Sunday, December 22, 2013


This play is so perfectly written and scored and acted; oh, my! You have to go see it. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pentagon City Shopping Mall Today!

See poor Santa, with a very sore back, lower left, with many miles to go before he sleeps. It reminds me of the line we stood in at The Gap today. It is enough to tire any elf. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From the White House to the House of Sweden

Last night, Carlo and I took a chilly stroll around the beautifully lit White House. We walked past it, then continued in the cold toward the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree, surrounded by smaller trees representing each of the fifty states.
Washington, DC, is beautiful at night, no matter the temperature.
Your freezing blogger,

In front of the White House

Glowing with light

The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse of the White House, with the Washington Monument behind it

The House of Sweden, and Embassy right on the Potomac River

Friday, December 6, 2013

Once a Ham, Always a Ham

Above, Zombie in Training, Patsie Miller

Dear Imaginary Friends,

As a child zombie, I had to start young with my trade-craft. Observe above, as one of my sisters gamely tries to hold me back from my zombie walk.

Our cousins are shown on the sides, clearly showing their preference for furry animals over relating to us. We stand serenely in the center. Well, except for my mini zombie self.

Your imaginary Zombie friend,

Monday, November 25, 2013

If /Then, the Musical

Last night, we ventured into downtown DC for the preview of the new Idina Menzel musical, If/Then, as the production readied itself for its Broadway debut. My first view of the stage set, above, was  confusing and somewhat unimpressively modern. Costumes were similarly unremarkable. 

What had drawn me to buy tickets was the incredible throaty voice of Ms. Menzel. We had seen her belt it out in "Wicked", which we just loved. Menzel also starred in the original Broadway hit "Rent". 

During the first act of If/Then, I wondered how big a success it might be. The dancing was awkward and forced, tributes to alternative lifestyles seemed gratuitous, and the flow was jumpy.  But then, I became a believer during the second act, when the songs turned big and beautiful and swept me away. By the end of the show, the audience was on its feet, cheering loudly.

The author of the book and lyrics won a Pulitzer Prize for his musical "Next to Normal."  Although the plot is reminiscent of the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle "Sliding Doors," the second act is textured and emotional. 

 I predict a Tony Award for If/Then; Menzel's last song hit sweeping notes high in the stratosphere. It was the perfect end to the very moving Act Two. Fittingly so. 

Tickets are reasonable for a cast of this quality. Rush out and see it before it heads to New York and sells out. 

Your imaginary friend,

Friday, November 22, 2013

How I Survived the Tanger Mall, and Lived to Tell About It

Dear Imaginary Shoppers,

Today was opening day at Tanger Mall, just outside of Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Virginia, and driven by morbid curiosity, I decided to bravely venture forth.

The brand-new outlet mall is on land owned by National Harbor, a new development area that has changed the suburban feel of the Washington, DC, waterfront area. Not only does Gaylord Convention Center dominate the harbor on the Potomac River, but also various developments are popping up, such as the new outlet mall and various projects to come. Cirque de Soleil is also a visitor, upon occasion, to the Platform, an area where tents are erected on the National Harbor Property.

But I digress. Some of the bigger draw stores at Tanger are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Coach (where you have to stand in a long line just to enter) and H & M. The check out lines were really lengthy.

There were short lines at White House/Black Market, Crabtree and Evelyn, Elie Tahari and Theory. What I am dying for is the Diane Von Furstenburg shop, which is not yet open.

I cannot suggest that you plan to spend the day there, as there are very few food options. And, walking shoes are a must. 

Unfortunately for opening day, the local roads are very much still under construction. Long waits and snarly traffic on Oxon Hill Road was the order (or disorder) of the day. Still, woman's primordial desire to shop til we drop cannot be denied, so carry forth, ladies!

Your imaginary shopper,


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian

Dear Fellow Culture Freaks,
If you love the performing arts, you must  immediately drop everything you are doing, and go see the new dance show at the National Portrait Gallery. 
It centers around the greatest dancers of the Western world. 
Notables pictured via photography and video include Mikel Baryshnikov, Rudolph Nureyev, Gene Kelly, Josephine Baker, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Chita Rivera and many many more. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Caps on the Water, Ponte Vedra, FL

Dear Imaginary Friends,

This restaurant is hard to find, but what a lovely experience on a sunny, warm day in the winter: Caps on the Water, south of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, has a friendly, laid back vibe.
It was mid seventies, and the view of the Intracoastal waterway was panoramic. The restaurant itself lays beneath Spanish Moss-draped Oak trees. If you order the amaretto chocolate pie and a Mojito, you will be lulled into bliss.
Just sayin'.

Your imaginary friend,
Virginia and Parker discuss the joys of Florida

Chillin' in the Warmth of South Ponte Vedra, FL

A boat named Parker

This Guy no doubt owns the Parker boat!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Even popsicles are bringing attention to men- specific diseases this month. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Angry Geese

To be avoided: homicidal geese. Cannot trust them.  Would you look at those shark-like teeth??

Monday, November 4, 2013

Way Down Yonder in New Orleanssssss

Patsie and her chocolate snowball

Susan and her red snowball

Free pernod amuse-bouche at Commander's Palace

Beef Empanada at Commander's, with Cabrito: local tomatoes, barbecued red onions, red beans, sweet potatio fingerlings, spiced pecans, Brie cheese, red pepper paint and warm bacon vinaigrette

Our fave restaurant

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Spotted: Hessian Regiment

Seen at Old Europe Restaurant in Georgetown tonight: a Hessian regiment who had just done battle "to save our king."
They questioned me as to my ancestry and luckily, my maiden name of Miller pleased them. 
They said, " Ah, Mueller!;) Auf wiedersein!"
Your German-American,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beantown is My Kinda Town: Cambridge, Harvard University, Henrietta's Table

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Beantown is a great town. Boston reminds me more of New York City than any other place in the continental US.
Boston has horrible drivers, a brusque attitude toward strangers, more universities per square foot than I have ever seen, more great museums, especially around Harvard University, high cost of living, and great food. The only caveat is, skip visiting in the winter, unless you are from Canada, as you will suffer the icy winds.

Fall color popped here and there, much to my delight.

Here the celebrities include not just the Kennedys,  Boston Bruins and Red Sox, but also the brainiacs and the highly accomplished. Hooray for brain power! It abounds here.

Your imaginary friend,

Views of Boston from our Marriott Hotel in Cambridge
The Charles River in Boston

Boston's downtown skyline

Doris Kearns Goodwin dines en famille at Henrietta's Table, a great restaurant in the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Boston has wonderful art museums! It embraces the arts. One such example is the splendid collection of the Museum of Fine Arts. There is a traveling show now of John Singer Sargent watercolors; if you possibly can, please visit. 
The Museum is also chockablock with treasures of all eras, full rooms lifted from palaces, fabulous paintings, mummies, and of course a great collection of oil paintings by my personal fave: the aforementioned John Singer Sargent.  Tickets are usable for revisiting within ten days-- a true value, since there is way too much to see in one day. (My hoofies are killing me. )
Yours in art,
What a mastery of textures!

One of the most beautiful paintings ever

These are the actual vases in the Boit Children's portrait by Sargent
Beth admires a painting from the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Sargent was also very good at watercolors; this is from the traveling show. 

Dramatic bed, Sargents galore, and much  more: the Museum of Fine Arts ranks up with the very best. Carlo and Mike soak it all in.

We Like Mike!

Dear People,
Our family is very proud of Mike, my big bro-in-law. He is currently a Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and specifically the Shorenstein Center for Press,  Politics and Public Policy. He and my lovely --as well as smart -- sister Beth are happy to be spending a semester at Harvard, living two blocks from Mike's office on campus this fall. My husband and I had the  pleasure of visiting them this weekend. 
What a rarefied atmosphere they are experiencing! Most college students would give their eye teeth to attend Harvard. (As would I). Lucky Beth is taking a graduate class in Religion and Politics. 
Some may think the two are at variance, because our nation was founded on the separation of church and state, but the United States government -- founded by Puritans-- is very much a Protestant country. But I digress.
Below: Michael J. Copps. He is equal parts husband, father, grandfather and defender of democracy of speech, with fair access to press, airwaves and internet. 
And he's my big bro. 
Yours very truly,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

True Bliss: More Fun Than Humans Should Be Allowed to Have

Dear imaginary friends,

One of the most exhilarating hours of my life was spent buzzing around Capri, Italy, on a boat. You can tell by the big smile on my face that I loved every moment. The water was an incredible azure. We threaded the needle, going through the iconic rock formations right off Capri's coast. Ooh la la. 
Such natural beauty.  
It is calling me to pick up the paintbrush. 
Your imaginary friend,

Don't you love the color of the water? I did not retouch this photo.

Threading the needle

Boating through the rock