Monday, July 25, 2016

Walking the Air Conditioned Halls of the LOC and the CVC

It is just dreadful outside and the week ahead looks about the same. We usually walk every morning for about three miles, but even if we got up early it wouldn't make any difference. On Saturday evening we drove out to Tysons Galleria mall and strolled a bit. Today we decided to walk the two blocks to the Library of Congress, then spend the rest of the time walking through the underground tunnels to the Capitol Visitor Center. So we entered at the corner of the building that I always went in for ten years as an employee of the library - now retired! The magnetometer and police are familiar, as are all the hallways. It was such a pleasure to walk in air conditioning rather than sweating to pieces. The Capitol Visitor Center was very busy, but the hallways and tunnels to and from were not. It's not something everyone would really know about, but I walked through there so many times before! We also passed through a few new and old exhibits - including the "America Reads" section that hosts the favorite books everyone likes to peruse. Several of my best selections were showcased. In the end we didn't quite reach the three mile average, but we got in a few staircases instead. I saw a couple of my past colleagues and was happy to know I could keep heading for the exit when we were done. It's nice to have this option in the heat - another reason my husband will probably never leave this town. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tysons Galleria Escape From the Heat Walk

We usually walk about three miles every day. But even we can't stand the dreadful heat of the last few days past and a few more to come. The concrete national mall has little shade, and the neighborhood is just plain too hot. So we decided to drive out to Tysons last evening and check out the Tysons Galleria Mall that we haven't been to in quite some time. We arrived around 7:30 PM and it was very busy with primarily people out for dinner and other folks like us trying to get out of the heat and get in some exercise. All the restaurants were packed. As we walked the first, then second, and third level of the mall I noticed that Allen Edmonds, a Milwaukee/Wisconsin treasure, had opened a shop and my favorite Cole Haan shoe store vanished! It was upsetting! As time passed, the place was emptying out, and the third floor looked a lot like the long corridors of the Library of Congress that I used to walk in when I worked there. One whole turn around one level equaled about a 0.2 mile - the corridors here were definitely longer. So when it was over we tried to guess how far we actually went and it was 3.1 miles. It felt good to know we made the limit, but it takes a good twenty-five minutes to drive there from here. I suppose once in awhile it's okay, but we much prefer staying in the neighborhood. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Urban Gardener Cucumber Vine

My husband took out the two tomato plants last week because they were just taking up a lot of space and not producing anything. And when you have a very small patch of available land to plant things, it made sense. On the other hand, the two cucumber vines are taking over the other side of the garden- so much so that the vine is having a showdown with the clematis vine coming at it from the opposite direction. But we will let the cucumber vine have it's way because it is cooperating! For whatever reason, it's not doing as well as in the past. The flowers are abundant, and the bees are constantly hovering. But the produce looks different. I'll be the last one to complain because I love cucumbers and will take them in any shape, form, or length. And, to our amazement, we know they are always hiding out somewhere. Maybe it all has something to do with the extreme heat and weird weather. A lot of our flowers just didn't do well either. In Wisconsin we had a lot of room for all kinds of vegetables and berries, so we are fortunate to have this little space in a very urban environment. Cucmber anyone? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

AT&T Data Plan Change a Good Idea?

A couple of months ago I switched our AT&T unlimited data plan to a reduced plan for a lower cost every month. The main reasons were to have Mifi, and after evaluating the amount of data we traditionally use, we never really used a lot - until recently. I needed to Mifi because whenever we travel, and I have digital art work to do and need to communicate with my customers. Using an iPhone is too small and I need access to everything on my iPad. My iPad is only Wifi enabled and does not have a cellular option. However, whenever we travel, and I use google maps, the data usage spikes. AT&T is very good about warning us about the per cent data that has been used, and we do everything we can to minimize using any more. But it just doesn't seem to help. So I was a bit surprised when we received a notice that we would get a $30 credit related to the overage charges last month. After all, we have been their customers forever, and I also have an automatic data plan set up on my mom's iPad because she has no wifi in her house. I'm beginning to wonder if changing the plan was a good idea. It is a lot less per month, and these occasional overages are tolerable - but certainly not appreciated one bit. I'll take the credit for last month but I have a feeling we'll never see it again. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Take Time for a Roadtrip

We love to drive. But we dislike staying in motels. Consequently, it is not unusual for us to take a couple of days to get to our destination, but on the way home we like to do it in one day. So we will travel fifteen or sixteen hours at a crack to get from Florida to DC and about as much time from Wsiconsin to DC. It's a lot easier in the summer months because it stays light out so much longer, but the downside is that everyone else is traveling too. Fall and winter are a lot less busy. And since I retired in February, we could actually change how we travel - from long weekends to maybe weeks at a time! I still get the sense I need to be back home soon so I can return to work, but that thought dissipates quickly. I most enjoy sitting in the passenger seat and checking out the view. We rarely listen to music or the radio when we are on the move. We would rather chat and exchange nonsense. And with iPads and iPhones, I can always keep up to date with my digital art hobby as my virtual studio travels with me. If you haven't had the opportunity to get on a roadtrip you are really missing out on something. It started a long time ago when we traveled as a family with my parents from the northeast to the south, and all along the eastern seaboard. And ever since then, I'm always looking forward to it.