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Sunday, April 14, 2013

A spring in my step

It wasn't the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., but suburban Vienna, Virginia's Meadowlark Botanical Gardens made for a nice substitute as the Kaminoge family ventured out in search of the cherry blossoms on yet another beautiful spring day. For me, it was a chance to get some exercise and get off the disabled list following my recent knee surgery. A good time was had by all three of us as we made our way among the trees, flowers and even a Korean-style garden. Meadowlark seems like the kind of place that would be fun to stroll around in at any time of year.

Before visiting the botanical gardens, we had lunch at a bar-and-grill in Vienna. Next door was a supermarket, where I fueled up with a bottle of Cheerwine, Southern soda so sweet, too much of it will make your teeth hurt. I'm hooked.

At the gardens

The ruins of a springhouse. In the days before refrigeration, these were built over pools of spring water, and utilized the naturally-cool water to preserve dairy goods, fresh produce and other perishables for several days at a time, even in summer.

My daughter plays under a cherry tree in full-bloom

Amber shows off her petal collection

At the entrance to the Korean Bell Garden. At some point in my career I hope to be posted to South Korea, and I would welcome the opportunity to learn the language.

Amber relives her days as a child model in Taiwan

Unlike at many Japanese Buddhist temples, this bell was not meant to be rung

I had to sit down a couple of times today, but all in all it felt good to be moving around outside, brace and crutches notwithstanding.

Further proof that when it comes to composing photographs of blooming flowers, my wife is far superior.

Daughter and dad take a break

Mother and daughter hide among the sakura

In addition to flowering trees, there were plenty of birds about in the botanical gardens. I tried, but ultimately failed, to get a good shot of a singing cardinal. Pamela was much more successful with the geese.

At the visitors center, Amber poses with her souvenir, a House Finch (complete with birdsong) that she promptly dubbed "Nami-chan". My daughter likes to name her stuffed animals after herself.


  1. hi Jim. maybe you should have begun with South Korea, as that language is infinitely easier to learn than Chinese. at one time i had a working knowledge of Korean. there is a pronunciation chart that will allow you to pronounce virtually anything within a few minutes: you can read the writing over the bell using this chart.

    it's interesting to note that both Korean and Thai written languages were developed by their emperors. if the Thai king had see what the Korean emperor had done, maybe Thai wouldn't be so unnecessarily complex! make for some interesting research.

    glad to see you out and about! take care.

    1. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to bid on a Chinese-language post. It takes a lot of enthusiasm to learn a language, and I've been jaded for a long time when it comes to Mandarin :-)
      There was a position in Seoul, but I didn't get it. Maybe next time. For now, I've just got to get through the next few weeks and do what it takes to pass the final Chinese exam.
      Hope you're enjoying fatherhood!

  2. hi Jim. i certainly am! Phoenix is a fun little girl.

    btw, my wife and i both love Cheerwine. it makes an excellent mixer with dark rum. but please don't take my word for it. ;)