Wednesday, November 30, 2016

LLBean Return Policy

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a wonderful three in one all season coat from LLBean on line. This was after I tried it on in the store at Tysons in Virginia to get the sizing right. And I waited for the 20% off sale and had a $10 coupon on top of that. For whatever reason, we thought the large was the right fit, but when it arrived - it was much too big. I should have known because it seems like medium has been the right size all along for most items. So I checked the return policy and noticed how generous it is, and is another reason to shop at LLBean. So yesterday we exchanged the coat for a medium - which was the last one available in that color. Unfortunately when we returned home, I noticed that the security device on the sleeve was not removed. We thought we heard a ringing noise when we left the store yesterday, but didn't think much about it, and no one else noticed either. So I called the store and asked what we needed to do, and said we would return today for the device to be removed. I am hopeful that this coat will be everything it says it will be after all this back and forth and three trips to LLBean. Since I retired in February, LLBean has become our favorite place for every day wear, particularly for our daily walking and casual clothes needs. And the color was different from my typical work related attire. We are lucky to have a bricks and mortar store in the area, and the drive to McLean is very pleasant. So what will we need next? I'm sure we will find out sooner than later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Subaru Check Up and Traffic Headaches

Since we took a cross country trip to California and back in September, we put a LOT of miles on our one year old Subaru. So before we take another trip, we needed to get the car serviced. It's easy enough to make the appointment on line and then get reminders about when it is. But that also means a trip to Alexandria and a major headache to get there. Since we need to wait for the car at the dealership we need to get there at least by 1000 AM. That puts us in rush hour traffic - something that I try to avoid at all costs. And it is raining and dreary to make it worse. Since I retired in February, I have not had to get up on a schedule very often,  but had to get up earlier than usual this morning to make the appointment. Well, we got there on time, leaving an hour ahead to travel seven miles. Ah, the joys of living in the big city. Thank goodness it only happens once in awhile.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Capitol Christmas Tree From Idaho

As is usual, we took our morning walk with the intent to stop at the Botanic Garden to see the trains. But something else caught our eye. There were a lot of police and the roads were blocked. And out in the distance was a very long truck with a very large tree on it. So we headed over to where all the activity was and watched as the US Forrest Service, the Architect of the Capitol, and a host of other helpers hoist the Capitol Christmas tree from the flatbed of the truck using a very large crane and taking a lot of time. Once it was off the truck, the extra branches were cut away and the cleanup began. One of the rangers thoughtfully distributed tiny snippets of evergreen branches to the bystanders. We waited for awhile to see if they would ever move it to the final show place in the middle of the Capitol Grounds. But something was wrong with the balancing mechanism of the forklift and crane so we decided to leave after almost three hours! It was interesting to see the flatbed truck with the Idaho license plates collapse in to a smaller version of itself via a logistics phenomenon. My husband was more interested in watching that! So we will need to visit the trains later this week. But this was a great excuse to wait.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

National Mall Flowers

You wouldn't think that at this time of the year, the flowers would still be so lovely. But with the warmer than usual temperatures and sunshine, everything still looks like late summer. It hasn't been this nice outside in the ten years that we have lived here. And wouldn't you know, this is the year we both got new very insulated jackets and coats from LLBean to better brave the elements of the typically very unpleasant, rainy, and freezing cold fall and winter. And don't forget about the hand and toe warmers! We haven't needed any of that yet this year - yet! So when we walk to the National Mall every morning, we always promenade through the Smithsonian gardens. There is always something blooming, and if it is not, it is replaced by something that is. Even our little patio garden is looking quite nice. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the rest of the season stayed like this?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Digital Art Commissions

It happens every year about this time. My little Etsy shop starts to hum with custom pet portrait digital art commissions for Christmas. Luckily for me, I am able to bring my studio (my iPad and stylus) with me if we are traveling - and in all likelihood we usually are. It makes it a little more difficult to sketch and paint if I am riding in a car, but at least I can do some of it and minimally keep in contact with my customers with updates. Last year we were in England when the orders starting coming in - so many that I had to finally begin documenting them using pen and paper - in addition to my iPhone - to keep them straight. I've completed a few so far this last week. I'm thinking I will get a few more orders, sometimes only a few days before Christmas. The least I can do is create a sketch with an IOU to complete the portrait by the end of the month, or even in to January depending on what's in the queue.  The nicest reward is that I oftentimes get repeat customers, which is a real compliment. It's really a very nice hobby and I look forward to creating each and every portrait. The feedback is nice too! So if you are interested in having a custom pet or any other portrait painted at this time or any other time of the year, contact me at

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ginger Ale - Too Many Choices!

Last year when we went home for Christmas, my mother talked up Ginger Ale. I usually drink Diet Coke, but for no particular reason. And it's not that frequent. There are just days when you just feel like a soft drink. So we tried the diet ginger ale and really liked it. I'm not quite sure why - it simply tasted good. Since then, we only drink ginger ale at home - but a lot of restaurants don't always have it. So now we have been experimenting with all the different ginger ale brands - Canada Dry, Seagrams, Harris Teeter,  Schweppes ... but we really like Canada Dry diet the best - the regular is too favorful! One of our recent house guests was just converted too since the refrigerator was full of it. So whenever we see two for one sales on the twelve can packs at Safeway or other grocery stores, we get it. Last week we tried the 99 cent huge bottles of both the generic and Canada Dry, and the Canada Dry won out. Now the question is - why not get the large bottles over the cans all the time? So much to think about!