Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Bodum Bistro Mugs

As luck would have it - anything made out of glass might break. And since our tea cups are made out of a double layer blown glass, it’s not unusual when a crack appears. This has happened every time, but it doesn’t keep us from replacing them. My husband loves his tea after dinner - with cookies. And he also loves his bodum bistro mugs. They last about two or three years. Maybe we shouldn’t put them in the dish washer - something I just learned about. We usually purchase them at Crate and Barrel. I looked them up on line and they were more expensive than ordering a pair on Amazon. So I ordered the pair on Amazon. Now we have four including the one with the small crack. Not that we have guests anymore, but it’s nice to have a set of matching mugs - especially for evening tea. These cups and mugs come in a variety of sizes for all different purposes. I like the fact that it doesn’t get hot so you can hold it comfortably nor does it require a coaster. We always have the typical mugs for tea, but it looks so much nicer in a glass blown cup. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

52Frames Inspired By A Photographer Photo Challenge

This weeks 52Frames photo challenge was quite different. I needed to get an image that was inspired by a photographer. You could randomly get one from the website, or select your own. Since I didn’t have anyone in mind, I started searching for options. Since my husband is from Iran, I thought it would be nice to find a photographer from there. And I did. His name is Ali Shokri, and he is noted for taking black and white images of trees that typically have a solitary tree, sun in the backlight, long shadows, and interesting backdrops. I really don’t care for black and white photos, but didn’t have anything else to go on. We also traveled to central Virginia for Thanksgiving to spend with our family. It would give me a different landscape than what I’m used to here. Our son mentioned that there is a huge 400 year old white oak that sits on Oak Ridge Estate that is about thirty minutes in to our ride back home. After taking a few really nice shots of trees on their property by the James River, we stopped at Oak Ridge on our way home. That tree was a monster! We parked at the side of the county road, and I walked up the hill - on the private property. We didn’t go as far as the estate that was built in 1802! When I reached the top I noticed three grave markers of very young and recently deceased people - the “newer” owners family members. The wind was howling and it was freezing up on the hill. That tree was almost spooky looking. Imagine what that tree has witnessed in 400 years! I think I may have captured the essence of the photographer that inspired this week’s challenge. After that we drove another thirty minutes to get humble pie at Dr. Ho’s. Both of these ideas were suggestions of our son - and they were excellent. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie

On our way home from visiting with family for Thanksgiving in central Virginia, we usually stop for gas at a large white building that houses several businesses about thirty minutes away. This time we first stopped to see a 400 year old white oak at the Oak Ridge Estate, and then stopped for a bite to eat at the gas station exit. It was highly recommended by our family to do both. The first garnered an image for my 52frames challenge this week, and the second was to get a humble pie at Dr. Ho’s. I’m not sure what the meaning of the name is, but it is located in North Garden. I had always noticed the place before, but we never tried it - until now. They have an extensive pizza menu, soup, sandwiches and other good things. The buzz about it is that everything is home made using ingredients from the surrounding farms, breweries and wineries. The crust is hand tossed, and we ordered the humble pie to go, along with a quart of potato leak soup and an Italian sub. It was interesting to watch the surroundings as we waited for the order. There were several people dining in and a steady stream of pick ups. When the order was ready we took it all to the car and enjoyed a couple slices of pizza with a hand tossed crust. Both of our adventures on the way home were worth the stop. There’s more to the white building than just a gas station. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington VA

We didn’t get all the way up to the 1802 estate house. We were driving back home yesterday from central Virginia after spending Thanksgiving with our family. I was on the look out for a solitary tree in a field. It would be the subject of the 52frames photo challenge this week. I needed to mimic a photographer and try to create an image that might look like his. I found an Iranian photographer that takes photos of trees in black and white, using shadows and the sun as a back light. The place where the giant white oak is located is called Oak Ridge estate and was recommended by our son. And on this estate stands the 400 year old oak tree. We really didn’t know what to expect when we turned off highway 29. It was obviously a horse farm and has gone through a few renovations over the long history. And there it was in the distance. You couldn’t miss it. We stopped by the side of the road and then I jumped out of the car and ran up towards it. The wind was howling and it was very cold. The tree was enormous  - easily 42 feet high and God knows how many feet wide. I was on private property - there were three graves under the tree - all of very young people - recently decreased. I wished my husband was with me so he could have seen it all too. On the way back he took a photo of me next to the tree. It is remarkable. So after editing the photo to mimic a known photographer I definitely will use one of the images for the photo challenge. It was an interesting side stop on our way home and very different from photos that I usually take. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Yas Bakery Thanksgiving Treats

We usually host Thanksgiving with my siblings. But we weren’t able to do that last year for obvious reasons. This year, my husband has had some medical issues for the last two months and one of my siblings is not vaccinated. So, we weren’t in any hurry to cook this year. Luckily for us, we got an invitation to visit our family in central Virginia. Their usual Thanksgiving plans also changed this year because of college aged kids that are spread out everywhere making it too difficult to travel to the Maryland shore. We are definitely looking forward to a change of scenery because we haven’t been anywhere since our grandson’s graduation in May. So we went to Yas after our morning walk this morning to pick up some treats to take along with us. Yas is a Persian bakery and grocery in Vienna and they have a wonderful selection. We also got pistachios and jellies and other things, but the bakery is the best. Luckily for us we will get to feast on some of it too! Maybe a new tradition is starting? 

Monday, November 22, 2021

52Frames Fill the Frame Photo Challenge

The subject matter for this week’s 52Frames photo challenge was “fill the frame.” That meant it was a pretty wide open option to do just about anything. We started the week at Theodore Roosevelt island. We hadn’t been to the island for quite some time and I spent a lot of it taking photos of the bridge, the leaves, the pavement, and the Potomac River. Both my husband and I both liked the River image, but it wasn’t really a detailed shot - it was more impressionistic. I also had ten dollars worth of brass dollar coins with presidents and Sacajawea faces that we unexpectedly ended up getting at the Capitol south metro station after one of our transit cards was outdated - it’s a long story. I actually ended up using this photo because it seemed to meet the definition more. But we also took a ride in to town to see the Smithsonian African American Museum for the first time. I finally got ticket passes last month and it was a beautiful day for a morning walk. I tried taking a lot of close up textile shots but they just didn’t turn out well - bonnets, dresses, etc. The  building itself was gorgeous. Inside was very dark so a lot of images were quite grainy using my iPhone as the camera. I did like the image of the “test” baby dolls that were used for finding out children’s feelings about the dolls. The results of the study ultimately provided support for the Supreme Court Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling. Sometimes when the subject is so wide open it makes it more difficult to find something appropriate. So I’ve been at this for a year now and am starting the first week of another 52 frames sequence. I wonder where it will take me this year?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Valuable Sacajawea Coins?

For whatever reason we ended up with ten dollars worth of dollar coins when we went to the Capitol South metro station. We wanted to transfer the coins to a metro card but no one would do that for us. At first we thought the coins were tokens, but they were actually brass dollars. Upon closer inspection there were six random presidential coins - two Garfields, Washington, Adams, Lincoln and Andrew Johnson? And the other four were faces of Sacajawea. I didn’t think much about it at first but then decided to look and see if any of the Sacajawea coins were worth any thing more than a dollar. Apparently some of them are - including two that we had that had the date of 2000 - the year they were minted - and the letter P. The other two did not have a date, which made the investigation more interesting. Apparently the value is raised when the coins have not been circulated. And of course, all of these coins have been circulating since 2000. So rather than a value of five dollars, they are only worth their initial value. I should have known better. But for a split second I thought how lucky we could have been? What a stupid idea. The only good thing to come out of these coins was that they served as the subject matter for the 52Frames “fill the frame” photo challenge this week. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Meerkat Meetup at Tysons Galleria

They come in all different vibrant colors. It was an unexpected surprise to see the huge Meerkat Meetup sculpture display at Tysons Galleria. We went to the mall for a morning walk because the weather was quite foul. We hadn’t been there since the pandemic started. It was our go to place when we weren’t able to walk outside. Using the parking structure in our building for this purpose was a drag, but it was better than nothing at all. At least the mall shop windows kept our eyes busy while we walked. Since we were at the mall last a Bowlero has appeared on the first floor and two new furniture stores opened in the renovated Macy’s second floor space - Arhaus and Restoration Hardware. The area is striking in both appearance and design. There is still construction going on now. It was rumored that the Apple Store may take up some space there as well. It was here - between the furniture stores - that the recycled plastic meerkats roamed. Cracking Art created the meerkats display and it will be traveling across the country. The idea behind it is caring for the environment and each other. If one is so inclined the space is great to sit and relax. It is whimsical and gave us something else to think about. Who doesn’t love a meerkat?