Scapino at Sidwell


From time to time we attend a play at my son’s old high school. Productions range from crowd-pleasing classics like Damn Yankees and Fiddler on the Roof to more recent and edgy works by the likes of Tom Stoppard and David Ives. All are beautifully produced and well-acted, and recognizing students in the cast makes it even more fun. This month they put up Scapino, adapted from Molière’s Les Fourberies de Scapin, a zany romp inspired by commedia dell’arte, featuring star-crossed lovers, humorous mix-ups, and the classic scheming yet lovable servant who brings everything to a satisfying happy ending. The gymnastics and athletic physical humor required for the roles made it an appropriate vehicle for energetic teens. Oof.


Magic Puzzle Boxes


I dislike shopping, unless it is for, say, dinner party ingredients, or perhaps used books at the library’s twice-yearly sale. Generally I try to purchase everything possible online. However, this is tough with shoes, so I agreed to take my daughter into a Sears store to acquire for her a pair of coveted Converse sneakers.

I remember when this meant sitting down in a chair, being fitted by a chatty salesman, and having boxes fetched from a secret room. What a surprise! no chairs, no salesman, no secret room. (This is probably the result of so many folks shopping online. Uh-oh.) Instead, we had a lengthy and baffling search through fifty boxes in order to find two matching shoes in the correct size. Like a treasure hunt. Or a bizarre dream sequence. We were eventually successful.

CakeShells Father Madden

Concerts by Candlelight Part 1

If you have never attended any of the concerts by candlelight held in Georgetown’s beautiful old Dumbarton Church (remodeled in 1897!), then you are missing a lovely treat. Now in its 34th year, the concert series runs the gamut from classical to modern, both instrumental and vocal, each season thoughtfully designed to give us a variety of music, beloved favorites and fresh, engaging new performers. Check out the website for more information.

Tomorrow I will post the description of the new season’s concerts.




Flow’ry May

Clematis, pansies, primroses, lily-of-the-valley: our tiny city garden is bursting into bloom.

For today, a sketch and a poem.


Now the bright morning star, day’s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flow’ry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, thou dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

—John Milton (1608-1674)


CakeVioletsAunt Francie

On Deadline


This has been an unusually busy and stressful spring, and my poor blog has languished unattended. So many May birthdays, too! But I plan to go back and post retroactively some of the celebrations of this month (and perhaps a sampling of the things I’ve been working on). Happy Belated Birthday, you May babies. Your cakes are in the oven.



Queen of the May


Since the 16th century, May has traditionally been the month of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic church. When I was a girl, on the first of May the entire population of our Catholic school lined up for a procession to the grotto at the far end of the school campus, where the statue of Mary presided serenely, unperturbed by our playground misdemeanors, as the ideal mother would be. While we sang hymns, some lucky pre-selected girl (never yours truly) stepped forward to place a crown of flowers on her plaster head. Just one of the many pagan customs that have kept me in the church.