Thursday, March 31, 2016

American Plant Garden Picks

We had a huge yard in Wisconsin, with several gardens, window boxes, and planters. But we really couldn't plant annual flowers until Memorial Day. It's so nice to get a head start on the season here. We have a tiny patio garden that faces south and gets the full sun from east to west. So even if there is a threat of colder weather ahead, this area is well protected. That doesn't hold true in the winter, however, when the huge chunks of snow fall off the roof, slam into the garden, and take down several plants and vines. So we decided to take a trip to American Plant in Bethesda and pick up a few flowers to spruce up the garden, and add to the few daffodils. It's obvious we were early as the selection was limited, but we found enough to do the job. When we got home, I cleaned up the space, and tried to create a cheery spot for the months ahead. We'll add more as it gets warmer. My husband wouldn't go without at least one tomato plant! So, the seasons change once again, and this is a time I really look forward to. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ultra Mark Mohawk Finishing Products

It took forever to get the stain of the new wallbed to match the existing television cabinet. After thinking for seven years about what we would do to eliminate the huge king size sofa bed, we decided a custom built wallbed might just do the trick. But it had to be built around our tv cabinet, and the rest of the furniture in the house would be planned around this configuration in the studio apartment. But, as things go, the wood in our apartment expands and contracts during the winter and summer months. What seemed like the perfect fit in the summer, no longer did during the last few months. So we called the company about it, and they came to refresh the spots that no longer had stain on them along the seams, and promised to send a paint stick to freshen it up ourselves if and when it happens again. I know it will, because it does every year ... to the floor, and the crown moulding, and now the wall bed. Luckily the paint sticks arrived in the mail after a few weeks. I am hoping we won't need to use it. But knowing my luck, when we do, it will be dried out. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Calligaris Enterprise Glass Extension Table and Philadelphia Chairs for the Living, Dining, Sleeping, and Exercise Room

For the last year or more, we have been trying to reconfigure our studio condo to better meet the needs of the room. After all, it is a bedroom, living room, dining room, and exercise room all in one. It is also the space where our visitors stay, and we then retreat to the "other side." We finally got rid of the king size sofa bed that took up the entire room. It was a monster to deal with and was replaced with a wall bed. That new configuration dictated the size of the much smaller sofa that would replace it, but also the dining table that was very worn and space occupying. What we needed was an extension table for occasional use, and a good size for every day. After countless hours of hunting on line and around town, we finally found the perfect solution in the Calligaris Glass extension table. I contacted the Calligaris store in Georgetown to see if they could locate one, along with the preferred Chicago chairs. They located a table in Italy with a solid glass top, but we had to go with the Philadelphia chairs instead. It took about six weeks for the furniture to arrive, and I was glad we requested that they deliver and assemble the pieces. We haven't used the extension feature yet, but we are quite pleased with the look and space the table takes. Now I think and hope we are about done redoing the studio apartment. Now we can start to finally enjoy it - and it all coincided with my retirement! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Flu, Friends, and Chicken Soup

I knew something was wrong the minute I got up yesterday morning. My husband looked and felt like he had something dreadful. Just because he was sitting in the chair rather than listening to his early morning programs in his usual spot was a clue. He was listless, had a fever, a rapid heart rate, a slight headache, and was nauseated. He is rarely, if ever, ill. So this was very unexpected. We both get flu shots every year, and I heard that there was an uptick in flu cases this month. So he slept the day away, and I checked on him every hour or so. The last time he was like this we landed in the emergency room, but he was congested and really sick then. Luckily he is much better today and his appetite has returned. I sent a note yesterday to our friends to let them know we would have to cancel our planned get together this evening. They responded in kind by delivering a container of home made chicken soup this afternoon, and he - and I - enjoyed every last bit of it. One can feel quite helpless at times like this, and it can be a reminder of what the future might bring. But it's also a time to reflect on friendship. Nothing can be more important. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Floral Library at the Tidal Basin

The cherry blossoms take center stage this time of year, but there are a lot of other beautiful floral arrangements in town. One venue is notably right next to the Tidal Basin, alongside the pink and white fairyland. The display of flowers is seasonal, and at this time the tulips are garnering a lot of attention. Just about every color and shape are organized in large groupings at the Floral Library along Independence Avenue across from the Washington Monument. Although not all of them are open, the ones that are get photographed by the onlookers as they pass through to see the "real show" of the season. The nice thing about this space is that it keeps changing throughout the year and has its own prominence.  Washington is full of flowers, and it just so happens these are almost in full bloom. I suppose what makes them, and the cherry blossoms, so enjoyable and endearing is the fact that they last such a short time. Somehow these things seem to matter more when you get a little older. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bald Eagle Nest - and Eagles - Along the GW Parkway

The other day on our way to taking the Subaru for a checkup along the GW Parkway, I noticed that the eagle nest that we have seen since we moved here was once again inhabited. But it was too late to get a photo, even though I tried! The large bird was just flying in to it! So we had to drive back today and check things out. The location is just past Alexandria, on the way to Mount Vernon, at Belle Haven Country Club. Beneath the huge tree is a golf course filled with golfers. There's been a lot of press about the new eaglets at the arboretum. The chicks just hatched there this week. I'm certain the same thing happened here. This time as we drove by, the proud parents were perched on either side of the nest above it. On our way back from the drive to Mount Vernon, only one bird was still perched, while the other one may have been out searching for dinner. When we first moved here ten years ago it was not uncommon to see the majestic birds flying all around the GW Parkway. The last few years we haven't seen anything - until today. It's pretty exciting to see them. I wish I could get a little closer! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Retirement Haircut - Inspired by Mickey Bolek

He's been talking about it for quite some time. Every visit to visit my stylist, Mickey Bolek, is a treat. So today when I walked in for a long overdue haircut at Michael Anthony Salon, I asked for a retirement haircut. We talked about a pixie, or an exaggerated longer one side and shorter on the other, but decided what I have is the best. I really like it - an asymmetrical cut I've had for several years. But what about that pink streak? Well, I just read that Cate Blanchette colored her hair pink, and so many more are highlighting their hair in unconventional ways. Having gray/white/silver hair since my thirties made coloring out of the question - for me. I always liked the "natural look." Now silver and prurple are all the rage. So we decided to take the bold step and go for the pink. After all, it is cherry blossom and Easter season. What would my husband think? Mickey thought the hair extension would work better than the chemicals and I agreed. The result was fun and drew an immediate reaction from every one in the salon. Thanks Mickey for the inspiration! And by the way, my husband loved it! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal basin

Even before we moved to DC, we visited the Cherry blossoms. But since we moved here ten years ago, we have never missed a season. We've worn winter coats because it was so cold, but today was just gorgeous. We actually walked all the way down to the tidal basin from our house, walked all around it for the first time, and walked all the way back. I don't think I'd want to do that every day, but the weather was picture perfect, the crowds were manageable, and the scenes kept our interest. Each year I need to get the requisite Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial backdrops. It's not uncommon for us to walk, and then drive around here at different times of the day - especially sunset. But I think we will skip the Easter Day crowd and head to more secluded and out of the way places to see these lovely trees. I think this is the busiest time of the year in the city. You can see why. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Subaru Forester Check up at Beyer Automotive

It's been six months since we bought our new Subaru Forester. It's our third Subaru, and it replaced our 2005 Forester from Wisconsin. Things have changed a lot since our last purchase. We received a thank you gift for buying the car in the way of a duffel bag that was unexpectedly delivered in the mail. Everything is automated and the health of the car can be checked on line. So we made our first appointment for the first check on line, and received reminders for the appointment - just like the dentist, hairdresser, or just about anything else these days. We arrived a few minutes early today and are hoping it will be an uneventful check. Our last car was really starting to drain our patience with all the work it needed. This is the first time I have been able to go with my husband since we moved to DC. It's amazing how much fun I've been having since I retired in February! We also have a maintenance program for the first three years, so technically this visit is already paid for. A car wash and vacuuming is the top off, so the car will look brand new again. It's hard to keep the car fresh when you have to park it in the street. We'll be heading to Potomac Park to check out the cherry blossoms when this is done. I'm looking forward to it riding in a clean and well maintained carriage.