Archive for the ‘Neighborhood’ Category


I hope you have all honored the day with a charming tribute to your beloved! If not, here is handy valentine to bestow:

This morning on the walk to the bus stop I saw that someone had adorned the window of a car with chocolates carefully stuck on in the shape of a heart, and within this delightful assembly was a little note saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
I heartily approve of this message, and forward it on to you. Without, alas, the chocolates.


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So said Scrooge, but as we know, he was persuaded to change his mind.
I own that the prospect of this mighty holiday–looming like one of those gigantic inflatable Santas over poor shrinking December–is always somewhat daunting. But one bravely perseveres!

SPEAKING of giant inflatable figures, one of my more exuberant neighbors has placed not one–not two–but FIVE of these festive items in his front yard. There is a Jovial Polar Bear, a Genial Snowman, a Cheery Santa, a Frisky Reindeer, a…uh, memory fails me…oh yes, A Festive Tree. With Colorful Presents under it! So there they are, lined up in military precision by the front porch, bestowing their celebratory beneficence on passers by, and enlivening my walk to the bus stop.

Thus inspired, I ​succumbed to the shameful allure of a ridiculous holiday trinket: Star Night Laser Shower Christmas Lights. This device, placed in the front yard and plugged into an electric outlet, will play an array of glittering lights over the house–ludicrous to one’s good sense but ineffably charming to the eye. The eye which, the instructions ominously warn, must NEVER be directly aimed into the beam of the laser –which beam must moreover, NEVER be aimed at the sky in case of blinding the pilot of an incoming airplane! Nothing ruins a festive holiday evening like a huge plane crash with hundreds of people dead, so I am very careful not to point the device at the sky.
And now, a pleasant perusal of holiday baking recipes! With eyes undimmed (as yet) by magical laser lights.

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New neighbors

I looked out into the yard–and there was a raccoon looking back at me. No– not looking at me–looking at her 3 babies who were trotting towards her, along the garden path right under my window. I RUSHED to get the phone, but too late, they had all gone when I returned.

Bertie indicated that he would like to go out and welcome these interesting new neighbors, but I forbade it.
Image result for raccoon
Because, rabies.
Also because I am cruel to cats, or at least, that is what Bertie says.

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Allan and Rebecca graciously invited me to take part the charming Washington Grove July 4 festivities–how grand to attend this splendid patriotic event! We assembled in the park, the band marched in and took their places–then came the Raising of the Flag, The Musket Volley Salute, a stirring rendition of O Say Can You See, and then The Parade. After all the excitement, we recuperated on Allan’s elegant back porch, and Allan and Rebecca served up a delicious lunch.
I chatted with one of their neighbors, also a new grandmother. We engaged in Granny PhotoBragging. She showed me a pic of her grandson eating ice cream, and I said my grandson is not allowed sugary foods.
Allan sagely murmured, “ah, the Malvolio Diet'” When questioned he explained: “No more cakes and ale.”

Ha HA! Such a wag!

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Last week I ventured into the Halloween aisle of the local five and dime–if we still call them that?–and found myself unable to resist a miniature ghost who shook his wee manacled hands and MOANED: “AAAIIIIII Let me FREEEE AIIIIOOOOooo”–only $24.99! A bargain! Also his little eyes flashed red, on and off! But unfortunately, such adorable objets have a verra short life, and thanks to my neighbor having the plumbers over yesterday to dig out his front yard, the passionate ghost expended all his ghastly vituperation on them, and had none left for the tiny tots who visited me this evening. However, they were pleased by his red eyes and ghostly garments, and even more pleased by the FULL SIZE CANDY BARS I offered them. Very gratifying responses, especially from the lads. It was my grown up son–still remembering his youthful rejoicing at such treats provided by one house in our old neighborhood–who persuaded me to offer this bounty. Very pleasing, to see the reaction of all the kids–though I also provided smaller treats for the tinier children, who are so amazed by the whole experience that the large candy bars are overwhelming.
And as always, I am cheered and heartened by the happy confidence of these little ones. To them, the world is a wonderful place, filled with sweetness and KitKats.

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Yesterday was grocery day, plodding through the aisles in search of coffee, cat food….when suddenly the ever present soundtrack of music–carefully chosen to offend NO ONE (not always successful even in that small ambition) rang out with a song of my youth: “Raindrops keep falling on my HEAD, But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning RED, Crying’s not for ME…” Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! There I was, unable to stop myself from singing along–and as I wheeled my cart onwards, I passed first one and then another shopper also quietly, secretly, singing along. I had a sudden idiotic vision, seeing all the customers forming a line, dancing behind their carts, singing gaily down the aisles (grabbing a bag of rice off the shelf without losing a beat)–“BECAUSE I’M FREE, NOTHING’S BOTHERING ME!”

Then the song ended,and everyone glumly continued on with the shopping.

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Memory Lane

This morning I was patiently waiting for the bus, sitting on the bench, reading the paper–when I looked up AND THE DAMN BUS WAS FLYING BY WITHOUT STOPPING. I leaped up,frantically waved the paper–but all in vain. The bus driver purposefully avoided my gaze, disappearing down Massachusetts Avenue. I blinked back tears of vexation–and then resolutely crossed the street to take the other bus, the old fashioned bus that goes all the way downtown, driving on the actual streets of the city.
It is slower, much slower than going to the subway and taking the train. But up in the world of light! And we were passing through the dear city, in which, after all, I have been living for most of my life.
It is a lovely place, you know–and all of it, so deeply familiar.
We made our way along MacArthur Boulevard, past the turn off to my first house, there on Reservoir Road–past the reservoir itself, along which I used to walk with my angel dog Gabriel–dead these 30 years– and into Georgetown, where I lived once, where I worked once, where we used to go for breakfast after partying all night back in the 60’s, at a place–what was it called?–long gone now. And then across the bridge over Rock Creek parkway-lined with crape myrtle trees, blooming all pink and white–into town, around Washington Circle, past George Washington U, where I went to school. Past the hospital where my children were born–though, not in the elegant glass palace fronting the circle now, it was a much more modest place in those days.
And after all, I was only 15 minutes late to work.

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