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, October 30, 2010

Rhubarb Crumble and Fish Cake Kind of Day in DC

Rhubarb cake
Cod fishcakes
Today was a Saturday where I puttered around and forgot about time altogether and that's a great space to be for cooking for me. So I made easy rhubarb crumble and fishcakes. I wish I could say it was rhubarb from my garden but we already ate all of that but I'd seen some fresh frozen organic rhubarb from Oregon on Peapod online groceries so I used a bag of that. I also used Bisquick for the cake or crumble part, adding sugar and milk and an egg and put a layer of that in the pan, added the rhubarb and then topped it with the remainder Bisquick mix. It only took 20 minutes to cook and was delicious.  The fish cakes were a solution to the leftover cod from yesterday. I ground them up into flakes in fat free milk in the blender and then added chopped tofu, parsley, some canola oil and breadcrumbs and then baked for about 35 minutes in a  medium oven (about 355F).  With mashed potatoes and lima beans the fishcakes were a delicious dinner. What food blessings we enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Windmills or Canals in DC

Typical canal houses

View of windmill from canal

Bicycles on bridge
Last windmill in Amsterdam
While looking at my photos from our recent trip to Amsterdam, Holland, I realized how unique that city was compared to Washington, D.C. We had ridden around that city on giant cruiser boats on the canals and saw things like windmills out the window. No such things in DC, for sure! I learned that Amsterdam was also the most densely populated city in Europe, even though there's only about 750,000 people living in that city. However, the living spaces are all small, the streets are narrower and they mostly travel around on bikes and trams. The landlady of the basement studio apartment that we stayed in said that a whole family used to live in there and the nook in the corner was the parent's bedroom and the closet in the back wall was the children's bedroom! That and climbing up the ladder stairs to the street everyday must have made life quite different than what we experience in 21st century D.C. Thank God for the New World!
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Those Wacky Mobile Lounges at Dulles Airport


I thought they'd stopped using those wacky "mobile lounges" at Dulles airport a while ago but no, it turns out, they are still in operation. Coming back recently from Europe, we were herded into these diesel cars that lurch along the edges of the runways and take you from your plane to the terminal, or vice versa. And it was on this trip that I first heard the term "mobile lounges" used by the flight attendant when she announced how we'd get to the terminal. So that's what they are, I said to myself, "mobile lounges," who knew! From the two crazy chimneys to the square windows and high rise wheels, these have got to be the goofiest looking transport vehicles in use at any airport!
Watch YouTube video of a mobile lounge ride.
Watch YouTube video of mobile lounges on runway.
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Trams and Bikes Rule in Amsterdam


While there are cars in Amsterdam the 740,000 city residents pedal around on bikes or take trams to get around.but it seems like bikes dominate. You can't go down any street or alley or go over any canal bridge without practically tripping over a bike locked to a fence or pole. While you're avoiding these, at least a dozen bikes will whiz by you, the users pedalling madly over the cobblestones or transporting any type of good on a front or back bike rack, or on both ends. We saw more than a few parents with children perched on the handlebars and great loads of books and boxes and other material carried along on the back of the bike.  There is even a parking lot for about 9,000 bikes at the train station since commuters leave their bike at the station when they leave Amsterdam to work elsewhere. It turns out that at their destination they may have another bike that they use to go from the train station to the job. It was certainly eye opening to see so much day to day business carried on by bike. And it didn't look one bit like DC at all!
A European city bike, an example of a bicycle ...Image via Wikipedia


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No Bobbies in DC

You might see some double decker red buses whizzing around filled with tourists in DC but you are not going to see a couple of London policemen with their anti-cosh round helmets standing on the corner calling in on their wireless devices. These two were near Trafalgar Square when I was there recently and they were busy reporting in to HQ using their wireless devices. They wore very serious expressions and were heavily armed, including wearing bulletproof vests. In fact, due to the elevated emergency alert, I saw a lot of security in London. When we got off the plane two army soldiers guarded the shopping mall at Heathrow Airport, once we'd made it through Passport Control.  They were carrying machine guns and had bands of bullets slung around their shoulders.  They did not make eye contact with anyone and gave the impression, by their stance and set of the jaw, that they would shoot anyone who was determined upon terrorist activity.. At the train stations, we also saw more security guards and policemen than we usually do. They were very good at monitoring the crowds managing to never catch your eye but very alert and watchful every time a train pulled in or out. The crowds were dense, so I imagine their job was quite difficult.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Burrito Expresso Guy Dies

Carlos Guardado at work
Commemoration At K and 17th Sts NW
Today I write with sadness about Carlos Guardado who died recently.  I'd wanted to buy an expresso a few times recently in the morning, or go get one of the delicious black  bean burritos with guacamole for lunch, but his stand wasn't there at the usual corner of 17th & K Streets N.W.  Perhaps he's gone back to El Salvador for a trip to see his family or went on vacation, I thought, but it turned out he'd died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  I found out word of mouth as someone from my office had passed by the commemorative signs and flowers that were taped up on the scaffolding where his stand stood and that now told the story of his demise. Then, it turns out, there was a story in the Washington Post on Carlos which provided details about his family and about how many people also missed him.  I'd gotten used to the wonderful food service he provided and had talked with him a few times about the weather, or coffee, or El Salvador or whatever.  It seems a lot of people noticed his absence as there were several stories in the paper about him. I will certainly miss Carlos and those marvelous black bean burritos and expresso coffee he served. It is a reminder of how all things pass and we all will too.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When It Rains, Bus Driver Shines

On a recent rainy day on the way to work on the bus, at one stop the Metrobus driver was about to pull away from the kerb when a passenger called out "somebody left an umbrella," and another passenger called out "it was the guy who just got off with the pony tail."  So the bus driver tooted the bus horn several times to get the attention of the guy with the long grey ponytail who was walking briskly away from the bus, sans brolly.  The guy didn't turn around so the driver pulled up behind him as he was now in the intersection as it was a red light for the bus.  The driver pulled down his window and called out "hey, you, ponytail, you left your umbrella!" and this time the guy heard him and stopped in front of the bus right in the middle of the intersection.  The driver turned towards the passengers in the back of the bus who had called out and said, "Quick, get me the umbrella" and one of them grabbed it and ran and handed it to the driver who then passed it out the window to the man with the long grey pony tail who smiled and said "thank you very much."  You just never know when something good might happen on the bus!

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Regal Cinema Lucky Strike

We went out on a date downtown recently and didn't have time for dinner out before the movie. We went to Gallery Place where there are lots of stores, restaurants and a movie theater that has first run shows.There's even a Lucky Strike bowling alley right next to the Regal Cinemas in case we get a yen to knock down pins one night. But this time, we quickly got some badly cooked savory crepes (cold and the mushrooms were a little off!) at a stand in the alley where the guy cooks them right in front of you, and then we went to the movies where we saw the follow up movie to "Wall Street" starring Michael Douglas.  This was "Money Never Sleeps" which somehow never seemed to be as exciting as it should have been.  But we had a good time anyway as there's nothing like going out on a date when you're married and hanging out doing things together even if the food and the movie are not perfect.