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!

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.