Out and about

Denise over at An English Girl Rambles reports she and hubby Gregg visited the Botanical Gardens this week…where David and I are headed tomorrow.  I can’t think of a more perfect place to spend part of a winter day, as do a few birds who have found a home inside its warm walls.

 I try to make the trip at least once a year, a tradition I began before I met David when I worked across the street from the Botanic Gardens.  A few years ago, when I took a garden writing class at Greenspring, I met some of the gardeners working at the Botanic Gardens, as well as around the Smithsonian buildings on the Mall and other gardens around Washington.

Another “get-away” this winter will be a trip to Longwood Gardens, February 8, with a group from Smithsonian Associates.  My ticket came today.  I should be in shape to walk with the group through the acres of early spring plants and green houses, but I can always go into the tea shop if I get tired. I imagine someone else in the group, most likely composed of retirees, will feel the same way.

Both these ‘outings’ will help me fulfill one of my New Year’s goals, which is to do something different each month…e.g., get out and about.

David and I have planned a visit to the Benedictine Abby February 1.  Brother D chairs an ecumenical or interfaith group that hold its annual pot luck dinner and discussion on the Eve of Imbolc this year. Also called Oimelc and Candlemas, Imbolc celebrates the awakening of the land and the growing power of the Sun. 

Ever since I read Robert Graves White Goddess for an anthropology class, I have followed the Wheel of the Year.  I love that these Benedictine brothers (the oldest Catholic order) have embraced the old ways with an open mind.


I have decided I am too much of a homebody these days, a role I never did well. The experts tell us we need to get out of our comfort zone occasionally, and nothing is more comfortable than home.  If David wants to stay home and never go anywhere ever again, I don’t have to let his decision apply to me. Perhaps when I am 84 I will feel the same way.  So like Dolly in Hello Dolly, he can go his way, and I will go my way, only in my case, it will be a different way.

Thus, each month this year, I will do something with or without David.  He has agreed to go with me to the Botanic Gardens Sunday and the pot luck supper at the Abby, but I am traveling sans hubby to Longwood Gardens.


Yesterday, I finally managed to log onto my old computer and download some of the hundreds of photos I had stored on Zip drives and save them to Flash Drives which my laptop can read. I have many photo albums upstairs with photos dating to the dark ages (before I was born). I need to scan them and save them in a cloud where my kids can access them should they choose (any ideas?).

Today, I found some of the photographs I snapped with my first digital camera, which created inferior photos compared with the those I took with my last film camera. I stopped using the film camera the late 1990s when it became jammed with sand blowing off the coast of North Africa.  Every photo from that trip has at least one grain of sand showing. As you can see in the photo below, one of the last taken on film, the grain of sand shows up as a white speck. I know, I need Photoshop to fix these snaps.  Ah one more project in the never-ending ‘bucket’ list. But first I would have to take a class…..

My Greencheek Conure, Sweetpea finds a place to cuddle

My Greencheek Conure, Sweetpea finds a place to cuddle, c. 2000

18 thoughts on “Out and about

  1. Sweet Pea is adorable! I applaud you for getting up and going each month with something new. Longwood Gardens sounds like a fun trip. Gregg and I want to get to the FDR Memorial. We passed the Basin yesterday and the reflection of the Jefferson Memorial was magical. Also read your other post. I will be sharing photos from the Botanical Garden this upcoming week.


  2. I agree that having outings planned is a good idea, though at the moment I am still recovering from all the excesses around Christmas. Your snuggly bird reminds me of when I had a budgie called Lucky. It was amazing how much fun he could be. Blessings from Dalamory. http://www.freda.org.uk


  3. The classes here are all at night. I too long to take a photoshop class.
    What did I do with our photos. I scanned. Part time, for a year, a little here and a little there. I made a big folder, and I put folders inside by name. Mother, for instance, is marked: Margaret Millicent Barnum Sirrine Gunthorp Dowd. (Madge, Maggie). Why? I put each name she used in for the record. Same with everyone. I tried to date each photo uniformly. Date, name, where. I’m all done with that job now, but I am so glad I did it.

    Great shot of you two.


  4. I love your cute Sweetpea. I STILL have slides to scan. My old photos are all done… I hope. You can definitely correct your photos easily using PhotoShop by clicking on the clone stamp. We had a problem with our digital camera photos for a while because of some water spots or mold that appeared inside the lens. Aggravation.

    I’m at home right now and feeling a little claustrophobic for some reason.


  5. I have Photo Shop and use it daily to size my photos. I make them smaller so they are quicker to download on my blog.
    What a cute colorful photo of your bird. Just lovely, Dianne.


  6. I need to do the same as you: get out of my comfort zone and DO something other than diddle my thumbs. On my own, preferably. Home grooves are hard to get out of once you’re settled in.

    I am planning a trip to a garden in February, which is famous for its winter planting. On a coach, in the company of a whole gaggle of people. I like neither the idea of the coach nor the gaggle; do you reckon I’ll stick with the plan?


  7. Your scheduled out and about choices sound delightful. Here’s beaming thoughts of good weather, great stamina and cooperative body parts for those jaunts.


  8. Hi Dianne, I love being a home body, more so in winter, but realize I need to get out and put one foot in front of the other and just move myself. Gregg is always wanting to go out so he tends to coax me along. We enjoyed the Botanical Garden very much but they had closed off each end of it, so we weren’t able to see the photos on display, etc.. I’m afraid the poinsettas and other decorations have been put away. The area where you walk in is very nice and from there we walked through the ‘jungle’. One section beyond has also been closed. There were also some men working on pipes but they may have finished that by now. When all’s said and done there was not as much to see as at other times of the year but we still enjoyed it. Just thought I would give you the head’s up on what to expect.


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