Let it be released from the mind

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Successful morning

Despite the overcast skies and stunning drop in temperature since yesterday, I had a wonderful morning birding at Great Falls. Probably most exciting for me were 3-4 Baltimore Orioles right on the towpath. We only saw them in that one area, and then later on the return we were lucky to spot a female Baltimore Oriole (which is yellow rather than orange on the belly). Here's a listing of what I was able to see through the lenses:

Baltimore Oriole (male and female) (Image 1)

Orchard Oriole

Pileated Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers (Image 3)


Tufted Titmouse

Yellow-rumped warblers

Black-and-white Warblers

Rufous-sided Towhee


Parula (Image 2)

Palm Warbler

Ruby-crowned Kinglet


White-breasted Nuthatch

Barn Swallow

Great Blue Herons

Bald Eagle

Ruddy Duck


Canada Goose


Monday, April 23, 2007

Amazing Race All-Stars

It's down to the final few, and I've got something to say about it. I can't believe Myrna and Schmyrna have made it this far. I will now just refer to the tall cousin as Crackpot because I have great disdain for her. I cannot stand how Crackpot speaks in fake accents. She does this to the nationals of the places she's visiting, and even sometimes to Americans in the foreign countries she's visiting. Does this make sense? Absolutely not. Hence the name of Crackpot.
I thoroughly enjoy when she's talking to a Chinese person, and she uses a sort of Italian/Spanish accent in broken English as though they will understand her better. MORON! Sometimes she even talks in an accented voice to her own cousin who is obviously not a foreigner. MORON!
Next on my list of anger points is her ability to blame everything on her vertically-challenged cousin. It is never Crackpot's fault. "Oh Charla, why aren't you watching everything that we're supposed to do. Charla, why don't you find the place faster. Oh Charla, why don't you ever drive the car." You Crackpot--she's about 3 ft. tall. Of course she can't drive the damn car. You ass. Charla carried a 50-lb slab of meat that was taller than her on her shoulder for a mile the last time they were on Amazing Race while you cried because Crackpot was exhausted. "Top that. Top that." (What is that bad rapped song from? Saved by the Bell?)
I am soo sooo very sad that they come from Maryland. Hells bells.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Catch up Post of Randomness

I promised it...here it is...here it goes. (I've been dreading this as these pictures take FOR-EV-ER to upload --disclaimer: 'forever' said in Sandlot kid's voice)

Spring came here to D.C., and then it promptly left for another 4 weeks. Damn you Phil , you giant rodent. While spring was here, lovely things bloomed in our yard, such as the delicate pieris. While as a large tree-shrub (very technical terms that I did not learn from my hubby at all) it doesn't seem that beautiful or impressive, the flowers are beautifully delicate and soft with a whispering elegance. Our hydrangeas are blooming again nicely. We lost one last year--so much for the status name of 'Everlasting'. FYI though, hydrangeas can bloom differently based on species. One variety, the 'everlasting', blooms from the bottom of the stem, while the other hydrangeas we have bloom from the end of the stem, the dead branches. Good thing we were lazy last year and never pulled off the dead branches or we would have had a sorry sack of hydrangeas right now.

Continuing on the garden front, we have started the seedlings for the massive garden at the in-laws. This is a vegetable garden which we started last year, and with my FIL's pushing we increased it nearly two-fold. My biggest fear at this point is not maintaining such a large garden adequately. It's not like we live close--45 minutes--so we really have to rely on a collaboration amongst families. Considering we have about 5 people in our family, that's difficult as well. But, I get off on a tangent.

So here are the seedlings just yesterday. As you can see we have had to repot about half of the seedlings as they outgrew their initial spots very quickly. They seem to be thriving again, despite the lack of sunshine, and we even bought a fluourescent lamp to give them an extra nudge. I just hope the police don't come to the door, as the room glows like a poltergeist lives with us, and I've been told that people buy these lamps for other purposes. We have prosperous plants of tomatoes: brandywine, roma, cherry, big boy; lettuces: buttercrunch, romaine, arugula and spinach; only one cucumber plant and one zucchini plant made it, one broccoli, a couple of yellow squash, some grassy-looking leeks. The plants still in the seed trays are mostly flowers that we tried to start (for the beautification of our own backyard) and herbs (chamomile, lavendar bergamot, basils, parsley, cilantro, thyme).

I thought everyone might like to see a few shots of the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. The first of these shots were taken near Hains Point, outside of most of the hullabaloo at the Tidal Basin on what seemed to be the busiest day of the season. Luckily, we found some tranquility across from the Southeast Waterfront area. Laika and I look dashing amidst all of those blossoms. Just before the rain hit town we went again to get a better look at the Tidal Basin which I had yet to see. Hubby had several times alone in the morning there as he was heading up a job at the Botanic Gardens, and I was feeling desperate so we forced another journey. Trying to find a parking space--because you want to bring your pooch and the stupid Metro doesn't allow pooches in this country--sucks. But it taught her the valuable 'Heel' within minutes.

For the first time I was able to see the WWII memorial at night as well, and I realized again what a special place I live in. It was a beautiful crisp spring evening, and the busy world around me full of blossom-seekers and spring break school groups didn't matter as I looked on to the Lincoln Memorial, glowing amidst a starless night sky. I've never been much of a fan of the Washington Monument. It's kinda strange (like that new monument in Arlington that you can probably see from space) and inaccessible. But the Capitol, the Jefferson and the Lincoln--they are so timeless.

I guess it may seem like I just have fun all the time--au contraire. I have been working hardcore on a baby sweater, my first-ever baby sweater. It was Justine Justine's shower last weekend and I finished it in the nick of time. If you call 2:00 AM on Friday night for a 2:00 PM Saturday shower the nick of time. If I had to guess how long it took, it was probably about 50-60 hours. It took way longer than buying something at the store and wrapping it, that's for sure. My grandmother always knit sweaters for babies. Sometimes the sweaters were for the church rummage sale, or for friends of friends of friends who were having babies. She could really crank them out. And they were $20. Barely enough to pay for the yarn. If someone asked me, I don't even know what I'd charge. I certainly don't have time to make knitting the one and only hobby, but it's a good way to multi-task with the T.V. I'm really really happy with the outcome of the sweater, and proud that I completed such a task. btw, hubby sewed on the buttons and helped tuck in the loose strings for each piece.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sharpen your skills!

Free knife sharpening at all Sur la Table stores! Woohoo! I've been waiting for this for a while now.

Coming as soon as I remember to download my photos: updates on our seedling growth for the garden, and spring in DC.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thank goodness!

Oprah has signified Planet Earth as a landmark TV series! Thank goodness Discovery Channel has her approval! I'll bet they couldn't have done it without her.

"I've been in television all of my life, and I have never seen anything this good on television—ever," she says. "I just run out of words trying to describe it. I'm absolutely in love with this series and in love with our planet Earth. And that's what will happen to you and your family when you start watching it."

I would like to mention that, in case you haven't noticed, The Nature Conservancy has PSA's running during the program. We're the "conservation behind the documentary". My favorite part so far are the elaborate Birds of Paradise in the episode "Pole to Pole". I hope one day I'll be able to see some of them in the wild. Their mating dances are unreal, and the way they contort their feathers unbelievable.