Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Lunch, Repaired Glasses, Car Scraper and Parking Space

You know who has a garage after a snow storm. When you are on the freeway it’s really obvious when the ice and leftover flakes start flying at your windshield from the vehicles in front. So after three days of being housebound, we decided it was time to get outside aside from taking a morning walk. So we went to lunch in Alexandria. But the real reason for our trip was to pick up my husband’s repaired eyeglasses at Voorthuis. We made sure our car was brushed clean before we started out, but noticed our scraper was a bit worn. So we stopped at Ace Hardware after munching on tortilla soup, salad, and a chicken sandwich. Of course we also ordered a chicken Parmesan dinner to go so we don’t have to think about dinner. We ended up with a long handled neon green scraper with a brush - and my husband used it to clear off any remaining ice on the car roof. The best part is that the repaired glasses are so much better than the very old substitute pair he’s been wearing for the last three weeks. They are lighter, less bulky, with a more recent prescription lens. And to top it all off when we got back home there was actually a parking space right in front of our house. We don’t have a garage so it’s always a pain to get parking in the neighborhood especially during the week. But with the government closed, we can tell because it’s so much less congested. Hopefully we won’t need the darn scraper any more, but I have my doubts. We’ve had more snow in DC than the Midwest town we escaped from. At least there we had a garage. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

After the Storm - Sunshine, Snowpeople, Art

Not only is the Federal government partially shutdown, ALL federal agencies are closed today because of the snow. But one thing is always for sure - it’s best to walk on the sidewalks of the federal buildings because they are always kept snow free. The neighborhood sidewalks are dreadful. No one around here thinks they have any responsibility to shovel. So you risk life and limb attempting to maneuver your way to the next block. Luckily the sun finally came out and everything will eventually melt away. Until that happens we took our morning walk to the Capitol grounds and ran in to a lot of snow people. Yesterday there was a lot of sledding on the west side of the Capitol. I’m sure the snow people were created going either to or from that event. I like to see what other forms of art are created from the flakes - especially when it falls on architecture, statues, and plants. Grant and his horses were heavily blanketed; the large glass lanterns and repetitive patterns encased on the solid walls were quite distinguished; the icicles that formed on the lamps at Bartholdi Fountain were beginning to melt. The red berries popped against the white backdrop, and the spikes of what looked like a palm plant of sorts looked oddly medieval. I suppose you could say the snow is pretty, but I still prefer the sunshine any day. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

We Moved to DC For This?

We lived in the Midwest for thirty years, so we know what winter is like. It’s hard to believe that we used to just get in the car and get to wherever we needed without hardly thinking about it. And my job required traveling from one place to another all over town. Probably the worst thing that could happen did when I almost lost three fingers in a snow blower accident. Yes, I did exactly what you aren’t supposed to and ended up with a sliced finger, a broken finger, and one that required pinning and stitching with a joint that hasn’t worked ever since. Then there was six months of physical therapy. So my aversion to snow and ice is quite intense. Unfortunately for us DC gets snow - a lot more than we imagined. And this weekend it came and is still coming. And because we walk every morning, snow is no reason to sit at home - even though I really don’t want to fall and injure another important body part. Since the federal buildings are better at clearing the sidewalks we headed to the Capitol where sledding is a big deal. The dogs were having fun. There were a lot more people out today than on most weekends. I have a feeling that the government offices will be closed tomorrow on top of the already furloughed employees. We are supppsed to meet up for breakfast with family  tomorrow morning but it may get canceled - it’s just not worth the hassle. Every once in a while we think about moving back to the Midwest. I’m just not sure I could take the cold and ice most of the year. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Harris Teeter Flowers and Garden Greens for Wall Vase

As is our usual routine we went for a very crowded breakfast at McLean Family Restaursnt followed by grocery shopping. With the threat of a snow storm this afternoon, we also stopped for gas and headed to Harris Teeter. It was much busier than usual - not surprising when the forecast scares the crap out of everyone. The flowers in our wall vase were fading so we decided it was time to refresh them. We even assisted a guy there who asked if we could help him select a bouquet to have in his house to make it pretty during the storm. I then picked up two small bunches of carnations and tulips. Because I like greens in the mix I clipped a few leaves and such from our tiny patio garden when we got home. They help to fill in the dead spaces and keep the flowers in place. Unfortunately I didn’t have any sticks or branches to use - they always add a bit of character and charm. After cutting back both the very long carnation stems and the extra tulip leaves I recycled both of them. That added even more volume and texture to the mix. I really like my wall vase because it’s an easy way to display flowers or seasonal greens and decor without cluttering up table space. And they last several days. And it will be nice to have flowers the house during a snow storm. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Too Much Work to Dress for Winter

We walk every morning. We live in a condo on Capitol Hill that has no amenities - that means no fitness center or 24 hour concierge service - just condo units. In summer, that means wearing shorts, shirt, sun hat and taking a water bottle to survive in the humid and hot weather. The path is oftentimes to Union Station so we can do some of the walk in air conditioning. Winter is something else. Having lived in the Midwest for thirty years was very cold, but DC winter matches it as far as temps and wind. In many respects the snowfall and blizzards also seem the same - just less frequent. But getting ready to walk out in this awful weather is exercise in itself - long underwear, stockings, wool socks, a second layer of pants, fleece, scarf, mittens, long winter coat with a faux fur hood, and a lumberjack hat. The one item I take with me everyday regardless of heat or cold is my Embr Wave bracelet. I set it to the extended mode for short bursts of continuous heat or cold depending on what’s going on outside. It really takes the edge off whatever extremes are out there. I used to prefer the heat to the cold, but I don’t like either extreme anymore. At least I have a gadget that helps me think it’s warmer, or cooler. But nothing will change the amount of clothes you have to pile on and take off. It reminds me of Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story.” That’s not very pretty - or funny at this age. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Library of Congress Souvenir Brick

When I started work at the Library of Congress twelve years ago I was excited about it. After thirty years in health care I would be working at a very unusual and one of a kind place. I could walk to work, come home for lunch, and spend ten years “toiling” as a federal employee. My job was measuring performance in the infrastructure services. And that included all of the facilities. Back then, the Capitol visitor center was under construction and we had an opportunity to see the construction first hand. I was also able to participate in ground breaking ceremonies. On of the events included a breaking down of the Jefferson Building wall to create the tunnel that would connect the Capitol building to the library. The other day I was looking for something at home and came across a piece of brick that I always kept on my desk when I worked at the library. After the ground breaking ceremony all of the bricks that were removed were saved to give as “gifts” for special occasions. That day I got a piece of a brick that would have been thrown out, but it meant the same to me. When I retired I took the momento home. It is actually a part of the original Library of Congress wall that was built back in the 1890’s or so. So I am still connected to the famous buildings in Washington DC in a quite unexpected way. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Whole Foods Trip for Cabbage Soup Ingredient

Who doesn’t love soup? We do - and my husband makes great soup and usually without a recipe. We brought home some leftover turkey from our Christmas dinner with family in Virginia and had a big pot of soup that lasted for a few meals. When we were in the grocery store last Saturday I saw a great looking cabbage. So we decided it would be a good time to make a really good cabbage soup. Unfortunately we forgot to get all the ingredients. Whenever that happened in the past it meant that we had to take a long walk to the grocery store - Harris Teeter that is eleven blocks away or Trader Joe’s that is eight blocks away. It’s okay if we are out for the morning walk, but not when it’s later in the day due to other commitments. Luckily for us the newly opened Whole Foods is just down the street from us. It’s at most a convoluted two blocks or so. So we walked down to the store and picked up a can of diced tomatoes, and also an Italian loaf, our favorite P’tit Basque cheese, an olive assortment from the olive bar, and a piece of watermelon. Whenever we think about moving from this neighborhood we always consider what’s important. Walking, not driving, to places we need to visit is a key consideration. Living in an 1890’s building has its drawbacks, but the location can’t be better. We just can’t seem to decide what’s most important. So as long as we can’t figure it out we’re not going anywhere. Now it’s time to make soup.