Monday, June 30, 2014

Don's Johns and United Toilets

It's that time of year again and they start to appear. With the Fourth of July weekend coming up, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival featuring Kenya and China set up on the Mall, the big blue plastic porta potty takes it's place on the national landscape. With the throngs of visitors and out of towners already here and still expected, they become a necessity, but also a definite eyesore. They were already in place around the Washington Monument and the Capitol over the weekend. During our walk this morning they were being placed in front of the Smithsonian Castle, and along the sidewalks in front of the Natural History Museum, and the art museums. Because the museums are not open all day long, the required space for this sort of thing is quite limited. It looks like Don's Johns and United Toilets have the market share. The cute thing about it is that the doors are "locked" with plastic tabs so as to keep them all off limits until the actual day of the events. But you know it will never stay that way, and it never does. There is something tacky about seeing these out houses sitting next to our national landmarks, but what's the alternative? I can't remember the last time we needed to use one, and I'd like to keep it that way. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Library of Congress Employee Arts and Crafts Exhibit

I have participated in the Library of Congress Employee Art Exhibit for the last two years. Ever since the IPad came around, my interest in art was reignited. But instead of using traditional watercolor and pastels, I converted to digital painting. It's really not that much different - just a lot less messy - but just as difficult. The art show gives any artist great exposure in one of the greatest venues in the city. And it lasts for several months on the sixth floor of the Madison Building. The first year a Capitol Hill townhouse and my husband relaxing in a chair (retired) were submitted. Last year an English Springer Spaniel and Women on the Steps of Persepolis were featured. This year I put all the possible options on Facebook and asked for a vote from my friends and family. It seems everyone likes the snow shoveling on Capitol Hill. It's actually one of the images from my book about a parent/child separation called "The Four Promises." But after that it is not as clear what should be the second entry. I suppose it depends on if you are a dog or a cat person. Both the bulldog and the black and white cat got about the same number of nods over the rest. If any of you have an opinion, I would really appreciate hearing from you! Just drop a comment in the blog post. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Macy's Pants - Polo, Boss and Levi Strauss

When my husband starts talking about the fact that he needs pants, that means within the next month or two we will be looking for some. When he mentions it for the third or fourth time, then I know it is time to actually get them. Since he retired several years ago his wardrobe definitely changed from jackets, slacks and ties to jeans and pants with short sleeve shirts and T shirts. When we moved from Milwaukee to DC, he took along only two suits - one for winter and one for summer - and two ties. I think he has worn each one time. Every once in awhile Macy's sends discount cards, and it reminds us it may be the right time to get whatever we have been thinking about. So today we headed out to Tyson's past McLean in Virginia to look for some jeans and a couple T shirts at Macy's in Tyson's Galleria. Soon we will be able to take the Metro Silver Line that is opening within the next month or two. After selecting several pieces in one size, it was obvious it was the wrong size, so we went around for round two and ended up with one Polo, one Boss, and one Levi Strauss. He has a few pair at home that can definitely be tossed...they have enough holes in the legs and the pockets to lose a lot of change and keys. I suppose I can't complain since I'm still wearing an ancient FSU T shirt full of holes as a night shirt. But no one else sees me in it. After all, even though he is retired, he still need to dress the part - for me!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Early Girl Tomato Plant on the Patio Garden

It was one of the first things we planted this year...Early Girl Tomatoes. Rather than go to American Plant in Bethesda, we decided to try Gingko's in the neighborhood a few weeks back. We usually go to Gingko's because it is close and they usually have what we are looking for, but for some reason, we never noticed their vegetable selection. It started out as nearly a one foot plant with a tomato already on it. Now it sits in the usual space on the patio garden that gets a southern exposure will full sun until about three PM when the building hides us from the brightness and creates a wonderful evening space for chatting and sipping wine. Now the plant is taller than me and has reached the top of the supports. The heat and the monsoons have spurred it on. So it is starting to grow over the supports and back down again. Just this week we noticed a ripening tomato, and many more to come. Unfortunately they will probably all come at the same time. My husband will need to set up a vegetable stand on the corner and sell them because we won't be able to handle them all at one time. I do miss the cucumbers this year though. They had a way of sneaking around and showing up out of nowhere. Our garden in Milwaukee had all the same plants and more. But there is something about having this tiny space to live in and still be able to have everything we used to but on a much smaller scale. And it is so much easier to take care of, and just as delicious! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Florida State University T Shirt

I went to Florida State University. I went with the intention of majoring in history, but ended up with a nursing degree. It became my choice because of the economy and job market - not because I was in love with nursing. In the end it served me well over a thirty year health care career. While a student at FSU I was featured on the cover of the directory and marketing bulletin, I tutored several basketball players at the time our team was #2 only behind the powerhouse UCLA, and really enjoyed my time in Tallahassee. Of course along the way I owned FSU clothing - and particularly liked one T shirt. It was proudly worn outside the house for a while, then became an indoor garment, then finally relegated to a night shirt. It has traveled all over the world! It is with great regret that I may need to finally dispose of the old thing - but not until it really falls apart. It hardly matters where you live, and it's not really the shirt itself. It's more about the reminders of the past. And in this instance they were all good!

Capitol Building Olmsted Terrace Restoration

Most views if the Capitol Building are quite majestic in all seasons and times of the day. But as with any old building, repairs and restoration work are required. Our condo is an 1890's building that has its own share of issues compared to the 1950's Cape Cod home we lived in in Milwaukee. The Washington Monument just completed repair work created from the earthquake. The scaffolding finally came down couple months ago and it looks brilliant once again. This stone restoration on the Olmsted Terrace is slated to last until November. So far it is not so disruptive to the passers-by. But there are also plans the fix the dome. It too will be encased in scaffolding for a long time. That work hasn't started yet and I'm not sure when it will. The barrier walls have been erected on the northwest side. So now is the time to enjoy the beauty of the historical building before it's too late. There is always something broken around here and you can't help but notice. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial

We knew something was being built but did not know what it was until the signs went up a couple weeks ago. Until that happened we thought it might have something to do with water main repairs. Then we saw several large trees delivered to the site and knew it was something more. On Washington Avenue next to The Department of Health and Human Services Building and across from the US Botanical Garden and Bartholdi Fountain will be the new memorial dedicated to disabled veterans. It covers considerable space and will eventually become yet another place to walk through, sit in, and contemplate life. The Capitol dome can also clearly be seen from this vantage point. There is a website that shows the progress of the project, but we drive and walk by it quite regularly every week. Aside from this, the upcoming railroad tunnel overhaul along Virginia Avenue, and the ongoing construction near the ballpark contribute to a lot of building going on around us. Luckily we are far enough away not to be directly involved, but it all potentially impacts available street parking. Then I start to get ornery. But we are not quite ready to give up on our ten year old Subaru. Hopefully we will continue not to notice the disruption - but I have my doubts. I miss my garage and driveway but also enjoy all the neighborhood improvements.