Friday, August 31, 2012

LIT Digital Paintings Etsy Shop

When the IPad can along a couple years ago it reignited my interest in art. I used to sketch, and draw with pastels and watercolors. Then real life came along and I knew I would need to make a real living, so I went in to health care and remained in it for thirty years. I met my husband at the hospital, so it was well worth it! Since we moved to DC from Milwaukee, I no longer work in health care. The Library of Congress is very different, but is only two blocks away and actually a dream job. Now in my spare time, I've resumed the hobby I love. I now have a website called featuring my digital works. I have a Facebook page named LIT Digital Art and Such. I have two digital art pieces hanging in the Library of Congress Madison Building, and this weekend will have two works on exhibit at the Clara Barton National Historic Site through October. I've placed an ad in the Hill Rag, and just opened up a shop on Etsy called LITDigitalPaintings. Please take a look around the gallery! I would appreciate any feedback. The biggest compliment any artist can receive is someone telling me they want to mat and frame a piece and showcase it somewhere for their personal use, or give an image to someone as a gift. I'm not sure if I would have done any or all of this in Milwaukee, but it sure is great to have my art showcased in such great settings.

Sometimes It's Better Not to Know

Compared to our tiny patio and secret garden here on Capitol Hill, we had an acre of land in Milwaukee. And along with that acre of land was a fenced in yard for a beautiful white borzoi. And all around the house and next to the fence were several gardens that were painstakingly nurtured by me. Several clay pots and window boxes were filled with seasonal selections. Since we moved, we have kept in touch with our next door neighbors and continue to see them regularly. I received a photo of the north side of the house from our friend and was aghast at what I saw. This is why I don't like visiting back home because I can't help but think about all the time and enjoyment I got out of creating the landscape. Although it is no longer our home or yard, I know I have no business commenting about their bad taste - but I can't help it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Car Bandaid

Sometimes blog ideas come from well meaning friends, which happens to be the case today. Because parking and driving around here can be difficult at best, it is not uncommon to see bumper scratches and dings. In fact, today in the news was mention that DC has the worst drivers. So, to add a bit of lightheartedness to a routinely annoying situation, someone got the clever idea to patch up the booboo with a giant bandaid. The patch job didn't quite cover the damage, but it was enough to get the attention of not only my friend, and myself, but I am sure a lot of other folks. It'll probably stay that way forever, which would not surprise me in the least.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's In The Genes

Upon receiving the first day of school photo of our fourth grade grandson, it was clear I had seen this face before. We do see him regularly because he lives just down the street from us. So I went rummaging through the thumb drive that I assembled when we left Wisconsin - it houses a lot of old and not so old photos of our thirty years in the cold climate up north. I changed the grandson's photo to black and white, cropped it just so - losing a lot of pixels in the process - and put it up against his grandpa's... And voila! The same mouth and chin, and maybe a little nose. My husband was amazed at the similarity. I was not quite that surprised. I have this tendency to see things that just pop out... A lot of people don't. But then again, when I had to study genetics in biology class all those years ago, I hated it because it never made any sense to me - just like the results of the genes in pictures don't make sense or are obvious to others.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Capitol Hill Historic Couch Part 2

After someone moves, the sidewalks always become populated with junk. I'm not sure why anyone thinks someone would actually want this stuff. This couch was left on the sidewalk over a week ago. I've been waiting to see how long it takes to get removed. There are records to be broken. Since it's been there, someone has added to it not two, but one shoe- stuffed with one sock? And of course, it poured on the weekend, so the couch is now filled with water. But, not to worry.... the sign says it is free for the taking. Wonder why it is still there? I hate to say it, but in our good old Midwestern neighborhood, this just didn't happen.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Last of the Mohican Vegetables

Having become disappointed with the crop this year, we decided it was time to do a little garden editing to make more space for the mums waiting in line for their turn to shine. Because it has been typically too hot to spend the usual time trimming things back and keeping other things tidy, it was like a mini jungle out there in our patio garden. All summer long my husband would check on the progress of the two cucumber vines, two tomato plants, and one eggplant. There were a lot of flowers, but few vegetables. We managed to eek out some really small tomatoes, and a couple cucumbers. The eggplant is still flowering, and doing its job filling in a bald spot. The fun thing about having a little garden, no matter where you live, is to unexpectedly come upon a surprise cucumber hiding in the weeds. One cucumber was out there in plain sight, taunting us. But two others were found only after the vines were pulled out for the season. I think the cucumbers would have eventually exploded. They begin to lose their taste when they get to this stage, but make for a great still life photo.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scenic Overlook

Along the George Washington Parkway heading towards Highway 123 to Tyson's are two scenic overlooks. I remember stopping at places like this when traveling with my family up and down the Eastern seaboard between Massachusetts and Florida. So today we stopped at each of them expecting to find some grand views. I suppose it depends on the season, what your definition of a grand view is, and what you were expecting to see. I was hoping for a view of the city in the distance, with the monuments and landmarks all in line. That was not the case. Instead, it was a few boaters on the river, and a lot greenery. I'm still hoping to see an eagle one of these days. And it's curious to consider what all went on in these woods since it became inhabited. On our way back home, there is a spot where a view of DC can be seen, but if you blink, it will be missed. Regardless, riding along the Parkway in either direction is always a very pleasant journey. Even though there was a new freeway constructed connecting South Milwaukee to downtown, we always chose the scenic route along Lake Drive to enjoy the views. Some things never change.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Taking In The Rays and a Smoke

As the dog days of summer are upon us, some folks are doing everything they can to catch the last bit of sunshine available before the cooler days of autumn roll in. In a rather unexpected setting along a very highly trafficked Independence Avenue, we came upon a guy who was attempting to do just that. He appeared to be sleeping with a lit cigar in his hand. He must have had a sixth sense that his picture was being snapped because he abruptly woke up in sort of a daze. I'm not totally convinced that was the reason for his awakening. Besides, the sun wasn't even out today. In Milwaukee, there was a guy about the same age and shape who thought getting a sun tan was a 365 day event. He would surround himself with aluminum foil walls wearing the smallest of bathing suits- even on the coldest of days. I wonder what each of them was thinking?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Operation We Are Here

I was looking at the usual suspect Twitter search saves the other day and noticed a comment from Operation We Are Here about there being only one children's app out there related to military deployments. Of course I wanted to let them know that was not the case. So I told them about my StoryChimes App that was published in December. It's called The Four Promises and is available as an Apple and Android app. Regardless of the situation, it's difficult for any kid to be without a parent for an extended period of time. If there is anything that can be done to make it easier, I'm all for it. I would think most people would think the same thing, Thanks Benita for adding it to the resource list.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt Island

It is quite the unexpected place to find in an urban environment. Nestled right off the George Washington Parkway in the Potomac River is a wonderful spot to stroll just about any time of the year. The island is a good size and has an interesting history that dates back to the 1600's. I believe someone lived on it in a substantial house during the 1700's and it saw some action by Union troops during the Civil War. We have driven to it a few times, parked the car, and walked over the very inviting bridge. There is a tribute to Teddy in the center. Across the way you can see Georgetown and the Kennedy Center. During one walk, I could even coax a lovely butterfly to sit on my finger. All along the GW Parkway are scenic overlooks. Especially on the weekends during the summer, the Potomac River is packed with water craft and activity. But the island is most interesting as it is so completely unexpected, and is a great place to bring out of towners. In Florida there were two ponds in our neighborhood with little islands in the middle of them. We used to use bamboo rods with bread balls to catch fish. The bird refuge on the island was loud and fun to watch. But we could never really get on their island, and I am sure they were glad about that. We get to mingle with the wildlife on Teddy's island, and it's mostly the human kind.

The Really Nice, Nice, and Interesting Garden Water Features

One of the delights of the summer is puttering around the garden. And nothing looks more sensational than a water feature of some kind. Our son has a small fish pond in his front yard here in DC, and currently in bloom is a white sacred lotus. We have a tiny garden patio with a solar bubbler with a tiny little hyacinth adorning it. We've not had a lot of luck with these water plants. We originally got it for our Betta fish, Moby Dick. But it wasn't doing so well inside, so it was moved to the heat and sun of the southern exposed birdbath. Unfortunately, the summer is so very short in Wisconsin. And living along Lake Michigan it is easily ten degrees cooler. My husband wanted a water feature on the patio, and found one that was indeed unique. The cowboy wearing only a hat seemed out of place. But he liked it and the sound of the running water. It replaced the more traditional birdbath that oftentimes was visited by the most unusual birds and critters. I do miss the variety of animals and birds that came by for an occasional visit, but I'll take the longer summer here any time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Historic Capitol Hill Couch

It's been awhile since furniture has polluted the sidewalks of our historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. Usually it's filthy mattresses that populate the space. You can almost predict when it will happen. Spring cleaning is the typical high season, but whenever someone moves, it is a sure thing that something will end up on the sidewalk. It got so bad at one time that a sign was finally posted behind our building that it is private property. But signs don't mean a whole lot to many folks around here. Where we come from, folks generally take responsibility of disposing this junk either by taking it to the city dump - after first showing proof that you actually live there - or by leaving it on the front curb and calling the city for pick up. Calling the city is an option here too, but this approach rarely occurs. Let's see how long it takes for this item to get removed - it's been five days so far. Until that time comes, someone can take advantage of the great view, or help direct parking.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Up On The Roof

Because all the buildings around here are more vertical than horizontal, one needs to take advantage of all the available square footage. Most homes have postage size lots, so a lot of green spaces, patios, and gardens end up on the roof. In order to maximize every square inch of living space in such tight quarters, it is not unusual to see air conditioning units transported with cranes to their final resting places above the third floor, along with the cable dishes. Many of the restaurants have patio space above. I feel sorry for the wait staff who have to climb the stairs with huge trays of food and drink. Many of the Smithsonian buildings, federal offices- including mine-and hotels, have garden roofs. Many are no longer open to actually sit in and enjoy for safety reasons, but are maintained to enhance the view. We had a huge yard and several gardens in Milwaukee. Here, we are really lucky to have our own private green space and garden. It's even got a great shed for extra storage space. And I prefer my green space on the first floor - for all the obvious reasons. Or at least those reasons are obvious to me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Not a Rainy Day or a Monday

It was too early to go home after lunch so we rode around the neighborhood a bit. The clouds were dancing, the sun was shining, and the tourist season is coming to a close. Since the song "Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down" hits home for me, I am always so exhilarated to be out and about on any day opposite of what the title suggests. It still amazes me that these most recognizable places are only a couple blocks from where we live and I actually work in one of them. I could pass by them a million times and am never tired of looking at them, thinking about the activities that occur in them all year long and the years gone by, and watching the visitors taking just about as many photos as I do. I don't remember ever having that feeling in Milwaukee. And I don't remember having so many sunny, bright days there either.