Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Day to Remember - Ida, Afghanistan & a Lost Hat

A lot of things happened yesterday - aside from the never ending pandemic. Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast - a reason I would never live next to any kind of water; the Afghanistan war finally came to an end - our son was deployed twice and once to Iraq as a cardiac surgeon; and the winter hat my husband lost last year was at last found! In the scheme of things the last bit is quite unremarkable, but that hat meant a lot to my husband. These days, even the smallest things can make a huge difference. When the hat was lost last year we tried to retrace where it may have been, including the Persian grocery store. First they said they had it, but when we drove over they didn’t. Then recently we checked the front desk to see if there was a lost and found. We described the hat to the guy, but when he brought the box out - no luck there. Yesterday, when we went to pick up a package, the front desk said they hat the hat. We weren’t sure how he knew it was the one. When he came out from the room behind the desk we couldn’t believe it. It was like finding a lost friend. How did it appear since we checked last? It’s funny how the small things mean so much. We got that hat when we lived in the Midwest even before we moved to Capitol Hill fifteen years ago. It’s been to a lot of places. I’m glad we found it because I wasn’t sure what my husband would wear this winter. Now I don’t need to think about it, and he’s very happy. 

Monday, August 30, 2021


Where else could we go for this week’s challenge? There we were so many years ago, in front of the new color television set, with popcorn and eagerness - my brother, sister and I watched the Wizard of Oz. Who can forget the Wicked Witch, Toto and Dorothy? So last week we headed to the Smithsonian American History Museum to find Dorothy’s ruby slippers for the “nostalgia” 52Frames photo challenge. I took about twenty or more shots because the shoes are behind glass and the lighting is quite dark. The size five shoes were recently restored - with about 2400 sequins on each. “There’s no place like home” still gets me choked up when I think about the clicking heels. After that, we walked through another section of the museum that showcased Barbie, Mr. Peanut, and so many other treasures including Carl Yastrzemski’s Red Sox Red helmet. I wanted to get a shot of Neil Armstrong’s space suit, but unfortunately it was not on display at the newly reopened Air and Space Museum, although Scott’s Apollo 15 suit with moon dust was. On the way back to the car we stopped at the 1940’s carousel that has stood quiet since the pandemic to capture the dragon and the horses that have entertained so many on the National Mall. So it was a no brainer when it came to selecting the photo for the challenge this week. Both my husband and I agreed the red slippers were our hands down favorite. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Redbubble LITDigitalArt Sticker Sales

I’ve been painting custom pet portraits for about ten years. After the portraits are completed, they are posted to several of my websites. The beauty of digital art is that I use my iPad as the canvas and my studio travels with me. The end product is a jpeg image that can be uploaded and processed on so many different products aside from the usual canvas or framed prints. It’s always such a treat to get a notice when one of my images has been discovered out of the millions out there. And that was the case yesterday when Redbubble notified me of a sale of a sticker. The image is of a golden retriever with a best friend. This order came from Texas. The funny thing is that the same sticker was ordered from someone in Washington state a couple of week’s ago. The pay back on these products is peanuts but I still get a great deal of satisfaction when someone notices, but also purchases something that I painted. I always wonder who it is and what it’s for. Thanks for noticing! 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Miniature Rose Plant Second Bloom?

It’s been one month since we bought the miniature rose plant from Giant. We searched several places before we finally found one. We used to get cut flowers every couple of weeks for the wall vase. But I’ve put bamboo and cut greens that root in the vases. Our plant console table is also filled with greenery, and we wanted to liven it up a bit with some color. So the little dusty rose color plant fit the bill. Unfortunately they don’t last very long. But things may be different this time. The many blossoms on the original bunch are all but gone now with just a few hanging on. We have been reading up on the care for these roses. We put it on the west exposed window sill during the day and make sure it gets enough water. The yellow leaves and spent flowers get cut. It didn’t look like it was going to survive when all of a sudden it started getting greener. There are now two new buds developing and the plant just looks healthy. We read somewhere that these plants aren’t in it for the long haul but maybe we will have some luck this time. My husband prefers one plant over many and has been watching it like a Hawk. Let’s hope this rose plant continues to thrive. It’s worth all the attention. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Power Out AGAIN

For the second time in two weeks, we lost power. It’s the third time in a year and the incidents always last about the same amount of time - which makes me wonder if there is a consistent problem with a particular circuit or zone. When we moved to northern Virginia from Capitol Hill over two years ago the first thing I asked when we were looking for our new condo was if the power ever went out. The answer was there was a generator back up. What they didn’t say was that the generator only works for the building and not for the specific units. So the hallways, etc are covered, but the inside of a unit remains out of luck. So I go to the dominion energy app and fill in the information. The status is supposed to be updated every fifteen minutes, but it never is. So the outage lasted from 4-8:30 PM. Luckily we had gotten sandwiches at the grocery store yesterday and had that for dinner. Thank goodness we didn’t put the oven on to cook a casserole. In the end it wasn’t a big deal but more of an inconvenience. I recharged my phone using my power back up, but also know we can get in the car if we need to. So we watched live tv on my phone for a bit, played video games on my iPad, and sat outside for a while - listening to the loud generator in the building next door that had lights on. At least the entire evening wasn’t ruined. There are storms expected over the next few days again and we won’t be surprised if it happens again. I just need to make sure our equipment is charged and try not to get annoyed. Once it becomes a habit you begin to know what to do, but it’s just happening too often. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

National Gallery of Art Furniture

I have to admit that I used to love early American furniture. Our bedroom in the Midwest was typical of that style with posts on each corner of the bed, matching full length mirror, armoire, and curtains that matched the bedspread. When we moved to Capitol Hill none of the furniture we had would fit. And since we bought the tiny condo while we still lived in the Midwest, it was furnished with a more modern vibe and clean lines. So when we visited the National Gallery of Art recently, we walked through the early American furniture section after first stopping by to see the Degas ballerina. Since my favorite person from those days was John Adams, it was good to see his and Abigail’s portraits on display. I didn’t pay close attention to the detail on any of the pieces, but was struck by the arrangements that were shown in each corner of the room. Each collection had either a desk or dresser, with matching vases or porcelain pieces, with a portrait of someone hanging above each representing the time period. At one point I was too close to something and the overhead warning was sounded. How embarrassing! But in order to get a decent photo that’s what happens sometimes. Anyway, it was an interesting diversion from the usual paintings and sculptures in the gallery. I’m sure we will be back again soon. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Views From the Balcony

When we moved to northern Virginia over two years ago from Capitol Hill, one of the main requirements was to have a west exposure. I am an evening person, and my favorite time of the day is dusk. My husband, on the other hand, prefers the morning. In spite of that, when the weather cooperates, we often times like to sit on the balcony in the evening to play mindless digital games on my iPad and also take in the view. With all of the terrible rain storms lately, the opportunities have been limited, which is why the sky looks even more outstanding than usual. I remember as a youngster lying in the grass, looking up at the clouds, and creating magical figures out of the puffy fluffs floating by. There is something soothing about being able to sit outside and taking in the fresh air - especially during a pandemic. So, every evening brings about a different vibe and we are never disappointed. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Yas Grocery Store

It was convenient to stop at Farm Stores to pick up eggs, bread or ice cream. You would just drive through and someone would give you whatever you ordered and you were on your way without getting out of the car. That was fifty years ago! In between weekly grocery shopping sometimes you run out of a couple of things. That’s when we go to Yas Grocery and bakery. It’s not exactly Farm Stores - which are long gone - but it sort of feels the same. The big difference is that it is Persian and my husband likes to pick up sour cherry jelly, and a sort of relish. Aside from those items, he has some favorite cookies too. The bakery counter is really nice! But the other main items we get are cucumbers and flat bread. There can never be enough bread in this house. It’s hard to believe that we can go though so much bread in such a short period of time. And then you get more bread if you order from Moby Dick - our favorite take out Persian restaurant that is just a block away. So, it’s a nice ride to Vienna after a morning walk and we are never disappointed. They wrap the glass jars in Persian newspaper and we have been using the cloth bag we got in Isfahan for groceries. It’s nice to have so many options. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

52Frames_Texture Photo Challenge

As usual, my husband and I never agree on the photo to submit for the weekly 52Frames photo challenge. This week the subject was texture. The first thing that came to mind for me was the Degas ballerina skirt in the National Gallery of Art. I really liked the tutu. So we drove in to town last week for the purpose of capturing that image. We parked on the mall, stopped along the way to get a textured grass photo with the Capitol in the background. Then we strolled through the sculpture garden where the fountain dances in the summer months. At the national gallery of art, the Degas ballerina is behind glass so getting a decent photo can be tricky - especially since my camera is an iPhone. After that, we walked through the early American furniture and out the front steps. We walked along the mall as we had done so many times before when we lived on Capitol Hill. We stopped at the Mary Livingston Ripley gardens situated next to the Hirshhorn Museum and the Arts and Industries Building. These gardens are one of our favorites along with the US Botanic Garden and the Enid Haupt garden by the Smithsonian castle. The gardens were bursting with late summer blossoms and almost looked overgrown. A particularly prickly plant caught our attention. It has razor sharp spikes on the leaves and along the stem. I’m not sure what it is, but the colors are lovely - making the spikes seem less threatening. In the end I posted the purple stem with the spikes - it almost looks like there is a tiny cone head figure in the center with two hairy arms - even though I preferred the ballerina skirt. I always post my second choice in the comments and other people sometimes tell me which one they prefer. I suppose it’s better to have more than one image to consider, but it is amazing that we never agree on which one to select. My husband looks for something that grabs his attention without paying much attention to the detail/technical flaws. I’m trying to do both. Thank goodness it’s just a hobby.