Sunday, January 15, 2017

Inauguration Barriers and Obstacles

We usually take the same route every morning, but it is getting more and more difficult to navigate around our neighborhood with inauguration preparation in full swing. And because the national mall is our neighborhood, you can imagine the mess and inconvenience at this time of year. We have lived through inauguration twice since we moved here ten years ago, so this is number three. It is oftentimes exciting to be in the middle of all this, but it can also be quite frustrating when barriers block the streets we usually take, and the dreaded parking signs caution us about no parking in the days ahead. That probably irritates me the most because we don't have a garage and depend on available street space which is already limited. So this week we will need to grin and bear it, or stay inside. Aside from that we decided to walk all the way to the White House. We couldn't even see it or the parade viewing stand as it was blocked by about eight dump trucks and the street in front was completely barricaded. On the other end of the avenue, a rehearsal was taking place at the Capitol where people were milling about trying to glimpse whatever they could. Unfortunately, the predominant feature is porto potties. Hopefully things will go well, as they usually do. It looks a lot different when you live somewhere else, but at least I can say we were there when....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Digitalart Custom Pet Portraits and Etsy

I opened an Etsy shop about four years ago. My interest in art was reignited when the iPad came along. All my custom pet portraits are created on my iPad and the finished product is a JPEG image that is attached to an email. From that image file, a product can be created to the liking of the person who purchased it - a canvas, traditional mat and frame, or a non traditional take on art like a coffee mug, tote bag, pillow, or T shirt. The sky is the limit. Every year during the holiday season, November and December are my busiest months. Thank goodness I have a very supportive husband who can go days without a life while I am painting away the hours. I get so many requests that I have to turn some of them down, or offer at least a sketch with an IOU to complete the portrait once I get some time. I really appreciate my repeat customers - they either order early on, and/or are willing to wait until I have the time to do it right. Now that the frenzy is over, I need to print all of the portraits so I can display them on my "gallery wall" at the Wagtime Shop on Capitol Hill. I really enjoy creating the furry creature art, but the positive feedback means even more. Thanks for a great end of the year season. I just wish I could spread it out more throughout the year!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nature's Way or Nature's Bounty?

I'm not sure when it started. But when you get to a certain age, it is highly recommended to begin taking Calcium and Vitamin D supplements, and Fish Oil if you have a history of cardiac diseases. With my supply of calcium supply depleting, and while on a trip to the grocery store, we found a deal at Harris Teeter for "buy one, get one free." That can oftentimes mean considerable savings when one bottle costs $15.99. I'm not sure which brand is better than the next, but it's the size of the pill that usually sells me. I am a terrible pill taker! Since the fish oil pills are as big as horse pills, I have finally been able to tolerate them without gagging! The difference between Nature's Made Calcium and Nature's Bounty Calcium looks to be the size of the pill. But the dose is also different. So we decided to get the Nature's Bounty horse size pill because it was 1200 mg plus 1000 iu of Vitamin D, requiring one pill a day and was the two for one deal. The Nature's Made was a smaller size 500 mg plus 400 iu requiring one pill two times a day. The blood work will show if any of this works. I used to wonder how my mom could take all those pills and keep them straight. And here I am having to do the same. And what about all the REAL prescription medications? Those never sell for "buy one, get one free."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

More Senate Hearings, Tuna Fish, and Shorter Afternoons

We decided that after spending all day Tuesday waiting in line and seeing only one senate hearing that we would take the day off yesterday and watch a bit on c span. So today I went against my natural circadian rhythm and was woken up at 7:30 by my husband so we could see more of the hearings this week. Rather than the Russell Building, they were scheduled in the Dirkson Building - one we have been in many times before to see primarily foreign relations discussions. It wasn't as hectic this morning, and we ended up getting in to the first room without any problem after waiting an hour and a half in line. The room was much bigger and could hold a lot more observers. After a bit, we walked over to another room, but only sat for a few minutes. The confirmation hearing that we were really interested in had already concluded; but another one was in process. So we watched that one for a bit. I checked the schedule to see what other options were available, and found one on the fifth floor - but there was a line and we really didn't want to wait - again! So we went for lunch in the "cafeteria" where I indulged in another tuna fish sandwich, while my husband had Senate bean soup. Before we left for the day, we checked the fifth floor again,  but there was still a line. We left and walked home to actually get some chores done - grocery shopping and laundry! I think I may have preferred standing in line.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hearings, Tuna Fish, and Long Afternoons

My husband and I are political junkies. We go to a lot of hearings and attend just about every event held on the national mall. So this week is the beginning of a lot of activity because it is the first week everyone is back in town, and there are many interesting issues being discussed. So yesterday we got up early to attend a confirmation hearing in the Russell Senate Office Building. Unfortunately we didn't get there early enough to have a better place in line. So we waited from 8:30-11:30, then decided it was time for lunch. So we made our way through the basement to the coffee shop for sandwiches and a break to sit down! Then we headed back to the end of the line and waited another two hours. This time we met a really nice woman from the Shenandoah Valley and chatted awhile. We finally got in to the hearing room and took our place in the back. What we should know by now is that the afternoons, after lunch, are usually a better time to attend higher profile discussions. By then, all the hustle and bustle has subsided and only the die hards remain. I don't like watching CSpan on television, but I could sit all day in a hearing room. There is so much to look at and ponder. We were going to go again today but we are both worn out from yesterday. We didn't get home until 6 PM! At least it's only a couple blocks down the street, which makes it all the more entertaining. And there will be plenty more opportunities - like tomorrow.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Smithsonian Visitor Survival Guide

Before we moved to Washington DC, we visited the city many times. One of my favorite Smithsonian Museums is American History. Since I retired last February, every morning my husband and I walk along the national mall. This morning when we were passing by the Smithsonian Castle and gardens, an employee or volunteer handed us a brochure. We must have looked like tourists in our triple layer outerwear braving the twenty degree temps. My husband was going to trash it, but I stuck it in my pocket so I could read about the contents and maybe learn a thing or two without looking it up online, which is what we routinely do these days. We hardly ever rely on hard copy anything - especially for reference materials. So I browsed through it a bit and might check it again more thoroughly to see if there is something we might see or do differently if it catches my eye. What I like most is that there is an average of 202 nice days per year and what I like the least is 113 average days of precipitation. I'm happy to say that we have explored most of the places that are mentioned in the brochure. We have no excuse. For the most part, it is all free - but this city is an expensive place to live so I feel like we are paying for the privilege. But what we like most is all the other stuff that happens around us outside of the Smithsonian buildings and museums. And that is something especially unique - and there's no brochure for that.