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Thursday, September 30, 2010

chips and a beer

It's been kinda a bummer here lately, I guess because I haven't really planned anyplace fun to go lately. I suppose I'll go get my shot tomorrow, and write in the blog some, and perhaps flit about town some.

I've been told by a friend that I should hang around here more and try to actually live here. Hanging around here, though, depresses the shit out of me. Even my therapist encourages me to keep going. Yesterday I hadn't planned anywhere to go. so I got my shot, and went to Starbucks, and went to Chipolte, which I think I'm kinda tired of now, except their guacamole. The guacamole and chips and a beer make any day worthwhile.

I went with Mom to see the place they are moving. Mom is hoping that I'll move there and join them. They do have much bigger brighter rooms, and the staff seems much more professional. They have a nice penthouse area where you can see the monument and the airport, which would be fun. BUT - if you neglected to arrange in advance for a trip, there is NOWHERE to just drive to on the scooter, which would very likely just do me in.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I'm listening to a really great radio station right now. It's all the hits from back when I was a kid. It is "All Classic Hits (181.FM)". They just played Mr. Bojangles.

Back when I was in college, Bobby Tyler, my good buddy, sang "Mr. Bojangles" as his standard audition piece. I'll never forget him shuffling around on stage and singing "Mr. Bojangles". He always looked mournful when he sang, "His dog up and died, he up and died, and after 20 years he still grieves". So Bobby was either acting, or else that was the point in the song at which he grew tired of singing.

Don't worry. I can tease Bobby. Back 30 years ago, we spent many hours together partaking of illegal substances in Bobby's bathroom. It must have been cold in that bathroom because I remember we called it "the Artic Tundra".

Bobby reformed many years ago. Here is his picture.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

give me a break

And, once again, they had "run out" of the entree I wanted at lunch, and then managed to find one when I demanded to talk to the person in charge about cooking more in the first place. I guess a miracle occurred.

I swear, the more they try to force me to come to dinner early, the later I'm going to arrive.

Monday, September 27, 2010

So you think its rude that I don't trust you?

Remember "Hee Haw"?

Remember Grandpa?

Remember Grandpa's song?

Gloom. despair, and agony on me.
Deep dark depression, excessive misery,
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
Gloom. despair, and agony on me.

I kinda feel like that. Let me tell you two Sunrise tales...

The night before last, at 11:30 PM, Sunrise ran a heavy-duty noisy carpet cleaner in my hall directly outside my door. The noise went on for about an hour. At 11:30 PM ! I complained vehemently and was told there's nothing staff could do about it. I demand to talk to someone with authority and I am put on the phone with the Associate Director, who says, "Sorry, but this is the only time this company could come."

So tell me - is there now only one carpet cleaning company in the entire DC metropolitan area?

Tale #2 - Dinner is served here from 5PM to 6PM only. (If you need assisted living and are younger than 90 years old, bear that in mind when you are deciding where to live.) So I went up at 5:45 PM the day before yesterday and am told they are out of the main entree and am brought the other one. "OK," I think, "that's the chance you take," and I eat the alternate entree.

Last night it happened again, and I wasn't in such a vulnerable mood. The entree was steak and the alternate was a sandwich. I ask, "Is there steak downstairs in the kitchen?" No, they say, there is none in the whole building. I suggest, "Is this a trick you are playing to get me to come eat earlier?"

No, they say. We are out of steak.

I demand to talk to Lupe, the woman in charge of the dining room at night. I am thinking I'll tell her that, in the future, they need to prepare enough of the entree to feed all the residents. I leave the sandwich they brought me untouched. I wait and wait. She never came out.

Instead, they brought me out a plate of the supposidly non-exsistant steak.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Two of my aunts (Mom's sisters) came from Kentucky to visit my folks and to help Mom and Dad with their packing and sorting and stuff. Ron and Sue helped, too.

Actually, it was 3 aunts, because Deloris then came over from Alexandria. Guess that's the way it is with aunts - (I pronounce the word "aunts" as "ants") - whenever you have one or two aunts, you attract a whole swarm of them!

Here is a picture from about 10 tears ago of Mom's siblings, minus Mom, Wilma, and Kenny. They are Eddie (who has MS and uses a wheelchair - sometimes life sucks, don't it?), Brenda, Trish, Deloris, Raymond and Luther.

Anyway, at lunch I told a story which my aunts said I had to put in my blog. I've never been one to resist peer pressure, or indeed, to do anything more than to surrender to it immediately, so here is the story...

Years ago, David took the CTS Children's Choir up to the Safeway here in Hunters Woods Plaza where the church is located. It was a Saturday afternoon in December. They sang Christmas carols, and I just hung out because I used to follow David around everywhere he'd let me go. Everything was fine, when, much to my consternation, a man walked up and put a dollar in my cap!! "No, no, I protested, but he kept putting it back! I don't remember how it ended up, but I probably should have given it to the church. But I bet I didn't.

Friday, September 24, 2010

what thee hell?

I'm sure glad I studied before I went to Spanish class last Tuesday evening, because I was the only student. I know I previously said before that the class wasn't worth the money it cost, but I'm thinking everyone else may have dropped out, and if I get two full hours of one on one instruction every week, it is certainly worth the money. Besides, I had a lovely Chicken Friand (remember, the class is at "La Madeleine").

BUT, when I returned, all was in an uproar. At first all is well, and I get off the bus and halfway to the front door. Then an ambulance arrives. 911 had been called because one of the residents was ill. Paramedics race about ane take Anna Miller out on a stretcher. She is one of the residents who had been here for years.

When I get in the lobby, I find chaos everywherere, with EMTs wheeling Anna Miller around on a stretcher, and Sunrise staff seemingly aimlessly running helter-skelter through the lobby. The staff shouts various things to each other in a variety of unknown languagess

And, right in her usual spot in the middle of the lobby, sits the mean resident in her customary chair.

I try to sneak past her, but she'll have none of it. "Young lady!" she calls.

I make the mistake of responding. "Can I help you?"

She beckons me forward conspiratorially. "Where is Michael Jackson?" she demands.

So I just leave. What the hell?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Willing to Serve!

Yesterday I had a Secret Service agent (or White House Guard, or something like that) stare at me for 2 hours! I went to the Corcoran Gallery, which is directly across the street from the Old Executive Office Building. It, of course, is next door to the White House. Metro Access was to pick me up at 1:30 PM, so I was outside waiting at 1:30 PM. At 2PM I called the "Where Is My Ride?" line, and was told to wait... And again at 2:15... And again at 2:30... and so on until 4PM, when the bus finally came. Meanwhile, a stocky, serious looking man carrying some kind of ominous looking case came out and stood in the yard of the Old Executive Office Building and just and stared at me for 2 hours.

Which means, I guess, that I am a massive waste of taxpayer dollars!

I saw Air Force One land on the White House lawn, and then I saw it depart again. At least I guess it was Air Force One - it landed right on the White House lawn. Do they let any other planes do that?

I imagined to myself that President Obama was looking out the window at me, and saying, "Look at that lovely lady sitting patiently there in a wheelchair. Lets appoint her ambassador to somewhere. Hillary, why don't you get right on that!"

But no one has called yet...

Maye I should write and give him my number?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Area Access

Area Access came today to replace the batteries on the scooter - if you'll remember, at the zoo, I rode it all the way from Connecticut Avenue down to the bottom Rock Creek Parkway exit, and then tried to drive it back, and the Guest Services guy from the zoo has to push me all the way back up the hill because the battery ran out of power. So the guy check ed tha battery out and said that there is nothing wrong with it! That is what I've alwways liked about Area Accesss - they've always been real honest and don't sell me stuff I don't need. I can just call them up and say, "The power won't turn on!", and they'll fix it for just a couple bucks, when they could probably have sold me a whole new new engine, for all I know about it.

Those workers at Jiffy Lube be an example of the opposite of this good policy. They'd come in the customer waiting area holding an unidentified piece of my car and say. "I just wanted you to see how dirty this is!". Overcome by guilt at having allowed something in my car engine to get so dirty, I would pull out my credit card. Good way to make sales, I guess, but bad way to build customer loyaliy.

Another cool story about Area Access. I was at a doctor's office in a building I'd never been in, in the Lady's on the 6th floor, and my scooter wouldn't start. So I called Area Access and they sent a guy over who fixed it right there in the Lady's room!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Work pals

I met some of my registrar friends at an Indian restaurant named "Raaga". It is in Bailey's. Actually, none of these people is now actually still a registrar They are all retired. Jenny retired most recently, from Alexandria City. We talked about voting stuff a little. and gossipped some about people we all know. (And even some about people we don't all know!). It was quite pleasant!

I had a grilled shrimp dish. Most of the dishes are yogurt based. It was very good.

This all sort of leads me to a discussion of elections, which, of course, leads me right into a discussion of how the Falls Church Electoral Board blatently fired me because they didn't like it that I was in a wheelchair and they even put that in writing and all three signed it.

But I won't bring all that up now.

It reminds me of that movie, Lenny with Dustin Hoffman. It is about Lenny Bruce. At first, Lenny does fantastic stand-up comedy, but then the authorities start shutting down his show and arresting him all the time. Lenny becomes obsessed with this and it is all he talks about in his act and he isn't funny anymore and everyone quits coming to his show. And then he dies of a morphine overdose. I probably am just as bitter (after all, I ran 53 successfull elections!), but I'd really rather not die of a morphine overdose, so I think I'll follow Sister Sue's advice and "just let it go.".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

funny 53rd gift

I had nothing to do this morning, so I went over to the weekly farmers market and got 2 pretty arrangements of flowers for my room. Mom had recently given me several vases she doesn't need, so it worked out real good. They look right pretty. and smell good, too.

Ah lord! I think I may be getting a cold! I just sneezed with such might that I probably knocked all the satellites out of orbit and nobodies GPS will work. I got a flu shot yesterday. Could that have caused this?

Yesterday was Susan Craft's 53rd birthday, Unbelievable. I'm the same age. At the Phillips the other day, I got her a stuffed doll of the "Scream" character - this guy -

and if you push his tummy he actually screams. That seems to me a good 53rd birthday present between 2 geriatric hippy pals.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tower of Babel
Ain't language funny?
Please forgive that short juvenile outburst, but I found the picture when I did a Google search on "toser of Babel".

Language, it seems, may be the tool that makes life here more bearable. As I mentioned in an earlier post, every language in the universe is spoken here. That inspired me to start taking Spanish lessons.

Well, the care takers LOVE it that I'm trying to learn Spanish. There are several who speak Spanish as a first language and they go out of their way to talk to me and to teach me things. And, believe me, these people don't go out of their way often! But now even the non Spanish speakers are getting in on it. Parmella is from Nepal, but she learned some simple Spanish words, and Meleta from the Philippines joined in the lesson yesterday, although she says the languages are very similar. It's really great, though, cause we go through the day talking and laughing together and not in a tense, hostile situation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains.

The Boxer-Paul Simon

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Side by Side

In my constant quest to be anywhere but here, I went to the Phillips and saw their show Side by Side. The pictures are so beautiful that I wonder why I don't just spend all day, every day, in one of the downtown museums. (Except the Hirshorn. I really don't understand modern art, and I'm entirely too lazy and bored to spend the time and energy required to figure it out.

Anyway, the point of this collection is to bring together paintings from different schools and periods which were all using the same works of art or artists as their inspiration. I think I may have explained this quite poorly, but it was fascinating, My favorite was the moonlight series.
Arthur G. Dove (American, 1880-1946). Me and the Moon, 1937. Wax emulsion on canvas

George Inness, Moonlight, 1893

Joseph Wright, Dovedale by Moonlight, 1785
This is my personal favorite.

It's also just fun to be down in Dupont Circle. I drove around and looked in shops and stuff and ate a sub and then, because it was a great day weather-wise, I sat in Dupont and read my Kindle.

The Phillips is currently undergoing renovation, so half the permanent collection isn't open. But maybe, just maybe, it will be more accessible when that half re-opens, If you remember my notes from the last time I went, they really weren't up to par, especially in the "House", and that is the section they are doing!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simon and Garfunkle

Writing about the zoo caused me to think of the Simon and Garfunkle song "At the Zoo". This is an odd song in which Simon anthropomorphises the animals. According to Wikipedia, Paul Simon wrote it after going to Central Park zoo stoned, which makes perfect sense and also makes no sense at all, as do most most conclusions one reaches while stoned. Did that make any sense?

I've always loved Simon and Garfunkel. One of my happiest memories is of when David gave me a trip to Meyerhof Auditorium in Baltimore in 2008 to see them for my birthday. (which is in May, but that concert appears to have happened in February. Can anyone explain?) Susan and Ron and I went and they sang all the old songs. (Simon and Garfinkle, that is. Not Susan and Ron.) It was wonderful.

More later....

Had to go study my Spanish book... Now it is 3:45, and Meto Access comes at 5 PM and my therapist comes at 4 PM and noow it is 3 PM because I farted around for a while. So I guess I'll finish tomorrow.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


This picture is like the perfect transition between my last post and today's. In my last post, I was talking about the various occasions when one might need a punchbowl. In today's post, I talk about going to the zoo. 'Cause, see, monkeys are at the zoo., and these particular monkeys are dressed like they need a punchbowl.

Get it?

Assuming you do, Friday was a fabulous day to go to the zoo. It was nice weather. The zoo not overly crowded. The only problem was that I'd idiotically arranged for Metro Access drop me off at 10 AM way up at the Connecticut Avenue entrance (the highest point), had walked downhill all day while looking at animals, and then had expected to be able to drive the wheelchair all the way back up to Connecticut Avenue to catch my Metro Access bus home. DUMB!!! I completely ran out of power and a poor Guest Services guy had to push me all the way back to Connecticut Avenue. Thank God for Guest Services! I bet I've inspired that poor fellow to go back to school and study to get a better job! Next time I'll plan better and arrange for Metro Access to get me in the parking lot at the bottom of the zoo.

ANYWAY, a panda sat down on the ground right in front of where I was standing and ate a whole piece of bamboo! (The panda, of course. Not me! I'd already had lunch!)

I saw monkeys and gorillas, one of whom could read my mind, and elephants (on the new trail) and lions, and cheetahs...

Actually, I have a lame funny story about cheetahs. Which is something not many people can say! Ray, Susan's friend, told us he was going to Africa for a year to study cheetahs. Susan told everyone he was going to Africa to study chimps, because she was thinking of Cheetah, Tarzan's ape.

Isn't it always great fun to make fun of Susan? But don't tell her. OK?

Anyway, more tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Punchbowls, part II

My last post ended adruptly and seeemed odd because the caretakers came to take me away right in the middle of writing it. Back to the story...

Mom wanted to give her punchbowl to a church, and mine said they could use it, so Mom asked Ron drive her out, which he gladly did. But Ron happened to think that David had owned a nice punchbowl, and Ron needs a punchbowl about as much as I do, and he donated his, also. So if any of you readers is planning a wedding or formal event, consider having it at CTS, because they've got a punchbowl you can use! Meanwhile, the pastor, looking quite confused, asked me the other day, "What's with all the punchbowls?" I guess he wondered if he would be receiving one a day!

So why did I decide to write a whole blog entry about this? I guess it's because one so seldom has an opportunity to think seriously about punchbowls. And, also, I like writing the word "punchbowl". Sorry, I'll never write another word about a punchbowl again.

I'm hearing now on the TV that the preacher from Florida has decided not to burn the Koran. How big of him........

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A pleathora of punchbowls

Mom is in the process of going through all her accumulated stuff and either packing it or disposing of it. Everyone does this every time they move, but since Mom and Dad are moving from an independent situation where they did a lot of entertaining to assisted living, there are more than the normal number of decisions to be made.

One decision was what to do with the nice cut glass punchbowl and matching cups. My parents used it to do things like have a church choir Christmas party or an open house for the whole church. (Remember, Dad was always a United Methodist preacher.) We kids were often the punch bowl functionaries, and many a beverage have I ladeled from that bowl.

Mom has always been proud of her punchbowl, (rightly - it is pretty!), but what to do with it now? So she decided to donate it to a chuch. When asked, my church said they could use it

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No time tonight

Spanish class was fun. It was just one other student and I and el profesore (la profesora? She is a woman. Or none of the above?) Anyway, it as fun to go to La Madelines. (I had a pastry with chicken in it, which was great! I'd tell you the name of the pastry, but that would mean trying to remember a French word in addition to the Spanish words I learned last night, and that is totally out of my league! And, to top it off. the Metro Access driver was from Nepal, so I asked him to teach me some Nepali words so I can shock my Nepali caregivers. Unfortuately, I forgot them even before I got back in the door!)

More later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I have Spanish class tonight, and I think I've studied everything I'm supposed to study, so I guess I'm ready. I have to leave before the class is over, porque el autobus venie at 7:45. (That means "because the bus comes at 7:45." Or at least I think that is what it means.)

I don't recommend this class at all. It cost $229.00, and they have you buy a book for an additional $25 called , "Spanish in 10 Minutes s Day" that comes with a pronunciation CD. There is no need to take the class and study the book both, except that the basic reason I took the class was just to get out and be with new people. It's also fun just to get out and go to Old Town Alexandria once a week.

I has dinner last week with Charlotte Cleary, though, and she said Arlington Co. Adult Ed has lots of cheap Spanish classes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.
Bill Dodds

My sweet little sister Sue loves labor day because it means the kids all have to go back to school - not that she has any kids. She doesn't. Not that she's regularly exposed to any kids - she isn't. She's just mean. She says, "All summer long they've been flitting around and giggling and saying, "Oh! I think I'll go swimming!" or "Oh! I think I'll go to the mall!". But now they're bummed out because they have to go to school. They're going to have hard new classes and teachers they don't know and homework! And they don't know if they can find their classes! They might even have to take gym! And some of them can't even sleep tonight because they just moved here this summer and they don't know anyone here and they don't know who they'll eat lunch with! ha, ha, ha!"

She's mean!

She knows what it feels like, though. Dad moved in June on many occasions, and we often started out as the new kids.

Although, actually, moving turned out to be a good thing, because. by the end of the year, I always had new best friends that I never would have met had we not moved.

When Dad got moved from Charlottesville to Harrisonburg it was the summer between Susan's 9th and 10th grade. Sue was so mad she refused to speak to our parents for months. One day she caught a spider that was crawling across the floor by putting a Styrofoam cup over it. Since she still wasn't speaking, Mom and Dad came home to find a Styrofoam cup in the middle of the floor with a note on it. The note said, "There is a spider under this cup."

Labor Day Animations provided by

Saturday, September 4, 2010

facts of life

I don't understand the facts of life. (Thanks for the offer, but please don't respond by mailing me pornography! That's not what I mean!) I mean life. Who gets to decide what is life and what isn't?

Three recent events bring this cosmic question to my mind. First is that scientists may have discovered evidence that organic material may have once existed on Mars, according to the Washington Post. "We can now say there is organic material on Mars, and that the Viking organics experiment that didn't find any had most likely destroyed what was there during the testing," said Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. That opens up all kinds of questions about what is it that constitutes life.

The second occurrence which brings this question to my mind is that, being a basically perverse person, I watched a TV documentary on the Discovery Channel about a baby born with 2 heads. I will certainly understand if you choose to quit reading at this point! The second head laughed and cried independently of the first, and was apparently a potential conjoined twin that hadn't developed anything but a head. I'm wondering how the doctors decided this head was not sentient. It had emotions. Anyway, they cut it off because otherwise the whole baby would have died.

The next observance on the same theme is much more uplifting. It was on the Today show this morning. A woman had twins. The doctor pronounced the boy twin dead at birth. The mother cuddled him on her chest for an hour and he opened up his eyes and came to life. The doctor adamantly refused to believe reports of this, and said that the dead body was just reacting reflexively. The frantic parents were only able to make the doctor come back in the room by lying and saying they had accepted the death and wanted him to explain why it happened.

So who decides what life is?

Friday, September 3, 2010


I had an amusing encounter with tourists on Wednesday.

I took Metro Access to the Mall. It was about 10 AM. I was cutting across the Mall from the Castle to the Natural History Museum. I went past the map of the Smithsonian right outside the Metro station. There was a large, confused tourist family gathered about the map.

Always eager to help, (and always glad of an opportunity to appear to look smart), I approach them.

Me: Can I help you?

Tourist mother: Yea, where is the Smithsonian?

Me: Here. (I gesture grandly about me in a wide, semi-circular motion.) All of these buildings.

Tourist father: We just want the museum.

Me: Each of these buildings has a different part of the museum. 0What is it that you want to see?"

Tourist mother: The museum.

Me: This is all the museum. All of these buildings. All of them.

(I think I even gestured again.)

Blank stares. The baby begins to cry.

Me: What do you want to see?

(All of the following remarks are accompanied by the appropriate gestures.)

Me: This building is History, Natural Science is here. That is art, way up there, although you can find more art there and there. And there.
Way up there is Indians. What do you want to see?

Mother: The museum.

4 year old : Dinosaurs.

Me: Dinosaurs! Right in there. Bye! Have fun today!

And I motor off as fast as my little wheels will carry me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I went to my first Spanish class yesterday. It was held at La Madelines in Old Town Alexandia at 6:30 PM. The really cool part of it was just going to Old Town at 6:30 when I should normally be settling in for the evening with all the other invalids! It's at 500 King Street, which is pretty close to the middle of Old Town, so I think next week I'll go early and hang around Old Town some.

Yesterday we learned "donde", "que", "quien". etc. I'm going to study the book this week.

One of my favorite old Saturday Night Live sketches is when Steve Martin breaks into a house to take a shower. He thinks the residents (Bill Murry and Gilda Radner) of the house speak Spanish (they don't!), and they come home and Steve Martin, an intruder, is wrapped in a towel and wearing a shower cap and is climbing up their interior stairs, and they shout, "Who are you? What are you doing?", and Steve Martin says, "Donde esta el shampoo?".

I think I may need to focus better to learn Spanish!

OMG! Willard just said Bozo is 50 years old today.