Friday, November 30, 2012

War of the Roses Heating Blanket

One of the primary reasons we moved from Wisconsin to DC was to escape the almost all year round winter. But because of the antiquated heating system and poorly insulated windows in this 1890's building, it feels as cold here as it did up North. And to no one's surprise, there is an ongoing argument about me being too cold and my husband being too hot. So for all those reasons, I decided to finally stay warm this winter and get a heated blanket with sleeves. It arrived just yesterday and I am thrilled with the prospect of snuggling in to this soft fleece "garment" and plugging the sucker in. The extension cord is long enough to make it work. I really don't think the heater option will last very long, but having the extra blanket around is a good thing. It sort of matches the decor and could come in handy if the real heat source quits - which has happened. You could even call it a fashion statement if looking like a Monk had any relevance today. My little Betta fish Moby Dick even has a heater in his fish bowl to stay warm and toasty. And If he has one, then I definitely should too.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Marine Barracks Art

You never know where you might find art. It shows up in all the usual and unusual places. On Capitol Hill along Eighth Street SE is Barracks Row. It's obviously named that because of the location of the actual Marine Barracks. I'm not quite sure about the actual history, but I hear Thomas Jefferson may have had a hand in getting it established. During the summer, there are dress parades on Fridays, and a lot of other activity. There are Marines stationed on every corner surrounding the multi-block facility, including special attention near the commandant's house. Our grandson gets his Marine style haircut at the local barber shop. Heading towards the barracks is an underpass that has recently been transformed in to a picture history of the area. Since we moved here the landscape has changed considerably for the better. We oftentimes walk the few blocks to reach this neighborhood as there are always new restaurants to try. This is also the area that John Wilkes Booth made his grand escape crossing the bridge over to Virginia. I wonder if he passed by this same direction?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanks Again Tommy Wells

Several months ago I wrote an email to Tommy Wells about the free parking along 1st street, the need for guest parking permits for visitors, and a very dangerous intersection. I am trilled to report that all three items have been addressed. The first two were taken care of quite some time ago. Today I noticed that the stop lights were changed to different positions at a very confusing intersection. They may have been moved a while ago, but I knew something was up because the time to cross timer light was skewed to the right. Regardless, his office promised to send someone to this corner to evaluate the issue. There were several near miss accidents that I personally witnessed due to the confusing traffic light configuration. I am just so impressed that somebody actually did what they said they were going to do! Not just for one item, but for all three. Now I am on a campaign to improve the neighborhood parking. I have written again to Tommy Wells, DOT, and the Mayor's offices to help support the notion that "every inch counts" when it comes to parking. If folks would just park to the end or the beginning of the parking sign posts, we could get several more spaces to park. The parking patrol could help with the effort to remind folks to be more aware and courteous. Let's hope we get such a positive response for our parking reminder campaign. I would never have expected such great responses. Thanks Tommy! I feel like I'm back in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pooches Grooming Mobile Grooming Salon - Pooches, Kitties and Kisses

While on the NW side of town the other day near the National Cathedral neighborhood, we noticed a mobile van parked along the street. We also heard a few yips and cries from what sounded to be a little dog. Then we heard some growling. At the front porch of a house was a caretaker trying to coax a small dog from the owner in to the mobile grooming van. It sounded like there was already at least one occupant in the luxurious spa. After our errand, the van was still there, and the small dog that was growling was probably purring like a cat getting all cleaned up and smelling pretty. In Wisconsin, our vet used to come to our house to attend our borzoi for routine exams and bloodwork. It was wonderful. It was much better and cheaper for all of us. Dogs are really pampered, and this is but another example. But they are so wonderful to have around. I miss our long haired friend. Somehow, the little Betta fish doesn't feel the same, but he tries really hard.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kabob Bazaar

Every Sunday evening we go out to dinner. You could say I am getting my head on straight for the upcoming workweek. But in reality, we usually don't do a lot during the day and it is an excuse to get out of the house. One of our favorite places is Kabob Bazaar. There is one restaurant located in Clarendon, and another one in or near Bethesda. Depending on the weather, and the desire to travel more or less miles, either place is really good. And the reason is because we know the wait staff and managers really well and feel quite welcome there. And best of all, there are always plenty of leftovers, which makes for easy decision making on the "what's for dinner" query. We always get the same things... eggplant dishes, both soup and appetizer for the delicious bread, Greek salad, some peppery yogurt, and of course kabob and a chicken dish simmered in tomato base and spices that melts in your mouth. And don't forget the rice. The food is very healthy and excellent. For take out we like Moby Dick, and have been waiting a long time for a new location on 8th Street SE. I'm still looking for a good Polish restaurant around here and have had little luck finding one. We used to frequent both Polish and Iranian restaurants in Chicago and Milwaukee. So in the meantime, Mrs. T's pierogies will have to do.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Canal Park Ice Rink

Opened last month is the new Canal Park Ice Rink on M and 2nd Street SE. It has a canal feel shape rather than a circle to mimic it's name. It is located right across from the Department of Transportation and right by the Navy Yard Metro Stop. It was so windy yesterday we didn't think it would have a lot of takers. But we were proven wrong. This location by the Anacostia River may take a bite out of the Sculpture Garden ice rink on the Mall. The footprint of this place dates back to the the 1700's I'm told, and has undergone a huge transformation over the years. I'm not sure the entire site is complete, as it will eventually take up three blocks with green space and fountains. The Park Tavern restaurant is located right next to/in the ice rink and a Five Guys is right across the street. The Nationals Stadium is just up a few blocks from here. The Capitol Riverfront Neighborhood is starting to take shape and becoming an urban up and coming place. All the materials for this site are Eco friendly and environmentally clean. Supposedly there are even outlets to plug in your electric car. I'm not sure I want to live there, but I like being close to it. Our preference is the old historic feel of Capitol Hill rather than the modern steel and straight lines of the new neighborhood. But one of these days the convenience of modern construction may supersede the picturesque Capitol Hill if and when we ever decide to leave this place.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Botanic Garden Christmas Trains

You know Christmas is near when the trains start running at the Botanic Garden. The extravaganza started Thanksgiving Day and runs through January. The theme this year has to do with fairies and fairyland. We went in the separate train entrance and waited just a bit. The path to the trains takes you through the main display of tiny replicas of DC buildings and monuments made out of plant material. They are surrounded by festive plants and flowers all nestled in next to the gurgling stream. I'm not sure who is enamored more by the trains. There's something in it for everyone. Don't forget to peek through the knotty framed windows in the tree trunks. I don't think the elves and fairies will mind. The trains are even more whimsical this year. No one would leave feeling grouchy of grinchy. This is one reason we like living so close to these seasonal treats. The number, types, colors, and languages of the folks who visit here are on display too. And we love every bit of it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sounds and Scenes of the Season

The city is congested with visitors and on the way home from lunch near the Cathedral in NW, we took a ride through Georgetown. On the corner of Wisconsin and M Street the carolers were doing what they do wearing half of the traditional outfits suited for the time period. Maybe they were just practicing for the real thing. On the waterfront, along the area that was flooded last year, things have resumed back to their normal activity. Turning on to Rock Creek Parkway heading towards Independence Avenue along the River, walkers, runners, and bicyclists were out in full swing. Some were visiting, some were sight seeing, some were exercising to stave off the increased calories consumed yesterday and in the weeks to come. The tour buses were packed. It will be the last really nice day for awhile, and everyone probably knew it. Hard to believe it is also a work day. I always took the day off after Thanksgiving in Milwaukee too. I used to put up all the Christmas decorations then. But we had a lot more to do there, both inside and out. I feel less compelled to get it done as quickly here. Maybe I'm just getting older.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Walkabout Around the Capitol

Before dinner later this afternoon, we thought it would be a great idea to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and walk around the neighborhood. It was eerily quiet until we reached the Capitol South metro stop where we ran in to a young couple on their way somewhere to do some cookin'. On the East side of the Capitol a few folks were wandering about. But on the West side there was more activity, as usual. The Capitol grounds are being prepared for inauguration and are fenced off. Signs to watch out for small children and pets are scattered around to remind the construction workers to keep a heads up. The Mall lawn has been restored from a very long underground water construction project. The Christmas fairyland trains at the Botanic Garden are now open through January. And the tourists abound regardless of the season. It always looks like such a happy place. And it should be, especially today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Omaha Steaks Turkey Dinner

Because I am not a cook, and my husband is not a turkey eater, Thanksgiving can be tricky. Jennie-O oven ready turkeys have been the answer for my dilemma over the last several years. But that was not to be this year. Safeway is the only place that carried Jennie-O's, and neither store had them this year. I even contacted the main website for help. The Jennie-O site used to have order options, but no longer. What was I going to to? Last Thursday I looked on line for some easy options and found Omaha Steaks. There it was- the perfect turkey dinner for two, or maybe three, with all the stuff I liked. I called before I ordered to see if it would actually get here in time. It sounded like a favorable possibility... and it arrived this afternoon at 3 PM by UPS. Somehow, it doesn't look the same as the picture on the web site - being in boxes that go straight to the freezer until time to cook- except for the turkey breast that is thawing in the refrigerator. But I don't care as long as we have what appears to be a Thanksgiving feast. In Milwaukee, my husband and I had a favorite restaurant we used to go to. Being just the two of us, it worked well. For whatever reason, we are two again this year. We don't have a favorite restaurant here, so we'll give this a whirl. Who knows? Maybe this becomes the new tradition.