Tuesday, January 24, 2012

D.C.'s World War I Memorial

Many D.C. government types are up in arms about Congress's desire to turn our recently restored World War I Memorial into a national one. Outcries to leave it alone -- it belongs to D.C. are misguided.

This could be a huge opportunity. Instead of another trouncing on our rights by members of Congress, this could be the stimulus we need to enlighten the average American to the fact that we have no voice in Congress. Think about it:

D.C. residents, who couldn't even vote for a local government, much less a national government, volunteered to serve that very same government. So many had their lives taken by disease and bullets in foreign lands. To have willingly sacrificed for a government that didn't recognize their citizenship as equal to every other American's smells of racism. I would go so far as to say it is like southern history textbooks claiming that slaves willingly served in the Confederate army!

Our elegant, dignified, tasteful little monument could be a centerpiece for an enlarged memorial. Stories about D.C. residents who fought, suffered and died for a government that did not fully recognize them (and still doesn't) could open eyes to a shameful truth.

It still shocks me when I hear how many people outside of this region don't know about the way D.C. residents are treated and mistreated by Congress. Some think that, living here, we have an unfair advantage. HA! They think every American can gripe to their senators and representatives to complain about anything and everything. More than half a million American citizens have one, non-voting delegate in Congress. Period.

Having said all that, I do not think D.C. should become a state. I know: that's heresy for some, but hear me out.

The District of Columbia is a unique territory. I believe that when founding fathers suggested designating it that way that they thought it would encompass nothing more than the federal enclave. Actual residents, other than slaves, and not associated with running the government, didn't enter their thinking. After all, members of Congress came to town infrequently and brought their own retinues of servants and slaves.

It is taking far too long to make needed changes in the governing dynamics of the District of Columbia. The U.S. Constitution needs to be amended, as it has been several times, to reflect new realities. One U.S. Senator and House representation according to the population formula is fair and way past due. Anything that can enlighten others about this injustice can only help. So. . .

Bring on the World War I Memorial additions AND be sure to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about D.C. residents' peculiar standing and the extraordinary sacrifices of our forefathers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Taste of Summer

As usual, Spouse and I did our grocery shopping on Saturday.  It really felt like winter because the previously warmish temps we'd been having were down into the 30s with a wind.

The first section we enter is produce.  We spend an inordinate amount of time there enjoying the colors and scents of fresh produce as we try to buy out the department.  This, time however, before we could get past the store's floral section, a bunch of yellow and peach colored roses shouted out to me.  Normally, I wouldn't be so weak-willed to splurge on something that will last only a few days, but something was different that Saturday.  Maybe they needed rescuing from their cooler; I don't know.  I just knew that I needed them as much as they needed me.

We continued picking and bagging our usual choices when, to my wondering eyes, I saw the produce guy loading a shelf with those absurdly expensive tiny, half-pints of fresh red raspberries.  Something snapped in my brain and I thought "to hell with the price, I must have raspberries!"  Spouse, half smiling, made a face like I was out of my mind, but into the cart I gently placed those "berries from the gods."

It was time for lunch when we returned home, so Spouse ate his beloved steamed broccoli, tomato and whole wheat toast.  I carefully opened the plastic box, gently plucked up a plump, red berry and placed it into my mouth.  The fragrance as it rose to my lips took my breath away and the feel of its sweet, round nodules against my tongue was sensuous.  When I finally released the juices from its plump, ruby red body by pressing it to the roof of my mouth with my tongue . . . . .  well, it was a taste orgy bursting with the pleasure of summer.  My raspberry lunch lasted a satisfyingly long time.

It is now Monday evening and the memory of this is still wondrously fresh.  I think every woman deserves to indulge in a little lascivious snacking during winter.  Don't you??

Friday, January 13, 2012

Still unbelievable after 30 years

We are enjoying a lovely, sunny day after a cold, raining one yesterday.  Not bad for a Friday the 13th.

Then I read the newspaper.

Thirty years ago, today, Air Florida flight 90 crashed into the 14th street bridge and the Potomac River.  Only five passengers and one crew member survived.  Others died in their cars on the bridge where they had been stuck in heavy, snow-slowed traffic.  The river was iced over which turned out to be a mixed blessing.  Survivors clung to pieces of debris and ice as an incredibly courageous U.S. Park Service helicopter crew flew dangerously close to the water to pluck them out.  An average guy, soon to be much heralded hero, Lenny Skutnik saw what was happening, scrambled from his truck, also stuck in traffic.  Unlike other observers, he lept into the frigid water to rescue a woman who was clearly in shock and would have drowned within moments.

We didn't learn all these details until much later.

I was working for a nonprofit women's organization at 17th and N Streets and walked to the restaurant where my then boyfriend was working at 21st and L.  Most everyone was caught off-guard by the quick accummulation of snow, so many of us were without boots.

When I staggered into the bar, people were blathering about a plane hitting the bridge and a Metro train crash.  I didn't believe any of it.  I'd been walking through a blizzard, in high heels across town in the tracks made by the few cars on the streets while all of was happening.

Spouse and I hung out in the restaurant until his shift was over then walked the 3/4 mile home.  Television stations replayed tape caught, by chance, by a TV news crew also stuck in traffic.  Tears still come to my eyes remembering that woman's face as she blindly tried to swim away from the crash.  Her eyes were huge with shock, but her determination kept her going until Lenny grabbed her a brought her to shore.

Thirty years later, I am very surprised that I can still feel the gut-twisting shock and disbelief of that day.  Makes me realize just how very lucky I am.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Some diabolical being has taken hold of my blog!

Or it was a stupid mistake by yours truly.  More likely that's what happened when I tried to change something on its set-up.  Now, I can't get it back to normal.  It's dangerous when y'know just enough about computers to get yourself in trouble, but not out of it. . ..*sigh*  I'm tryin'.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Calm After the Calm(?)

Here's part of the sunrise that followed last evenings lovely sunset. [The tiny, dark blip between the bare tree branches to the left is the statue on top of the Capitol.] Of course, the big obelisk is the Washington Monument.
It was an unusually quiet evening and night and the Old Naval Observatory across the street was nearly invisible in total darkness. Then I noticed that I didn't hear any planes flying into or out of National. Strange.
I wondered if it had anything to do with what Spouse learned from chatting with airline pilots at Gravelly Point (a pubic park close to the north end of the main runway). Pilots use the telescope dome on the observatory as a landmark when they're heading down the Potomac, into the airport.
Usually the American Flag is lit at night and soft globe lights circle a lawn in front of the building. Security lights add a glare, but overall, it's a pretty sight at night.
There was nothing in this morning's newpaper about a blackout either there or at the airport, so maybe my imagination got the best of me. Sometime during the night power was restored and all seems to be well with the world -- again.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lovely End to a Lovely Day

Today brought welcome warmth and sunshine. Trees along Canal Road are beautiful even without their leaves. The twisting and fast Potomac is clearly visible. Curious deer hang out on the woody side of the road, a safe distance from speeding cars.
Walkers and bikers enjoyed the canal tow path. Serious bike-racers cranked away, impeding impatient drivers on the shoulderless, two-lane roadway. Not a totally terrible thing on such a gorgeous day. It was worth slowing down to enjoy the view!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why the Scowl?

Why do so many celebrities look like they want to smash the camera and bite off the head of the photographer? What has happened to wanting to look pretty? This woman lives in a huge, hideously baroque penthouse where I'm pretty sure she never lifts a finger to cook or clean and can afford to have her nails done every week. I'm thinking the only conflict she has is trying to decide whether to wear diamonds, rubys, emeralds, sapphires or pearls. What kind of hardship could she possibly experience to look so angry? Do you think it might be because she's married to The Donald . . ...?