Thursday, October 6, 2011

Exercise for the Elderly Broke

I've always liked to describe my usual financial state as "broke" as opposed to "poor." There is no way in hell that I have ever considered myself poor, and nobody else would, either. I do experience cash flow problems, but only 24 times a year (like, twice a month).

Be that as it may, I'm discovering new ways to both save money and get needed exercise every day! Who knew that cooking for oneself instead of buying fast food or eating out would result in such strenuous activity?

There's all that rinsing and chopping! I've now mastered dicing in 3 sizes without using a mandoline: 1", .5", and 1/4."

Am I out of soda crackers? Make some more! Kneading, rolling out, scoring and poking holes, and baking--lighting the oven, dodging the hot racks, lifting and sorting. Whew!

The dishwashing seems never to stop! Because I live in a cooperative association that forbids dishwashers, I can no longer leave dirty dishes in the sink lest the bugs carry them off! Wash this, wash that, scrub, rinse, drain, stack....on and on.

Having no car, I need to hoof it to the grocers for more supplies, which I then lug home for at least .7 of a mile from the nearest outlet. My unwillingness to buy anything but the simplest raw ingredients--butter, flour, chicken on sale, more butter, occasional sugar in the smallest package, eggs, hotdogs, butter. (oh, i know, i know...wienies are not good--made out of animals, too much sodium, occasional hints of high fructose corn poison, yada yada. i'm sorry for all that, but I happen to love them.) No catsup, of course. Can't stand the stuff. My favorite flavoring sauce is now Sriracha sauce, a bottle of which lasts a looong time. Very occasional cheese (jeez, it's like $6 a pound now.) thank goodness veggies don't weigh much, apart from spuds and onions. Lettuce and mushrooms practically float home! Canned goods? Tomato paste and corn.
In all, a great workout.

Filter my own water, consider making my own wine. (THAT might be great fun! One does need a license for that here in the city of satan, I think, even if you sell it only to your relatives and friends by the glass.)

I won't go so far as to say it's an adventure, but it beats the hell out of Mickey D's (whom I suspect of fostering neocon values in their workers) and Gold's Gym. Hmph.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Here are some poems (or as my friend used to say, "verse") I wrote in the 70s and 80s


there are moments of perfect happiness
when stones become transfused
by light and warmth

when tears are crystal drops
of celebration

and birds sing sweetly
from the empty trees

an hour's gladness overtakes us

building on the bones
of those we've slain

70s music

i used to write songs while driving back and forth to work in the 70s and 80s. here's one:


Hair like a bird
kind of absurd
swirling bending
standing on ending
hair like a bird

Face like a moon
bright as a tune
comes on the radio
at half past noon
face like a moon

Body like a child
free and wild and
happy and sunny and
smooth as honey
body like a child

Heart like gold
yellow and cold
hard and rich
jeez wotta bitch
oh, well

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just a few photos taken around and about in the past couple of weeks -- PLUS Vincent on the Green Line!!

Construction at GWU between the hospital and the clinic - all the small people and machines milling about reminded me of a hologram display of an archaelogical dig they had once at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Skool kids being frog marched past Starbucks by the Archives

Overhead lights reflected in the floor, GWU hospital -- remind me of the CROP CIRCLES by Peggy's in Wiltshire

Lavender, iris, and roses in the background plus a citizen in shades by Dupont Circle

That Van Gogh boy--he really gets around!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sedentary Reporter, Continued

Long story short, the two kids and I got to be good friends in the couple months I lived there, and they took to inviting me along on their evening outings. They were especially keen on hauling me to some of the gay bars accessible by metro: Tracks (now defunct, alas...a great place with live music, pool tables, and a volleyball court!!), the Frat House (oof...the videos!) (name changed to maybe chi omega?), and the Fireplace (see photo on preceding post). Upstairs, the Fireplace also had hanging TVs (usually devoted to cable soccer, etc.) like any bar but with those videos that were so uninhibited they made me titter like a maiden aunt. The other type of outing the kids enjoyed was hauling me on the bus. They'd spend their time teaching me ASL, especially sex signs and fingerspelled dirty words. They would laugh and laugh as I blushed.

At the end of the summer, I moved out and have never been back to any of those places. Luckily, though, I met some of my best friends at Tracks in those early days in DC. "Oh, HI!! My goodness! I'm surprised to see YOU here!" followed by "And I am surprised to see YOU here!" We'd meet often on campus for lunch, and it was all very pleasant.

I moved to DC without knowing a soul other than the two people who interviewed me for my first job. I had decided I would NOT own a car in a place with such wonderful public transportation. This definitely cut into my social life, since almost everyone FLED the campus at the end of the day (earlier on fridays if they could manage it) to Maryland or Virginia and didn't return until time for work again. Thanks to the two rambunctious young kids who thought it was FUNNY to discover an adventurous old grandma living in their rooming house, I had a most enjoyable summer meeting new friends and learning all about lots of things totally unrelated to academia. (Well, not totally....)

Anyway, using the free wifi in this wonderful coffee house is as close to the Fireplace as I get now. The fire still burns behind the glass on the corner of the building (not sure if it's visible in this photo). A whole new generation warms itself there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sedentary Reporter

Here's the view last weekend from inside one of my favorite Dupont Circle hangouts, Soho Tea & Coffee. The red brick building across the street is a bar, the Fireplace. The FP has a signature glass-enclosed fireplace built into the outside corner of the building on P and 23rd Sts NW.

When I first arrived in DC in June of 1992, I got a second-floor room in a house a block from the university campus. My neighbors on the second floor were two incoming freshmen, in town for some kind of entering student program before classes began in September, and the mother of a local entertainer. The local entertainer was a nice young woman who visited her mother every evening about 11 p.m. to shower and get ready for work. I rarely saw her, but I loved her outfits: silver leather hot pants with a backless silver leather Eisenhower jacket and silver stilletto sandals was one I still remember. People in my Midweatern neighborhoods did not wear things like that. Our landlord was a deaf man from Singapore, and he slept on the couch in the living room every night. He kept a very big machete on the floor beside the couch to protect us from intruders.

Being a newcomer to both the university and DC and not knowing anyone, most nights I would go to my room after I cooked my supper and ate it by myself in the dining room. I'd read or write and then fall asleep, usually with the light on. I'd take out my hearing aids, open my book, and soon be in the land of nod. This would be about 7:30 or 8 p.m. Around 1 or 2 a.m., I'd wake up, exchange my daytime clothes for my pjs, and open the door to go into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Several times, the hall lights would be shining bright, and the hall itself would be filled with police in uniform.

I'd smile at the officer nearest my door and say "hi." Other officers at the end of the hall would be signing with the two young students (they were deaf), and writing things down on clipboards. I could see the older woman sitting on the foot of her bed and gesturing--often with a raised fist--while another officer wrote in yet another clipboard.

"Can you hear that?" The officer would point to a boom box visible through the students' open door.

"No. Excuse me...." I'd smile, go get my hearing aids, and put them in. Instantaneous rock & roll would often make me stagger with its force. I'd point to the floor, which would be throbbing to the beat. "I can FEEL it with my feet now, but without my hearing aids, I can't hear it."

"Maybe you can tell the kids not to turn on the boom box when they come home at night."
The officer would wave his or her hand in the students' direction. "It's very disturbing to the other woman on the floor. She's hearing, and the sound wakes her up."



Last night as I left Safeway with a pack of strawberry milkshake flavored OREOS, and a bottle of Niacin, 500g., one of the neighbors hailed me.


I recognized him from last weekend, when he had started up a conversation, but I unfortunately could NOT understand what he was saying to me. He has a deep southern accent from somewhere I've never been, and he also has a bit of a speech impediment. I had thought, last weekend, that he was asking me for change, and not having any, I had told him "I'll be back...."

Which i wasn't. and then I forgot about it.

Until last night.

"Hey," he said.

"Hi...." I walked over to his usual spot next to the second pillar. He started talking, and I had to interrupt.

"I'm really sorry, but I absolutely can't understand what you are saying."

He pulled his furry hood back so that I could see his grizzled, shaven head. Surprisingly, it DID help me understand his speech.

"I apologize for disrespecting you the last time I saw you," he said.

"You disrespected me?"

"Yes. I apologize."

"Well, what the heck. That's ok." I patted him on the shoulder. "Not to worry."

I hurried through the rain drops from the front door of Safeway to my back door and disappeared inside to the warmth.

Who is this guy? And why does he think he disrespected me last time? Did he say something awful after I said, "I'll be back"? Why did't I ask him to clarify the whole thing?

This is another thing about being OLD. I STILL have the same weird shyness I had as a kid. It pops out on odd occasions--like whenever anyone tries to TALK to me. I'm sorry I didn't ask him WHY he "disrespected" me. Maybe I actually DID disrespect HIM. Clearly I have lots left to learn.