Thursday, January 29, 2009

the saga of the bark collar

The first week I moved in to my new house, a neighbor came and knocked on my door. She asked me if I might be able to keep Ruby inside. It was 9:30 at night, she was barking at something and the neighbor had a sleeping 9-month-old. Because the back door has a doggy door, it's difficult for me to control her habit. So I bought her a bark collar. I started out with a citronella spray collar. Every time she barks it sprays citronella. The smell, sound and spray are supposed to surprise her. Well. the dogs conspired and got the collar off while I was at work. Then they chewed it to bits.

After a couple days without a collar (and a lot of barking) I went back to the store and got a SHOCK collar. Well, it works, I guess. But the dogs are too smart. Again they got it off of Ruby, this time in the snowy yard. Luckily it's waterproof.

So the next day I put it back on her. Once again, I got home that afternoon and Ruby was collarless. I didn't have to look far. In the middle of the living room was her shock collar. they had chewed it and it was missing the battery. I found the battery, the collar still worked (although it's probably not waterproof anymore) and I soaked it in Bitter Yuck.
Today it was still on Ruby, although it had been loosened. 
I'm hoping she just learns her lesson and I won't have to deal with this anymore. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As Bing Crosby sang in White Christmas, "It won't be long before we're there with snow..." 

sidewalk on the way to work ~ 7:30am

same sidewalk on the way home ~ 4pm

view from the boss' office

my house!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New year's in New Orleans

This is a little late (about 17 days), but I wanted to share my experience in New Orleans.
I had the good fortune to travel with Kim, who is extremely knowledgeable about NOLA. We got to stay with her friend in the Lower Ninth Ward and see and hear a local's
perspective. Her friend is passionately involved with reviving her city. It was amazing to hear the love she had for her home and neighbors. Most people nowadays are not that connected to their neighborhoods. This pride in NOLA defines many people. I guess you have to be that passionate to come back to such destruction and to be strong enough to rebuild.

Water damage (and termites) in a house Kim's friend bought at a tax sale
After we left Kim's friend, we started the real tourist stuff. We met up with my friends, hung out on Bourbon Street, ate beignets, and had bloody marys with pickled green beans.

Singer's awesome shoes at a bar on Bourbon
It was hard for me to rectify these two different sides of NOLA - the residents that live here all the time and the loud, impolite tourists. It was just amazing to see the utter emptiness that still consumes some areas of the city and then the throngs of people on Bourbon.

I love New Orleans because of the unique culture there. If a natural disaster like Katrina had happened anywhere else, the resulting art and culture would not have been as profound. They have been able to keep Katrina in the minds and hearts of people through song, poetry and art. I suppose that is one positive result amongst all the devastation.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

two pairs of tights and a blue wax owl.

My stuff finally made it's way to VA! There are boxes strewn around the house, and I have no idea where anything is, but its all here. Now I have to sort and organize.
 It's kind of like opening presents on Christmas morning.  unwrap - it's a wooden spoon! unwrap - it's a scarf! unwrap - it's a blue wax owl (yes I own a blue wax owl). Every item has 3 sheets of heavy paper on it. It's no wonder that it looks like I have so much stuff. Also, I don't know what I'm going to do with all these boxes. Illegal dumpster run? I don't know the recycling procedures in this area yet.
We have been celebrating my new roommate's birthday over the last couple of days. She had a friend come into town and we went out Friday and Saturday. It was a good time, we ate at two really good restaurants and hit up bars in Arlington and the District. You could spend a lot of money fast if your not careful. I'm going to have to make myself stick to more of a budget once everything gets settled. But it was Amanda's birthday, so it was a special occasion. That's also why I wore a dress out in the [literally] freezing cold. I didn't want to be the uncooperative roommate. I did wear 2 pairs of tights though. 
Again I PROMISE to post pictures soon. But I would prefer to do it when my house looks a little more put together. sorry. 
PS I'm going to start post the temp when I blog. it's currently 40 degrees out, but Friday and yesterday the wind chill was in the negative.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Made it!

I'm officially a resident of Alexandria, VA! Dad and I made it here around 1pm on Sunday, after a long, but not terrible, drive. Ruby was very good in the car. She slept most of the way, with her head propped between the two front seats. She only tried to breach the cockpit a few times, slowly sneaking over the partition. 
Once here, we poked around the apartment then went to Old Town Alexandria. This is the historical strip that has many restaurants and shops on it. We had lunch at the Hard Times Cafe, where chili is top. It was ok, I probably won't go back anytime soon with all the other options. That night I went to a sports bar in Crystal City with my roommate to watch the Carolina basketball game with some of her friends.
Monday we checked out Del Ray, which is the community I live in. Downtown is about a 15 minute walk from my house. We ate at Mancini's and window shopped. Then we went to Target to make an initial run and then to Ikea and Costco. That night we set up the cabinet I got at Ikea (there is no pantry space) and went to Al's Steakhouse, a sandwich shop. After Al turned the lights out on us (it was 7:45 and he closes at 8), we went home and spent some time with my roommate. 
Tuesday we ate in Del Ray again at the Caboose Cafe and then took the metro into DC. It's less than a 15 min walk to the metro station and then a 15-20 ride to my stop for work. We wandered around the station (its one of the big ones) trying to find the exit for my job. after exiting the wrong way, we found the right way back in. Then we walked towards the mall and went to the air and space museum. We saw only a small portion of it, but it was interesting (and free!). I can't wait to go to the American History and Natural History museums. After getting home, Dad took Amanda and I to Thai Peppers in Del Ray. It was the first time Dad and Amanda had Thai food, but I think they enjoyed it. We ducked into the Majestic Lounge for a drink, and it was not what I was expecting. It's a doorway in an alley off the main street. It has a great sign (I promise I will take a picture). It was much more swanky than I expected, with graceful lighting and expensive drinks (something I have to get used to). They have live music 4 days a week. If you come visit me, we will go here!
Wednesday Dad and I got up late and puttered around the house, then went for a ride down US 1. We drove by Mount Vernon and ate at a diner called the Magic Skillet. It was ok. After that we came home and puttered some more. Dad leaves this afternoon, and I will be on my own. I'm sad he's going, but I will be glad to have the extra blankets on my bed. It's supposed to be extremely cold for the next couple days. I'll update soon on my roommate, house and how Ruby is doing. I will also put up pictures soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

good bye stuff, see you in a week.

At this very moment, there are men packing my belongings. Putting my books, clothes, random collections of junk and records away. Its really odd to watch strangers touching my stuff. They have no connection to my belongings. I have to wonder what kind of odd things they have packed in their days. How does my stuff compare? Is there anything I own that makes them giggle?
 One guy did come out of the bedroom and held up my ratty monopoly game. He asked me if i had played the new electronic one yet. I said no, but it would probably be a lot less messy. He told me not to play it. It's credit cards that you have to slide and it's not fun at all. I guess I will keep the monopoly game we played as girls, tattered money and all!