Welcome to my blog!

I used to blog here mostly using local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and then found myself posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing. These involve fabric recycling or re-use and refashioning of clothes, or other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs and may occasionally revert to those topics again. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

They Still Sell Newspapers, Don't They?

There was this row of brightly colored newspaper boxes on the corner of K and 15th streets NW so I just had to photo them, wondering how many people still read newspapers. I went into the nearby Starbucks for my customary small mild coffee made with an inch of hot water -- since I love the taste of coffee but find it's too strong -- and sat and watched this corner for a while. No one either bought a newspaper or took one of the free ones from the eleven boxes hanging out there. Someone was reading a newspaper in the coffee shop but mostly people were talking or on their cell phones. Sometimes people ask me if I saw a particular story in the newspaper, but generally I don't read the paper as I just don't seem to have time. I will read an article if someone sends me something or it's about something I'm interested in or I will click on a headline electronically or go look something up. My mother and mother-in-law are both in the habit of reading the newspaper but I think it's a generational thing with younger people getting their news electronically. How things change! It's the absolute that stands.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Car for Wheelchair Users

You just never know what you will see on H Street NW if you are just walking along but on one particular day VPGAutos had their model car parked outside the Grand Hyatt hotel. They are a new AMERICAN car company that builds a vehicle
that is wheelchair usable, that is, it's so roomy even a large wheelchair can roll right in and be in the front passenger seat. Not only is the floor lower than most cars but the ceiling is higher. I asked the driver if I could step inside and sit down and I did. The experience was a little like sitting in a London taxi and the design of the vehicle, the MV-1, quite reminds me of one of these, although it was perhaps a lot airier and more open in feel than a typical Cockney cab. I  haven't yet figured out how the ramp works or what the price of this car is, but I would hope it comes in colors other than white! What a fantastic surprise!
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

GIrl Calling

The Dinner Horn (Blowing the Horn at Seaside), 1870, oil on canvas
              At a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art I stumbled into viewing this image of a a girl calling on a horn painted by Winslow Homer. I found it wonderfully sweet and strange all at the same time. The subject matter is so dated that I wonder if YOUNG PEOPLE today really know what this is about or do they think it is some quaint summer picnic thing or do they realize that on a farm -- where nearly everyone was living in the 1870s -- everyone who was out harvesting or working the land would be called in for dinner by someone blowing on a horn. These days if everyone wants to get together to eat it's by Email, or an Evite invitation or a call on cell phones or something. Who's got a horn in their house now? Who would think to Get On The Horn and call someone to come and eat together. I do recall living in the old country and hearing people use "the horn" metaphor for making a phone call, as in "get them on the horn" but I think that referred to an early telephone mouthpiece which was shaped like, well, a horn.  Maybe that phone mouthpiece was based on a common everyday farmhouse object like the horn blown to get the farm workers in for dinner. The second name for this image, "blowing the horn at seaside," seems like someone tried to re-label it. The provenance story says the first owner paid $150 for it but you can be sure that the Mellons, who own it now, paid a lot more. Who would think that a somewhat romanticized depiction of a farm girl executing a normal everyday chore would be worth so much a hundred years later? Maybe this delightful little painting reminds us that it is the everyday things that take place that are the valuable things if we could just see them in that light..

Those Glorious Myrtles


Crepe myrtles grow easily in the soil my neighborhood. They flower in several shades of pink, purple, and white gracing neighborhood gardens, waving their frondy heads at passersby with the slightest of breezes. Several of us on our street planted them about four years ago and we enjoy the different varieties; some are huge trees, some are bush size and some are something in between. They are a big splash of color that starts in early July and keep flowering well into August, especially if you water them a lot. They are not expensive to buy, they grow quickly and for us lazy gardeners, they don't need all the plant food, pesticides and attention that our rose bushes need and yet they give the same amount of pleasure in many ways. What a garden we all enjoy when we take the risk and plant something together!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Neighbor Back from Iraq

My neighbor is back from Iraq and visiting her parents a couple of doors down from me. Of course, I have a hard time seeing her as a soldier for us all since she grew up with the other kids on my street, including with my son. I have pictures of them all splashing around running through water hoses and generally having a fine old time on the sidewalk. But here she is, back from a tour of duty for a few months and then I think she returns. Her son stays with her mother, so I get to see him all the time, probably a lot more than she does!  She told me the story of how this little boy, he's less than two years old, telephones her in Iraq on the Internet using Skype so he knows what she looks like. When they met at the airport he ran all the way up to her she said, then he put his little hands on her face, to experience her three dimensionally, because for him, his mother's face has been two-dimensional for far too long. [If that doesn't bring tears to your eyes, your heart may be a little bit stony.]  When we talked, she had no complaints about the job she's doing except to say she couldn't get to wear a bikini at the base swimming pool as there are some Muslim Iraqi soldiers also on the base in training with the U.S. and apparently the Command accedes to their value system. I got the impression she didn't really like this rule, but obeys because, well,  she is a fine and disciplined American soldier She's in her desert uniform here and looks totally amazing, fearless and strong.

Woman in Plexiglass

This is not really "a woman" but a mannequin and in this case (hah!) it is the clothes on the dummy that make the difference.  In the Navy Yard Museum in S.W. Washington is an actual uniform and shoes from the Women's Army Corps. (WAC) in World War II. It's a very tailored dark grey-green dress with a big pleat, a belt and blouse type top with huge lapels and long sleeves cuffed and buttoned. In fact, there's a lot of buttons to the whole outfit and one wonders if the phrase "all buttoned up" originates with this one particular dress. You don't hear much about those ladies who broke that particular non-plexiglass ceiling, but their motto, or responsibility as spelled out in their training manual,  is pretty interesting:-- "Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over." That must have been pretty scary for some fellas at the time to hear! In fact, I can practically hear my former father-in-law, who fought at Pearl Harbor and other Pacific sites, muttering something about how "the women are always wanting to take over" when my then mother-in-law shooed him out of the house while she was cooking.  From Wikipedia I have learned that there were 150,000 WACs and some of them landed at Normandy too!  Apparently, they were disbanded in 1978 when recruitment into the armed forces seems to have become de-linked from gender. It goes without saying but must always be said, that women have always been given parts to play in all of history.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Supreme Moment

It was 100 degrees Fahrenheit so I took a cab home past the Supreme Court the other day and when the cab paused at the traffic light, I rolled down the window and snapped this shot. In just a few seconds ancient Greece is captured, tourists visiting Washington, D.C., tons of gleaming white marble are displayed, not to mention some incredible representational sculpture, a security guard, an interesting lamp, and "equal justice under law". A closer inspection indicates a wonderful frieze of figures with a crowned Wisdom presiding over several figures, two admiring centurions, one holding a scroll and another holding a sword.She looks off into the far distance, through the netting that holds back the pooping pigeons, ignoring the steps, the tourists, the security guard, the hot pavement and my cab. Well, it's just a building but an awful lot hangs on it.

Light at Cannon

We paused in the corridor of the Cannon House Office Building the other day after a visit to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office, and I happened to glance up and see this amazingly ornate lamp hanging from an amazingly ornate decorated ceiling. Since the two people I was with were blind, when I told them what I saw, they asked me to describe it and agreed with me how unique and unusual this was. In fact, the whole corridor ceiling was covered in decorative plaster work painted in white, french blue and embellished with ribbons of gold foil in some places.  The lamp itself was frosted glass held in a basket of lacy brass that included arrowhead designs and some other shapes that I could barely discern from the floor below. The floor below was nothing to sneeze at neither, of shiny black and white marble squares, gleaming gently due to the muted lamp light. On reflection I wondered who designed this lamp and ceiling and by what inspiration? And, who keeps this in good repair, who gets to change the light bulbs on such wondrous work that we own, how many notice this incredible wealth of the nation?

Shopping on K Street for Bags and T-Shirts


You can't go far when you're downtown in D.C. without seeing something being sold on a corner such as bags or T-Shirts, usually brightly-colored and priced for more than you really want to pay. I've never really had much luck with buying items on the street although I've tried a couple of times.  The bags are usually copies of designer bags once removed but there must be purchasers for these as there are so many such sellers.  I saw this stand at the corner of K and Vermont NW in front of the Citibank today. There's been a stand there for as long as I can remember as I use that Citibank, but the guy used to sell clothes. I once bought from him a wool pants suit in bright blue with gold buttons. It was labeled for my size but since you can't try them on in the middle of the street you are taking a risk. And sure enough, when I got home, it was way too big. I never threw it out and since I'm now 10 years older and at least ten pounds heavier, the items fit me now although they are totally out of style. I tried to buy a wheeled bag at another stand once but the guy wanted a much higher price than I wanted to pay and it was just too hot to stand there and negotiate. And I had a suspicion the zippers would not last very long.  I really not too sure who buys three white shirts for $10, or $4 for one, but you can see these stands all over town as well. Some of the shirts seem like decent or useful souvenirs -- such as for sleeping in --  embellished with "Washington DC" or "FBI" or "I'm in the Witness Protection Program" or some other silly slogan. If I come across a jewelry table, another common stand on K street, I'll add that photograph to this. No end of shopping in DC! Such bounty!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Spirit of Justice Guarded by Majesty of Law

Who would have thought that the Spirit of Justice in Washington, D.C. would have such a big bosom? This sculpture, that a million people a year probably walk by without seeing, is alongside the steps as you go into the Rayburn House building from Independence Avenue, right near where cabs drop you off. If you just look up you can see this marvelous marble wench and very naked bonnie baby. And on close inspection, it's not a baby bottle in her right hand, but a flame, probably the torch that the Spirit of Justice lights. Then on the other side, watching, and guarding, them closely is the Majesty of Law, with a ferociously large sword in his hand.These magnificent representational sculptures designed a long time ago still send messages we can recognize instantly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

There's something about being inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that makes me think that I've stepped into the story of American history being made. After all, such meetings are not every day occurrences and I don't get invited that often. But it's the high ceilings, painted walls and columns, mouldings and lighting fixtures that are so elegant and ornate and old and I always get the sense that I'm walking where other really important people have  walked before. I like the highly polished waxed marble floor of diagonal black and white squares that you think are going to be slippery but they're not. Shoes always clickety-clack when you walk to the room where you are to meet the President's staff and there's been more than one occasion when I've got lost on the wrong floor or down the wrong corridor before finding out from a passing friendly staffer where I am supposed to be. I've probably been in this building a couple of dozen times over the past 20 years, but each time I am impressed with its grandeur. I don't always remember what the meetings are about or what happened, but I do remember the place. Is that mysterious or what?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gargoyle or GeeGaw?

Everyone knows I'm on Capitol Hill quite a bit lobbying on disability issues, but it's also an opportunity for me to snap a few photos with the miracle of a cell phone camera. Nope, not an iPhone, just a simple ole LG for $40 that came with the Verizon service plan. This time I looked up from my walk from Rayburn over to the Ford building as I stood in the shade to cool off from the 90 degree weather. Not only was I standing under a wonderful flowering Southern Magnolia but I could see this gargoyle gee-gaw thing on the top of the wall column. It seems to be a cornucopia or horn held by a creature like a squirrel and looks over toward the HHS building, past the ornamental garden that is alongside the Route 395 entrance way. I'd never noticed this before and wondered what was behind the design for this. If you look closely, it turns out to be the head of a little winged horse with a giant horn behind it and it may have waves carved in the base stone, although it's hard to see from below. It does remind me of the wonderful fountain sculpture in front of the old Library of Congress, so I think one day I will conduct some research and find out about this stone creature and when it was put there and what the iconography is all about. It just doesn't seem to fit into our techno modern world of sleek literal easily understood icons. Or at any rate, I've forgotten whatever it is I might have learned in Art History about this type of ornamental sculpture. But what a mystery to bump into, on the way to a policy wonk meeting with committee staff in a drab building! It quite got my mind in a better frame of thought, curious about its meaning. Can I say it influenced what I said at the wonk  meeting or did I say less as a consequence? I don't remember but the image has stuck with me where the conversation has not.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vans Full of Money

You see these vans full of money all over the city if you stop and look a while and don't let the hustle and bustle of the traffic blur in front of your eyes. While waiting for the Route 80 bus at the Kennedy Center, along came this big ole Hummer-looking Dunbar money pick-up truck on a Sunday (!) afternoon. It reminded me that in all cities you will see these trucks going by, doing their business. I don't spend much time wondering how much money is in them, or where they are going, or what happens next with the boxes or bags of cash they carry. Is it cash or do they also take checks?  I do observe how there are usually two or three guys guarding what is other people's property and what a responsible, invisible and thankless job they have. I find myself always a bit more alert if I focus on these vans as movies have conditioned me to think of hold-ups and shoot-ups involving money vans. Alas, I've never been a witness, thank God, and don't have to worry about the car plate number of the get-away car or ducking the bullets if they start flying.  But, like the water we take for granted, the bags of money are being moved about within a system of their own. Seeing the van on the street is just the tip of that iceberg, in my humble opinion.

Hot Dog Days

There's at least two hot dog stands within a half mile radius of where I work downtown but it's a rare lunch hour when I will splurge on these even though they are quite tasty and delicious. These food carts have all the fatty, salty things I should avoid so I do my best not to eat them. I only succumb a couple of times a year as a special treat on a Friday afternoon or if I completely forgot to bring lunch with me or just can't get into something healthy, organic and expensive. Ah, vinegar and salt flavored potato chips! Ah , barbecue flavored potato chips!  Ah, steamy brown, spicy shiny hot dogs wrapped in foil and smothered in very green relish! Puffy white bread roll smeared with unbelievably yellow mustard! Orange soda with no ice! All for less than $3!  A perfect American snack!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Graffiti is Like Dog Poop

I'm really annoyed and pissed off by the graffiti guys in our neighborhood who think they can put their stupid initials or signs on our garage doors with cans of black spray paint that they get at Home Depot. Are they young kids just trying it out or are they drug thugs signaling the alley is theirs? Do these letters have some meaning or are they some code words that only the gang knows? I've seen the same words or letter combinations sprayed elsewhere so it's clearly the work of some neighborhood jerks. It's like cat piss on house furniture, or dog poop on the sidewalk, or barf left on the floor;  totally annoying and unnecessary and causes work for someone else.  Someone will have to go out the back alley and clean up their mess, taking valuable time away from something else more important.  It means not only having to scrape it off, but also clean the marred area and re-paint it. It means a good two or three hours of aggravation.  I just can't find anything positive about it at all. I also realize I haven't reported this assault on my property to the police -- knowing full well that it will take an hour of my valuable time to go down to the local police station and file a written complaint, probably with some surly or lazy police clerk who doesn't want to deal with something so "unimportant" and I will have to persuade him or her that my complaint is valid, that I want these vandals found and I don't want it to happen again. And ask them what they are going to do about this rash of  graffiti in our neighborhood and probably listen to some claptrap about how nothing can be done about it. Maybe I'm just being negative and they will be glad I'm filing the complaint!  I'll blog on that when I do it! No matter what, I then have to find the time to clean up SOMEONE ELSE'S MESS.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Museum Days

With my mother-in-law visiting, it was a perfect excuse to tank up on the exhibits at the National Gallery of Art, the American Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art. So we saw a somewhat interesting set of portraits of Elvis Presley, the Norman Rockwell exhibit from the collection by Stephen Spielberg and a good walk-through of favorites from the National Gallery. I always have to check out my favorite paintings and the wonderful experience of walking through the computer-generated light tunnel to the cafeteria for lunch in the national gallery. There's all the Madonna and Christ images that I must see as well as the huge American Frank Church landscapes and the Turner-Mallord seascapes. So this time, I took my camera with me and took photos of many of these.  On special loan from another museum was the Auguste Saint-Gaudens sculpture called Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th African American regiment that fought in the civil war. This is truly a spectacular relief type sculpture in a bright red shiny bronze material and well worth the visit alone. To our surprise the museums were not that crowded and when we ate at the very nice, and expensive, cafe-style restaurants at the galleries the food was fresh and there were not long lines. For a weekend in the middle of July I really did expect more people in the galleries. The same was true for parking -- plenty of available spots for the National Gallery. Manifold blessings in the city!

The Riches Under Ground in DC

All over the city there are entrances to DC under ground where we can park our gleaming vehicles safe from the weather, fender benders, thieves, and parking ticket ladies. Down fluorescent-lit, hot and fumy, steeply curved ramps we hide away our cars while we go off and shop, or work, or whatever.  But you do have to calculate in the time it takes to park and retrieve the vehicle whenever you plan an activity, one of which is to be waiting for your car to be brought to you. In fact, I'm sorry to say that I have driven my car a couple of times downtown, parked it underground and gone home on the bus forgetting about my beloved car altogether!  I always feel a bit sheepish about picking it up the next day but I know it's been well taken care of and at least I knew where it was once I got home and hubster asked "honey, where's your car?" Another odd thing is that all these entrances and ramps downward look very similar and there's been a few times when I forgot which underground garage I parked in or how to get back into the garage to retrieve the vehicle. Sometimes the stairways and elevators open up into another building above ground or there's no apparent pedestrian way out of the depths.  Then, of course, there's the problem of remembering which floor level it was parked on if you are allowed to self-park.  There's something very odd about wandering about in an underground parking lot looking for your car even if you do have an electronic key that you can beep for the car. There's just been too many movies or urban legends where people get run over or robbed or shot in parking lots and something about the low ceilings and minimal lighting creates a scary atmosphere. These garages are deep, and if you've seen a building constructed you know how big the hole in the ground is when they plan for these. There's a whole world in DC that's underground, filled with shining metal objects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aggregate, guarded by very few custodians, and that we just take for granted as part of our 21st century world. Just imagine, for instance, trying to explain an underground car parking lot to Leonardo Da Vinci, or Genghis Khan or someone even a hundred years ago. They'd probably say it wasn't possible, even if they understood its feasibility. Another amazing wonder of our city.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best Little Chicken Salad Sandwich in DC

If you want a really good chicken salad sandwich if you're in downtown D.C. I think the best place is Harry's bar on the ground floor of the Hotel Harrington, a famous DC landmark on E street NW.  Apparently over 10 million people have slept there since it opened in 1914!  I hope they've changed the mattresses!!  But back to the main subject. We've often gone to Harry's after work on a Friday for a good chicken salad sandwich and then over to the E Street Movie Cinema afterwards. It's also easy to get to for me, as I just take the D street bus which stops right in front of my office and but one block from Harry's. Of course, we don't just have sandwiches but also there are great drinks at Harry's too, such as big and cheap martinis with the vodka of your choice, or a very good beer. Another good thing about Harry's is the music tape which plays remakes of 80s and 90s music over and over. If there's chicken salad in heaven, I'm sure it's made by Harry.

Hostel Droid Does Apps

Well I couldn't resist snapping this word line-up at the corner of 11th and K streets where the International Hostel is located. They've put a brand new sign on the hostel building and on the old building adjacent they've hung another one of those giant fabric ads that says "Droid does apps" and which you see just about everywhere. We drove by the hostel and saw a horde of young people -- all very Euro looking with backpacks and guides and maps in hand -- perched on the steps and sidewalk in front of the hostel. The fabric ad is wrapped around the building and has the giant globe thing on one facade. I'm not sure what that's all about but I guess it's high techie and spacey and sells a lot of Motorola phones using Google apps on the Android wireless platform on the Verizon network, none of which you need to call to God. I also like the red convertible racing through the intersection too which my miraculous little LG cell phone with no apps -- a couple of widgets only! -- caught in the image of the hostel droid snapped while we were at the red light. I'm just amazed with technology these days.  For instance, 20 years ago who would have known what "droid does apps" means?  Does anyone not know what it's about? It's hard to believe how fast we accept all the new stuff. What a creative world we live in!

Guys Miss E Street Movie

Everyone knows the E Street NW cinema has really good and interesting movies but these guys got there too late for the 7:20 p.m. showing of "Winter's Bone," a really strange sounding name for a movie. So they went out on the sidewalk and used their Droids and Blackberry's to look up what was playing at other nearby local movies to see if there was something good they could still see without having to go to a late show. But there wasn't anything so they left disappointed and wishing they'd bought their tickets early, before they had their dinner out. How do I know all this? Because I was also there and just as disappointed but didn't really mind as movies stay around a while and there's a always a second chance with most movies.Just like there is with everything in life, if you're faithful.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Train To DC

Today I took the Amtrak Acela fast express train to/from DC and Philadelphia and enjoyed having Internet access even though the WiFi was a bit slow. The seats were very comfortable and roomy and the trip up, at least, was all that it should be for the extra price -- over a regional train seat cost -- that I paid. The trip back was delayed by about half an hour because of "police activity on the line" was what they first told me. Ever inquisitive, I asked for more and it turned out someone had been killed while trespassing on the track,  north of Philadelphia, God rest this poor soul!  There were a lot of TSA and train police guys visible for the wait, as I guess they investigate things right away.  The tragedy was enough to delay all the late afternoon and evening trains so my "express" train back to DC ended up about 45 minutes late and for a good portion of the journey moved quite slowly. Because of the death, it seemed I noticed how open and exposed the rail tracks are to any passerby. While there are fences, it doesn't take much to climb onto train lines. But I was blessed by a number of spectacular scenic views, including one stretch in Delaware where there is water on either side of the train and the train tracks seem barely above the water level. Ducks, fishing boats, ripples and reeds and lily pads were all to be seen, making for unexpected sights while returning home. I checked the news later and found out the incident occurred in Woodbridge, NJ but not a lot of details were supplied.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

DC Slices in the Square

I was hurrying back from physical therapy the other day when I spotted this van parked in Farragut Square. At first glance I thought it was some sort of emergency van but it turned out to be a Pizza Van! I've never seen such a thing in DC before -- security trucks, ice cream trucks, hot dog trucks, Brinks trucks and even a green Cup Cake van in the same square the week before -- but not this. So of course I went up to the guy in the window to ask for a slice as I do like a good slice of pizza occasionally. Unfortunately, I was too late but I did find out that DC Slices is a new business and they show up in the square every Friday to sell pizza  for $4 a slice and you can buy a whole pizza if you get there before 12 noon. So I thanked the NICE YOUNG MAN who was counting up the proceeds in the front seat and who kindly answered my pesty inquiries and who answered the critical question of "What Type of Pizza is It? New York or Chicago Style?" And when he said "New York Style" I was delighted and told him I'd be back for a slice next Friday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes Are the Best

This evening I cut open one of the tomatoes grown in the back yard and that I'd picked recently. This one smelled amazingly like a tomato should, a little sharp and sweet and like the garden somehow. It was filled with very bright red fruit and almost no seeds and was totally delicious with fontina cheese and avocado. So far, I've grown about two dozen tomatoes and pick them when they are orange red off the vine and then sit them in the sunny window to finish the ripening process. I put them all in a bowl and we eat them like any fruit, with whatever else it is that we are eating.Miraculous!

Not My Funeral Yet

I go by this funeral home every time I take the G8 bus to or from work and wonder about who has their funeral there. It's "Frazier's Funeral Home Since 1917" and I've only ever seen two or three occasions when it looked like there was a viewing or funeral there in the twenty years or so I've been in the neighborhood. Once some people going in the doorway, dressed in their Sunday best. Another time, there was a crowd on the sidewalk and it looked like they were all about to go  in or leave, I couldn't tell. The building is at the intersection of Rhode Island and Florida Avenues northwest and stands out because of how the building is decorated.  At some time someone put this stone exterior over brick walls -- or so I assume since most of the buildings in the Shaw neighborhood are brick -- and then added the blue awnings or shades over the windows. And it's looked pretty much this way for a long time.  Once I saw a hearse parked in the alley alongside the building but there does not seem to be a lot of activity at the times I go by. Maybe funerals are at other times and, thank God, it's not my funeral yet.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Beer from a Sunbeam

Occasionally, and I mean occasionally, like maybe when it's really hot, I get a craving for a very cold beer and the best place for a single cold can of beer is the neighborhood Korean grocery on North Capitol street. Sunbeam is where I go for all the odd things I crave or need when I have forgotten to order something via Peapod, which is how I usually buy most groceries. So, the other day found me at Sunbeam, with son Joshua parked in his wheelchair outside the store, while I went in. The Americans With Disabilities Act hasn't been recognized at this corner grocery, like most of the little corner groceries in our neighborhood, so Joshua can't get in unless I heave his wheelchair up the one step. Which I can't do anymore as my back is giving out. Actually, he'd rather sit outside and watch the cars and trucks and buses whizzing by on North Capitol street while I dodge in for that really really cold can of malt beer or whatever it is I forgot. Sometimes it's a banana for Joshua's breakfast. You can buy one banana at a time at this store or a stick of butter if you forgot that and you really need it for pancakes for breakfast. The store also has an ATM but I'm a bit suspicious of such machines preferring instead to get cash from the bank directly. You can also buy lottery tickets there, but it's been a long time since I've felt really lucky since trusting in the Lord leads to better riches.

A Lovely July 4th

July 4th this year was a Sunday so it was a double delight day, not only the best day of the week but also a holiday. So everyone on the street put out their flags and you could smell barbecues going and hear party music. We had dinner of sausages and kasha salad and lime jello with raspberries on the front porch and then about 9 pm we all went out on the front steps and set off some fireworks. We had a few rockets and roman candles and showering banging snapping flashing things and it was a good time. The kids next door watched and dared themselves to hold a few of the sparklers we had. Not only could we hear the thundering boom of the national fireworks display on the Mall but also all around were the rockets red and green and white glare as the neighbors on adjacent streets set off their fireworks. After cake and ice cream we went to bed very satisfied with an excellent celebration day, thanks be to God!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Floating Car

I couldn't resist snapping this shot with the miracle of a cell phone camera when I saw this car floating overhead inside the Gallery Place Regal cinema building. It's actually one of those new huge posters you see draped over the sides of buildings, or in this case, draped inside the atrium space. The rest of the space makes it look like the car is being beamed up or held up by some mysterious light force. It just goes to show that your eye wants to make sense of what you see around you. But it's worth remembering that things aren't always what they seem and we should be aware of our perceptions and not take them as fact but stick to the real truth.

Glossy Glassy Buildings

There seems to be a run of an architectural style in DC recently where the building is completely sided with sheets of glass that hang as scales on the frame. There are no walls really, since the walls are glossy gleaming sheets of glass hooked together with some metal latching system. You can almost see into the offices quite easily but light and reflection don't let you get too far. Besides, people put desks and plants up against the glass walls so as to create psychological walls for themselves, or so I imagine. One of these days I'm going to go into one of these buildings and see what it's like to be in one of the street view rooms with just a sheet of glass for the wall. Is that what they mean by transparency? Or do people just hide even deeper what they don't want anyone, even God, to know about themselves?

Dead Chickens Hanging in the Window

Yes, there's at least half a dozen dead chickens hanging not so neatly in the window of the noodle restaurant on 6th street in Chinatown, DC. They hang there cooked, ready to be eaten by the customers who dare enter down the little steps into this den of delights. So far, I've only been able to watch the cook make noodles by watching him through the window they've set up for passersby to see what's going on. For some reason, it's enough for me to be entertained by this, and it hasn't drawn me in to eat there. We usually go to the slightly more upscale restaurant a few doors down where I can be sure they make really good martinis with the vodka I like. But one day, I'll be there with some risk-taker who will go in with me and, by God, we'll order Kung Pao chicken made with one of them dead birds hanging in the winder.

Those Mighty Megabuses


As the light turned green, two of these big blue and yellow behemoth megabuses went whizzing through the 7th and H street intersection in Chinatown when I was there tonight. Where were they off to at 11 pm at night I wondered or had they done their runs for the day and were going to whatever warehouse they are kept in at night? I've never ridden on one but the more I see of them, the more I get the urge just to hop on a bus, Gus, see New York city again, Jane, or maybe never come back, Jack. Something about how easy these buses seem to make it appeals to me. They stop right in the middle of Chinatown, you see the long line of YOUNG PEOPLE with backpacks waiting on the sidewalk climbing in and off they go, hardly stopping anywhere along the way, so I hear. Not like Greyhound or Trailways where you have to go to their station and put up with whatever route they go. But that's a bit like how life is, isn't it? Some buses just pass you by since the big conductor in the sky just didn't want you on that one today for some mysterious reason.

Chinatown Crepes


After going to the movie theater in Chinatown to see Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in "Knight and Day" we stopped at the crepe makers' stand and got snacks. Hubster had a chocolate and banana crepe as they were out of strawberries and I had their savory crepe with Swiss cheese. They make them right there in front of you so I snapped the crepe maker as he did his job, using the miracle of my cell phone camera. These were a very satisfying and filling treat, so much so, in fact, that we didn't finish them and brought half of each home for a tasty snack another time. And, by the way, this movie is a great date movie. Totally ridiculous violence where in extended gun fights only the bad guys die, and some incredible chase scenes including dodging a bull run. Not a bad spoof of James Bond action flicks, only in this one the dame doesn't die and in fact rescues the agent. Whoops! Have I given the plot away?

Damn the Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead!


Not far from where I work is Farragut Square that I stumbled into today and snapped a shot of ole Admiral David Farragut, the guy who apparently said, "Damn the torpedoes, Full Speed ahead," during the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War. I looked him up on the Internet of course -- as who has encyclopedias in their houses anymore? Sure enough, Wikipedia gave me all I needed. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and full admiral of the Navy and is the guy who said this all-American type phrase. His statue had some pigeons napping on his feet and walking on the four cannons pointed in all four directions at the park visitors.  No-one who walked by appeared to notice him in the afternoon sun and he seems to stand there, at least thirty foot high, but invisible.. The statue faces towards the White House and I wonder what they think of him there, if they think of civil war at all. ..

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fence with a Crossed Heart


Riding on that same ole Route 80 bus downtown, there's a fence beside a church on H street with an adorable design welded into it. I think it's made of bronze and by an artist but I've never really stopped and bent down and looked to see if it is signed. It's got a little heart, some oak leaves, and a cross shape within a large circle. I like it a whole lot as it is a surprise when you walk by the fence and suddenly come upon it. One wonders who put it there and why and when and how many people actually notice it.

Park Not Lest Ye Be Towed

As the Route 80 bus wends its way from the corner of the street where I live through downtown it passes the corner near St. Mary's Mother of God church on the corner of 5th & H street. This church has the blessing of a parking lot on H street but since nearby is the Verizon Center they have to be sure no one parks there without permission. Hence the sign "park not lest ye be towed away." But since it's a church parking lot it's easier to lapse into a theological view of this fence. Okay, fine, "park not" means don't leave your car there. Or leave anything where it shouldn't be. Especially valuable things like cars. Or other valuable things, like your heart, or soul. But "lest ye be towed away" is definitely a warning of some consequence if you "park" that valuable thing. And it's definitely about taking away your car if you dare to park it. Like, park it and lose it. But what if you saw this positively, about taking a risk. Drive in, leave your car where you don't have permission to leave it. And it gets towed, taken away somewhere. Like, give your heart up, to something, and it gets towed away. By God. To somewhere you don't know where it will go, unless you risk it.