Saturday, March 24, 2012

Flowering trees and pho

Early last week, I read a report that the cherry blossoms in Washington would be at peak bloom much earlier than originally predicted.   D#1's roommates have mostly been gone for spring break, so I sent her a quick text and asked if it would be convenient for me to buzz down Friday evening and stay overnight, so we could do some cherry blossom viewing on Saturday, the 17th.  I bought a ticket on the Megabus that she usually rides to come home: $32.50 round-trip.  Great price, though I could have saved about 10% of that, had I booked the day before!

The ride down was pretty crowded as it was a Friday night. (Had I discovered earlier in the ride that there was a little luggage shelf directly behind me, I wouldn't have needed to have been cramped by the small backpack I brought.)   The average age of the passengers was easily half mine, but everyone read, slept, listened to music, or worked on their computers, so the ride was uneventful.  Many passengers got off at Baltimore (the only stop), so I had two seats to spread out for the last hour.

Saturday we set out on our travels, via bus, Metro, and foot.  We stopped to see the Eisenhower Executive Office Building  where D# is currently working.  The huge, impressive building, designed in the French Second Empire style, originally housed several Cabinet departments.  

Our ultimate destination was the Tidal Basin with its most concentrated collection of cherry trees.  I had never seen the Jefferson Memorial, either, so that was on the itinerary.  The day was beautiful -- mostly blue skies, sunny, and warm, with a high in the upper 70's!  

When we left the Jefferson Memorial, my personal "tour guide" -- D#1 has become quite familiar with DC in her almost 5 years there for college and after -- informed me that if we kept walking around the Tidal Basin, we would visit both the FDR and the MLK memorials.   Dedicated in 1997 and 2011, respectively., I'd not had the opportunity to see them before.  

The FDR memorial is arranged by his four terms, but we entered at the end.  We didn't have a lot of time, so we promised ourselves a return visit in the future.   There were relatively few statues, but all were quite effective.  Someone gave Eleanor a bouquet of cherry blossoms and a daffodil.

Fala put in his appearance, sitting by Franklin.

One of my favorite quotes. Ever. 

At the beginning ("Prologue"), FDR sits in his wheelchair, looking at the gift shop.

Our last historical walking place was the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial which was dedicated just last summer.   Again, we were pressed for time, so we didn't spend as much time as we might have liked. 

 We had plans for a late lunch before I got the 6:45 bus back to Philly.  Metro'd to Rosslyn Virginia so we could go to an "authentic" vietnamese pho (pronounced "fa" as in "fun", according to D#2).  Pho restaurants in DC tend to be more upscale, she reported, and therefore more expensive, though the whole idea of pho is a cheap meal.   After walking uphill about 8 blocks (!), we arrived.  The menu shows other locations of "Pho 75" -- three of which are in Philadelphia, with one in Chinatown! 

For my first experience with pho, I chose a "regular" size bowl of chicken noodle had slices of chicken, which you can see above.  The plate contained fresh mint, lime and bean sprouts.  A delicious and filling meal.   The walk back to the Metro was, mercifully, downhill.  A bus connection brought us right to Union Station in plenty of time for my bus home which was quite empty, so I had two seats to myself the whole time.

A splendid time was had by all.  Sometimes you just gotta leave the "shoulds" behind and follow your heart.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One small step = one large leap

In my previous house, I got used to having a bulletin board in the kitchen.  It was a place for a master calendar with each family members activities noted (color-coded, of course).   It also held the little pieces of paper that would have caused problems if they were lost (like tickets), and a few decorative items including the occasional picture postcard sent by friends or family.  When we moved (April 2010), I put the bulletin board right into the kitchen.  Where it has been sitting ever since, except for the times the kittens cats knocked it over. 

The ideal only place it fit was on the side of the laminate enclosure around the refrigerator, which needed holes to be drilled to hang it, as no nail known to me would pierce the rock-hard surface.  Unfortunately, it took me several months to find the drill which had been "deposited" in the garage, along with almost all the other contents of the former basement.   I believe it was around the fall of 2010 when I found it, along with the other power tools. 

A month or two after the drill had been located, I decided it was time to drill the holes and hang the bulletin board, only to discover that there were no drill bits with it.  Over several weeks, I spent more time digging through the rest of the non-junk from the garage (now relocated to the basement).  No luck.   Finally, I gave up on the search and bought a set of drill bits at Lowe's.   Nice, huh?

The next time I decided to hang the bulletin board, I gathered the drill and the bits, then noticed that there was no "key" to open the drill chuck to insert and tighten the bit.   Several lifetimes ago, my theatre-shop training taught me to lash the "key" to the cord, so it wouldn't get lost.  Guess my X never learned that trick.    Lowe's had several sizes and, naturally, I didn't know which I needed so I bought them all and returned the ones I didn't need.  Third trip to Lowe's (fortunately I work nearby)and I've-lost-track-of-how-many more months.

When I assembled all the required parts, the final discovery was that the chuck was rusted shut.  I could turn it to open wider but the three "jaws" that hold the drill bit just sat there, fused into place.

W-D 40 to the rescue.  (Another trip, of course...)  Home to spray the drill and let the chemicals work.

Last Friday, I decided, once again, to hang the bulletin board in the kitchen.   Drill, drill bits, key.  Zip, zap, zip, zap.  VOILA! 

(Note that it's the picture that is crooked, not the bulletin board!)

When I told D#2 what I'd done, she asked, "Does this mean we are finally moved in?"   Guess it does, Sweetie, guess it does.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A two'fer

I absolutely agree with Al:

but then again, what do you expect from someone like me?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Progress report: month 20 (February 2012)

Completed: Nothing (in its entirety) 

7,26,28. Kept up-to-date.
33. Went to gym (most weeks).
48. Watched 10 movies:
     America's sweethearts
     About Schmidt
     Me and Orson Welles
     Gosford Park
     The Artist (theatre)
     Fast times at Ridgemont High
     Departures (Japanese)
     Mystic River
     Morning glory
     No country for old men
49. Read 4 books: (68/60, 40/30, 24/10)
     A Rule against murder (Louise Perry)
     The Partly cloudy patriot (Sarah Vowell)
     Trespass (Rose Tremain)
     Tart noir (Stella Duffy, Lauren Henderson, editors)
51. Went to movies alone (The Artist) (1 out of 3)
60. (half credit) Ate ostrich in Dallas
84. Extra contributions to St. Paul's Memorial Garden, St. Paul's
     (Ash Wednesday), Planned Parenthood
89. Gave blood (2 out of 3)
90. Read Bible daily during Lent: started on Ash Wednesday with II Chronicles
99. Updated blog post with progress (20 out of 20)
101. Blog posts (6):
      St. Paul's Quilt Day February 2012
      Happy birthday, George
      I caved
Extra quilts: finished "Bricks & Stepping Stones" with novelties and buttons for hospice; made another top with jelly roll plus fish (maybe a "jellyfish" quilt)

Priorities for March:
6/9. Back to basement and books
12. Small things around house (seem to be stuck on these two)   
96. Learn to load music on my MP3 player
I finished the other February priorities (YAY, ME!)