Saturday in Takoma

While most of today has been allocated to school projects (having finished off a research paper’s first draft, next up are three chapters in the oh-so-riveting Reference and Information Services: An Introduction textbook), I decided I needed a quick break for an hour. It’s a beautiful day outside, and while I’d opened up all of the windows and turned off the air-conditioner, that simply wasn’t going to suffice.

So, I took a quick spin around my immediate neighborhood. Strolled down to the library and picked up my reserved copy of Canal House Cooks Every Day. I had a recent encounter with one of the Canal House Cooking books and while that’s a (hopefully) forthcoming post in its own right, it made me curious to see what their big cookbook was like. From there I headed the opposite direction down the street to Trohv, which is always worth a browse but in this case I was visiting specifically to buy the new issue of Kinfolk magazine. It’s always a pleasure to read, and knowing that this issue is all about weekends makes it even better. As I entered, I stopped and snapped a quick picture of the new construction at Takoma Central to send to Charlie. Not that I know much about building projects, but it certainly feels like it’s coming along nicely and should hopefully open on schedule next spring.

On the way home, I stopped in at La Mano Coffee Bar, which opened earlier this month. Ended up leaving with a mint rooibos tea, and two hand pies; one with peach and raspberry, the other with a spiced ground beef. Ran into one of my neighbors right as I was leaving, who was walking with her adorable daughter (who was on a sassy purple scooter).

Saturday Haul

And once I got home, I put everything down and thought to myself how much I love my neighborhood on days like this. Everyone’s out walking, there are adorable shops and businesses to visit, and there was a general air of friendliness. A couple that I saw leaving Trohv as I entered was buying a snack at La Mano, and as I walked from the library to Trohv I saw two other neighbors across the street run into one another and start chatting.

Sure, it’s not the “everything is happening all the time” nature of being right in the heart of downtown, and there’s a lot to be said for living there. But there are definitely charms that exist here, too, if you take the time to look. And now, having eaten my pies (the crust was buttery and flaky and delicious, and the insides were great too), I’m going to sit out on the balcony with my textbook and my iced tea and enjoy the great weather.

Victory Comes To Those Who Wait

You know when you see a really good deal online, but it’s for something you wouldn’t have otherwise bought? Those are so often my downfall. “Oooh, but it’s so cheap!” I hear in the back of my head. “I should get that!” That said, the best way to avoid such a thing is to just steer clear long enough. My latest victory is avoiding buying the first four hardcover collections of The Walking Dead for a ludicrously low price. I read the series for quite a while, but eventually grew a little weary of it and decided to move on. So I didn’t need the collections, not one bit. But they were so cheap… and calling…

Happily, by stalling long enough, the deal expired. Phew! Saved from the evil voice in the back of my head.

Besides, I did recently spend some money on getting a netbook; it was also ludicrously cheap, but in this case it was something I’ve actually wanted for a long time. Perfect for travelling and the like, in size and weight, and has more than enough power to watch videos and surf the internet. Yay! (I’m also happy to see that Amazon, in an effort to keep up with B&N, is going to be rolling out a Windows version of their Kindle application. Which means that I can put it and/or the B&N software on the netbook and then download free books for it. There are enough ones that don’t cost a dime that I don’t need to actually spend any money on such a venture.) Really, this netbook is going to be attack of the free software. Firefox, OpenOffice, Avast, public domain books… hurrah for free!

Hardware Store Trips

In the past four days I’ve made three trips to local hardware stores. In retrospect I am sure at least one of them could have been avoided.

Herb Garden [365portraits: 179]On Friday, I went to McLean Hardware and picked up some cute little black metal pots to plant the basil and parsley plants that I received from my CSA. They didn’t have any bags of rocks to put in the bottom (since there’s no drainage) but I figured I could find those anywhere. (A co-worker suggested styrofoam packing peanuts, but I ran a test on them and as it turns out, yes, water does melt them like I’d thought.) But I had the pots and they looked pretty cute, and also fit on my narrow windowsill.

It wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave work that I went to raid my bag of potting soil that I keep in the office and discovered that I’d used it up and forgotten. Whoops. So, on Sunday, I headed over to Cherrydale Hardware and got not only some dirt but also a bag of small stones for the bottoms of the pots. (It’s amazing how hard it is to find lots of little rocks when you need them.) I’d never been to Cherrydale Hardware before, although it’s just a few minutes drive away from me, but I love it already. Small hardware stores are just so nice; it’s probably just as well that I don’t own property or I’d have to take out a second mortgage to afford everything I’d want to buy. And hey, look how good the herbs now are on the windowsill! (I also had a dill plant but I gave it to my mom, since I’m not a big dill fan and she had expressed interest.)

And today? Another trip to McLean Hardware when I discovered that after buying a combination lock a month ago, I have forgotten the combination. Brilliantly, I wrote it down exactly zero places. With the new one, it’s now recorded in two different locations. The frustrating thing is that I remember looking at the combination for the other lock and thinking, “Wow, what an easy combination to remember!” Apparently, not that easy. I thought I remembered two of the three numbers, but all attempts to use those to get it open have failed so far.

Hopefully now that I’ve bought two different locks, the two padlocks that have gone missing in action in my home will finally show up. Argh. Oh well, at least the local hardware store got some more business from me. And now I have a lock to use tonight at the pool for my first lap swimming class. (While Fairfax County uses coin-operated lockers, I have been told that Arlington County pools use padlocks.)