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!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wild Yard at Shaw Public Library

At first I didn't like the "weeds" growing outside the Watha T. Daniel DC public library branch building in Shaw at the intersection of Rhode Island and R Streets NW, but, upon a moment's reflection, I decided I liked this seemingly unkempt yard space alongside the sleek modernity of the new glass building. Not only do these grasses and plants smell nice in the summery heat but they also make for pleasant mirror reflections. There's something very country-side about these three foot high grasses and that made me think of fields and river banks.  I had no idea if this planting was intentional or not but the idea of letting  plants grow a bit wild in a confined space, just to see what happens and how it looks, appeals to me. I just hope that rats and other nasty critters don't make this their home too! A garden is a garden, isn't it, even if it's not really planned and doesn't look like what you'd expect. And surely there's intention in that.  I've researched a bit further now (July) and discovered that these plantings are intentional. That is, the aim was to plant things that need minimal water, help purify the air (don't all plants do that?), help reduce soil erosion (don't all plants do that?) and limit the need for pesticides. This is according to a nice little plaque tucked away near the library front door which gives the reasons for the design.  The plaque also lists the plants growing there and which have lovely names:  Prairie Dropseed, Weeping Brown Sedge, Northern Sedge Oats, Kiwi Weeping Sedge, Giant Fescue, The Blues Little Bluestem, Liriope Big Blue, Lily Turf, Snowy Wood Rush, and Greater Wood Rush.  Who knew?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coca Cola, Starbucks, Dasani: Drinks of Choice on #WMATA Buses

Coca Cola, Starbucks and Dasani water were the drinks of choice by passengers on the G2 metrobus coming home one evening recently. The morning's bus passengers enjoyed iced coffees, water and one rather foul-looking green grassy looking liquid (something very healthful no doubt). These passengers get on the bus openly carrying their big girl sippy cups and enjoy their rides sucking down their drinks of choice. Several of them are regulars (the lass carrying the green-filled glass, for instance, gets on the bus each day with this breakfast drink) and most of them look like they are quite literate -- as in able to read the sign at the front of the bus that says "no food or drinks."  When I see these beverages passing by me I tend to lean away and desperately hope the passenger with the soupy, sugary slurpee doesn't drip it or drop it near me as the bus lurches its way through construction, potholes and sudden stops brought on by those idiots who insist on turning right from the left lane passing across the front of the bus at various intersections. You know when it happens as the bus driver gasps or cusses or otherwise expresses indignation at being put in such a spot.  But rarely, actually never, do I see a bus driver say to the passenger with the drink "don't get on" or "throw it away" or "put it away."   Does the bus driver expect other passengers to admonish these scoff laws?  Am I supposed to bare the glare of youth who think they are entitled to a cold drink on the bus the same way they got a nice sippy cold cup from mum in the family mobile when she picked them up from school? Just what is this expectation that one can eat and drink at will on a public bus?  Is that what freedom means?  Due to this laxity in the regulations, the lovely cloth-covered seats in the newer buses are getting stained with the remains of either these drinks or food or snacks.  More and more often I pass by a seat with something suspicious-looking on the seat and try and find another spot.  I expect I'll end up being a real little old lady and having to bring a little cloth with me to sit on so my work clothes don't get all dirtied up. Really, when are the bus drivers going to start acting like the authority figures they want us to be when an emergency occurs.  It is hard to respect them now when they can't even enforce this simple law. Do they really think anyone will listen when they really try to take control of the bus in some sort of emergency situation?



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dogs, Fountains and Weeds in #BloomingdaleDC

Dog in paved front yard
Front yard fountain
Gingko tree weeding up rose planter
Sometimes I just have to photo the more quirky things on my street or nearby such as this dog kept in a paved front yard. He (or she -- I didn't spend too much time looking!) barked sharply at me as I walked home from the bus stop. I rather like his white shirt and boots and wanted to say something about this to the person nearby but he rather glared at me too so I kept walking.  I just hope this isn't one of those "guard dogs" that leap-over-the-fence-and-bite-your-leg that you may occasionally read about in the papers! Further along I saw a more modern designed fountain in a front yard which mysteriously bubbles and trickles almost throughout every season. I like the sound of fountains a lot but it is the idea of fountains that I like the most -- something about the white noise of water, I think. And, if you look closely, you can see that this fountain is what the basement apartment resident sees as soon as she or he opens their front door!  Then of course there are those insistent weed trees that pop up in unexpected places like this ginkgo sapling in a rose bush planter. Well, at least I think it's a gingko tree. Will it take over the flower pot and kill the rose bush? Will the pot owner rip the ginkgo out and toss it in the trash? You see less and less of these trees in the city now as they get cut down and replaced by maples and other species that the mysterious DC tree people plant. It's just amazing to me how much there is to see all around us and there's sure to be a story behind everything.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rolling Thunder Passes the Archives

It was scorching hot and noisy in front of the Archives building on the day before Memorial Day as hundreds of glossy motorcycles gladiated by us as we tried to cross Independence Avenue. It was "Rolling Thunder" riders blaring music and yelling some things at the crowd and stressed out policemen shouting at us not to cross the road. We gawped at these mostly large machines ridden by the mostly overweight out-of-towners who come to DC each year for their own special parade. We kind of wondered what exactly was going on and what it was all about. So I looked them up -- again thank God for the internet -- and discovered it is an event that started in 1988 as a call for the government to recognize prisoners of war (POWs) and people missing in action (MIAs), sort of a tribute thing but seems to have morphed into something else. It seems now to more honor veterans and fallen soldiers, a more generic tribute to military men. The first one had but 2,500 participants but now it has hundreds of thousands of participants. Well, I saw a few thousand of them that weekend and a whole bunch of them in front of the Archives building. I'm trying to connect Rolling Thunder's causes and issues with the Archives building which holds the Declaration of Independence so I read it to see how it might pertain. Hmm. Seems that the governed are exercising some life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in their own way.

 " ... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

Meade in front of Prettyman

Stumbling along near the Mall recently, I noticed this sculpture of General  George Meade in front of the District of Columbia district court house, the Prettyman buildingSuch sculptures and their locations often give me an excuse to delve into history and local development, an exercise that the Internet has made very easy and that allows me to tank up my personal knowledge database.  Apparently, Meade was an American Civil War Union general who commanded the Army of the Potomac and defeated Confederate General Robert Lee at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the largest land war in the western world. I was less aware of who E. Barrett Prettyman was but it turns out he was a longtime Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which meets in that building. Prettyman was also a tax expert teaching at Georgetown University and acted as the District of Columbia's tax attorney at one time.  This Prettyman building is the site of many historic legal arguments in cases such as involving the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate trials, the Francis Gary Powers U-2 spy plane and thousands more cases heard in the US District court. In fact, you can see news media camped out on the forecourt of the building -- "on the beach" -- their vans bristling with antennas and made-up news announcers staring into cameras during these major proceedings. Who knew that such a plain looking building and figurative sculpture would give me such keys into American history? Amazing!