Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy Spider

So our Spider has been very busy: making a fantastic web to lure her dinner.....  And in the morning, she had cleaned it all up!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Will called me outside with a comment, "You may wanna bring your camera."
There is a massive spider living behind the spotlight that shines on our back stair and into the garden.  It was dangling, twisting in the light breeze.  And it was/is ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE. 

About the size of a silver dollar and so scary.  I managed to get the underside of it but not the front.  I hope that it isn't a mean, poisonous spider... or that it will have spider babies.... 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Global Mobile

 For Will's birthday,  my parents sent the perfect gift: a mobile of globes from different centuries.  You all know how my we love our mobiles and how much we travel!  Apparently Mom found this in February at the Biltmore.  I don't know if I would have been able to keep it a secret that long!






 We thought it would go into the vault of our bedroom (we have been looking for one to go there), but it kept hitting the sides of the vault unless it was low, and then we kept hitting our heads.  Instead we have it in the library, which is actually perfect for it!  All my history books on topics around the world, having globes is a bonus! We had a silver mobile there and that has been relocated to our bedroom. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


With Brock, Erin, Lucas, and Lee, Will and I walked up to the National Cathedral for the gargoyle tour.  We have lived two blocks from the Cathedral for 6 years and never gone on this tour and, to be honest, we will never go again (nor recommend it).  It started out in the 7th floor of the Cathedral--where anyone can go without paying the $10 per person for the tour-- and a slide show of the 112 gargoyles.  Okay, okay, a powerpoint, but still we were shown a show of the gargoyles and how they work.  We had to wait for about 25 minutes for the power point to begin because they speaker (an older volunteer) didn't know how to turn on the machine.  Will fell asleep; Brock and I were playing on our phones; and Erin was trying her hardest to keep Lucas interested/entertained.

When we finally finished the slides, we went down, outside, and listened to the same spiel again, only this time, we were about 20 feet from the Cathedral, and even further from the gargoyles.

After we found the Darth Vader gargoyle, we left the tour and wandered around the inside of the building.  I went back up the to the 7th floor observation desk and spotted our house!

When we were finally done in the gift shop, we walked over to Two Amys for delicious pizza.  As we were finishing our dinner, a family came in that were on the gargoyle tour as well.  They stuck it out and were an hour behind us.  So glad we left the tour early!
Moon rock Window

Stormtoopers and the seal

Lucas by the seal of the Commonwealth

beautiful day for the Cathedral

two of the 112 gargoyles

pinnacles of the Cathedral

How did you feel about the powerpoint introduction?

One of the dogs and another fish gargoyle

May the Force be with you

Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial

Capitol Building with the Library of Congress behind

aerial shot of the Bishop's Garden

Monday, July 23, 2012

Discovery at Home

Remember this?

With Erin, Brock, Lucas, and Lee visiting from Louisville, I got my excuse to go out to the Dulles Air and Space Museum to see the space shuttle Discovery in its new home.  It replaced the Enterprise, which went to a new home in New York.

The shuttle is simply amazing.  It is both huge and small, at the same time.  The tiles are individually screwed on.  The wings and tail have wind damage on them.  The engine exhaust pipes are massive.
It is just a masterpiece of engineering and it made me very sad that the moon program at NASA has ended.

And as I suspected, the whole of the museum was a great hit.  Lucas, wanting to see the Air and Space Museum because of the movie “A Night at the Museum II”, was at first sad that we weren’t going to the main museum.  Then he saw the planes and helicopters and jets hanging from the ceiling.  Subsequently he has decided that this museum is his favorite (though, that might change when they visit the Spy Museum).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Sign?

In the middle of CVS, as I went to put my keys into my pocket, my car key broke right in half.
You think that my keys are trying to tell me something??

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Garden Update

A Garden Update! 

 We are pulling off the first beans and tomatoes.  Grapes are abundant and peppers are flourishing.  Our fig tree is full and hopefully we can manage to get a few away from the catbirds and sparrows.  We have incredibly long squash vines full with blossoms and our herbs are shooting right up.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goodbye to Slovakia and Italy

Andy and Jaro

For the past 6 weeks, we have been housing Jaro, the Slovakian (on the right).  He and I work together and he needed a place to stay unexpected at the beginning of June.  His brother, Andy (on the left) came over for visit--his first time to the States.   They spent several days going through the museums (the Dulles Air and Space was the favorite), travel up north (the favorite: a toss up between NYC or Maine), and deciding on the best burger (the winner: Ray's Hell Burger, hands down).  It is now time for him to go back home and start a new job/finish his PhD.

At the same time, another co-worker, Claudia the Italian, is also leaving to return to her home of Milan.  As a way to say goodbye, Will and I hosted a good bye BBQ: ribs and chicken legs and Insalate Caprise and Bruschetta.

Plus, our favorite: rebarbora!

The Spread

Claudia, Me, and Nicole

The Chefs

Goodbye, dearest Jaro and Claudia!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jazz Funeral - New Orleans

The New Orleans jazz scene this week lost one of its greats when Lionel Batiste passed away on Sunday.
I however had the pleasure to witness something called a Jazz Funeral in his honour.  I'm not sure if many take place over a period of days or if this was it but I've never witnessed a more fabulous way to celebrate a death

A Jazz band with a large crowd in tow wander the french quarter drinking, dancing and having an absolute blast. When they reach a corner - fingers will be raised and the entire procession will turn and head in a new direction.  Occasionally they will stop for a few minutes and just play.

We followed them for a half hour or so - I've no idea how long it went on for, but it was contagious, everone who witnessed it joined in and instantly was sporting a huge grin.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cranes and Fishes

 We finally hung one of our favorite souvenirs from Cambodia up: another mobile!  It is a crane trying to catch the elusive fish.  Which ever way his head turns, the fish swims the opposite direction.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Command Center

Will is currently watching: the Tour de France; England v Australia in one-day cricket match;  and Andy Murray fighting his way through the quarter finals at Wimbledon.  This is how he plans on spending the 4th of July: watching as many international sporting events at the same time in his command center.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Erin!

Happy Birthday, Erin!
Can't wait to celebrate in person when you visit!!

Happy Birthday, Caro!

Happy Birthday, Caroline! 
I hope that it is a lovely day! 

And thanks for the best present ever: restoring our power!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


 On Friday, a major wind and thunderstorm blew into town, causing all sorts of mayhem.  Power went out, trees went down, cars and houses were crushed.  The DC-MD-VA metro area was a mess.  We were without power, and when the temperature is also breaking heat records, no power is no fun.

The storm is called "derecho"-- a widespread, long-lived wind storm that comes with a band of rapidly moving showers.  It is a Spanish word that means "long line" and such a storm can produce wind gusts similar to a tornado.  The damage is typically in a straight line, and if the wind damaged area is more than 240 miles, and includes wind gusts of between 70-90 mph, it is a derecho.

We were sorta caught unawares.  I happened to check Facebook about 10:15 on Friday night, and say multiple status updates that a major storm was heading our way.  Will got out and walked the dog before the winds came and then we watched as the lightening made is seem like it was board daylight and the trees start to bend in half.  Just as the storm kicked off, we had two brown outs before we completely lost power.  Half of the District is without power and the power company is saying that they won't be able to restore power until Friday, July 6th by 11 pm.  (note: we got it back on Tuesday evening).

What is so random-- irritating?-- is that our next door neighbor have power.  We are running an extension cord from an outside outside outlet so we can run our fridge, which, turns out to the be most needed appliance when the lights are out.  

With the heat reaching 100+ยบ F, the next few days are going to be a doozey.