Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We got the power

After hearing on the PEPCO hotline yesterday afternoon that it would be Friday before our power was restored, it was a pleasant surprise when our electricity came back on yesterday around 6pm.  How did you survive the power outage?  Are you still waiting for PEPCO to restore yours?

I got out for a bike ride last night while my house was cooling down for the night.  I saw a higher-than-average number of people out enjoying the nice weather, especially in Sligo Creek Park.  Personally, I didn't mind the power outage, other than the loss of power to our refrigerator, which was a bummer.  The PEPCO outage map is showing just over 1000 Wheaton residents without power, down from over 7000 yesterday when I checked.

In other news and notes, I saw an article today about the new library that has opened in Shaw.  I think this is an example of the sort of community hub that we could have had with a new library in Wheaton's downtown.  Regardless of your opinion on what Wheaton should have, I think you can agree that the residents of Shaw are getting a beautiful addition to their neighborhood.

The Gazette had a few Wheaton-related postings today.  A local developer, B.F. Saul, was awarded a contract by the county to redevelop the 12 acres of land around the metro.  I work in the architectural field and I have never heard of this developer before.  I checked out their website, and all I can say is...barf.  And apparently all they can say is, "We love to build large boring buildlings without any distinguishing characteristics.  Yay.  Go us."  They better get one hell of an architect to work with them on this, because I don't see anything in their portfolio of work that would indicate they can pull off a major redevelopment effort in Wheaton.

Also, the planning board is holding a public meeting tomorrow to discuss the Wheaton Sector Plan.  I've been working really long hours lately, so I'm a little doubtful that I'll get to attend, but I should really try to get over there for it.  Here's the info from the Gazette article, including directions on how to sign up to speak.  I saw a blurb a while ago saying that the redevelopment in Wheaton was going to focus on residential growth without any growth in commerical office space.  That seemed like a weird strategy to me (can you think of any bustling local areas that don't have any office space?).  The article on this hearing doesn't mention anything about that strategy, but I'll be interested to see if that resurfaces.  Here is a link to the county's website with information about the current sector plan.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A few interesting links...

Since my job has been possessing my entire body and soul for the past week or two, I'm going to take it easy and share a few interesting links with you...

First of all (and most importantly!), the Silver Spring Zombie Walk is on.  I've participated in the zombie walk for the past two years - as a regular 'human' the first year, and as a zombie mummy last year.  I am a huge fan of Halloween, and the zombie walk is one of the highlights of the season for me.  Until we get enough Wheaton zombies to reenact Dawn of the Dead at our own mall, I'm going to stick with the zombies in Silver Spring.

The excellent local blog, Just Up the Pike, recently posted about the new, superhero-sounding Citizens League of Mongomery County.  It sounds like they might be a good antidote to many of the NIMBY-minded neighborhood associations in our county that often provide a strong voice against the kind of start growth that I'm in favor of.  Right now, their board members seem to skew towards the west of Wheaton, with heavy representation for the North Bethesda/White Flint area.  So, if any of you politically-minded readers out there want to get involved in county politics and redevelopment efforts, this might be an interesting association to participate in.

On the crime and punishment front, two disturbing crimes have stood out over the past few weeks.  Luckily, there have been arrests for both of them.  First, there was the carjacking near Crisp 'N Juicy of a man who was putting his kids into their car seats.  Fortunately, he was allowed to get his kids out of the car before the carjackers took off with it.  Here's the latest from the Gazette on the arrest that was made.  While you can't help but be distracted when you loading kids, groceries, or shopping bags into your call, this is a reminder to stay as alert as possible when getting in and out of your car.

The second crime, which just happened in Silver Spring, is really horrible.  It occured in the new Civic Center plaza that just opened and resulted in serious injuries to an innocent bystander.  I also find it upsetting that the horrible acts of a few delinquents are going to cast all the teenagers who hang out in downtown Silver Spring in a bad light.  The various Silver Spring blogs are en fuego with people commenting on this, many of whom seem to be spiraling out into their own fantasy worlds of what a dangerous urban jungle downtown Silver Spring has become (really???).  The Gazette has a wrap-up on the police response to this and several other recent incidents in the area.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

I spent the long holiday weekend far far away from Wheaton in lovely Potter County, Pennsylvania, where my sister lives (in Shinglehouse, to be precise).  So, as a mini-vacation from writing about all things Wheaton, I thought I'd share the highlights of our fun weekend in the country, much of which centered around some delicious, locally grown food.

My boyfriend and I met my sister for lunch on Saturday in Ansonia, PA, which is close to the very scenic PA Grand Canyon.  We ate at the Burnin' Barrell Bar, whose menu features beef sourced from local, grass-fed cattle.  My burger was delicious and tasty, as were the philly cheesesteak and italian hoagie that we also shared.

After lunch, we headed over to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum where they were holding their annual Barkpeelers Convention, which features demonstrations and competitions centered around the logging history in the region.  The highlight of the day was the greased pole competition.  No, it's not as dirty as it sounds, but it is maybe a little gay (don't tell those strapping young country boys that, though!).  The 8ft long log cake was also quite impressive.

In the photo below, the greased pole competitors are preparing to hit each other with heavy beanbags.  First person to fall off the 'greased pole' (a tree covered in Crisco) loses.
We also made a visit to the Cuba Cheese Shoppe in Cuba, NY, where we tried lots of delicious cheeses.  We brought home some 'drunken goat cheese' (goat cheese with white wine in it) and a white cheese with garlic, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes (pungent but tasty).

My sister also treated us to lots of delicious food over the weekend, much of it coming from her own garden and chickens, which she keeps in her back yard.  We had fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning and roasted chicken for dinner from some 'meat chickens' they butchered a few days before the weekend (glad I wasn't there for that).  We also enjoyed some lettuce, cucumber, and a few squash from the garden, which we had with the roasted chicken for dinner.

Here are some 'before' pictures...
And here are some 'after' pictures...

Overall, it was a relaxing weekend and a welcome escape from all the hot weather in DC!