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!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Golden Marigolds and Sun Tea in November

The past month has been warm and sunny most of the time here in DC as we've had this lovely extended autumn. In fact I can hardly believe it's December. The marigolds just kept flowering, and a few times it was warm enough to make sun tea in a jar on the porch. In fact with Winter Solstice in three days it's hard to believe that the days will in fact start getting longer again! I'm not sure what to make of this except to be glad that I'm not falling down icy front steps, or losing umbrellas in rain storms or turning up the heat in the house.

The Big Dig Downtown DC at H and 9th Streets NW

big hole at 11th and H st NW
Just one of the concrete trucks
I've been in awe of the big dig going on at the site downtown at the block between 9th and 11th and H and I streets NW for the past year. I've been watching the action as I take a bus by this site often. First it was a demolition of the old DC convention center with literally tons of debris and dust created and trucked out. Then they started digging the ground out with literally tons and tons of brown clayey earth being taken out in those larger Mack trucks. This then became a huge brown hole that I kept meaning to photo but missed it. Then they drove piles around the whole perimeter, framing the huge pit with wooden planks. That pile driving noise must have annoyed many of the people working in the buildings overlooking the site, or at the nearby hotel. It's now at the stage where they are putting down the concrete floor and hundreds of tons of concrete seem to be going in there. There are at least five cranes looming over the site.  Hundreds of men are working in the pit site, and now they are building the floors and whatever it takes to put up a new construction. I've been meaning to photograph this for a while but it's only now that I got to it. And I'm amazed by how fast the work goes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Temple Enshrining Sacred Documents in Washington DC

U.S. Archives Building
I was trapped in traffic due to the road repair near the White House so, during an impatient pause, I glanced out of the window and lo and behold saw the nation's temple that contains the U.S. Constitution. It's quite  marvelous, isn't it, to be stuck in traffic in downtown Washington DC and yet to find oneself for a few quick minutes looking at a classical style building in which you know sits a copy on display of the veritable U.S. Constitution. Makes you think of your Civics and Government Studies class if you were blessed enough to have partaken of one. So which one is your favorite provision or Amendment? I'm rather partial to Amendment IX (i.e., The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people). This always gives me food for thought on what rights are being infringed upon.   Even though it was a busy Saturday afternoon, there were very few tourists at this time of year so I had a clear view of the Corinthian columns and exhibition pennants. I noticed some sort of '50s retrospective exhibit seemed to be the subject, but then, the light changed, traffic cleared and off I went.  And got a shot of the north side of this Archives Building too, during slow traffic on 7th street. Amazing!
North side of Archives Building

Stupendous Amaryllis Blooms in Bloomingdale Kitchen!

The first blossom opens
Amaryllis almost fully opened
About three weeks ago I bought a very large amaryllis bulb for $9.99 in Walmart. The bulb was huge: about 4.5 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick. I stuck it in soil per the instructions and lightly watered it for a while and watched a lot of green shoots growing up quite quickly. I hoped it would bloom at Christmas, since the package said it would be a big red flower. This week, it has budded and at least one of the flowers has opened.  There are still three buds to open yet and there's a second flower stem as well which might open into another classic 4-flower head. In fact, there may even be another flower stem sprouting. So it's in the kitchen and I said to my husband, "Have you seen the amaryllis flower I've been growing in the kitchen? It's flowering." I should mention as an aside here that Hubster often doesn't notice things that I've changed in the house -- like the curtains, or a string of Christmas lights I've hung up, or a new wreath on the front door, but that's a guy for you -- anyway, back to the amaryllis. So off he trundled into the kitchen and gasped when he saw it, calling out "It's stupendous!"  Well, I agree, it's the largest one I've ever grown. And this is just the first flower! What a wondrous thing a flower bulb is!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unexpected Snowfall in October in DC

snow on marigolds
snow the rose bush
soft snow flaking down
Recently we had an unexpected snowfall and I just had to run outside and snap some photos as it came flaking down on the back porch furniture and in the front garden. Snow on the roses! Snow on the marigolds! An amazing sight! Since then the weather has been a lot warmer but I think we are returning to the colder temperatures soon. So it is just as well that I brought indoors the plants that won't survive the cold.  I've crammed the geraniums, jade and ivies into the kitchens in my house, hoping they can survive on sunny window ledges.  I've also started a red amaryllis that is supposed to flower at Christmas time. It was a giant bulb and it's now -- two weeks later -- got some bright green shoots. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Roses in Bloomingdale

There were a few days recently in October when it was Indian summer and the weather was so nice I ended up walking about in the neighborhood a bit and of course, since I had my camera with me, snapping away at whatever caught my eye.  So of course when I saw these bright pink roses growing by the roadside I just had to kneel down and take the shot against the background of the historic houses nearby.

Orchids on My Breakfast Table at Hotel in Colorado

On a recent business trip, I really enjoyed my stay in Colorado at a Westin Hotel (in Westminter). Part of the enjoyment was having fresh flowers on the breakfast table in the restaurant at six in the morning. I really hadn't expected anything like that and of course had to get my camera out and arrange the vase and flowers a little and take a photo.

Sunrise Hibiscus in Front of Waterfall in National Gallery of Art

A few weeks ago we made a family visit to the National Gallery of Art here in Washington DC and not only was the art great to look at but also there is always a lovely display of flowers in the underground restaurant. This time it was these very pretty sunrise hibiscus flowers and they had them growing in front of the glass wall that is in front of the waterfall.  Well, this is what I call them as I once had one of these plants and kept it for a few years, taking it in over the winters.  However, one year I missed a frost warning and my lovely Sunrise Hibiscus got nipped in the cold and quickly died.  I was very disappointed.  Since then I've got other flowering plants but it was great to see this one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Very Shiny PT Cruiser All Decked Out

I couldn't resist photographing this very shiny PT Cruiser with the miracle of my cell phone camera while we stopped off at a restaurant in Pennsylvania recently. It had a shiny spoiler, the moon window and trim all over the place that was shiny metal, including all around the wheel hubs, the running board, on the front hood and just about anywhere where there was space for some more decorative metal bits. It was parked in a "handicapped" parking space and I think there was a Vietnam Veteran sticker somewhere on the back. A guy limped out of the diner a few minutes later and got into the PT cruiser and drove off with his girlfriend with a smile on his face. I think this toy gave him a great deal of pleasure. You can probably tell I like PT Cruisers too and in fact own a couple of them myself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ronald Reagan National Airport Terminal A Building

Who doesn't like the old airport building at Ronald Reagan national airport in DC?  It's now the Terminal A building that has airlines like Jet Blue, AirTran and Frontier. It's curved front and Art Deco feel, shining white paint with gold leaf decorations evoke another and perhaps less complex time in Washington, DC.Apparently it was designed in late 1930s and opened in 1941 according to the summary history I found of the airport that is nearest to me. I'm not sure when it was named after the 40th President, Ronald Reagan, but who remembers what it was called before that?

Interesting buildings in Bloomingdale neighborhood

on RI Ave NW
on First St at T & RI Ave NW
on  First St NW
There's lots of interesting looking buildings in our section of the city since all the houses are built of brick and most built in the late 19th and early 20th century. They've also variegated a bit with bright colored paint and add-ons and things. I took one photo while I was at Boundary Stone Public House on RI Ave and another while looking at Rustik Tavern at the corner of three streets since I'm so pleased we now have two decent bars in walking distance of my house. The overall effect of the old neighborhood transforming makes it a very pleasant place to live..
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What's With the Shoes on Bloomingdale Sidewalk?

This is the second pair of shoes I've found just perched on the sidewalk on a street near where I live recently. It's always a pair of shoes, not just one. Very strange. Who leaves a pair of sneakers neatly parked like that? Maybe we just don't grow enough flowers and trees in Bloomingdale, maybe shoes grow like trees.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

WMATA G8 Bus Route Gets Ever More Crowded

Sitting on the bus the other day jammed in and watching how it kept getting more and more crowded with strap hangers, so many that the driver had to pass by people at several stops, who looked a bit on the angry side, naturally, as it was Monday morning and who wants to miss the bus and be late on a Monday morning? And it's not as if another bus comes right away.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sharing a Ride with the Taxi Driver's Underwear

I got a taxi cab today in a hurry but who really looks inside a cab before getting into it? Anyway, in a hurry to a meeting on Capitol Hill, I hailed a cab and got in. After telling the driver where I wanted to go, I looked down and in some disgust saw a discarded sweaty slightly soiled undershirt -- presumably the cab driver's -- in a basket between the two front seats. Now I've been in cabs with broken seats, cabs with litter, cabs with windows that won't close, or open, cabs that stink of cigarette smoke, cabs with drivers who won't stop talking at you, cabs with blaring radios, but this was the first time a cab driver had his underwear there for passengers to enjoy. AARGH!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Garden with Flowers

Nasturtiums
Yucca
 I really do like to have something flowering all the time in both the front and back gardens and this June I've had bright orange and yellow nasturiums for the first time, the big white bells of the Yucca cactus, some glorious orange and some red tiger lilies and a lot of pale yellow to orange day lilies. I like all my flowers and each year the yards are slightly different as it seems the sun and how much I water them really affects whether I will have a lot of blooms. Also, I use some plant food and some kitchen things to feed them. But right now, there's lots of flowers and I'm very happy. My neighbor thinks I'm an expert gardener; I'm not. I actually quite lazy and only grow what grows easily. I just can't be bothered to fuss too much, after all weeding is backbreaking and I only want to be doing it once a month.  And I only get around to cutting the grass once a month too.
Golden Asiatic lilies


June back garden with day lilies

I can Hear the Music on Your Headphones on Metro Bus

Very loud music playing on these earphones
Surely you are damaging your ears if I can hear the music you are playing and listening to on headphones on the bus.  This young man was sitting right in front of me on the bus the other morning and I could almost every word sung, the crashing beat of the music and all the "noise" that he was listening too.  I'm pretty sure the rest of the bus could hear it too but nobody said anything.  Once I did say something to one person who was playing very raucous rude rap that had horrible curse words in it and I leaned over and asked him "would you turn the music down as i can hear all the way from where I am sitting?"  And he did turn it down. He had been sitting about three seats away from me on the bus and yet I could hear it.  I'm sure these people are damaging their ears when they do this.  At a minimum, they are missing out on the sounds about them and could miss warnings or alerts, but I'm not so worried about that. As a morning person who doesn't like loud sounds -- like alarm clocks and phones and beeping things -- I just don't want to have to hear crashing loud music on the bus in the morning!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Persian Building on K Street

View of Sphinx Club from bus on K Street NW
I've always wondered what this building is on K street NW in the 1300 block at Franklin Square with a Persian style facade. It has several arches and has an  ornate blue and grey design. So, as is my wont, I snapped a photo -- using my LG wireless feature phone of course -- while passing by on the bus on the way to work and determined to research what it was. After a bit of Google Mapping, this building turns out to be called The Almas Temple and is a building owned by the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, which seems to be some secular social society or club. Apparently, the building is referred to as The Sphinx Club and is made available for functions and has a Grand Ballroom. The website for this site says the ballroom is nearly 7,000 square and has Persian style carpeting, vaulted ceilings, a stage with a "butterfly staircase" flowing it. There is also a 2,300 square foot mezzanine for other or associated events. The space can be rented for weddings and such-like and they say it is wheelchair accessible, although I have my doubts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo Essay of Tuesday Lunchtime in DownTown DC

Lining up for lunch at the food truck
Lunch time I had an errand and went across Farragut Square to get a sandwich and some cookies for our staff meeting. Somehow I just knew it was going to  be a great day for photos as the park was filled with people eating their lunch, buying their lunch and chatting and just generally enjoying the sun. So I snapped a half dozen photos as I thought this captured downtown Washington DC in the summer very well. From the pigeons, gnarly trees, food trucks and flowers, it all seemed youthful and joyful and I wished I could have spent more of my day outside.
Pigeons ready to pounce

Interesting gnarly tree

View from K Street across the park

Pansies hanging in the  balance?

View towards the White House over Adm Farraguts Shoulder

Diagonal path across Farragut Square park

Monday, May 9, 2011

Carter Woodson Corner, RI Ave NW and 9th

On the SE corner of Rhode Island Avenue NW and 9th Street stands this decaying building that you just know is going to get bull-dozed out of history one day. I think they are trying to sell it as it's been painted over sort of to make it look more like one building.  It used to be a lot more interesting looking as it had writings and Egyptianesque paintings in bright blue and green painted on its walls.  At one point a lot of people lived in the building and it was clearly a religious sect of some sort, with women in full habibs going in and out. But these days you just look at it and say to yourself "that's going to get bull dozed over" one day and a nice new block of brick front condos is going to get thrown up there that won't look a bit like this old building.  I wish I had taken a photo of the mural that used to be on the side of the building that had a quote in French that said "bienvenue a Shaw, slum historique" alongside some renderings of Carter Woodson, an African American historic figure.He's the guy known as the Father of Black History, if you didn't already know that!  One of his most famous quotes used to be painted on the side of the building too: "We should emphasize not Negro history but the Negro in history..."   (see other view of this quote here). But this month is when I finally got to photographing this building and it's the best I could do to capture some local history.Nearby, at 1538 Ninth St NW, is the Carter Woodson home, where there will be the 135th Birthday Anniversary Celebration on December 18, 2011. There is little doubt that history is all around us all the time. And thanks to others for preserving the colorful quotes and images that were on the building previously!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Those Bus Riding, Plugged In, Finger Tapping Twenty Somethings

reading & emailing

ear buds in
blackberrying  and i-tuning
I just couldn't resist it the other day on the bus into work; just about everyone sitting near me was either plugged into I-tunes or sending messages on their smartphones or doing both at the same time. These fellow passengers were all in their twenties or so, and kept themselves very busy with these wondrous technology gadgets.  So I just had to photograph them, surreptitiously, despite the loud clicking shutter sound my "feature phone" makes when I snap a photo on that cell phone. They were so absorbed in what they were doing or had ear plug buds in that they never heard what I was doing using what to me is a wondrous technology gadget. I think it just amazing that I can take photos on a "phone" and then send them, through the air (!), to an email address and use them later, such as in this blog!  I could say how I can remember when we had a phone installed in our house, and shared "a party line" (not what you think!) and then when transistor radios came out they were so tiny you could put them in your bag but I would really be dating meself and besides, that's boring. Although, I do like the look of stunned disbelief on the young people's faces at work when us over 50's reminisce about copying documents on mimeo machines (remember the manual crank!) and hiring messengers on bikes to take letters across town (there's a buggy whip bizniss!) or having someone answer the phone who wrote down caller's messages on little pink pieces of paper from preprinted phone pads that were put in your message box with a metal clip (that was email then!). Not to mention, of course, sending a roll of film off to be developed and asking for one week expedited prints! Ha ha. How it all changes, but you know, people don't change much!
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House Caught in Twilight Zone

along Massachusetts Ave NW
I'm quite intrigued by how this little twilight zone house from DC's past got left behind and is now an eyesore surrounded by gleaming new brick and steel and glass buildings of a completely different scale. It's #433 on Massachusetts Avenue NW and I see it from the bus window every time I take the Circulator bus to work. It was a pizza place for a while, but now it's abandoned and unused, other than by some rats and other non-rent paying tenants. I vaguely remember hearing something about the owner holding out for a better offer when the developers started buying up the block, but somehow he missed the moment and this is what happened -- they built the development all around him. It's referred to as the "Ledo property" and there was a few articles on this in the Washington Post during the last big housing bubble when the owner refused to sell, thinking he could get more. I looked it up in the City's property database and the record shows it was bought in March 2011 for $715,000 and there was obviously problems with a previous owner not paying taxes on time.  Someone told me the property was still in some sort of  legal limbo with the city wanting to demolish it as it's unsafe -- apparently it lacks a back wall! and the owner was supposed to fix it or make it safer. So, this little brick building stands unkempt, trapped between yesterday and tomorrow, neither preserved nor renovated, a blighted memorial to a deal that didn't get made. 

Condom in Yew Bush on First Street

This condom was hanging in the yew bush in the tree box beside the sidewalk on my way to work one morning. You just have to wonder how it got there. Did someone chuck it out of a car window? Was it pitched out from a nearby bedroom window? Was it left by some kids fooling around with dad's stuff and then tossing it? Did it blow there in the recent high wind? I really didn't spend too much time on this but it did make me wonder if the prostitute is back on the corner of First St NW and if this is something to do with her and her business.
And then there was the discarded radio or tape deck appliance right near the condom. Did someone get mad and just chuck that there too? Since they were in the same tree box sidewalk area, were these items connected? Was someone cleaning out their car and thought they'd unload their private life leftovers onto the rest of us?  This stuff stayed there for about two days until someone unknown picked it all up and it was gone.It's a strange world we live in and strangers all around us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Blooms in Bloomingdale

Bench and narcissus
I just had to take some more photos of the flowers in Crispus Attucks park near us before all the blossoms go and it really leafs up.
Eastern rosebud in Crispus Attucks park

Walkway in Crispus Attucks park

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blooming Bloomingdale

Pink blossoms on V St NW
Narcissus in Crispus Attucks Park
These houses look like cakes
There's so many lovely blossoms in our Bloomingdale neighborhood this spring that of course I've run around with a camera and taken some photos. The pink Eastern Rosebuds and the narcissus and whatever those white flowered trees are, it all just looks so delightful and a welcome change from the winter.
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