Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pepper Was Picked

Yes, the People's Garden in front of the Department of Agriculture Building is nice, but the garden in our backyard patio is much better. The reason it is so much better is that we can actually take what is growing there. A single sweet yellow pepper was plucked today. I'm not yet sure what it will be used for yet - it's a surprise. Here's hoping the rest of the crop continues to do as well... cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and red peppers. They really look nice among the perennials and annuals. Why wouldn't anyone grow vegetables? We used to plant them in the Midwest, but the season was short, and the garden was on the north side of the house. This spot is perfect for just about anything!
Ready to be plucked

Wonder what the chef has in mind for it?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The People's Garden- Hidatsa

The Department of Agriculture has a Farmer's Market on Fridays during the summer. Out front along Independence Avenue is a vegetable garden that was planted that is good enough to out do anyone's. It just looks a little unusual in the middle of a busy street. But all the same, the results will be worth retrieving during and by the end of the growing season. There's always an opportunity to learn something new. Sweet corn anyone?

Along Independence Avenue

An explanation

Looks like it's getting enough water

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is Hard

I was off for a few days visiting the happiest nation on earth. In some ways I am very jealous of what goes on there- especially after returning to work and not only trying to catch up on what was not done, but plunging into new assignments that keep me from catching up on what was not done. I've been at this full time for over 35 years now, and it's hard to like going to work. We are also going through a transition time where things will be changing whether we like them or not. My neck is sore from sitting in front of the computer screen all day long without a walk or even bathroom breaks. And the deadlines are hovering. Then I try to think about why I am where I am and am thankful to the person who gave me the opportunity to have this particular job, because it allowed us to actually move here from the Midwest. There is talk of early retirement and buy-outs- none of which is a sure thing at this time. I really like what I do but would like to do it less hours in the week. Maybe that option will be on the table by the end of the year.... or perhaps I should just be grateful for what I have. But I wish I lived in Denmark and did not have to worry about health insurance and a host of other things. But then again, I could not stand the cold and long dark winters, which was the main reason to leave Milwaukee!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Annual Library

Since the Tulip Library ended quite some time ago, the Annual Library is now up and running. The plantings are still immature, but the site is excellent. In time, it will once again turn in to a beautiful garden. It's given me some ideas on what I need to do to add some color to my little patio garden. They say most anything grows here, and I believe that is true. I really like the long gardening season here. Up north, we could not plant anything outside until after Memorial Day, and the summer just wasn't long enough. But along with this long season comes all the allergies, but that is another story.

Along Independence Avenue

The Tulip Library is now the Annual Library

A view to the Tidal Basin
Elephant Ears and all

In a great location

Yellow always looks so nice

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Lonely Fisherman

We drove over to the Tidal Basin and went for a walk towards the Jefferson Memorial. There is construction going on along the water at the front of the Memorial. So we didn't go in to see Tom this time. It was so quiet and peaceful since our last walk here during Cherry Blossom time. On the way back, we noticed a lone fisherman taking a lot of time and energy trying to catch whatever there is to be had. It seems as though wherever there is water, there are fishermen, and this is no exception. But the view is somewhat different than in other parts of the country- North, South, East or West. I wonder what he is thinking?
He must have caught something

Don't have to worry about watering these flowers

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Army Band Concert on the Capitol Steps

Every summer, the Armed Forces bands take turns playing on the Capitol steps on Friday evening at 8PM. It was the perfect night last night for such an occasion. We strolled over and took our favorite seats by the fountain in front of the Capitol Building. The security fences and main stage for the July 4th concert are already up, or still up from Memorial Day. For some reason, we typically hear the Army Band. This night it was Pershing's tunes. I prefer something a little more popular, but the scenery and atmosphere cannot be matched. It's a very different vibe from the holiday celebrations. We never went to any free concerts in Milwaukee that I can remember, and I'm certain that we could not have walked over to them.
Getting set up before the concert
The ever present Capitol Police

Our favorite seats shared with visitors

The Band Leader

A large crowd on the Capitol steps

The logistics are amazing

A lot of the locals bring their blankets and enjoy the sights & sounds

Friday, June 24, 2011

Behind Bars

One of the stark differences between here and the Midwest was that all the windows and doors on the first floor have bars. For obvious reasons, we understood that this was probably a good idea. Even though we live only a block or two from the Capitol, it really doesn't matter. One of the hardest things to get used to was looking past the bars on to the beautiful neighborhood and backyard that we live in. After a while, we got used to it. And don't forget that you will need more keys to open and close these additional layers to gain entry and exit.
A view to the front
The patio & garden look a lot better past the bars!

Last year, the tomato vine grew on the bars

An attempt to be somewhat decorative

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jury Duty

After having been gone for almost 2 weeks, then back to work for 2 days, today was my scheduled jury duty day. I was one of the lucky ones who had to be at the courthouse by 8 AM. Other participants could arrive at 10 AM. I served 2 years ago, my husband has served twice, and our daughter in law has also served 2-3 times. Nothing got started until 9:30. My name and number was not called the first time, or the second time, or the third time. I got to hear orientation twice. I forgot my phone and IPad charger and was starting to run low on battery life, so I stopped playing games and looked around from the third story window to the street below. Several fire trucks passed`through in the morning hours, and there were plenty of jay walkers. Then the lunch bell sounded, and I went to the basement for a salad. The server/cashier was delighted to see me, and she grunted at me when I made my request and paid. I meandered over to the chair to sit and could not wait to leave and get back to the waiting area by 2 PM. A fourth call for jurors was sounded, and I was left out again! (That's why I never play the lottery). Having had enough folks for the panels, the announcement was made that all those left sitting could leave. I've always kinda wanted to serve on a jury- and was called one time to serve in the 30 years we lived in Milwaukee. I got as far as the selection process, but was booted out. Based on what's happening in your life at the time, I guess you could call that lucky?
I could have walked, but my husband gave me a ride

The Washington Monument in the distance

Another sort of work day-
glad I don't have to come back tomorrow

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tune Inn Disaster

My husband was on his walk this morning when on the news was a report that the Tune Inn was ablaze. He wandered over to Pennsylvania Avenue to see the damage. Upon the recommendation that this place had the best burgers, we went to this Capitol Hill "dive" ONCE when we first moved. Another friend swears by it's wonderful breakfast. It is indeed a very greasy spoon, which may have lead to its demise. I'm not sure if it is a total loss, but a lot of people will be sorry it's not open for business. I'm sure the Hawk and Dove next door might benefit from the disaster.

The Tune Inn is between the Hawk and Dove & Roland's Grocery

Pennsylvania Avenue closed down at rush hour this morning
A mess this morning

The fire started in the kitchen

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All Is Well On The Homefront

It was very dry and hot while we were away on our Copenhagen trip. We entrusted the care and watering of the garden to our seven year old grandson, with a handsome reward for a job well done. He energetically came over to the house the day before we left to get his marching orders. We asked that he pay special attention to the vegetables. Obviously he did a wonderful job, as we would have expected. Our garden here is small in comparison to our northern place. In Milwaukee, we depended on the kindness of neighbors and folks who helped with repair work and such to check on the house, plants, and to care for the dog. Although we don't have a dog anymore, the tiny little fish we have required special care and attention from a special friend of ours. All went well on the home front in our absence. As for the first day of work? I think I'm still sleep walking through it.

And it was delicious indeed!

Monday, June 20, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Whether we lived in Milwaukee or Washington DC, we were always so happy to be back home. And that is the case again. We just completed a 10 day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. The highlight of the trip was being with our niece and her husband, who live there; and another niece who joined us from Sweden. The kindness and loving environment that we experienced is more than anyone could ever ask for. This trip was exceptional because the company we kept there was even more exceptional. We are so proud and happy to know them! Now I need to prepare to return to work tomorrow. That's always a tough thing to do. I'm hopeful that I can maintain my vacation spirit throughout the week, as I have jury duty starting Thursday. So, is Denmark the happiest place on earth? I'm still thinking on it.
From the canals of Copenhagen to the every day life on Capitol Hill

A Belated Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Last Day in Copenhagen

We started the trip on the first day with a walk in this park and
ended the trip in the same place. It had just rained and everything
looked so lush and green. It was a real treat to see mama swan with
her babies. They were all fluffy and cute. And in the land of Hans
Christian Andersen, it was the most appropriate ending.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Travel With The Kids

As noted previously, bicycles are a big part of life here. In rain,
sleet and snow this is the way to get around. But when one has
children to cart around, there are many ingenious ways to do it. It
was not uncommon to see three little blonde heads all gathered inside
a box in front of the bicycle. Once the child is old enough to ride on
his own, he is peddling alongside his parent with the protective arm
of the parent holding on to his back to keep him safe. It's also a
great way to stay in shape and explains why there are never any
leftovers to take home after eating out. A lot of energy is required
to keep this level of activity in check.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pooches and Such

It appears as though the Danes like their dogs as much as we do. And
there is quite the variety... We saw a Newfoundland, several French
bulldogs, shelties, labs, huskies, and a lot of rats (chihuahuas).
They go on the train and the metro, and ride along in the bicycle
compartment. I'm not too sure what the pick up policy is, but there
are signs suggesting what it might be. There are little hooks
available for a leash to be anchored. And, as always, the dogs
lovingly and frantically look for their masters whenever they are

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blonde Hair

Yes, there are dark haired residents, but there is an overwhelming
blonde population. The majority of babies that we have seen are blonde
with blue eyes, as are the school children, as are the young adults,
as are the adults It is a strikingly handsome bunch. I wonder if any
want to dye their hair brunette? Everyone usually likes what they
don't have. My husband asked me why they don't wear hats when walking
in the sun. I think it may have to do with the fact that there is so
little sunshine all year 'round and the need to soak up the rays as
much as possible. I think I'm beginning to see some of the merits of
living in the happiest place on earth, but cannot draw a conclusion
until I get back home. It is distinctly different from DC where
everything is completely mixed up.. in more ways than one.