Monday, April 29, 2013

RIP Janos Starker

I found out today that Janos Starker died.  I love his playing.  His recordings of the Bach cello suites are just gorgeous.  I also played cello for a while in high school, and one of my teachers was his student, so in a way he was my grandfather teacher.  I feel so lucky to have heard him perform when he played at a Northwestern Winter Chamber Music concert several years back.  He will be missed. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

clam on the beach

Beach Day today!  Happy as a clam :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Saturday morning we headed back over to the mall to the Japanese festival, in conjunction with the cherry blossoms, which were a gift from Japan.  Admittedly, Little Tokyo or Little Osaka in LA are better on a daily basis than this Japanese festival was, but it was a nice idea.  On the way over, we stopped at the White House.

For lunch, we met another friend from Northwestern, Juliette, at Busboys and Poets before heading to the Capitol Building, complete with a demonstration. 

From there, we walked down the mall, past the Washington Monument, and back into the Cherry Blossom fray.

The blossoms looked glorious in the bright sunlight.

We continued on to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. I had just seen it on Thursday but it is lovely and it also was Thomas Jefferson's birthday on Friday, so we thought we'd wish him a happy 270th.  I have to mention that wandering around DC, it actually reminded me in many ways of Paris, particularly the early 1800s architecture and the layout of the city.  I believe the main architect was French, actually, and TJ was a Francophile.  But this time, it was nice to see these great monuments and feel, "Hey, this is my country, isn't it beautiful?"

From Jefferson, we moved on to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's memorial, which I had never seen before, as it was still incomplete last time I was in DC.  I found it to be a really inspring memorial to a very influential president, as well as his first lady.

From FDR, we headed on over to the Martin Luther King Memorial.  I was actually a little disappointed with it.  For such a great man, I think he deserved a greater memorial.  But it did have its good qualities.

After MLK, we continued walking (I later found out we walked about 10 miles on Saturday) to the Korean War Memorial, a very nice tribute. 

Next, it was Lincoln's Memorial.  While Jefferson's Memorial instilled feelings of pride, I found Lincoln's made me feel a little sad, though also full of awe. 

At least President Lincoln has a nice view of the Washington Monument.

Another cool part of the Lincoln Memorial is the little inscription they have on the steps marking where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech, which I found somehow more meaningful than his monument.

After Lincoln, we moved on to the Vietnam Memorial, which was also very moving. So many names. People had left little tributes along the wall. 

After that, we were tired and hungry, so we headed to Tonic for some dinner before heading home.  I had to leave early Sunday morning, but it was a wonderful trip and I am very grateful to my friend Georgina for hosting me, as well as my other friends for taking the time to see me.  It was a wonderful time to visit Washington, and a refreshing change of pace for me. 

Monday, April 22, 2013


On Friday morning I must admit I slept in a bit since I was still tuckered out from my busy Thursday and not 100% adjusted to Eastern Time.  But I got myself a cappuccino and headed to the Phillips Collection around 11am.  I was happy my teacher status got me a couple of dollars off the entrance fee, and I was enthralled with the collection.  They have a Rothko Room, which was put together by Rothko himself.  It was amazing.

After a couple hours at the Phillips Collection, I headed to lunch at the Capitol with my friend Liz.  I hadn't seen her since high school, at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival.  She's not an oboist anymore, she works for a Congressman.  From CT, no less.  Sadly, I did not take any pictures, but it was great catching up. 

After lunch, I headed to the National Museum of American History, which I had remembered from visiting DC in high school.  Now it has Michelle Obama's inauguration dress added to the First Ladies collection, and a very large and overwhelming exhibit on war in America. 

After the Smithsonian, I met up with Georgina and we went to visit another oboist friend, this one still plays (gorgeously), Alison.  We went to Ping Pong, a sort of fusion dim sum place with OK food and terrible service, and then Kramerbooks for pie, where we had delicious "hot almond joy" hot chocolate (malibu rum, amaretto, and hot chocolate). 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I got to DC late on Wednesday evening, and had some dinner near my friend Georgina's apartment in the Dupont Circle area, then crashed.  Thursday morning we went for a lovely run at a park past Dupont Circle and over a creek, Rock Creek Park.  Georgina had to go to work after that, but I then made my way to Alexandria, Virginia, to meet my friend Stephanie, a singer (and now mom) from Northwestern.  We had a yummy lunch in Old Town (though Walter was a little fussy as his mom had gotten a stomach bug a few days back and his schedule had gotten off), where I had a pretty delicious crab cake sandwich.  We walked around a bit, but of course I forgot to take pictures.  Once we'd gotten Walter to fall asleep, we drove around a bit and picked up Stephanie's husband Jon, who works at the US Patent office ("killing people's dreams").  The patent office has a really cool building, though.  We drove down the George Washington Expressway to Mount Vernon, and then back to Alexandria, where we made a stop at the George Washington Masonic Memorial before I went back on the train.

When I got back to DC, I met up with Georgina and we decided to hit up the cherry blossoms immediately, because it was supposed to rain that night and we were afraid the blossoms might get obliterated. I'm glad we went, because although the rain did not obliterate the blossoms, they were truly at their peak on Thursday and it was magical.  Here are a few photos.

   Washington Monument through the blossoms

Closeup of the blossoms

 Blossoms over the tidal basin

 Jefferson Memorial through the blossoms


 Scene at the festival

 View from inside the Jefferson Memorial

Front of Jefferson Memorial

After our sojourn through the blossoms, we headed to the Nationals Games (versus the White Sox), where we ate chili dog and fries and enjoyed the game until we got so cold we had to get hot chocolate and fried dough to warm up.  We considered buying a Nationals sweatshirt, but the only ones we could find were $100 (!).  We left at the 7th-inning stretch because we were just too cold (even though it had been uncomfortably warm most of the day!).  But that's OK, because the Nationals still won. 

DC trip

My life lately has been a bit schizophrenic and definitely too focused on work.  So, I decided to take a little vacation for myself, get out of LA for a few days and not think about oboe or teaching or reeds at all.  I was thinking of places I could visit friends (New York?  too cold still.  Chicago?  ditto.), when "Washington, D.C." occurred to me.  It should be pretty nice by early April, and those famous cherry blossoms should be blooming, and I happen to have several friends who live there.  After checking in with a few of those friends about accommodations and schedules, I checked airline tickets.  United-$500, nothing non-stop? Ixnay.  Southwest-also $500, nothing non-stop? Nope.  Delta, $350, non-stop?  Yes, please!!  So I booked the tickets and had something to look forward to. 

So, to help me remember my trip, I'm posting a few photos and stories. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I'm disgusted with the Senate right now.  I just don't understand why ANYONE would think it's a bad thing for people to need a background check to own a gun.  I also don't see why anyone would need an automatic weapon.  I personally don't own or want a gun, but I can see where people would want one for their protection or for hunting or such.  But a machine gun?   I know that this country was founded on the belief that we should have the right to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government, but, 1) we made this government ourselves, so why are we so afraid of it 2) really?  an automatic weapon is going to help you against a predator drone?  and finally 3) our founding fathers had muskets in mind, not machine guns.  I am so tired of people trampling MY RIGHT to not get gunned down by a crazy person when I least expect it because they think I'M trampling THEIR right to carry the aforementioned weapon, useless for what they expect to use it for and yet horrifically effective in decimating innocent civilians.

I also just wish people would use common sense.  The answer to senseless violence is not MORE GUNS.  It's backwards logic.  Just be REASONABLE.  That's really what it comes down to.  I am just so frustrated and angry. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I can't believe there are parts of the world where events like those in Boston yesterday are commonplace.  Why do human beings behave like this?