Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Under the (Steamy) Weather

Haven't felt well the last couple of days, worse today than yesterday....symptomatic. Fatigued, achy, sick to my stomach. And it's been unbelievably hot for this early in the summer. It's a little annoying, not feeling well, because I was finally going to get back to painting today after pushing myself to get tasky stuff done yesterday. Whatever....

I spent some time this afternoon reading Jane Fonda's book, guess I'm about 3/4 done, and although it bogged down for awhile, basically during her early marriage to Tom Hayden, it has picked up again in discussions of her succession of very successful movies as her marriage falls apart.

I'll keep a good thought for tomorrow. As I told Beth Cartland when she called looking for copies of the Call, a lot of people are a lot worse off than me. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bumper Stickers

seen on the rear fender of a car with North Carolina license plates in the Safeway parking lot this afternoon:

"Goddess Bless America" and "The more you know, the less you need."

Monday, May 29, 2006


We just got home from anniversary dinner at 1789 ( where I had the usual, the fabulous rack of lamb, and Jim had the delicious red snapper. We had two messages on the answering machine, a singing one from Carey and Sarah: "Happy Anniversary to you (cha, cha, cha), Happy Anniversary to you! (cha, cha, cha), Happy Anniversary, dear Syd and Jimmy, (cha, cha, cha), Happy Anniversary to you (cha, cha, cha)..... and one only from Carey: "I just know you two are out having anniversary dinner at 1789 and I want to know why I wasn't invited; AND I don't EVEN want to know what you had to eat, JIMMY!, so DON'T tell me! Happy Anniversay! Love you!"


That's what they say, shout, at a Bruce Springsteen concert. It's very funny. If you didn't know better, it would almost sound like the crowd is booing him, but no....they are bawling BRRRRRUUUUUCCCCCEEEEE. And we did it, too, last night at Nissan Pavillion when he introduced his new music. It was a regular jamboree, some sort of cross between a Cajun hoedown, if they had them, and a revival meeting....American folk songs, rearranged, reimagined...influenced by swing, jazz, was very hard to describe, but extremely engaging. He's a consummate performer with incredible stamina, charm, and polish and backed up by the Seeger Session Band, which was huge and included the Asbury Jukes, the horn group that often plays with the Allman Brothers, an accordian player, some violins, a tuba, drummer, excellent additional vocalists.. it was really fabulous. We went with Peggy and Gordon, after a light supper at their house, and Peggy was ready to quit her job and join the tour.

Needless to say, we are very tired today, not having gotten home until almost 1, but it was worth it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Little Women, Stupid Boy

Charlotte and I watched "Little Women" yesterday (the Winona Ryder version) as Carey and I are taking her and Sarah to see the play at the K.C. when they get here, and Charlotte didn't know the story. Fortunately, she liked it very much.

After we had finished and had a cup of Earl Gray, we went to Moto Photo to pick up flower pictures (see samples below). When we got back we ran into Bill, just returning from Home Depot with a new ladder, and were chatting with him from across the street, when a car came barreling down Jocelyn WAY too fast. This is not an unusual occurrence and it makes Bill see red. He dropped the ladder, literally jumped backwards to land in front of the car's right front fender and screamed at the driver to slow down, "SLOW DOWN! ! You son of a bitch!! There are children who live on this street!" He shouted more to that effect, as the guy came to the proverbial screeching halt, backed up and jammed on his emergency break, not sure why. I THINK he was getting ready to get out of the car to attack Bill.

But before he could, Jim flew out of our house right up to the kid's face in his car window, issuing similar kinds of statements and warnings. The kid got belligerent, and I became concerned that Jim was going to drag him right through the car window and beat the tar out of him. So I kept saying, "Call the police, call the police" as I was trying to go into the house to do that and keep an eye on the situation at the same time.

Fortunately, and as luck would have it, Marnie's husband, Justin, who is a policeman in Charlottesville, had come up with her to visit Cindy for the week-end. He came out of her house, gun and all (yikes!) to see what all the commotion was and then took over, as several other neighborhood males began to congregate at, dare I say "swarm?" the scene.

Before it ended, the kid had had to back his car up, get out, listen to all the ways in which his behavior was both illegal and thoughtless, and why it was just plain laughable that he thought HE could sue Bill, and he had to leave the car there and walk home. On top of it all, Justin had found a beer in his car. He told the boy he couldn't pick up the car until after dark. Apparently, his parents were at a Nats game.

The car was still there when we got back from dinner at Maggiano's last night and still there when I went to bed at 10, and I'm not sure, but I think it might still be there now. A lot of cars look alike to me, so I'm not entirely sure.

Cars speeding down our a little one way street has been an ongoing problem for years. Charley Lauren almost got hit one time several years ago when she started to dart across the street as someone came racing down. I'm not sure why we've never done anything more proactive about it, probably because no one has yet actually gotten hurt, but I've floated the idea of investigating speed bumps with Anja and Bill, so we'll see if they are interested.

Anyhow, WHEW! That was way more excitement than we needed on our normally quiet, I would go so far as to say sleepy, little street on a late lazy Saturday afternoon. I hope it's the last of it.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Backyard Iris

Gigantic Peonies

Our 23rd Anniversary Week-end

This is it. Monday it will be 23 years since we "tied the knot." I think it's really nice the country has the whole day off to celebrate! We'll be doing it by going to the Bruce Springsteen concert on Sunday night with some friends and then on Monday we will have our traditional intimate anniversary dinner at 1789 (

We've already had a nice day so far. I made blueberry pancakes and sausages for breakfast. Then I went off to mail the Thomas and Taylor painting to Moodley. Didn't want to yet, but I need the money! Met a fellow portrait artist in The UPS Store, who said, when he saw it, "That's very nice! Did you paint it?" We chatted while both of our packages were being wrapped and weighed, etc. He may be interested in the Girls Gotta Run show.

When I got home I called Moodley to tell her it was on the way and what shipping cost, etc., so we got caught up, too. She had a busy week and is looking forward to a less busy week-end and really looking forward to the end of school in two weeks.

While I was gone Jim did some little chores around the house and is now going to go over to "the gates" for awhile, on the feeder canal. We have a $25.00 gift card for Maggiano's so that's where we'll go for dinner tonight.

I think I'll call Carey, although she's probably not home. But we'll see.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I have to get myself prepared to send off the portrait of Thomas and Taylor, as well as the prayer to win the fight against breast cancer painting. If I don't move them out, I don't have room to start new things, but it's really hard. I love my paintings so much and get so attached, it's wrenching to send them off. So it takes a few days. But it's always surprising to me how hard it is.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On a Happier Note...

Thanks to Kay and Denise, the High Priestess of Website Assistance at Artspan, we have the beginnings of a website....!

The Girls of Afghanistan

So, the topic of yesterday's brown bag lunch was the continuing plight of the girls and women of Afghanistan. The speakers were the ever eloquent and always moving Ellie Smeal, founder and preident of the Feminist Majority Fund ( and Farida Azizi, peace activist and founder of Cooperation for Peace and Unity. Farida was born in Afghanistan. I suppose the situation isn't quite as depressing as it was under the Taliban, but there is so very, very far to go. You can read more about it here:

Best Books

This past week-end the NY Times had an article about what they considered to be the best books published in the last 25 years. Even though they picked Morrison's "Beloved" as the best of the best, and included Robinson's "Housekeeping," it was hard to take the article entirely seriously when they left off Kingsolver's modern day classic, "The Poisonwood Bible," and in fact included only two women authors in the whole list. Nuff said.


Yesterday at the Clearinghouse for Women's Issues ( brown bag lunch, before it started I distributed copies of the Call for Artists for the Girls Gotta Run exhibits and the woman next to me, whom I had just met minutes before, said, "Oh, I'm a guide at the Sewall-Belmont House! This is so cool!" Then she told me she also had connections to the Washington Printmakers Gallery ( and offered to make sure they knew of the artist opportunities and upcoming events. This morning there was a copy of an email to the Gallery Director and their Bulletin editor about it, asking them to let people know and put it in the Bulletin. How could I get so lucky!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another Big Day for the Girls

The Girls Gotta Run website is being created. Yesterday Kay was able to access the Artspan space they had donated and start to fill it in. I sent off three certified letters, one to the owner of an Ethiopian restaurant to try to get them to donate food and catering for the reception at Sewall-Belmont House in September; one to Sam Gilliam and one to Lou Stovall, two highly regarded and well known D.C. artists, to see if I can get them to donate work. Stopped by to drop off a couple of documents at Marie's and found her hard at work drafting up the By-Laws and the entry form. We have our first Board meeting tomorrow.

Today I am going to the monthly brown bag lunch talk of the Clearninghouse on Women's Issues. It's on Afghan girls and women, another cheery topic. I'll bring copies of the GGR artist's call. for anyone interested.

Missed the Reading

Sunday afternoon I went down to 14th and U to catch a poetry reading my friend Deborah Ager was a part of. I thought it was at 3 p.m., as posted on the Busboys and Poets website ( I went early to check the place out and have lunch. It's certainly interesting and was quite lively on a Sunday afternon. Unfortunately, the reading wasn't going to start until 4, so I couldn't stay. I bought the book, though - Tigertail - and read some of the poems while I was eating and all in all it was a very pleasant experience. I left behind some artist's calls for the Girls Gotta Run ( exhibits. I was able to fill in that website address just now because my wonderful friend has gotten it started. Whoo Hoo!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

That Kind of Day

It turned from an overcast, cold, cloudy morning into a glorious afternoon, the kind you feel like you just have to walk up the street and have lunch at one of the restaurants with outdoor seating. So after a quick run down to Georgetown to see the exhibit at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery that my friend Beth Cartland is in, I walked up to Parthenon and had a glass of wine and a plate of liver and onions and read the Jane Fonda autobiography, while the breezes blew and the people walked by and the day was just lovely, lovely, lovely.

Woke up early this a.m. and decided I really needed some time off so watched the Little Women video I had checked out yesterday. Also got Little Dorrit, which I'm thinking is next. I think it's early to bed tonight. The Goofy One went up to the cabin again for the week-end, so I have it all to myself. It's not a bad thing, but I am missing him a little, even though he'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Cherry on the Icing on the Girls Gotta Run Cake

This from my wonderful friend and former colleague, Deborah Gussman, yesterday:

"I don't have a good contact in the art department at Stockton (very male, a little stuffy), but I've talked about the exhibit with a friend of mine, Laurie Greene, a women's studies prof at the college who also owns a beautiful yoga studio/gallery and she was quite interested in mounting an exhibit in her space. She already has good connections with the South Jersey art community, and has exhibited some Stockton grads and other local artists. I just want to make sure, before sending stuff to her that you are okay with going that route."

It's if she had to ask!!!

Picture Me

dancing around gleefully, yelling "We're going to have a website! We're going to have a website!"

My adopted daughter Kaye, website creator extraordinaire and mistress of all things technological, has agreed to set up the site for "Girls Gotta Run." So it should be up and "running" itself in a few days, at most. She's such a whiz. She's SUCH a good daughter.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thomas and Taylor

I finished the painting of Katy's boys and took a close up of the top half, their faces, so she could see them better. The whole painting included their full bodies and is taller than it is wide. Subtle color differences are washed out, but the boys are still as cute as they can be. Katy thinks it's "adorable." And Mom says I "captured their essences perfectly." She ought to know. She's probably taken care of them more than anyone except Kaye and Terry since they were born.


Met with the planning committee at Sewall-Belmont House today to review plans for the shoe art exhibit, which will open on September 1, and begin to make plans for the reception, which we scheduled for September 6, when Congress will be back in town.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Marigolds on My Porch

My Snapdragons Bloom, My Azaleas Fade...

Afternoon Sun

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Our Week-End Home, Feasting, and Mother's Day

Our friend Tammy, whom we hadn't seen since before she retired as Principal of Chantilly High School this past year, invited us out to her home in Burke, Virginia to have dinner and spend the night on Saturday. That way Jim could enjoy more than half a glass of wine with dinner and we could stay out later than 9 p.m. if we wanted so he wouldn't fall asleep on the drive home. As it was, after a couple of cosmos, appetizers, pork roasted on the barbeque and several delicious vegetable sides, merlot (Leapin' Lizard), banana cream pie with (real) whipped cream and desert wine, he sort of passed out on the couch in front of a video, around 10 p.m. anyhow. Surprise, surprise. It took Tammy and me another half an hour or so. It was SO worth it.

We got up around 7 and had the (double) cappacinos we hadn't had room for after dinner the night before. Then Jim ran out to WalMart, just because it was there, and Tammy and I had oatmeal. When he got back, we brunched on French toast, sausage, and fruit salad. We are giving Tammy's DBB (a new category of guest quarters we are calling "Dinner, Bed and Breakfast") five stars despite her persistent insistance that the pork had been somewhat overcooked and was too dry. We called the whole week-end our Non-Mother's Day celebration, since none of us has children.

However, when I got home I had a lovely Happy Mother's Day message from my adopted daughter Kay, who also sent pictures from the trip to Paris she and Cindy had just returned from. She also forwarded a really lovely ecard from another friend of hers about all women being mothers. Since Tammy had done so much mothering of us the past 24 hours, I thought it was appropriate to send it on to her. She said we could consider her Burke residence our week-end home from now on. That'll work!

Jim called his mother after we got home this afternoon. Tonight I'll try to track down my own again (I was unsuccessful yesterday) before she heads out. Rumor has it that she and the notorious Auntie Glenda are aiming for ports South tomorrow and won't be back for weeks!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Icing on the "Girls Gotta Run" Cake

Beth Cartland, Marie and I met on Thursday afternoon to finish hammering out details for the Call for Artists for the opening Girls Gotta Run exhibits. Friday Marie formatted it, added the logo, and made it fit onto one BEAUTIFUL page! After final "look-sees" and minor changes and corrections this morning, we were able to start sending it out today. So cool.

My Beautiful Fuchsia

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Good Day for the Girls

Yesterday my friend and partner in good, Marie Hagen, and I took the articles of incorporation for "Girls Gotta Run" downtown to file them with the District government. We were successful! And it barely took twenty minutes. The clerk seemed astonished and overjoyed, really, that when Marie told her what we wanted to do and the clerk asked for the papers, Marie actually had them....and they were "in order."

We celebrated with a delicious Mexican lunch, including sangria, at La Loma on Capitol Hill and then took a quick trip to the Sewell-Belmont House so Marie could meet Becki Fogerty and see the house and the space for the show, etc. We had to cut it a little short because she had to get back to pick up her boys from school, but we were there long enough for her to get a sense of it and now she's brimming with ideas for the opening, as well as a logo, stationery, you name it.

This morning I opened my email to find a letter from Leslie Mitchell of PACT Ethiopia, in which she confirms my belief that we will be able to work together and that we have established an understanding to do so, even though we have yet to work out a lot of details. However, that means we have a reliable organization "on the ground" over there who can identify girls, be in charge of shoe dissemination, and provide an account of where our money goes. That is major. Ironically and in the "it's a small, small world" category, it turns out she lived while she was a child for several years on Jenifer Street, one block over from where Jim and I have lived for 25 years.

But that's a whole 'nother story.

Azalea Explosion

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Scenic Route

Marianna and I and Ricky's girlfriend, Courtney, went to the performance of "The Scenic Route" by Arts United of Washington ( tonight. One of the dancers, Talia Bar-Cohen, works at Curves, so I went to their production last year and found it to be very enjoyable. This year's was, I think, even better. Sharper, edgier, surer, more energetic. Delightful, really, and excellently done. Bravo, Talia.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Love My Iris Patch

Friday, May 05, 2006

Maybe I'm Delusional

But if I am, that's okay with me. And that is what Daniel Gilbert would predict. I read a review by Scott Stossel in next Sunday's NY Times Review of Books (I have a subscription so get it early) of "Stumbling on Happiness" by Gilbert.

Gilbert ( is "Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Hedonic Psychology Laboratory. He is generally considered the world's foremost authority in the fields of affective forecasting and the fundamental attribution error. " I have read and used work by several of his colleagues in several of the courses I taught at the University of Maryland and Mount Vernon College, so am familiar with a lot of the work on affect coming out of that school, but hadn't heard of this yet. His basic premise, as I understand it from the review, is that most people don't really know what will make them happy and that most people who are happy are so in spite of the fact that the world sucks.

Okay, so I read in the W. Post this morning that West Nile Virus cases are up( (that scares me)

and so are unwanted pregnancies among poor women( due, apparently, to the "success" of abstinence only programs, which have caused them, but not wealthier women, to cut down on their use of contraceptives. I hate that. It makes me angry.

But on the whole I consider myself a happy person who can have some affect in the world, so I guess I would be an example of Gilbert's assertion, via the reviewer, that "healthy people can be deluded into greater happiness when granted the mere illusion of control over their environment" whereas "the clinically depressed recognize the illusion for what it is." I do have to say that I think I disagree with the notion that "control" over ones environment is always an illusion. I think the better assertion, the more accurate assertion, may be that people are happier when they understand and accept the extent to which they have control over their environment. It does seem to be the case that Will and I affected at least our immediate neighborhood environment last week by apparently successfully resolving the parking congestion dispute. At least if anyone is still unhappy about the various compromises we have all made to accommodate each other, s/he is keeping it to her/himself, so there would be nothing more we can do. And based on further feedback, I think we contributed to a more neighborly sense of neighborhood on our block, to use a phrase that may annoy some people - a kinder, gentler block.

In any event, I may also support his theory to the extent that I regard myself as a happy person and so if it is the case that happy people "cook the facts" to maintain their notions of themselves, then perhaps I do. But I would also assert that depressed people also keep themselves depressed by "cooking the facts" to do that, too. To me the world is just what it is, the glass is both half empty and half full, and you do choose to do the focusing. All of that said, perhaps I should read the book before saying anything more about his theories. Maybe the reviewer got it all wrong....or partially entirely delusional. I'm smiling.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Take Me Out to the (Interminable) Ball Game!

Jim and I went to our first Nationals game last night. I picked him at the office with a picnic dinner, including roast beef sandwiches and Genny Cream Ale and we drove over, parked under our favorite shade tree in our favorite parking lot, and ate and drank while listening to this year's March 13 ABB NYC concert. We went in just as they were singing the national anthem, in English, if anyone wants to know, so were there when they came onto the field. It is fair to say that at that time the audience was somewhat sparse. It got bigger as the game went on....and on....and on....and on....until, finally, just before 10 and the beginning of the 7th inning, when the Nationals were down by one, we and a lot of the rest of the slightly increased audience decided to bag it, npi. The Nationals scored another run on our walk to the car, Brian Schweitzer, who I knew had it in him and could have driven home several other runners several other times if he had timed it better. But in the end, the Marlins scored in the 9th and we lost, again.

Fortunately, even a slow game is better than no game at all. It's restful to sit in the lovely evening air with just your husband and do whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it vis a vis the game. And we found ourselves getting very creative, figuring out ways to up attendance and enthusiasm, for instance. We thought pajama night would be a good thing, as an example, perhaps with free juice bars. Maybe everybody could just stay overnight there. And I thought we could replace the organ player, who does a few bars to get things stirred up and just as the crowd starts to get into it, quits.

Anyhow, it was lovely, even if it was the slowest ball game in the history of the world.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's a Rough Life

Yesterday when I called Marianna to see if she was ready to go to Curves, Armando answered and said that they had gotten home really late from Ricky's graduation week-end in Michigan the night before and that "every bone" in Marianna's body ached, so she didn't think she would be able to make it. As it happened, I had been feeling pretty aged most of the week-end, too, not exactly sure why, and had been a little ambivalent about going myself, was thinking maybe changing the week's schedule, as I sometimes do, to TTHS, instead of MWF.

So Marianna got on the phone and said, "Hey, meet me in the hot tub at noon and we'll have a good soak, instead." I eventually decided to do that, getting over there more like 1 p.m., and ended up not only having a great "soak," but also a GREAT lunch. They were cooking out, the weather could not possibly have been any more beautiful, and they had a friend of Ricky's and Ricky's girlfriend with them (they had given her a ride to D.C. as she was starting a summer job working on a political campaign). So we sat on their back deck at the table under the umbrella and chomped on Turkish chorizo, salad, corn on the cob, potatoes - both baked on the grill - steak and strawberries, and drank a GREAT bottle of merlot. After Pat, Ricky's friend, left and Armando took Ricky's girlfriend back to her new job, Marianna and I sat and chatted for another hour or so before I headed home about 3:30 to make chili for dinner.

I could barely bring myself to tell the Goofy One what I had done, since he didn't get to do it.