Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mozart and Me

I learn something new every day. In a review of three new books about Mozart in today's W. Post by Michael Dirda, he says "Sadie reminds us that Mozart was, fundamentally, a professional who worked for hire, never simply for Art. He seldom wrote music that wasn't commissioned or otherwise intended for some specific purpose." Now THAT made me feel better about not always having some piece of art burning inside, waiting to get out, as I think some artists do.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

Someone on our street - and most of us felt there was a likely suspect - had been putting anonymous notes on cars she didn't recognize or that didn't have DC tags and resident parking permits. The notes told them they were not allowed to park on our street, AT ALL. She also harassed at least one neighbor's mother-in-law. Can you imagine?! The good news, I felt, was that at least the cars weren't being vandalized, as has happened in the past. The bad news, of course: we still had a problem.

So it became incumbent upon Will and me, in our official positions as Neighborhood Watch Block Co-Captains, to say something. I felt like I was back in the classroom. How do you talk about something in such a way as to hopefully correct a miscreant's behavior while at the same time giving him or her a way to save face and come into the good graces of the rest of the class again. We came up with this.

"hello, dear neighbors,

we understand there remains some confusion about who may park on our block, when, for how long, and under what conditions. in fact, we have recently had two incidents in which the family or guests of some of our neighbors were wrongly chastised, verbally or via anonymous notes, for parking on our block. we do not think this is a good way for us to treat our neighbors or visitors. we don't want to be a block that is known for unfriendliness or unfairness.

as we understand it, anyone can park on our block

1. for under two hours during the day monday through saturday,
2. on any night (midnight to 7 a.m.), or
3. all day on sundays (7 a.m. to midnight).

residents can obtain a permit for parking for visitors from the 2nd district police station on idaho avenue. if you have visitors who are going to be here for a few days, you can even go over ahead of time to get it. you will need the car's license plate number to get a permit.

(shall we now try to solve the middle east crisis?)


pat and will"

We sent it this morning and several hours later I got an email from Ms Miscreant 'fessing up and asking if I had any suggestions for dealing with the problem of having no place to park near your house when you get home late at night and having to walk to your house by yourself. I suspected that was the problem all along, but had no idea so told her I would consult with Will and maybe the whole block and we would see what we could come up with.

Last night neighbor Kathleen and I went for a long walk around the neighborhood and hashed over the events and considered possibilities, but still we could come up with nothing that seemed practicable. However, this morning Co-Captain will called with a brilliant idea - a Jocelyn Street escort service! So we are going to run that by Ms Miscreant and presuming it meets her needs ( I know it will meet the needs of several others on the street), we will put it out there to the block and see if it works for them and if we have volunteers. I have little doubt about that.

I am so impressed with Will! And so happy about probably coming up with a resolution to a big problem caused by the parking congestion on our street in a way that will make the whole block feel good about itself again.

Thirty-five Years in 150 Words or Less

I am attending my 35th college reunion in July. Along with the registration form, we were asked to send in a "biographical sketch" of 100-150 words. Here's what I finally sent in:

After Northland, I moved to Washington, D.C., where I worked for the National Student Association and then as a high school English teacher while attaining my Master’s degree from George Mason University. My husband and I spent a year in upstate New York before I started my Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park. Upon completion of that, I taught at a local women’s college for 12 years, achieving tenured Associate Professor status before retiring and starting my career as an artist. Now I specialize in commissioned art of all kinds ( and have recently, in conjunction with several others in the Washington, D.C. area, started an organization devoted to raising funds, via “shoe” art exhibits and sales, to buy running shoes for Ethiopian girls training to be runners in order to be able to stay in school and avoid being sold into marriage by impoverished parents.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Florida Paintings

Shipped Nancy and Jesse's paintings today to their Florida home. They should arrive by Tuesday. I am anxious to see how they look actually installed on the two adjacent walls in the dining area of the family room. Here they are lined up on our sofa in the order they will go on the walls, with the large paintings meeting in the corner so it looks like you're looking at the wake path behind a boat.


Thanks to my wonderful long time (he wouldn't want me to call him "old") friend, Guy Cherry, for this hilarious site:

Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring Comes to 3715

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Holed Up

Rainy Saturday - and we really need it! - and Jim's at the cabin and it's a great day to paint, rest, read, research on the computer, talk on the phone...anything but go out. Have a turkey pot pie from Marvelous Market for dinner and lots of other stuff for lunch and snacks...not going anywhere!

Friday, April 21, 2006

"To Make a Dadaist Poem"

I picked up some information about the Dada exhibit at the National Gallery while I was downtown the other day and found this and then also found it online:


Neighbor Kathleen and I went to hear Jane Fonda be interviewed about her book at the Avalon Theater last night. She was unexpectedly amusing, and I enjoyed it more than I realize I had expected to.

I was a little taken aback when the Politics and Prose events coordinator, a young man in his late 20's or early 30's, I would say, announced that "Jane" would sign copies of her book after the interview and a question and answer session with the audience. I wondered if by any chance he had somehow become an intimate acquaintaince already. Not one other person, including her interviewer, called her that. Everyone else addressed her as "Ms Fonda." Did she SAY to him, "Call me Jane" maybe? I'm no Emily Post, but this struck me as really inappropriate, and for some reason, it's still boggling my mind today.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

For Women By Women

The Exhibit at the Warehouse Theater Gallery:

From an Email Letter to My Mom

Had a busy day. Went to Curves with my friend Marianna, who says she wouldn't have made it today if I hadn't called to get her going.

Than I ran around downtown on a gallery research expedition: The Warehouse Theater Gallery (, the Parker Gallery at Mickelson's Fine Art (, and the Arts Club of Washington ( We are having the second Shoe Art Exhibit/Sale/Auction for the Ethiopian girls fundraising effort at the Warehouse Theater Gallery but I had never seen it so I wanted to check it out. It's a very cool space. While I was downtown, I thought I would check out a couple other places/exhibits I had a bit of interest in, so I made a day of it. The exhibit at the Parker was work by the artist who is featured on the cover of a book my friend and neighbor, Mary Kay Zuravleff, has a story in.. It's called "Grace and Gravity" and the original art is for sale there. Eric Westbrook has in exhibit at the Arts Club, and I wanted to see both the space and his acrylic landscapes.

Stopped and filled my tummy about 2:30 on my way home at the new place by the Van Ness Subway, food by the pound. It is surprisingly good, and I like picking a little of a lot of different things to chomp on and take just exactly as much as I really want.

For the last couple of days, I've been working on the portrait of Thomas and Taylor, and it's coming along very nicely. I was glad to be able to get a lot of time to put in on it. But now I'm kind of pooped, so I'll shower and rest and maybe work later or maybe just get back to it tomorrow.

Jim has a board dinner tonight so I don't even need to worry about making dinner...although I'll probably want a little something else later...hmmm.. maybe just some cheerios tonight.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jane Fonda

Neighbor Kathleen stopped by after dinner this evening to visit, to tell me she had an extra ticket to see Jane Fonda at the Avalon Theater this coming Thursday evening, and to ask if I wanted to come with her. She's going to be talking about her new book. Fer sher!

This Little Life of Mine

The week before last I started painting “Twins,” the portrait of Kaye’s boys, Thomas and Taylor. I’m not calling it that because they are twins, but because that is what it says on their matching t-shirts. Had scheduled this past Thursday to work on it, all day, and was really looking forward to it. But Anja called on her way home from work on Wednesday evening and asked me, because she was in a bind with childcare, if I could look after Ella for a few hours on Thursday. So I did that in the morning, thinking I would still be able to paint in the afternoon. But after I walked Ella in the stroller over to the Embassy Suites where Charlotte and their great grandmother were, rested and chatted for a while and got back home, it was already about 2:30, I had a splitting headache, and I still needed a shower, so I never did get to paint on Thursday.

I held a good thought for Friday, but of course, had overdone it and woke up Friday a.m. realizing I had triggered my fibro symptoms and was ill all day. I felt better yesterday, so I went to Curves to make up for missing Friday, but I still didn't have enough energy to work, so I rested and read most of the afternoon, a new book which I really like “Work, Love, Children” by Cheryl Mendelson. She also wrote “Morningside Heights,” which I really liked. Meantime, Jim had gotten up super early and headed to the office to work for several hours preparing for a Board meeting this week. He got home about 1 and ate a quick lunch and went biking with Gordon, which I was glad of because he really hadn’t gotten any exercise all week and is putting on another pound or two again….the creeping pounds.

We were planning a quiet evening at home, but our friend Oliver called from the Madison airport to say that he, Kate and Natalie were coming in for a couple of days and wanted to know if we could meet them and his parents at the Club for dinner. Of course we were delighted to do that and had a lovely dinner and visit with all of them. We took turns letting Natalie stretch her legs running around outside in the beautiful evening weather on the beautifully landscaped grounds. I had two cosmopolitans so didn’t stay awake long after we got home and hit the hay.

Beautiful day again today – no rain as they kept predicting – so after reading the paper and eating brunch, we relined the path in the back yard from the deck to the fence, taking out the bricks that line it, raking off the chips and dirt down to the hard dirt, and then putting down the new liner and holding it on by putting the bricks back in place over the edge of it. Then we put some of the old chips and dirt back down and two new bags of cedar chips. It looks really great and we were very proud of ourselves.

Unfortunately we both developed a bit of a headache, I think due to the high pollen count, so after I showered and took some aspirin and decongestant, I laid down for awhile to read and rest/nap, and he took some things, too, and then went down the basement to watch t.v., read, and rest. Moo called from mom’s a little while ago to say Happy Easter, and then I made some tea and we had tea and brownies, which I had made yesterday, for a snack.

I’ve got pork chops for dinner and apple sauce and I’ll make some Cuban black beans and rice, and we’ll have a laid back evening, too. Nice day, really.

I have reserved Tuesday and Thursday of this coming week for painting, and I am allowing no sidetracking or interruptions. Although I didn’t mind taking care of Ella as she is a funny little thing and pretty easy, and I enjoyed meeting Bill’s grandmother, I am feeling cranky about not having gotten to paint, so I’m going to make sure nothing sidetracks me this week.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Poem


“Radish murderer!” he roared,
Only half kidding, from the back deck
Of the cabin, testing, trying
To guilt me, make me stop
Culling tender sprouts
From our spring garden
In the yard beneath.

But I, the farmer’s daughter,
Remained impervious to city boy.
Someone had to do it;
Or they would none of them grow
Big: round, red, juicy. Instead,
Our radishes would stunt, remain
Puny, pale, thin, hardly
Worth eating.

Someone had to do it.
He had helped plant, but
Up to him,
They would all die.

P.E. Ortman

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Update of My Life, Such as it Is

i was a little under the weather last week but am picking up now. it's beautiful week-end. jim and i cleaned the back yard yesterday, which is a big job even though it's a small yard. and i've been puttering with the plants for awhile now. bought the hanging fuchsia friday, i think, and a potted red geranium. had already transplanted the pink narcissus to the front....checking on the tulips and the day lilies, making sure everything is getting enough water. it's already been too dry for too long since we got almost no snow last winter......

jim has gone off for a bike ride now, and i'm going to go over to the writer's center later this afternoon for a poetry reading...a friend of mine is on the agenda. jim's parents will be here tonight for the night so i've changed the sheets - we'll give them our bed - and moved some of our stuff to the basement for the evening. we'll go out to dinner.

starting a new painting, portrait of my sister kaye's sons. finished, except for minor corrections, the florida paintings. charlotte, ella and anja stopped over this morning on their way out with bill to visit another friend and were duly admiring.

i got the title of this post from the same friend who will be reading today at the writer's center. i thought it might make a good poem title. haven't used it for that yet, but it struck me as appropriate to what i felt like writing about so, thanks, Deborah!