Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Library of Congress Program - Gender and Dance in Modern Iran - Ida Meftahi

I worked at the Library of Congress for ten years after thirty years in health care in the Midwest. Before I retired this year, I signed up to receive all the email notifications for programs that are routinely offered there. A couple of them struck our fancy so we made a note of the dates and times and attended one of them yesterday about Gender and Dance in Modern Iran by Ida Meftahi. The programs are usually held in the beautiful Jefferson Building. It's always a treat to visit the place, and even better now that I no longer am working there! We needed to pass through the Great Hall and in to the Middle Eastern section of the building, which sits across the street from the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the seats are arranged in such a way that my view is always blocked. But I usually can't hear or see the speaker anyway, and my husband generally knows as much, if not more, about the subject matter, and tells me about it on the walk home. I just like the idea of walking over there from our house, usually running in to a past colleague - which we did - and it is a great excuse to get out of the house. There is another event we are planning to see in September, along with congressional hearings here and there. It is one thing we would miss if and when we ever move from this neighborhood. But we still don't know if and when that will happen. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Archibald Walk on the Barracks Row Heritage Trail - an Inhabited Alley in DC

The other day - out of curiosity - we were looking for two garages that sold for $70,000 plus each. We found them off G Street SE in an alley way that was hidden behind Christ Church. Aside from that grabbing our attention, we stumbled upon Archibald Walk. There is a sign that describes the history of the area. Apparently it is one of the last remaining inhabited alleys in DC. The decor of the side by side rowhouses at the entrance looked like we were on an island somewhere - with banana tress in the front yard. But upon closer inspection, someone goes to a lot of trouble to actually tie bunches of bananas to the tree with green wires! It felt like we were walking along a European neighborhood as we meandered down the longer side of the u shaped alley. At the end of it were two more residences, with a huge tree house in front. Apparently there was big uproar about the tree house crossing the property line which resulted in the elimination of many potted plants that could no longer be displayed there - something about needing permits that didn't exist. Nevertheless, it was an odd place to visit, nestled behind Barracks Row. One only wonders what all went on in these spaces all those years ago. I'm not sure I would want to live anywhere near it. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pepco Power Outage - the Second Time in Two Weeks

My husband woke me up out a deep sleep this morning to tell me the power was out. There's not a whole lot you can do about it except report it and try to get updates. The odd thing was was that half of the power was working. Luckily the refrigerator was, but the air conditioning and lights weren't. So I checked the pepco app and saw it was already reported with 161 affected and a 9 AM resolution time. So we decided to go for a short walk and see if pepco trucks were anywhere to be seen. We saw three on the corner and when we returned, the power turned back on at 11AM, giving us enough time to shower and make breakfast. But it went out again with even more people affected and a 2PM estimated correction time. So of course this means there is no internet service - something that was validated using the Xfinity Comcast app. Thank goodness we don't have to be anywhere or do anything - except take a ride in the car to charge the phones if it gets to that. What I'd like to know is why this has happened twice now in two weeks? It reminds me of when we lived in Milwaukee that ours was the only block in the neighborhood that had consistent power outages until they finally changed whatever was causing the problem. It was most annoying to have no electricity only to see the neighbor's across the street with all the lights on in the house. At least it's daylight and we can't really tell who is affected. It still doesn't make us feel any better. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Xfinity - For the Fifth Time, I Don't Want STARZ!

Our universal remote was dying after five years of continuous service so we decided we better upgrade to the newest Comcast Xfinity remote - the one you talk to. It was installed in February and works really well - except I have never had so many chat sessions and phone calls with Xfinity about all the other problems we never had before we made the switch. Initially someone kept hijacking our cable box and ordering children's programs and movies. After about ten conversations with them they finally realized we weren't making it up and came back out and switched the box again and added a "shut off valve" of sorts to keep our connection private. That seemed to finally work. I also requested a valued customer discount for all this hassle. I even set up parental controls in spite of the fact it's just my husband and I living here! But we still keep getting a STARZ promotional fee added to our bill. We never requested it, don't watch it, and are getting super irritated that it keeps showing up. So for the fifth time or more, I had another chat with Vijay about this issue. I refused to pay the promotional STARZ fee and additional prorated amount that mysteriously gets added. And I begged him to please document this issue and discussion so I do not have to repeat it any more. After being reassured it will never happen again I am not holding my breath. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Apple Software Updates

The other day I was looking at the Twitter feed and came across an urgent reminder to update Apple software due to some serious security vulnerability. That's easy to say if there is just one device to concern yourself with. We have had several Apple phones over the years, but currently use two full time. Since the iPad came out, I use two of them for my digital artwork, and my husband has an iPad mini for his everyday use. So when the need to update software comes along, there are hardly enough power plugs in the house to get them all connected, and going at the same time. I always get my iPad done first because of my art "business." Luckily we have never had an issue with an update - that I know of! I don't know how we got along without all of this before - especially after a conversation we had this morning about my fill in job at Florida State as a switch board operator at the dorm I lived in my sophomore year. There was an intercom in the room that was used to notify the person of a phone call and the operator sent the call to a phone located at the corners of the hallways, or to another floor. Hand written messages were left in the mailbox when the person was not available. I still have a couple of those pink notes that had special meaning! I suppose you just embrace the new technology and hope for the best. But these updates can be unpredictable and time consuming. But I don't think anyone would want it any other way. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

LensCovers Sunglasses Replace Prescription Sunglasses

My prescription sunglasses are easily 12 years old or older. I got them in Milwaukee at our favorite Optix shop. Since then, my prescription has changed a few times, but I never updated the sunglasses. So whenever I wear them, it's a bit blurry, and there are no bifocals. Sometimes I end up with a mild headache from the stress of it all, especially when it is boiling hot with a full sun. And when we are walking and end up inside, I don't have my regular glasses to switch off. So walking in Union station - to beat the heat - can be a very dark experience. For whatever reason I started researching flip ups for my husband, who refuses to wear sunglasses. In doing so, I came across LensCovers sunglasses and read all the comments, most of which were quite positive. So I followed the sizing instructions and ordered up a khaki colored pair for about $15 - a lot cheaper than prescriptions! They arrived yesterday and I was quite surprised how well they fit, and looked - considering they are really cheap plastic. But the real test was on today's walk in the boiling heat and full sun. For the first time in MANY years, I could actually see things clearly, there was much less glare, they are extremely light, and they covered more face space than my old ones ever did. The nicest part was that all I had to do was remove them when I entered Union station, and didn't need to fumble around to change them with my regular glasses because I was already wearing them. My husband tried them on for fun and they worked for him too. I've gone from wearing contact lenses and stylish sunglasses to prescription sunglasses and now to LensCovers. It's a great option for walking and driving. They are simply quite practical. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How About a Garage for $73,000 on the Barracks Row Heritage Trail?

We get the Hill Rag every month to learn about the goings on in the neighborhood. One of the sections we look at is the real estate activity. It is not uncommon to see million dollar plus homes routinely bought and sold on Capitol Hill. But two of the line items this month took us aback and we had to look twice. There were two garages sold on G Street SE to the tune of $70,000 plus each! This was so odd, we needed to actually take a look at where this place was. We understand that parking is a premium around here, but this was outlandish! So we headed on out on our morning walk and took a different path to reach this destination. Walking along G street, you need to turn off on to an alley and wind around to a row of garages in a very odd location. And there they were- two "active" garage spaces with a sign not to block them. It was dreadful walking around there in the daylight. I can only imagine how it must be at night. If the walls could talk, I am certain a lot of interesting things must have happened around here. I think I would prefer reading about it than actually living anywhere near it. I'd love to know who would purchase this space, and why? Any ideas? It's on the Barracks Row Heritage Trail - but there must be more to it.