Friday, September 30, 2005


So I guess it's official now. This is the dryest September on record. It has only been with great vigilence and effort that I have kept the garden plants and trees around here alive. What I can't figure out is how come the mosquitos are still so bad.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Book Matters

Just finished reading and highly recommend Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, for which she won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

Novelist Mary Lee Settle, Founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award, died Tuesday. She was 87.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Theory of Intelligent Design

I love today's Tom Toles cartoon, which I saw in the W. Post. I think it works even without the pictures. Just picture a classroom with a guy standing in front.

"Hello, children. I am your vice principal, here to introduce the theory of 'Intelligent Hurricanes.' Some say that large hurricanes are too organized to arise on their own. What are the chances that inert air molecules would join together to spin around a central 'eye'? A perfect system hundreds of miles across suggests a more purposeful explanation.

God hates red states."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jim and Me at the Block Party

Saturday, September 24, 2005

We Can All Use Some Happy News

from time to time. A new site,, tells only that.

One of the first stories I read on here was of India, whose female population has shrunk dramatically in recent years due to selective abortion of female fetuses, offering free education to the daughters of all families with a single female child from sixth grade through 12th. The goal is to help change society's perception of girls (negative to positive, duh). This IS happy news!

Read more happy stories at:

I don't care if anyone thinks I'm crazy, I'm bookmarking it!

Big Week-end

While Hurricane Rita ravages Texas and Louisiana, Washington gets set to host an anti-war rally and march around the White House, expecting up to 100,000 people, and several smaller events which aren't really small at all, including the Green Festival at the Convention Center and the National Book Festival on the Mall. Closer to home, today is Charlotte's birthday party at Imagination Stage and tomorrow is our annual block party. It's really too much! We were expecting Becky and Auntie Susan for the week-end as Becky was planning to march, but she was physically unable to make the trip yesterday, so they are not coming after all. And I'm not sure, but it's just possible we may finally get some rain today! It's a little chilly, overcast and humid, and Jim noted a few drops were falling on his way to the car. Of course he has to spend some time at the office this week-end to catch up with work he got behind on when he was sick a few days ago. I got a hint of his cold Thursday night, so was a little under the weather yesterday but am feeling pretty okay today, so will run over to Curves later and do some light housekeeping chores and laundry before the party this afternoon. And I'll try to catch up with my mother, who is considering, I understand from Auntie S., a trip to New Zealand in November!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An Amazing Woman, Dead at 93

Molly Yard, past president of NOW, died yesterday
I met her on a few occasions, both before and after she had her stroke. The one time I met her afterwards was at a fundraising lunch given by my friend Paula McKenzie when she chaired DC NOW. Jim came with me, and we were two of only about 6 or 8 people there altogether. Molly had trouble speaking, but she was still a powerful presence. My friend Paula revered her. I am sure Paula is very, very sad today. And the world is poorer for Ms Yard's loss. She was one of the great ones. Not as well known as leaders like Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan to the public, perhaps, but she surely made at least as big a difference as any of them. Rest in peace, Molly. You did good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There Must Be Alices in the Air

The Alice Awards gala at the Sewell-Belmont House was lovely. We heard from Hillary Clinton, first, in a tribute to Tipper Gore, the honoree. Unfortunately, she was "swept away" immediately after her remarks so we didn't get the chance to talk to her or shake her hand. But after dinner both Kathleen and I took advantage of an opportunity to shake Algore's hand and say hello. He is as wooden as they say. But Tipper was looking beautiful and lively and her daugher Karenna helped introduce and laud her. The weather was nice and the food was great. I think they may have actually used the same caterer as NMWA did the other night.

When I got home there was a message on the answering machine for me from my old, good friend Alice Galper, with whom I used to teach at Mount Vernon, asking if I was free for lunch today. I decided I was, and so after I walked some block party announcement flyers around the neighborhood and chatted with one of my neighbors about things we need to get done on our block (both the street, after the water pipe replacements, and the alley need repaving; we need better crossing signage at the corner of Conn. and Jocelyn, etc.), we met at Cafe DeLuxe on Wisconsin Avenue near the Cathedral and got caught up on what's happening with each other's lives. She was looking good, now has two granddaughters (Madeleine and Claire) and is continuing to work on updates of early childhood textbooks she had co-authored with Carol Seefeldt before Carol died.

Low key night tonight, I hope. I need a bit of a rest, I think. Especially because the upcoming week-end is going to be another busy one, perhaps even busier if, as she claims she will, my cousin Becky shows up on Friday to march on the White House and go to the Green Festival. Go, Becky! (Or is it, Come, Becky?) Whatever....promises to be busy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The Goofy One started feeling just a little better yesterday and was antsy to get out of the house by last evening, so we walked up the street - it was a beautiful night! - to Arucola for dinner. He had the half a grilled chicken, as usual, and I had the pasta combo - three different homemade pastas with three different sauces. Mmmmmmm - it's the BEST! He went to work today, but is still at about half mast, I'ld say. I hope he makes it a short day, but once he gets there, it's hard for him to get away.

I woke up with a headache which I'm hoping is from a rainy weather system supposedly on its way in rather than that I've caught his cold, my mother famously says..."We'll see." I have to have my annual mammogram this afternoon, but then I get to go to see Tipper Gore tonight at the Sewell Belmont House, so I'm slamming medication.

Monday, September 19, 2005

It's Grandma Nyna's Birthday

today. I'm not sure how old she would be if she were still living. Anyone else know? I've been thinking about her a lot. It's also Jim's dad's birthday, so we called him this afternoon. He and Pauline had gone out for lunch to celebrate.

Chevy Chase Day

The weather was perfect and the streets were full when Charlotte and I drove up to Bread and Chocolate about 11:30. We waited on the bench in front for Anja and Ella to arrive on foot and then grabbed the table in front of the window with my paintings to hang out for the afternoon. The artist whose work was in the other window, Ruth Marcus, showed up a few minutes after us, so we invited her to join us. We had a lovely lunch and chatted with each other and a lot of different people as they sort of drifted by. We took turns leaving to check out the other displays and sidewalk sale items. Anja, Ella and Charlotte left about 2 to catch the special appearance of Amelia Bedelia at the library and they stopped by afterwards, on their way to the park for the parade, moon bounces, and other kid things, to report that she had been wonderfully funny, making a "keyboard" out of a board and (house and car) keys, etc. I went over about four to join them at the park and Charlotte drove home with me about 4:30. The Goofy One never made it at all, as he was still sick. He's still not feeling well enough to go to work today.

Today I will take the display down and get copies made of the flyer for next week-end's block party and take them around ours and the surrounding blocks. Just one big event after another around here lately!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Death of the Heart

Upon the recommendation last month of one of the W. Post's book reviewers, Jonathan Yardley, I checked out "The Death of the Heart" by Elizabeth Bowen from our library and took it with us to the cabin, where I got a start reading it. I didn't get to finish until yesterday, between continued "step 'n fetch it" for the Goofy One, who is still sick, and general household activities - laundry, cleaning, watering plants, etc. I also ran over to Curves because, due to setting up my exhibit at Bread and Chocolate on Monday, I had only gotten in two workouts during the week. In any event, I finished it yesterday and it was as good as he - and I guess virtually all other reviewers at the time - 1939 - said it is. I can't find his review, not sure why, but you can find several on Amazon, as well as read the first few pages, if you Google the title of the book.

I also started, but lost interest in, "Snow" by the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, though I'm sure it has more to do with where my head is than the book, which is as well written as the reviewers say (

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nursing the Goofy One

The Goofy One caught a cold and so stayed home from work yesterday. I was kept hopping taking care of him. He was also agitated because he was afraid he may not be well enough to go to the Gauley ( this week-end and paddle with Gordon, who is on his way back from Wyoming and had planned to meet Jim there. We'll see how he feels today.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Meeting Jane Goodall

I guess actually shaking Jane Goodall's hand was a high point of the evening at NMWA, but it was a lovely event from beginning to end. Ms Goodall spoke last and talked about everything from her early upbringing by/in a houseful of women, how crucial her mother was to her success, and the work of her present organization ( But the evening was also marked by a very moving thank you from Josie Ashton, Executive Director of the Safespace Foundation, which offers financial assistance, information, referrals and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence. Barbara Boxer sent her speech via video so that was a bit of a disappointment.

But, the food was GREAT! (To see the menu, go to this address and click on "menu": And the central court at NMWA looked lovely. I'ld always wanted to see how it "dressed up" for an event. I got to reconnect with Kim Gandy and Eleanor Smeal and met some very interesting new people from AFT (, at whose table Sue and I sat. I'ld say that, on the whole, as far as experiences go, it was practically perfect. Lucky, lucky me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lucky, Lucky Me

My friend Sue Klein had an extra ticket to tonight's NOW Intrepid Awards Gala at the National Museum for Women in the Arts ( and she invited me. My friend Kathleen Madigan had an extra ticket to Tuesday night's Alice Award Dinner and Reception ( and she invited me to that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Okay, So He's Going to Be Confirmed

Roberts is cagey, no doubt, and it's clear he'll be confirmed. So all we can do once that happens is hope that with age he has grown wiser and with confirmation, more moderate. These things often happen and sometimes don't. Feminist and other concerned organizations hoping to stop further inroads on liberal social policies need to spend time and money reclaiming state legislatures and the Congress from religious fundamentalists and right wing conservatives and encode the right to abortion in state and national law so it no longer depends on the political outlook of nine lawyers, politically appointed.

Not Much to Recommend It

Quotes from two articles in today's W. Post. See Post for full articles (

From "In D.C. Area, Even Subsistence Proves Pricey: Income Needed to Cover Basics Has Skyrocketed" in Metro Section:

"A single parent with an infant and one preschooler needs to earn $67,849 to meet basic costs in Fairfax County, the region's most expensive suburb, the study found. Those earnings are 50 percent more than the same family would have needed in 1999, the first year the study was conducted.

The income needed to live on a "bare-bones budget" in the Washington region has increased dramatically over the past six years because of the rising costs of housing, health care and child care, according to a new study.'

At the other end of the spectrum, the District and Prince George's County are the region's least expensive locales, though the income required to subsist in those places has risen over the past six years by at least 26 percent for a single parent with two children, according to the study. A two-parent household, with an infant and a preschool-age child, needs to earn $60,339 to live in the District, 27 percent more than necessary in 1999, the study found."

From "Teen Drivers Taught To Be Cool in the 'Hot Zone'" in Metro Section:

"A recent study by Allstate Insurance Co. found that the District is the most dangerous place to drive in the country. The study found that, on average, a driver in Washington crashes every 5.2 years, while a driver in, say, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, only crashes once every 15 years.
AAA has noted that the Washington area is "gridlocked with the third-worst congestion in the nation" and that the situation is made worse by "the deterioration in driver attitudes, with a regional epidemic of aggressive, reckless driving."

And no one said anything about the price of gas - or the fact that we might be terrorism central.

But, on the other hand, the Smithsonian, the cultural diversity, the restaurants, the intellectual atmosphere, the excitement of being in the middle of things - our local news is national....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Yes, we got home about 7:30 Sunday night after deciding against staying another day or another week, both of which were extremely tempting. We decided to drag our still a little weary asses back to D.C. as Jim, of course, had a busy week at work with a staff meeting today, and I had to put up a display of my art in one of the Bread and Chocolate ( windows for the first annual Chevy Chase Artwalk in conjunction with the first annual Chevy Chase Day (, which is next Sunday, the 18th. I did do that yesterday a.m. and have film in the camera to take some photos, but haven't gotten to that yet. Other than that, of course, the usual getting things back in order: unpacking, doing laundry, getting groceries, cleaning, tidying, watering the now very dry yard plants, etc.

Immediately on Monday morning there was a persistent little knocking on the door, and it was Charlotte, who couldn't wait until evening to deliver my invitation to her birthday party at Imagination Stage ( on the 24th. I, along with Anja, Bill, Nicola (Ella's babysitter) and 18 7- year-olds will be treated to their production of "Cinderella," as well as cake and ice cream. Should be fun! Charlotte returned on Monday evening after school, along with Anja and Ella, to catch up and play a game of Old Bachelor, the loser of whom would have a Dole banana sticker stuck on her picture on the fridge. Charlotte lost, so her little Mrs. Farmer magnetic photo from her summer performance is now graced with a Dole sticker. Anja said that Ella refused to be buckled into her car seat to go home from the babysitter's until she told her that they were going to go visit Pat. Ella was just happy to see me and loll around with her "meme" (bottle) on the couch for awhile before she started to explore the bookcase and examine photos. The Goofy One was disappointed that they left before he got home, but of course, first day back at work, he was a little late. Anyhow, it's good to be home, and I look forward to getting some painting done as soon as I can get my easel back - I had to use it in the display.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Shutterbabe, Adventures in Love and War

Did quite a bit of reading at the cabin, including Shutterbabe, Adventures in Love and War by Deborah Copaken Kogan. Here's an excerpt:

She writes very well and most of the book was quite a page turner, but in the end I wasn't entirely sure what the point was. Although it was interesting reading for the most part, I think she may have been trying to do too much in this memoir. For awhile it seems she was a thrillseeker and then when she decided to have children, she decided she had been living too dangerously for being a mother. She went from that to discussing, minimally, how difficult it was for her to be a fulltime mother and a fulltime worker. She also experienced a lot of personal violence, and I found the way she talked about it - almost in passing - more than a little odd. So, she experienced a lot of gender related challenges, but didn't, in the end, fully process any of them, I think. You decide.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bad News

Just received an email from my nephew Andrew's wife, Holly, who says that in spite of the fact that the Army was going to let him out of Iraq a little early, at the end of October, they have now informed him that in fact he will not be allowed to leave until his regularly scheduled time, February 2006. Rats. We were hoping to have him home for Christmas.

At the Cabin

Here we are in Upstate New York, precisely, at the moment, at the public library in Pine Plains (, where they have a few very nice computers with which we can check our email. It's Friday and we have just played golf at our favorite course, Under Mountain ( in Boston Corners, and then we stopped at The Farmer's Wife in Ancramdale for lunch. We've been here since Monday evening and have golfed a few times. The weather has been lovely. His parents unexpectedly showed up on Wednesday, so we have also been spending some time with them, Jim and his dad putzing around with things on the cabin and yard. And they did a little fishing last night. They are supposedly going back to Connecticut in the morning, so we will have some time to ourselves again before we have to head back on Sunday.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

More Good News

I finally managed to reach Goodie this morning. She can receive calls on her home phone but not her cell and can't call out on either one. It's very odd. Needless to say, she was very glad I was finally able to get through to her. She and Jim got home Friday night to minimal wind and rain damage and no break-in, so they feel incredibly lucky. Of course there is a lot of debris and trees down so they and their neighbors have all been cleaning all of that up, but they have electricity and everything they really need. And incredibly, even the parish where she teaches, a few minutes closer to New Orleans, which floods, according to her daughter Sarah, "when you spit," wasn't hit that hard, either. So her school is looking at trying to get started by next week, the 12th. As for the travesty that is New Orleans and the bungled relief effort.....

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Noticed this book on the NY Times bestseller list and also on the Whitbread Prizewinner list, so when I saw it on a table in the library the other day, I picked it up and started reading it. Written from the point of view of an autistic boy, it's a bit of a mystery and a lot of philosophy, quite compelling, very interesting, very unusual. From the author of several children's books, none of which I've read, who also worked for several years with autistic children, it was absorbing enough to take my mind off the hurricane on occasion in the last couple of days.

Some Good News

I just talked to Goodie's daughter, Sarah, in Memphis. Goodie and Jim had learned yesterday that their house was still standing and that electricity had been restored in La Place, so they went home to see what's what. Sarah had not been able to get through to them, though, since they left, so knew no more than that. The phone lines are now just busy again, there, as opposed to, apparently, entirely out, so at some point I am hoping to reach Goodie.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's Still All About the Hurricane

Neither Jim nor I can watch the news without tears. Every time. I just heard that FINALLY, apparently, buses and security have arrived at that hell hole of a Superdome. I hope it's true. My friend Kathleen says she believes the situation has been/is being mishandled. That is the least offensive way to put it. Why isn't that Mayor down there talking to those people, telling them help is on the way? The news media claim one of the biggest problems is that no one tells them what is going on, what's happening. They believe they've been abandoned. People have guns. It's heartrending. I feel like I'm watching some third world refugee situation. I had some prescriptions filled today and Linda, my pharmacist, asked me how I was. I said I was fine, but that if I wasn't I wouldn't even say so, I would be ashamed to. At least I'm not in the Superdome. Gas prices have skyrocketed and right now I don't even care. I'm sure it will impact our lives at some point and we'll be annoyed, and probably there's price gouging by unscrupulous business people going on, but really, who cares? The real human suffering is unbearable.