ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
Like the rest of Northern Virginia, as well as central Maryland, modern Alexandria has been shaped by its proximity to the U.S. capital. It is largely populated by professionals working in the federal civil service, in the U.S. military, or for one of the many private companies which contract to provide services to the federal government. One of Alexandria’s largest employers is the U.S. Department of Defense and another is the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Living within the confines of the City of Alexandria, Virginia is a unique experience unlike many other locales given its rich history and background. There is always something new to discover about the city on a weekly basis. Given my love of history, I feel quite honored to live in such a town and still learning much about the city and its founding. Many homes and businesses (structures) date back to colonial times and have special designations.
The historic center of Alexandria is known as Old Town. With its concentration of boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and theaters, it is a major draw for tourists. Like Old Town, many Alexandria neighborhoods are compact, walkable, high-income suburbs of Washington, D.C. It is the 7th largest and highest-income independent city in Virginia. It also boasts the oldest and continually operating farmers market on Saturdays (which I love going to every week.). There are many activities during the year for just about every taste. One of the most popular takes place in early December that being the Annual Scottish Christmas Walk which pays homage to the cities Scottish heritage and a fabulous way to ring in the Christmas season for everyone. I’ve always enjoyed going to watch and browse the shops in search of a holiday bargain.
A portion of adjacent Fairfax County is named “Alexandria”, but it is under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County and separate from the city; the city is sometimes referred to as the City of Alexandria or Alexandria City to avoid confusion. In 1920, Virginia’s General Assembly voted to incorporate what had been Alexandria County as Arlington County to minimize confusion.
The addressing system in Alexandria is not uniform and reflects the consolidation of several originally separate communities into a single city. In Old Town Alexandria, building numbers are assigned north and south from King Street and west (only) from the Potomac River. In the areas formerly in the town of Potomac, such as Del Ray and St. Elmo, building numbers are assigned east and west from Commonwealth Avenue and north (only) from King Street. In the western parts of the city, building numbers are assigned north and south from Duke Street. Neighborhoods in Alexandria include Old Town, Eisenhower Valley, Rosemont, The Berg, Parker-Gray, Del Ray, Arlandria, West End, and North Ridge. The population is mixed between a plethora of nationalities and incomes.
As an independent city of Virginia (as opposed to an incorporated town within a county), Alexandria derives its governing authority from the Virginia General Assembly. In order to revise the power and structure of the city government, the city must request the General Assembly to amend the charter. The present charter was granted in 1950 and it has been amended in 1968, 1971, 1976, and 1982.
Over the course of the last several years, I somehow managed to pick-up infections that resulted in being hospitalized, resulting in surgery and intravenous antibiotic/medication regime. Two different times the infection was severe enough to require the loss of a toe on each foot. I wish to make one thing abundantly clear, at no time do I ever walk around without anything on my feet, except when taking a shower. It has been a mystery as to how these infections happened, no real definitive answer. I should also stress that if one is prone to any problems whether or not you have an underlying medical condition (i.e., diabetes, neuropathy, Crone’s Disease, Parkinson’s, etc.) never ignore even the slightest cut or wound, seek treatment right away before things get worse. If you ignore the problem, it may result in the loss of a limb or even your life.
After several years of not having any sort of medical problems/issues, early in the year (2015) I was faced with a health crisis. I somehow got an infection in the lower portion of my right leg spreading into the right foot, I got myself to the emergency room at the hospital (which was not easy to do with a swollen and painful foot). Upon examination and cultures, I learned that I had a serious infection in the lower portion of the, with a temperature of 100-101 degrees as well I was being admitted to the hospital and would need to have surgery.
So the following day, I had the first of what would become three surgeries. The first surgery consisted of my orthopedic surgeon having the open up the foot and basically clean out and drain the foot of the puss and as much of the infection as possible. Also to see if there was a way to save and reconstruct the foot. A few days later I had the second surgery in the attempt to do repair work and any additional cleaning out of the wound area. It was determined as a result of this second surgery that the infection had gone in much deeper than first thought and would need to have the limb amputated below the knee. So I was scheduled for the 3rd surgery two days later to have the amputation performed on the lower portion of my right leg.
Things went rather well with the third surgery, but has not been easy to readjust to a new way of life minus part of a limb when one is use being more independent and not dependent on others.
You may be asking who is this Kathy Kiefer? Kathy is originally from Long Island in the State of New York who now lives in Alexandria in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has lived in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area for approximately 31 years. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, enjoys travel, loves the Arts and sports, plus. She also has an awesome niece and nephew.
Kathy was born and raised on Long Island in the Village of Brightwaters (Bay Shore School District), with her parents and younger brother. Growing up, Kathy, enjoyed swimming, playing tennis, the theatre and a mirage of other activities, many of which she still enjoys to this day. Upon graduation from Bay Shore High School, Kathy attended SUNY @ Farmingdale, and then went to work for the U.S. Government at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in lower Manhattan as a legal Secretary. Several years later, in the early 1980’s Kathy transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, continuing as a legal secretary/legal technician. She eventually went to work in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a Legal technician ultimately being promoted to a Paralegal Specialist. Throughout her long and illustrious career with the Government, Kathy received many honors, praise and commendations for her outstanding work, exceptional work ethic and dedication to her job and the people she was assigned to support. Upon leaving the Justice Department Kathy went to work with one of the local school systems as a Paraprofessional Instructor (teacher assistant). Working with students that have special needs, I have found to be so rewarding, to be able to watch the student grow and blossom with a little extra encouragement and support is such a wonderful feeling and to know that in some small measure to know that I am helping in this learning experience. While working full-time in the school system, I went back to college (part-time) eventually earning degrees in history with a minor in anthropology from George Mason University. Finally working as an administrative assistant in private industry in the Alexandria, VA area until recently.
Despite the fact that Kathy has lived in the Washington, DC – Northern Virginia area for as many years as she has, Kathy remains a die-hard New York Met and New York Jet Fan.