Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives in DC With a Stop In Milwaukee

It has arrived! The Capitol Christmas tree originated in Minnesota this year. This I know because my friend who hails from there informed me about it. She went to see it get unloaded from the flat bed truck on Friday. Before it arrived here, it passed through Milwaukee en route to DC. I read about it on line in the Milwaukee Journal last week. There was a lot of fanfare for it downtown there. (The photos are from the Milwaukee Journal). I feel a bit of a connection to it now! Today we walked over to the Capitol see how far the progress is with the decorations. There were a lot of very large branches on the ground. A forklift was hovering about with a workman skillfully filling in the bare spots. Most of the Westlawn was fenced off and of course there was police presence. In less than two weeks it will be completely decorated for the official lighting scheduled on December 2 at 5PM. Then, you can get close up and personal and see the ornaments that come from all over the country. When we first moved here, we went to one of the official lighting ceremonies, but since then I've always been at work at 5 PM. Maybe we will make it this year since I'm on an eight hour shift now. Things do keep getting brighter - especially this time of the year. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

That Darn Eggplant - Harris Teeter Here We Come

I am getting tired of going to grocery stores. I shouldn't complain because my husband always does the grocery shopping. As an added bonus, he LOVES to cook, so I am off the hook for that too. So I have become extremely lazy in this department. But since we are having five people over for Thanksgiving, we needed to pick up a few things. A week or two ago we got our whole turkey in a bag at Target. I love this bag thing because it is so much easier, and it is the one thing that I have the responsibility for. Yesterday we spent what seemed to be a  day in Costco. We decided to finally become members and try the place out for the first time. It was great for large bulk non perishable items, but not so good for a few little things. So after brunch this morning in McLean, we stopped at Safeway and got the gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and sliced ham -  but the eggplant just didn't look any good. I knew what that would mean - a trip to Harris Teeter. Yes, they did have the best looking eggplant. And I know someone who loves pumpkin pie so we had to get one of those. And then a little milk would be needed for the mashed potatoes. And a little yogurt is always nice. When does it end? I guess never - not as long as there are holidays and stomachs to fill. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Costco Adventure

It's been a week for adventures. We tried our first Uber trip, went to Constitution Hall for the Billy Joel Gershwin concert, and got Costco cards. When we first came to DC we went to Costco with our family members and were overwhelmed by the size and amount of STUFF. Back then, they needed diapers and did a lot of hosting for large parties. It's been awhile since then, so we decided to give it another try. We ordered our Costco cards on line, paid the $55.00 annual fee, and they arrived in the mail this week. So we drove over to Pentagon City in Arlington today and first stopped to get the mandatory photos taken. My husband had a big list of things he wanted to get for Thanksgiving, but it turns out the amount and quantity of the items really is much too much for a single dinner for only six people. But we did stock up on a lot of non perishable household items, and ink cartridges for my printer, and calcium pills and baby aspirin, shaving razors and toothpaste, etc. The parking lot was packed, and the place was filled - even though some of the aisles looked empty. The grocery section was the busiest. I do need to spend some time on the website to see what kinds of things are available. I don't see us going back very often, but I do think we already got our savings from just one day. The best part is we found our favorite cheese and got a whole wheel of P'tit Basque. I still have to use Amazon for K cup decaf tea, Britta filters, and Bali's and Nips treats. Why doesn't any one place have everything we need? That would be just too easy. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Billy Joel Gershwin Prize at DAR Constitution Hall on PBS January 2

It was a fun night. We got free tickets to see the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize Concert at the DAR Constitution Hall. I work at the Library of Congress and every once in a while, employees have an opportunity to attend these types of events. We took our first Uber ride there, and immediately went to our seats. The tickets were for side stage views but couldn't be better because the box that Billy Joel, Dr. Billington, and SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor sat in was just to our right. I watched Billy Joel snapping his fingers, clapping along, and watching the production most of the night. The TelePrompTer words changed size based on the artist on stage - Tony Bennett had the largest letters - but now I know why they all remember the words so well. My husband loved Kevin Spacey the most - especially when he played harmonica at the finale. We will probably watch the edited version on PBS in January. Everything looks so different when you are actually there watching the set changes and some of the behind the scenes action. Unfortunately I left without my program and we ordered up another Uber ride. We were home before ten.  It's not something we do with any frequency, but it was quite memorable for a lot of reasons. That's what I call an employee perk - and a little luck getting a lottery ticket. The most frequent line I hear from my husband these days is "how could we ever leave this town?" He never said that when we lived in Milwaukee. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Uber Adventure

We have free tickets to the Billy Joel Gershwin event this evening at Constitution Hall. It only happened because the Library had a lottery for extra seats. This kind of opportunity occurs every once in a while and it is well worth the effort to attend. Usually the events are sponsored at the Jefferson Building- well within walking distance from our house. But the hall is near the White House and it's much too cold to walk. So we were scratching our heads thinking about the best way to get there. Both metro and garage parking are three and four blocks away. I tried scheduling a Red Top cab but it wouldn't let me select an address I wanted. So we decided to download the Uber App and give it a try. I liked the credit card scan feature, and the extra rewards on the credit card. I didn't care to read about the negative press Uber got today in the news. But in spite of it, let's see if it works as well as everyone says. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Billy Joel Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Event

Just the other day I was lamenting the fact that we haven't had an opportunity to attend a Library event that showcased some really interesting artists. Every once in a while an invitation is extended to employees for special affairs. Last week an email was sent out about the upcoming Billy Joel Gershwin Award Ceremony that is being held at Constitution Hall. Anyone interested could respond back and be placed in a lottery of sorts. This morning the return email was disappointing, but it said after the stage was set today, another round of tickets would become available for "side stage" seats. You could say I hit the jackpot?! Anyway, my husband and I will be attending the event tomorrow evening. I picked my tickets up from the events office before lunch. Since we have never been to this hall, it will be fun to explore the place and watch and see who files in. The show will be taped for PBS and I am guessing the entertainment will be more than interesting. This sort of thing never happened in my thirty year health care career in Milwaukee. Uptown Girl anyone?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Twitter, Tweets, and Updates

I'm always looking at statistics at work and for my hobby. At work, I track and report on all kinds of performance measures. I did that in health care too in Milwaukee - as a clinician and as a regional director.  A lot of decisions were and can be made using this objective data. It's a full time job keeping up with social media related to my digital painting websites. Last week the views in my Etsy shop were significantly higher than "typical." I really couldn't figure out why. Then I got the weekly twitter update and that also showed a spike in views. I had posted a picture of us sitting on the Capitol steps watching the concert for valor on my iPhone. The photo happened to be of Jennifer Hudson with the Washington Monument in the background. Using the hash tag #concertforvalor, it became a part of the thread the evening of the concert, and received a lot of attention. Because my twitter page is linked to my Etsy site, some folks jumped from one site to the next. I don't have a lot of twitter followers, but have been working on that this past month. Whenever my blog is picked up by DC Blogs, the number of visits always increases. So what does this mean? I need to try to connect with key events, get smarter using hash tags, and keep working on all these websites. So if you are reading this blog, check out the links and be a part of a statistic! I'm keeping my eye on all of them!