Sunday, May 31, 2015

Time to Refresh the Wagtime Gallery Wall

It was time to visit Wagtime and refresh my portrait gallery. I've been adding and rearranging my custom pet portraits there for almost three years. Given the extreme heat and cold this year, the Velcro holds the foam board well, but the full sun and direct light can fade some of the pet portraits. So last week I printed out all the latest artwork, then went to Staples to pick up more heavy duty velcro. Because it was so hot outside this afternoon - 90's on the last day of May - my husband came in with me. He usually waits out in the car while I get things done. I only needed to replace four and hang two more, so it didn't take a lot of time, but all my day care furry friends were a lot louder than usual behind the walls I was working on. M street, where Wagtime is located across from the Navy Yard, is finally finished, so this was the first time we saw the shop without orange construction barrels all around it. The red brick cross walks go well with this very old neighborhood. It's such a great place to have a gallery wall. Every time I come in all my business cards are gone. So if you are ever in DC, stop by the gallery wall. It's situated in just the perfect place. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Taking Photos From a Different Perspective

Not that my husband is shy, he just doesn't like to have his photo taken. So I need to be creative if I want to get some snapshots of him. This is particularly true if I post anything on line. So over the years I find that some of the more interesting backgrounds make some of the most memorable photos. I love the shadows of us just walking along the sidewalks of DC. The other day on our Monday morning walk, we passed by the American Indian Museum. It's very quiet at that time of the day. There is a wall of windows that face a man made stream. Once you pass by, it gives a carninal windows feel. It also reminds me of the famous Orson Wells movie "The Lady From Shanghai" with the hall of mirrors scene at the end. I pulled that trick in France and England - or whenever there are walls of glass with reflections. Sometimes he knows what I am up to and plays along. Sometimes he doesn't know and that makes it even better. I always need to tell him that if I take a photo of him it's just for me. And most of the time that is true. But every once in awhile I do share it with a few other folks.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Should We Stay or Should We Go? The Overlook at Lansdowne

We moved here nine years ago from Milwaukee. We gave up a lot, but gained a lot too. That's the subject of this blog... There are so many great things about living here, but also so many irritating things that make you want to leave. And that is the fork in the road that we find ourselves. So over the past couple of months we have been exploring various options to see if alternate places are more appealing than what we have now. I hate vertical dwellings and high rises, so that rules a lot of things out. We have no interest in single family dwellings and really prefer condo living. You always take a gamble with neighbors, but that is the case wherever you live. Last week I found a very unique and interesting spot that had only seven units in the building, and the unit we wanted to see was almost like a single family home - the best of both worlds. So we took a ride to Lansdowne near Leesburg, Virginia and were completely captivated by the floor plan and the place. We were so excited about it that we asked that they hold it for us for a few days. Then we came back home, took a walk around the neighborhood, and decided the timing was just not right. The next day we took our friend out to see it to hear another opinion, and asked our son what he thought. His response was "why?" As much as we love the idea of having a new, clean, chic, place that had a lot of the amenities everyone wants, we decided - at this time - to stay put. Our attention is now focused on making our two little units as pleasant as possible. So the next time we hear of any building issues or irritations, we will both be cursing ourselves for this decision. We will keep our fingers crossed. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Capitol Hill Flower and Vegetable Patch

We had an acre of land in Milwaukee with enough space for several gardens. We are fortunate to have a great little place in our Capitol Hill condo for a miniature flower and vegetable patch. It is a very unique set up to say the least. It affords us the same delight to be able to sit outside, have a sip of wine, watch the birds fly in, relax, and watch the flowers and vegetables grow. The garden has transitioned over the years. We added a patch of grass along the building and vines on the fence. We now have a spot for two cucumber plants and one tomato plant. The cucumbers already seem to be doing well. The tomato plant - my husband's favorite - doesn't like the intense heat of late. It flowers, but then shrivels to nothing. We may need to get some plant food, and tend to it as best as possible. Regardless, it is a joy to have it even if nothing comes to fruition. But there is nothing like a fresh vegetable straight out of any garden - especially in such an unexpected place. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bartholdi Fountain From All Sides

When we walked over to the West lawn of the Capitol Building to hear the Memorial Day dress rehearsal concert we passed by the Bartholdi Fountain and gardens. We come this way just about every time we walk to or from the mall from home - but that is typically during the daylight hours. On this occasion, it was heading to dusk, and the light was exceptionally pretty as the last of the sunlight was gleaming through the spaying water. Bartholdi Park is located on Independence Avenue right across from the US Botanical Garden, House of Representatives, and the new Disabled Veterans Memorial. We stop here to watch the fireworks on the fourth of July as the Washington Monument can be seen in the distance looking West, and the Capitol Building sits on the East. We walked back home around nine PM and the scene changed even more - a little darker, but prettier against the blue hue of the botanical garden glass building. For those who don't have a garden or yard, this is the perfect place to sit and relax. The gardens are spectacular all year round. It's one of my favorite spots, and we usually find an excuse to pass through it. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Bird's Eye View

It was a very unusual sight to see a single duck flying around the US Botanical Garden, but even stranger when he landed on the top of the building. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to snap his photo looking almost lost on the ledge of the building. Walking along the mall the other day there seemed to be a lot of chirping and commotion going on. The birds are busy this time of year. I particularly like the fluffed up male pigeons running after what appears to be very disinterested partners. But the chattering seems to be the loudest whenever there is a single bird sitting on the highest branch or point on a building - looking down and mocking the passers by. This was the case by the House Office Buildings and near the Capitol. We used to have parakeets when we were young and I like most feathered friends. I even trained one of our parakeets to talk, fly to me on command, and ride on the steering wheel of a Barbie doll car. At eye level, they timidly approach the fountain on our little patio for a sip of water or to take a quick bath, nervously looking around every second. But the birds overhead take command and seem almost threatening. I read somewhere there are more urban birds than country birds these days. They must enjoy the human world around them - and from a great vantage point. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Avenue and Newseum Front Pages

As is our habit whenever I am not working, I get up earlier than I used to and we go for a walk on the Mall. It was eerily quiet in our neighborhood on Capitol Hill because all the Federal workers, including myself, were off. The Memorial Day parade was scheduled for 2 PM. We were on our way much earlier than that, but decided to stop by the parade route on the way back home along Constitution Avenue. The folks setting up and making final preparations were hard at work. Right across from the Archives and next to the sculpture garden were the VIP seats, covered with umbrellas and separate VIP Porta potties. The food trucks and vendors were also setting up shop and the command center vehicle was already parked. The Avenue itself was very quiet. We then made our way towards the Newseum. The headlines from each state and several countries are on display and changed daily. Most of the headlines reflected the holiday with the exception of Texas and Oklahoma. Floods and ravaging weather took a priority. I particularly checked the states we are most associated with - Florida, DC, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Connecticut. I'm sorry we missed the actual parade today, but was glad we got a feel for it, and we have seen it before. It was a beautiful weekend for all the events here in the Capitol city, and we always try to make the most it. And it's all right in our back yard. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Concert Dress Rehearsal

One of the benefits of living in Washington is that we can take part in as much or as little as we want, and can change our minds about going or not going to events based on the weather or assorted other things. Since it was a beautiful evening yesterday, we decided go to the Memorial Day concert dress rehearsal. It is not as busy, and most of the performers are there. So we walked on over, got through security, and wandered on to the Capitol grounds. It's not the same as the actual event, but just as interesting. I think a lot of the locals go at this time rather than get caught up in the mess of the mobs and traffic of the real time event. The gates open at five, and many folks bring picnic baskets and make a whole day of it. The usual hosts were there - Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna - as well as Lawrence Fishburne, Gloria Estefan, and assorted other performers we aren't as familiar with. We've been coming to this and most Capitol concerts for the last nine years. For visitors it must be exciting to get caught up in this and everything else going on this weekend - the Nationals have baseball games, rolling thunder is closing down streets all over town, and the Memorial Day parade will be held tomorrow down Constitution Avenue. We sometimes take it all for granted and anytime we think about moving from here we end up changing our minds. It's a place of excitement and irritation. So as long as we an stand the irritations, we are probably here to stay.