Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Aftermath

of Hurricane Katrina dominates and overwhelms everything. Like the events of 9/11 it seems surreal. Where/how will these people even start to get their lives back in order? Can their minds even comprehend what has happened? Mine can't really wrap around it. One day life is going on in a probably mundane fashion and the next day your home, neighborhood, city is either gone or drowned, and you are displaced, maybe stranded on a roof, maybe bodies floating by. Chaos reigns. And now they are going to try to evacuate all the rest of the living people from New Orleans, put them in the Houston astrodome. It's all just crazy, staggeringly, stunningly incomprehensible.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Still not being able to reach Goodie this morning, and a little more worried since the levees of Lake Pontchartrain had broken, I called my brother and had him call her mother, who still lives in Ashland, to see if she had heard from her and if she knew where/how she was. Ellen told Tommy that Goodie had done what I had hoped and expected she might - go to Memphis to stay with her daughter Sarah. They don't know if they have a house to go back to, but at least they are all safe for now.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Small Things

Jim went to the office Saturday to catch up and get ahead, while I drove around Southern Maryland looking for my friend Amanda's house in order to go to one of her and Sandy's son's first birthday party. Once I got there, I had a lovely time, but I sure did want to just give up and go home more than once. It was one of those occasions when a cell phone would have been handy, especially with the price of gas these days.

Jim brought a Vace's pizza home for dinner, and we had a quiet evening, followed by a quiet Sunday. He's studying for a security clearance exam he has to take for PRB this week, and I just couldn't tear myself away from "Small Island." Of course, we're watching the hurricane news, and I tried to call my friend Goodie, who lives in La Place, La., just northwest of New Orleans, this morning, but all the circuits are busy. I'm not really worried, as I know that she and her husband Jim know what to do and will take all precautions, and La Place isn't the worst place to be, but would be good to know she's okay, so I guess I'll just keep trying periodically, and in the meantime, go about my day.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Orange Prize

I'm reading this wonderful book by Andrea Levy called "Small Island." One of the reasons I chose it was because it had won two literary awards, The Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year. I had heard of the Whitbread but hadn't recalled hearing of "The Orange Prize," so I looked it up on the net. Turns out it is only ten years old, and I was excited to learn that it is a prize given only to women by what looks like a British-based female-owned or dominated relatively new communications company that is simply called "Orange." Apparently it is also "the UK's largest annual literary award for a single novel." I noticed that one of the judges for this year's competition was Joanne Harris, the author of "Chocolat" and "Five Quarters of the Orange," so I figured this year's winner is probably also a sure bet. But both the short and long lists of finalists also look exciting. You can see the short list here:

The winner is "We Need to Talk about Kevin."

Here is a review of "Small Island."

Friday, August 26, 2005


For the second time this week since Carey, Sarah and John left, I had to nap this afternoon. I'm not sure how much is perhaps due to normal general fatigue from the stepped up pace we had for several days, how much to fibromyalgia, and how much to my allergies - the ragweed is kicking up this time of year. I guess it doesn't matter. It just is.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Little Girls and Goddesses

All the little girls who come to my house seem to be enamored of my goddess books and paraphernalia, including and especially the coasters, which feature pictures of goddesses from many cultures. Each girl has her favorite. Sarah's has always been Isis. Charlotte likes Diana. While we were waiting for Carey to get us lunch in the Ice Cream Parlor at the Museum of American History on the day we took our field trip to the Mall, Sarah, Charlotte and I got a table and, to pass the time, they started making up goddess cheers (modeled after some that Sarah had learned at "cheerleader camp" this summer) such as "Isis is a cool girl, rules over the whole world. We will, we will - praise her, praise her." These came complete with sound effects, including clapping hands and snapping fingers.

When we got home late that afternoon, Sarah and Charlotte retired to the basement den with several videos, including "The Paperbag Princess" and "Madeleine," a couple of my kids' goddess books, a stack of typing paper, and lots of colored pencils, and began drawing. They went steadily for three hours, occasionally coming up for air to ask what Carey and I thought of a drawing. I put a stop to it about 7:30 so they could eat dinner (during which they and I discussed what people believed about gods/goddesses) and get to bed at a reasonable time. But they worked for a couple more hours the next afternoon after our field trip to the Postal Museum, and then presented me with a new goddess book. It was very well developed, containing a cover, a title page, several goddesses, pictures of where they lived, and an end page. This is a photo of one of Sarah's pictures: The Goddess Joy, with her daughters Faith and Hope. They also had the Goddesses Sadie, Wolfy (and her daughter Mimi), Prettywing, Waves, Tiger Lilly, and the Mermaid Goddess. Interestingly, most of them were wearing the Hope Diamond.

Carol Christ ( claims and probably most women know in their hearts and souls that women need the Goddess. I don't know how little girls can possibly get along without Her. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure little boys or men fare that well without Her, either. For some reason I'm remembering the pathetic inadequacy of the Sri Lankan men who lost their wives in the tsunami simply to take care of themselves and their children.

Women in the News

Tuesday's Post carried a story about women in Northern Nigeria, who are now being resegregated on public buses - the back for them, of course - and motorcycle taxis, which they will not be able to ride at all because when they ride with a male driver, they are touching him, which is against Islamic law. And, of course, there are no female drivers (Go to and type in "In Northern Nigeria, Riding Too Close for Comfort"). The implications for their lives are, obviously, enormous.

Wednesday's Post carried a story about how Sri Lankan tsunami widowers, many if not most of whom had been spending the majority of their time drinking themselves "senseless" because they had no idea how to take care of themselves, have been marrying new wives and getting back to work. Fortunately for them, a 20-year civil war left the country with a "surplus" of "marriageable young women." Well, I guess that's one way to do it. Unfortunately, Sri Lankan widows are "often regarded as undesirable spouses" and "in any case, tend to be reluctant to allow a new man into their home for fear of how he will treat his stepchildren" so they are "stuck" having to be all things: breadwinners, parents and housekeepers. (Go to and type in "New Wives Bring New Hope to Sri Lankan Widowers")

Of course, we all know that women's rights are a key hold up in the development of the Iraqi constitution, where the Shiites want to reinstitute some form of strict Islamic law, sharia. I knew this was coming even before they took out Sadaam. I used to say that at least he was an equal opportunity oppressor. Today's Tom Toles cartoon features a woman in a burka with an ayatollah holding an Iraqi "Constitution" and suggesting she could think of her burka as her own private voting booth where she could keep her thoughts to herself.

I don't know what to make of all this, but it sure is depressing.

What is the Meaning of This?

This item is in the "Nation in Brief" section of the W. Post today:

Louisville - By meticulously tapping sand out of foot-long funnels, eight Tibetan monks are creating a sacred artwork to commemorate Louisville native Muhammad Ali's friendship with the Dalai Lama. Traditionally, the artworks are destroyed upon completion to symbolize the impermanence of the physical world, a tenet of Buddhist philosophy. This one, however, will be sprayed with glue and dedicated at the Nov. 19 grand opening of the Muhammad Ali Center. long does the friendship last? I am so confused. Why are the Buddhists changing their policy for this, now? Not that I care, but it just doesn't make sense to me, on their own terms.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Big Let Down

Carey called last night while we were at the Nationals game, watching them lose to the Cardinals in a lackluster performance only punctuated by two flukey home runs, to report that she, Sarah and John had arrived safely back in Havre about 2 yesterday afternoon. We were too pooped to call when we got home, about 10, even though they might still have been up, so I tried her this morning. She was already at a major dental appointment, but Sarah was anxious to talk and had much to report. Her friend Alex Burton had come home with them from Great Falls and would be visiting until Friday and the Hodges had fed them dinner before Carey had to go to help out at the bingo game at St. Jude's. It was not lost on Sarah when her mother came home smelling like smoke that it didn't seem right that they would teach the children at the school not to smoke, yet allow the bingo players to do it. Anyhow, we had a lovely conversation, and then I ran over to Johnson's to get gardening supplies for fixing the path out back, dropped off film, a library book that was due, and picked up some groceries at the Safeway.

After polishing off our La Miche leftovers for lunch, I made tuna macaroni salad for dinner and then was so tired, I just gave up and took a nap. I woke about 4 and ran up to get the photos. Jim should be home about 6. He'll ride his bike, which he left at the office yesterday when I picked him up from work to go to the game. I drove him in this morning because he was running too late to catch the bus. We will probably just CRASH tonight after dinner because we're both so tired, even though Carey called back and left a message while I was out earlier that we should call her back tonight after 7. She and John both start school tomorrow, though neither of them have students until next week. I will get back on a bit of a schedule, including Curves, which I went to yesterday for the first time since before they arrived, before we break it again to spend a week or so at the cabin the end of the month. And so.....another summer draws to a close. Rats.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Boo Hoo

Charlotte and I took Carey, Sarah and John to the airport, National, by subway yesterday afternoon and although it was great fun, especially when the train goes over the Potomac, now we're all depressed. Sarah and Carey called from Denver between flights about 8:30 or 9 to try to make themselves feel a little better. Jim and I have tickets to the Nationals game tonight and I have a lot to do so that will all be distracting, hoo hoo!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Boom, Crash

Exhaustion has set in big time so it's probably just as well that it is almost time for Carey, Sarah and John to head home. I'll be taking them to the airport tomorrow. Charlotte will probably come with to see Sarah off, especially since there has been and will not be any Sarah-Charlotte time today. They were together for almost 8 hours yesterday, as I sent John and Carey down to the National Gallery by themselves and took Sarah and Charlotte to the playground and then the library and then to Bread and Chocolate for bagels and cream cheese and lemonade before coming home, where they watched "The Babysitter Club" videos and drew and colored and then got Uncle Jimmy to put on Sarah's new Hilary Duff album so they could dance. When Jim, Carey and I left for dinner, John, Bill and Anja took them up to Los Lomida Dos for dinner.

We all slept very late this morning, and Sarah woke up crabby so we laid around most of the day until about 2 when she decided she had just enough energy for a brief bout of swimming with John. Jim ran them over to the Bethesda pool while I tidied, did some laundry, vacuuming and dishes. Needless to say, cleaning has been a little neglected, but was just getting to that over the top point that I can't bear. So, action had to be taken.

We will keep our plans to have a nice dinner at La Miche ( tonight and Sarah will come with us. Last night, Carey, The Goofy One and I had a wonderful dinner at Argio's in Falls Church and we showed Carey the table from which we called her by cell phone last time. The concert at State Theater by The Radiators ( was enjoyable even though they were missing their lead guitar and vocalist. Of course we didn't get home until almost one, so....

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sarah and Charlotte

on the front porch of George Washington's home at Mount Vernon.

Sarah and Charlotte on the Mail Coach

at the U.S. Postal Museum.

Sarah, Charlotte and the Ruby Red Slippers

at the Museum of American History.

Sarah and Charlotte Share

Uncle Jimmy's chair with Ella.

Slowing the Pace

We keep sleeping later and later as we run out of steam around here, but that doesn't stop us from having fun with the little we have left. Carey and I visited Jim to see his new office and have lunch yesterday and then drove over to see the water flowing in Meridian Hill Park and try to find the Washington International Center before we dropped off film to get developed and picked up some dinner at Whole Foods on River Road. John and Sarah had a daddy-daughter day at Mazza Gallerie, where they ate at McDonald's and saw "Sky High" before walking home during a respite from the rain. Sarah and Charlotte got together just a little while before bed last night and seemed to be the better for their break.

Jim's gone off to the office and Carey, John and I are hoping to get down to the National Gallery of Art at some point today before the Goofy One and Carey and I go out this evening for dinner and to see "The Radiators" at the State Theater.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Do We Know How to Party or What?

We all slept a little late this morning, still recovering from our serious sightseeing expeditions earlier in the week. Carey and I will wander down to PRB later to have lunch with Jim, see his new office and rehang his pictures, while John and Sarah go over to Mazza Gallerie to lunch at MacDonald's and catch "Sky High" at the theater there. But we can't leave before we get a delivery from a restaurant in NYC from which the Goofy One has ordered overnight delivery of rice pudding we read about in the Post last week-end. (Now you know why, if you didn't before, I call him the Goofy One.)

Yesterday Carey and I went to lunch at Bread and Chocolate and then to see "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" at the Avalon ( while John and Sarah retrieved Charlotte from her babysitter's around one and went to the apartment swimming pool for a couple of hours. Carey and I picked up a roasted chicken and some potatoes for dinner from Magruder's and a DVD of "Festival Express" on our way home. We got back a little after four and John and the girls had just returned also. He was resting and they were drawing and coloring in the "fort" they've made in the basement.

Anja came to fetch Charlotte about 6 and both girls ended up over at her house (Charlotte: "Let's clean my room! It will be more fun than scrubbing the grout in Auntie's bathtub" (which they had demanded to do the day before)), so the adults dined sans children, though Jim got hung up at work and had cycled in, so by the time he arrived John and Carey were ready for a short walk up the street. But he was finished by the time they got back and we all watched some "Festival Express" ( and Sarah did much interpretive dancing ("Shake that moneymaker!") before hitting the hay about 9:30.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Beautiful Day at Mount Vernon

Carey and I took the goofballs to Mount Vernon ( yesterday, and it couldn't have been a better day for it. Weather was fabulous and the crowd was small. We took Uncle Jimmy's car with the Chicago Blues Reunion cd already in the player so we rocked out on the drive there, the girls doing a perfect backup harmony to "Born in Chicago." After a snack at the food court, we got our tickets and then toured the mansion and the outbuildings, the tombs, both old and new, the boat landing, where Sarah had a bit of a meltdown, the round barn, the woods trail back up to the farm animals, including the imported roosters, the pigs and piglets and the horse and mule, and ended up, of course, with the "necessary," always a big favorite with the children. Before we headed out, we even took some time to sit on the front porch chairs and enjoy the view of the Potomac. Next time, we decided, we are going to take the boat round trip from the city instead of drive.

We left the boys in charge of the kids last night, and Carey, Anja and I went to Arucola for dinner and Parthenon for an after dinner cosmo, which neither Carey nor Anja had tasted before. Everyone was in bed by the time we rolled in about 10. This morning, as Jim was heading out for work on his bike, Anja was already out front trimming some flowers and she asked him what they did with the children last night, as her girls were still sleeping and it was already 8:30, which is late for them. I think they are all just worn right out from all of our big adventures, so it will be a low key day today. John might take the big girls swimming this afternoon, but Carey and I are planning to take the day "off."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Busy Rainy Day

Yesterday, we took the girls to Union Station for lunch and then to the Postal Museum (, just across the street from there, where they rode the stagecoach and sorted mail in the railroad mailcar replica. When we got home they finished up their goddess book which I learned upon their lovely formal presentation to me later in the day was, in fact, a present for me.

Evening was just a tad chaotic, with people coming and going. John got in about 5, Anja and Ella stopped in for a visit, Jim got home and he and the girls chased each other around the house for awhile, sticking and unsticking banana stickers in new and creative places, including, Sarah discovered 30 seconds before he arrived, on her sandals, and then they girls went over to Anja's while Jim, John, Carey and I had dinner. After dinner, John and Carey went for a walk, I finished up some laundry and took a shower and then we caved in for the night. John picked up Sarah after he and Carey got back and we heard them having their bedtime snacks before calling it a day.

Anja called about 8 this a.m. asking if Charlotte could come over as her babysitter's baby was sick and she was going to take Ella to work with her. So little Loop joined us about 9 with her DVD player, the DVD of her performance and a new one of Peter Pan. She was so excited to be joining us so early today and to see Sarah, that she could not contain herself. So, Sarah was awakened a little earlier than usual and wandered up from the basement shortly after Charlotte acccidentally crashed into Uncle Jimmy's bike. But the weather is beautiful! and so we'll head out to Mount Vernon today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Field Trip

Carey and I took the girls down to the Mall yesterday to visit Sarah-selected sights at the Museums of American and Natural History. We started with gowns of the first ladies, the ruby red slippers, and a special exhibit about a singer named Celia Cruz ("Look at that make-up table!") and followed up with Julia Child's kitchen and the giant doll's house after lunch at the Ice Cream Parlor. When we first entered the American History Museum, the girls felt compelled to sing (hands on hearts, of course) "America the Beautiful" to the American flag in the atrium while I was getting a map of the buildings, so we stopped to see the restoration of the original American flag on our way out (

We wandered over to the Museum of Natural History ( to see the giant elephant, the Hope diamond, which didn't impress either Paris or Nicole, and the new Hall of Mammals, after which we enjoyed gelato and the gift store. Before heading back to the subway we took a spin on the carousel. All in all, it was an excellent outing.

When we got back, about 4, the girls settled down to illustrate a new book of goddesses, including the Goddess of Prettiness, the Goddess of Wolves, the Goddess "Sadie" and the Goddess "Waves." That kept them very intently busy for about three hours. We finally told them they would have to finish the book another day and I fed them, during which Sarah, Charlotte and I had a very serious discussion about "God," goddesses, what people believed and why. Then they snuggled together for a massage in Uncle Jimmy's big chair, munched Klondike bars and I read to them from "Whale Rider," before Sarah walked Charlotte home. Afterwards, Sarah and I cuddled in the big chair getting massaged and reading "Whale Rider" until Uncle Jimmy and Carey came home from getting water and putting gas in the car, and then we all hit the hay.

We were going to take the girls to Mount Vernon today, but it's a little overcast and may be rainy, so we might have to rearrange our schedule. Again, we'll see. It looks like our oppressive heat spell may finally have broken, though, so Hooray!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lazy Day

The girls, Sarah and Carey, being exhausted, slept in a little yesterday but about 11, right after a snuggle from Mom and her bowl of Cheerios, Sarah headed over to Charlotte's where, by the end of the day we hadn't heard another peep from her. Anja called about 6 and asked if Sarah could stay overnight, which was, of course, okay with her mother though she wasn't sure, since it was Sarah's very first time sleeping over at another friend's house, she would make it. She had obviously gotten over some sort of hump on Thursday night, though, by staying here on her own because we haven't heard from her yet! We know she's alive, though, because we've occasionally caught a glimpse of her through the big front windows at Anja's.

Meantime, yesterday, The Goofy One went out to get in some mountain biking, and Carey and I took advantage of no kids to have a leisurely lunch at the Parthenon. When we got back, about 2:30, Jim was here and I threw together some tuna and macaroni salad for dinner, but then, everyone was so tired, we all took a nap. I was awoken about 5 by a phone call from Stephanie and almost simultaneously by a visit from Paula, who had brought over a bottle of wine and stopped by to pick up some cd's Jim had made for her and to say good bye. She heads, more than a little sadly, back to her job in Daytona Beach for the coming academic year this Monday. While she was here, we watched a little of the DVD we had gotten last Saturday night of the Chicago Blues Reunion tour, featuring several of the songs we had heard at the Rams Head Tavern concert. We agreed that Tracy Nelson should have sung more!

The weather is still just beastly, so today Carey and I will take Fruit and Loop to see "James and the Giant Peach" ( at Imagination Stage ( and then this evening, we will meet Carey's friend and another of our sorority sisters, who is enrolled for the year at the Wesleyan Seminary and is in town for a few days trying to get housing and jobs together for the fall, at Cactus Cantina for dinner. The rest we'll have to play by ear. Last year, during the whole summer, we had only 11 days altogether over 90 degrees. This year, SO FAR, we've had 27! The weather people claim there is a "cold front" coming, which, as far as I can tell from the weather forecasts in the Post, means it will get just a squidgen below 90 for a few days. But it seems the humidity might stay high, so it will probably still feel pretty beastly. We'll have to be looking to do indoor things as much as possible with the girls, I guess, though Sarah really wants to go to Mount Vernon. So, as our mother famously, says, "We'll see."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Where to Start?

Yesterday Sarah slept until 10:30. When she got up the first thing she wanted to do, after a long snuggle and some Cheerios, was sit in the recliner with the messager going and have me read "Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One" to her. She's a girl who likes to keep up with tradition.

Under the weather circumstances, we thought we would stay cool in a movie theater for a couple of hours before we picked up Charlotte from her last day of acting camp. So we ran down the street to the Uptown Theater to see the penguin movie, which we both thought was pretty depressing when you think about it. Basically, we decided we were just glad we weren't penguins. We froze in the theater and then got immediately cooked when we walked out. And the car was so hot we had to stop halfway to Imagination Stage and get another cold drink.

After we picked up Charlotte we stopped at Safeway and then came home where the big plan was to give the American girl dolls a birthday party as they were turning 14 that day, both of them. S and C planned a picnic supper to be held on the livingroom coffee table, which was really the teen-age game room of the boardinag school Kaylie and Molly attend. Charlotte had to run home to get the picnic hamper and while the caterer, me, packed the supper, Charlotte and Sarah set the table and dressed "the girls" for their party. It was all quite posh. In any event, Sarah and Charlotte ate well: chicken, bread and butter, carrot sticks, watermelon, yogurt and fruitbars for desert, by which time they were ready for the first two chapters of "The King's Equal."

While the girls and their "foster children" were having their picnic supper, Jim and I ate as usual at the dining room table and listened to the little girl chatter, which just cracks us up. We've nicknamed them "Fruit" (Sarah) and "Loop" (Charlotte) because they are so goofy. Of course, periodically, they had to have a couple rounds of The Banana Sticker Game with Uncle Jim which entails much teasing and running and hiding and pretend scariness. Uncle Jim tried to vary the fun and slow things down a little at one point by showing them some Homer Simpson sound effects on the computer, but they both emphatically declared them to be "NOT funny" so he gave that up.

Finally, about 8, Carey called us to come pick her up from the Van Ness subway station so I sent them over to Anja's, and Jim and I went to pick her up. S and C were starting to get a little cranky with each other, so it's good that Carey is back so she could sleep with Sarah last night and Charlotte at her own house. I hope they both sleep long and hard because I don't want little cranky girls on our hands today.

In other news, our friend Stephanie has updated Florin's weblog and everyone is doing fine. Florin is over 6 pounds now! And there are some new photos. Check it out:

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Big Day

Anja, Ella, Bill and I saw Charlotte's acting debut yesterday morning as the farmer's wife in "Stone in the Road" at Imagination Stage. She did great! And the whole show was just hilarious. Fortunately, Anja was able to videotape it for Carey, Sarah, Uncle Jim and John so they'll be able to see it, too, sometime this week.

Then, (finally!!!) only a week late, Carey, Sarah and John showed up on our doorstep about 5 p.m. John reported that the flights were all on time and uneventful, just the way we like it, and that as they were coming up Connecticut Avenue in the cab, Sarah had remarked "Oh, remember when we lived here?!!? Those were the good old days." Carey and John hightailed it to Union Station and a train to NYC almost immediately, but Sarah stayed and Charlotte came over to spend the night with her.

We all had dinner at Las Lomida Dos - the girls had "strawberry margaritas" and nachos - and after a bath, I tucked them in to bed with "The Cheetah Girls" video. Of course it took them quite awhile to get to sleep, but when I went to check on them this a.m. Sarah was sprawled out on the right side of the bed like a drunken sailor and Charlotte was curled up in the fetal position near her head.

Charlotte hopped up on her own about 8 and after some Cheerios, got herself ready for camp and went across to wake up her mom and Ella. Sarah, as usual and always, slept until about half an hour ago. She's requested a reading of "Auntie Tells a Good One," so that's next on the agenda, and then we'll have to reconnoiter the day. Options include picking up Charlotte early from camp and maybe going swimming or to a movie. It's very hot and humid, again!, and the air quality is Code Orange, so we'll have to take all of that into consideration.

John will go from NYC to Pa. to spend a few days with his family, but Carey should be back about 6 or 7 tonight. She'll jump back onto the train after her second doctor appointment, at 12:30, is finished, and when she gets back, we'll all decide what fun things to do with the week! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good News/Bad News

Carey had her sonogram yesterday and it showed she was clear of all blot clots both in her superficial and her deep veins, so barring any other glitches and another recurrence ! she, Sarah, and John will be on the plane Thursday a.m. for D.C. Whoopee!

It's a rather dreary day today here in the Nation's Capital, overcast and rainy, but who cares, since I can look forward, again, to Carey, et al.'s imminent arrival?! Besides, we actually need some rain by now. And Jim just told me the shuttle landed safely, which I was glad to hear because I was convinced it was going to burn up, too, like the last one. Call me Pollyanna. My outlook was probably not enhanced by the fact that we found out a few days ago that we have some registered sex offenders living in the area, so I wrestled for several days, in my official capacity as Co-Captain for Neighborhood Watch of our block, with how to let the neighbors know without freaking everyone out. After talking with a number of other neighborhood safety officials and yesterday with the police head of the District's Sex Offenders Unit, I finally figured it out and gave my block the news. What I didn't say was that, although we should all be aware of these guys - and here they are all guys -the Sergeant said that, in many ways, he's actually more afraid of the people who have not yet been caught, tried, penalized, and registered...and he knows they are there. Yeah, me too. I did, however, urge the neighbors to check out the safety tips for parents, which are also on the District's Sex Offender Registry site, so hopefully everyone will do that and review these with their children. I believe the schools do some of this, also, so that's good.

Anyhow, we've pretty much recovered from our racy week-end, and I've got a new canvas on the easel, so I think it will be a pretty good day, even though the guys are back on our street digging it up again today to put in new water pipes and are awfully noisy. Oh, well. Non-leaded water is certainly a worthy cause.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blues, Blues, Blues and Baseball

Friday night Jim and I met our friend and avid music fan John Thompson about 7 p.m. for dinner at a small Italian bistro in Falls Church, Argia's (http://www.argia', near the State Theatre (, where we went afterwards to hear well known local blues players Tom Principato ( and Coco Montoya ( Both dinner and the concert were fantastic, but we didn't get home until well after 1 a.m., so our butts were already dragging yesterday afternoon when we headed out again, about 4, with our friend Paula McKenzie to Annapolis (aka, Naptown, don't ask me why) to dinner and a show at the Ram's Head Inn ( It was the final night of the Chicago Blues Reunion ( tour and one of the featured performers was one of our favorite women of blues, Tracy Nelson ( Dinner was good, and it was another fantastic show.

We had tickets to this afternoon's Nationals game, but by today we were so totally pooped we couldn't drag ourselves out, so are having to content ourselves with cheering them on via television. We could write our own blues tune, I guess - "Done In by the Blues"?...or maybe, "Too Old to Nonstop Boogie"? Anyone have any other suggestions?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Four Week "Anniversary" of the First London Subway Bombing

This is "Prayer for World Peace, No. 2" that I painted in memory of the victims and in hopes of world peace someday, soon.

New Address for the White House?

A (need I say, Republican) Texas Congressman, one Henry Bonilla, recently proposed that Congress rename 16th Street to Ronald Reagan Boulevard. Eleanor Homes Norton, our nonvoting Congressional delegate, pointed out that, among other things, this could pose a problem for the White House address. Presently, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it has a real ring to it and mellifluously rolls off the tongue. Ronald Reagan Boulevard at Pennsylvania Avenue sounds as clunky as his proposal is stupid. The last time Congess changed the name of something around here, Washington National Airport, they eventually forced the District to pay for the signage changes. Thanks, guys (and gals). We here in The Last Colony really appreciate funding your hairbrained schemes, especially when we have no say in the matters. When will we be included in the Constitution? Oh, that's right. You're busy making sure everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan is enfranchised.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Best Laid Plans

Things have been in a bit of an uproar since we got a call on Tuesday afternoon from Carey. She had had an attack of phlebitis while she and Sarah were waiting for the train - five minutes til it got there! - and she had to go to the emergency room, so they missed it. Though it is a bad attack, painwise, unless there is some deep vein thrombosis, for which she had already been tested a week before and will be tested again on Friday, the emergency room doctor told her that as soon as her leg stopped throbbing and the blood clot went down, she could travel. However, getting out of Montana other than by car or on foot can be a bit challenging, to say the least. The earliest they could get reserved again on the train would have been Monday, the 8th, to the tune of $3,000 round trip for the three of them. Under the circumstances, it was decided that John should accompany them, so the best and earliest and cheapest way they could get out was on a flight from Great Falls, not available until the 11th, but at 1/3 the cost of the train. So, they will all three be coming then and hopefully Carey's little leg will be okay. She said at this point, she's ready to have it amputated. One darn thing after another with that girl sometimes. It's hard not to worry about her. But there was no deep vein thrombosis the first time and her doctor feels pretty confident that there isn't this time, either; though to be safe they will do the sonogram again. Yes to that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Waiting for....

Carey and Sarah, who will be here Friday evening. They are getting on the train today for NYC and will arrive there on Thursday afternoon. Carey's doctor appointments are Friday mid-day and they will catch a late afternoon train out of there for here, arriving about 7:30 or so, barring any glitches. Of course, I'm a little worried about someone blowing it up, but I'm going to keep a good thought. Cousin Shelley is going to meet them in NY to visit and be with Sarah while Carey is in her appointments.

Sister Little, her family and the Mother of Us All are winging their way to Alaska today. They will get there in the middle of the night, pick up their rented house on wheels and sleep there tonight before heading up to Auntie Peggy's and their big adventures tomorrow. I assured S.L. on Saturday that with almost two weeks there, I believed they could do virtually everything major and probably most minor things there were to do. There are, after all, only four major roads in the state.

I heard through the grapevine that Dylan had returned to Ashland from his visit with his mother in Maryland, and that Charley Lauren already had and lost, due to being underage, a job, but that she has a couple of other options she is considering. Haven't talked to the brothers lately, so must do that soon. Charles was supposed to come out to pick Dylan up and help us with a couple of things around here, but it seems he's sick of driving (imagine that), so Dylan flew home. And we all heard from Holly, Andrew's wife, that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be getting back from Iraq much earlier than originally anticipated - the end of October instead of the end of March. Whoo Hoo!

The pace around here continues to be fairly leisurely, though there is some excitement on the Street as the city is digging it up to replace the lead water pipes. The Goofy One and I were happy that our pipe from the main line to our house was already copper, so we don't have to have ours replaced. That means they won't be ruining our front yard. But I've been working steadily, if slowly, and have recently finished three small paintings, none of which I have photos of yet. Am ready to get started on my next bigger one, a new flower painting, but feeling a little fatigued today, probably from working in the back yard yesterday, so not rushing into it.

Instead, there was an article in the paper this a.m. about weblogs devoted to aging (, so I spent some time surfing around, checking things out and following up interesting leads. Then I finished "Murder at the National Gallery," returned it and reconnoitered the library awhile, got some groceries and stopped at a neighbor's house to get one more signature on the block party petition for September and chat a bit. She just returned from a cruise with her entire family to Costa Rica and was still revved up about all the exciting things they did. She's recovering from lung cancer surgery, so it was good to see her looking and sounding so good.

When I checked my email, and for some reason my website, this afternoon, I saw that my wonderful friend and adopted daughter Kay had recently added the newest pictures I have to my website ( Thank you, dear! She just got back from a trip, too, and I imagine there will be all kinds of interesting new photos on her site soon (

In a continuation of the action packed days before Carey and Sarah arrive, tonight Jim and I will drop off the 240 SX at Bethesda Imports so tomorrow they can change the oil and do what else needs doing annually, so it's in good shape for running around when they get here. Sarah has her list of favorite activities we MUST do, including a day trip to Mount Vernon, so things must be in good working order. I imagine tomorrow I will have recouped energy and desire, so will spend the day painting, a most pleasant way to wait.