Category Archives: D.C.

Tian Tian loves the snow!

Greetings from Washington, DC!

As you can see, some of the locals are really enjoying the snow. Last night people were sailing down the hill outside my building on snow discs until about 2:00 a.m., and a few are out there again this morning.

It’s still coming down. Parts just southwest of the District have gotten two feet so far, and if it tops 28 inches, it will be the most snow this area has ever gotten in one pop.

And now, back to more frolicking locals

Summertime 2015

Holidailies has a series of questions that I’ve skipped over thus far because they’re better suited for the end of the year. One of them is: What was summer like this year?

In a word, hectic. Last winter and spring were pretty dull, as I was basically in a holding pattern before moving, but once summer rolled around, I barely had time to think. Interstate moves take a lot of planning and organization, but you can only do so much, so early. A lot of it comes down to the last two months.

In July I flew down to D.C., looked at five different apartment buildings, grabbed a bit of Thai food, and flew back, all in one day. The travel alone was stressful, starting with nearly missing my flight out of Kennedy because an “unauthorized person” was struck and killed by a train on the Long Island Railroad while I was on my way to the airport. We sat for about 45 minutes, and even though I had left plenty of time, I got to the gate just as they were starting to board the flight.

Coming back, they cancelled my original flight. Thank goodness I had upgraded to first-class the night before, because the airline employees pretty much fell all over themselves accommodating me. Bonus: Free booze on the flight, which was necessary because once we boarded, we sat at the gate for close to an hour and the kid in the first row on the other side of the wall behind first-class put on one heck of a show with spilling and dropping things, culminating in a belch a lot like the first one in this video.

The guy in the seat next to me and I had a grand old time sipping wine and trying to hold back our laughter in response to the pleas of the helpless, unseen mother behind us: “God help me.”

As for the apartment, of course that was a bit of a runaround. These things almost never go smoothly. I had originally hoped to go with my previous landlord, as they have a lot of nice buildings here that are reasonably priced for the area and well-maintained, but after showing me around knowing full well that I have a bird, they sprung it on me at the end that they don’t allow pets. (They used to allow birds, fish, and reptiles, just no “walking” pets.) Annoyed, I walked back to my old neighborhood and looked at the building across the street from my old one. I used to walk past it every morning on my way to work and was always curious about it, and it turns out that not only is the property management company pet-friendly, the units are spacious, airy, and reasonable, with lots of amenities like a split-level pool. Livin’ large, yo.

That was the easy part. The hard part was clearing my old place out. What I couldn’t donate or give away, I threw out, and I threw enough out to fill a dumpster and then fill it halfway again—all from a one-bedroom place that was only about 800 square feet! Between donating, sending things to people, and trashing stuff, I got rid of some furniture that wouldn’t have survived the move, most of my holiday stuff, a fair bit of clothing (all of my clothes fit into one large suitcase), all of the jewelry and smaller things the ex-boyfriend gave me, a ton of photos (things like outtakes from my wedding album—yeah, hi, divorced in 2005?), workout video tapes, a bunch of jigsaw puzzles, artwork, and vases, vases, and more vases from bouquets sent to me by friends and swains going back to my 20s. I originally thought to keep them and paint them in that “ooh, look at all of these great do-it-yourself crafty ideas on Pinterest” way that grabs people until they realize what a pain in the arse actually doing it themselves will be.

Then it came time to pack, pack, pack, and pack some more. Poor Inigo probably had a hunch there was another migration imminent, as I moved him into the bedroom so that I could use his part of the living room to stack boxes. Every time I brought him back out to watch TV and hang out, the boxes were piled higher, with fewer and fewer things to look at around the room.

The best part was the actual move. Fortunately, my movers were honest. When I moved to Long Island eight years prior, the guys looked like they had just walked off the set of Eastern Promises, complete with mafiya tattoos; they were late and took three hours longer than the estimate; and they extorted another $800 from me at the end. This time, they were on time, friendly, helpful, appreciative of the snacks and beverages I gave them, and efficient, and they charged me not one penny more than the very reasonable estimate. I tipped the team very well and, to the foreman’s great surprise, thanked him in Russian at the end, because I’m all international like that.

Surprisingly enough, the ride down went smoothly, too. After making arrangements for a copilot proved to be a bit of a hassle, I just hired a car and driver for the same amount of money, and Inigo and I rode in style. He loved his new Pak-o-Bird backpack carrier…

Trying it out. He went in with some bribery, but once he was in, it was tough to get him out!

Trying it out. He went in with some bribery, but once he was in, it was tough to get him out!

…and enjoyed the ride down.

At a rest stop in New Jersey. "No paparazzi, please!"

At a rest stop in New Jersey. “No paparazzi, please!”

It took him a couple of months to get used to the new digs, and to be honest, he’s still a bit skittish because we’re high up with lots of sky, pigeons, crows, and the occasional hawk flying by, and he’s used to being on the second floor in a woodsy area with lots of tree cover and birds smaller than he is. I’m still decorating, as well, although I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this particular unit or move to a lower floor on the other side of the building, to face a quieter street with trees. For now I’m just focusing on things like linens, curtains, and wall decals. Plus, if business continues to go well, a larger place might be possible—but that’s for another entry later in the week.

So that was the summer of 2015: Saying a very late goodbye to Long Island, packing up, and coming home to Washington, D.C. And lemme tellya, unless I expatriate, homegirl here is not living more than a few Metro stops outside the District again until it’s time to retire!

Ivy City Wall

Skipping the holiday theme today.

I belong to a Meet-Up group in D.C. dedicated to city walks. Great people, and the walks are a fantastic way to see the District and get some exercise. Today’s trek was 8 miles, mostly in the NE quarter. I’m wiped out, but wanted to share something that really touched me. In Ivy City, there is a wall that at first looks like city graffiti. (You can click to embiggen all of these.)

birdgirlmem2_WP

 

But upon closer inspection…

formybrotherivycity_WP

 

On the curb before each part of the wall that has artwork is a tag, what I’m assuming to be the name of the fallen and the artist’s tag.

curbtag_WP

 

What made me sad was…

resformem1_WP

The yellow writing says “SPACE RESERVED FOR MEMORIAL.” There were several open spaces like that.

A previous version of this wall appears on Mensen.

I don’t know much about Ivy City, so I’ll have to read up on it and see if I can find any mention of who the memorialized are and how they died.