A March Snow

Here is a sketch of our snowy spring garden—but it’s unfortunately not enough of a snowfall to “hide wholly from view” our newly delivered city trash and recycling bins, freshly painted by my husband and son with the house number.


Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view
By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring’s feet
Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.

Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad mistakes,
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.

Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring
Let the white mantle of repentance fling
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up the old.

—Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Norman Gingerbread

Before Christmas my daughter had a group of girls over to decorate gingerbread houses, and using the same materials (candy, frosting, marshmallows, nuts, cereal, and pretzels) they created an amazing variety of architectural ornamentation. The guests took their houses home, and my son and daughter nibbled periodically on theirs, but mine finally made its way, uneaten, to the garden on a sunny day for a winter squirrel/bird fest. Unless a tiny Norman elf moves into it first.

(the other sketches are doodles from the Christmas Revels)


CakeWeddingJan & Al

Blessing of the Animals

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and in many places this is commemorated with an annual Blessing of the Animals in local churches. But Fluffy, Fido, and Goldie will have to wait until the weekend. Washington National Cathedral holds its ceremony on Sunday, October 7th, at 2:30 pm, on the west steps. In Woodley Park (our neighborhood) there is a choice between the front lawn of All Souls Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 6th at 3 pm, and St. Thomas Apostle at 10:30 am (where there will also be coffee and donuts for the people and treats for the animals). A Google search will undoubtedly reveal a blessing near you.


Today is also the birthday of writer and humorist Roy Blount, Jr., author of several books suitable for this day (as well as many other books on a wide variety of subjects): I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap: The Ages of Dog; I Am the Cat, Don’t Forget That: Feline Expressions; Am I Pig Enough for You Yet?: Voices of the Barnyard; and If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs. He is also a contributor to Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs, a gift for anyone who loves both dogs and poetry.

For a sketch, a riddle, and a mini-bio of Blount, please see Language Lover.

Artists of Woodley Park

The Stanford in Washington Art Gallery has just opened Artists of Woodley Park, and what a pleasure it is to see so many people, working in such a variety of media, in our small neighborhood. The exhibit runs until July 15th and includes painting, sculpture, prints, photography, ceramics, glasswork, woodwork, jewelry and film. Please check the website for gallery location and hours.

Below is one of a series of four of my still-life paintings in the exhibit.



CakeGreenUncle Mike

Yahrzeit3Maurice Sendak

Spring Is Near

Here is a sketch from recent wanderings, and below it a verse my daughter and I learned while experiencing the properties of numbers in first grade. Its delight and usefulness lie in its three-fold-ness: three verses, in anapestic (short-short-long) monometer, about a charming three-petaled flower. During the same block I taught her to waltz, and we danced around the room chanting this poem.

For another March 1st welcome, please see In Like a Lion.


Snowdrops we
Petals three
You may see.

White, green, gold
We unfold
In the cold.

Words of cheer
Speak we clear:
Spring is near.


Equinox Cupcakes


To celebrate the autumn equinox, one of the two times of year when the day and the night are of equal length, my daughter and I baked half-and-half cupcakes (lemon/chocolate). We distributed them door-to-door in the neighborhood, wherever we saw lights shining in the window after dinner on Equinox Eve, since the actual event was to take place at 5:05 am EDT the following morning. And you don’t want to be caught cupcake-less. Although I’m not sure everyone waited until the following morning to eat them. Happy Autumn, everybody.

Path to glory


The approach to the swimming pool where we try to squeeze in a few honorable laps each day is a zig-zag path lined with marigolds, coreopsis, and roses. Were there no pool at the end of the path, the magical walk between and beneath the cascading flowers would be glorious enough in itself. To contradict Jean de La Fontaine. Happy Labor Day, everyone!

Aucun chemin de fleurs ne conduit à la gloire. —Jean de La Fontaine

CakeWeddingDoug & Krissy

CakeBeachRob Covey

Rainmakers’ Vacation

The rainmakers have undeniably taken an extended holiday this summer, and the sparkling fountain surrounded by grapevine-shaded tables tucked behind Firehook Bakery offers a welcome retreat from hot city sidewalks.

in rain language
have not yet begun to stutter
in the cloud throat.
The thunder mouth is toothless
and lighting has not yet flicked
the spotlights on in the pupil
of the eye.
Until the stoves are lit,
sleeves will be rolled up on the arms of the sun,
another demonstration will erupt
in the clandestine curves of the girl
who in a Trieste piazza has wet
her lips with wine
and the summer will send gangsters
to repulse autumn’s gunmen
from the border of its waves.
—Ronny Someck

CakeWeddingAnn and Saul