Thursday, March 29, 2007
The domed building is the first obervatory in DC, one where A. Lincoln looked at the stars. We are so fortunate to have a view of this beautiful property from our balcony! The observatory on Massachusetts Avenue is more familiar and the vice president's residence is on its grounds.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
It's amazing what a warm day does around here. If you look closely at the lower, right hand corner of the bottom picture, you'll see little, yellow bursts of forsythia. The weeping cherry tree is always the first one to bloom across the street, but several regular cherry trees also popped today -- so pretty!
Monday, March 26, 2007
Toxic materials when I was in grade school didn't include mercury, DDT, and many more that I was, naturally, not aware of, being too young to care. A kid named Chris brought a vial of mercury to school one day and we had fun polishing quarters with it and rolling it around in our hands and watching how the blobs came together, sorta like the cop in The Terminator movie. One summer my family went on a vacation and left our dog at home in the care of neighbors. When we returned a week later, the carpet was hopping with fleas, so Dad set-off a DDT bomb in the living room and wiped 'em out. No big deal. The auditorium in my elementary school had an asbestos curtain, the latest, most wonderful innovation to contain an onstage fire. During heavy rain storms our street flooded and all the neighborhood kids would wade through the water and beg drivers to go fast so that we'd be splashed from head to toe. Never entered our minds that we could be struck by lightning or a car. My sibs and I regularly took off on our bikes for parts to be explored. Not once did we encounter a rabid animal or child molester. Our parents made sure we were up to date on our tetanus vaccinations, so no rusty nails nor splinters stopped us on our quests. Life was so free and simple then. The Cold War was something grown-ups discussed and we, school kids learned to deal with by ducking and covering under our desks. Tornadoes were possible, too and we learned to gather in the auditorium and line-up against the wall with the windows; the theory being that if the windows blew in, the broken glass would safely sail over our heads. Television, computers, cellphones, and other electronic devises, most of which I do not understand, have become de rigueur in so many lives. Hardly anyone under the age of 50 even takes a walk without being plugged in to a phone or music that obliterates all other sounds around them. How sad to miss the sound of a baby's giggle, or a mocking bird, or one my favorites -- the sound of wind through trees. My generation may suffer ill-effects from our early years, but I wouldn't trade those years for anything modern life has to offer. Imagination, quiet, enjoying the sweet sap from honeysuckle flowers on a hot, lazy summer afternoon, basking in the shade of a huge elm tree -- now THAT'S the good life!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
She gazes toward the left in the black and white photo, probably to where her mother was strategically placed to draw her attention and to encourage a smile. The eyes are large and bright, and seem to radiate love and trust. A beginner's smile opens her mouth slightly to reveal she has no teeth yet. Hinted eyebrows lift slightly as if to indicate surprise or pleasure. This is her first professionally shot photograph and still a novelty -- nothing to fear. . . . as long as Mom is near. The woman who gazes so intently on this pure, guileless countenance wishes for a moment that she could return to that age of innocence and dependence where parents' loving arms kept her from harm and pain; to a time when she still trusted and believed in the goodness of all people. In middle age the wounds are nearly healed and the woman has embraced herself as she is -- no small feat having tried and failed at many incarnations of a woman others wanted her to be. She has discovered that memories are powerful tools. They provide perspective and gut-intelligence to help her make fewer errors in judgement. Focusing on the good memories has helped to heal her injured spirit. The past is out of her control and the future cannot be seen. She takes one day at a time and finds many things for which she is thankful. She has learned that focusing on her blessings provides great joy and strength even if they are as simple as making a baby smile.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Several months ago I decided to skip my favorite daytime home-decorating shows on TV. I realized that I'd been spending way too much time watching and not enough doing. So now the screen is dark until 6 p.m. Can't seem to escape watching the evening news -- living in the giant bulls eye that is otherwise known as Washington, D.C., I kinda want to know if a terrorist attack is imminent. Now I'm living more in the moment and appreciating each day as it comes and goes and enjoying little events, like spotting a black squirrel whirling around a tree across the street. I highly recommend turning off the TV and turning on your mind. Letting it wander a bit is also a good thing! Enjoy!!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
If you haven't already thought about what you want your obituary to say, it's never too early to start. Ya, ya, ya -- too morbid when we're so young. Morbid, maybe, but not good to ignore. You don't want to be remembered for the time you shook hands with some VIP with a trail of toilet paper stuck to your shoe, do ya?
I've been sorting through old photos and think I have just the right one to put in my obituary.
It was taken by a lovely man from across the room during a raucus party, right after I'd coughed myself breathless trying to drink wine and laugh simultaneously following a fabulous joke. Don't remember the joke (darn!) but do remember my panic. Anyway, I think the photo makes me look sorta Mona Lisa-esque -- what do you think?