Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kite Flying

When we came back from our Saturday outing, we took the "wrong" exit home and ended up on Constitution Avenue. As it is still Cherry Blossom Festival and Spring Break, the streets are ridiculously busy and there are hordes of visitors. If we had not gone this way, we probably would have missed the kite festival that is going on beneath the Washington Monument. There were as many kites as visitors it seemed. And the traffic was moving so slow, I was able to get a few pictures in between the parade stands, the porto potties, and buses parked along the route. There is always something going on in the neighborhood, and it is all free. It is my understanding that a lot of people will be off next week from work- wish I could say I was one of them.
We liked this one the most
These folks see the White House right across the street

Very colorful- and no rain

The best seat in the house

Friday, March 30, 2012

Duddington Place

Sometimes we need to park the car further down the street than usual, so we aim for a spot along Duddington. A lot of folks around here liken this street and stretch of neighborhood to "Celebration" - the Disneyland community built in Florida. We are told that it is occupied primarily by yuppies, no children, and kept relatively "pristine." This narrow street is one way, and it does actually look like something out of a storybook. We did look around here before we moved, but decided we were not interested in a single family home with stairs- especially since we are not very handy and don't want the burdens that that sort of home ownership brings. The one advantage is that you could have any kind of dog you wanted, which is not the case in a condo. All in all, we are satisfied with our choice, but as with anything, some things are more important than others. And street parking is the norm for most folks around here regardless of the neighborhood. We do miss our 100 pound borzoi and our 2 car garage.
The recently closed  House of Rep page school living quarters
at the end of the block

A hybrid tree- pink and white

Street parking is the norm

Very quaint

Well manicured

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The New Shed

Our shed on the patio had seen better days. The extra storage space it affords us is really important in such a tiny place. We keep all the gardening and patio cushions in it, as well as luggage and other miscellaneous items. Rather than order a prefabricated one like the one we had, we asked a really great all around handy man to make it for us. This guy has done marvelous work at our son's house... bathrooms, fireplaces.... just about anything. We are so impressed with the quality of his work, but also the responsiveness and care that he takes in doing the work. Aside from the shed, he fixed both the locks, re grouted and caulked the bathroom tub and kitchen, and just simply put our minds at ease. It's really tough finding someone like that around here. We had an "on call" do everything type of guy in Milwaukee. He was from Germany and everything he touched was impeccable. Our friend here is from Viet Nam, and we could not be more happy with the results.
Made to order

For all the junk that needs a home
Even has shingles

Need to rearrange the furniture


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cherry Blossom Programs

In keeping with the season and the Cherry Blossom Festival activities, the Library sponsors related programs that are usually free. Aside from these, we have attended many programs related to Middle Eastern topics- and they are generally held in the beautiful Jefferson Building. Some are over the lunch hour and my husband joins... some require tickets for employees only-- like the "I Write the Songs" concert that is held in the evening. And there have also been featured presentations for "The Living Legends" that have been held outside on the Jefferson Steps right across from the Capitol Building. There is usually a topic of interest for everyone, and these are great opportunities to see and meet living history. I particularly enjoyed one event where we met one of my favorite Senators. You never know who you might run in to, which makes going to work all the more interesting.
These flyers are posted by the elevators

But the events are also noted on the Library's main website

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Supreme Court Action

On the way to work this morning, we saw a guy in a white lab coat- and we thought he was probably on his way to the Supreme Court. On his way back home from his daily morning walk on the Mall, my husband took his usual route past the Capitol, and the North side of the Supreme Court. There he saw a few of the spectators, and protesters, and news folks. It's one thing to see these events on the news and on the Internet, but another to actually witness it. When we drove by the building on Sunday, there were already people lined up in their folding chairs, waiting in line for tickets to actually get in to the courtroom. We've only been inside the Supreme Court one time, but not when it was in session. We actually went over there for lunch one afternoon. I can only say that one of the reasons we like living where we do is because all these activities are very close by. But for others who work here and have to drive in and get around these sometimes very large and boisterous crowds, it can be unnerving. Luckily, we don't have to deal with that part of it.
Up bright and early in the morning

The activity begins

There are usually helicopters flying overhead

It's a great scene

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa Tatiana

A package arrived in the mail and an e card arrived today from our grandson in California, as well as from friends and family. It is Papa Tatiana's birthday today. The reason he has this particular name is because the other grandparents also had a big dog and this was an was an easy way for a small child to differentiate between both sets of elders. So the name stuck. In the package came some delicious chocolate filled FIGS. We still have chocolate from last year, and from Thanksgiving, and got more from our friends over the weekend. All the warm greetings from friends and family are greatly appreciated but not necessary. But that's what birthdays are for, and it doesn't matter where you live.
What's in the box?

In dry ice

Looks interesting

They only last 3 weeks unrefrigerated

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hirshhorn Museum and More

Last evening we took a ride with our friends and the raindrops and spooky sky provided an interesting backdrop to the landscape. The cherry blossoms are all but gone, and the new exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum was unexpected. Things looked so much different last week when it was sunny, bright, and in the 70's-80's. But the high humidity and orange tinged sky cast an interesting shadowy effect on the objects below. I usually try to avoid the rain as much as possible, but this was like being in Disneyland.

From the Hirshhorn Web page:

March 22, 2012 to May 13, 2012 Sunset to Midnight
For nearly eight weeks this spring, internationally renowned artist Doug Aitken (American, b. Redondo Beach, California, 1968; lives and works in Los Angeles and New York) will illuminate the entire facade of the Hirshhorn’s iconic building, transforming it into “liquid architecture” and an urban soundscape. Using eleven high-definition video projectors, Aitken will seamlessly blend imagery to envelop the Museum's exterior, creating a work that redefines cinematic space. A bold commission that will enter the Hirshhorn's permanent collection and enliven its public space, "SONG 1" allows visitors to the National Mall a chance to witness the first-ever work of 360-degree convex-screen cinema.

The last of the cherry blossoms
But the festival has just started!

Such a pretty contrast in color

It looked like the top had disappeared

The Hirshhorn Museum entrance facing Independence Avenue

Art against the orange sky and the Mall

A lone pedestrian- wonder if he even noticed?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Royal Restaurant

We had a few errands to run today, and wanted to catch a bite to eat on the way. So we decided to stop at the Royal Restaurant in Alexandria. You could call it a dive of sorts, but it has a 100 year history and always seems to have a lot of customers. The location is fine, and the prices are finer- for this sort of thing. It reminds us of Ma Fisher's in Milwaukee. It was always packed, and we became very familiar faces over the years. It was a Greek place, and we always went there for brunch. We haven't been to the Royal for quite a while, but it was just what the doctor ordered.
Right off Washington Avenue

They should know
A rich history

Friday, March 23, 2012

Washington Hospital Center

It is always an adventure to go to the doctor's office, and not necessarily a good kind of adventure. We need to leave at least an hour ahead of time to go about 2 miles. We always ask for the first appointment right after lunch to avoid rush hour. In spite of that, we just about get there on time because this office is located on the Washington Hospital Center Campus. Also on this campus is the Children's Hospital, and the VA Center, which makes for a very congested location regardless of the time of the year, day of the week, or time of the day. This time we were rear ended (lightly) at a stop sign by a young girl who obviously was not paying attention. Luckily for her, we didn't bother to take any information. And the rear bumper has so many nicks and scratches you wouldn't be able to tell which one was from this incident. At least the appointment only took an hour, which is what any eye appointment minimally takes. But it's another hour to and another hour back that makes it so long. Every time we go, we swear we need to find another doctor and easier place to navigate. But we are too lazy to fine another doctor or place, because we are at least satisfied with her- but not really much of anything else.
A huge campus with many different functions

The backside of a very large VA Center

Kind of an ugly building for a children's hospital

A colorful grouping of row houses

Getting close to home

All the benches are taken on a beautiful Friday afternoon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mini Cooper

When we lived in Wisconsin, it was unthinkable to have a vehicle that was not a four wheel drive. And if it wasn't, at least one of the two vehicles had to have it. We had a lot of Toyotas and the first Pathfinder that came on the market. But we also had an MR-2 and Supra that were mostly for fun. My husband only had a couple blocks to drive to work. I, on the other hand, had to travel all over town and needed something a little more reliable. So, in the end, the Subaru Forester became the car of choice. With a big dog, and winter travel, it was and remains the perfect car for us even here in DC. And now that we have to park on the street, it matters less and less car we have, as long as it starts when we need to use it and when it gets bumped we simply don't care. But since we moved here, I have had my eye on the Mini Cooper, then the Club man, and now the SUV. There are a lot of them around town in all colors, and as convertibles. Every time I see one, I make a comment, but I know it's something that will never happen. Not because we couldn't get one, but because having a Subaru is just so much more practical as long as we only have one car.

There it is- the Mini 4 wheel drive SUV right in front of the house
I'll just have to admire it from afar

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For Uncle Jack

We will miss you!

Our Own Secret Garden

Two blocks next to a very bustling political scene is our quiet street that feels like any good old suburban neighborhood. The unusually warm weather has inspired us to get the garden in shape. And to that end, we managed to chop back everything that looked like it needed to be chopped, and were left with what seemed to be early blooming bulbs and vines. Yes, just down the street are all the cherry blossoms that deserve all the attention that they get- but right here, in our little backyard, with our own patio, is a place that not a lot of folks can say they have in a condominium. There's nothing better than to just sit outside when the weather is just right. We had a patio in Wisconsin, and along with the gardens, needed a lot of time an energy to maintain. The older we get, even this little space seems to take more time and energy than you might want to spend. But in this neighborhood, it is really worth the effort.

The yellow vine is in full bloom

The neighbors can enjoy the view from the main courtyard

Cutting it back last year really made a difference

Hope it lasts a while

It'll be awhile before the myrtles can compete

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Room With A View

When you work in an office with no windows, it is such a treat to go to a meeting where there are not only windows, but one of a kind views from the windows. What struck me about these views today was that there were workmen crawling around the dome area of the Jefferson Building - and if you look really close, you can see a man peeking his head out of the second window from the right just below the dome. This is several stories up, and the workers were coming and going throughout the duration of the meeting. What is also interesting is the cherry blossoms that can be seen from the 6th floor of where we were sitting, with the Adams Building in the background. And, as you look west, there lies the Capitol. We have seen folks crawling around up here too. Our daughter in law got a tour of the dome and took some fabulous pictures of our house from there. I have had windows in my offices before, but nothing as spectacular as this.
Doing some exterior work on the Jefferson Building

The view from the 6th floor of the Madison Building

The city is looking like Spring