Thursday, May 31, 2018

Not Your Average Joe’s NYAJ

We like to go out for lunch rather than dinner. It’s just easier during the day - less traffic, no wine (less expensive), and having enough left over for dinner. Today we decided to break up the week by driving to Not Your Average Joe’s in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area. It’s always a good idea to arrive before noon because the tables fill up very quickly. And it’s also a better idea to go during the week than on a Friday. We have been here several times and have never been disappointed. Since we are bread lovers, you can’t go wrong with the focaccia bread and oil make card with cheese. Today we just went with a bowl of soup, a side of French fries, and a Greek salad with chicken. Last time we brought home a small pizza. Today we decided the jambalaya might be a good idea. So rather than even have it served, we just requested a take out order. The restaurant is always busy and there were still plenty of people coming in as we were leaving. It is quite a ride for us from Capitol Hill, but it’s a good excuse to get out of the house. The only downside is trying to find a parking place once we get home. That is an entirely different story. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ATT International Calling

When I got our phone bill this month it was more than the usual ridiculous amount we already pay. After checking the line items, there was an almost $15 charge for a single few minute call to England. The only reason we even used the mobile phone was because our desk phone through Xfinity cuts off mid conversation. It never happens to me, but always happens to my husband. When I got on chat and asked about this obnoxious charge, they could only say they would make a note of it, even though I requested a discount for being such a loyal customer all these many years. What they did offer were two international calling my packages - one for $15 per month or another one for $5 per month with additional charges by the minute - except if you call to Canada - which we never do. I really didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the details because we rarely make international calls. I have been toying with the idea of switching our cell phones to Xfinity because we have internet, cable, and phone through them and it’s a lot cheaper. But I am not convinced the service would be any better. I just don’t understand how people can afford these huge bills every month. What makes it even more upsetting is that the devices you pay for don’t work. And it hardly matters how many service calls you make. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Great Day for Flower and Garden Photos

I always look forward to sunny days. Somehow they just make me feel better. Although it is a two edged sword in the summer time when the humidity gets as high as the temperature and it’s intolerable to walk outside. We escape the heat by promenading in the air conditioned union station. It didn’t seem to matter as much when I was growing up in Florida and it rarely got higher than the 80’s in the Midwest. What comes with sunshine are harder to take great photos. So when it is a bit cloudy or drizzly like it was yesterday morning on our walk, most of the photos one takes turn out so much better. And when it is so humid, one also appreciates the clouds as the temperatures rise. As we walked through the usual places - the Smithsonian and US Botanical gardens - the gardens were simply lovely. A very interesting non camera shy unique colored squirrel was running about getting a lot of attention. For anyone who has never lived here it is a gardeners paradise because just about anything grows here. The downside is that if you didn’t have allergies before you move here, chances are you will get them soon after. Oh well... the gardens are still pretty regardless. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Parking Available - Only on Memorial Day

It is unheard of! Street parking available - today only. One of the things we miss about living in the Midwest is our two car garage, long driveway, and ample street parking. We no longer have those amenities living on Capitol Hill. It is a headache - especially during the week - to find parking. And we just had the pleasure of paying almost $200 to register the car - again - and get our resident parking sticker to put on the windshield. Something was very different about today when we went out for our morning walk. Ours was the only car parked in front of our building. And all around the neighborhood there were plenty of available spaces. It’s even less jammed than on a regular weekend. Most of the neighbors have left town for the long weekend. Since we have at least five Congress people living in our building, all those units are vacant and all the activity around them is gone. I have a feeling that the spaces will begin to fill in by the end of the day. So we will enjoy it for the moment because that’s about as long as it’s going to last. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Redbubble Options

Along with a lot of other websites I’ve used, I started a shop on Redbubble a couple of months ago called LITDigitalArt. I was overjoyed when I sold an American Eskimo sticker. But it wasn’t until last week that I realized how many more options were available on the site. Sometimes one large image of something isn’t exactly the best approach to use on all products, or due to the file constraints and specifications, the file image isn’t large enough for a particular product. So after playing around with the editing options I finally figured out that the images can be set up in repeating patterns - which can look stunning and unexpectedly pleasing on clothing. The images can be adjusted in size and in random or straight forward patterns. Depending on the item, one or the other looks nicer. The categories are clothing for men, women and kids; device cases; wall art; home decor; stationery; and bags - and there are many products within each category. I stayed away from the T-shirt category because you really need a transparent background - and I have 100 designs on Merch by Amazon with a shop called LITs Pooches, Kitties and Other Sweet Faces. So I’ve been spending a lot is time uploading files and creating some fun things. I enjoy the process and the Redbubble website is very user friendly. So if you have an inkling for a unique gift, check out my Redbubble shop. My categories feature Iran, Betta Fish, Sketch to Portrait, Animals, Washington DC, and Holidays and Home. Thanks so much for looking. And I would definitely appreciate any feedback at

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Calling All Artists - Library of Congress Art Show

I have been participating in the Library of Congress employee art show for the last several years. I always submit two digitalart works that will be on display for about six months in the Madison Building. And even as a retiree, I can still participate. It’s easy for me to get the artwork to the Library because all I have to do is walk two blocks up the street - the same as my commute when I worked there for ten years. Yesterday the email arrived to let us know the dates for drop off. Luckily I had the two portraits I selected a few months back already printed and framed, so all I need to do is attach the paperwork for agreement and registration. This time I picked the bulldog with the red flower entitled “Who wouldn’t love this face?” and one of my favorites of a goofy pooch entitled “Happy dog.” There is just something about having your artwork displayed in such an interesting place. And, there is a variety of traffic passing by the designated area - who knows who will see it? It’s a great opportunity for me to visit the Library and probably run in to some of my past colleagues. I generally don’t like to bother people at work, but if I run in to them in the hallway, so much the better. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Restoration Hardware Soap Dispenser

We outfitted our studio condo bathroom with Restoration Hardware bathroom accessories about nine years ago. The soap dispenser was giving up the ghost over the last few months. For whatever reason there was an accumulation of some black tinged slimy stuff under the dispenser mechanism. So we decided to replace it with another one and put it in our one bedroom renovated bathroom condo until the new one arrived. In the meantime I put the stainless steel Simple Human dispenser in the bathroom because it matched the decor better. So I looked on line for a Restoration Hardware replacement and found one just like it - except it was a larger size and only came in a shiny tone rather than the brushed nickel we prefer. But since it was on sale and would actually look okay in the renovated bathroom, we got it. The soap dispenser arrived yesterday. We filled it with soft soap and it is sitting pretty next to the sink. It matches the light fixture above the mirror. My husband still thinks he can fix the old one. My vote is to dump it. Let’s see what happens next. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gilan Sewing Kit

One of my shirts has needed a button replacement for quite awhile. So today I looked at the shirt to see if there was an extra button located on it somewhere and once and for all do something about it. It’s a shirt I got a while back at one of my favorite Midwest shopping spots that no longer exists called Zita’s. They may still have a wedding boutique, but all the rest is long gone. We don’t have what you would call a huge supply of thread and needles - just a few colors and a pack of needles. So when I looked through the bag I came across a tiny sewing package you sometimes get in a hotel. But this one was unique because it came from Rasht, Iran from the Gilan Hotel. We stayed there nine years ago when we went to visit Iran with some of our American friends. My husband is from there, and from that city. We had a small group of six and traveled all over the country, including Rasht. So now my Polish shirt has a button sewn on with thread from Iran. It’s an interesting combination since I am Polish and my husband is Iranian. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Retirement Victory Garden Rose

When I retired a little over two years ago from the Library of Congress I received a little rose plant. It came all the way from Wisconsin from four of my friends/colleagues. These are very special people - I worked in health care for thirty years in the Midwest and met these folks a long time ago. Whenever we visit Milwaukee we always stop by to say hello and have kept in touch since we moved to DC. So we planted the little plant in our garden patio. Last year it came back and bloomed. This year it’s grown to twice the height and is just starting to bud. We weren’t sure it would survive the very erratic weather we’ve been having. Aside from the fact that roses seem to be difficult to manage sometimes with all the bugs and such that like them so much. So I’ve been spraying it with the rose potion and it’s doing okay. Once it has bloomed I’ll cut it back to keep it more in check. But every time I look at it I think of our friends in the very friendly Midwest. We do miss their company - but what a great way to remember them. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hydrangea for the Wall Vase

We have two hydrangea bushes in our small patio garden. They are really too big for the space so I have  cut them down several times. But if you cut them down at the wrong time of the year, they pay you back by not flowering. And that’s exactly what happened last year. Early on we would get both pink and blue flowers that were quite large and long lasting. This year it seems the flowers are primarily pink and they are quite small. But since there are so many flowers this year, I decided to cut a few of them and fill up the wall vase. We generally get a bunch at the grocery store to keep the room lively, but when our own garden has flowers we obviously prefer to use those. The hydrangea always seem to droop during the day in the heat and sun, but come back around later in the day. I thought I could cut some of the droopy flowers and they would revive in the vase. I was mistaken again! The flowers and leaves continued to drop two days later. So I plucked out the droopy stems, and left but one that seemed reasonably good. Maybe later today I’ll try again. But this time I’ll wait until the evening when they look more alive.