Thursday, August 31, 2017

Our Favorite Pond in Pasadena

Every time we go to Florida to visit - and in this case - for an emergency situation, we always stop at the pond up the street from our house. As a child, I would go there once in a while to fish with a bamboo rod. Since it was closer, I went more frequently to the smaller pond. But my husband loves this larger pond. There is an island on it that serves as a nesting spot for a variety of water fowl. Yes, there are the usual ducks, and more peculiar ducks, and heron, and odd sorts of other birds. So we drive around it a couple of times to see what's new. These birds are obviously spoiled because they approach the car looking for a handout, and cross the street without a care in the world. I don't think I would want to live near all these feathered friends, but it is an interesting place to visit. Even as the seasons change, it seems to look the same. There is something very peaceful about the place and we would miss it if we didn't stop by to say hello.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Corpse Flower at the US Botanical Garden

Last year such a big fuss was made over the corpse flower blooming at the US Botanical Garden. So much so that the lines wrapped around the building for weeks on end. Maybe because it hadn't happened for quite some time? This year there were THREE stinky corpse flowers in bloom. There was mention of it in the news, but hardly. Yesterday on our morning walk we passed by and there were no lines at all. Maybe because it was a Tuesday and it was raining. We walked right in on our way back from our walk around the Mall. One of the three flowers was in full bloom, one was already cut off to the stem, and another was in its' wilted last stage. There was a crowd, but nothing to speak of. We didn't look at anything else in the garden, except for the lovely fountain/pond at the entrance. This is one of our favorite stops in the neighborhood. The exhibits are constantly changing, and the flowers are always lovely - even this one.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bathroom Renovation DONE!

We have been at this project since July 10. It took a few years to decide to finally get it done. Our eleven year old very tiny bathroom was gutted in our 1890's condo apartment. It was scary to see what was behind the walls, under the floor, and in the ceiling. We also had the whole unit floor replaced with ceramic tile that looks like wood, added a backsplash and a new light fixture to the kitchen, and a ceiling fan/light fixture to the master bedroom. So today was the grand opening to actually use the bathroom. There are a lot more shower controls, no bathtub, better lighting and ventilation, and lovely tile throughout. I have to say that the new bathroom was really great compared to the old one. I still need to get things arranged and organized so it will eventually become a routine to use the space. We have had several visitors stop by to see the construction along the way. Some have requested the phone number of our renovator - a delightful Vietnamese couple who are well known in this neighborhood and beyond. It certainly wasn't a cheap project, but I have a feeling we won't regret we did it.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lamp Factory Outlet Ceiling Fan

We had a ceiling fan in every room of our Midwest house. They came in handy and added a touch of home to each space. We finally decided it might be a good idea to have one installed in the main bedroom. Since we were renovating the bathroom and sprucing up the kitchen anyway, it made sense to update every room in some way. So today we took a ride out to the Lamp Factory Outlet in Springfield Virginia to see what was available. It's been a while since we have looked for things like this and we were still in the mindset of our last house. Three fans caught our attention - and they all had a light and remote option. We ended up with a more sleek and modern design with three blades hanging vertically rather than horizontally. The light is enclosed and there is little in the way of bug and dust catching with this fan. We also got a longer stem because the ceiling is ten feet - although we may use the six inch option instead. We are anxious to finally move back in to this side of the house and get everything organized. We are still a bit disoriented, but in a good way.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

National Borzoi Rescue Foundation - Happy National Dog Day!

It was so very unexpected. When I looked at the Facebook feed today I saw something very familiar. There were two borzoi portraits staring back at me. I didn't put them there. I was so happy so see that the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation posted two of my Borzoi digital art portraits on their website to celebrate national dog day. Thanks Carol Backers for thinking of me and promoting my work at LIT Digital Paintings. We miss our Tatiana very much, and are thinking about maybe getting another pooch. It might just be the right time!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Salvador

We have always thought about moving to Florida, but just can't seem to make up our minds. There are a lot of appealing aspects, but it's hard to decide. A couple of years ago we checked out a new condo building that was being made called The Salvador. It's not right in the downtown area, but just outside of it near the University of South Florida located on Tampa Bay. I've been keeping my eye on the project as it progressed and we always drove by it whenever we were in town. So while we are in Florida due to a family medical emergency, I called the realtor to see if we could visit the two remaining units. We toured the building and the units this afternoon. They were really quite lovely and are exactly the size we would like. But neither my husband nor I can seem commit to it. Either we aren't ready, or we really like where we are on Capitol Hill. When you compare an 1890's old building with no insulation and street parking to a 2017 brand new insulated place with an indoor parking space you would think one has a strong advantage over the other. But we are odd ducks and our lifestyle just matches DC more than Florida. We are not in to pools, barbecues, beaches, fishing, golf or hurricanes. And since we just updated our bathroom and kitchen in our current residence we probably just aren't in the mood. I'm really glad we made the visit. Maybe we will have this issue settled once and for all - until I hear the footsteps and noise and irritation above me when we get back.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good Friends and Neighbors

When we got the call that my mother fell last Friday, I had a feeling that it wouldn't be good. It happened three years ago. She ended up with a fracture, surgery, and rehab. It was a lot more complicated because my dad was also in the hospital at the same time. If that wasn't bad enough, they live in Florida. So it's at these times when neighbors and friends really count because all we can do is hear about it on the phone. My mother was admitted to the hospital on Monday after we convinced her she needed to get an X-ray. And it showed another fracture. Surgery was done yesterday morning, and we arrived in Florida last evening after driving sixteen hours straight from DC. All along the way we were kept informed by her neighbors and friends, and doctors. I was a wreck until I knew the outcome and could finally relax when she was out of surgery. It could not have been a nicer experience given the situation. Luckily everything that needs to be in place already is. It's odd to visit here when she is in the hospital because whenever we do come, we do things that she likes to do. We were planning to come to Florida in the near future anyway, but not under these circumstances. Thanks so much to the friends and neighbors for the care and affection given to my mother! You never know what the new day will bring. This type of kindness is simply unforgettable.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Special Cherry Preserve

I don't think my husband has made jelly for quite some time. The last batch was quince jelly. He bought the quince specifically for that purpose. But this time was different. We always have a lot of fruit in the house and the cherries just didn't seem to taste as good as usual, so he decided to do something about it. When we were in the grocery store on Saturday, he bought some pectin so he would have the ingredients to make cherry preserves. And since cherry is one of his favorites - especially the sour kind - it would be worth the try to give it a go. So yesterday he read a little bit about making it and prepared the cherries by taking out all the pits. Then he slowly cooked them and the sugar and the pectin and the lemon juice to a boil. So last evening after all was said and done, he poured the mixture in to a container. After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, he poured some of that mixture in to a jar. He was so pleased with the outcome when he had it for breakfast this morning. My husband loves to putter around in the kitchen and it's so cute to watch him work his magic.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Empty Streets on Sunday in August

Sunday morning is usually very quiet in town. But if you add the month of August in to the mix it is more than quiet. As usual we took our morning walk. When it is too hot to take the national mall route, we prefer the air conditioned union station. I like the national mall scenery much more - especially the gardens around all the Smithsonian buildings. Today just seemed eerily silent... past the Supreme Court and Capitol, the senate office buildings, through the park down to Massachusetts Avenue in front of Union Station. Inside the station was the same. Most of the retail shops and restaurants weren't open yet, and the lines boarding the trains were not snaking all across the terminal. Pennsylvania Avenue looked odd too, and the closer we got back to our neighborhood, there wasn't a vehicle in sight. Things change dramatically when Monday rolls around, and the congestion and lack of street parking gets to be quite annoying. So we should enjoy the silence. But since I am not a person of extremes, I much prefer the same pace every day. I don't think that will ever happen in this city.