Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Tourists Have Vanished - Green Acres?

Things have definitely changed. Where they were once everywhere, now they are few and far in between. Our walk on Sunday through the National Mall highlighted the paucity of visitors to the neighborhood. A local was feeding ducks in the pool in front of the Capitol, but the gardens near the Smithsonian Castle and the US Botanical garden were deserted. My husband didn't like it since he thrives on crowds and noise. I, on the other hand, prefer it. It reminds me of Green Acres - he prefers city life and I think I might like a less hectic surrounding. But this won't last long so I'll enjoy it while it's here. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

ZocDoc With Dr. Marjan Yousefi

Making appointments with physician offices can sometimes be painful. It wasn't always that way. I've been trying to make an annual appointment with my internist for the last three months. Every time I call they say I need to call back at the end of the month, the scheduling system has been updated, or some other nonsense. I wanted to switch physicians over this but decided that changing all the prescriptions is even more of a hassle. Recently I needed to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist and started looking on line and discovered ZocDoc. You enter your insurance and see who accepts it, read reviews, and office locations and select someone - in this case it was Dr. Marjan Yousefi. The rest is a piece of cake. Once the appointment is made, forms can be filled in on line so as not to deal with all that in the office. A confirmation email is sent, the physician office calls to verify, a reminder email about the appointment is sent a week in advance and then the day before. Following the visit, another email is sent to evaluate the visit, and a final notification is sent if a follow up appointment is required. I tried using this system with my internist, because she was also listed - but couldn't even get past step one. I notified ZocDoc to ask why it wasn't working, and they followed up right away and said there was an issue with her office - MedStar. All I can say is after working thirty years in health care and having a retired surgeon as a husband, it's simple to figure out which approach is more acceptable. One reminds me of Milwaukee, and the other reminds me of DC. Can you tell which one is which?!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Minwax Wood Finish Stain Marker

We've had our dining room set for about ten years. And with routine use comes chips and dings. So we went to Home Depot yesterday to see what we might be able to do to freshen it up without spending an arm and a leg on refinishing it professionally or buying a totally new set. We found the Minwax wood finish stain markers that we tried on the floor with moderate success. I didn't think the filler pencil was needed, but my husband wanted to try it. We ended up with a light and dark shade of finishes. Well, the wood filler was indeed a waste of time for this purpose. The stain just didn't stick to it, but it probably needed to "set" first. Of course, neither my husband nor myself are what you would consider "handy" around the house, so this was an exercise in seeing if we could just make do. After fooling around with it for a bit of time, it appeared as though some improvement was had - at least from a distance. The only problem is that it is taking forever for it to dry, and most of it is ending up on an arm or leg instead of sticking to the chair. So I put little "do not touch" stickers on the chairs and turned them all backwards until it's safe to handle them again. If the idea was to hide the chips I think that was achieved. If the plan was to make it look like new at a close up level, I'm not so sure. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

All Is Quiet on the Western Front - Capitol, Supreme Court & Library of Congress at Dusk

With the high temps well in to the evening, sometimes it is a better idea to take a walk later in the day -  particularly if you are not a morning person. My husband does not like ambling after dinner, but will do it if he gets claustrophobic. I, on the other hand, love to walk at dusk. This part of town changes dramatically from day to evening. And it is the end of August. A lot of people don't return to town until next week. The streets are empty and you feel like you are about the only humans on earth - kinda weird in a city like this. So we strolled past the Library of Congress Jefferson Building and Neptune Fountain. The lights flickered on at the designated time. Across the street the Capitol dome shines through the scaffolding. Further along is the Supreme Court. Believe it or not, the back side of the Supreme Court also has interesting features. One can see glass chandeliers hanging in the offices above. And as we meander down Pennsylvania Avenue the full moon rises overhead. It's a bit busier along this route with the restaurants open, but still much quieter during this vacation season for Congress. And as always, my husband asks what we would do if we ever left here? I don't even answer anymore.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Exhibit at the Library of Congress

I've been in the Coolidge Auditorium many times over the last nine years. I thought the name was associated with President Calvin Coolidge, but didn't know why or how. Now there is a new exhibit at the Library of Congress that not only clarifies who Coolidge really was, but the genesis behind the whole affair. The history is clearly articulated in the exhibit, and it was all new to me. But because of her efforts, we are all invited to attend many free concerts and other productions in the Coolidge Auditorium. We have seen authors, artists, and I've even had staff meetings there. The acoustics are fine, but I can tell you it is always very cold! We have not attended any of the chamber music productions there, but the musical and orchestral lineups are quite impressive from year to year - all genres - to satisfy the tastes of everyone. A calendar of events can be found on the library's website and outside the front door of the Madison Building kiosk. I pass by this exhibit whenever I take a walk in the afternoon. It's worth a moment to stop by and see it. Thanks Elizabeth!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

DC Services Stink - Do Yours?

It takes a certain kind of person to live in this town. Maybe this week was just odd and not typical, or maybe we have nothing life threatening to worry about. I can only compare it to what life was like in the Midwest - and it was nothing as irritating as this. Starting with USPS - our held mail was never delivered. Neither two postal workers nor email complaint has been addressed. We still don't have our mail or a response within the promised 48 hour window. The public garden on the corner is overgrown and full of weeds. A request was sent without any action - they have one more day to meet the two week turnaround. We started a project three months ago for a simple installation with a promised date for tomorrow. Even with several email reminders to the vendor about meeting this deadline, we were assured it would be met. Guess what? It has to be rescheduled another 7-10 days out. Our entire kitchen in Milwaukee was remodeled in less time than this. I hate living my life around incompetence. I've been trying to make a doctor appointment for an annual exam for the past THREE months to no avail. I considered changing offices but don't want to deal with the prescription hassle. They said it has to do with scheduling changed. I don't think they want any patients. And of course there are other things going on in the city that create major inconvenience because of the lousy infrastructure. Thank goodness I don't need to drive to work or use the metro. If you are an organized and reliable and honest type of person - this is not the place for you. In the end probably none of this matters, but when it all happens in the same week it is quite irritating. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Smithsonian Gardens Retweet

It's not uncommon to get noticed on social media - especially when you promote someone or something. I've been writing this blog for several years every day, post photos on Instagram and tumbler every day, and add a change of pace on my business Facebook page with non digital art highlights of DC. It's not hard to do when you live in a city like DC because there is usually something to photograph or talk about. I've posted stories and photos of the Sackler Gallery and the Capitol, and they have been noticed by the Sackler Gallery and the Capitol in the form of a retweet or "like." And so it happened yesterday when I wrote a blog about "paradise in pots" - a Smithsonian gardens outdoor exhibit by the Castle on the National Mall. Thanks for noticing! But you all make it so much easier to write about! I'm not sure that would be the case if we lived anywhere else. I wonder when I will get to ponder that one!? If my husband has anything to do with it I won't ever have to worry about it.