Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chicagoland Eskie Rescue Spring Fling Auction

It started yesterday and runs through May 3 at 8PM. I was asked to donate a digital pet portrait to the Chicagoland Eskie Rescue auction a few weeks back. Now the bidding started and I'm waiting for the result. There are many items up for grabs and it is worth the look. If you love dogs as much as most people it's for a great cause. We spent a lot of time in Chicago having lived in Milwaukee for thirty years and I feel a sort of kinship with the place. Last fall I participated in another on line auction for another rescue. It was fun to work with the highest bidder to paint the portrait of their pooch. In the end it's a great way to participate in a good cause and I really enjoy the experience. You don't have to go to an auction for a portrait, but it's an interesting way to showcase your pet. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Southwest Courtyard Escape

When it first opened a few years ago there were food vendors and popcorn machines in the courtyard. It's in a very pretty place - in the center of the Library of Congress Jefferson Building. One wouldn't expect to find such a tranquil spot. It's open from 9:30 AM to 3 PM during the months of April to September. It provides another space for both employees and visitors to take a load off, have coffee, or lunch. When I went to see the space yesterday afternoon I was the only one there making it feel even more enormous. The architectural detail is compelling, but I was worried the door would lock behind me to want to spend too much time there. I'll need to check back later in the season to see if it gets any more occupied. Perhaps if there is not any incentive to purchase food and drink right there it won't be used. But if you are just interested in sitting and contemplating - this is the perfect spot. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Being Different - There's Always One

There's one in every crowd. Yesterday my husband and I walked about the Mall and admired all the beautiful tulip beds situated in front of Washington DC's iconic landmarks. Upon closer inspection there was an obvious distinctive plant in some of the gardens. In front of the Capitol, a purple tulip poked its head out amid the sea of orange. At the Botanical garden, one set of red petals peeked out among the purple, pink, and white. Amid the yellow blooms was a single pink flower strutting its stuff. And along the Capitol Visitor Center another purple petal was showcased amid the variegated yellow and orange majority. You could say these garden beds represent the city in a way - it seems people who work around here like to distinguish themselves from the crowd - just like the flowers. I'm not sure how many passers by even notice - regardless of the human or plant version. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tulips on the Mall

For whatever reason, my little tulip patch grows but never blooms. I think I need to stop bending the leaves and cutting them back too soon. Luckily for us, all we have to do is take a few steps to the Mall. I think every color and variation of tulip is there to be found. We were away the last week and the season is ending - many of the petal have dropped. But at least there is still enough gusto left to catch some beautiful garden scenes with landmark DC backdrops. On our walk this morning, it was the topic of our discussion - tulips! The Capitol building has orange varieties - something I remember as a child when we first visited here. By the Botanical garden are purple, pink and white flowers. Variegated yellow and orange fill the garden beds at the arts and industry building. White tulips surrounded by purple pansies create an interesting shape in front of the Smithsonian Castle across from the Department of Energy. The Freer Gallery of Art is surrounded by pink and purple borders. Yellow flanks the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and the East side of the Capitol. And just about every color fills a side garden with a great view of the Washington Monument. There is something about flowers that enhances any photo - and the soul. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

American Plant - the Cucumbers and Tomato Plants Are In!

Who doesn't love flowers? My husband would ask "who doesn't love tomatoes?" Having been away for a week on a trip to Florida made a huge difference in our tiny patio garden. The yellow flower vine is attracting huge bumble bees, and it is the vegetable planting season. We always leave enough space for one tomato plant and this year I'm squeezing in a cucumber. In Milwaukee, we had to wait at least until Memorial Day to even think about planting anything. I was beginning to think we would need to do the same here given the cold temps lately. But today was brilliantly sunny, and we took a ride to American Plant to pick up a couple things for the garden pots and the small planting garden, but the real reason was to get those vegetables. The daffodils and tulip leaves are still cluttering up the tiny space, but I stuck some cosmos in between them. The clematis vine is already taking over the place so that was cut way back - enough to fill a garbage bag. The southern exposure is a bonus - aside from the fact that we even have a patch of land to plant anything. And now the wait begins. Every day my husband will check on that tomato plant and I will check on the cucumber. It's sort of a ritual every year, and a very tasty one. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Back Roads of Virginia

Having been on the road for the last few days driving to and back from Florida, sometimes the interstate can be annoying with all the trucks and traffic. Leaving is tolerable, but returning is difficult.  Approaching DC from Virginia can be challenging depending on the time of the day. The fast pass lanes are always heading in the opposite direction so we don't have a chance to try them out. So after lunch right past Richmond, we thought we would get on Route 1 and drive through the back roads. Initially it was smooth sailing at 55 miles per hour and no traffic. But as we reached Spotsylvania or thereabouts, the easy ride changed to stoplights and even more Friday afternoon congestion. You can still feel the south with all the Civil War markers and familiar confederate names while riding on the Jefferson Davis Highway. After passing by the University of Mary Washington, we decided to head back on to I95. There were a couple hot spots but otherwise we made relatively good time. It reminds me of any trip we took from Milwaukee and needed to return through Chicago. It too was a nightmare regardless of the time of the day. I guess as long as you're taking road trips you need to expect both the fun of it and the irritations. Luckily, the fun is more frequent. And it sure beats flying if you like the open road.