Thursday, April 30, 2009

SkyWatch Friday


Click on the Skywatch badge above and it will take you to great sky photos from all over the world.
These skies were taken a few miles from my home on a walk over a field in Manassas, Virginia.




The Robin

This is a cute Robin I found at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna last Sunday. If you want a more upclose look you can click on the collage to enlarge.

The robin is the one
That interrupts the morn
With hurried, few, express reports
When March is scarcely on.
The robin is the one
That overflows the noon
With her cherubic quantity,
An April but begun.
The robin is the one
That speechless from her nest
Submits that home and certainty
And sanctity are best.
~
The Robin by Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Neighbors' Garden

This is my neighbors' garden. I took the photo over the weekend when I noticed their Dogwood was in bloom. My neighbors are nice people and they have lived here longer than we have, which has been almost 20 years now. I can't believe how much time we have spent here, considering we moved ten times in about as many years when Gregg was in the Navy. Sometimes I feel restless for another move. I suppose I have a bit of the nomad instinct inside of me. I always love to see what's on the other side of the hill.

When I first came to America and experienced my first Spring here, one of the many things that stands out in my mind was my first sight of the Dogwoods. I thought they were incredibly beautiful and I still feel that tinge of excitement when I see the first ones blooming, as I did this Spring. They are everywhere at this time of year.

We tried planting a small tree a while back and it didn't last, much to my great disappointment. We really should try again but I think this time we will get some expert advice from the nursery before doing so. If I could have my way I would surround our house with Dogwoods.

Do you want to know the other thing that I found incredible my first summer here? Fireflies! Or Lightning Bugs as they are sometimes called. I always remember our first ride down south when we were going to stay the weekend with Gregg's family. It was pitch black and I noticed these tiny twinkling lights amongst the trees. I couldn't figure out what they were at first and I was mesmerized. I suppose I was unusually quiet and Gregg asked me what I was staring at so intently. I remember telling him "fairy lights" and when he realized what I was talking about he laughed and told me they were Fireflies. I still enjoy staring into the darkness at them even after all these years, but it will be a little while longer before they arrive. Right now I am enjoying the Dogwoods.
After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh~

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Watery Wednesday

Thank you 2sweetnsaxy from Eyes Mind Heart for creating and hosting Watery Wednesday. You can visit by clicking on the button above to either share your own photos or look at other watery photos from around the world.

These are not the sharpest as they are from a while back when I scanned actual paper photographs, and my scanner wasn't really up to scratch either. I still liked them and hope you will too if you overlook their imperfections. They were taken at one of my favorite spots a few years ago, Huntley Meadows in Alexandria. In both photos you will see a Great Blue Heron. The one above is a bit harder to see as he is almost hidden by the beaver dam. He is on the right of the photo. You can maybe see a 'question mark' of his neck and head.

Chinese Proverb

Monday, April 27, 2009

My World Tuesday - Union Street Station in Washington DC

Thank you Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise for hosting My World. You can see other ‘My World’ photos or join in and share your own by clicking on their icon below.

I recently found these photos from when we picked up an Aunt of Gregg's who was arriving at Union Street Station. They were taken a few years ago with an old camera and were actual photos I scanned, so they are not particularly sharp. Click here to learn more about its history.

Gregg and his Dad are crossing the street over to the railway station.

Statues on the building outside and inside.


The rest are photos taken on our walk back to the car. Below the police were on several street corners because there was a bicycle race going on.



Meadowlark Gardens

This is a video showing one of the parks in our area. It is called Meadowlark Gardens and is located in Vienna, Virginia, about half an hour from home. There is a gazebo at the end of a wooden path which extends over the lake. On this visit we found a guitarist who sounded very good to me, with an audience of several people who were drawn to the music. He also had a pleasant sounding voice.
Looking over the side into the water there were the biggest fish we had ever seen. No fishing allowed here though. There were also several geese around, a few ducks, a big old grandpa of a turtle swimming by, several smaller turtles sitting on a mound under the shade of the wooden pathway and overhead there were swallows as well as a few red-winged blackbirds. 
video

We have visited many times over the years and yesterday we didn't stay too long because it was around 92 degrees F. By noon it was a bit too hot but it wasn't just the heat it was the humidity. There were numerous people enjoying their walks. When we got up to the visitors' center there were also many people who had obviously come in to get cool and make use of the bottles of water on sale. A little while later they had sold out. Next time we will bring our own. It is also a great place to take a picnic along.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

TODAY'S FLOWERS

TODAY’S FLOWER’S is a wonderful meme created by Luiz Santilli Jr. and is managed by Luiz, Denise B. Castro and Laerte Pupo. I am also happy to have been asked to join the team. You can find great flowers and also share your own by clicking on the button below. The link opens every Sunday from 7.00 p.m. (GMT)

Finally! I can now show flowers from out of our garden. We have had so much rain recently that this bush is blooming. It has never had so many beautiful flowers before. Just goes to show what a load of liquid sunshine can do.


Our Azalias are starting to look pretty good also.

Days Gone By

These are two old photos of Gregg's grandfather, his Dad's Dad. That side of the family originally came from Norway and settled in North Dakota, where many of the family still live.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interesting Trivia

AA friend sent me this in an e-mail this morning. I love trivia and decided to include it in a post for today.
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We have company this weekend, Gully and Celia. Gully is Gregg's Dad as some of you might remember and Celia is his wife of 17 months. They live 200 miles south of here and are up for the weekend. We are going into Washington DC in a little while as Gully wanted to show Celia The American History Museum.
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We learned yesterday that one of Gully's old shipmates passed away. The last time Gregg and I saw him was at their annual shipmates reunion back in October. He went by the name of 'Red' and was a lovely gentleman from North Carolina. We have been seeing Red every year in October for the last several years, and for Gully it has been much longer as their friendship goes back to the 1940s. He was one of a kind and he will be missed by all of us, always so upbeat and a very kind man with a genuine twinkle in the eye. The last time we talked with him he told us some wonderful stories from his childhood. I can see his face so clearly, he had a lovely way of making you feel like one of the family, and was a true southern gentleman.
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This past week has gone fast. We have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with son Brad. His fiance Lisa came over one day and she and I had lunch together and also wrote out wedding invitations from our side of the family. Lisa did all the writing and I supplied the addresses and lunch. We had a great time together and it was fun. I also had lunch with 'the girls' - friends from the British Tea Room we all worked at. I've mentioned them before off and on since I started this blog.
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That's been about it. Now for the trivia.
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Alaska: More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska
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Amazon: The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply. The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States .
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Antarctica: Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica . This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4 percent of it, I.e.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
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Brazil: Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.
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Canada: Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning ' Big Village .'
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Chicago: Next to Warsaw , Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
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Detroit: Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M-1, so named because it was the first paved road any where.
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Damascus, Syria: Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
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Istanbul , Turkey: Istanbul (AKA Constantinople), Turkey , is the only city in the world located on two continents.
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Los Angeles: Los Angeles' full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula - and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.
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New York City: The term 'The Big Apple' was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930's who used the slang expression 'apple' for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time - The Big Apple. There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy; and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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Ohio: There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio , every one is man made.
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Pitcairn Island: The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia , at just 1.75 sq. Miles.
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Rome: The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome , Italy in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.
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Siberia: Siberia contains more than 25% of the world's forests.
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S.M.O.M: The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.MO .M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a population of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.
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Sahara Desert: In the Sahara Desert , there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years. Technically though, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island . There has been no rainfall there for two million years.
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Spain: Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'
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St. Paul, Minnesota: St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre 'Pig's Eye' Parrant who set up the first business there.
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Roads: Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A is 1%, in Canada 75%.
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Texas: The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas . It is as deep as 20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide.
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United States: The Interstate System requires that one-mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
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Waterfalls: The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet. It is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls
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Added note: I have to thank my good friend Léia who supplied me with the following information. She said that the name of the country Brazil actually comes from a kind of tree called "Brazilwood" which was abundant when the Portuguese first arrived there. Thanks Léia :) Hopefully everything else is correct but if anyone has any contrary information on the other trivia I would be happy to hear it. I don't want to be putting anything out there that isn't a fact.
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Also, if anyone is wondering about the photograph I used today, it was taken a few years back in The Bishop's Garden of Washington Cathedral. The statue was entitled "The Prodigal Son."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Camera Critters


Camera Critters is another wonderful meme hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks Misty. You can find other critter photos by clicking on the icon above.
Many have probably figured out by now that I often take pictures of one of my favorite animals, the squirrel. This is a photo of one nibbling on a dried corncob. The original photo came out very blurry and when that happens, after my initial reaction of dissapointment, I start playing around in Paint Shop Pro and try to make the best of it. This is using the colored pencil effect.

The Missing Peanuts Caper




Thursday, April 23, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

SkyWatch is managed by Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise. If you would like to join in and post your own photos, or just want to look at other sky pictures from all over the world, click on the SWF badge below.
Gregg and I are on our way to look around National Harbor in Maryland.

I found the following information on the Internet: National Harbor is a new 300-acre waterfront destination in the Washington, DC area that opened in the spring of 2008. It includes hotels, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums, a full-service marina, a convention center, and commercial office space. The cornerstone of the development of National Harbor is the new Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center (Gregg said he thought these people also owned the Grand Old Oprey) said to be the largest non-gaming hotel and convention center on the East Coast. Plans are also underway to build the National Children’s Museum on this site.

Above is a cropped photo of where we were heading to. We were on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. What I removed was the concrete barrier which did nothing for the photo. Below is a very interesting sculpture as we approach.

More interesting sculptures of an eagle on top of two very tall posts that where at the top of a long flight of steps that led down to the water's edge.



Here we are on our way home, entering Virginia from Maryland.
There are several posts of National Harbor below.

A few more photographs

Gregg is on another work of art, a mosaic map of the Chesapeake Bay. He's pointing to one of the spots he knows. It was an interesting map and we enjoyed walking to various points on it.




This is a photo of a photo of Teddy Roosevelt. He was hanging on the wall in a restaurant where we stopped for lunch.
Gregg took this one. He likes brickwork which I think I have mentioned before and the fire hydrant was a nice splash of color I thought.
My sore feet were glad to see the sign to where we had parked the car.


There will be one more post from this area - of SkyWatch - and that will be it from National Harbor.