Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

We haven't been inside for many years, but we walk by it all the time. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is always busy. This time of year long lines are not uncommon. After all, some special stuff is housed inside, including the Wright Brothers plane and moon rocks. On our Monday morning walk we pass by the US Botanical Garden, the American Indian Museum, and then the Air and Space Museum. My husband is not interested in the moon and the stars, but I remember using our backyard telescope to see the constellations and check out that face on the moon in the night sky. I even did a science project on Venus using photographs of the cloudy planet and claiming I had been a visitor. We were actually inside the building back in the eighties during a very hot summer vacation. We have also been to the space shuttle and air museum out by Dulles Airport in Virginia. We could see the enthusiasm on the faces of all the visitors anticipating the walk through a fun and historic place. I'm certain it will inspire someone to think about a career in air or space. It didn't have that affect on me, but it was indeed worth the trip. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kidde Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms and a Walk to Frager's

The chirping started and we knew it could only be one thing - the smoke detector battery needed to be replaced. Between my husband and I it took several tries to finally realize that the case on the smoke alarm had a simple pin mechanism that needed to be pulled out, and that it was a battery alarm only and not connected to electricity. Luckily we had the right sized battery. Then we remembered that we wanted to get a carbon monoxide detector too and decided to hoof it over to Frager's Hardware. It's been awhile since the original Frager's burned down. It is now divided and scattered on Capitol Hill...a "pad" at Eastern Market that has plant stuff; a paint shop on the corner of 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue; a rental space; and the hardware place on 13th. The slogan "if we don't have it - you don't need it" has generally worked. This time, we couldn't find one item we were looking for, but did find a Kidde carbon monoxide detector to go along with the smoke alarm. This one plugs in to the kitchen wall and has battery back up, and doesn't require us to climb a ladder to reach it on the eleven foot ceiling. Of course I always read the instructions before use - my better half usually doesn't. I think between the fire and carbon monoxide alarm tests we probably drove everyone nuts. And my ears didn't appreciate it one bit. But that's the small price you pay for trying to keep safe. And around here, that's not a small thing when everyone lives on top of each other in cramped spaces. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cherry Blossom Kite Festival at the Washington Monument

It is supposed to have something to do with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Yesterday was in the forties and cloudy and windy. The cloudy and windy was okay, but the forties was not acceptable. After brunch we rode in the car past the Washington Monument where the kite festival was taking place. It was relatively busy, so we could take our time driving by and observing the action. We started out on the south side, went up the west side across from the WWII Memorial, down Constitution on the North, and then got right in the thick of it on the east side where the hoards of people were coming and going trying to stay warm in the "spring" time temps. A few kites were stuck in the trees... One was actually as high as the monument itself. We saw sharks, and octopus, and more familiar routine shapes. The new Smithsonian African American Museum crane and construction could be seen in most angles. Bleachers were in place for the upcoming cherry blossom parade. It's only in the thirties today and rain is in the forecast. Everyone has high expectations to finally see the historical blooms take the stage. We know they will but we just wish it felt more like spring than winter. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Birthday Card

Birthdays are meant to be remembered, but that is not the approach my husband takes. He would prefer that it be forgotten. He says it was never celebrated in his home when he was growing up. But I don't believe him. He did have a birthday this past week. We went out to dinner with a friend of ours. He received an Ecard from other friends, and a phone call. But this year was the first time his adopted "sister" did not send him a card. I didn't mention it to him, but I know he had to have thought about it. Yesterday when the mail arrived, he stepped in to the room with a cheery smile holding not one, but two envelopes that were addressed to him. One of them was from his "adopted" sister, and the other from the nurse who worked with him in his office when he was a practicing surgeon. We saw them both when we visited in Milwaukee last summer. Both of them mean a lot to him. Both of them remind us of how kind and gentle the folks are in Milwaukee - particularly the people we worked with in our thirty plus year health care careers. And no matter what he really thinks, I know he was very happy to be reminded - even it was a day late, and was for his birthday. So as usual, I put them on the fancy towel rack we use as a display area along with the thank you card we recently received from France. So whenever we look that way we are reminded of these nice folks. I know that's something he does like to remember. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Orchids and Such at the US Botanical Garden

In Milwaukee, there were the domes. Inside the domes were displays of flowers and seasonal updates. We visited a few times in our thirty years there. Here in DC is the US Botanical Garden. It is located only a couple blocks from our house and we visit it frequently. The special exhibit showing now is about the secret life of roots. But there are also the ongoing arrangements that we also like to explore and re explore every time we get a change to wander in. There is a lovely orchid room filled with the most unusual varieties. Next to that is the succulent area filled with cacti of every kind sitting nicely under the glass enclosure. A papaya tree sticks out apart from the prickly neighbors. A Cacao tree is in the front "lobby" where the long ponds on either side are surrounded by citrus trees - a familiar scene to me having grown up in Florida. At Christmas time the exhibit space is transformed in to trains and fun. But now it is filled with roots of all kinds. The place always has a constant stream of guests scurrying about and admiring the beauty of it all. The interior is a huge jungle with a platform to view the scene from above. My orchids never look this good - but then again my house is not a botanical garden. All the more reason to keep coming back. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Digital Art Trending on Tumblr - check out #litdigitalart

A few weeks ago I started using Instagram and Tumblr - two MORE social media sites to update every day. Tumblr keeps in contact with you by providing positive feedback via email about a lot of things. They also let you know what happens to be trending. Yesterday digital art was on the list so I naturally had to take a look since I have been religiously updating my LITDigitalArt presence. Every day I add the link to this blog, add ten photos of whatever is going on around the DC area, post a pet portrait, and add a five second "movie" of a digital artwork in process from sketch to finished product. Then I always add a food item, flowers, a real pooch, and something pleasant from somebody else's blog. I'm starting to get followers and likes. So I was happy to see my "movie" on the thread from yesterday, even if it was just getting captured because I just put it there. Tumblr is very visually appealing and great for this hobby of mine. Who knows what might happen next? Just check #litdigitalart and see what pops up. Who would have ever thought a # would have so much meaning.