Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Making Room at the National Building Museum

One of the reasons we walked to the National Building Museum was to see the exhibit “Making Room - Housing for a Changing America.” The demographics of the country are different than when a typical single home family was at its’ height. So the adaptability of a traditional home is the latest trend. We moved from a two story 2500 square foot home to a 500 square foot condo, eventually getting another 450 square foot apartment across the hallway. You could say we have tried to encompass some of the ideas that make for a simpler, more efficient, and multifunctional lifestyle. We live on one floor, have a Murphy bed in our studio apartment, and we use every inch of house. We alderman have two distinct living big spaces that could serve a variety of needs - especially when we have visitors. They get their own apartment! But I wish I had gone with my gut when we remodeled our bathroom last year. I really wanted a lipless shower, but we couldn’t figure it out - until we saw the display yesterday. The folding shower doors with squeegee bottom was exactly what I wanted. For anyone building a home today these ideas are really interesting. It is actually quite easy to live in 1000 square feet. I’m all about efficiency and versatility. If I had to start from scratch I would definitely incorporate many of these great ideas. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

National Building Museum

It’s been a while since our last visit to the National Building Museum. We have been there a couple of times. Once with out of town guests and another to watch our grandson participate in a summer school event when he was very young. So with the beautiful weather we decided to walk over this morning and find a place for breakfast on the way back. We had to pass by the courthouse as we made our way to Fourth and F Street NW. The Judiciary Square Metro stop is just across the street, so it’s very easy to access this place in all seasons. I do remember the huge Corinthian columns that are supposedly some of the tallest in the world. The building was made in the late 1800’s as the precursor to the Veterans Affairs. The steps to the next level are long and less steep than regular stairs to allow the disabled to use them with less effort. The place was quite busy with pre school and school age kids. There are a lot of fun things for the kids along with all the changing exhibits. You do need to pay for admission, and we forgot to ask for the senior discount - but he should have asked us! On the way home we stopped at Union Station for breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. All in all it was a nice change of pace from our usual walk in the Mall. Now we have to plan other little daily excursions and check out more of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ducks and Seagulls at the Capitol Reflecting Pond

There they were - all lined up along the rim of the Capitol Reflecting Pond. There were a lot more than usual, maybe because there were a lot less at the American Indian Museum Pond across the way. They were mostly sleeping - some with their heads on their backs; others standing on one leg. And there were a few keeping watch over the bunch. It’s like they didn’t know the difference between each other. The seagulls and the ducks were resting in perfect harmony. With every couple of ducks there was a seagull. With the big stretch of seagulls sitting on the wall, a bunch of ducks were in front of them  in the water. And they were making quite a mess of things. Maybe the rain is a good idea on these occasions. It’s obvious that the ducks are paired up, but I can’t tell if the seagulls are. This is the time of year when the water foul become very active and the ramps are put in the pond so the babies can find their way in and out of the water. In spite of the fact that congress has been off for the last ten days it was very quiet this morning. I don’t think the birds minded or cared. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Turkey Buzzards in McLean

Every Saturday we go for brunch at McLean Family Restaurant followed by grocery shopping at the Safeway across the street or the Harris Teeter further down the road. It’s not uncommon to find deer along the roadway that have been struck by cars. That was quite common in the Midwest. In fact, it almost happened to me once coming home from work. It does take your breath away. And there are specific spots along the GW Parkway that we always see the deer feeding and always pay close attention to their whereabouts. So yesterday we saw a flock of turkey buzzards sitting along the median in the road. And that means only one thing. Because it wasn’t in full view, it looked like they were just hanging around, until we made a u turn and saw what was really on their minds. What was left of the deer carcas was just the head and a few bones. It must have been there for awhile. And up in the trees were three sentries keeping watch above on the action below. We have seen these huge birds many times - once sitting around a fence in Charlottesville and up on the chimneys in McLean. It is a rather disgusting sight to come upon this feast, but when you read about these buzzards you do learn to appreciate them. It’s a gross job but somebody’s got to do it. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Foggy and Rainy Capital City

As is our typical routine on Saturday, we go to McLean Family Restaurant for brunch followed by grocery shopping. Today we took a side trip to Yaz in Vienna to pick up some of my husband’s favorite treats - a couple of jars of pickled vegetables and sour cherry preserves. And yes, a couple of cookies. But before getting to either place we drove along the GW Parkway in the fog. It was almost impossible to see the Washington Monument along with the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, Roosevelt Island Bridge, and the Georgetown spires all along the Potomac River. The geese are still hanging around, almost looking to attack the innocent passerby. We had two record setting delightful days this week only to be faced now with several drizzly, unpleasant, foggy to come. I suppose it could be much worse this time of year. But I would take sunshine any time. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

American Plant Cactus, Succulents, Air Plants for the Wall Vase?

I never cared for cactus plants. But the wall vase was standing empty since the tulips bloomed, opened, and disintegrated so quickly that we thought we might try something different. So we took a ride to American Plant to see what our options were. At this time of year we have tried orchids, but they never seem to last very long. The heat from the duct seems to blow right on anything near that wall. For the cut flowers it doesn’t seem to matter that much, but I’m sure it doesn’t help them either. I also wanted something that cascades and has some color. So we looked around and came upon a nice looking air plant that was a great size, but certainly not cheap. That would meet the cascading requirement. Then we checked out the cactus and succulent plants and found one with pink tones, and then matched it with a tiny flowering cactus with a pink flower. I really didn’t want to put dirt in the clear vases - I was hoping rocks would do. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Both of the plants require dirt. So I mixed in the rocks and “planted” the cactus in each vase, then placed the air plant on top. Today I filled both “pots” with water, and sprayed the air plant as instructed and moistened the succulent. I don’t have a lot of hope for this arrangement, but maybe it will do better than we think. After all it does get a lot of sunlight, but not for the next several days. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Next Day Blinds Blackout Shades Replacement

We had honeycomb blinds installed in our condo about nine years ago. Over time, the pull cords break. So we recently had all of our shades updated with new cords and to fix a broken one. The white cords just couldn’t be cleaned, so this was the only solution. That circumstance required one trip out to remove all the shades so the exchange could be done. On top of that, we had blackout shades installed two years ago on the same five windows. One of the shades never hung correctly. Since those shades are under warranty, we wanted to have that crooked shade replaced while we were at it. Unfortunately the fabric we used for the blackout shade was discontinued, so we had to go to the showroom and select another fabric  - which meant all the shades would then need to be replaced. We were told both the honeycomb and blackout shades would be reinstalled at the same time -  which made sense - for them and for us. But, things never work out as planned. When the appointment was made, only the honeycomb shades were brought, even though the blackout shades were ready. That meant there would be another trip for them and another afternoon waiting at home for us. In the end it didn’t really matter because we are usually at home. But it still changes the flavor of the day. The blackout shades look fine, but instead of hanging straight the same shade still hangs crooked - but in the other direction. This house is old and crooked and requires very careful measuring and installation. I’m just too tired to deal with it anymore. Thank goodness we don’t need to use those shades very often. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Patio Garden Head Start

Everything on and in the tiny patio garden looks scruffy. After twelve years, we finally found some foot rests that go with the existing furniture. So yesterday we decided to unpack them to see how they looked. Because it was unusually lovely yesterday, I started to attack the scruffy stuff in the garden - having no mercy on the clematis vine that was taking over the fence. Between that and the ivy that was crawling everywhere, the trim was long past due. The only things I hesitated to cut were the hydrangea bushes. I did that one year and didn’t have one bloom all season. So now we can really see the spring bulb greens emerging among the garden statues and birdbath. Once we were done the sparrows were searching for scraps for their nests, the squirrels were checking for lost treasure, and all of them were hoping we would set up the watering hole. It does look much neater and it is the only patio garden in our condo complex. It really is a secret garden in this very urban neighborhood and we are looking forward to using it again. But I have to remember it’s only February.