Friday, February 28, 2014

McLean Mansions

As the weather improves we tend to travel to McLean and the Great Falls area along Georgetown 
Pike right off highway 123. Never have we seen as much construction along this way as this year. We headed out to Great Falls Tavern for lunch.  Several new, underway, and ground breaking places abound. There are so many trees along this drive that many were being removed and turned the route in to one way travel giving us an opportunity to observe even more. We hear all the time that this area is one of the most lucrative and expensive places to live. And this is proof of it. Our home in Milwaukee didn't come close to these places. During the day they all look quite interesting, but I always wonder how it would feel at night being in such a huge place in a fairly isolated area. I suppose it all depends on your age and the station in life you are in, but it all seems so overwhelming to me now. Although it's not that far from town, it just feels like it is. Somehow I much prefer the tiny space we live in, and really like not having to worry about all that stuff. The apartment that went for sale in our building is a pending sale already after the open house last Sunday. Perhaps I've come to learn it's not the material things that matter. Thank goodness I've had the great fortune to figure that out, and a great husband makes all the difference. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Persimmon and Southern Comfort

We are doing a little update to the apartment since it has not been painted for almost eight years. The walls have been dinged and scratched and looking to be revitalized. We have not been able to decide what colors to use so we asked a friend of ours for advice. We had a designer in Milwaukee who knew our house and our taste. Here it is a very different story. We thought an accent wall might look pretty in the bedroom and the rest of the tiny space would be a neutral color throughout. We settled on Benjamin Moore Southern Comfort for everything and Persimmon for the accent. The neutral color is almost the same as what's already there. The Persimmon is interesting and can always be painted over if we don't like it. Since the bathroom is so small the walls will also be neutral but we can use the accent bolder color in the shower curtain and towels. It's the same color as the guy's pants in the community bathing scene. Let's hope it turns out okay. At least we'll get rid of the ugly yellow - that was really not a good idea. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Groundhog Day

Everyone has had enough of winter. I don't care who you are. We moved here from the Midwest to escape this nonsense. Yesterday I went for coffee on the sixth floor of the Madison Building. From there, you could barely see our house facing south, and the Capitol facing west it was so thick with the dreadful white stuff. By the time I walked home after work it was gone. This morning when we walked to work, it looked exactly as it did yesterday except it was colder and more slippery. And when I went for coffee this morning the scene from the sixth floor was the same. The only difference is I cropped today's photos to get a clearer outline of our building and the Capitol. I oftentimes wonder if we should have moved further south. But I'm not sure it would have made much difference this year. I can't wait to get rid of this heavy coat and boots. Some people already have. They obviously never check the weather or care about freezing. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thanks DC Blogs

Every once in a while I notice an uptick in visits to my blog. Sometimes it is hard to tell the reason for it - perhaps it's just an interesting topic that hits a nerve. UPS, the Virginian, parking, and Mary Surratt are high volume visited entries. But today I noticed it and the first thing I did was check what was posted by DC Blogs. And sure enough, that was the case today about a blog post i made yesterday regarding for sale signs popping up in the neighborhood. I suppose you could call checking and understanding these stats "web analytics." I had to attend a workshop about this subject matter last week for work. It seems I really have more use for it and interest in it when I check the activity on this blog and my Etsy shop. The information does come in handy to tweak things here and there. I just know DC Blogs always helps the volume.  Thanks!

Monday, February 24, 2014

For Sale Signs Popping Up

It's almost Spring. That means people will start moving around and the for sale signs will become obvious after a very long winter. Particularly in this neighborhood people tend to move sooner and more often than most - elections and middle school seem to drive the action to alternate places. One of the main differences between here and Milwaukee is how quickly the sales are made. We recently had a conversation with our then agent and he mentioned the bidding wars going on over the low volume of available homes. Yesterday was an open house for a one bedroom apartment and there was a rush of people checking it out long past the closing time. Many of them were quite enthusiastic taking photos of the building afterwards. I wouldn't be surprised if it sells within the week. Our home sold the day we put it on the market in Milwaukee - it was priced well and nicely renovated. The sad thing is that it was equal in value to the tiny place we live in today. Let's just hope that if and when we want to sell our property here that it remains a hot market. We just can't decide if and when but are sure it won't be any place with snow and ice. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Container Store to the Rescue

Last month I replaced my eight year old Toshiba laptop with a new ultra book Toshiba laptop. There are still some things I need a lap top for that the iPad just can't do. The old laptop had to be plugged in to the wall or it would not work. The new one only needs to be charged now and again. In fact, I finally learned that keeping it plugged in all the time actually kills the battery.  But because we have so many other electronic devices in the house - four iPhones (two that are used and two that are used for games), two iPads in constant use, and a remote control - the cords starting taking over the place. So we headed out to the container store to find something that could store this junk when not required. In Milwaukee we had all sorts of containers, but we only have what we need here. You would think that batteries would have gone by the wayside - kinda like the lightbulb. In fact I just dropped a lightbulb that cost seven bucks or so and is supposed to last seven years. It was also supposed to be shatterproof. The shatterproof part was correct, but the insides broke in to a million tiny pieces. But I digress..... Anyway, we found a white box big enough to put all the cords in to and it blends in well with the surroundings. It just looks a little neater. And in a small space, every inch counts. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Container Store, PetSmart, and Safeway - then to the Capitol

Since yesterday was rather stormy we were not able to get all our errands done. And since the last several weeks have been too cold and snowy, we put it off longer than intended. Not that any of this was an emergency, but it gave us some thing to do to enjoy the very pleasant weather that finally arrived and explore some parts of town we haven't seen for a while. After breakfast at our usual place in McLean - where Calllista Gingrich was sitting in the booth behind us - we crossed the street to the Safeway to pick up some great Driscoll strawberries, artichokes that go well with wine, ham, and bread. Then we headed down Dolley Madison Boulevard to Vienna to get a container and a soap dispenser at the Container Store on Leesburg Pike. We haven't been this way since before the new metro was built. It has changed dramatically with an above ground system that is supposed to open soon. Then we headed back to PetSmart to get Moby Dick a fresh plant. I remember well the days of heading to PetSmart for huge bags of dog food for our Borzoi when we lived in Milwaukee. We sure miss her! When we got home we took a walk around the Capitol. Whenever we visit the outskirts of the city there are less potholes and things in general look a little more modern and better kept up. But you can't walk around the Capitol there or walk to work. We can't decide which one is more important.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bartlett Tree Service

"Thinning/trimming and/or removing trees not only protects our building and cars from potential damage by those trees during storms, but will also aid in the overall beautification of our property." And so we woke up to a loud crushing sound as the branches were being stuffed in to the huge grinder. I am all for keeping the trees in order, as we have experienced first hand what a fallen tree does to the power wires that hang overhead and being without electricity for a week in Milwaukee. Thank goodness our power lines are underground here, and if a tree fell on our 2005 Subaru Forrester parked on the street that wouldn't be such a bad thing. It would be worse to have to park a new car on the street and exposed to the elements - including a tree falling on it. The tiny condo we bought eight years ago in the big white building on Capitol Hill hasn't changed too much and the neighborhood continues to look better and better. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot that can or will be done about the infrastructure problems - like bad pipes. I suppose you just have to put up with it if your preference is to live around here in an historical neighborhood. Some days it isn't so bad and we are hard pressed to think of an alternative at this time - until the next water leak. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Benjamin Moore, Valspar, or Duron?

Every wall in our Milwaukee home was painted with Benjamin Moore paint. We had a wonderful designer who helped us select the best color for each space. Some of the colors seemed unusual, but they all seemed to work well. I just don't trust my instincts on this anymore. Since we moved to DC in our tiny place I painted the bedroom and bathroom yellow from the muddy tannish color. I did it myself and vowed to never do it again especially with the high ceilings, we just don't have the right equipment, and I'm several years older. I was looking for something in the warm tones, but it didn't quite turn out the way I hoped. So now it's been awhile since we moved and the walls have been banged up and need some oomph. The sad thing is that I just can't seem to get any advice from anyone around here to advise us on some options. So unfortunately it seems like we will just stay with the ugly color we started with. I really want to change it but don't trust my judgement to pick another color. Maybe we should be more like one if our family members - everything is white. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The American Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Exhibit at The Library of Congress

On my afternoon walk in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress I noticed the exhibit in the Performing Arts Reading Room Gallery changed. It was about opera for the last several months. Now it's about ASCAP's one hundred year anniversary. I'm not sure I would have paid much attention before, but I have been lucky enough to go to two ASCAP events at the Library. Every year there is an awards and celebration event  that recognizes songs and songwriters. Paul Williams was the host and members of Congress introduce the inductees from their states, and then the music starts. Employees get to go when the seats need to be filled but the invitations are few and far in between lately! The exhibit shows the history of ASCAP and where it is heading and includes an Oscar for The Pink Panther music, and various artists who are also showcased. It's a great way to spend a few minutes - especially when it's on an afternoon walk and in the building where I work. I don't recall anything like that while working in health care in Milwaukee. 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Simple Human Garbage Can and Bags

Although it was delayed by the snowstorm Friday, the package arrived from California on Monday. Since there was no urgency to this delivery it was not a big deal. But we have been updating the condo with little things here and there, so what better place to make a change? The bathroom of course! We have two large Simple Human garbage cans and matching liner bags for trash in the kitchen. Our house in Milwaukee had a custom kitchen and our preference was to keep the trash behind closed doors in the island. But in this small space the trash sits outside of the cabinets and the container needs to at least look somewhat decent. So we got the smallest container possible and I measured the space to make sure it would fit between the toilet and the wall. There's not a lot of dead space above it for the lid to open completely, but we've learned that's how things work in such tight spaces. The old rusty one went by the wayside. This container has a ten year warranty. I can't imagine how life will be in ten years. I never used to think about it before. But when you get to a certain age or milestone, these time related reminders send a different vibe.