Friday, April 13, 2018

Breakfast Seminar

I was invited to attend a breakfast seminar at the Norwegian Embassy. The special guest was writer Asne Seierstad whom I had heard speak the night before at Politics and Prose.

More to follow

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Promoting her book at P & P

I met my friends Marie and Ruth at the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria in DC for dinner before attending a book  presentation. When we were seated at the table, Marie surprised us by informing us that we were on the very spot where the unhinged Floridian had fired shots to free children who were being held there as slaves by one of the 2016 presidential candidates as a result of his hearing Fake News. Remember?! 

After sharing a dinner of interesting dishes, we went to Politics and Prose, one of the top ten bookstores in the nation, to hear a presentation by renowned Norwegian writer and war correspondent Asne Seierstad about her latest book, Two Sisters.

                                                          Entrance to Politics and Prose

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Remembering Andrea

Today was Andrea's birthday. He was remembered by family and friends in Italy and in Washington, DC. today, Text and more photos to follow.

I went with Marcello and family to a very nice restaurant, Vaso's, in Old Town Alexandria.

               Marcello and Michelle                                                     Colin

Marcello drove us by the narrowest house in America!

After lunch we returned to my house for dessert.

A delicious hazelnut cake from the Swiss Bakery

             Michelle, Colin, Marcello, Christian

Christine, Colin, Marcello, and Christian

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lunch with Marie

                                                      Marie                                   Christine

My friend Marie and I enjoyed interesting conversation and interesting food at the Afghan restaurant in Springfield.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What is Home?

I went with my friends George and John to Do Ho Suh's "Almost Home" exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Suh's art shows "his experience of relocation, transience, and rootlessness." 

Suh writes: "Home is everywhere and nowhere... When I was growing up in my home in Korea, I never thought about it twice... After I left, ... home started to exist as an issue and started to occupy me."

Home is also an issue that occupies me a lot. I, therefore, found this exhibit stimulating.

The centerpiece of Doh's exhibit is a series of "hub" sculptures that visitors can walk through. Each hub represents a place Suh has called home. One first walks through the pink hub that represents New York, then through the green hub that represents Berlin, and finally through the blue hub that represents Seoul. These hubs and their accessories are made from a gauzy colored fabric and visitors must walk carefully not to damage the fabric. Only two people are allowed to enter at one time and must go through without jackets or bags. 

The blue hub representing Seoul

George and John
A radiator made from a very light fabric

It is a very thought provoking exhibit. What do you remember about your homes? Which ones were  really home? What do they mean to you today as you look back? What about where you live today? How much have you felt at home in your homes?

After viewing "Almost Home," we went to view the marvelous portrait of President Obama. It is remarkable! A masterpiece!

We then enjoyed a simple lunch in the museum's courtyard.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Wonderful Discussion of a Wonderful Book!

My Book Discussion Group at St. Christopher's had an enthusiastic discussion about the wonderful novel by Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow. We all absolutely loved the book and highly recommend it.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Coffee with Linda

I met my friend Linda at the Panera on Rolling Road in Springfield. I had a ceramic cup full of Chai Tea Latte. We had a thoughtful discussion about living life purposely. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dairy farmers and bird poachers and others

I met my friends Joel and Barbara at Sweet Green at 15th and P Street NW for lunch. We then went to the Carnegie Institution for Science across the street to see four shorts that were part of the annual Environmental Film Festival.

We saw the following four films:


A couple runs a small dairy farm in the heart of the Finnish countryside. The work of generations will soon come to its end, as their retirement is approaching and there’s no one left to continue the family tradition – love for the land, the richness of everyday life, and the sadness of letting go. 


Poetic and sensorial richness, the film captures the gestures of a family of fishermen in Colombia weave nets, cook, and play dominoes, all the while waiting for the fish to come so that they can recommence anew.
DIRECTOR: Pablo Alvarez-Mesa
(Canada/Colombia, 2017, 22 min.) DC Premiere
When cutting a big tree deep inside the Amazon jungle, a logger contemplates an unexpected reaction of nature. 
(Brazil, 2017, 10 min.) US Premiere
Yochi, a 9-year-old selectively mute Mayan boy, guards a nest of endangered 
Yellow-Headed Parrots in Belize’s pine savannah. When his beloved older brother, Itza, returns from the city, Yochi learns that he’s in debt and has turned to poaching – setting the brothers on a collision course. 
DIRECTOR: Ilana Lapid 

(USA, 2017, 25 min.) DC Premiere

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Potluck and Program


Tina Keune was the speaker at our Sons of Norway meeting that was preceded by the usual potluck,

Here I am with my friend George E. It was St. Patrick's Day so I wore green instead of my Norwegian sweater. I was definitely not the only one wearing green!

I published an article in my series, Norway's Roads Less Traveled, about Tina's trip. You will find it here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Emeriti Event

GW's Society of the Emeriti (SOTE) met for lunch in GW's Textile Museum. Two special events followed lunch, a stimulating lecture by Professor Halal and a visit to the "Vanishing Traditions" exhibit.

(1) Professor William E. Halal gave a fascinating and thought-provoking talk entitled "Beyond Knowledge: Technology Is Creating An Age of Consciousness." 

I could not begin to summarize it here but I will mention a few of Professor Halal's striking comments.

We are now living in a post-factual world (all of us, not just Trump). We are beyond knowledge as opinions have replaced facts. Everyone is now voicing opinions.

He clarified at the outset that, when he refers to the Technology Revolution, he does not mean IT only but also, for example, organic farming, aquaculture, climate control, smart robots, 3D printing, fuel cell cars, space tourism, and cancer cure.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the critical areas.

By 2000 a $1000 PC will have the power of the human brain.
By 2025 Weak AI will replace routine knowledge work.
By 2040 General AI will be comparable to humans.

2020-2030 Most Likely Scenario
cancer cure
climate shift
global ethics
global brain
automation of routine thought

Biggest increase in future jobs: Creative Work e.g. entrepreneurs, artists - Computers cannot imitate these jobs

Complex manual work will remain because computers cannot do it - e.g. barbers, janitors, farmers, cooks, gardeners, repairmen, carpenters, dentists, care givers

Obstacles to Global Maturity
Lack of leadership, political will, vision, cooperation, etc.

How far up on the pyramid of consciousness can AI go? Perception, Awareness, Memory yes; but emotion? AI can simulate emotion but cannot experience real emotion.

Final thought: Computers will become very powerful and will replace humans BUT humans will always be needed.

But we need to develop global ethics - we need collaboration (diplomacy, joint problem-solving), centrist solutions (green tax, corporate citizenship, government markets), and conflict resolution (peacemaking, arbitration, mediation)

(2) Museum Visit "Vanishing Traditions: Textiles & Treasures from Southwest China" -  an exhibit of textiles from Guizhou

We were given these lovely bookmarks from the exhibit.

Here are some photos of items in the exhibit:


 baby carriers
Mothers carried their children to work with them until they were three years old

 clothing for a man

 hats and shoes for children

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Double Billing: India and Bolivia

Our fearless leaders, Rosemary and Chas, suggested "Tandoori Nights" in Annandale (7137 Little River Turnpike) for our latest outing. I think everyone agreed that the food was very good. And the conversation, of course, was interesting!

We were each given two complete menus, one Indian and the other Bolivian. The latter had very few (almost none!) meatless or fishless dishes but the former had a fine array of vegetarian specialities. My choice was delicious!  Paneer Makhani - Cubes of homemade cheese, cooked in creamy tomato sauce. And, of course, the delicious Naan bread.

My photos did not turn out very well. When John sends me his, I will do a switch.

Doesn't Chas look like a Swedish King meeting with his Royal Council?

We were pleased to welcome Ralph as a new member of our group and to welcome Indra's son Andy as an out-of-town guest who will certainly be welcome any time. (This goes for Lester and his daughter Sophie as well who have also joined our group in the past.)

This is a test. Find the differences between the two photos.

 Left to right, Ralph, Christine, Camilla, Rosemary, King Henry, John, May, Indra, Andy

Left to right, Ralph, Christine, Camilla, Rosemary, King Henry, John, May, Indra, Andy

Thank you, Chas and Rosemary, for planning a wonderful evening. I look forward to the next outing of this very special group.

Feminine Domesticity

My friend Barbara and I went to the National Museum for Women in the Arts today to see the exhibit "Women House" that contains 90 works displaying feminine domesticity. A constant theme was the imprisoning of women in the house.

Here are some of the works:

"A Doll's House" - Inspired Ibsen's play "A Doll's House"

Note in particular the room to the right on the top floor where the female resident of the house, an artist, has a nude male model.

 Barbara and Christine standing in front of a quotation by Nora from "A Doll's House"

"But our house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child," says Nora, the main character in Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House. Ibsen equates a child's toy with a prison in which a woman moves from room to room, trapped in fantasies and representations of womanhood. Written in 1879, this play profoundly influenced early women's liberation movements. Beginning a century later, women artists used miniaturized depictions of the house and its furnishings to offer their satirical take on stereotypical gender roles and the (x) of day-to-day chores.

A chess set using pieces depicting household products such as ironing boards, lamps, refrigerators, and televisions

 A variety of houses in different shapes and colors - Blue Japanese House on the far left

The artist climbs into a cupboard where she feels safe and can meditate in her own space.

We had a nice lunch in the Mezzanine Cafe of the Museum.

Barbara with her shrimp salad         Christine's salad with greens, apples, pine nuts, and goat cheese

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Music by IBIS

Barbara is a follower of the IBIS Chamber Music Society. Today Camilla and I joined her for a performance at the Rock Spring Congregational Church in Arlington. The theme was WAR and PEACE.

                            Barbara and Camilla                                             Christine

The concert included the following:

(1) Farewell to Arms, Op 9: Introduction and Aria by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)
      Soprano Elizabeth Kluegel sang the lyrics and John Sutherland Earle accompanied her on the piano.

(2) Canzone, Op 38a, for violin (Joseph Scheer) and piano (Earle) by Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

(3) Three Songs by Gabriel Faure': Lydia, Clair de Lune, and Apres un Reve by Gabriel Faure'

(4) Elegie, Op 24, for cello (Sean Neidlinger) and piano (Earle)

(5) Dover Beach, Op 3 by Samuel Barber (It was Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach")

(6) Piano Quartet No 1, Op 15 in c minor by Gabriel Faure' - This was the masterpiece of the concert! Incredible! Earle (piano), Matthew Maffett (viola), Neidlinger (cello), and Scheer (violin). 

Cellist Neidlinger and Violist Maffett

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Love That Risotto!

Dona and I went to Annapolis for lunch today. We had a delicious meal at our favorite Annapolis restaurant, Carrol's Creek Cafe. I had the same thing I always have - risotto. It is the best risotto I have ever eaten!

Dona and Christine 

We then shared a deliciously decadent chocolate bomb dessert.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Lunch with Betsy

Christine and Betsy

I met my friend Betsy for lunch today. Our restaurant choice was True Food Kitchen in the Mosaic District. She had spaghetti squash and I had an individual Margherita pizza that was truly delicious.

Although the food was very good, the noise level is really excessive, unfortunately. I would not consider going back unless we were able to get a table outside.  Despite the noise, however, we had a very nice time. I always enjoy chatting with Betsy.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

A Predominantly Norwegian-Themed Lunch

Today is International Women's Day and I celebrated it with two exceptional women. I met my friends Marie and Solveig for lunch at the Alexandria Pastry Shop. Most topics of conversation centered on Things Norwegian.

                           Marie and Solveig

                                                         Christine  Marie and Solveig


Marie very kindly gave Solveig and me each a sweet dessert, one of the Pastry Shop's delicious cookies.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

George invited us to join him at the Church of the Epiphany for a splendid concert. It was the Washington Bach Consort performing (1) Prelude and Fugue in C by Jeremy Filsell on the organ and (2) Cantata: Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen. It was absolutely glorious.

A quick photo inside the church before I turned off my phone

After the concert, we went to the Bon Pain nextdoor for lunch and conversation. We all chose one of the delicious soups.

 John O, Christine, and Janet

 George and his friend Eleanora