Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Rest for the Weary or Wicked?

Since I've been nursing this viral thing since last week, I've been working short days this week just to keep up with what has to get done, and to rest as much as possible. But when one lives in a building that was made around 1890, things are bound to go wrong, and need replacement. But everything is happening at the same time. If the goal is to rest, forget it. The heat has been out since Sunday, and the hot water heater has been on it's last legs for a while. Yesterday, the drywall in the living room was getting rapaired, so I had to leave early in the morning. Today, not only was our driveway parked with every service vehicle it could accommodate, the street was overloaded with trucks. And of course, the street repair is going on now too, adding to the noise and the congestion. The Truckers Association is having some event this evening... the party truck and catering trucks, and the 18 wheeler they bring in from time to time also arrived. Across the street was a roof repair truck, further down, another repair vehicle of some sort, and a laser delivery truck found it's way alongside the mess. Thank goodness the repairs in our building that needed to be made were finally made today. I simply do not remember this sort of mess in Milwaukee. Things were fixed before they broke most of the time. That is just not the culture around here. I am exhausted just thinking about it when I'm feeling well. I can't even contemplate it when my head feels like a bowling ball.
Party planners for a catered event across the street

Our circle drive was filled with vehicles

Add to it the street work  and noise at the corner
Someone needed roof repair work

And a dump truck

Another work vehicle

And another one just up the street
The 18 wheeler took the cake

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hill Rag Wall Art

At the beginning of the month we pick up the neighborhood newspaper The Hill Rag. It came out a little earlier this month. One of these days I would love to have something from my art collection highlighted on the cover. It is probably the only newspaper we look at anymore, and it is primarily for the cover...and also to learn about what is going on in the neighborhood. We always look at the real estate values, and the restaurants that are opening. And, it always looks nice hanging in the TV room. For some reason, the colors always seem to match.
A little early for February

The artist

The perfect wall hanging

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sofa Arm Chair Covers

Usually when a cloth sofa or easy chair is purchased, the arm covers are made to go along with it. But when we purchased a sofa bed with special order cloth about two years ago from Crate and Barrel, we did not think to ask about it, nor was it mentioned. So we ended up not having any arm caps. Because there is a reclining feature on this sofa, there is a tendency to rub against the arm in getting up. And sure enough, the fabric has worn down to just about shreds. So we went back to Crate and Barrel to have the arm caps made. Of course, the material was discontinued, and they don't just make arm covers for a sofa that was also discontinued. So we ordered some material that sort of went with it, and had two pillows made as well so that it looked like it went together. Even though I used to sew a lot in my younger days, I no longer have a sewing machine or the equipment to embark on a task such as this. So I made a pattern out of the material and pieced it together with a very big stitch. My husband then took the pattern and material over to the Chinese owned dry cleaning/tailor shop down the street, along with photos of the sofa to show the curvature of the arm, in the hopes that they could create the very needed pieces. We picked them up yesterday, and they turned out quite nicely. The sad thing is is that we found out this week that one of the ladies who watches her grandchildren at the school our grandson attends offered to do the job. At least next time we'll know we have another option. In Milwaukee, we had a network of craftsmen and handymen that we knew. That's one of the hardest things about moving- especially in this town.
It kinda goes
Sorta goes

Saturday, January 28, 2012


One huge difference between living here and in Milwaukee is the square footage that surrounds us. We had plenty of space to move about and rarely bumped in to things before moving here. I thought we were finally acclimated to the smaller space, but if one does not pay attention, and wear shoes all the time, the possibility of running into a hard surface increases. And, if one's head feels like a bowling ball, and in general is out of sorts, the chances increase even more. So last night as I was walking back to the bedroom from the hallway, my foot hit the side of the door frame. The lights were out, and I was slightly off balance. At the time, it felt like I did something to the joint between the pinky toe and the one next to it. Luckily I had my foot up all night, and this morning I was reminded that something did happen last night due to a dull ache in the joint along with some black and blue discoloration. Let's hope that's all there is to it and I can get my feet in my shoes for work on Monday. Better get out the tape and keep the 5th toe even closer to the 4th toe, as that is about all that can be done for it anyway. I recall my mother telling us not to run around barefoot in the house. Unfortunately I was just reminded why.
I don't want to wear shoes

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not The Right Kind of Day Off

Since I have a nine hour per day work schedule, I have off every other Friday. But today I am off because I finally caught whatever everyone else has. I came home early from work yesterday afternoon because my head was clogged and I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Our CVS version of Nyquil was taken and I slept through the night, but I just woke up from another nap this afternoon. And wouldn't you know it is almost 60 degrees and the sun is shining- in JANUARY! I feel like a caged animal when the sun is out and I am in doors. But I just don't have the energy to do anything about it. It is a time to count your blessings when you think about all the folks who really can't get out at all and are in much worse circumstances than this. I would much prefer working and feeling well than being off and wishing to feel well. I don't know what I would do without my husband to keep me company. And for that, I have a lot to be thankful for.
An opportunity to contemplate 

And this helps

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Room With A Great View

I was assigned to a committee this week and today we had to meet for the first time to get up to speed on the work ahead. It was interesting to meet folks that I normally do not have anything to do with, and it looks like I will be seeing them with some regularity over the next few months. But aside from that, the meeting takes place on the 6th floor in a conference room of the Madison Building overlooking Independence Avenue. Across the street is the beautiful Jefferson Building and down the way is the even more superlative Capitol Building. Over the span of my career, I have had offices with windows... and maybe even had some meetings with interesting views. But there is nothing more magnificent than this, even on a cloudy day.
Landmarks easily seen from many vantage points

But not from too many office or conference room windows

The BBQ Truck

The food trucks are starting to make their rounds in the neighborhood again after a long recess and holiday. The streets are resuming pedestrian and vehicular activity as well. There has been a lot of controversy about the trucks, and where they park, and how long they park. When I walked home for lunch, the BBQ truck was hiding towards the end of the block, past the usual stops. But that did not deter the hungry staffers, visitors, and neighbors who were interested in something a little different from the usual fare. We have never tried any of these alternate food options - but maybe one of these days we will.
I hear the pulled pork is great

And catering is an option

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State of the Union

This is what the State of the Union does to our neighborhood. This email was sent to Library employees this afternoon:

The US Capitol Police will put the following street closures affecting vehicle traffic into effect on January 24, 2012 at 7:00pm and will lift these street closures when the event has concluded:

North Side of Capitol Square
• D Street, NE between 2nd Street, NE and Louisiana Avenue, NW
• C Street, NE between 2nd Street, NE and Louisiana Avenue, NW
• Constitution Avenue between 2nd Street, NE and Louisiana Avenue, NW
• Delaware Avenue between Columbus Circle and Constitution Avenue, NE
• New Jersey Avenue, NE between Louisiana Avenue, and D Street, NE
• Pennsylvania Avenue between 1st Street, and 3rd Street, NW
• East Capitol Street between 2nd Street, and 1st Street, NE/SE
• 1st Street between Columbus Circle, NE and C Street, SE
• 1st Street between Louisiana Avenue, NW and Washington Avenue, SW

South Side of Capitol Square
• Maryland Avenue, SW between 1st Street, and 3rd Street, SW
• Independence Avenue between 2nd Street, SE and Washington Avenue, SW
• C Street between 1st Street, SE and Washington Avenue, SW
• Delaware Avenue between Washington Avenue, SW and C Street, SW
• New Jersey Avenue between Independence Avenue, and D Street, SE
• South Capitol Street between Independence Avenue and D Street, SE/SW

The street closures, along with helicopters flying overhead,  increased pedestrian traffic, Capitol police cruisers and German Shepherd K-9's on every corner, Police motorcycles, motorcades, secret service and clogged roads makes for a very nasty commute. I'm so glad I only live two blocks from work and lucky enough to be in the thick of it without having to be bothered by it. And when we watch it on TV this evening, it's weird to think it's all happening just down the street.

Getting a bird's eye view of the action

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Remnants of the March

It was an odd day- because of the icy conditions, the Federal Government offices were not open at the usual time to allow employees to arrive two hours after their usual start time. The March for Life was scheduled today which clogs up the neighborhood with buses and cars and pedestrians. It was quite an ugly day with rain and ice, but in the end, I did not see a lot of the action that starts by the Smithsonian Castle and winds it's way up to the Supreme Court. On the way back to work from lunch were remnants of the marchers all heading towards the Capitol South Metro station or the local hotel just up the street. I'm sure they were eager to get to wherever they were heading. Congress is back and the State of the Union is tomorrow. If the streets were blocked off today, tomorrow will be even worse. So the Hill is coming back to life after the long holiday season. My husband loves it this way- I prefer the quiet suburban feel. So we each enjoy the city in  very different ways and are happy with our move from Milwaukee - for today anyway.
The marchers heading for the metro

Not such a hot day for an outside event

heading back to the hotel

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Building Ice Scarves

Due to the inclement weather, we had a little cabin fever, so we decided to take a quick spin around the block. On our usual route, we passed by the Library of Congress Madison Building, crossed Independence Avenue, and approached the Jefferson Building. There are several little security stations located on the corners and other highly visible Congressional areas on Capitol Hill. As we approached one of the stations, it looked like the roof material was falling off. Upon closer inspection, it was really a snow/ice mixture that was melting due to the light behind it, while at the same time creating the appearance of scarf fringe. The elements, building roof structure, temperature and lighting had to be just right to suggest this artistic representation. And no one could do it better than mother nature with some artificial light. We saw it just in time, because the longest one fell off just as I snapped the first photo.
The longest one just fell as we approached

In front of the Jefferson Building

An interesting texture too!

I love the fringe- makes me cold just looking at it

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What A Difference the Day Makes

Yesterday I was talking about a tree that was confused because of the warm weather. Well, it won't be confused anymore. We had our first snowfall last night and woke up this morning to ice. We wouldn't have gone out except we needed to get a couple crucial items to complete a project at home. So I turned up the heat in the car while my husband started chipping away. This definitely reminded us of Milwaukee and what I absolutely do not miss about it at all, with thoughts of how nice and warm it is in Florida - even when it's cold. Everything is damp and gloomy- except inside where it is nice and warm and cozy. At least the hot water heater is working, and that makes all the difference.
I miss our garage!

The ice is almost pretty

But it really isn't

A bit gloomy - to me anyway - I need sunshine!
The tree looks beautiful with the white around it

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Poor Tree is Confused

The winter has been rather mild this year. So mild that the plant life and trees are not sure what they should be doing. As we were heading out this afternoon to get a few errands done, something stood out against the gray and cloudy sky, amid the twigs and sparseness of the season. In the neighborhood are several attractive gardens that are planted in front of each row house. Each garden has a unique design and distinctive flair that represents the taste of each home owner.  But this one takes the cake, and the gardener really didn't have much to do with it. It's about 7 degrees in Milwaukee this week, which is one of the main reasons we decided to move. I don't recall ever seeing what looks like spring in winter there, and became even more anxious for winter to end.
A very unusual sight

Hope it returns in "Spring"

Six Degrees of Separation - Part 2

Last summer, it was learned that a colleague of mine at the Library was connected in a very convoluted way to the fathers of my husband's brother's nieces. All of these folks are from Iran. One of the nieces lives in Sweden and the other (her sister) lives in Denmark. Their husbands are cousins (their fathers are brothers.) Another brother of these two fathers lives in California and is friends of a man whose wife works at the Library. The brothers all met in Italy and the idea that the person who works at the Library might know me was raised by our niece who lives in Sweden. I did not know her, but I investigated the possibility, and she acknowledged she was indeed that person. We never met face to face, but there is an on line directory- and we both must have looked at it because this week we met in the hall and asked if we might be Lois and Zoya. And there was the connection! The cute thing about it is that she works in the Middle Eastern Division which was relocated to my floor during a renovation. We agreed to meet for coffee and learn more about this connection. What will be even more interesting is that her friends from California will be visiting in the spring- and we are hoping to get together and see where this takes us. The main reason is because my husband is from the same city as all these brothers, and we are convinced that they must have known his brother. We actually met their grandfather there about 15 years ago because they were all in the same business as my husband's family and worked in the same neighborhood bazaar. Who would have guessed? I doubt if this would have happened anywhere else!
It's a long story- California, Iran, Italy, Denmark, Sweden & DC
are strangely connected

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The New Yorker - Tilley the Pooch

Last night my husband brought to my attention that there was a contest going on at the New Yorker for a new version of Tilley, the "mascot" so to speak. I quickly looked at the eligible dates and today at midnight is the last day of the contest that started on December 8th. So I had to think really fast... and there was no rest for the weary last night. I really doubt if it will go anywhere, but it was fun to do. I love my borzoi and try to re create her image as often as possible. So this time, she is reading an Ipad, with her monocle and top hat, and looking with great admiration at a T bone that is on the the New Yorker page. If the judging is based on originality, humor, and execution I might have a fighting chance. When all is said and done, there will probably be at least 500 entries, of which 12 will be selected with one grand prize winner. I'm not sure I work as well under stress, but as I uploaded the final image last night at around midnight, it looked good in the gallery. And that may be all there is to it!
There she is with all the competition!

Looks like a New Yorker cover?
It was fun to do anyway!

Happy Birthday M!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Washington Post - Real Art DC

I was looking at the Washington Post on line, and there was a little section that suggested artists post their work in the Real Art DC gallery. So of course I was interested to see if I could get a couple of Washington DC related items on the site. After logging in and creating a personal page name that would be used, I uploaded an avatar and one file without difficulty. However, in trying to upload two more, it just wouldn't accept them and I kept getting an annoying message that it was an invalid file type. I used jpeg and png, and tried to take a photo of the art and try a few different workarounds. Nothing worked. So I left an email reporting a technical glitch because it made no sense that the site would accept 2 items and eventually a third (for a reason I have no idea why). So today I received an email response from the Post asking for all the details and possibly the option to upload the file for me. I sent him all the information and am hoping that he can figure out the problem. It is a great way to showcase your work because you never know who might be looking at it.
A visit to DC

Capitol Hill

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Memorial

We rode past the Martin Luther King Memorial along Independence Avenue. It is located just past the Washington Monument along the Tidal Basin. Because it is winter, the leaves no longer block the view, and the White House can be seen in the distance. And the usual security measures are in place- the occasional helicopter patrols the Potomac River. It is a cloudy and very brisk windy day, but the visitors are streaming by to see the newest monument on the Mall. As a Federal employee, I have the day off, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Federal holidays are great!

A steady stream of visitors

Along Independence Avenue

Security helicopters

Martin faces the Potomac River with the Washington Monument to the East