Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guardian Angel on the Mall

My husband takes morning walks on the Mall. He starts by dropping me off at the Library, then continues up First Street to the Capitol. He then heads toward the Washington Monument, turns back past the Capitol up the big hill to the Supreme Court, and then home. Every once in a while he finds some interesting things. Most often there are pennies or dimes scattered around. A couple times it was cold hard cash...even a twenty dollar bill!  But most recently something was gleaming in the sunlight and caught his attention. It was a tiny angel pin filled with diamonds. I'm certain it is worth at least a few million. The cheap clasp on the back gives its true value away. I don't recall him being so "lucky" walking about the shores of Lake Michigan. I like the way he kiddingly tries to pass it off as a valuable piece. But I know somewhere out there is a little girl completely heartbroken at her loss. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Yellow Flower Vine Never Disappoints

Our little patio garden had nothing in it when we first moved here. In Milwaukee we had an acre of land and several vines that included roses in the front, hydrangeas in the back, and clematis on the side fence. Aside from those perennials, we had gardens and pots and window boxes. Planting season was a highlight, but it started in May. So we put in a yellow flower vine here and every year since it comes to life in a spectacular way this time of year. About three weeks ago the buds were becoming more noticeable. With the warmer weather they just seemed to explode overnight. Since our little patio is in the courtyard space of our building, everyone else gets to see it too. There is something pleasant and serene about flowering plants. I just wish it would stay warm enough outside so we could sit in the space and enjoy it. It feels more like Wisconsin here this year than any time before this. Fortunately for us, the plants know where they live. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Body Shop, Cravens Nursery, and McDonald's

It was a very strange weekend with many unexpected pleasant interruptions. Since I started working part time about a month ago, my Fridays and Mondays have not been mine! I really wanted to get a few annual flowers for the tiny garden. We tried getting them on Saturday and early Monday. Both attempts were aborted with requests for other obligations. We gladly complied. Yesterday we needed to drop someone off at the body shop in Fairfax just before rush hour. It was actually a less tedious ride than we thought it would be. On the way there I noticed Cravens nursery. We stopped there when we first moved to DC to buy a couple pots for the patio and haven't been back since. So we stopped on the way home and found some pretty items. We would be making a couple more trips for tomatoes and other annuals to replace the bulbs later on. Of course we also had to stop at the next McDonald's for a lemonade. We were both thirsty and the water bottle was dry. So I did actually accomplish what I intended in the most unexpected fashion, and had time enough to plant the flowers when we got home. Our other errand was unexpectedly canceled, and I really didn't mind. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


Most of our friends like to travel. We don't. And when we do, we always go to destinations where we know someone on the other end. Maybe that is why we feel the way we do because we have been to Iran, Denmark, England, and France. One of our nieces/family may be moving to Australia. We also have relatives in New England, Florida, and California and friends in Wisconsin, where we lived for thirty years. But we get to be a part of any trip our friends take. Either by postcard - we recently received one from Viet Nam - or by way of a souvenir. And so it was the case yesterday when we went out for dinner with a friend who just returned from Abudhabi. I would be very hard pressed to take a fourteen hour plane ride for just a few days visit. I am more inclined to watch the highlights on TV, and the pictures they take, from my comfortable living room sofa. But I am neither an adventurer nor an interested party. The yellow bag from Abudhabi says to have a nice stay, and the contents were Hazerbaba, a crispy almond treat, and a scarf of many colors. What I liked the most was the post card that was sent after the visit and postmarked from the Capitol City - Washington DC. We think it may have been purchased at the Sackler Gallery gift shop. It hardly matters because it is the thought that counts. Thanks so much for thinking of us!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Merrifield Garden Center Manassas

After an early lunch with our friends who are moving back to Arizona this month, we thought it would be a nice day to take a drive to Merrifield Garden Center in Manassas. We went there last year with a local friend of ours who needed a special stone for her patio. We were also on the lookout for a grass sheer and a small rake to pick up the grass clippings. We just put in a patch of grass on our small patio. Aside from the weed Whacker, we would need a few things to tidy up the place after the grass gets cut. Google maps took us on a very strange ride, but we got there in about an hour. I was also hoping to find some interesting annuals to put in our now smaller plant bed. The place is huge, and they had the utensils we needed, but the flowers were nothing special. Merrifield reminded us of Milaegers in Racine, close to our home in Milwaukee, where we would make several trips every year to get enough flowers to fill many pots, gardens, and window boxes. We decided we would rather support our local Gingko's for our patio garden, or American Plant to get at least one tomato and cucumber plant. I think I'm going to like the smaller garden...I know my back and knees will!

On the Lookout for Easter

Rather than go to the flower shop today for annuals, we decided to do that tomorrow because we are going out for dinner this evening. So in between that and now, we went for a Sunday Easter walk to the Mall. I was on the hunt for anything that resembled Easter, and surprisingly did not come across a whole lot. Yes, there was activity at the Tortilla Coast Brunch, an what appeared to be lingering cherry blossoms were in front of the Republican Club. Alongside the Cannon Office Building were more blooming trees in Easter colors, but didn't really represent Easter. We walked over to the Sculpture Garden. The fountain was on, but it was seemingly quiet around it. Then on the way back we took a gander at the Washington Monument, and it just looked like an idyllic scene from an impressionist painting - people lounging about, flying kites, resting, taking it easy. Nothing really Easter about that either, but it was all so peaceful and pretty with the seasonal temperatures. The Botanic Garden was coming to life with new sprouts. Only on the way back in to the neighborhood did we see a man in a suit, his wife, and two little girls dressed in Easter dresses with Easter baskets in their hands.  They were climbing in to a car either going home or visiting someone to get Easter treats to fill their empty baskets. But I think I liked the planter on the small patio garden in front of one of the townhouses. Not only did it have new plantings, but it also had a chocolate bunny hidden in the leaves.  If I didn't look hard enough I would have missed it. I have a feeling it won't stay there very long. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Space Heaters, Old Buildings, and Major Inconvenience

It happens every year. The heat in this old building is turned off and the temperature outside plummets. That leaves us with few options but to deal with space heaters or anything else to stay warm. For most of the winter I have been using my Venture heated clothing "blanket" in the evenings. You wear it like a bathrobe, and it has a plug in feature that acts like a heating blanket, but I have never used that option. But without central heat in the room, it gets quite cold. The poor little Betta fish has been shivering all week. Of course, the newest "silent" model heater doesn't work. So we had to drag out the loud space heater from The Sharper Image that has functioned all these years. We also have a small heater from Frager's in the bathroom because you can't install a decent modern day heat system in this charming old building. On top of that, we have to sit around all day and wait for the repairman to come and fix the leaky bathroom sink...this will be the third attempt. The building is also having maintenance work that requires us to be in our apartment in the afternoon. Usually none of this is a big deal. But my schedule just changed to part time after forty years of working full time. Most of these house repairs occur when I am at  work, because my husband is retired and available. But not today, on a Friday. We are trapped here and I am very annoyed. On days Iike this I miss my modern 1950's nicely renovated home with central heat in Wisconsin. Charming Capitol Hill doesn't cut it.