by Borderstan.com November 3, 2012 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

"leaf"

Leaf Collection on Monday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

Borderstan, it’s time to break-out those rakes and leaf blowers. The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) will begin collecting leaves Monday, November 5 and will continue collections through January 12, 2013.

Leaves will be collected by DPW from every residential street in the District. Residents are asked to rake loose leaves into the treeboxes, not into the street. DPW crews will then come by and vacuum the leaves, which will be composted. The city will also collect and compost bagged leaves left in the treeboxes.

“Collecting leaves is a public safety function,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. in a press release statement. “Wet or dry leaves can cause pedestrians to fall and cars to skid. Leaves can block catch basins, which can lead to flooding. Leaves raked into the street, rather than the treebox, reduce available parking spaces. Starting a car parked over dry leaves can cause them to ignite.”

To ensure leaves are collected, residents are asked to check DPW’s collection schedule, which is available online.

Here are some tips for leaf collecting, provided by DPW:

  • Look up your street’s collection schedule in the leaf collection brochure or at http://leaf.dcgis.dc.gov/
  • Rake leaves into the treebox the weekend before your street’s collection cycles. If you don’t have a treebox, leaves should be placed adjacent to the curb but not in the gutter or the street.
  • Please – leaves only! Tree limbs, bricks, dirt, rocks, etc., will damage the equipment and delay collections.
  • If you choose to bag your leaves, place the bags in the treebox or next to the trash/recycling container(s).
  • Drive slowly around our crews’ work area so no one gets hurt.

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by Borderstan.com October 22, 2012 at 10:00 am 1 Comment

"Fall"

Fall, seasons and finales. (Fox Deatry)

From Fox Deatry. Email him at fox[AT]borderstan.com.

Every year DC experiences a drastic change. Kayaks along the Potomac are docked and stored away, the draft turns a bitter cold, dieting seizes as layering begins, and leaves become a vibrant auburn before morbidity sets in.

Fall is said to be the season in which the goddess Demeter neglects the Earth as her daughter Persephone returns to her yearly stint in the Underworld. For Washingtonians, fall is that time when emotions from the fresh goodbyes to summer interns and graduates are set aside to deal with the new faces settling in. Fall is that season in which closeted Hill folks call up lost contacts to ask if they have tickets to Miss Adams Morgan. It is the season when gay men exhume their magenta stilettos and dust off their bygone Madonna costumes for Dupont Circle’s Drag Heel Race. It is the time when people pluck the piano keys and sing in melodramatic falsetto, ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye,’ at L’Enfant Café. People come and go, seasons fade and new faces shine.

This is my last article for Borderstan, but before I croon my swan song and ride into the sunset, this ‘supposed’ lifestyle writer, needs to croak a few more words of wisdom:

  1. Never Leave Your Hometown: You might be in a different city, but keeping your own morals is key to surviving here. The worst thing you can do is to be another Hill or K Street wannabe. Plus, they have bad attitudes, permanent scowls and a fashion sense courtesy of the Sears Catalog. You came here with the strong Miss America conviction to bring world peace. Keep it that way. If you’re uncertain then Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is available on Netflix.
  2. Love and Labels: Carry Bradshaw said it. People come to New York City to fall in love and wear Manolos. In D.C., they come because they are unconditionally in love with a cause. Whether its saving the Expedia Gnome or keeping Big Bird from receiving unemployment benefits, people here believe in labels and categories in a political sense. If you don’t have any, move to a different city. Packing love and label in your suitcase along with your pink wardrobe and Beverly Hills Chihuahua Legally Blonde-style is mandatory.
  3. Farewell is Good: Hallmark may say otherwise, but endings are part of the circle of life. D.C. has seen many changes since it was known as Washington City. Neighborhoods gentrified, communities sprang, population increased and new monuments built to tell the tale of heroism. It all happened under the careful watch of the architect of this city. He lies across the river, on a hill rich with grass tuffets and glistening snow in the midst of January. He’s name is Pierre L’Enfant. He came to this once swamp and mud-stricken city a stranger. He left it with the grandeur of the Roman Empire.

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by Borderstan.com October 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,281 1 Comment

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

"city"

OLD CITY green extends its lease to offer fall produce and festivities. (Borderstan)

OLD CITY green, an urban garden center in the heart of Shaw, extended its 9th and N Streets NW lease through the end of the year, meaning the co-op garden retailer will be selling fall vegetables, pumpkins, perennials and even Christmas trees.

OLD CITY green also offers a variety of events, classes and tips for seasonal gardening. For more information, visit the website or the Facebook page.

OLD CITY green is located at 902 N Street NW and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am until 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until 3 pm.

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by Borderstan.com September 18, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,026 1 Comment

"fall"

Fall is here. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Scott Thompson writes a biweekly column for Borderstan.com.

From Scott Thompson. Follow Scott on Twitter @foureyedblond or email him at thompson[AT]@borderstan.com.

Like most Washingtonians, I feel as though my molecules changed the moment fall weather broke last week.

Gone were the mornings of arriving at work looking as if I had walked through a car wash, or the evenings spent walking awkwardly through Rock Creek Parkway because only one mile of a three-mile run was physically possible. In their place arrived enthusiastic anticipation about everything that makes fall the best of all seasons. The pumpkin spiced lattes. The butternut squash soup recipes.  The layers upon layers of cardigans, ties and Gap receipts.

My response to the change of season was simultaneously surprising and unsurprising. Surprising, because in many ways it really did feel as though my brain cells had re-calibrated themselves, and I felt happier. Unsurprising because it exemplified the sentiment of a quote I recently discovered  in the “Daily Quote” space at the top of my work planner.  The quote now ranks as one of the simplest yet most meaningful quotes I have read in some time.

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

The quote was said by Charles Kingsley. After doing a little research, I learned that Charles Kingsley was a 19th century Englishman — and in many ways, a Renaissance man. During his lifetime, he served as a priest with the Church of England, a university professor, a historian, a novelist and an early supporter of Charles Darwin.

Given his curiosity and diverse career, it’s easy to assume that Mr. Kinsley could have been quoted in my planner on a multitude of intellectual topics, ranging from natural selection to predestination. But the quote I discovered was the opposite — it was a simple, precise summary of a lesson each of us has experienced in our daily lives but perhaps have never been able to pinpoint. It’s the fact that enthusiasm — regardless of what it’s for, or who it’s about- is the single engine behind what drives us, what sustains us, what makes us successful and what makes us happy.

My enthusiasm for fall immediately made me excited about even the most mundane activities – waking up, walking to work, getting an afternoon coffee. It’s the same physiological sense of enthusiasm that can make every late night or early morning at work worthwhile if a project excites you and taps into your passion. The same enthusiasm that puts a skip into your step after a great first date, that makes pressing “complete purchase” on Expedia so thrilling, or that makes planning a wedding, a trip, or a party almost more exciting that the event itself.

Deep down, I suppose I was already aware of the lesson in Mr. Kingsley’s quote – but I had never seen it spelled out so succinctly. Like everyone, my parents and mentors have always advised me to pursue work in a career field I love, or have warned me that money can’t buy happiness. Those statements are correct, but that don’t dig down into what really does and can make us happy on a day to day, moment by moment basis – what helps us overcome the cyclical problem the French call “metro, boulot, dodo” (metro, work, sleep).

By identifying the people, the places, the projects, and the plans that enthuse us — and by seeking them out — we can make every day feel like “the first day of Fall.”

And Mr. Kingsley, I can’t think of anything to be more enthusiastic about than that.

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by Borderstan.com September 13, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,164 0

"Vineyard"

Virginia’s vineyards are the perfect escape for a fall weekend. (Rachel Nania)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

As beautiful as DC is in the fall, it’s also the perfect time of year to get out of the city and take in some fresh air and scenery in the surrounding area. And the best part? You don’t have to travel far to achieve a relaxing, seasonal weekend. Plenty of festive fall fun is right around the corner (err, actually down the highway), just waiting to be discovered!

Visit Virginia’s Vineyards

These days, wine country isn’t just limited to Sonoma and Napa. Virginia vineyards are producing some award-winning wines, and the scenery at most wineries are definitely something to write home about! Here are some of my favorite spots (most are anywhere from 40 to 120 minutes outside of the city):

  • Veritas Vineyard, Afton VA. Just outside of Charlottesville, this vineyard is nestled in the mountains and has an amazing view of the countryside. The tasting room is warm and cozy, with leather couches, wooden beams and a roaring fire.
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville, VA. Also outside of Charlottesville, this vineyard produces one of the best Chardonnays. Just ask the Obamas – They’ve served it at quite a few important dinners.
  • Sunset Hills Vineyard, Loudoun County VA. This vineyard definitely has a party deck and plenty of outdoor seating. On weekends, take in the fall outdoor weather with your favorite wine and some live music in the pavillion.
  • Chateau O’Brien, Markham, VA. Don’t let the Irish last name fool you, Chateau O’Brien turns out some seriously good wines. Sip your choice on the deck overlooking the mountains. Yes, you are only 50 miles outside of DC… but you feel worlds away.

Nearby Quaint Towns

Spend a day (or a whole weekend) exploring shops, restaurants and culture at a nearby small town. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Middleburg, VA: Beautiful country estates, manicured acres of grass, horse stables, vineyards and a small main street overflowing with local shops and eateries… What’s not to love? Ladies and gentlemen, this is all within an hour of the city.
  • Staunton, VA: While it is a bit of a hike (about two-and-a-half hours), Staunton is  well worth the journey. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Staunton has a small town feel with an incredibly hip shopping, food and music scene.
  • Charlottesville, VA: Technically, Charlottesville is not a small town, but it is definitely one of my favorite weekend escapes. Shop boutiques and local artists on the Downtown Mall, hike Old Rag Mountain or sample some suds at Blue Mountain Brewery.

Festive Fall Activities

It’s just about primetime for apple picking, pumpkin patches and hayrides! Here are a few local spots to hit when you need to soak up all of fall.

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