Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fine Art America Supreme Court Painting

I don't know if it is easier to think about spring when the temps are in the twenties with winds that make it feel like ten degrees, or not. But I was happily reminded of it and the cherry blossoms when I got an email notice that one of my paintings was sold to someone in Texas on my Fine Art America site. I like to paint custom pet portraits, but I also have painted scenes in our neighborhood - which were included in three of my children's books. What I like most about selling art on Fine Art America is that it is all digital and the person orders the format they prefer. This instance was a rolled print. And I don't have to do anything because the painting was already created. What I most appreciate is that someone liked an image of something that I made, and chose it over millions of other paintings out there. This painting happens to be the Supreme Court during cherry blossom season. I always wonder who bought it, why, and where will it be placed? And I am so flattered!! What's nice is there is an announcement page to circulate on social media. Sometimes I get comments from other folks who noticed the sale. So, thank you to the person who bought it. I really appreciate it!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

GW Parkway Snow and Scenes

Having lived in the Midwest for thirty years, we are used to seeing snow and feeling the icy wrath of old man winter. We didn't think it could feel like that here in DC. But here we are in a deep freeze that will last a couple of weeks. But we still need to do grocery shopping after getting a bite to eat at our favorite place in McLean. And the way to get there is the GW Parkway that passes by a very scenic view along the Potomac River. With a light dusting of snow it is slippery - just like anywhere else. And you will usually find someone who spins off the road not because of the ice, but more than likely a cell phone was involved. And so it was.... we passed by the Washington monument, then memorial bridge with the Lincoln memorial and kennedy center in the background, the spin out with a frustrated driver, the foot path bridge to Roosevelt island, and the Georgetown university spires. Of course the geese are flocking about to the greener spaces. On the way home we ran in to about ten police cars and a water rescue vehicle by the tidal basin. Hopefully it won't be a big deal, but it makes you wonder how people feel going in to the new year. We are thankful for what we have, and even more thankful we don't live in the Midwest at this time of year. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Turnip, Garlic, and Lamarca Prosecco Sparkling Wine

It's become a tradition of sorts. I retired from the Library of Congress almost two years ago. Every so many months my husband and I have dinner with a friend of mine from the Library and his family. Every once in awhile it happens around the holidays. We usually bring a little something or other because they never let us return the favor! This time we brought a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine - dressed in holiday sweaters - along with some Persian cookies and treats from Yaz in Vienna, Virginia. After dinner on the most recent occasion, my friend brought out a very sparkly black bag with "diamonds" that contained some very interesting contents. He said it had something to do with his ethnic background and heritage. But I'm still wondering about the turnip and the garlic! What was more traditional were two small bottles of sparkling wine - Lamarca Prosecco. It was a kind gesture to think of sharing a glass of bubbly in spirit with us on New Year's Eve. When we got home, we received a photo of another turnip wearing one of the Christmas sweaters. I guess that's what we like about this friend. He always makes us smile. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Waffle House Breakfast

When we lived in the Midwest we went to George Webb for breakfast more times than I can remember. I loved the hash browns! Then we switched over to Ma Fisher's. It was a habit for us to go just about every Saturday. Here in DC we regularly visit Pete's Diner in our neighborhood after a morning walk and McLean Family Restaurant on Saturday. We know the staff and the staff know us in both places. While we were in Virginia this past weekend, we were treated to a new breakfast place. We went to one of these establishments a long time ago - in Frederick Maryland - on our way back home driving to the Midwest from DC. So when we kept hearing about the Waffle House, we figured it must be good because the family was giving it such good reviews - especially the hash browns. So we drove out to the "old" Waffle House and sat at the counter. The place was packed with some very interesting breakfast eaters! My husband ordered a waffle with hash browns and extra onions, and I got the bowl with hash browns, eggs, cheese, and crumbled sausage. Of course it was good because of all the butter - and the hash browns were even better. The only problem I have eating all this very salty food is that my ankles start to swell. So it is worth the experience while we are traveling, but I need to be very conservative with salt when we get back home. Fortunately for us the closest Waffle House to DC is still in Frederick Maryland. I wish I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. So it's a good thing the closest Waffle House is miles away. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Poinsettias at the US Botanic Garden

The big draw to the US Botanic Garden at this time of year are the Christmas trains. This year's theme is Roadside Attractions. We visited them and the other Christmas decorations on display in the main hall twice this season. All of the monuments and memorials are made out of plant materials and are surrounded by huge Christmas trees. But in the rear of the building where all the cactus are located, there is another grouping of Christmas decorations that not everyone notices - or walks to. It doesn't get all the press nor attention that the trains do. But it is a beautiful line up of poinsettias that one may be hard pressed to find. Perhaps in a very large flower and plant store you would see a lot of poinsettias. But I don't think you would find the large variety of poinsettias like those at the botanical garden. I thought I read somewhere that there may be thirty diffferent varieties. I think the orange colored leaves were the most unusual. In spite of the fact that it wasn't the busiest area, it was still quite crowded and very warm. So we took a quick spin and snapped several photos. I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone. We are now looking forward to the next display and are lucky enough to get to just walk on over. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Total Wine Store Finds

We haven't been to the total wine store for quite some time. Lately we have been picking up six packs at the grocery store, which are supposedly already discounted, and then discounted again when you mix and match up to six. But since we needed to stock up for our own supply, and purchase a red and white for friends - with spiffy covers - we decided to take a ride to the total wine store in McLean. The parking lot was packed, and the store itself was expanded, remodeled, or both. It is HUGE and has anything you would ever need to wine and beer supplies. So we got our little cart and found mostly red for us, then asked an attendant to help us select a white wine. The store now has an order on line and pick up section that was overflowing with readied orders and busy with people coming to pick up their stock. I wanted to find some whimsical bottle covers that showcased the holiday season. Some were quite out of the park - like the sequined high heel that is a wine bottle holder. Then we stumbled upon these cute felt sweater looking covers - one with a snowman and one with a Christmas tree. They would be perfect! And hard to believe they were only ninety-three cents each! I didn't notice that one was cut to fit a wide bottle while the other was cut to fit a tall slender bottle. Luckily the two bottles we selected were one of each. So the "sweaters" fit perfectly. When we got home I put the sleeves on the bottles and they look quite cute. They make a fine holiday decoration as it is. Maybe I'll just keep them for myself!


Friday, December 22, 2017

Subaru Service

Since having driven to Florida and back last week it was time for a car check at the Subaru dealer. The last service appointment was in July for what we remembered was a pretty thorough affair. Our Forester is two years old and already at 39,000 miles. So we weren't sure what the actual service needed was, but we had an engagement for lunch, so we requested a loaner. We got a 2018 outback with a keyless entry and starter. Our first Subaru was an outback, followed by two foresters. We like the height and view of the Forester more, but I also like all the added features on the outback. Neither one of us is familiar with keyless entry and starter so I looked it up on line to make sure we didn't do something that would lock us out or anything else. The Outback is a nice enough vehicle, and I have a feeling the additional safety options are now available on the Forester too - especially the blind spot and back up and parking audible sound alarms. What we would really like is a self parking option because we have street parking in our neighborhood. It turned out we only needed an oil and filter change so we really didn't need the loaner after all. Regardless, the service is always great at the Subaru dealership. Maybe that's why we are on our third Subaru?


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pete's Diner Christmas Gift

We walk every morning - most of the time. Sometimes we prefer to get breakfast rather than make it ourselves. A couple of times a month we stop by the neighborhood diner - Pete's. We have been there so often that we don't even need to say what we want - the drinks are brought our way before we even sit down. The only thing that changes is that if it's before eleven am you can still get waffles. After that - it's only pancakes. Yesterday we got our Christmas cards ready to hand deliver to Pete's and the housekeeping/
grounds couple that keep our building in good shape. After breakfast we received a package from Pete's and as we were given that, I slipped the Christmas card to the staff. When we got home we did the same for the building staff - we caught them on their way out. There is something charming about knowing people in the neighborhood and remembering them during the holidays. It gives this big city a small town feel. It's one of the reasons we like the neighborhood here. We feel the same way about our Saturday morning breakfast in McLean. We will have a chance to do the same there this weekend. The wait staff there are just as pleasant - which is why we keep going there. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fire Truck and Ambulance Cause Quite A Stir

Both my husband and I worked in healthcare before we moved to DC. So we know a thing or two about medicine and nursing. We even did successful CPR on someone who passed out in the middle of a downtown street! But an ambulance and a fire truck are not the types of things you want to see outside your building. However, yesterday a neighbor who lives in our building was in distress and requested that we call 911. We really don't know her, but were happy to help. It was the first 911 call I ever made. My husband did a minor physical assessment while she sat on our couch. Within five minutes the fire truck was here and the emt's came in to check the situation. It wasn't really an "energency" as such. But they did call for an ambulance to transport her to the hospital. In this tiny apartment we had nine people milling about, and gawkers passing through the hallway. They all probably thought it was either my husband or myself who needed the attention! Anyway, we were glad we could help, but it also reminds you that it's not easy living alone. Sometimes you need to depend on the kindness of strangers.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Feathered Friends at the Enchanted Pond

Whenever we visit Florida my husband always has to make a visit to see his favorite place. It is a few blocks from the house where I grew up. We used to take our bamboo fishing rods and bread balls there in search of fish, but were usually disappointed. And when we did catch something, we threw it back immediately. Now the place is filled with all kinds of birds. And there is an island in the center where they can escape. I think by now we have been to the pond every season and time of the day. On this visit we arrived earlier in the morning and the water fowl were just waking up. It was quieter than usual. There was much less enthusiasm from the long beaked white birds searching for food. I think they have our number because they always come up empty handed around us. There is something peaceful about the place as it is now a sanctuary. In fact I don't think you are suppposed to give the birds anything to eat, but they don't know that. So we drove around the pond a couple of times and checked out as much as we could. All the neighbors who live there ignore it all completely. I am certain we will visit there again. It's just something you don't want to miss.