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. More recently, my spare time is taken up with selling collectibles and things on Ebay as a seller called Mugsim7. Having a lot of fun with it so far! May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Angels Hiding in Our Gardens

Passing a house near where I live recently I espied this little stone angel praying for growth in the garden perhaps, or maybe for us passersby to remember the source of all things? Then I saw two little angels sleeping on their sides on a back porch atop the handrails, dwarfed by the nearby plants. I bet there's even more of them hiding in the gardens around the neighborhood and I hope to stumble into them and photo them all sometime.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Corner of First and Rhode Island in Bloomingdale

Corner of First and Rhode Island
I'm not sure why I took this photo recently of the buildings at the corner of two local streets except that this corner has not really changed much since I first moved into the Bloomingdale neighborhood over twenty years ago. Oh, they've added a coat of paint or two, awnings and signs have changed and been added, the tree's grown, plant pots added, new owners and new tenants, that sort of thing. But the size and scale of the buildings hasn't changed. The two stores are still single storey shops. The grey painted house on the left is still residential and not converted to a business use (although I think someone used to do taxes there on the first floor at one time). The Chinese Dragon in the middle has been selling carry out food the whole twenty years. And, I don't think their menu has changed much! The Windows Cafe on the corner replaced a dumpy liquor store and has contributed to the greatest change as it is a cafe and not one of those stores with the cashier behind plexiglass. They now have potted plants growing out front and to the side and tables and chairs for guests. So, it's a lot more civilized looking.  Part of my thinking was to photograph these corner buildings before real change occurs -- like someone tears the building down and puts a giant glass thing there, or a change is made that alters the scale of the buildings in relation to each other, like an addition or a fence or a switch from business to residential status. So, I've captured it for now and we'll have to see what happens in the next twenty years.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slippery Ice Brings out Samaritan Neighbor

Stairs now have salt on them
I thought I was walking carefully enough down the front steps this morning when I left the house but oh no, on the second step down my feet went right out from under me and I slipped and bounced down the stairs on my back, banging and bruising my left elbow and lower spine all the way down. Basically, the steps were coated and crusted in clear ice, like a sheet of glass, after a night of freezing rain. When I got to the bottom --  about a four foot drop! -- I just laid there looking up at the sky, skirt blown up, yelling in pain. A kind neighbor heard my cries and came over and helped me to climb back up the stairs -- on all fours -- back into my house. He also helped pick up some of my belongings that had scattered out from my bag and made sure I was okay and got back into the house without further slipping and with my possessions.  He was very kind and thoughtful and I later realized that he was in the middle of taking his two children to school and had taken time away from leaving them in the car to pay attention to me. It's a wonderful blessing to have neighbors who are kind and act as Good Samaritans!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oops, Easy to Miss the Alleys

First St NW alley
Adams St NW alley
W Street NW Alley
You can walk right by the entrances to the alleys, not even seeing them at all, but they are there if you look for them.  Sometimes narrow and rather dark, they are one of the reasons why you see little trash on the street, because most of it is in bins in the back alleys. They are also the reason why you don't see the trash truck pick up unless you get up early enough in the morning and exit out your back gate.  I only hear the noise of the trash trucks as these hardworking city employees (?) crash about upturning our bins and dislodging our rubbish into these giant trucks that they somehow manage to squeeze into the twists and turns of our neighborhood alleys. While walking by, the alley may beckon your longer glance to see glimpses of what your neighbors might be up to -- ladders and construction equipment signaling remodeling or tossed out mattresses and bureaus signaling new furniture, or cars parked closely to the garage wall when overnight guests have failed to get the visitor permit in time and don't want to risk the Parking Ticket Nazis on the street front.  The alleys often belong only to the cats and the stray dogs that got away during the day.  Occasionally, in the summer, you may see young people shooting baskets or playing ball if someone has been so kind as to put up a hoop. Of course, about a decade ago our alleys were the scenes of drug dealing, some prostitution, more than a handful of murders and some public drunkenness, but it seems like most of that has passed.  However, today if you do see someone walking through the alley from your house rear view windows you do find yourself  remarking about them and wonder what they might be up to in a different way than the people you notice walking by on the sidewalk in front of your house. There's something more unusual and more private about the public alley ways, as if the space has been reserved only for certain purposes like egress to a garage or garden or some other special purpose.  This layout and design adds a great deal to our neighborhood, in my opinion, and it's something we take for granted, so used are we to the benefits the alleys bring.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We Love Our Watha T. Daniel Library Books and DVDs

I went to return my library books and a movie DVD on my way to work the other morning and lo and behold all of the book return boxes were jammed full of returned books and DVDs at the Watha T. Daniel DC public library. In fact, returned books and DVDs were practically spilling out of all three of the return book slots! So my good intention to get the books back early was foiled by the sheer number of other readers and free movie watchers in my neighborhood who returned their materials before the library opened that day. Perhaps, like everyone else, I'd taken out a lot of books over the holiday and we'd all decided to return them that Monday morning of the New Year, getting off to a good resolution start, i.e., avoiding library fines!  So I lugged them over to the Watha T.Daniel library the next day, although I did note that there's one errant book I missed and I'm trying to remember where in the house I put it. This is a newly built all shiny metal and glass library building in the Shaw section -- that cost close to $12 million and is solar powered LEED certified not to waste energy! -- and that replaced the old 1975-built concrete edifice of similar shape but very dissimilar design that used to be there. And this new library has a modernistic lighted glass sculpture out front that -- so far -- has survived pigeon bombing and local graffitatos. (I'm also hoping someone will tell me in the comment box below who Watha T. Daniel was?) Thank God for positive change in our neighborhood!
Read Washington newspaper story on the opening of the library.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

A Visit to the Red Toque Restaurant

The other day I visited the Red Toque restaurant, a new eating place in the vicinity of the local public library where I'd been tanking up on books to read over the holiday week. I espied the bright red door of this new place and said to myself that it would be good to get a snack there! So I ordered a lentil soup and got a cup of red chai tea with a glass of water for about $6 total.  The lentil soup was totally delicious and I would go there again for it. I think they made the chai tea with milk that was slightly off as it just didn't taste right.  When I finally sipped it I was no longer at the restaurant and was on my way home and didn't want to be bothered turning back and complaining. So I tossed it onto the garden to feed some trees well.
But the lentil soup was aromatic and spicy but not too hot and sharp and was made with a good stock.  The service was very good -- but then again, I was the sole customer at 3 in the afternoon! -- and there is a great view from the windows of the restaurant, right onto the street and passing cars. And I sat there and snapped a couple of passing vehicles as I supped. The picture windows themselves are a treat as they are the old-fashioned metal casement window frames that have hinges on the side and will likely be opened when the weather is fairer. Painted a shiny black they add great ambience to the cheery yellow painted walls, the high ceiling and surprisingly comfortable dining chairs.  On the walls hang framed black and white photos of old Washington, DC showing trolley cars and buildings long since torn down.  It's worth going in there just to see these!  This space used to be a bike repair store but that appears to have moved or perhaps went out of business.  I think the menu is Middle Eastern or Mediterranean and I hope to go back and try some of the other things. I'm also not sure why it's called "the Red Toque" but I think that's a hat or something.

Winter Garden

Once again the miracle of a cell phone camera allowed me to snap this shot of a winter garden with some snow and a leafless crepe myrtle tree and a couple of empty flower pots. Once all the bulbs and other annuals die down the rock garden emerges. It's hard to believe, but the giant stones in a circle in my front yard are there all the time but only can be seen in the winter. This is the last of the 2010 snow that we got in December but I feel sure that in February 2011 we'll get a blizzard or two and everything will be completely buried.  I like the colors of winter -- the soft greys and whites and light browns and the textures are very different than the greens and yellow lushness of summer. So, I'm as happy with what God gives us for a garden in the winter as with what we are given in the summer. It changes all the time and is never the same twice!