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!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Longest Serving Cabinet Member Got a Bridge Named For Him

Waiting for the bus on Independence Avenue at the corner of 12th Street one day I couldn't help noticing the ugly ole bridge that extends from the Whitten Building (Department of Agriculture, yes the federal agency that issues food stamps) across the road to its sister building. Somewhere I noted that it's called the Wilson Bridge, named for James Wilson, one of the longest serving cabinet members in U.S. history.  Maybe one of these days, I'll get to walk on this bridge but right now there's no need for me to go to the Dept of Ag for anything, not even food stamps.  What else do they do anyway? It's not like there's many farmers anymore...

Union Station Being Upgraded


Drapes and scaffolding in the station
Ceiling being repaired
I haven't been in Union Station for a while and I stopped by there for lunch today and was surprised by several things. Firstly, there's all scaffolding and drapes and screens over the ceilings and some walls. Apparently, last August's earthquake caused some damage to the surfaces, especially in the roof, so there's a project to assess and fix the arches and other elements. Hopefully, they will also do the other repair work on the ceiling as in the past I'd noticed some places had water damage. Then, I noticed that a lot of stores -- which sold stuff like ties, toys and toiletries -- had left and been replaced by new eateries. For instance, there's now a Chop-T there and the Station Grill -- where my husband and I first shared a meal! -- has been replaced with a Chipotle Grill. While I like the food at this chain, they've covered over the old stamped tin ceiling.  And the liquor store, where you also buy lottery tickets, has moved downstairs to be replaced by Pret a Manger (more food to eat). The shops have also changed over in some cases with a Svaroski crystals place, a shaving equipment place and a Citibank as new business. In fact, Citibank has about a hundred ATMs now sprinkled everywhere.  There's also more stands selling stuff such as those flowers glazed over and made into pins or necklaces and earrings.  I also did a quick look downstairs and most of the original food joints have been replaced with newer, smarter food services.  Of course, the movie theater has NOT been replaced but there's more food places there; and thank goodness, Johnny Rockets is still cooking fries and burgers. Also new is a US Post Office and it looks like a new sushi place is moving in too.   Overall, it looked like a massive Food Hall throughout the place, with far less shops. Due to the repair work some of the passageways were blocked and one is almost compelled to walk through the Godiva store to get to the Center Cafe, which is still there, but seems to have upped the price of its martinis.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hard to believe Las Vegas is in a desert

View from desert approaching Las Vegas

Half-naked men billboard
It's hard to believe that Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert as it's a place where you see giant Coca Cola bottles and motorcycle wheels, half-naked men on billboards, and a disneying array of "landmarks" like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and an Egyptian pyramid, among other pseudo-sites.  A recent visit reminded me of how fantastical this city is; we'd spent two weeks visiting canyons and national parks in the surrounding area and realizing what richness there is a desert land.  Then to drive in from this desert into Las Vegas jarred our sense of place and time. One minute we're looking at petrified dunes and trees, hoodoos, chasms and mountains of rocks and sand and then, hey presto change-o, there's a Subway and 711 store and a bus blinking its route number at us and grocery stores and banners advertising "move in now, one month free rent." It all seemed such a contrivance, so flimsy and false and yet it's clear thousands of people live and work here.  As we drove through various residential neighborhoods on our way to the center "strip" we saw schools and offices and all the buildings of any modern city.  This experience  made  me think how cities and towns can be such contrivances on the landscape and then, what a big energy suck this metropolis is. Just imagining the amount of electricity the casinos use and the gallons of water the hotels flush each day was mind-boggling. This is no green city!


Magic Kingdon, Statue of Liberty, Caesars Palace all jumble together in Las Vegas

Hidden Passageways in #BloomingdaleDC

When I first moved into Bloomingdale there were a lot more open passageways between the houses and alleys and streets that seemed to be public rights of way. Wide enough for a person to walk through but not any vehicles, you'd occasionally find one as you explored an alley or space between two houses in a row of townhouses.  Unfortunately, during the crack epidemic of the 90s they were allegedly used by drug dealers and buyers as a means of evading detection and disappearing quickly during a crackdown (no pun intended) so many of these passageways were blocked by gates by nearby owners. There is at least one passageway I know of that is still open but over time it seems more and more the gates have stayed locked for others.  I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm of two minds about whether these should be opened up; firstly there are still criminal elements in our neighborhood who might make use of passageways if they are opened up and who wants to give thugs even more opportunities to sprint away quickly. Secondly, I've been thinking, if they were opened up they would make nice walkways for people. But I'm not sure about the public rights of way piece and how any claim or effort to make this happen might work. On the other hand, I'm afraid of the dog poop problem expanding into new foot traffic areas were such passageways to open up.  Note: once a week I see a large poop on a sidewalk and people are still trying to get away with walking their dogs "unleashed", such scofflawing in my opinion, leads to unpicked up poop.  Then, of course, the bicycle nazis would probably want to claim these passageways for their use and their goes my peaceful meander when I'm forced to step aside for a whizzing bike.  Overall, however, I'm for opened up passageways so we have more walking routes to go on..



Thursday, May 3, 2012

So many flowers, so little time to enjoy them

queen liz roses
little purple irises
my spring garden
sweet little dandelions
It seems like spring got here quite early this year with the roses already blooming away before my azaleas are even fully flowering!  I'm not sure why the Queen Liz rose bush is doing so well with over three dozen flowers already, but maybe it's because we cut it back last fall and gave her tons of rose food and some fungus killer. Eh voila, that worked!  The irises are having a fine time showing off as well with yellow, purple and dark red ones all coming out at once (!) and some of my favorite "weeds" such as dandelions and buttercups are also showing their lovely faces. I've had so many flowers that I've been able to pick bouquets and give them to sick relatives and friends and even a kitchen table arrangement or two.  I just love spring for all these reasons. I just wish I had more time to hang out in the garden and porch but starting a new job and taking care of family business has had me very busy lately.