Monday, December 31, 2018

DC at Night

We took a night tour of DC many, many years ago. It was really pretty to see all the buildings and monuments in a different light. We usually try to take our guests on a night excursion for the same reason. Last night we were coming home from a Chinese dinner in McLean and took our usual route back over Memorial Bridge. The bridge is being repaired and the lane closures will last for three years! But the Lincoln Memorial looked lovely as we turned the corner. Then I remembered we had not seen the lighted Capitol Christmas tree this year so we took a detour to see it before we headed home. It looked very nice! And to round out the tour we drove by the rest of our neighborhood favorites - Supreme Court, Library of Congress Jefferson and Madison Buildings, and the east front of the Capitol Building. I still can’t believe I worked at the Library for ten years. My husband always tells me he would have a hard time leaving DC. I don’t think we will be going anywhere soon. 

Memorial Bridge:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The National Mall and Garbage

It looks like everyone is trying to see whatever is open before the shutdown takes full effect this week. It’s obvious something is amiss because there is an unusual amount of garbage all over the place. And it doesn’t give a very good impression. So on our morning walk we looked to see how busy things were. The line was very long waiting to get in to the trains at the Botanic garden. Being a Sunday morning it’s usually very quiet in town - particularly in our neighborhood. But as we walked the number of people on the move increased. My understanding is that most - if not all - of the Smithsonian buildings will be closed. It would be a pity for all the visitors if that ends up happening. Having worked at the Library of Congress for ten years we had a few shutdowns. I never minded it. But for a lot of people it’s a tough situation. So I hope everyone is able to see what they came here to see before it’s too late. As for us, we visit all these places whenever we like. That’s one big advantage to living here. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

YiHung Stainless Steel Straws

Whenever we go out to a restaurant we prefer to drink from a straw - with the exception of wine! There has been a lot of press lately on the issue of plastic straws and the effect on the environment. So that prompted me to look on line to see what types of reusable straws were out there. It goes along with my husband’s general philosophy to bring along our own reusable leftover containers rather than collect whatever the restaurant has. It is a pain in the “b” but it is not a bad idea. For that purpose we got a few ziplock plastic light weight containers at the grocery store. So I found some stainless steel various sized straws on Amazon - made in China of course. It is a pack of eight - some straight, some bent - along with two cleaning brushes. They also come with different color silicon tips so everyone can claim their own favorite color. It seems we haven’t yet needed to use them because straws are still being provided in most places, or I simply didn’t have them on me when we needed them. Anyway, it seemed like a good idea. I’m sure we will have an opportunity to use them. We’ll just need to make sure we remember to clean them after each use. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

An Almost Christmas Story

Yes, we watched “A Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve with our family in Virginia because they had never seen it before. We have seen it several times. My husband loves it. I like the feel of the movie because of the time period. And Ralphie almost shoots his eye out resulting in a pair of broken glasses. So when we were taking our morning walk in the incessant rain, my husband mentioned that he thought his glasses felt crooked. And when he took them off he realized that one of the arms not only was broken, but fell off completely unbeknownst to him. And it must have happened somewhere between our house, inside Union Station, or anywhere on the way back home. He wanted to retrace our steps and look for it. I told him he can get the arm replaced because those are the type of glasses that come in pieces. Luckily I was right when we found ourselves at Voorthuis in Alexandria ordering a replacement part. Of course, being a Friday and a holiday it will take ten days to two weeks to get the glasses back because they won’t ship out until Wednesday. The sales folks remembered us well because of a weird mix up that happened two years ago. I had somehow gotten my husband’s lens prescription in my glasses. It’s a long story. Let’s hope all goes well with this replacement order. In the meantime the old glasses will just have to do. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities

We have lived on Capitol Hill for twelve years. With that comes the noise, congestion, and aggravation that goes along with locating to a place that is well known, and liked and/or disliked by millions. There are a lot of things we like about being here which is why we can’t figure out where we would ever move to when it’s time. Nothing at this point is drawing us away because every time we leave we can’t wait to get back. We now have an opportunity to get away from here every so many months to visit our family in Virginia. They used to live just down the street until five years ago when work took them to another town. An old historic warehouse was renovated to create a particularly unique living space. And now another abode is being created from scratch in an isolated area along the James River. Talk about going from night to day - city to country. While visiting over the holiday we took a look at the progress to date. But what strikes us, regardless of the season, is the absolute and distinctly different lifestyle each of these places provides in every single dimension. It’s a great way to get a taste of it all. Neither one of us is in to the great outdoors. But this is a great chance to experience it. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Very Elegant Feast in a Converted Warehouse

We always have very interesting dinners when we visit our family in Virginia. This year was no exception. They used to live in DC right down the street from us. But they moved away around five years ago and converted an old warehouse on the James River in to the most unusual living quarters. So rather than use the existing formal dining space, a totally separate area was set up in the lower level - or basement/garage area. What once was filled with so much junk - including a conveyor belt - that one could hardly walk through - has been totally transformed. It even includes a boxing ring, separate bathroom, and restaurant sized refrigerator. Pictures don’t do it justice, and the time and effort to recreate this fantasy memorable dinner took so much effort we were very touched. The dinner included a fried turkey, a twenty year old bottle of wine, and hours of preparation for side dishes and bread made from scratch. It also included twinkling lights and a table made from hay. We have watched the warehouse become a family living quarters that is especially unique. We would not have expected anything less from our family members. It was very touching and will be forever remembered. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Trees in DC

Some of the prettiest Christmas trees are on display in our neighborhood. Yesterday we finally walked by the Capitol Christmas tree but we still haven’t seen it all aglow. The US Botanic Garden has lovely trees before you get to the main attraction - the trains. Union Station has a beautiful tree in the main entrance. The African Museum of Art always has one in the window along the Smithsonian Gardens. On Pennsylvania Avenue the storefront windows are filled with tiny decorations reminiscent of years past. We didn’t see the tree in the Library of Congress this year - I never missed it when I worked there. But the best tree is the one we will be celebrating the holiday around with our family. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!