Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Indignity of Standing in Line

Some lines are unavoidable. The motor vehicle department comes to mind. Disneyworld is another. And at this time of the year the entrances to the Smithsonian Museums. I'm talking about the kinds of lines you stand in, not the car lines that are typically backed up around here. I do whatever I can to avoid them, including seasonal visits and checking wait times. But there is one I can't seem to get out of even though I try very hard. It is particularly disgusting in the pouring rain - like this morning. Whenever my walk to work coincides with the metro train letting out at Capitol South I can depend on a long line at the entrance to the Library. It was backed out past the front doors after a double line inside. Luckily we could at least stand under the barrier/canopy. I never had to wait in line to get to work anywhere else before moving here. It's just another (in)convenience of living in the Capitol City and it makes the airport baggage check feel like nothing. At least there you are typically happy to get inside. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bartholdi Fountain and Park

Across from the US Botanic Garden on Independence Avenue is Bartholdi Park. It is named after the man who made the Statue of Liberty and also created the beautiful statue that sits in the center of the fountain here. We visit the place regularly because it is on our path home whenever we walk the Mall. To the east is the House Office Building and Capitol; to the North is the skylight structure of the botanic garden that is filled with indoor plant life; to the west is the American Indian Museum. With the varying seasons comes a variety of garden delights. Soon all the empty soil around the fountain will be filled with annual varieties. It can be used as a place to get ideas for your own garden, watch the Fourth of July fireworks, read, or have a picnic. It's a pleasure to look at the pictures today because it is completely dreary and rainy outside - for the rest of the week. If you don't have a patio or garden space in your dwelling, this is the perfect place to spend time - especially so on a warm summer evening with the lights aglow. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

East Capitol Street Gardens Curb Appeal

It's nice being off on Monday. Sunday is so much better when you know you don't have to go to work the next day. For some reason, Tuesday just doesn't seem as bad. We went for lunch near McLean in the Falls...along these "back roads" a young deer calmly walked across the street. Two turkey buzzards were observing it and probably hoping it might become a meal. We returned home with the threat of rain this afternoon and for the rest of the week, so we figured we better get a walk in before it started. Rather than take the usual route around the Capitol, we headed down East Capitol Street starting at the Jefferson Building. I don't know what type of tree it was, but had never seen the blossoms growing on the trunk and thick branches. It caught the attention of several photographers in front of us. Continuing east, the gardens in front of some of the homes were spectacular, even on a cloudy day. One of the most becoming wisteria vines was climbing on not one, but two homes - all the way to the roof - in front of equally impressive floral arrangements out front. Several gardens were very sculptured with a single blooming white or pink flower serving as a canopy in the center. A few iris were popping out, but the beautiful flowering trees simply are the show stoppers this month. Of course, there are several really unkempt areas too. Luckily, they seem to be in the minority, or simply not noticed sitting next to all this splendor. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teepee Tents on the Mall

Sunday is the day that we usually take a long walk on the Mall. You never know what you are going to run in to.  My husband mentioned that he saw teepee tents all week. Yesterday when we were returning home from errands we were blocked from continuing down Independence Avenue because of a protest. There were police cars all over the place. But we were too lazy to find out what it was all about and had to find an alternate route to finally get home. So we saw today what were the remains of a week long sit in of sorts related to the pipeline, oil, fracking, Nebraska, and Canada sitting next to the Smithsonian Castle. The kids seemed to be having fun running in and out of the tents, there was a wagon of sorts sitting next to one of them, and a totem pole being admired by a few. It was a beautiful day to be outside, and for the first time in months the Washington Monument was in full view. The scaffolding was finally taken down completely and the landmark will be ready to open next month to visitors. Spring is a busy time here in the city, and it's nice to know so many people want to visit the place where we live. After all, there is always something to do, and it doesn't cost a cent. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Simply Lemonade, Safeway Lemonade, First Lemonade of the Season

It's that time of year again. There have been a couple of warm days, and that means time will be spent in the garden. Since the patio faces the south and is enclosed, it can get even warmer there. And when the work is done, or even when the work is still going on, there needs to be something close at hand to drink to quench the thirst. The other day we were driving in Fairfax and stopped at McDonald's for a large lemonade - but that doesn't count. So we finally broke open the first jug of lemonade and had the first glass of the season. Usually my husband buys Simply Lemonade. Oftentimes we dilute the full strength with a half glass of water. It just tastes better that way. Today we were at the Safeway in McLean and picked up a few essentials. While staring  at all the lemonades to choose from, we noticed the Safeway brand. It was on special for two bottles for $4.00. So we thought we would give it a try. Let's hope it tastes as good as Simply Lemonade. But when you're thirsty, it probably doesn't matter. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Beeps and Tree Lined Streets

There are certain places in this town that there are bound to be altercations of the driving kind. Traffic can get snarled in many places. And with the narrow streets and impatient drivers, it can get nasty. Twice today we needed to use the horn to get folks thinking straight as they seemed lost in space. Once was along Independence Avenue by the Capitol where a limousine driver was veering from one lane to another without a signal. Turns out he was on the phone, which is supposed to be against the law (?) The second time was a lost soul trying to take the Georgetown exit where the Whitehurst Freeway also begins. She simply wouldn't move and we waited long enough. All of this was superimposed by the beautiful blooming tree lined streets along the way. On our return home we came upon two more intersections where beeping always happens, but luckily today it did not. Near the Lincoln Memorial is a ridiculous entry on to Independence that only race car drivers can manipulate. And near our house is a multiple street intersection with such confusing traffic signals many near misses prevail. We've even had a pedestrian scream at us for not moving when we know the light is red.  It seems to go along with the general attitude around here. People are typically rude and that is something not known in the Midwest. We only hope we are not becoming like most of them here. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guardian Angel on the Mall

My husband takes morning walks on the Mall. He starts by dropping me off at the Library, then continues up First Street to the Capitol. He then heads toward the Washington Monument, turns back past the Capitol up the big hill to the Supreme Court, and then home. Every once in a while he finds some interesting things. Most often there are pennies or dimes scattered around. A couple times it was cold hard cash...even a twenty dollar bill!  But most recently something was gleaming in the sunlight and caught his attention. It was a tiny angel pin filled with diamonds. I'm certain it is worth at least a few million. The cheap clasp on the back gives its true value away. I don't recall him being so "lucky" walking about the shores of Lake Michigan. I like the way he kiddingly tries to pass it off as a valuable piece. But I know somewhere out there is a little girl completely heartbroken at her loss. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Yellow Flower Vine Never Disappoints

Our little patio garden had nothing in it when we first moved here. In Milwaukee we had an acre of land and several vines that included roses in the front, hydrangeas in the back, and clematis on the side fence. Aside from those perennials, we had gardens and pots and window boxes. Planting season was a highlight, but it started in May. So we put in a yellow flower vine here and every year since it comes to life in a spectacular way this time of year. About three weeks ago the buds were becoming more noticeable. With the warmer weather they just seemed to explode overnight. Since our little patio is in the courtyard space of our building, everyone else gets to see it too. There is something pleasant and serene about flowering plants. I just wish it would stay warm enough outside so we could sit in the space and enjoy it. It feels more like Wisconsin here this year than any time before this. Fortunately for us, the plants know where they live. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Body Shop, Cravens Nursery, and McDonald's

It was a very strange weekend with many unexpected pleasant interruptions. Since I started working part time about a month ago, my Fridays and Mondays have not been mine! I really wanted to get a few annual flowers for the tiny garden. We tried getting them on Saturday and early Monday. Both attempts were aborted with requests for other obligations. We gladly complied. Yesterday we needed to drop someone off at the body shop in Fairfax just before rush hour. It was actually a less tedious ride than we thought it would be. On the way there I noticed Cravens nursery. We stopped there when we first moved to DC to buy a couple pots for the patio and haven't been back since. So we stopped on the way home and found some pretty items. We would be making a couple more trips for tomatoes and other annuals to replace the bulbs later on. Of course we also had to stop at the next McDonald's for a lemonade. We were both thirsty and the water bottle was dry. So I did actually accomplish what I intended in the most unexpected fashion, and had time enough to plant the flowers when we got home. Our other errand was unexpectedly canceled, and I really didn't mind.