Friday, May 28, 2021

Storm Clouds

They said the winds reached 80 MPH! All afternoon there were storm watches and warnings. Several areas were hit a lot worse than others with multiple trees down and electricity out. That’s one of the few things I liked about living on Capitol Hill. The power lines were underground so the only time power went off was man made. We usually sit outside on the balcony in the early evening but this time only for a few minutes. Having a western exposure in our northern Virginia condo allows a view of what is to come. And it looked really eerie and creepy. There was a plane flying overhead. I can only imagine how nauseating that would feel. I have never liked thunder storms or rain or hurricanes. I used to hide under the sheets from fear. So my husband and I watched the clouds progress to what would become an almost hellish rain storm. We lasted outside until the drops came and they came in a torrent after a huge wind gust. I don’t remember seeing such an angry sky since we moved here two years ago. I suppose it’s good to have rain once in a while, but this was more like a hurricane. And that’s why I don’t like living in Florida. This was a great reminder. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Dump and Bake Parmesan Shrimp and Vegetable Casserole

It took us longer to find the ingredients than to make the dinner. One of the neighbors in our condo unit shared a recipe for a shrimp casserole last week. It looked interesting enough to want to try it. So rather than order and pick up groceries, we actually ventured in to the store and searched for what was needed. We were out of practice finding things, but we usually don’t get julienned sun dried tomatoes, quartered artichokes in oil, and frozen peeled, tailless and deveined shrimp. We also got some cooking tins in case our small casserole dish wasn’t big enough. The oven was set to 400, and the prep time wasn’t long at all. We mixed everything in a bowl, adding onions and garlic, then dumped it in to the dish, and baked it for 25 minutes. We made a salad, a side of white rice, some naan garlic bread, and the end result was a delicious meal. There were leftovers for two more dinners - something we always appreciate. It is a recipe from “queen of my kitchen.” I think I’ll need to look around for other options. It was really worth the effort, which was nothing at all. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Capitol Hill Morning Walk

Last week we took a ride in to town. For whatever reason we didn’t get around to it until Friday. Usually we make it a point to drive in to take photos for the 52Frames challenge each week. But since last week called for portraits, I was able to get that accomplished at home. So we parked in our old Capitol Hill neighborhood on the street where we lived for 13 years. Rather than walk the National Mall and Capitol area, we headed towards the rear end of the Supreme Court. The skies were a crisp blue and it was a beautiful day. We meandered down the sidewalks toward union station then headed over towards eastern market. For whatever reason the area just looked worn down and unkempt. No one has returned to work yet and the federal government offices were still closed. Then we hit Barracks Row where a lot of new gardens were planted near and around the metro stop. Then we looped back around towards our old house. The ironic thing about this walk was that I hardly was inspired to take any photos. Usually there are plenty of interesting scenes, but I either wasn’t in the mood or things just looked stale. Maybe because we moved a little over two years ago and we now are beginning to see the city as it really looks. Sometimes you just get used to the surroundings and just don’t see the negatives. For the first time my husband even said things looked pretty bad and can’t believe we lived there as long as we did. While we were there we really liked it - although the 1890’s building was more of a headache than anyone would have liked. I know we will keep visiting the area. But it’s just not how we remember. Maybe we should stick to the mall and the gardens. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Bormioli Rocco Glass Cookie Jars

Our plastic cookie jars have lasted for many years. However, the lid seal on one of them cracked so it can’t keep the cookies fresh anymore. So I scoured the internet for best cookie jars and searched Amazon. The OXO jars kept coming up as the best, but my husband didn’t want plastic or a white top. OXO also seemed functionally the best, but he didn’t like the “look” of it. So I found another jar from Bormioli Rocco that was made of glass, and had a silver top - but it was a plastic lid. The jar could sit straight up or tilted. It seemed the right size and it came in a package of two. They arrived the same day I ordered them. One of the tops doesn’t fit correctly so we are using that jar for the candy. The opening isn’t large enough to fit the Pizelle wafer cookies through, but they are exceptionally wide - not a problem for the chocolate chip cookies. The jars actually look fine and meet the need. However, after all was said and done I realized I could have just switched the tops on the old jars because one of them was working just fine. So rather than throw them away, I’m going to find a use for them as storage for something else. It seems I can always find something to put in to a container to better organize things. I just don’t know what it is yet. 

Monday, May 24, 2021


My husband refused to participate and the crisp, clear photos of the cicadas didn’t meet the requirement of a human portrait for the 52Frames photo challenge this week. That left one subject - me. The idea was to create an environmental portrait. That meant adding elements to the image that reflected that person’s personality - or something like that. So the only things I could think of, given the limited options, was to make sure an iPad was in the frame, and something about digitalart and custom pet portraits. That approach lead to a day of difficult positioning and lighting and focusing using my iPad Pro as the camera. It was even more difficult afterwards to find something that was halfway decent. The quality of the photos was questionable, and the subject was not a happy one. I liked the idea of a mirrored reflection and half of a face. After reviewing, cropping, and recropping several photos and discussing it ad nauseum with my husband the selected image was made. It included half a face, an obvious iPad, and the hint of a custom pet portrait on the T-shirt I was wearing. I’m not very happy with this week’s challenge at all, and this is the 27th week I’ve been participating. This week is “wide angle.” I’m not sure how it will be accomplished with my iPhone, but something hopefully will pop in to my head. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Balcony Flowers

There is nothing like a garden. In the Midwest we had several small gardens, window boxes and pots. It took several trips to the nursery to get enough flowers to fill them all. When we moved to a tiny condo on Capitol Hill almost fifteen years ago, we had a very small patio. It was a unique feature and we took full advantage of it. We had a few pots and a great planting space for perennials. Now that we live in Northern Virginia we have an even smaller balcony. We can’t hang anything off the rails so we came up with an idea to hang the coco liners on the backs of the chairs. That makes three planters that face outward. Last year we had them put together at Gingko Gardens in DC and we picked them up curbside. This year we went to American plant and selected seven flowers that we preferred. In the window boxes are perennial liriope that I put in last fall. I had cut them back and happily they are all returning. Some of the ivy didn’t survive but some of it did. So a few weeks back the new six flowers were planted outside and a seventh was put in the house. But that one didn’t do very well inside. So the pot was put outside, and the plant was cut back and watered. It is finally starting to bloom again. I think it would do better in the coco liners. These flowers get the full sun of the afternoon and require a lot of watering. They have all done well so far and I hope they continue to thrive this summer. There really is nothing like a garden - no matter what the size. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Jewelry Vendor Snafu

Usually when a purchase is made with a credit card the charge hits the statement almost immediately. My husband had his wedding ring resized at a neighborhood jewelry store a few weeks back. When we went to get an estimate, there was a sign in the door that they were closed due to a medical emergency. Eventually we got both the estimate and repair work done. The funny thing was it that the charge for the work never hit the statement. We checked it for a few days - on both of the cards we use because we didn’t remember which one it was. We called one of the card numbers to see if there was some sort of glitch. Having heard none, I thought it must be a vendor problem. For whatever reason, the charge just didn’t go through - unheard of. I remembered my husband using a specific card and also signing the receipt. So we drove over to the shop and asked if  they could check on this charge. It was then that they called their vendor and realized that they hadn’t received any payments since April 23! Apparently before or when the medical emergency happened the owner didn’t or forgot to make some sort of switch or notation. In a couple of days the transaction finally hit our credit card. The people in the shop were shocked that we came in to let them know that the invoice didn’t go through. I can’t imagine not telling them. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

HBO Max Bee Gees

I’m not sure why we decided to get HBO Max. We had HBO before and never found the shows on it to our liking. It seems what most people like we don’t and what we like most people don’t. That’s why I never look at the ratings because we oftentimes like shows that don’t get great reviews. Most things English are our favorites. So when my husband found the song “It’s a Sin” with Elton John, we thought the series might be interesting, which it was. But beyond that we just aren’t impressed with anything else. However, because I always liked The Bee Gees, the documentary about them seemed like something we might enjoy. So while we have a month subscription, I’m finding things that might be worth a try. I grew up listening to The Bee Gees. Hearing their music again after so many years was nostalgic. It took me back to high school graduation and visiting my cousin in Massachusetts - when that song was popular. There are so many favorites it’s hard to list them all. But after watching the show I felt really sad about them. The only one left is the oldest sibling. That night I had dreams filled with their music. Somehow there is always a sad side to most famous people. I’ve always been very happy to be in the middle of the pack. It seems extremes are never a good thing - no matter what it is. As for HBO Max? One month is enough. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Delta Kitchen Faucet Features

Although the Kohler kitchen faucet looked marvelous in our new condo in northern Virginia, it never worked. We requested a bonnet and handle replacement twice. I watched the video at least 100 times and it was no use. As our Kohler kitchen sink was literally sinking off the under mount brackets, our “go to” all around handy man came to the rescue. And he couldn’t even get that faucet to function. So rather than worry about it falling apart again, we asked him to select and install a new faucet. He brought with him a Delta touch faucet - perfect for covid and dirty hands. You don’t need to touch the handle to turn the water on - just touch any part of the faucet with your arm, etc. Even though it’s a lot smaller structure and less decorative, it is very functional. And we are interested in function at this stage. But our “go to”handy man isn’t into reading instructions. So after he left I read about all the features. After reading the materials and watching a video on how to install it, I learned three things. The first was that there is a light on the bottom of the faucet that tells you the water temperature. Second, the light is supposed to blink when the batteries are low. But the sensor wasn’t hooked up. When I looked under the cabinet the sensor cord was just hanging loose. So I attached it to the black box and was delighted to see that’s all that it took. Now the light shines blue for cold and red for hot. Third, the battery pack holds either six AA batteries or three C batteries. The package came with AA’s, but it’s a nice thing to know. You just remove the inside plastic part depending on your preference. Then I turned the black spray control buttons side down so the faucet had a cleaner look. I always read instructions on anything before I open or use it. So I’m glad I read about the faucet. Otherwise we would have never known about all the features.