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!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hallelujah, It's a Bloomingdale Spring!

How could I not take my digital camera with me every day and take photos of all the flowers as I  make my way to the bus each day this past week? There's pansies on porches, tulips to toe by, daffodils to dote on, and Eastern rosebud trees to walk under as I hurry down First Street. It's spring for sure and there's just flowers everywhere and I just love to see the shoots shooting out of the ground and the bright splashes of color of the flowers that are now blooming. In the brighter light of spring, even the grass seems very green and the tree trunks seem a brighter brown after the soft mild grey tone colors we've become used to over what seems like a very long and cold winter.So, I'll probably keep snapping away either on my cell phone or my clunky digital camera throughout the season which is surely one of the best gifts from the Creator that we see each year.

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Back at Harry's Again

Looking out onto E St NW
No, I don't add ketchup to my martini
It seems we end up at Harry's Bar & Restaurant about once every few months on our Friday evening dates so last Friday found us there again. Noisy with rock and roll tapes, decorated with 80's ceiling fans and fake Tiffany lampshades,  and a general air of slight disrepair, nevertheless the service is pretty good and the food comes fast. Usually, we are on our way to the movies and because it's on several bus routes Harry's is easy to get to and near what we want to do. I had a veggie burger which I'd never ordered before with a martini which you know I've ordered before and hubster had chicken salad and a lager beer. All around us were tourist families who stay at the Hotel Harrington which is surely the nastiest cheapiest hotel downtown DC and is the building with Harry's on its ground floor.  There's also a few other couples of varying ages and lots of groups of noisy 20 or 30 somethings. Because it was so unexpectedly cold they didn't have the tables set up outside even though they have outdoor heat lamps for when it's not that cold. .Maybe it's the odd collection of pictures on the walls, or the half a dozen TV screens blasting sports and news, or maybe it's the talkative bartenders, but we find ourselves here several times a year.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Enough with the Sippy Cups on the Bus

The drunks on the bus are bad enough with their retching and careening and stinky clothes, but it's the far more often seen passengers clutching cups of coffee or other hot drinks on the bus that I find most annoying. One young lady squeezed past me recently, sat down and calmly sucked on her little sippy cup of coffee, the odor wafting towards me, for the rest of the bus ride. Every time the bus lurched, I was afraid that she would slurp her drink on me or the cup would fall and spill on my clothes. Another passenger sat openly on the bus holding his styrofoam cup of steaming coffee and taking the lid off every once in a while for a big gulp. I really don't know why the WMATA drivers let people on with their sippy cups as the signs are quite clear that passengers are not supposed to eat or drink on the bus and there's even a new sign that says "a bus is not a deli so don't treat it like one."  Scoffeelaws?
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On Capitol Hill Again

Capitol Building Facing East
It is my privilege to have to go to meetings on Capitol Hill every once in a while and today, while  on my way to a House hearing this morning, I snapped this shot of the U.S. Capitol Building. Very soon the trees will be blossoming and leafing and this photo would not be possible at all. A short while later, on my way to the Rayburn building, I paused for a moment and saw the Washington Monument all the way down the Hill and onto the Mall. I'd never seen this view before because usually the trees block the view but they are still not blooming and the air was clear and sunny so I could see quite far. I was so glad to have my digital camera at hand, glad to be early for the hearing and be able to take the time to stop and stare and record these images of the nation's wealth that I enjoy almost on a daily basis.
View from Capitol Hill to Washington Monument

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dinner at the Monocle During Lent

Inside the Monocle
Saturday night I just didn't feel like cooking so Hubster said let's go out for dinner. So, off we trekked to Capitol Hill and found ourselves at the rather dark and clubby looking The Monocle, a restaurant tucked away alongside a parking lot for the U.S. Senate.  Looking at the building you know it's all that's left of what probably used to be hundreds of similar 19th century brick buildings that used to  be on Capitol Hill. I'd been there once before but Hubster hadn't so we had a great time selecting from a menu we hadn't seen much of before. Since I'm not cooking meat over Lent I did allow myself a very juicy and delicious filet mignon steak with a wine sauce that we shared since Hubster only ordered an avocado salad (he too is on some Lenten dietary limitations).  Don't you just hate "avocado salads" where there are only two or three squishy little bits of avocado? This one was nothing like that. His salad included a full sized fresh avocado sliced with lettuce and tomato and a plain oil and vinaigrette and just what he wanted. They also provided us great bread and icy water and good service, not to mention a substantive vodka martin for me and a dark Amstel beer for Hubster. We ordered fresh fruit for dessert but it turned out not to be fresh so when they asked how we liked it we said "it's not fresh!" and they took it off the bill.  I like good food and good service at pricy restaurants, don't you?

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Easy to Miss Seeing the Homeless in DC

You might think s/he's a rock or something.
The grey lump on the fourth bench, in front of the statue.
Blanket folded at bus shelter
Still sleeping as commuters pass by
It's easy to miss seeing the people who live on the street and without homes, huddled in plain sight around us in D.C. But I tend to gaze out the window somewhat mindlessly as I travel to work on the bus and then I see them in the parks, in the church gardens, and in the bus stops and alleys, grey blanketed, avoiding the eyes of others and passing by in wrinkled clothes. They all seem to have these large thick grey felted blankets to keep themselves sheltered and warm and these blankets are so common I almost think they must be issued by the City or something. And, according to the National Alliance on Homelessness, there are/were more than 6,600 people (2009 statistics) who are homeless in Washington, DC. And according to another group, the National Coalition for the Homeless, they say that in most cases, homelessness is a temporary circumstance and not a permanent condition. They say a more appropriate measure is the number of people who experience homelessness over time, not the number of "homeless people" and that there are many causes of homelessless.  The one person I ever talked to about homelessness said that alcoholism and addiction were at the root of family homelessness as the addict steals and sucks out the family resources.  The one older woman I knew who was homeless lacked English language skills and the ability to make "good" decisions. I think the least we can do is see and acknowledge these people who are all around us, living "freely" on the streets, in alleys, on benches, and other hideaways.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bloomingdale Sites

 I really like this tree and this flight of fire escape stairs on the back of the building at the corner of New York Avenue and First Street NW. You know that when spring comes you will hardly be able to see the stairs when the tree leafs up. And the funeral parlor on the corner of Randolph and North Capitol with the mural on the side is probably one of those buildings that is going to disappear one day as every few years somebody tears down something of the Old Washington and puts something New up and before I know it it's all changed around me. By the way, the mural on the wall has a statement that says "Don't look down on a man, unless you gonna pick him up."

Fine Dining in The Dining Car

The Dining Car diner just outside Philadelphia, PA is where we stop for martinis and pies when we drive home.  Well, to be more accurate we stop so I can have a BLT with ONE martini and hubster has a salad and settles for a Pepsi as they don't sell Coke. We stop off here on our way home to avoid the heavy rush hour traffic for about 45 minutes before driving on.  Then afterwards, we usually buy some really terrific butter cookies or a super blueberry pie to take to our Bible study group. It's a nice place to eat and it's always filled up with local customers, mostly old greying couples. And the waitresses are very perky and helpful and the food is priced right. So it's fine dining.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amazing Statuary

Winged Victory
King Kamehana
As part of my job every once in a while I attend events in the Capitol Visitor Center up on Capitol Hill at the U.S. Congress. Today I arrived at the meeting a little early and took a few minutes to wander around in Statuary Hall where there are many (mostly) larger-than-life sized statues of famous people.  Each state has at least two statues but only a certain number are displayed at a time. I assume they are all on wheels hidden underneath their platforms and are carted in on some schedule. Today I saw the last King of Hawaii, Sacawajea, Helen Keller, Mother Joseph of Providence and a marvelous plaster model of Winged Victory, which is the cast iron figure on the top of the U.S. Capitol Building that weighs twenty tons or whatever. There were other statues that I could have photographed but I had to get to my meeting. I walked away knowing I'd seen some unique items that show the amazing and miraculous history of the U.S.
Helen Keller as child
Mother Joseph of Providence

Sonic Super Burgers

We had really good cheeseburgers recently on the road to Pennsylvania. We'd spied a Sonic drive-in last time we had driven the route and decided that the next time we'd do this rather than McDonalds.  So we drove up and parked the car and pressed the button and someone takes your order via a microphone.  Then a short while later a girl comes rolling out on skates and gives you what you ordered. Their burgers were much better than McDonalds but they did cost about a dollar more. And you have to wait for the roller skating girl to come out but we didn't mind as it
was a new experience.