Saturday, December 16, 2017
When you are traveling you are at the mercy of reviews and comments made on websites. So on the last leg of our trip we stopped at a Mexican place in Dunn, North Carolina that had rave reviews. We were graciously seated in a booth that faced a highly visited bathroom; a waitress that was quite unkempt; and food that was meant to be served to an army - not just for two! The appetizer alone was a soup bowl bigger than the size of my husband's head. Being a Friday night it was quite busy. I do have to say the chips and salsa were good, but can't comment on anything else. It was authentic alright but a bit too much for our taste. We prefer our neighborhood place where things are on a smaller scale, but unfortunately - triple the price! I'm hoping my husband has not been turned off to Mexican food. He can't stop talking about it - and not in a good way.
Friday, December 15, 2017
We like staying at Hampton Inn when we travel. It started a very long time ago whenever we took road trips across the US. A couple of years ago I got the Hilton Honors app and use it to book rooms on the day we are traveling to whatever destination seems feasible. I never used the digital key because it wasn't available at all sites and I didn't want to bother. So this time I thought we would give it a try. When you book your room you then have the option to confirm your reservation and select the room you prefer if you don't like the room they pick for you based on your preferences. After that, it asks if you want a digital key. That means you can walk right to your room number without having to stop at the front desk. Then you hold up your smartphone to the door knob where you would normally swipe your entry card, press a button, and the door opens. It worked really well, and then you have the option to change the name of the room number for security and safety issues. I always like to try all new digital gadgets and such so now I can add this to our list. Hopefully it will continue to work well. What they didn't have this time was chocolate chip cookies! We arrived a bit too late and they were all gone.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
It's always nice to receive birthday greetings on the one day of the year you can call your own. It used to be a few cards in the mail. Anyone on Facebook knows that getting remembered and sending greetings are easier than ever since reminders are broadcast on your page as well as all of your friends. So, for those not on Facebook, an occasional email is usually the alternate mode of communication. But the ones I like the least are the ones that come from services you use during the year, or services you don't use during the year. That includes places like the dentist, the hairdresser, the doctor, the investment and insurance people. In the end it's nice someone thought about your special day. But in some instances they are coming from places you don't really want to be reminded about!
My dad passed away two and a half years ago. He was buried at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell because of his service in the military. Whenever we drive down to Florida from DC we always stop at the cemetery to pay respects and say hello. Since Christmas time was a season my dad liked, we got him a really pretty wreath and lovely bow. When we arrived it was a sunny beautiful afternoon and driving through the grounds was quite serene. We placed the wreath in front of the gravestone and hung around for awhile. When we walked back to the car we noticed the other Christmas decorations that were already in place. Unfortunately the harsh sun really does the job on the live plants. But a lot of them were very cheerful and glittery. One of them even played a Christmas tune when you walked by. It's nice to see that folks are remembered and I'm glad we are able to stop by once in awhile. So each family shares their memories - especially at this time of the year.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sometimes you just have a taste for something, or there is a place you want to go. That happens whenever we pass through Savannah. During the summer months we travel further than Savannah because it stays light longer in the day. We'll end up in Darian or Brunswick. But during the winter months, we will stop sooner and that means Savannah. Unfortunately I don't always remember the actual exit. We like going to Sam Snead's Oak Grill and Tavern for dinner, then stay at an inn close by. But I couldn't match the location of the restaurant with the inn and booked a room one more exit past the restaurant. So we decided to drive back the ten miles just to go to this place for nothing more than a hamburger - but it beat the typical Applebee's or something along those lines. We have always had a good overall experience there. I should have set google maps for Sam Snead's and then move along to the inn, but I wasn't thinking straight. In the end it worked out okay and was at least the fourth time we were there. Now I know the exit and put it in my reminder notes so we don't make the same mistake again. After all, we aren't in any hurry. So we're entitled to making a mistake here and there. It doesn't matter.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
As is the case every Saturday, we drive to McLean Virginia. We have breakfast at McLean Family Restaurant and then go grocery shopping at the Safeway across the street. They know us so well at the restaurant we hardly need to order! So today our typical twenty minute ride looked very different than the many we have taken over the last several months. It was snowing this morning and everything was grey and dreary compared to sunny and golden just a week ago. Having moved to DC from the Midwest eleven years ago we certainly are quite familiar with this white stuff. But it was one of the main reasons we left that cold and frigid place. I really don't like it - especially if you need to be somewhere. I suppose now that I am retired it would be different living in ice and snow - particularly when we think of all the wonderful people we know there. It makes our hearts warm just remembering them all! But all it takes is one little slip on the ice. The only thing that's remotely nice is that it looks pretty sitting inside the warm house and makes the holiday more meaningful at this time of year. But I'll take the sunshine and warm temperatures any day.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Whenever we have guests visiting, they typically arrive at Reagan airport. If the traffic is good, it takes about 15-20 minutes to get there from our house - about the same time it took for us to get to Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee when we lived in Wisconsin. Sometimes we wait in a small parking area along the GW Parkway. It's all very familiar. So when a friend said she would be visiting her niece in Virginia, she said she would be flying in to Dulles. We wanted to meet up for lunch during her short weekend here and it worked out that picking her at the airport would work the best. We only use Dulles for international flights and rarely drive there. So we needed to research the process before we left. Plus the hoopla with the I-66 tollroad started this week and we didn't know if that would affect the drive. Luckily we weren't coming or going during rush hour times. So we drove to Virginia and followed the signs to the airport and the cell phone location and waited for the call. There was constant movement in the lot at this time of the day. So when our friend arrived she needed to tell us the specific door number she would be near so we could drive by and easily find her. It all worked out nicely and we had a lovely time catching up on things. Once we got her to her final destination it would be a long commute home. We didn't mind because we set aside the day for this excursion. But pity all the people who have to make this commute every day. It took over an hour to get back home - and that wasn't even during rush hour.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
I've been painting custom pet portraits using my iPad as the canvas and the stylus as my brush since the iPad was introduced. One of the ways I showcase my art is by posting the completed portraits on a variety of websites. One of those websites is Fine Art America. I also upload photos from Washington DC and the places we travel. I like the options that are available to customers to make non traditional items like coffee mugs and totes from any of these images. I have ordered stretch canvas paintings and coffe mugs and am pleased with the results. I received an email from FAA this week that stated online wall views were now available. That gives anyone the opportunity to see how a piece of artwork would look like in a setting. So I tested it out using my latest pet portraits and the option works nicely. I like to use these images in my advertising. On the FAA app you can also see how something would look on your own wall. I really love all these added features to play around with. So not only do I post the completed portrait on my Etsy shop, I also add the image of how it might look framed in a nice background setting. Thanks FAA for adding this feature. I know I will use it!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
We have black out shades on the windows in our studio apartment because of a street light that sits right in front of the building. The other night I noticed it was very dark outside - unusually so. When I looked again through the window I noticed that the street light was out. I've sent in requests to the department of transportation to repair signal lights that aren't working, and the DC website to report overgrown weed and grass situations on city property. So I checked the website to see if street light outages could also be reported. The DOT has a section specific for street lights. So I started to fill it in until it asked for a photo of the light along with a number. I waited for the next day to see if the situation was a one time occurrence or if the light was really out. It was still out. I took a photo of the light and went outside to see if it had a number - which it did. But it was not the number the form was requesting. I sent in the request with all the information and received an acknowledgement. The item would be checked and hopefully repaired within 7-10 business days. They also state they will let me know when the issue has been closed. I sent the receipt of the issue to the listserve in the building. The idea was to let everyone know the issue was reported, but also hint that it's nice if everyone takes action when they notice something is out of whack. If everything always went according to plan I would feel hopeful. But having lived here eleven years one becomes a bit jaded. Thank goodness it's just not that important in the scheme of things.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
I noticed that the robins are still hanging around and the sparrows and cardinals still visit the bird bath on our tiny patio. Yesterday we saw a hawk by the air and space museum and a lot of other birds out in droves on the rooflines of several buildings along the national mall. Today we walked toward union station and on the way home there was a lot of chattering going on - an unusually loud type of chattering. Before reaching the Hart Senate office building there was what seemed to be thousands of birds flying around everywhere. They were on rooftops and treetops and chowing down on a single bird feeder in front of a church yard. It almost seemed ridiculous to think that that was the drawing card to get all these feathered creatures so excited. We minded where we were standing because we didn't want to become unnecessarily soiled from what was above us! It must be a stop on some migration pattern that neither one of us knows about. And since the leaves have all but completely fallen off the hordes of birds were even more obvious. I'm not sure what it was all about. Maybe it has something to do with an afternoon rain forecast that will turn fall to winter? But it lasted about 2-3 blocks and then stopped. If anyone knows what that bird convention was all about please let us in on it. Creatures do things for a reason - we just can't figure this one out.