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, December 29, 2012

Exotic and Interesting Goods in Adams Morgan

We had dinner out last Saturday in Adams Morgan, up on 18th street. The restaurant was The Diner and we got our usual diner food, chicken salad sandwiches, which were pretty good and might make it to my Yelp list. After eating, we decided to wander around a bit, despite the winter cold. There were some stores we just had to go in as they had amazing and exotic items hanging in the doorways. One store (Bazaar Atlas) really caught our attention as it was jam packed with African masks, statuettes, dishes, fabrics, leather bags, ornamental plates, leather lampshades, silver pots, carved chairs, lamps and mirrors all looking wonderfully handmade and different than say, IKea, or the typical household goods items you see in House Beautiful type magazines and stores.  Of course, they were burning incense too and we had to get out pretty quickly as our bronchial tubes really don't do well with dusky perfumes and dusty rooms.  Nevertheless, it was a lovely experience and the kind of place that stays in my memory in case I ever get a yen to get something totally interesting looking. I finally did recall the name of this store so have added it nto this blog, which really, you know is just a memory cache for me that you get to share. ;-)

Striped Amaryllis Just in Time for Christmas

Each year while doing some Christmas shopping in November, I usually pick up an amaryllis bulb and plant it in the kitchen hoping, God willing, it will bloom in time. Well, I planted this one and forgot it was called a Candy Stripe and so was very pleasantly surprised when this started blooming with four lovely heads in bright red with white stripes.  Candy stripes! Christ stripes! I think this is why I like this type of bulb so much.  Of course I've put in some hyacinth and tulip bulbs for next spring, but it's these stunning giant bulbs that come out at Christmas time that I just marvel at every year. This year it stands almost two feet tall and the four flowers each are as big as saucers This one's been blazing away for almost a week now and it's such a delight to have on the kitchen table sharing breakfasts and suppers with us!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln Downtown

Christopher Columbus statue
Abraham Lincoln statue
As I go about the city on the way to meetings in various offices, I'm always surprised to stumble upon statues of famous people.  For instance, walking south on 3rd Street NW I saw this Christopher Columbus sculpture near the Italian community building. It's in a courtyard next to the Italian society building. Then, in front of the District of Columbia's own Supreme Court, the District Court of Appeals, on Indiana Ave NW, there's a wonderful sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. It's easy to miss these if you are in a hurry, in a cab or if you are too busy texting you don't see what's around you. Of course, I forgot to carry my digital camera with me so I took these photos using the miracle of my cell phone camera. Praise God for amazing devices!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seventh Street Horses

Horse shares sidewalk
Horse hair braiding
Crossing the road slowly
Temporary stables and handlers
Walking up 7th Street NW towards H Street recently I found myself among the horses of the annual Washington International Horse Show.  Apparently this is some event held at the Verizon Center each year and something I have never attended and really don't know much about although I did go to the website to find out  a little more. As close as I got to the horses was near the makeshift stables put up in the street, although one horse came ambling up towards me on the sidewalk and passed me by within a few inches.  They were all very large and athletic looking and quite handsome so I knew they had to be show horses.  They were being very well-cared for by their walkers, washers, wipers and other assorted human entourage members as you could see these animals were treated well.  All of the horses seemed quite nonchalant and not in the least bothered by the fact that they were on a busy street downtown, with cars and people buzzing by all the time. I have very little contact with the horse world so this was just a tiny glimpse into what must be a fascinating subculture. Surely, these creatures are among the greatest in the world!
Coming out of the center




Friday, November 9, 2012

Teddy Bears for Grown Ups

Car bear
Bears I  nearly bought recently
Cute bears
I don't know why we like teddy bears so much but there's a lot of them lying about my house and, actually, in both of our cars. Sometimes someone we are giving a ride to will inquire about the car bears, as in "Do these belong to your children?" or, upon seeing two or three on the back seat, asking "Do you know your kids left their toys here?"  Most of the time the car bears are just something warm and fuzzy to look at but they have done occasional duty as window wipes and fly swats when nothing else is at hand in busy traffic. (Of course, they get washed in the washing machine occasionally, in case you're thinking EEW!)   I'm sorry to say there's six -- maybe seven -- little and not-so-little bears in our bed also;  they get used as pillows, such as to prop up an elbow when you're reading at night or to keep out the draft around your neck or as extra support to the middle of one's back when lying on one side. And then, there's half a dozen little bears sitting on a table upstairs, just collecting dust and they have a miniature tea set in front of them and appear to sip tea when we're not around. I don't want to think about the other dozen or more teddy bears that got stuffed into a suitcase and stored in the garage in a recent anti-hoarding binge. Nor do I really want to think about the number of bears we've given away in our sporadic urge to purge ourselves or to share with others. And, now,  I'm recalling there's a bear in the kitchen with a chef's hat and there's a giant bear in the man cave upstairs (seriously!), not to mention the keychain koala bear that hangs off my bag. I consider it a good day if I don't see a bear and buy it.  So we're bearing up pretty well with our toys. How about you? Ha ha.


Monday, October 29, 2012

24 Photos of An October Day in McMillan Park #BloomingdaleDC


View toward Bryant St NW
those lovely tanks
Some work underway
Inside the work area
View to Bryant St NW
View to Childrens Hospital

Ivy covered tower
Chimney vents
Derelict doors

Filtration system
Work area
Blue plastic trash barrels under filter system
Chichenitza type steps
Workman weeding
Dereliction

Ladder up Ivy Tower
View to Bryant St NW
Walking down from some appointments at National Rehabilitation Hospital recently, I saw the gates open at McMillan Park and since I had my camera with me of course I had to start snapping away on that beautiful sunny October day. There were some workmen cutting the weeds back and some others doing something else but I really wasn't sure what was going on. Nobody bothered me except a young man walking through asked me if I had walked through from North Capitol street which was a pretty strange inquiry as I don't think there's any gates over there.  Anyway, as usual I noticed the lovely chichinitza steps, the wonderful weatherbeaten doors, and the orange and green ivy climbing up the sides of the water towers.  I decided to take some long view shots towards the hospital and the Catholic cathedral to show how open is this space.

Filter system

Water towers



View toward Shrine
Underground sand filter tank
Path with view to Bryant St NW



View to North Capitol Streeet


View to Veterans Hospital









Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bragging About the Rhubarb

It's not often I brag about my plants but the rhubarb is one I am proud of growing. I had ordered a small rhubarb root a couple of years ago and just threw it in the ground in the middle of the yard not really sure of what I was doing but having some vague idea that it would grow okay without too much attention. My favorite plants are those that don't require too much attention all the time as who needs gardening to be a chore? The only exception is roses for which I am compelled to prune and fertilize and deadhead and feed and water and adjust the soil near them or whatever as they are just plain needy plants --  and I do love their flowers. But back to the rhubarb, each summer it grows bigger and bigger with lovely thick stems that I can pick and cook and put into desserts. I've made sure it got some water if there was a heat spell and if I'm adding plant food to anything else (like those greedy roses) I'd throw some near the rhubarb too.  This summer I've made Rhubarb Betty, Rhubarb Crumble and also put diced rhubarb in a meat dish and rhubarb puree in muffins.  My favorite way to cook them is to slice them up and let them cook slowly in a crock pot with some lemon juice, butter and water and hey presto, an hour or so later, there's dessert!   I recently discovered that the leaves are noxious with oxalic acid so you can't eat that part of the plant. There's nothing like growing your own food in the back yard!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Religion and National Liberty

The Transfiguration
Moses & 10 Commandments
Self Portrait/Scoffer at the Crucifixion
I was in Philadelphia recently and stumbled into some Marc Chagall paintings at the National Liberty Museum. It was quite a surprise to see them so of course I had to snap away with the magic of a cell phone camera as -- natch -- I'd forgotten my regular old digital camera again.  There's interesting and text-heavy images and photographs in this private museum focusing on various heroes who have upheld and fought for liberty, freedom or otherwise resisted tyranny. The exhibit on the top floor of the museum is called "Voyage to Liberty through Faith Gallery" and seems to focus on the role of religion and liberty and includes text about basic religious precepts of several world religions except for Christianity which is only indirectly included. The Ten Commandments, the Transfiguration and a painting of the Crucifixion are no longer everyday images for many. Chagall's painting style is very recognizable here and I found them just delightful, don't you too? 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Blue Sky and Daily Bread

Gutted Wonder Bread building
Wild clematis icing the rose of sharon
When I saw the sky through the open roof of the old Wonder Bread building at 641 S Street NW, I just knew I had to snap it as after the building is developed there will be no chance to do that again! It's a big building -- about 98,000 square feet -- that will become stores and offices. I actually looked up the history recently, to find out that the Wonder Bread Factory opened in the early 1900s as Dorsh's White Cross Bakery. Then it was bought by Continental Baking Company in 1936 and used  as a factory for Wonder Bread and Hostess products (Twinkies perhaps!) until they relocated to a larger plant in Philadelphia, closing the DC factory in 1988. When I first moved to BloomingdaleDC I do recall smelling the baking aroma as far away as North Capitol street sometimes and hearing that they gave away "stale" or "overrun" baked goods to anyone who got there at the right time.  Then again, the sky has looked wonderful lately almost every day so I found myself snapping my usual flowers and plants and things, all with the sky in them.   How wonderful is our daily bread of blue sky!



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Killing Our Trees Softly

Hoard leaning on tree
Sticky duct tape
Trash bag tied to tree
I don't know why it is that I now see how badly many are treating the trees locally but this abuse must stop.  Hardly a block away somebody has put several mattresses leaning against the tree with a big scraping on the bark as "they" had clearly adjusted the leaning angle against the tree to suit the mattress. When I looked again today, not only were there mattresses but also a door and some old furniture (!) all piled up as an eyesore leaning against what has been a pretty young and healthy tree on the sidewalk planted and paid for by taxpayers.  The recent rains have soaked the mattress and you just know it's getting moldy and nasty and will transport all kinds of stuff to the tree, bringing in infestations that will cause the tree to die sooner than it should.  Equally annoying to see are taped up notices or garbage bags attached to trees.  Clearly someone thinks a garbage bag on the street is helpful. However, what they are missing is that the tape is damaging the tree bark and providing a way for bacteria and bugs to get into the tree, and yes, you guessed it, causing the tree to die sooner than it should. Last summer I saw bikes chained to trees, and which are even more damaging.  Since the bicyclist generally returns to the bike soon, I taped notices onto the bikes asking the rider to not do this again.  In one case, when I verbally asked someone not to do this, the owner of the house beside the tree yelled at me that her tenant could tie her bike up wherever she felt like. I repeated loudly again that chaining bikes to trees is bad for the tree but she refused to listen.  I'm mystified by this disregard for trees.  Do people just see trees as objects, as dead and unreactive to the environment? Do they think trees are immortal and can take the abuse? Do they think trees should support our human activities even if the activity (throwing out junk, tying things to the tree) hurts the tree? Are these tree-abusers too lazy to call the city to take away the trash or junk? Are there any laws available to help this situation here in DC? What can be done?