Saturday, November 30, 2019

No More Monk’s Room

When we lived on Capitol Hill, I turned a large closet in to a monk’s room in the studio condo. The twin rollaway bed was just the right size to fit the length of the wall. The room had a large window and shelves, along with a hanging rack and enough space for a linen closet/chest. To make it seem larger and brighter, I put a wall of Ikea mirror tiles. Anyone who slept in the monk’s room loved it because it was so “cozy.” When we moved to northern Virginia seven months ago, our new condo has a den. I thought we would make another monk’s room out of it. So I put the rollaway there, along with a chair, and added another wall of IKEA mirror tiles. But it just didn’t seem the same - and I tried several configurations. It’s the first room off the foyer/entryway and needed to look more elegant. So we decided to make it more of a sitting area/den instead. Although it’s not done, the idea is to have a sofa bed instead. Since it doesn’t have a closet, we’ve had a coat rack that holds walking shoes and walking coats and jackets - it used to be in the entryway of our one bedroom apartment. It’s not the ideal set up, but I think esthetically it will look better overall. So we are waiting for the other half of our Ethan Allen furniture to arrive so we can put the sofa bed in the den where it belongs. Right now it’s in the living room until the real living room sofa arrives. Hopefully we will get this all organized soon. That’s what moving from one place to another does - some things work, but others don’t any more. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Living Room in Transition

When we moved to our new condo in northern Virginia seven months ago, we took most of the furniture with us. We always had Persian carpets in our homes. But the large tribal carpet was now too big for the space, and the couch and chair seemed too dark. So when we visited Milwaukee in September, we met with our favorite Ethan Allen designer to help us figure out what we could do. He literally redid every room in our Milwaukee house, and we were always happy with the results. So we got a call that half of the furniture we ordered was ready for delivery. Luckily we got the huge carpet pulled out from under the tv/bookcase a couple of weeks ago. And I edited the bookcase and got rid of stuff to clean it up. The carpet, along with the couch, chair/ottoman, and recliner were being donated to a new family arriving from Afghanistan. That furniture was picked up on Tuesday. Since we needed something to sit on, we brought in our patio furniture for a day - talk about uncomfortable! On Wednesday, the sleeper sofa that is eventually going to the den, my husband’s new leather recliner, and carpet were delivered. It’s so different from what we are used to! Luckily we now had furniture to sit on for our family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, but we are still waiting on the real living room couch and the accent chair to arrive some time in December. We have gone from red Persian carpets and dark fabrics to a seafoam carpet and very light furniture to match the glass tables and and vases throughout the house - and away from a very ethnic vibe but still retaining key features. It’s been a couple of days and it is beginning to look like it’s supposed to, but there’s a long way to go. Suddenly it feels like a new home - something we have thought about for quite some time. It makes the old tv/bookcase and dining room look new again. Thanks so much Glenn for your help. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Uncommon Goods and Wrapping Paper

For whatever reason, last year I was taken in by Uncommon Goods. It has interesting items for hard to shop for family members for the holidays from independent artists and craftspeople. We usually don’t buy gifts - and if we do, it’s something edible. And for the grandchildren we started college funds when they were born and make donations for birthdays as well as a few times during the year. So I looked around at the options again this year and found a few things. This year we have a furry grand daughter to consider too. The items arrived the other day. The packaging is cute and the letter enclosed is about getting “your favorite things.” And since every item requires wrapping, I needed to pick up some more paper and ribbon since last year’s supply couldn’t stretch to the amount required. The grocery store is a great place to get just about anything these days. So most of my Christmas shopping is done and I don’t have to think about it any more. We usually pick up some Persian treats at Yas before we drive over to central Virginia next month. I rather enjoy wrapping things, but it’s even more fun to deliver the stuff. It’s certainly not the item, just the gesture. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving Flowers

We usually have Thanksgiving dinner at our house. It’s the same this year, except it will be in a new location. We moved to northern Virginia about seven months ago. After thirteen years of living on Capitol Hill, we had enough of the excitement and decided it was time to live a bit more comfortably after I retired from the Library of Congress. It took a few years to figure out where, and we finally took the plunge. In preparing for the usual dinner items, we went grocery shopping last Saturday. While there, we looked at the flower selection. We wanted something a little different for the holiday. We have a double glass vase on the wall that we always put flowers in. But now we also have a large vase that was moved from on top of the TV/bookcase that would do nicely for another floral arrangement. It sits in the middle of the plant console table in the dining room, under the very large mirror that reflects the light in to the room. So we found some strange looking orangy/red “flowers.” I don’t know what they are, but they looked seasonal and very different. I needed to hold them in place with a wire and filled the vase with some greenery. You can’t go wrong with plants and flowers. They always look so inviting. I only hope they last the week! 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Haircut, Bank, Groceries, Lunch and Wash

If it was last year, we would have been standing in front of the Capitol building watching the Christmas tree arrive on a flatbed truck. That was the routine for several years. But since we moved to northern Virginia almost seven months ago, our routines have changed. It is a beautiful day - sunshine and no wind! Following a walk in the park this morning, we needed to do a few errands. And because it’s a holiday week and we have a couple of things scheduled tomorrow and Wednesday, it had to be today. First off was my husband’s haircut. When he says he needs one we better go. It didn’t take very long. Then off to the bank to pick up some new and crisp bills for Christmas thank you’s for several well deserving folks. I forgot to get a turkey pan on Saturday so we drove over to Giant to get that, plus an angel food cake, ribbon, and extra cookies. I hope our flowers last for a few more days! We were going to go to our favorite breakfast place, but found out it was closed on Monday. So the next best thing was McDonald’s for drive through to take home. Every once in a while it just hits the spot - and I’m proud to say so. This afternoon is wash day after changing the sheets. Over the weekend I cleaned the place from top to bottom. It’s one PM now and we feel like we’ve accomplished a lot. Time to write the daily blog and plan for the week ahead. We do still need to plan a ride to town to see the Capitol tree and visit the trains at the botanical garden. Hopefully there will be another delightful day like this one ahead. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Trip to Edgewater near Annapolis

We’ve been getting together just about every month. My sister lives in Maryland, my brother and sister in law live in DC, and we now live in northern Virginia after thirteen years living on Capitol Hill. We meet for breakfast/brunch and rotate the locations to each “state.” Last week it was my sister’s turn, but there was an interesting twist. She just bought a house in Edgewater, so we gathered at her current house and then we drove to Edgewater for breakfast. Following that we took a tour of the town. It is surrounded by water and has a distinct nautical vibe - not surprising because it is very close to Annapolis and the Naval Academy. She’s always liked the water and the beaches and the art vibe this small town represents. I’m not sure I would take on a project like it, but she was so enthusiastic about the new location and house and her plans for it. After a visit there, we drove through Annapolis and the surrounding area. You could say it was one of our more interesting adventures. Too bad it’s further away, but it’s still close enough to get together. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Library of Congress Kluge Center Program and Hawk & Dove

We have enjoyed going to the Kluge Center programs at the Library of Congress over the last few months and we are looking forward to hearing what 2020 will bring. Yesterday afternoon we took a ride in to the city to attend “Shall Not Be Denied” about women fight for the vote and 100 years of women voting. Christina Wolbrecht and Jane Junn were the presenters/authors in a question, answer exchange. The program was held in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building. So we parked in our old neighborhood on Capitol Hill and walked over. Somehow we missed autumn in the city, but there was still a bit of a reminder when we drove in on Independence Avenue. And, the squirrels are always so much more friendly in the city since they are used to a stream of visitors. After the program we walked over to Hawk & Dove for dinner - and waited for rush hour to subside. It was unusually busy and excessively loud. Sitting near the bar didn’t help so my husband and I basically looked at each other because it was useless to try and have a conversation. Events in the city bring out unusually huge crowds - something I try to avoid. In the end we were still stuck in rush hour traffic, but managed to get home in northern Virginia - to our own parking space - in good time. We much prefer the afternoon outings when we get home by three. It’s just so much easier and less of a hassle. I worked at the Library for ten years and it’s a great way to visit the city once in a while. Next week the Christmas tree arrives and the botanic garden becomes a fairyland. There’s always something to see an do - which is why we are glad we stayed nearby.