Saturday, October 31, 2015

Old Town Alexandria Halloween Decor

After we went to the Apple store in Clarendon, we went to lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant in Alexandria, then decided it was a beautiful day to check out the Halloween decorations in Old Town.  For whatever reason, they always seemed to look better than what we see in our neighborhood. There didn't seem to be as much as usual, but we weren't disappointed. But before we did that, we stopped at a gas station, and saw a "man" crawling from a second story window. I love the old brick townhouses, and rowhouses, and huge individual houses. I think I liked the skeleton crawling up the side of the red brick huge house on the corner the most. Was there theme going on here? Anyway, it was sunny, and pleasant, and it had been awhile since we visited one of our favorite places. The ghosts and goblins were aplenty, and the traditional fall schemes were also abundant. There is a big Halloween event going on here on Capitol Hill at Eastern Market, it we are too tired to walk over. Maybe it's just a sign of getting older. All of a sudden, the couch just looks more comfortable. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

iPhone 6S Plus and AT&T

I've been thinking about getting a new Iphone for the last month. I've been researching the benefits of the new IPhone 6s plus, and like the camera improvements the most - and that's what I use it for the most. We are also planning on some trips where the camera features will be utilized even more. And since my hands are so large, having a bigger device isn't really a problem because I don't really use it as a phone as much as I use it for all the other benefits. I've also been studying the best AT&T options, and decided that buying it outright was better than getting a break on the price and having a data plan that was $40 a month more than the current mobile share option I just switched to. I really needed the  personal hotspot to use with my iPad when my wifi is not available. So much to consider!!!  I was going to order the phone online, but the shipping dates were into mid November. When I tried to book a device on line for store pick up, the feature was disabled because of the high demand, with the warning that devices may not be available. So we decided to take a trip to the Apple Store and see if they had what I wanted in stock. We arrived right after 10 AM, and just in time to beat the crowds. I was surprised when they said it was in stock. Aside from that, we had a couple questions about the iPad mini we just got for my husband. The photos weren't streaming like they should, and hopefully that issue is now resolved. Nothing is ever easy, so after the initial in store set up, I am hoping things go without a hitch from this point forward. I feel like a little kid in a candy shop, and that doesn't happen all that often. Now I need to find a case to keep it safely stored in. When we start to look for places to relocate to (if we ever decide to move from DC), it's got to be near an Apple store!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gerry Mulligan Collection

Whenever I'm working I take a short morning and afternoon walk along the long corridors of the Library of Congress. Whenever there is a new exhibit, I change my direction to take advantage of it. But there is a long lasting exhibit in the Madison building and I pass by it all the time. If you are in to jazz, it's probably more meaningful. It's called the Gerry Mulligan Collection and it's all about Gerry Mulligan and jazz. I'm not a big jazz fan, but the Grammy sticks out as a point of interest. I'm too lazy to read more about it, but I do know our friends from Milwaukee think very highly of Mr. Mulligan - and they are jazz fans. Plus, anyone who owns a spot anywhere in the library obviously had some significant impact on something. For this reason alone, the Library is an interesting place to work, and an even more interesting place to take a walk. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Shari's Berries Halloween Special Delivery

My mom lives in Florida and it's quite a distance from here in DC and even further from Wisconsin where we lived for thirty years. I always send her things on the usual holidays, but lately have been sending things at other times of the year. It's more of an unexpected surprise and the idea is to just let her know we are thinking about her - especially since my dad passed away this year. What I like are the email updates a lot of the vendors send to share the progress of the package from start to finish. The first one thanks you for the order; then there's one to let you know it's been sent with a tracking number; and the final one to say it's been delivered. In the meantime I send my mom emails to let her know there may be a package left at the side door. So such was the case this week with a halloween brownie pop order from Sharie's Berries. It's not so much what it is, but the unexpected nature of it all. She ends up giving a lot of it away to the next door neighbor's kids - which is just fine. I suppose the only downside is the number of emails received practically every week to remind me if my past orders. Now that I could do without. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Sketch to Portrait Digital Art

It's getting to be a busier time of year for a lot of things. But my little Etsy shop tends to get a lot of requests from now through the holidays. Custom pet portraits are a personal gift that everyone seems to like. I opened my shop three years ago so I'm getting more and more in tune to trends. I'm also becoming more comfortable with the overall process. For any request it's a continuous exchange of updates and communication from start to finish. So when the project is complete I now patch together a series of images that show the steps. I like to use Instagram Layout because there are a lot of options and it is so easy! So, customers not only receive the final digital image, but another image that shows the progress. Sometimes that's more interesting than the end result. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Subaru Surprise Package

At our condo community mailbox the packages pile up. We weren't expecting anything so we weren't looking. While passing by the mail area the other day I noticed a large package that was sitting there and when I looked at the name it was mine. It was a bit of a surprise, so I whisked it off to our unit to see what was inside. It came from Subaru - that didn't surprise us so much - but the content was interesting. It was a beautiful Bric's travel bag - ironic because my travel bag strap recently broke and this would make a fine replacement. When I looked it up on line it was valued at $450.00? We've been filling in a lot of Subaru surveys lately and perhaps that was the connection. In any case we were taken aback and happy to receive something that we can actually use. I scanned "Subaru gifts" on the internet and noted that this type of thing is a common occurrence. It has something to do with customer loyalty. We always liked Subaru - now we like them even more. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lawtey Florida Speed Trap and State Senator Rob Bradley

Last month when we were traveling in Florida, we found ourselves in a well known speed trap in Lawtey on highway 301. It became well known to us only after we got a whopping ticket and the officer who stopped us asked if we were a senator or anything when he noticed our DC license plates. We admitted we were in the wrong, but when I got back home to DC I visited the offices of Forida Representative Yoho, Senators Rubio and Nelson to voice a complaint about this known sped trap and the comment that was made by the office, and wrote letters to state Senator Bradley and Representative Van Zant expressing the same sentiment. In both the personal visits and in the letter, I told them I expected a response. Then we waited to see who would answer first - if at all. Our friends just so happened to be traveling that same route a few days ago and sent us a photo of the billboard that we saw, but the word "trap" was covered over by a Halloween event - but it wasn't fooling anyone! Last week we received our first and perhaps only email response from the state senator's office. The legislative assistant described the background and acknowledged there was indeed an issue regarding the speed traps not only in Lawtey but in two other towns nearby. No mention was made about the comment. It just goes to show you that the house and senate offices in DC aren't really interested in issues like this - I'm certain they are too busy dealing with much more important matters. I appreciate that Senator Bradley's office responded and acknowledged the problem. As for the double standard of who does and who doesn't get tickets? 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Capitol Hill Halloween Decor

Along East Capitol Street and Eastern Market, Halloween is a very big deal. When we first moved here, we walked along the streets in the evening and it was very difficult to navigate around the hoards of goblins and ghosts. But closer in to our neighborhood, there is less evidence of Halloween, but occasionally an interesting landscape catches our eye. I can't say we ever did a lot of decorating for Halloween. We always had at least a pumpkin, and I remember my candy bag broke - leaving me devastated as a four year old - but the bag and all of its' contents were miraculously replaced by my mother. There are certainly a lot of kids in the neighborhood, but being in a condo, we don't get the foot traffic we used to when we lived in Milwaukee. And since our grandson no longer lives nearby, there's even less of a reminder - although he may be outgrowing the candy stage at his age a d moving in to the party arena. But it is fun to see what types of decor springs up. I do know the squirrels love the pumpkins, and probably there will be more decor on display in the next several days. It's just another reminder of the seasons and time passing... It all has a very different affect on us as we get older. What do you do for Halloween?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Benghazi Hearings - Just Another Day in the Neighborhood

It was my day off and there was something going on in the neighborhood. After having lunch at Pete's, we walked over to the Longworth House Office Building and made our way to the Benghazi hearings room. We arrived around one in the afternoon and stood in line for an hour. We knew it might be less busy during the afternoon and were hoping to get in after the break. The front entryway and lobby were filled with press and spectators, Capitol police, and all sorts of interesting people who could spend this amount of time waiting. We always go to events around town and there is always something to see. When Mrs. Clinton came in after the afternoon break, I had an opportunity to snap a few photos at very close range. She was getting and giving a hug to someone - perhaps her brother? To our right was Maureen Dowd, and Dana Bash was sitting further upstream. All the people typically seen on all the news channels were there - obviously. It's a great opportunity to observe and spend time. Unfortunately I couldn't stop coughing around 5:30 so we had to leave and it was still quite crowded. Then we walked back home on a beautiful fall afternoon, had dinner, and watched a bit more on TV. I could never do this sort of thing in Milwaukee. But here, it's just another day in the neighborhood.