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Archive for the ‘Urban Life’ Category

Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center

I’ve been spending much of my time lately at my boyfriend’s house in Reston, Virginia, which is a fairly distant suburb of Washington, DC.  There’s no metro service to it, although there will be shortly when the DC Metro’s Silver Line extends toward Dulles airport.  When I was a kid growing up in nearby Alexandria, VA, or so I’ve been told, this area was almost completely farmland.  Now it’s a large and beautiful suburb—or beautiful as suburbs go. (more…)

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As I mentioned, when my sister’s boyfriend Kevin pruned the holly, magnolia, and crepe myrtle in the backyard the other day, he found the nest of the mockingbird that attacked me and my cats all last summer.  Here it is:

 

Mockingbird nest

Mockingbird nest

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Lovage

Lovage

This weekend, my boyfriend and I worked on the back yard of my mother’s house. My mother is out of town and as a present to her, I wanted to get the yard prettified at least a little before she came home.

The tale of prettification is complicated. My mother, my sister’s boyfriend, and I all have opinions about what should happen to the back yard to turn it from what it is now—a haphazard weed collection—into a place she might actually use for dining, relaxing, and growing pretty or edible plants. Mom has consulted a couple of landscape gardeners, all of whom have been seemed not to care whether they get a job at all. When it comes to deciding what to do in the mean time, we have a severe case of too many cooks, with my sister Meredith, her boyfriend Kevin, me, my boyfriend David, and my mom all voicing opinions about what should happen, when, in what order, and who should do it.  Despite the differences in strategies, we’re making progress.

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Snails congregating on a garden path in Menlo Park, June 2013

Snails congregating on a garden path in Menlo Park, June 2013

Things have been quiet here because I was in away in California for a week visiting my best friend from college.  I’m still recovering from the trip, somehow—it’s been hard to write or really to do much of anything since I got back.  Maybe it’s because of the constant rain in Washington—rain always makes me slow and sleepy—or maybe the time difference threw me off.  I’ve been dragging, which is too bad, because there are a lot of things I want to write about, including the things I saw on my trip. (more…)

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A friend of mine uploaded this photo he took of a luna moth to Facebook and gave me permission to use it, along with his original caption, which read

“Dear Mr. Moth: your fantastic leaf-like camouflage works much better if you actually sit on a tree.”

Actias luna

Image credit: Paul Erickson.

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Have you seen this criminal?  Wanted for assault in the District of Columbia

Have you seen this criminal? Wanted for assault in the District of Columbia

The other day, when I was sitting at my desk working and my cats were out in the garden sunning themselves, I saw a bird swoop by right before the cats ran back into the house, terrified.  I laughed at their fear of birds—they didn’t grow up outdoor cats and it showed, or so I thought.

I’m not laughing anymore, because this week the same bird terrified me.

The day before the bad storms hit the East Coast, my mother and I were in the garden, pulling weeds and trimming branches.  My mother took the pruning shears to the holly tree, and soon there was a bird shrieking and screaming at her.  We figured she had gotten close to a nest, so she backed off.  The day after the storm, I went back outside to check to see if the nest had survived.  I was looking at the bundle of twigs on the holly branch when I felt a THUMP on the back of my head.  (more…)

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A rear-view glimpse of a white-tailed deer

A rear-view glimpse of a white-tailed deer

Coming home tonight at the end of an evening with friends, I turned off Massachusetts Avenue onto Calvert Street.  This intersection sits, more or less, in the front yard of Naval Observatory, which is where the Vice President lives.  The grounds of the Observatory are always thick with deer; I often see them in the evening grazing.  Tonight, turning left, I saw a deer run across Calvert Street and into a neighboring yard.  I pulled my car over to catch a glimpse of it. (more…)

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