Monday, February 29, 2016

Where Are the Nips?

My husband has a sweet tooth. So much so that I order large quantities of his favorite candy through Amazon every few months. It was time for a replenishment, along with the darn filters that we need for the Keurig one cup tea and coffee maker, and the Brita water carafe. So I requested the usual - Bali's Best coffee assortment, and Nips chocolate parfait. The filters and the Bali's were delivered together in short order, but there must be a serious shortage in the Nips supply. We received an email from Amazon that the product was not yet available, and they would let us know when it would be. Then we received another email asking if we would like to consider an extension on the delivery date. So we did. It's been more than a couple of weeks. So finally today, we got a "good news" email from Amazon, saying the product will finally be shipped, but won't get here until next week. I appreciate the communication, but don't understand the problem with the Nips supply. It certainly isn't a big deal, but when you have a sweet tooth, things can get ugly!  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Amazon A Tiny Fish Tale

I wrote a children's book about a tiny fish a few years ago entitled "A Tiny Fish Tale." It was made in to an app by StoryChimes and is available though iTunes. I also digitally illustrated the book using my iPad and self published this and two other books that are available on Amazon as a download or paperback. Additionally, all the illustrations are included in my Etsy shop. A few copies of the books and illustrations have sold, and I am just proud of the fact that I did it all myself with absolutely no help from anyone! One of the cutest and most touching comments came from a high school teacher who noticed the book and made inquiries about how to get one for her grandson. What reminded me of all this was that I was looking at the Amazon author site the other day that shows all my books in one spot. I noticed someone had put a five star rating for "A Tiny Fish Tale." I just want to thank whomever that was. Whenever anyone gives me positive feedback on any of my work, or displays a digital art portrait of something I made, I am so gratified to know someone thinks that much of what I love doing. The iPad did a lot for me when it was introduced to us almost six years ago. I suppose I need to thank Steve Jobs the most. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Home Depot Universal Korky Toilet Flappers

When we lived in Milwaukee, I know we had problems with the house. The only difference is we also had a wonderful handyman who lived within minutes and fixed whatever the problem was. So we didn't need to think about it very much. Living here is a completely different story. Whenever we have a problem now, we try to fix it ourselves, which is rarely the case. We have to rely on someone else's suggestions, depending on the issue. Luckily, there is a building handyman who has helped us out quite a few times, and another who has done bigger jobs. A couple days ago the toilet flapper chain broke from the rubber part of the flapper. My husband and I rigged up a temporary fix until we could get to Home Depot today and find a replacement. Saturday is not a good day to go anywhere around here. The place was jammed, but we think we at least found what we needed. Now we will wait until the temporary fix breaks and change the part. I only hope the universal Korky flapper works, as it suggests. But nothing is ever that simple around here. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

First Street Atomic Talking Watch

always look at First Street products for my mom. If there is anything I can do to make her life and living surroundings more comfortable I will. She recently asked if I could find and send her a watch with a large dial, so she could easily see it. There was a really nice watch that not only had a big face, but it talks to you. If you press a button, it not only tells you the time, but it also tells you the date, the day of the week, and the year. I'm beginning to think I could use something like that. Since I retired this month, I really need to think hard about what day it is - and then need to remind and pinch myself that I don't have to go to work anymore. It still hasn't registered. Anyway, this watch has four buttons and they all do something different. There is an alarm, an hourly chime, and it resets itself for daylight savings. The only problem was is that it was difficult to get it going. The neighbors needed to take it home, study the directions, and set it up for her. So I asked her how it was working. She said the band was too large and some of the links needed to be removed. Nothing is ever easy anymore. But as long as it works, I guess it will do. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring on the National Mall

Even though it is only 45 degrees with blustery winds, the national mall is getting prepped for spring. Everywhere we looked today there was tree pruning and branch clean up going on. The workmen were in the trees, on the sidewalks, and everywhere there were unsightly branches. Sidewalks were cordoned off so as not to interfere with the progress. At the Smithsonian gardens, signs of the anticipated season were showing... the magnolia buds were starting to burst with greenery. At the US Botanical Garden, the gardeners were sprucing up the flower beds and the mulch was being delivered in hoses attached to very large trucks. This activity reminded us that our little patio garden needs a lot of attention this year, especially since the blizzard wrecked most of what was standing upright. I used to have a lot of energy for planting but find myself more in the mood to have someone else do it. Regardless, it's so nice to have another spot to relax and smell the roses, even if it takes a bit more energy to keep it going. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Next Day Blinds Decision

When we moved to DC from the Midwest, we left everything behind. Nothing we had would fit in to a tiny 500 square foot space. Since then, we have an additional tiny space to live in, across the hall from our original one bedroom apartment, making a total of almost 1,000 square feet. It sounds odd, but actually works out well - especially when we have visitors. Each has their own place. We used to have a huge king size sofa bed in it and have spent the last six years trying to reconfigure the area to accommodate a wall bed. We had a wonderful designer in Milwaukee who helped us redecorate, renovate, and completely redo our entire house there. We are pretty much left to our own devices here - and I miss him a lot! So now the wall bed is installed, and we now have a bedroom, dining room, living, and exercise room all in one space. One of the last things we need to do is get some black out shades for six large windows because the honeycombs don't function well at night - the light comes right in. Plus they will add another layer of insulation from the winter drafts in this very old buikding. A few months back we checked out available options at Next Day Blinds in Alexandria, and decided to take a ride over yesterday to see the samples and make a decision. Of course, a decision can't be made until I actually get the samples in the house and compare the colors. We are expecting friends from the Midwest in April so I am hoping we can get this done sooner than later. We are finally feeling good about the space - and it's taken six years to get there. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fine Art America - Women on the Steps of Persepolis

I've been creating digital art pet portraits for a few years. I have an Etsy shop that showcases many of the custom commissioned pooches and kitties, as well as paintings from our travels, popular sights around Washington DC, and illustrations from the childrens books I wrote. One of the more popular scenes I painted is the women on the steps of Persepolis. This particular item was entered at the Library of Congress art show and received positive reviews. Someone purchased a print of it, and it has been ordered several times on line. It is also one of my husband's favorite paintings. We had a small 8x10 of Persepolis hanging on our wall, so I decided to see how Fine Art Amercia products really turn out. All of my images and photographs are also on the Fine Art Amercia website. Usng my digital file to order a 15x20 canvas for our living space, it arrived a few days later. It was packed nicely and the end result was fine! It is amazing how something I created on my iPad can be turned in to so many different traditional formats as well as unconventional items like coffee mugs and totes. We both really liked the end result, and I can claim it as my own! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Capitol Riverfront, Anacostia, and Construction

Rather than walk to the Mall, we turned south toward the Anacostia riverfront. The construction and noise is overwhelming. The sidewalks are being replaced to brick from concrete, the Virginia Avenue train renovation is handily underway, and the high rises are fast appearing just about everywhere. We started at the fountains near the river, then headed west towards Nationals Stadium. The cranes, concrete and glass are not is short supply. The hoards of workers in yellow safety vests are taking breaks at the old fashioned food trucks. When we first moved here ten years ago, none of these structures were in existence. We wouldn't want to live in the huge steel and glass buildongs, much preferring the traditional Capitol Hill neighborhood with all the issues of living in very old buildings - although it would be great to have a parking space and our own heating and air conditioning unit. It all looks much better from a distance, and taking a walk through it every once in a while is all we need. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Cheap Saturday Night Date at Chick-fil-A

I love the Chick-fil-A road signs. The cows are doing everything they can to sway your tastebuds away from hamburgers to anything chicken. Last year I went to a restaurant with my coworkers near Culpeper, Virginia after a morning tour at the Library of Congress Moving Pictures and Sound Packard campus site. I thought my husband might like to try it out one of these days. While on the road from Florida back to DC and to Florida from DC, we stopped in I think South Carolina somewhere to have lunch. I think he liked the change of pace...and he loves fried chicken every once in awhile. Yesterday we were in the mood to go for a ride, and decided it was time for a Chick-fil-A boost. So we headed toward Rockville and needed directions on how to order once we figured out where the line started. I don't know how they figure out what table to deliver the food, but we had a feast of greasy French fries and chicken sandwiches - and of course a healthy side salad. It was very busy, being a Saturday night. We left the house at 4:30 or so and got back home more than two hours later. The traffic was ridiculous on the freeway and near Georgetown. Was it worth it? Yes! But I now remember why we rarely go out for dinner on a Saturday night - even if it's nice outside. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Suspicious Car Trunk Left Open

I saw one of our neighbors coming in to the house with her arms full of grocery bags. I also noticed that a car trunk was left open on a car parked on the street.  She may have been the one to leave the trunk of her car open - but I didn't know if it was her car. So I sent her an email to let her know, just in case. Living on Capitol Hill, there are police circulating the neighborhood on foot, bicycle, and car. Before I finished the email, a policeman was at the door talking to someone on the speaker. Obviously he looked up the license plate and called her. When he left, he closed her trunk. Later in the afternoon I got a thank you note from the neighbor acknowledging that it indeed was her car. When you live on the first floor you see and observe a lot of things. I wasn't surprised that the police were immediately checking it out, but also liked the idea of helping out someone. You just can't ignore it - at least we can't. It's a Midwest thing.