Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

When our grandson was small and lived just down the street from us, we would make crafty things together. For the holidays I tried to find something relevant and then personalize it in some way. I would search for things on line, then print them, and follow directions to put whatever it was together. So one Thanksgiving there was a little pilgrim and Indian ensemble, complete with a turkey and dining table, that I found and assembled. What was different were the faces when all was said and done. I found his and his parents' face photos and used them instead of the originals. So now for Thanksgiving I take out the tiny group and put them on display. Our grandson is now fourteen years old and no longer lives down the street. We had a chance to visit them last weekend as he traditionally visits with his other set of grandparents on this holiday. I always enjoyed making those things. Now they are out again and serve as reminders of the small things that we are thankful for. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Oops! Dental Appointment is Next Week

I usually put my appointments on my phone with a reminder for thirty minutes before the actual scheduled time. But we also have a hard copy calendar that we keep for quick reference. When my husband makes appointments, he exclusively uses the hard copy calendar. He entered the latest appointment a month ago. So when he asked me when his dental appointment was this month, I reminded him that it was yesterday at 1 PM. Based on that we decided to do our grocery shopping on Monday rather than yesterday. So a few minutes before the appointed time he left for the visit as the office is literally a block away. Within ten or fifteen minutes he was back in the house saying that the appointment was for next week. So I pulled out the calendar again and it clearly looks like it was for yesterday - yet he insisted that it clearly looks like it was for next week. You be the judge! That reminds me - I need to print out a 2018 calendar. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pontoon Boat Ride Down the James River in Virginia

Someone in our family is in love with the James River. So much so that he and his family recently bought some property along it that includes a small creek with documented historical significance. So on our visit this past weekend we had an opportunity to explore the site, and were lucky enough to take a pontoon boat ride provided by a neighbor who lives up the river. It is always our luck to be on the water when it is very cold and windy. In spite of it, the pooch that came along for the ride provided entertainment and the views of the land were interesting from this reference point. The river is a lot wider than imagined, and there are many run down buildings as well as new construction dotting the land and hills throughout. There is also a CSX owned train track on the opposite side which brings along with it CSX trains. We went quite a ways in both directions and when we landed back where we started we explored more of the couple of acres of newly acquired frontier. Neither my husband nor I are the outdoorsy types. But we are certain that something wonderful will be constructed within the next couple of years. And who knows? There may be a pooch thrown in to this mix. He or she would have a blast in those parts. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bait Shop, Fried Chicken, and Sweet Potato Pie

Every so often we take a four hour ride to a town in Virginia for the weekend. You know you are not in DC anymore as soon as you turn off highway 66 to route 29. The scenery changes dramatically and it is so much less congested. Once there, we are entertained by smaller town routines. We would be heading out to some property along the James River, so along with that comes fishing and a camp fire. These aren't the kinds of activities we ever participated in so it's an education in every regard. Neither my husband nor I are outdoorsy people, except for walking in the concrete jungle every morning. So stopping by the bait shop was an interesting thing to do - especially when the fried chicken is sold in the same place. If you are more interested in oysters, or in need of gold fish or propane, it's also the place to go. Next stop was at the pie place - an establishment that is well known in the area and busy with usual customers. All the apple pies were already sold out, so we had to do with a sweet potato concoction. It wasn't bad, but the apple pie must be luscious. The whole experience is quite southern and charming - something DC is not. It reminds me more of the Midwestern way of life. People are just kinder, and nicer, and less jaded. It's always a nice visit when we go there, and makes me wonder about the important things in life. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Martin Luther Lecture at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress looks very different at night. We usually go to lectures that are given in the afternoon. In fact, we just went to one on Tuesday about Martin Luther art and objects - celebrating 500 years of the reformation. Last evening we went to another talk about the famous monk. Brad S. Gregory was the speaker, and there were several rare books available to browse. I must admit I preferred the show and tell talk complete with many slides and visual surprises. Someone reading to me never sits well with me, although the speaker was very good and the content well organized. My husband really enjoyed it. I retired from the library after working there for ten years. I never planned to work there, it was just serendipity. Since we live so close we take advantage of the programs and lectures that are offered. It is one of the perks of living in the Capitol city. And it looks so different at night.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Visitor Parking Pass

We used to have a two car garage with a long driveway when we lived in the Midwest. I never had to think about where I was going to park when I was driving home. And if we were expecting company, they could park in the driveway or on the street. Things changed when we moved to DC. We have street parking here. Usually it's not that big of a problem to find a space, and it's much easier on weekends. You do learn the art of parallel parking more than you ever thought you would need it. You also see how people don't think twice about how they park and take up more space than they need for one car which limits overall available space. But what do they care? So you need a residential permit to park in your zone. But in order to allow for visitor parking, you also need to have a visitor parking pass that allows your visitors to park in the street for the amount of time they need. Otherwise, they would have to move their car every two hours. Every year you need to apply for a visitor parking pass. They don't remind you to apply for one, so you need to remember to do it. So that's what I did yesterday. I got on the DDOT website and requested a pass for each of our two apartments. You can imagine the information they request is getting more and more complicated because people here abuse these passes. Hard to believe? There is something to be said about living in a less congested neighborhood. But that doesn't make it any less annoying. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

eBay is Not For Me

I have been selling custom pet portraits since 2012. My interest in art was reignited when the iPad came out. Instead of messing with charcoal, pastels, and watercolors, I paint with my iPad instead. So I opened an Etsy Shop for custom orders, along with Artyah and Hound & Co, and have prints on Fine Art America and Zazzle. It's always good to put your eggs in more than one basket. I also showcase my work on my Facebook page, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. I also have a gallery wall at the Wagtime Shop on Capitol Hill. It's a full time job! I thought it might be a good idea to have a presence on eBay. So I went through all the motions the other day and tried to set up my first listing. Since my work is all "virtual" and the end product is a jpeg image - like a photo - that is sent as an attachment to an email, there is no hard copy product that needs to be mailed. In reading the fine print, that is not an acceptable product to sell. It would need to be set up as a classified ad. Because it was getting a bit confusing I called an eBay rep and they told me the classified option was just closed down. She recommended another company name to use. At that point I just decided eBay just wasn't for me. The beauty of my commissions is that I don't have to deal with mailing anything and I can take my studio with me wherever I go. I have occasionally printed out 8x10 hard copies of portraits on photo paper if there was no other option, or if the customer wanted to pick the portrait up if they live in the neighborhood. I am waiting for Amazon to come up with a way to enable this process in their handmade shop, but that hasn't happened yet. So I will stick with what I have for now. In the meantime my Christmas commissions are starting to trickle in and I need to get to work! And all I need to do is attach the final portrait to an email. Why would I want to change that?