Friday, February 12, 2016


​Notes from a few nights ago:

Slightly surreal. I'm in a pizza place and they're playing Hotel California. TV just showed two guys voting for best basketball players of all time,and I agreed with the 40-somethings at the next table: Michael Jordan, Kareem, Wilt Chamberlin, Magic, Larry Bird, etc. 
No Kobe Bryant or any of the newer players.
Why do I feel like I'm stuck in the 80s?

And then as I'm leaving, I walk by a kid charging his iPhone...
Oh, hello reality!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Happy Flag Day!

I have exactly one memory about Flag Day: Back in 1998, my mom came to MD/VA/DC to visit. She stayed with my sister in VA for most of the visit, but spent the last two nights with me in Bethesda.

One day, we went down to the National Museum of American History because Mom wanted to see "Old Glory" hanging in the atrium, and the First Ladies exhibit. We were disappointed to find that they had taken the flag down for preservation. But then we found out that because it was Flag Day, they had special tours to see the work being done on it. They had just started the part shown in #4 (see link), so we saw the flag all laid out and ready for people to work on it. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot. It was very moving and I'm glad I got to share that experience with my Mom.


Several years later, I returned to the museum with Mom, my sister, my 14-year-old nieces and my 12-year-old nephew. Old Glory was still being preserved (I think), but they had replaced it in the atrium with the flag that had been flown at the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks. Again, very moving, and an amazing history lesson for all of us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adventures in Laundry

I was supposed to do laundry last Sunday. I went to a baseball game instead. 

Then I was supposed to do it Monday. 
I pawed through my closet to find an outfit to wear to work on Tuesday 
and then procrastinated instead.

We’ll just skip to Friday morning shall we? 

That’s when I *had* to do laundry because I had no (decent) undies left 
I need my red Nationals shirt because I’m going to the NLDS Game 1 at Nationals Park and ohmygoodnesstheNatsareinthePlayoffs!!!!

*ahem* sorry

So, I finally did laundry this morning. I got up at 6:30am and dragged my rollie-cart of dirty clothes down to the basement so that I could have as many washers as I wanted. I checked my laundry money card and realized I had enough for four loads of wash and dry.  So, I very dutifully split up my darks and lights into three washers so as not to overload them, and put towels in the last one. I set my timer and went upstairs to start work while things got washed.

Thirty-five minutes later, I’m back downstairs, and for some reason, I went to the washer in the middle first. And when I opened it, I noticed that the clothes were soaking wet! Argh! So I squeezed out as much water as I could then split those clothes up between two dryers so that they wouldn't take as much time to dry. And 45 minutes later, I had one load of nice and dry towels and two loads of mostly damp clothes. *sigh*

But... while I was bemoaning my fate of trying to dry everything again with only enough money for one more round on my card, I realized that one of the guys in the room was actually the technician for the machines. I pointed out that the washer hadn't seemed to spin dry the clothes. He immediately blamed it on overloading and heavy clothes. I have had that problem in the past, I explained, which is why I very carefully "load balance" my washers. Someone else had already started using that washer, so while I was folding the few dry things (and some not as dry as I had thought) I had been able to find, he watched the washer go through its cycles. And sure enough, it didn't spin!

He couldn’t give me a credit on my money card so I could dry my clothes AGAIN if necessary, but he did give my dryer another 30 minutes so that it should dry everything. Hope remains eternal!

And some of it is STILL damp, so I’ve got clothes draped all over my house. *SIGH*

Lessons learned from this adventure in laundry:
1.       Don’t wait two weeks to do your laundry.
2.       Make sure you have cash in $5 or over denominations before you do laundry. Just in case.
3.       If the washer doesn’t spin dry the clothes and they are soaking wet, put them in their own dryer so that at least the OTHER clothes will get dry!

Friday, September 19, 2014


My friends and I have been discussing something in a Facebook thread, and I thought part of it would make a good blog post. With pictures! The conversation started with an article about how writing is a really healthy activity, fights depression, etc., and as it continued, one of my fellow MKs asked,
Is there a theme running through here? Why are/were so many of us raised overseas fighting depression? Is there something missing that we long for?
I answered that we all longed for "home."

And my response made me remember something that happened a few years back.

I went back to Hong Kong in 2005 for a long-planned visit. I had originally planned to go in 2003, but SARS hit, so I decided to wait a bit (that death thing)... Anyway, when I finally got there, I sent an email back to the family with the subject line:

I'm HOME! ;-)

and described how wonderful the Peninsula Hotel was -- yes, I stayed there two nights (BEST DECISION EVER!). I moved to the Kowloon Hotel for about five nights and then spent the last two nights at the Silvermine Beach hotel. When I finally got back to DC, I sent my family another email to let them know I was back in the US, safe and sound.

A few weeks later, I was looking through all of the emails I wrote back and forth with my family and I suddenly realized that the entirety of that LAST email, the one from my apartment in Bethesda, MD (DC area), was:
Subject: Hi honey...
I'm hooooome!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

(Pics are uploading to the computer as I type, so I'll write more tomorrow, with exhibits! Yay!)
And it hit me. "I'm hoooooome!" I *had* finally found a place to call home! My HK home was really not there anymore, but I had found a place that reminded me of it, but was different... in good ways and bad, but mostly good. That realization had a profound impact on me and my happiness!

And I'm still in DC!

And now for the pics... (Go here for all of the pictures from my Hong Kong trip. These are just the hotels...)
Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. About 1/4 of the room.

Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. Goodies!
Kowloon Hotel. Next door to the Peninsula, but a little more cramped.

Silvermine Beach Hotel. Really old, but it's on a beach on Lantau Island.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering Memorial Day

I took this picture on Memorial Day, 2012, after listening to the Memorial Day concert and seeing President Obama placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Something I'm not sure people know is that every visitor to Arlington Cemetery that day (and maybe others) was given two roses as they stood in line to get on the shuttle, by volunteers. As they gave us the roses, they asked that we keep one rose and give the other one to a soldier.

D. R. Smith - May 28, 2012

So, when you think about it, what this picture demonstrates -- in addition to the cost of war and freedom -- is that each of these soldiers was specifically remembered that day, probably by someone they had never met. 

I think that is pretty cool.

What happened to the weekend?

I had all these plans this weekend of being sociable and having fun with my friends. I was supposed to go to two separate cook-outs to enjoy the beautiful weather while eating hamburgers and hot dogs, drinking beer, and joking, chatting, and just generally hanging out with friends.

So, did I do all that? No.

Did I do any of that? No.

My brother's birthday was last Thursday (May 22), and the anniversary of his death is next Monday (June 2). I haven't been thinking about him all the time, I just ... I'm just having a hard time getting my butt up and doing stuff, not to mention just plain getting out of the house. An old friend of ours has a son who is in critical care right now, and maybe that is bringing it all back a bit. Or just that it's Memorial Day weekend, and I'm memorializing. I don't know. It's just hitting me hard this year.

Or maybe I'm a little depressed or something. (Ya think???)

I've been thinking how I'm going to apologize to my two friends who had cook-outs, not only for not going, but for not letting them know I wouldn't be there. I'm sure I missed seeing a lot of people I know and love, but...

I think I just needed some "me" time.

I've spent most of the time playing Candy Crush or reading Facebook or watching bad movies on TV -- really important activities -- but I am scheduled to go the baseball game tomorrow with my sister, so I will get out of the house!  I cooked yesterday (burgers), and will do laundry at some point tonight probably. I did change the sheets on the bed. I can do the groceries tomorrow before the game. And luckily, I have Tuesday off as well, so I can catch up on things then if I have to. Of course, the grand plan of cleaning and organizing has basically gone out the window. I kinda did one bit of each part of the plan and then got distracted and went back to nothingness. Maybe I'll do it all on Tuesday.

Or next weekend.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh yeah... I'm good at procrastination...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

My sister and niece are doing the "100 Days of Happiness", and I've been updating my "Jar of Happiness" file fairly regularly, but I thought I'd post here today instead.

It's raining outside. Pouring. I mean, cats and dogs - which always confused me when I was a kid. I mean, why would people say it's raining cats and dogs? It sounded really cruel of God to make the little animals fall from the sky like that!

Anywhoo - raining a lot. I'm a bit of a pluviophile, so I rather enjoy this weather, but it really is coming down in buckets! It's finally gotten warm here in DC -- i.e., supposedly, Spring has sprung -- but the temperature is supposed to drop about 40 degrees by this evening and possibly turn this precipitation into snow. But currently it's just raining. A lot.

Rain, rain, rain...

Did I mention that it's raining?

It's gray and dark, and people are bundled against the rain, blindly following their broken umbrellas down the sidewalk, paying no heed to the people walking toward them. My favorites are the ones with the giant golf umbrellas: I mean, really? You can house a family of four in one of them, so you really think it's appropriate to hoist one up to cover your teeny self while smacking lesser mortals into the street or poking them in the eye?

Sometimes you see some really modern person (usually Japanese tourist) with a new-fangled umbrella, but mostly, you get the umbrellas from CVS or Target, usually black, with one broken rib, with occasional breaks of color or a pattern sneaking in. None of them are nearly as cool as this one:

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (aka

That's not my umbrella. I just wish it were!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I had a physical therapy appointment this morning, so I got to walk down K Street a few blocks to catch a bus to walk a few more blocks to get to work, during rush hour in the rain. So I got to enjoy this unremitting deluge along with quite a few other members of the proletariat. Trudge, trudge, trudge. I got some coffee and breakfast on the way, so I was weighed down with my laptop in my backpack, my Washington Nationals purse hanging off my shoulder, umbrella (broken, of course) in one hand and my coffee and breakfast in the other, as I lugged myself just one more block to the office.

I looked up and saw a Mom telling her little girl, dressed in a brightly coloured raincoat and wellies, to "Come onnnn!"

But the little girl had a mission in life: There was a puddle. It required stomping.


And then there was another.


Giggling, the little girl looked up in absolute delight and saw me smiling broadly, and she giggled some more. I caught her Mom's eye and smiled, saying, "Thank you! You just made my day!" Her mom sighed and gave a tired smile.

I'm sure that Mom was having a hard enough time with her daughter trying to wrangle every puddle in the sidewalk, but I hope the fact that they made my day just a little bit brighter helps her day get better too!

And I hope I never get too old to find puddle-stomping fun! 

(Plus, I want kid's rain gear fashions!)