Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPS Delivered

I had a package that was due to be delivered on the day of the hurricane. It was on the truck, but didn't make it. So for the next two days, there was a post that the circumstances were beyond UPS' ability to deliver. I could understand that, but was amazed to see the US Postal Service deliver the junk mail throughout the stormy weather. So today, I was confident that the package would arrive. The hurricane advisory remained as the status, but the zip codes affected no longer included DC. So I continued to check it throughout the day. Around 4PM, the status changed to delivered, without any notice that it was indeed on the way. I was glad my husband was home to receive it, although this UPS guy knows us well and delivers items down the street to our daughter in law if we are not home. More often it is the other ways around! I was hoping to get this particular package earlier so I could fiddle with it while I was off. It's my new iPhone 5. Now let's see if I will be able to activate it myself. It was a nice surprise to bet it after going back to work today. I'm just thankful we are still able to resume our daily lives so much easier than others after this horrible storm. So I hope no one complains about the service this time around. If you do, you've got a problem.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS' Control

It was about three years ago when we got our first iPhones. I remember it well because it was right before the huge snow storm that walloped DC. Not only did it snow once, but twice in one week. The Federal Government was shut down for the week, and I was home playing Broken Sword on my new Iphone. We have typically gone to the AT&T store to buy and activate phones, and most recently upgraded my husband's phone there. Because the iPhone 5 is simply not in stock, it was a matter of waiting for them to finally come in, or order one. So I finally broke down and ordered one last Thursday. It was supposed to arrive yesterday by the day's end. I knew that wouldn't happen even before I got the notification. But there is something funny about the language that was used to communicate the dilemma..."emergency conditions beyond UPS' control" and "hurricane conditions near the final destination may impact the delivery of your shipment". I wish I had ordered it on Wednesday. At least I had the device during the snow storm. The funny thing was watching the USPS carrier brave the elements and deliver the mail around 3 PM yesterday. How ironic. The junk mail arrives and the important stuff doesn't. In the end, none of this matters in light of what just happened. We are so fortunate to have been just a tad inconvenienced, and thankful we, our friends and loved ones are all okay. But in the back of my mind I'm wondering when that notification will change? It hasn't yet.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Birds on a Wire

I have often wondered why birds cluster on light poles and other horizontal objects. But the unique feature is that they are all about the same distance apart from each other. We assume there is a leader who decides where the group should rest after a long flight, or figure out what perch to sit on before or after experiencing a heavy meal. I think they keep the equal distance apart from each other so that when they are startled, or need to leave in short order, they can easily take off without banging into each other. I've always liked birds...back in Connecticut, Florida, Wisconsin and here in DC we always had bird feeders, bird houses, or bird baths in the yard. I had blue, green and white parakeets as pets growing up. I trained a blue one named Ringo to ride on a Barbie Doll car steering wheel, fly to my finger on command, and speak his name, among other things. I hope all the feathered friends stay safe and sound during the storm. We heard them talking to each other yesterday planning their strategy to stay dry as we took a walk around the neighborhood for the last time before we hunker down. I'm sure they have it figured out because they always come back when the sun comes out again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Middleburg Fall Country Side Back Roads

After stopping at the Middleburg AKC Dog Show event, we drove in to town and stopped for lunch. Because we wanted to have one last drive though the country side before returning to the urban city life, we got back in the car and kept moving west. The horse farms were so very scenic, and it was a splendid feast for the eyes. We stopped at a little church where a wedding ceremony was about to begin. The bagpiper was prepping for his big reveal by his car in the parking lot. His skirt blended in with the surroundings, and the sound drifted out over to the other side of the street. The stone building has been there for quite awhile, and set the perfect color balance against the reds, oranges, and bright greens. I always liked fall in Wisconsin, and it looks a lot like that here. My husband prefers Spring. The only season I don't care for - actually dislike - is winter, which is why we left the Midwest. But since we have moved, we have already experienced one hurricane, two major snowstorms, and an earthquake. Now we are waiting for the big hurricane to hit tomorrow. I grew up in Florida, and am familiar with these warnings. This is the time I wish I was a kid. I don't remember having to worry about any of this and was more than happy to leave it up to the grownups. A least we have been given fair warning.

The Middleburg AKC Dog Show - People

The last two blogs today were the scenes and the stars of the Middleburg AKC Dog Show at the Oatlands Plantation. But I couldn't help but notice the people with the dogs. I'm not sure what is more amusing to look at... the animals or the humans. They could be owners, or trainers, or breeders, or all of the above. I really love dogs, and it must show with three blog entries today. The back drop was perfect, the weather cooperated, and it was a great day trip. We used to go to the dog shows in Milwaukee, and that is where we decided the Borzoi was the best fit for us. And today we walked over to the Borzoi camp, and they knew of our Tatiana's line... Twin Elms, Sylvia Sohr, and Suzan Breaz. They always said the Borzoi are like eating potato chips- you can't stop at one. I know what they mean. Our little Betta fish Moby Dick is trying hard to be like the Borzoi, but it's just not the same.

The Middleburg AKC Dog Show Favorite - Borzoi!

The blog before this one was about the Middleburg AKC Dog Show that had views of the surroundings on the beautiful Oatlands Plantation. But these are the show stoppers... or at least the ones I saw and could get a decent close up. I tend to like big, furry dogs and my absolute favorite is the Borzoi. Our Tatiana lived to a grand 13 years. So naturally, we found her twin, who happens to live in Alexandria. There is something out there for everyone.

The Middleburg AKC Dog Show

We had planned to attend the Middleburg AKC Dog Show this year and figured today would be a better day in light if the hurricane heading in this direction. So we set out towards fox and hounds country to Oatlands Plantation. It is my understanding that Jackie Kennedy would visit this town on weekends for horse back riding and time away from the city. The weather was perfect, and the scenery was wonderful, particularly along the back wood roads. We always make sure to stop but the Borzoi section and visit with the breeders, owners, and trainers. Our Tatiana was a 100 pound pussycat, and we miss her dearly. So, this is our way to get the Borzoi fix. We ran in to the owner of the only Borzoi we have seen since moving to DC, and they live in Alexandria. I never got in to the show stuff- I just like having a pet. Who knows why people like the type of dog they do, but its fun checking it out once a year. The next blog entry will highlight some of my favorites!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Innocenti Mini t

I am a big Mini Cooper fan. We pulled in to the Harris Teeter parking lot in Alexandria to stock up on Hurricane supplies. And there in front of our car was the strangest looking red automobile. What struck me was the vintage stuff that was tied down to the rooftop, the tiny size of this vehicle compared to everything else around it, and the wood trim. Naturally, I thought it was some kind of Mini. On closer inspection, it had a 1966 Virginia license plate, and on the back was Innocenti Mini t. Apparently this thing was made in Italy. It would have been perfect for a movie set, because everything else inside it was also circa 1960's. I think I would have a hard time getting in and out if this car, which is why we would probably never get a modern day mini. The mini appears to be a car of choice in this area, especially because of the street parking issues. My husband says the closest I will get to a mini is a picture of one, and this one is a dandy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Food Truck on Every Corner

Tasty Kabob is oftentimes parked in the neighborhood right next to Bullfeathers and Tortilla Coast at lunch time. I'm not sure what the brick and mortar establishments think of the competition, but it gives the folks who work and live around here a different option for lunch. If you're not interested in chicken, lamb, or meatball kabobs at Tasty Kabob, then there were three more options available this afternoon. The Big Cheese Truck has funky grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup; DC Ballers has falafel, dipping sauces and fries. There was a new entry in to the fierce and competitive market called El Fuego. It could not be missed in the big red fire engine vehicle and it serves Peruvian fusion/barbecue. I have never tried any if these options as I am so lucky to be able to walk home for lunch and literally take a load off my feet. But the day was warm, the fall season is upon us, and the scene around the house office buildings was nicely busy today. I just wish the people standing in line for their orders would move to the side of the walking path. They see you coming, and refuse to budge. I'll never understand.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Between A Car and Another Car

I have been on a mission to create as much street parking for the neighbors as possible. To that end, I wrote to Tommy Wells about ten spaces across from our house that were free for the taking. Thanks to his office, they are now zoned as permit 6 or pay parking. Because it can be a challenge to find just enough space if we only had a couple more inches, we noticed that people don't pull their vehicle to the end of the row. So I went about making cards that can be slipped on the windshield to remind folks that being a little more considerate would be greatly appreciated. It seems the last month has been more difficult than usual to find parking, and I am not sure why. Things can get pretty nasty... how is this guy going to inch his way out of that parking spot sandwiched in as he is? There is no room to move either forward or back. This does explain why so many bumpers are dinged and bumped, completely out of frustration. Some new signage went up for residents parking only on one side of the street. We actually got a couple more spots out of that deal because the bus stop was simply too big. In the end, I wish I had my Wisconsin two car garage and long driveway. But this scenario is the best reason not to buy a new car, which is why we are hanging on to our seven year old Subaru as long as possible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Washington Hospital Center City Views from the Parking Structure

We had a 2PM appointment for an eye exam following outpatient laser surgery last week. It's always very busy at the Washington Hospital Center, so we always leave in plenty of time in case of traffic snarls. This day was beautiful, and we were early enough to check out the view from the top of the parking structure that is five or six floors up. From one angle is the Capitol in the distance with a man hole cover about to come undone; another is the VA Center with the Catholic University National Shrine in view along the horizon; another direction shows the magnitude of the campus with a huge sign telling us where we are and a rehab facility across the street; a four way stop with an unknown white steeple in the background; and the top floor of the parking garage facing another hospital facility and the Children's Hospital. This place reminds me of the Froedtert Hospital County system in Milwaukee. I much prefer a quieter kind of place for routine and less invasive procedures and doctor visits. It's only a few miles away and takes forever to get there. So what's new?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Compare Spring and Fall Garden

Back in July, our tiny patio garden was looking like a fairyland. The clematis vine was bursting with tiny white flowers. The pink petunias, purple myrtles, and red roses contrasted nicely against the brilliant cascade. The sun was bright, and powered up the solar birdbath for all the critters who would stop by for a sip and a bath - in that order. Even though it is a small space, it doesn't feel like it when you have to cut it back at the end of the season. It was getting out of control, and the flowers were long gone, so we collected three large garbage bags worth of cut vines and branches. We had an acre lot in Milwaukee, and the many gardens there required routine weekly care and pruning. There is no way the yard could be left to only a monthly upkeep. I decided to leave the hydrangea alone for now, because there's not much left out there, except for the annual mums that are due out within the next couple of weeks. I only know that because I use them as Thanksgiving decor. The red, gold, and white flowers look really pretty in the glass vases. And they are all home grown.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blue Skies and Roof Tops

It was a toss up between taking a ride to Fredericksburg, or walking the Mall. George Washington's sister's house took a back seat to getting in some exercise and fresh air. It was simply gorgeous outside, more so than I had expected. Fall is in the air, and everything is taking on yellow, orange, and brown hues. Every time we head out in that direction, through the neighborhood, and by the Capitol Building, the scene changes as we reach the reflecting pool. Normally this time of the year, it seems the sky is filled with puffy white clouds. What struck me most today was the absence of any cloud, and the spectacular deep blue sky. Even more interesting and pleasing to the eye was the contrast of the various architectural delights against this backdrop. The Museum of African American Art, Smithsonian Castle, American Indian Museum, Botanic Garden, and House Office Building are all so familiar but so very different. They were equally stunning against the magnificent autumn sky. As the summer heat subsides, the walks along the Mall become more frequent, and you never know what you're going to find. And it doesn't cost a cent.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Old Town Skeletons, Brides, and Cobblestone Streets

I love Alexandria, and we make it a habit of going there for any reason. I thought Halloween decorations would be up in full force, but was somewhat disappointed. Folks were out putting things up, but this year so far has not compared to previous trips. Obviously in a place like this, stories of ghostly inhabitants abound, even in the candy shop. It must be a busy wedding month because lately we keep running in to them at the most unexpected places. While on the hunt for goblins and scarecrows, we came upon a bride and her maids, being photographed in front of a very long back alley in Old Town. This was an interesting back drop to say the least. We then made one more round down the cobblestone street towards the river, and found some pumpkins painted silver. You'll never know what you will find on the streets of Old Town, but I am never disappointed.