Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Street Vendors

Before we actually moved here, we visited Washington DC many times over the last 30+ years. Growing up, we also came here on family vacations. And in High School, we went on newspaper adventures that stopped here on the way to New York. And before that, my father has a Coast Guard scrapbook that shows him in his uniform with his buddies in the city in the 40's. So you could say we were destined to move here given all the times we ended up here for one reason or another. One thing that seems to have remained the same are all the street vendors. They are parked by the curbside all along the Mall, all year round, but particularly noticed during the summer and on the weekends. The stuff they sell is something tourists want: a cold drink, a hot dog, a T shirt, or a trinket memento. I don't know anything about license requirements, or other regulations. But they are as much of a mainstay as the monuments themselves. It would look very odd without them.
The good ole T-shirt

On Independence Avenue by the American Indian Museum

Down by the Department of Agriculture

On the way to Federal Center metro stop

In front of the Capitol

Along Independence Avenue

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Frager's Hardware

Whenever we need to get something to fix another something that is broken, or needs replacement, we usually drive, or walk, to the neighborhood hardware store. It's been locally owned and operated since the 1920's. And it looks like it probably did in the 1920's. The slogan here is "if we don't have it, you don't need it." And we have tested that with a few requests, like the 1/4 inch tempered glass special order for the table top. It may be hard to find things in the store, but the customer service is superb, and they tend to walk you to the place that you need to be. We hope it remains viable - it is always full of people. But there was a petition of sorts floating around to protest a big box place may be coming to town, and we know how that works. There is something charming about this place. It makes Capitol Hill feel like a small town neighborhood. Let's hope it stays around another 90+ years.
A neighborhood icon

It's here somewhere

Both indoor and outdoor stuff

Could use another tomato stand

The line to the register starts in this isle

Look up for directions

Friday, July 29, 2011

Can't You See the Lines?

There is a very busy street that we walk along to get to the workplace. A particular segment gets very clogged up most of the day. The area is surrounded by the House Office Buildings, the Republican Club, the Library of Congress, the Capitol South metro stop, and Capitol Police barriers to check cars before entering House Office parking lots. It is not unusual to see cabs, limos, cars, buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and pedestrians (Congressional staff, employees, tourists, and day care kids) maneuver through the maze. It is also a bit dangerous because no one ever follows the walk/do not walk flashing lights. A few months back, this segment of the street was re-lined so diagonal rather than curb parking is permitted on one side, and signage is posted for particular permit parking on the other. Early this morning, a car was parked in the diagonal parking space... except the car was not in the space. The lines look quite clear to me. But I forget where I live.
Looks like a limo - with no driver

I'm sure there is a good explanation

Junior Fellow Exhibit

Today an email was sent to all the Library employees reminding them about the Junior Fellow Exhibit that was being held on the sixth floor for most of the day. A colleague and I walked up to the event room and started chatting with some the participants. I met someone from New Mexico who had located an 1833 Plantation diary; a young man from Maryland who wanted to get a PhD in history; a young woman from Massachusetts who was very interested in rare books with an interest in Greek and Latin; and another young lady showing WWII recipe books standing in front of a poster requesting 500 bakers and 100 cooks. All were so excited about their interests and the "treasures" that they "found" in this remarkable building, and for the most part, came by the internship by looking at the USA Jobs website. I wished them luck on their future endeavors, and it reminded me that it always a positive thing to stay connected to young folks. They remind me a lot of the feelings and dreams we all had at that age- and it's a great reminder.

What it's about
Marilyn Church courtroom drawings
A motivated Junior fellow and mentor
WWII recipe books and manuals

Something for everyone

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walter Reed- The End of an Era

We have a connection to Walter Reed, and today it officially "closed." Since I love history, it kinda makes me sad, but I'm glad to know things will be better for everyone at the new place. The following excerpt is from the Washington Post:

Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army’s flagship hospital where privates to presidents have gone for care, lowered its unit flags today, readying for an actual closing in September after more than a century. Army parachutists landed with pinpoint accuracy on the front lawn of the storied medical center, minutes after a formal ceremony in which Army Maj. Gen. Carla G. Hawley-Rowland, head of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, handed over Walter Reed’s saber to Navy Rear Adm. Matthew Nathan, who will be the first commander of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda. “This BRAC [Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission] has been painfully difficult at times, but it’s given us a chance to shape the future of military medicine,” Hawley-Rowland said. Hundreds of thousands of the nation’s war wounded, from World War I to today, have received treatment at Walter Reed, including 18,000 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Dwight D. Eisenhower died there. So did Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur.It’s where countless celebrities, from Bob Hope to quarterback Tom Brady, have stopped by to show their respect to the wounded. Through the use of medical diplomacy, the center also has tended to foreign leaders.Former and current patients and staff members said good-bye at the ceremony on the parade grounds in front of the main concrete and glass hospital complex. Most of the moving will occur in August, with a deadline for moving all patients by Aug. 31. On Sept. 15, the Army hands over the campus to the new tenants: the State Department and the District of Columbia.

We took a ride to Bethesda - the new place- this past weekend to see the new hospital. One of our family members is Chief of one of the surgical services at Walter Reed, and now he has to "start all over" ... something we all seem to be doing lately. But we know he will do just fine, as he always does. It's just the transition, uncertainty, and anticipation that saps out the energy. Consolidation is one thing I used to recommend in the health care business. It's different when you recommend compared to having it recommended to you.
A gated community- like most military installations

A lot of construction trailers surround the tower

The largest state of the art military facility in the country? Across from NIH

A college for Uniformed Services Health Education
A smoothie treat on the way home along Wisconsin Avenue

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Chameleon

The garden is doing well in spite of the heat... and the tomatoes and cucumbers are beginning to finally take off. But if one takes a closer look at the cucumber leaf, there is a little surprise - literally. I would have missed him if I was not paying closer attention, but his spindly legs caught my eye. I hope he doesn't damage the crop! But he was cute nonetheless. We used to see little lizards in Florida that scattered quickly when approached. They also acted like chameleons as they matched the leaf color, but have since morphed in to big, brown, ugly, not shy at all creatures that would win any staring contest. Hope these guys stay the same.
An odd looking fellow

A leaf with legs

Enjoying the view

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Eats

The heat spell has been setting records for a lot of folks. We were getting concerned about our little vegetable patch because it seemed like everything was coming to a grinding halt. The tomatoes were green and not doing anything.... the cucumber vine was climbing, and there were a lot of flowers, but not much more than that. Aside from my husband watering things over the last few days, we finally had a little sprinkle today. A lot of the plants are yellow, some of the flowers aren't doing so hot. But the surprise of the day is that the tomatoes are finally starting to change color, and the cucumbers are actually starting to show up and grow. What a treat to watch the stuff mature- knowing that it will eventually end up on the dining room table.  I remember my mother had a vegetable garden in Connecticut. It was as exciting to see the cucumbers as a 5 year old as it is now.
The leaves are yellow, but the tomatoes are finally turning
The vine has made it's way to the top of the fence

Could be a good crop after all


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fish Bowl

To replace our beautiful Russian wolfhound that we had when we lived in Milwaukee, we have a little Betta fish. Sometimes it feels like he needs more care than she ever did. Towards the late afternoon in the summertime, the sunlight hits the fish bowl in such a way as to project a heavenly feel across the floor. The little fish turns red from blue as he passes though the sunlit water at just the right time. A fish is not a dog, but they have their own personalities. One can get very attached to any pet, regardless of where one lives.
The sunlight hits the fishbowl

And brightens up the corner

And George turns red from blue

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Building Museum

We went to the Building Museum a few years ago. It was built shortly after the Civil War - I think the purpose of it had something to do with Veterans benefits and such. The stairs are unique in that they are shorter, wider, and longer- to assist the walking wounded in navigating them with less difficulty. Several Inaugural Balls have been held there, among many other things. Our grandson has been going there for summer day camp the last couple weeks, and yesterday was an opportunity to witness the culmination of all the activities. We decided to show up because it is his birthday, and he sort of asked us to come by saying not to come. We went a little earlier to explore the place. Because it was so hot and parking is iffy around there, we took the metro, which has a station literally across the street from the entrance of the building. We went to the second floor and spotted the activities- and remained hidden behind the columns to take some pictures without him noticing. Not a lot of kids have such a great opportunity to have these kinds of activities available to them- in such unique and one of a kind surroundings. What more could one ask for?
It reminded me of Iran with the fountains and the arches

A great place to relax in the heat

Massive columns

Getting ready for the show

Interesting architectural views

They really look tiny

A place for both adult & children activities

Friday, July 22, 2011

Depatment of Agriculture Farmers Market

Every Friday the Department of Agriculture hosts a farmers market. It is located along Independence Avenue and about 17th Street. Because it was so hot today, the foot traffic was rather limited. They actually have a vegetable garden in the back. And there are vendors who come in from a variety of places. Of course, everyone has this sort of thing wherever they live. But it's so nice to see in the middle of the Mall. That reminds me, our cucumber vine has climbed to the height of the fence and is trying to decide which way to turn. I like the home grown farmers market the best!
Along Independence Avenue

Not so busy today

A full vegetable patch in the rear

The Department of Agriculture offers tours too

The Unexpected Dental Visit

It seems that when you think things are going along well something usually happens to change the course. My mother had just mentioned that her front tooth had broken off and it would require some work. I usually get whatever she has- and wouldn't you know that the next day, a section of my front tooth broke off too. Luckily it was not painful, but I felt very awkward since it was the front tooth. When I went to work the next morning, I called the dental office (that I actually walk past on the way to work) to see if they could squeeze me in for a check. I was in the office in 5 minutes and out within the hour with a complete patch job. I have a friend who visits from Arizona, and she mentioned that there must be something in the water here because both she and her daughter had teeth break off during their visits here. I suppose if these things are going to happen - and they are bound to - it is wonderful to know that we have a full service dental clinic just one block away. I should know, because I need to use these services more than I care to. I'm not sure what would happen if something happened over a weekend. I hope I don't ever need to find out. The dentist we had in Milwaukee was just awful compared to this bunch, but the medical care there was a lot better than here. I guess you can't have everything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cheese & Popsicles & Bullfeathers

The food trucks roam the streets - and they come in all shapes and sizes. There is even a Food Truck event held in an empty parking lot up the street on weekends and for ballgames. Today the Cheese truck and the Popsicle truck were parked side by side in front of Bullfeathers Restaurant over the lunch hour. The lines started as I walked home for lunch, and became shorter when I walked back to work. The funny thing is that the guy eating the popsicle had the Capitol Hill uniform on (blog from yesterday- khaki pants and a long sleeve buttoned down blue shirt). Was that just a coincidence? Wonder how many people drooled popsicle juice on themselves. It is very hot here this week, and nothing is more satisfying than a good 'ole popsicle. I'm not sure how the cheese part fits in.
Wonder if Bullfeathers likes the competition?

The Capitol Hill uniform

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Capitol Hill Uniform?

I noticed last week that a lot of men wear the same thing- khaki/tan pants with a blue buttoned down shirt. So I tested my theory out and between yesterday afternoon and lunch time today, I saw many examples. They walked, rode bikes, and came and went in all shapes and sizes - but that all had the same thing in common. Do they all know something that we don't? Does it represent anything in particular? Beats me... but it was everywhere. Now that is the power of observation...