Saturday, January 31, 2015

Haverhill Micathermic Heater or Fireplace?

It came from Delaware, then transferred to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and finally to DC. Luckily I was tracking this package because it was left outside on the doorstep rather than taken inside  to the mail area of our building. The HVAC system in this old building is not all that reliable, so we decided to get a space heater that could be used in the event of an emergency. We have a Sylvane clock that my husband loves, so we decided on a Haverhill product recently taken over by Sylvane. The reviews were decent, and it was on sale. I'm not sure exactly what Micathermic means, but we liked the idea of a flat surfaced item that was not room occupying and didn't make any noise. The blowing fan on the HVAC system is quite annoying as it interferes with any TV watching! So we put the feet on the thing, put the batteries in the remote, and plugged it in. It's difficult to make any comment yet because I think it is made to enhance the heat in the room rather than be the sole heat source. So we turned the heating system down rather than off, and kept the heater on. It was enough the keep the blowers from blowing, and the room "felt" comfortable. But that wasn't the intention. In Milwaukee we had a programmable thermostat and two gas fireplaces. We used to turn the fireplace on and off based on the condition. I guess you could say this is how we will use this new "fireplace." Somehow it doesn't seem the same. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Passport Pick Up at the House Office Building & a Friendly Face

A few weeks ago I decided to have my almost expired passport processed through the State Department rather than mail it to the generic processing center. The only reason was because I thought it would be more convenient because I could hand carry the required paperwork to the House Office building. Since I work at the Library of Congress it only requires a walk through the Cannon Building over to the Longworth Building. I didn't realize I would also need a referral letter from my congress person so I also had to travel to the Rayburn Building to get it. They told me it would take about four weeks and they would call my office when it was ready. One week earlier than expected I got the call, and I made my way back through the tunnel over to the Longworth Building. This time it was a much easier trip compared to the last one - it was congress' first day back after the long holiday and the hallways were filled with furniture, family members, and lost people trying to find their way around. As I was passing by the very elaborate shoe shine stand near the visitor entrance to the Capitol, a well dressed gentleman said hello with a great deal of enthusiasm. He asked me if I had moved because he had not seen me for several weeks. It was the shoe shine guy who had a little business in front of Bullfeathers - a friendly face I saw every day walking to and from work. Apparently he is now the official shoe shiner at the House Office Buildings. It was nice to see him again and he was thrilled with his new space. It's funny how you see some people all the time, don't know their names, but they feel like old friends. That reminds me of the Midwest and it made my day. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

If You Haven't Used It In The Last Five Years - Dump It

Earlier this week I mentioned I had twenty-six bosses in forty years. With each new boss comes a different office space. So I need to move to another area to accommodate this latest transition. In preparation for this change, I decided to clear out the file cabinets of stuff that has accumulated over the last almost nine years. In keeping with the mindset we used to consider what to keep and what to dump when we moved here from Milwaukee, I decided if I had not used it within the last five years it had to go. Most of the stuff was easy to trash, but some of the reports and samples of work I brought with me from my health care career were harder to part with. They landed in a separate pile. They represented a huge chunk of my professional career of which I am most proud. So I took a few photos and remembered I still had my portfolio. Then I thought about my general philosophy and they ended up on the dump pile. I suppose everyone goes through this. But this time feels so final. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Face From the Past

I spent thirty years in health care. We moved to DC from Milwaukee to escape the snow and ice, but left behind friends and a lot of colleagues. One way to stay in touch is to be a member of LinkedIn. It's any easy way to communicate on a variety of topics. I like the social ones. Even though a lot of colleagues were not considered "friends," I really enjoy hearing from them if they plan to be in DC. One person in particular let me know a couple months ago that she had a meeting scheduled here in January and it would be nice to get together. So we did. It's been awhile since I saw her and many things have changed since then. The saddest part is to hear about folks who have died - two very suddenly and very young - and others who are dealing with deadly diseases. While I was working in health care none of this seemed to affect me as much as it does now. What with parents in their 90's and relatives who have already gone before us, it does make one think differently. In spite of that it was really nice getting reacquainted. It's always nice to see a friendly face. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's Always Nice to Get Noticed - Thanks DC Blogs

It is nice to get noticed. When I checked the stats for my blog this morning, there was a definitive spike. The next step is to check DC Blogs. And there it was - my entry from yesterday was mentioned about having twenty-six bosses in forty years. I always hope the material I write about strikes a chord with someone. The widget map on my front page shows hits from all over the world. I like to compare life in the Midwest to life in the nation's Capitol. Would you believe there really are differences? And surprisingly, there are even similarities. I've made it a habit to make an entry every single day regardless of where I am. So thanks for noticing DC Blogs...I always thanks them on twitter too. Is that something I learned living in the Midwest? No, I'll credit my parents for that. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Twenty Six Bosses in Forty Years

Forty years is a long time to work, and I am approaching that milestone in August. As of a month ago, in those forty years I had twenty-five bosses. I just learned last week I am in for another one. Usually one makes their own work and job choices, but that is not the case this time. The only difference is that since I have been working part time for almost a year, it doesn't matter as much. Eighteen of the 26 bosses were female and eight were male. In the early years of clinical nursing, and then nursing management, they were 100% female. When I moved to the corporate office, they were mostly male. All told, they each lasted about one and a half years - although most of the time it was because I was moving myself along the career ladder. Only one of these bosses I would consider a true mentor - someone who looked after your back and really cared about you. I was very lucky to have a mentor in college too. You'll know it when you have one! I have worked in four separate organizations - three health care facilities and systems and the federal government. I have been a patient care giver, a boss to about 1,000 nurses in the critical care arena, and an internal consultant with no direct reports. I've learned to adjust to whatever is thrown at me. It should be no different this time. (Photos taken from the websites of the organizations I have worked for).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What I Notice on the Mall and Capitol Hill

Yesterday we took a ride down M Street SE. Today, before the snow flies, we decided to take a typical walk to the Mall from our house. The landscape changes with the seasons. The sun was trying to come out, and it was close to 50. But there is usually not a lot of activity before noon. We always pass by the duck pond at the American Indian Museum and stop at the Smithsonian Castle gardens. The Washington Monument is a typical landmark in just about any photo, but looked really pretty behind the African American Museum of Art. A unique fur tree stands in front of the castle, and the massive mall improvement project is well underway. The familiar sound of any merry go round was heard loud and clear - but there were no takers. The large orange steel beam, also known as art, reminds me of the same structure in downtown Milwaukee on the lakefront. There are a lot of empty benches along the path on the way back towards the Capitol. At the US Botanical Garden the little babbling brook is well hidden; the gargoyles stare down at us from atop the Palladian windows, and the collard greens are ready to be picked! The Bartholdi Fountain spot is a great place to sit and put your feet up for awhile. As we approach our house, the barriers to the Capitol become more obvious and directions to the freeway near the House Office Buildings garage exits pop out against the notable red brick rowhouse backdrop. What one doesn't usually see is the train track that runs behind that notable rowhouse, and the sidewalks that can attack you if you don't keep your eyes on the ground. It's a lot different from Milwaukee and a lot warmer too. Can we skip the snow please?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Drive On M Street and Barracks Row

We didn't want to drive directly back home after brunch so we took a detour on M Street. Things have changed a lot since we first moved here - on the other side of the freeway - and will continue to progress for many more years to come. The Nationals Stadium stands in the distance, but the path has been cleared for yet another condominium, shopping, restaurant complex. The ice skating venue has a few customers at Canal Park. The new Harris Teeter just opened amid another complex of apartments, condos, and restaurants. My husband still prefers the one on Pennsylvania Avenue, although this one is much closer to us. Up the street is the Navy Yard complex. It appears that the many year freeway and road construction project may finally be coming to an end. But the train track renovation will soon take its place. We turn around at the Wagtime Shop where I have a "gallery wall" of pet portraits. There is a fenced in area where the pooches are allowed to romp as weather permits. Turning up on Eighth Street and Barracks Row, several urban art pieces are displayed on the sides of buildings. Marine Barracks is well protected by a high fence with guards on all corners. It's a rather dreary outing as there is much less activity at this time of day and year. It all feels so familiar to us now as if we have lived here forever. I guess that's a good thing.