Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Art

In honor of Steve's visit we finally got some art framed (it only took 21 months!). Mark was laughing at me because I spent a whole week obsessively cleaning for our guest and decided the blank wall above the couch would not do for his visit. So I took it to Michael's 60% off framing sale. This print is from our friend Bryce in Nashville. His studio is Isle of Printing you may have seen his website on this blog. We have 3 of his prints but are waiting to frame the other two.

We are very particular about art, since Mark is an artists and we both have strong opinions. We have some of Mark's art on the walls of course and a piece from our friend Jeff Coleman. We also have a print from Michael McBride, a Nashville artist. In Nashville, We spent much of our time researching local history and understanding southern culture and for us, this is a powerful series we just fell in love with.

Money may be tight but art is important. Finding local artists and meaningful pieces helps us to create a home. Speaking of, I missed the Pile O' Craft last Saturday which made me very sad but luckily the vendors are available on Etsy so I can shop anytime. Someday soon we should get some Baltimore art for our collection.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm Back!

Cable was out for several days, apartment living is fun! Some yahoo unhooked our connection because it didn't have a tag to prove it was legal. Also fun - waking up at 3am on a Wednesday because someone is having a super fun party! PAAARTY, good times.

Steve came to visit last weekend and I got to show him around town. I am actually excited to show people around Baltimore, It's cool and there is a lot to see. I never felt this way about Nashville, and I guess people agreed because very few people visited us there. Steve came to work Friday the 13th. We saw Edgar Allen Poe's grave and he got a bite to eat at Lexington Market which is an experience in itself.

Saturday we ate breakfast at our favorite brunch spot, Paper Moon Diner Near Hopkins University and the Charles Village neighborhood. Then we stopped by the farm to pick up our produce and headed to the train to visit Hampden for Honfest. Well, Honfest was not as exciting as we thought, not too many people actually dressed up and it seemed more like your average arts and craft fair which can be fun but not in 93 degrees and high humidity. We tried to find a place to get a beer that was inside but it was too crowded. So, we got back on the train and headed to our favorite pub, The Wharf Rat near the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards. The pub was filled with Orioles fans because it was a game day. It was cool and the beer was good and we had a fun time talking. After the pub it was time for dinner so we went to Mt. Vernon to our favorite place, Helmand, mentioned earlier on this blog. We almost didn't make it because it decided to rain, pouring rain and we had only one umbrella. Luckily it was Baltimore rain so it only lasted about 10 minutes.

It was a lot to see in a day, but a day was all he had. It was fun hangin' with my brother and exploring the city. If it sounds like fun to you, visit anytime!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Since I started this blog I have been tracking my readers which can get to be a little obsessive. It has confirmed my suspicion that they are all friends and family. So, thank you and hello again! I am right now only posting about once a week because of time and topic ideas. To tell you the truth there isn't much going on that might be of interest to you or anyone. Topic ideas are always welcome.

When I was thinking about what to write this week, I realized I have never fully explained what I do for a living. This would be a good week to do that. I sometimes share some articles on the Reader about my field, museum work, and you can see several now like The Salary Conundrum
Non Profit Leaders
Are Boards Failing Their Historic Sites

As a museum educator my job is to connect the visitor with the museum. This is usually done by translating the content of the museum (history, science, etc.) into exhibits, programs and field trips. As an administrator in museum education I have additional duties including managing staff, budgets and long-term plans. The size of the staff, budget and plans usually is in proportion to the size of the museum. I am currently working at a relatively small museum but with a national focus so it is further reaching than most small museums. We count traveling exhibits and on-line programs as part of what we do for visitors.

I began my week on Monday traveling on the Marc train to DC ($14 round trip, a deal) to attend the Smithsonian Affiliates conference. The conference was from Sunday to Tuesday but I only went on Monday. I attended a couple of sessions on planning programs and spoke with several people from Ohio, Montana, Arizona and other states. I also marketed our traveling exhibits as is my duty. After creating exhibits to travel across the country we have to sell these exhibits and we have to reach our income goals for these exhibits each year. I made some contacts I can use in one of my new projects which also makes my job easier. It was a long day but I love visiting DC and only wish I had time to see some museums. Speaking of, you do not want to visit museums with me (see Gettysburg post). I will pick it apart, especially if they have a guided tour. I can't help it, its what I do. And as a museum guide, when I see those museum professionals coming, I cringe.

Tuesday, I couldn't even concentrate because Obama was going to win the nomination and I couldn't wait. We were glued to the TV all evening for the returns and the speech. At one point I was on my computer and watching TV to get all the info available. The speech was truly amazing and exciting and when the Obamas did the "Dap" Mark exclaimed "Hey, that's what we do" and its true, we do that all the time. But apparently some people didn't like it. Speaking of museums, this brings up another interesting recent article, Museums: A Hotbed of Liberalism?

On Wednesday I gave some tours, as I do many days a week. We have volunteers sometimes but it often falls to me to help out here too. I really love giving tours, more now that I no longer have to wear an 1860's dress and corset to do it. Tours really depend on the teacher and the group so you never know if they will be good or really, really awful. As an administrator, I like getting feedback on the exhibits and the tour experience. It makes me a better advocate for visitors during the exhibit planning process and program planning. I also just love connecting with the kids, inspiring them and teaching them. It gets me out of my office, away from my computer and on my feet which is a nice change in the day.

On Thursday I was back on the Marc train to the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capitol headquarters for a vendor thank-you luncheon. This was important for me because we have a well established Girl Scout program and Girl Scout USA is undergoing some major changes to their mission and vision which will affect our current and new programs. I heard about all the changes, dropped off some current program info and talked with other museums about what they do for GS. This helps me to understand how our programs stack up, do we charge too much? Is the program too long? I had so many ideas in my head when I left I had to write a lot of notes.

I ended the week up against some deadlines for our Board of Visitors annual meeting next week. Once a year we have a weekend meeting/celebration for our BOV, volunteers from all over the country. We plan a party for them and try to open a new exhibit that weekend. So I had final details for exhibits to work out (only a week in advance, totally stressful!) and help to finalize party details like favors and entertainment.

As often happens, the week didn't end on Friday because we scheduled an outreach opportunity on Saturday at a local fair. We had a booth to provide an activity for kids and give out information to families to visit the museum. I worked the booth for 3 hours in the afternoon in 97 degree temperatures! Also my car doesn't have air conditioning and I didn't drink enough water so I got a headache and was very sweaty. Yuck.

We picked up our second week of CSA produce after I got home. We received more oregano, strawberries and asparagus and also received 2 kinds of peas. Yum!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

first CSA share

first CSA share, originally uploaded by bethjc.

We picked up our first real share from the Cromwell Valley CSA. Two weeks ago we did get a share of asparagus but that was not really official.

It was pouring rain but we managed. We received strawberries, lettuce, asparagus, garlic scapes, rosemary and sage. We immediately decided to make strawberry shortcake for after dinner and it was delicious! We are going to use the garlic scapes with pasta tomorrow. I have never cooked with them so we will see what happens.

We are really excited about this and I want to thank everyone who has written to me about their own local food experiments. I have two friends with some really great looking gardens, This is still beyond my abilities. I will stick with the community farm.