March 27, 2013

There is an old Volkswagon van that is usually parked down the street from our house.  I like it. And I like its stickers. In addition to being a cheerful pop of orange, it is also a time traveling machine which sends me spiraling and sputtering right back into my childhood. A childhood spent traveling back roads and more often than not waiting on the side of those same roads for tow trucks (we had several infamous VW vans). It also reminds me of our fabulous British camper trip a few years ago. Luckily no tow trucks were needed at that time.

We are off to do a bit of our own back road wandering and thanks to the orange VW van, I am adding Yonder Mountain String Band to our traveling tunes.

Begging For Spring

March 25, 2013

I never would have guessed that we would be spending our first day of spring break sloshing around in wet snow, but that's exactly what we did. And I never would have suspected that on the first night of Passover, I'd be craving gumbo, but I was. Seriously, can we be done with winter? Please! Please!! Please!!! I feel like Mo Willems' famous pigeon in high level begging mode.. please let spring begin!  

Section 60

March 22, 2013

When we made our Veteran's Day visit to Arlington Cemetary, we went with a specific purpose in mind. We were seeking this brave soldier of kindness. Upon first arriving, we looked up his name and were told he was in Section 60. We had no idea what or where Section 60 was, but as we got closer it quickly became clear that there was a very different feeling in this section of Arlington. Unlike the stark orderliness of the older sections, 60 is heartbreakingly packed with photos, flowers, children's drawings, bottles of beer, and offerings of favorite foods. 

Section 60 is where the most recent losses are gathered. It is pulsing with grief, love, pride, anger, and memories, lots of memories. I recently came across the HBO documentary of Section 60. The documentary is good, but if you happen to find yourself at Arlington any time in the near future, take the extra time to find Section 60. Every American should visit Section 60.

Spring Palette

March 20, 2013

Brookside Gardens

Over the past few weeks sunny spots of yellow in the form of daffodils, witch hazel, and forsythia have started to spring into action. They are a stark and welcome contrast to the wintery greys and browns that still linger. It's a different palette from the bright red poppies in Sicily and the delicate pinks of Japanese magnolias, but it's just as invigorating and hopeful.

I celebrated the first day of spring by visiting Brookside Gardens. It's been on my to-see list for awhile. Looking forward to returning when more is in bloom.

The Picture Store

March 16, 2013

Last weekend was warm enough for the kids to wear shorts. I didn't think it was quite warm enough to do the same, but it reminded me of winter dips in the ocean as a kid...we were just so eager to do it that a few goosebumps were easily ignored. Regardless of attire, the warm weather meant that we all spent as much time as we could outside and in the sun. Camille and her best friend who also happens to be our neighbor set up a "picture store".  They made three dollars selling their artwork, but what I really loved about the whole thing was their confidence and excitement. There were no qualms or doubts about proudly showing and selling their work. It seemed like a good thing to do, so they did it. I admire that.

This weekend will not be nearly as pleasant. Rainy, grey, cold and we will be spending most of it outside. Noah has his first big soccer tournament. The van is loaded with hand warmers, umbrellas, gloves, multiple changes of clothes, old towels and a mix of adrenaline, soccer mama pride, and dread. I wish we could have just a little bit of last weekend's warmth. But the dreary weather, doesn't seem to faze Noah a bit and he is fired up and ready. I admire that, too. 

The Phillips Collection and Unwanted Company

March 15, 2013

They loudly studied the Luncheon of the Boating Party authoritatively swapping snippets of knowledge about the famous image. I exited, but then turned around and sneakily captured the view of the three of them perched on the lone bench...like noisy birds on a wire. I enjoyed the view more than I enjoyed their chatter. 

The Rothko room beckoned with its half lit jewel tones, but I only had a tiny slice of silence before the three ladies filled the room with their heavily perfumed opinions. 

"I have never understood Rothko" 
"Oh, I know what you mean. I don't understand how people find this peaceful or meditative."
" Well, what bothers me is that his work seems so static. His work never really evolved past these".

"Shut up!".  I shout it in my head, but what I really want to do is shout it out loud. Be quiet. Look. And look some more. 

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW
Washington,DC 20009

***The Phillips Collection really is a wonderful place, especially if you are lucky enough to be viewing it on your own or with people you actually like. I like the size of the space, the story of the house and the collection, and the variety of pieces. And unlike, the ladies, I actually liked the Rothko room and the new wax room, too. Parking can be kind of a pain (but I think there is a public lot on Massachusetts). And there are plenty of tasty spots on Dupont Circle within easy walking distance. I am planning to head back for lunch and a second viewing with friends or I'd like to make it to one of their Sunday concerts in that fabulous music room.


March 9, 2013

Comparing cards, trading cards, and bickering about the rules. Gobbling up the pears and not daring to touch the banana chips. Four ten-year old boys desperately trying to teach themselves how to play Yu-gi-oh until they all rushed outside to play soccer. 

DC Views

March 8, 2013

One of the things I love about D.C. is that you can see the sky. I always thought that was because nothing in the downtown area can be taller than the Washington Monument. Turns out I was wrong.

I especially like the city views we had a few weeks ago from the Kennedy Center, but this morning I learned that the DC skyline is about to change. Scaffolding is being installed around the Washington Monument and will be up for about a year. I am glad they are repairing the earthquake damage, but darn it, I wish I had been taking more pics of the monument and the mall before the scaffolding started going up! It's yet another good reminder to always have the camera with me and to pull it out even when I think I will have numerous opportunities to take photos of big monuments that we see all the time.

Urban Foragers and a Nighttime Raid

March 6, 2013

It's 10 am and the predicted Snowquester storm has made his/her appearance with a flurry of flakes. It actually looks sort of fake, as if someone was standing on the rooftop shaking torn bits of paper down past our windows in some sort of theatrical stunt. Pretty, but not quite real. 

But it wasn't like that last night. 

After dinner,we bundled up, collected flashlights, tracked down one highly desirable headlamp, and headed out the door for a little night time foraging. The foraging isn't new. We've been perfecting it over the course of the past couple of months. But this idea of a nighttime raid was new and thrilling and born of the realization that if the predicted snowstorm really did hit, we were not quite prepared. We had plenty of food, water, batteries, and candles, but we were dangerously low on our supply of: kindling. That's right, we have become urban connoisseurs in search of good kindling.

Ok, so it probably sounds lame to be this excited and clandestine about kindling, but it's true: we are a bit obsessed. I have turned into the strange woman who hovers on the edge of the playground while filling a bag with twigs. The kids have become masters at sighting pine cones. Adam beams with pride when the fireplace is alive with leaping flames. We have embraced the truth that a good fire is fueled by good kindling.

Unfortunately, our tiny semi-urban yard doesn't produce the good stuff. Which brings us back to last night's raid. The park was a surprisingly pleasant place at night. After filling the trunk with the bounty from our gathering expedition, Adam and I sat on a bench watching the kids dominate the playground equipment that is usually full of kids during the daytime hours. The white spots of the headlamp and the flashlight punctuated the darkness, but eventually they were all turned off as our eyes adjusted to the blackness. And that's when the reality of being in a fairly urban setting became evident. It wasn't really that dark. The sky was a strange mauve from the city lights, the night time clouds were moving slowly in advance of the approaching storm, the windows of the neighboring houses flickered like tv sets tuned to different scenes of families eating dinner and in the middle of it all, we went undetected. 

On The Ice

March 4, 2013

 Skate at your own risk. 

In an unusual reversal of roles, he was hesitant and she wasn't. Twinkling lights beckoned, the icy white patch glistened, and foreign tourists bumped and glided past in a never-ending skater's promenade. The scene was something out of an enchanting children's book but tainted with nerves and frozen fingers. Eventually, Noah got the hang of it and drifted away from the wall. Camille never stopped smiling even after repeated spills and is now begging to sign up for ice-skating summer camp. 

I am glad they both decided to take the risk and head out on the ice. Wish I had some of their gumption.

Latest Instagrams

© Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish. Design by FCD.