Thursday, June 30, 2016

TURN's Major Hewlett and Major Andre Remind Me of Masterpiece

I was going to major in history in college, but changed my mind when I thought it might be tough to find a job with a major like that. So I went in to nursing, to the astonishment of my parents and a surprise to myself. Somehow it all worked out - and I did get a job. Since that time, I have remained connected to all things history, primarily the Civil War time period. Living in Washington DC also influences any sense of history because we are surrounded by it on Capitol Hill. Recently I was intrigued by the AMC series TURN. My husband didn't really get into it so much, but I stuck with it and was glad after we saw this last season. I really liked two characters in the show because of the roles, but more because of the acting. We spend a lot of time watching everything Masterpiece, and Poldark would come close to TURN time wise, and of course Downton Abbey was a whole other story. And who would miss Jane Austen mini series? Anyway! My point is Major Hewlett and Major Andre reminded me of the typically fine acting from most Masterpiece shows. They just seemed to outshine all the American character counterparts. Maybe it was the uniforms, or the outcomes of their stories that were most memorable. But they certainly left an impression on me and probably a lot of other people who watched it. My husband actually was compelled to watch the last couple shows simply because they were so good. There is something about England, the British, and British actors, or Americans who play British roles. I like to think of myself as an historian at heart, but I think it was the personal history that was so touching. (Photos are from ten AMC TURN Website)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From Cole Haan Heels to DSW Memory Foam

How things have changed! Since I retired in February my style of clothes and shoes has really changed. I haven't yet gone through my wardrobe to dump half of the things I will probably never wear again. Yes, I still wore stockings and heels to work, although for the last few months I was wearing primarily flats. I can't imagine ever wearing heels again, especially since I think I may have plantar fasciitis on the right foot. Something just felt like it ripped one day when I was getting up off the floor. Isn't it fun getting old? Anyway, wearing size 11 shoes doesn't help the matter much either. It was always - what do you have in my size? - rather than please show me this! Since we have been walking every morning and my walking shoes are over ten years old and have water leaks, I decided it was time for a run to DSW to see what we could find for my new life. It started out pretty depressing as there was nothing in my size. But as we headed toward the athletic shoes, things changed a bit and I was finally able to find three pair of comfortable, memory foam, form2u - whatever you want to call the - shoes. I never thought memory foam would be so important until now. Walking on anything without a padded foundation is out of the question. I still have an urge to visit Cole Haan again for a step up comfortable, less old lady flat for more formal occasions. I really need to dump all the old stuff too. I just need to find some time. Since I retired, it seems there is even less than before! But now I am really looking forward to our morning walks in my stylish retired old lady shoes. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Smithsonian Folklife Festival - California and Basque

Over the last two weeks or so, the National mall is transforming in to another Smithsonian folklife festival. This year California and Basque innovation and culture will be highlighted. The festival begins tomorrow. It is also the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Because of that the Capitol grounds were again prepared for the concert and fireworks. The perimeter is fenced off for crowd control with only two entrance and exit points. As we were walking about this morning on this very overcast and humid day, the last touches were being put in to place- flowers in pots, instructions for the groups who will be sponsoring and managing the event, putting up the huge BASQUE sign, and providing directions and signage for the new addition at the arts and industries building where crafts and other items will be on display. We think we might wander around there sometime over the next couple of days. The crowds seem to be getting bigger and bigger as the week goes on. It's always a very busy time of year here. My husband loves all this commotion. I'm just not as enthusiastic as he is. But at least we don't have to rely on any transportation to get there, except our feet. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

What's the Idea? Flowers that Close at Night

I should read the labels a little closer. Our little patio garden needed a bit of a sprucing up. For whatever reason, the little pansies sort of shriveled away over the last few weeks, leaving things looking quite spent. So we went to Frager's in the neighborhood and looked around for something with a little punch that covered the ground. We found a really pretty yellow flowering plant, and another that was red and peach. I planted them right away and they looked just right - until the late afternoon evening arrived. All of a sudden, the blooms disappeared, which defeats the purpose of having flowers in the garden! At first I thought the blooms just didn't last long, but then realized they were playing games with us. I do recall having a different flower pulling the same trick on our Milwaukee patio. But there were so many other pots and plants around that you didn't hardly notice. Here it's another matter altogether because we notice every single flower. So to fill the gap we picked up a few dependable petunias and stuck them in. Sometimes exotic isn't always the best, but the flowers sure are pretty when they are open. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Avoid the Sun at All Costs!

Usually our daily walk consists of a promenade down to the national mall, to the Smithsonian castle gardens, back up and around the Capitol building, past the Supreme Court and back home. But when the temperatures get hot and humid - even in the earlier hours of the morning - we need to change our route. So rather than head west towards the concrete with little cover, we stay in the neighborhood and find paths with shade. This plan can lead us to many different streets around Union Station and H street to the North, the Navy Yards to the south, and Frager's hardware and beyond to the east. Armed with my very wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, and my husband with his baseball hat, the views are actually quite enjoyable. The gardens are quite lovely. But like in any neighborhood, some folks take a lot better care of their yards than others. But our focus is to zero in on the shady paths and avoid the bright and sunny walks at all costs. In the end we come home drenched in sweat. But isn't that why we do it anyway? I'm not so sure. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grown to Last Mixed Greens Bouquet Replaces Flowers

We always used to get a small bouquet of flowers to put on the kitchen island when we lived in the Midwest. It just looked pretty. After all, who doesn't love flowers? We don't have a kitchen island in our tiny space in DC. But we have a really nice wall vase - actually it has two levels. At Christmas time I fill it with traditional Christmassy decor to make it look and feel like a tiny tree with lights. During the summer months, if our tiny patio garden has something worth clipping and displaying, I'll use them. A couple weeks ago I had a bunch of hydrangea that looked marvelous! But sometimes the unusual can work as well. Rather than just flowers, we decided to get some longer lasting greens that do the trick. So while at the grocery store this afternoon we found a mixed green bouquet, brought it home, cut it up, and stuck the branches in each vase. The thing about any bouquet is to cut it down to size and play with it until it looks right. I suppose you could say this is my creative side at work, with a lot of encouragement from my husband who has great taste in most things! He usually knows what will look good - I just need to arrange it!