The 2nd thing I love about living in Arlington, VA…

rbBeing able to continue our car-free lifestyle.

As you may already have heard, one of the things I loved most about living in Berlin was not having a car. Berlin’s public transportation system is the best I’ve ever used (okay, maybe it ties with Zurich’s), and we gleefully explored the city–and well beyond—by foot, bus, subway and train during our year in Germany.

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Things I’ve Seen From Our Balcony

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Armored car guards picking up a deposit from a nearby restaurant.

A wasp nest high up in a tree across the way.

A group of very loud, very official (possibly even Presidential?)-looking helicopters.

A large group of children playing a swimming-pool-free variation of Marco Polo in a nearby courtyard.

Workmen using our balcony as a staging area for repair work on a balcony a few floors above.

A very flattened blue-striped work glove, obviously run over multiple times.

Crows, or maybe ravens? I don’t know which but I would like to because sometimes they quite companionably hang out on our balcony railing and I feel it’s rather rude not to know their proper name. I’ll try to get a picture and then maybe you can help.

A mother stopping along the sidewalk to take a picture of her toddler walking between his grandparents, his tiny arms outstretched to hold their hands.

Trumpet vines with beautiful little orange-red blossoms.

A FedEx truck.

A moving truck unloading crates from Austria. (Wilkommen!)

The flickering light from unseen TV screens in faraway high-rises.

notfuAn almost full moon, both behind clouds and in front of them.

A man on a higher floor of the building next door standing in front of his window eating cereal and peering quite inquisitively into our apartment. (Our new curtains arrived shortly thereafter, thank goodness.)

Things I’ve Heard From Our Balcony

 

ligSomeone playing a trumpet! For a few brief and wonderful moments, I actually thought I was in Berlin listening to our regular musical visitors. Then the very un-Berlinish crosswalk signal down the street began beeping and I remembered that we’re now back in the US where we rarely hear music on the street. It’s likely that the unseen trumpet player is a busker down in front of the Metro station a few blocks away, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’m okay with letting a little musical mystery back into my life…

A rather angry squirrel barking at some unseen threat.

Overgrown tree branches scraping against the window of an apartment in the building across the street.

An extended set of really, REALLY loud male sneezes.

The local high school’s marching band practicing its halftime show out on the football field a few blocks away.

A spirited, high-volume rendition of the Rocky theme by a twenty-something guy running down the block.

“You touched my shoe!” -An indignant young boy to his friend as they walked home from school.

A hawk, really rather upset judging from the length and volume of its shrieking cries.

The echoing “deep-doop deep-doop deep-doop” of the audible crosswalk signal from a major intersection a few blocks away.

“If she pulls away, you pick her up. We need to establish some guidelines.” -A young woman talking to her walking companion, I believe about their dog.

The crashing of construction refuse down a trash chute.

The cawing of crows. Or ravens.

“Ahhhh, I’ve got a date! AhhBAH!” (or some other similar-sounding expression of what seemed to be triumph, accompanied as it was by a fist pump into the air.) -A casually-dressed young guy in a silver BMW convertible as he pulled away from the curb after dropping off his friend at 2:30 pm on a Monday afternoon.

A variety of motorized vehicles driving over a nearby manhole cover.

Sirens. So many sirens.

The grr-grr-RUMBLE of a UPS truck engine starting up.

A twenty-something guy in big, neon-orange (I’m talking, REALLY orange) headphones singing (yelling, almost) along to whatever he was listening to. I couldn’t make out the song, but from how enthusiastically he was working his hands as he walked, he was clearly enjoying it.

An owl, early one morning but not again since.

Crickets. Cicadas, too.

No churchbells yet, but that doesn’t stop me hoping.

Excellent Socks in Unexpected Places, Part 3: Something’s Missing!

3.4.14nosocksMarch 4, 2014: Orange Line, DC Metro, near Ballston Station (Arlington,VA)

Outside temperature: Definitely well below freezing, making this a bold and possibly frostbite-worthy fashion choice!

2.1.14nosocks

February 1, 2014: Red Line, DC Metro, near Bethesda Station (Bethesda, MD)

Outside temperature: It’s early February and everyone’s wearing coats, gloves and hats, so it’s safe to assume socks might be appropriate…