but it never made it into the film. I always wondered how the film would visualize such a scene.

But... they never did. This is one beautiful image though...

You can see more images created by Adam here.

That's one big tree. Is it a truffala tree?

Nope... not a truffala tree. It's a Redwood.

According to National Geographic, this is the Biggest, Tallest Tree Photo ever.

I gotta say, it's pretty tall. At over 1,500 years old this Redwood has grown to over 300 feet. Somehow it survived weather, loggers, and a mulitude of other variables to survive this long. Clearly they had to piece several photos together just to get the full magnitude of this giant.

It involved three cameras, a team of scientists, a robotic dolly, a gyroscope, an 83-photo composite and a whole lotta of patience. Here's the video of how they did it:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In case you love The Lorax...

... and love the Earth, check out the Smithsonian's Online Conference on Climate Change starting today! (You can access it later if you can't experience it LIVE.) If you are on Facebook, you can also become a fan of the Smithsonian. But the interesting part is that people are STILL debating Climate Change. There were "believers" and "non-believers" battling it out on Facebook. But I think everyone agreed that we should all turn off Fox News. Ponder that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Hope Diamond is NAKED!

Lately, there's been a lot of hoo-ha at work mostly because we've really entered the realm of pop culture. First it was Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Then it was Dan Brown's book, The Lost Symbol.

Now... (we are a bit dramatic with these things)... I give you....

Wait for it. (Building drama.....)

The Hope Diamond. (Naked.)

Yep... we took it out of it's setting, studied it, and will put it in a new setting for a few months. Then return it to it's old setting (so don't freak out. We'll still return to Hope Diamond Classic.) You can read the story here. And if you love hearing little fun facts about the diamond, check out this blog post from Around the Mall. If you like it, put a ring on it.

This is Jeff Post, our curator (on the left) and Cristian Samper, who is the Director at the National Museum of Natural History. Just another day at a very unusual office.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am so glad Facebook didn't exist when I was in college.

This video is from the Onion, which will freak you out if you are under the age of 25. But you can equally be amused by Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook if your parents are over the age of 45.

Since I'm in my 30s, I'm amused by both.

Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids

All the cool stuff is in San Francisco....

Like this Vintage Fashion Expo that is this weekend. Okay, I know the undergarments weren't all that comfortable back in the day, but you can't deny they had style. The event features 85 dealers of vintage clothing, accessories and textiles with time periods ranging from 1850 to 1980. I would just gobble up all of the 1920's to 1940's stuff.

The event is perfect for costume designers, fashion hounds, and people like me... history nerds who just like to look at the clothes people wore on a regular basis back in the day.

Alas, I'm here on the East Coast.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey, Dan Brown Fans!!!

I know where that is. Heh. heh. heh....

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is coming out tomorrow...

Here's a little somethin' somethin' for the Dan Brown fans:


Story of my life.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm bored.

There's nobody here. It's the Friday before a holiday. And I'm certain no one is going to let us out early. So....(click your mouse and move the little ball.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Weddings traumatize my husband...

Not our wedding, of course. He was fine for that one. But last weekend he was Best Man for his longtime friend, Mindy. He looked great in his tuxedo, made sure Mindy had everything she needed, kept everyone sane and relaxed... but inside he was a mess. He had to make a speech at the reception.

The fact is, my husband is extremely shy in certain situations. It took me awhile to understand that some people are actually built this way. And so... my husband has earned the nickname "Turtle". When he gets into social situations, he hides his head into his shell until all the people go away.

He was nervous about the speech days before he needed to give it, and early on Friday morning I found him nervously searching the internet at 5AM. In the end, I wrote his speech, told him he would be great, and was just as nervous as he was when it came time for him to give it. He said that looking at everyone during the wedding wasn't so bad, but somehow during the reception, they all freakishly multiplied by 10. With his hand shaking uncontrollably, this is the speech he gave. I'm so proud of him... he got through it and didn't pass out.

Here's the speech:

I should start off by saying – I’m not very good at this. I’ve always been the shy one and Mindy has always been the outgoing one ever since we met. But I guess that’s what makes us such good compatible friends. But our common ground has always been history. We are both history fanatics and are constantly looking at the past for all of its quirky little bits that no one else knows.

This is why we are forbidden to be on the same team when we play Trivial Pursuit. It’s amazing we haven’t been banned from the game altogether.

But today is not about the past. It’s about a day in all of its future significance. Out of all of the days that are notable…. the signing of the Declaration of Independence, when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, the day the Grateful Dead first played together, this is the day that will stand out for Bob and Mindy’s family.

Someday, their great-grandchildren will come across an old picture of Grandpa Bob and Grandma Mindy. They will think back the good old days, when things were simple. Housing was affordable. Flying cars weren’t invented yet. Robots didn’t rule the world.

This is the day when Grandpa and Grandma brought all of their friends and family together to celebrate their new marriage.

This is the day when they exchanged rings and promised to be each other’s best friends for the rest of their lives.

This is a day that will be remembered for all the right reasons, because it was a day of a new beginning. The family tree was altered, and it extended to include more people, more possibilities, and definitely, more love.

Congratulations, Mindy and Bob!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I won't be making it to the Canfield Fair this year...

... and I'm kinda bummed. Canfield, Ohio has a huge county fair and it's the one time of year I do my best to see the extended family for our annual Henry Hootenanny Hoe-down. But my mom is at the point in her ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) where traveling would be really difficult due to all of her equipment and day to day routine that simply makes life a bit more challenging. So, since we are missing the Canfield Fair this year, I'm bringing a happy photo to all of YOU! This is from a photo essay from Smithsonian Magazine, and this photo is by Dan Nelken.

And the best part... all the happiness and none of the smell. Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009


This is what I used to do at the National Museum of American Indian. I could tell you a whole bunch of stuff about Winter Counts. Here's Emil Her Many Horses, a Lakota colleague of mine -- he and Candace Greene can tell you instead:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I like your shoes...

Harper's Bazaar did a photo shoot with some of my favorite style icons... the Muppets from Sesame Street. I've been watching a lot of the old videos or "classics" as they say on the Sesame Street website with Sadie. She's a sucker for the Ray Charles videos. And she doesn't even notice the afros, bellbottoms or unusual mustard colored clothing. She just likes the songs.

For the record, here are some of the prices for the clothing in this photo shoot.
Left: Cape, $1,990, blazer, blouse, $690, skirt, $3,790, and shoes, $890, Derek Lam. 212-966-1616. Bracelet, $4,375, Dean Harris for Derek Lam. Right: Coat, $2,190, blouse, $1,090, and pants, $790, Thakoon. Stanley Korshak, Dallas; 214-871-3600. Earrings, $450, Fenton for Thakoon. barneys.com. Gloves, Portolano. portolano.com. Shoes, $1,195, Giuseppe Zanotti for Thakoon. net-a-porter.com.

As much as I appreciate Harper's Bazaar for slummin' it down to the Street, I am a little shocked at almost $2000 for a cape. The Count wouldn't pay that much for a flimsy piece of fabric.
What's the Word on the Street? Pretentious.

Meanwhile, Bert has been rockin' the same white turtleneck and striped sweater for over 40 years... which is more environmentally friendly. You can see Cookie, Grover, Abby Cadabby and their take on fashion here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paris.... *sigh*....

The Smithsonian started a new site on Cafe Press with some pretty cool images to put on t-shirts, tote bags, posters...

I thought this was a nice little piece of eye candy. It's in the new stages, but they'll be adding more images over time. The most recent adds are from the Smithsonian Folkways collection and is great for music fans. This is from their Book Art section that is just getting started.

They also have some old seed catalog art that are great for anyone interested in the Victorian style or wants to have a more garden floral look in their house. Here's a sample of their framed posters:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I need to go on an IKEA run...

It's been awhile since I've been to IKEA, and we are desperate to find new ways to make our junk fit in our house until we can actually put it on the market. This may take awhile as the housing market slowly begins breathing again. Who knew a toddler came with so much stuff? Or a husband for that matter? So, until then, I decided to explore my Swedish Furniture Name, which you can use here at Blogadilla.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I want this to be my birthday cake...

I live in the Baltimore area, so I'm lucky to have Ace of Cakes (AKA: Charm City Cakes) in my backyard and all of the incredibly talented people who work there. We were watching one day when Charlie yelled at the television, "Hey, I know her! We went to college together!"
But this.... this is truly amazing:

HOGWARTS! (A Cake Interpretation)
Ace of Cakes made this for the opening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You can see the making of the cake here on the Leaky Cauldron site.

Yes, I'm still a Potterhead. But for very good reason. There are so many ways to interpret these books that the fans continually find new ways to approach these books from different perspectives. One of my favorite Harry Potter scholars (and yes, I do mean scholar) is John Granger, also a University of Chicago alumn. He's written a few books on the literary theory of the Harry Potter series. He's written:

The Deathly Hallows Lectures: The Hogwarts Professor Explains the Final Harry Potter Adventure

How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling's Bestselling Books

and most recently: Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books behind the Hogwarts Adventures
To get a taste of his style (And how Chaucer and Jane Austen relate to the Potterverse), you can check out the article he wrote for our alumni magazine here.

Then I was at our little work luncheon get together and learned that my older colleagues haven't read the whole series. *Shock* Then I shamefully explained to my boss how all the books come together in Deathly Hallows and why Dumbledore HAD to die in the 6th book. (I mean, how else was Harry going to face Voldemort as a man without anyone protecting him? It's the classic hero's tragedy and tale.) Then there's the representations of Hermione and Ginny as both modern and postmodern feminists. I think I freaked him out a bit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mindy is getting married soon....

... and my husband is her "Best Man". They've been friends since college and she served as his Best Girl at our wedding, while my friend Dave was my Best Guy. This weekend is the wedding shower, but I wonder if she would even consider doing this.... I mean, Charlie really loves to dance, and this might be the perfect venue to show off his mad skills.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Someday my daughter will be in 7th and 8th grade...

...And I find this absolutely terrifying. Charlie is already excited about getting Sadiebug a backpack for preschool for this fall, and I'm already worried about Middle School. But then I found this quote on Mommy Track'd and it seemed so appropriate:

“The seventh and eighth grades were for me, and for every single good and interesting person I’ve ever known, what the writers of the Bible meant when they used the words hell and the pit. It was Lord of the Flies. Springtime for Hitler, and Germany. So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead?” ~ Anne Lamott

We thought Sadie was going to be a boy because there had been a steady stream for 18 generations. Yes, 18 generations. Charlie is one of THOSE families that actually took a boat to Virginia in the 1600's, looked around and said, "Well, this is nice." They have only ventured as far as Maryland, where we live today.

But no, during the ultrasound, the doctor said, "Boys are usually very active like your little one here.... wait... it's girl." Charlie asked her to check several times just to make sure. Yep, it was a girl. That was when I started to panic about 7th grade. Even though she was only 20 weeks old, I was worried about her walking into Middle School and facing 7th grade, (which according to my sources... 5th grade is the new 7th grade, and that just terrifies me even more.)

So, here's hoping preschool goes well. Sadie has already taken to saying, "Oh MY GOD!" all the time. That's my fault.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I have to give my husband kudos...

He thinks I don't appreciate all that he does as the "Primary Caregiver" of our family. Yes, we are a little unusual. I go to work each day and have a long commute from Baltimore to Washington, DC. That means I put a lot of trust into my husband that he take excellent care of our daughter. A lot of women downplay their husband's fathering skills, but Charlie has always been good to our little girl, even when she throws herself on the floor and screams for 30 minutes (like she did Monday night.)

When I meet people and tell them what I do for a living, they always wonder and say outloud, "Who takes care of your daughter?" And people are always surprised when I say, "Her father." That really shouldn't be such a rare thing.

But then I see videos like this one, and I think, "Oh. That's why." (For the record, I was equally mortified by the mother who didn't drop the camera and slap her husband for being an idiot.)

Seriously, some fathers really need to get it together and have some common sense. For the good fathers... we love you. As always, thanks Thingamababy -- another "Primary Caregiver" who has it together.

Updated Note: Apparently YouTube thought this video was as horrifying as I did and removed it. It was basically two men tossing a toddler back and forth. Then they put him down and he runs away (probably terrified and needing therapy for hating his father). Then the father picks up the daughter and holds her up by her legs, and well... you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If your cross a Harry Potter Fan and a Museum Nerd...

... you would get me. I have to wait until Saturday to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due to babysitting issues. But if you want to get all nerdy before then, check out this online exhibit from the National Library of Medicine -- Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine. There's even some lesson plans if you are teacher. C'mon.... make learning fun... y'know you want to...

Personally, I think this exhibit is way more interesting than the Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (right down the street from my alma mater, University of Chicago). It got a lot of criticism for promoting the movies, not actually being an educational exhibition. Most of the objects are authentic from the movie productions, but when there are cool books like the Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works and Harry Potter and International Relations, it seems a shame to pass up an opportunity to do a really cool show AND still learning something.

I always try to explain that going to the University of Chicago is the closest thing you can get to going to Hogwarts without leaving the country.
This is the cafeteria.

This is near The Pub where you have a pint and study.

And there are Gargoyles everywhere. Even our mascot is a phoenix.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hey, is that Emil?

Every now and then I watch Smithsonian Channel clips to see what would be appropriate for my Smithsonian Student Travel students. Even after over 6 years of working at Smithsonian, I find it amusing when I find someone I know being interviewed or there a photo shoots where I work. This is the Sneak Peak of the Smithsonian Channel's Stories from the Vaults: Season 2. My friend Beth interviewed Tom Cavanagh yesterday for her Around the Mall blog, and when you watch this video you'll see Emil Her Many Horses near the end. He's a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, and one really cool Lakota.

Don't worry, I'll go back to writing about my odd mothering moments. Sadie is still doing crazy things. The other morning I found her wearing a "Grandpa got me this shirt in Jamaica" with a smiley face with dreds. But that wasn't the t-shirt she was wearing when I put her to bed the night before. Weird.

A few words about Michael Jackson...

I know there has been so much coverage of this topic that it's a bit excessive. But since this is kind of like my own journal, I feel like I have to share my own little Michael Jackson story.

About two years ago, Michael visited the National Museum of the American Indian with his children. It was one of those days at my job where I came to work with one purpose, and ended up witnessing something I never thought I would see. We were supposed to have a meeting about promoting our Smithsonian Memberships, and then I noticed there was way more security than usual in the hallway outside our Resource Center. So I asked our security guard, "Okay, who is the famous person visiting today?" He looked straight ahead and muttered, "Michael Jackson".

Wha? Really? No waaaaaaayyyy....

But then my friend Sharyl walked in front of me with Michael and his children, and showed them our Windows on Collection exhibit. I only saw the back of Michael, who was about 20 feet away from me, as he looked at our beautiful beadwork exhibit. I didn't want to interrupt their museum experience, and over the years I've realized that famous people want to check out our museums just like everyone else. Angelina Jolie came to Air and Space with her kids, First Lady Laura Bush had her birthday party at NMAI, and even Pearl Jam stopped by during the opening of the museum. I even met the Chancellor of Austria once. He emailed his kids from the Resource Center.

Later, Sharyl told me she taught Michael how to dance Yup'ik style, while one of our membership people hoped Michael would donate a lot of money to the museum.

It must not have been easy being Michael Jackson. Everyone wants your money, your time, and your attention. But what I remember most about looking at that family on that day, was his daughter Paris. She was about 9 at the time, had long brown hair, and was wearing a pink shirt, jeans, and sneakers. She looked like a regular kid. She could've gotten lost in the crowd of the thousands of visitors we had every day.

Just a regular kid.
Of course, I immediately emailed and texted everyone I knew. And the response was the same. Yep, he's an oddity.... but he's also an icon.
So here's my favorite Michael Jackson song... this one never gets old for me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I work in a place with lots of these...

The Bitter Oldtimer
What they do: Around since the company was founded (or maybe it just seems that way), The Bitter Oldtimer has definitely seen it all, and they’re not scared to tell you all about it. One has to wonder why they’re still at the job. In the long run, though, they can turn your optimism and can-do spirit into the same bitter regrets that they sport, killing your own enjoyment of your job. Attitudes can be contagious.

Yes, this is the problem where I work. People are as old as some (or most) of the objects in our collection. They hate technology, they hate young eager people, and most of all... they hate change. But the fact is, in order to be relevant in this day and age, we need to change. We know it. But I am so tired of going into meetings where there is always a Debbie Downer who puts down every idea and never has a positive alternative. Next time I go to one of the meetings, I really want to take a water pistol with me. Whenever there is a negative commentary that goes on for over 3 minutes, I'm shootin'.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Of all of the poses someone could be in...

Bill Clinton agreed to this one for his official portrait? Really? The psychoanalysis of this is just too easy. This is from the digitized collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I have been working my fanny off lately...

... and it's been pretty non-stop since the Inauguration. I think everyone has "Cameron Moments" like this one. Mine was yesterday. Okay, and this morning. Yesterday I gave up, called in sick, and went back to bed and slept for 6 more hours. Today, I forced myself to get out of bed, take a shower, and get in my car to get to the train station. But this was what was going on in my head:

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's official... the 15 year high school reunion is coming....

I didn't bother going to the 5 year reunion because I felt like I had just left high school. I didn't go to the 10 year reunion because I was getting married a week after the event in a completely different state. I don't think I have an excuse for the 15 year reunion. And why would I want to avoid it anyway?

My mom has said that by the time you hit your 25th reunion and over, you are just happy to see each other alive and happy. And I think with the 15th, you are finally pretty set in who you are, what your priorities are, and at least a little more secure about yourself than you were on Graduation Day. But right now I'm in a bit of a whirlwind professionally and personally, and my old hometown loves to gossip. So I know by going back I'll have to have a full-on ready explanation of where the hell I've been, what I'm doing, and how my family is. With a town in Ohio with only 6000 people, and a graduation class of 64, there is no avoiding the how is your family hoo-ha. Luckily, I think Facebook has helped me with the transition. But still, do I look better than I did in high school? I certainly feel better.

When I graduated, my parents were divorcing, they put the big house up for sale, and I was quickly running off to Syracuse University and then abroad to London. Yep, I ran. I won't deny it. And I studied my fanny off. I pretty much cut myself off from a lot of my old friends that I had known since Kindergarten. And I haven't talked to them since... except for a few on Facebook.

Now it's been 15 years, and I have a graduate degree from the University of Chicago and work for the Smithsonian. I work at a place where I see guards with guns, and some with very large guns, on a daily basis. Just last week, I was dealing with an emergency at the Holocaust Museum and hoping none of the students in my program were hurt. On a good day, I am summoned to a Castle. On a bad day, I'm dealing with lawyers. My mom has ALS, my brother is in the military, and I'm married with a kid. I have a lot on my plate right now and manage to still get through the day.

But for some reason, when I think about going back to a high school reunion, I am struck with a certain nervousness that can only be experienced by a neurotic, low self-esteemed 17 year old. And the first thing I think is, "What am I going to wear?" I haven't even talked to my husband about making the trek back to Ohio to actually go to this reunion and I'm already wondering if my butt will look big when I get there. I'm sure this will not be last blog entry about this event.

Oh, Ohio.... when I think of you... I think of this version of this song...
I need a drink.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dear Sheldon....

I Love You....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm one of Abe's Babes...

I've been working on Smithsonian Connections for awhile, and our first project is about Abraham Lincoln. The Bicentennial of his birth is this year so there's been a lot of hoopla around the country at museums and historical Civil War locations. It sounds boring, but you end of finding lots of cool stuff. Like portraits of Lincoln made out of cupcakes and stuff like this:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I just wanted a reason to post this photo...

... but you can read the history of gnomes here. And I am tempted to join the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. (The French are crazy.) Here's the English Version.

Free the Gnomes!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Have you seen the movie yet?

Here are some of the interviews from the premiere from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

Another one of those days....

"Hundreds of years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that my ruins become a tourist attraction." You can get it here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We Want to Hear From You!!!

Yeah, this is my personal blog, but I spend a lot of time at work here at the Smithsonian. And when family visits, I spend my days off at Smithsonian. I really love my job, and Smithsonian has been going through some growing pains. We have some curators who don't use email and want to play with their taxidermied birds all day, and then we have our techie museum people who want to make everything digital. But really, we want to hear from everyone to tell us what you expect from museums. Really! We do! So much we made a video about it. Send your response to our little corner of the world on YouTube.

Interviews from the Castle...

Go see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian this weekend!!!

You can see interviews from the Smithsonian Castle here.

It's not whether you win or lose...

... it's how you play the game. And remember, "Adam Lambert was created by God and left in a basket at the theater backdoor of Wicked." And we were lucky God did that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Cleveland, Ohio....

I grew up in your town. I was there at the last game in Cleveland Stadium before it was torn down. I watched Hollywood make fun of our team with the movie Major League. And I'll admit that being from Cleveland isn't the easiest thing in the world with our sports teams. But I have to say one little thing about our mascot.

Apparently, there is controvery regarding the American flag being put on Cleveland Indians baseball hats. It's considered to have the American flag used in this fashion for profit. This special edition is coming out specifically for Memorial Day.

This is the problem people have with the hat. The American flag being used for profit. I'll admit, that's not the best idea. But Tommy Hillfiger made a career out of it. Here's what bothers me:

Nobody made a big deal over the completely racist and innappropriate caricature of a Native American on the hat.
I mean, really?

I know people are going to defend this mascot because of the first Native baseball player, Louis Sockalexis (a Penobscot from Maine), played for the Cleveland Spiders back in the day. But I can assure you, after working at the National Museum of the American Indian and knowing much about this subject, this was not an honor. He was treated like dirt when he played for Cleveland.

So please, Cleveland, keep your priorities straight. If you are offended by the American flag being used in this way, you should definitely re-evaulate where you stand on this mascot.

And you can learn about Codetalkers here, since it is Memorial Day weekend and we should be honoring all veterans for their service, regardless of their racial or cultural background.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google gives archaeologists a shout-out...

... in their own special way.
Joke of the Day: What do most pirates want to be when they grow up?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Night at the Museum Cast at the Smithsonian!

The cast was here last Thursday and Friday for all the press that you'll probably be seeing this week. You can read more about the premiere from my friend Beth here. This is a great shot of them in the garden behind the Castle... about a block from my office. But motherhood calls... and I was actually with my husband and daughter checking out her preschool for next fall. We all have priorities.

That's Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson and director Shawn Levy. (Both Photos by Ken Rahaim)

Go see the movie this weekend!!!

We did WHAT????

In the spirit of pulling out the old black and white photos, I figured this is one everyone should see. Since I do a lot of research at the Smithsonian, I come across images and objects that are really incredible. We're digitizing the collection as quickly as we possibly can with limited funding.

Our big exhibit at the National Museum of American History was the unveiling of the Star-Spangled Banner. The museum had a huge renovation and painstakingly restored the original flag. It's been through a lot between the war, people cutting out chunks for keepsakes, and when we tried to conserve it the first time by sewing a backing, to realizing that was a bad idea and having to remove the backing (one stitch at a time). Now it is housed in a climate controlled area, with just enough light for visitors to view it through glass. It even sits on a flat surface that can be moved inches so it can lay flat and release some of the pressure on the stitches. In it's current condition without any adjustments to our system, it could last another 500-1000 years.
But before we started conserving it, we actually thought it would be a GREAT idea to hang it outside the Smithsonian Castle in 1914. *sigh*