Thursday, June 30, 2011

There's an "H" in It

Yesterday was a non-cooking day for me.  Home from work in time to get to my pilates class at 6. Then after the hour at the gym, an hour at the dog park with Will and Stirling.  That puts us back home at 8ish, with all of us famished. But I failed to go to the grocery store to pick up more vegetables to eat with the leftover fish I cooked last night.

So, pasta it is.  Pre-made noodles.  Pre-made sauce.  I was so tired that I didn't even heat the sauce.  I let the hot noddles do that.  (It was a trick I learned in college.  The hot noodles heat up the sauce, but then quickly became cool enough to eat.)  But how boring is pasta and sauce? I added a bit of goat's cheese, but still.

And then I remembered our lovely herb garden!

I can at least spice up the dish by adding fresh basil, oregano, and Italian parsley!  It adds a bit more flavor and definitely more color, thereby making a boring meal more semi-exciting!  Plus, it just makes me chuckle to go out to the Herb Garden: I think of Eddie Izzard....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


hope you have a marvelous day and that someone makes you your favorite cake to celebrate!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What the Gourd?

 Our garden, as you know if you have been keeping up with the vegetable growth this season, seems to be one big vine.  Really, several small vines that now have combined to be one large one that reaches nearly the top of the crepe myrtle tree located in the upper garden.  Or, in the Victory Garden, encircles the entire space, intertwined with the pepper and tomato plants.  One would normally be really proud of this growth and the potential veg fresh off the vine.
Only in our garden, we aren't sure what kind of squash/zucchini/pumpkin/watermelon/gourd we are growing.  We have a tendency to do this: plant stuff, forget to put the name of the plant or variety of tomato on a marker of some sort by the plant, and then wonder what in the world we are eating.  Was this the Better Boy tomato? or the Big Beef?  It really is an issue when you have large gourds on the vines.  Since we aren't really sure what it is, we aren't really sure when to pick it.  Is this a cucumber? a zucchini? In which case, it is now too large to pick and have it taste the best.  But what if it is an odd shaped watermelon or a pumpkin waiting to turn bright orange?  But, do pumpkins turn bright orange?  Or do they start off already that color?

The level of amateur gardening is really astounding when you consider how many things we are really trying to grow.  Can you identify what that is? If you can, you are a better gardener than I.

Monday, June 27, 2011

African Violets

For once, one of the flowers that I am showcasing is one that hasn't been cultivated by Will, but by me.  I have been growing violets for years now.  Several of plants have lived in 4 different houses here in DC.  The secret are the violet pots-- so if you forget to water one week, they are still fine with the water sitting in the pot. 

I love this violet with the streaks of purple in the pink petals.  This one has not blossomed in a year, so it is nice to see these again.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Anniversary River Walk

The C&O Canal Locks, or what is left of them.
Mile O of the C&O Canal.  Reminds me of when my sister and her friends attempted to hike the trial... not getting anywhere close to this marker.
The Kennedy Center from the Potomac
Will and I have been married for two years now.  To celebrate we have taken "off" this Sunday-- no yard work or house work.  We are enjoying the day, the beautiful weather, and Washington.  We took Stirling down to the Georgetown and walked along the Potomac to the Lincoln Memorial and then back again.  It was a lovely saunter past the start of the C&O Canal, the Watergate, and Kennedy Center.  It had been a couple of years since I was down along that path on a bike.  Course, Stirling has never been to the river nor along that path.  A two hour stroll reminded Will and I at just how walkable and pretty DC is.  I enjoyed seeing the Watergate and Kennedy Center from different angles. I had never actually knows that the great bronze statues of horses and men on Memorial Bridge, facing the Lincoln Memorial, were named and gifts from Italy.  The bronze came from a city near Naples (hey, Italian-- maybe it is your home town?).  We walked right on the edge of the Mall, past the newest building on Constitution Avenue: the US Institute for Peace.  It is a totally green building and the swooping white roof represents a dove's wing.  We moseyed past the Departments of the Navy and State, through a section of town that we think is the most confusing for tourists--every turn you end of up some major highway entrance or exit-, back to the river.  We stopped for some water to watch the traffic go by the Lincoln Memorial and again to see what movies are playing at the theater in Georgetown (does a 5 pm still count as a matinee?).  We made it home easily enough and now Will and Stirling are stacked out on the couch and floor respectively.  Soon we will catch the bus back down to Georgetown to see "Bridesmaids."  Appropriate wedding theme, considering the date. 


Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial
Music and Harvest
Walking along the path and river

Bronze statues from Italy
Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial

taking a break by Memorial Bridge

side of Lincoln with Kentucky listed

U.S. Institute of Peace

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coy Impersonation

Ah, someone likes to swim with the fishes.  Almost every time we walk through the Bishop's Garden at that Cathedral, Stirling hops into the coy pond to cool off.  She just walks around in a circle, trying to sit down.  The coy fish start to swim in and out of her legs.  She doesn't even look at them.  She just wants to cool off.  I think that she secretly wants to be a fish.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Completed Laundry Room

The laundry room is completed!  The dryer was delivered and installed today and Will fixed the doorway.  There is no longer a chunk missing out of the frame and wall.  We are totally amazed at the transformation of the space.  Two weeks of long weekends and week nights, plus having to rebuild a wall unexpectedly, was all that it took.  

As Will remarked, "I feel like I can come down here in my bare feet and not catch something."  I couldn't agree with him more.  I actually want to do laundry now.  The new set up is nice and easy: transferring from washer to dryer is more like twisting. 

The stairs are what Will thinks is the most radically transformed.  The nasty, mildewed, cat pee soaked carpet was removed.  We painted and added carpet tiles on the treads.  They have  slight pattern to them and were so easily installed! 

 I think that the most radically changed are the floors in general.  The vinyl tile--peel and stick! Cut to fit if necessary-- were also easily installed.  The biggest pain: cutting around the door frames.  Will and I have matching blisters on our thumbs from where the scissors rubbed.  But I have already vacuumed and mopped the tiles twice.  It is so quick and easy.

We are excited to show it to our tenant Kelly.  She comes back soon from vacation and we think that she will be shocked at the transformation.  We keep going down to behold our work-- and to fold some clean clothes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now You See It

And now you don't.  Cuz I ate it.  It was....not yet ripe, so not quite delicious. This is the first year that we have had blueberries and I thought that the berry was ripe.  I was mistaken.  It was not quite ready and so it was very tart.  Very tart indeed.  I will have to wait another 4 or 5 days before trying to eat one again.  Good thing I can, as the bush is covered with the small fruit!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Windows in Process

The new windows are starting to be installed!  They started in our former bedroom and the install seems to be going smoothly thus far. 

They look great-- bright, clear, and easily opened and closed.  10 windows in and only 36 more to go.... 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stirling's Rough Day

Stirling had a rough day today.  She went into the vet to have a growth (or as Will calls it, a "butt wart") removed and her teeth cleaned.  Her teeth were pretty nasty with lots of tarter build-up.  But no more!  That has been removed, much like the fur on her right hip.  The growth is gone, off to be biopsied.  She has about 10 stitches in her side, which are to be removed July 1st.  She seems to be doing okay-- lots of rolling on the ground to scratch. Apparently anesthesia also makes dogs itchy. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paint and Tile


The paint is drying, the trim is still wet, the stair well is tacky to touch, and some of the vinyl tiles are laid.  Here is a semi-reveal of the laundry room.

no more baby blue paint

ready to wash-- just need the dryer

new floor vs old nasty concrete floor with years of nasty carpet glue

#2 coat of paint

new floors done and done!

We still have to lay the carpet tiles down on the stair treads and do some minor paint touch-ups.  And paint and rehang the doors.  Oh, and get the new dryer installed (on Thursday!) to then repair the chunk taken out of the doorway.  Plus, clean up the tenant's unit since we used that as a thoroughfare when the stairs were wet with paint.  *sigh* That sounds like a lot more than it is, but the main thing is that the laundry room, hallway, and stairwell of doom are now bright and pretty and clean.  I want to hang art on the walls and show everyone the renovation!  I want to do laundry now--maybe even iron!-- in the fresh space. Yea!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Outdoor Movies Return!

We took time off from the laundry room reno on Saturday to have the first Outdoor Movie Night of 2011. The Italian and her husband B came over for some burgers, carrot salad (courtesy of the Italian), roasted sweet peppers, and sweet corn on the cob. 

The threat of rain, and even a minor rain delay, didn't stop the showing of "The Princess Bride."

The great thing about having a foreign friend who didn't grow up with American iconic movies: we get to show these movies as outdoor films!  The neighbors joined for a little bit, but I think that they were scared of the ROUSes. 
The Italian with B with the screen

the spread

those are some good looking burgers!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Window Delivery

The Windows were delivered on Friday.  All 44 of them.  We have windows leaning against a wall in every room of the house-- I wish I was exaggerating.  They are as tall as me--close to 6 feet!-- and we have a lot of them.  Here are just the ones in the dining room, resting there until next Tuesday when the installation will begin.  It is very exciting to have these in the house.  Soon, they will be *in* the house, and that will make the entire summer perfect.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Laundry Continues

 We are ready to paint, folks.  We have hung the dry wall, muded the joints, and sanded.  We washed the walls, vacuumed the dust, and removed the old dryer.  We are ready to do this!

 Even Stirling is ready to do her part, but first, I need a drink.  A vodka tonic with a twist: rhubarb bitters.  So light, it gives the generic v&t an extra boost of flavor.   Tomorrow, we paint.  Tonight, I prepare...