Joan's Blog

"Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat"
JULY 30, 2010 4:16PM

Where's Larry?

It has been a long time since I've heard from Leepin' Larry.

Not only is he the funniest person on Open Salon, he is one of the smartest. He has given me advice on everything from keeping deer out of my garden, (hair and urine) to coping with an empty nest… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2010 11:22AM

Gimme Shelter

My family moved into a basement apartment when I was eight. It was hard on my mother who was used to her spacious home. I saw it as a fresh start. New friends, new school, even a school bus to pick me up every morning. Except for the chaos in thatRead full post »

I was due to meet Bea in the community garden at 9 am. She is the head of the committee that gathers surplus food from our large urban garden to give to a couple of homeless shelters in the area. 

It was hot out there this morning. I met her over… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 22, 2010 8:06PM

Night Terrors

The year I was nine was the year before I wore a blue dress every day to school. I called that year my Year of Blue.  I didn't give my ninth year a name. This was a year of too many names.  The year my father drank too much. The year… Read full post »

JULY 19, 2010 10:34AM

Thou Shalt Not Cling

When I saw my daughter hauling the enormous black garbage bag down the elevator from our apartment to the trash cans outdoors, I knew. 

I knew she was throwing out things before I could pick through and save. I'm sure I've never seen her take out the trash in 19 years,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 15, 2010 12:26PM

I Just Have To Let It Go

Every summer my brother makes the trip from his home in Nepal to his childhood home in upstate New York.  When my mother was alive he spent the summer in her home feasting on her cooking and fresh fruit and vegetables from the roadside stands. He does not eat well in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 13, 2010 10:12AM

Remembering Rochester, July 1964

Tichaona Chinyelu wrote a post "not so simple streaming, day 6 race riots" that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. 

She includes a  piece of video of the three days and three nights in July of 1964 when the city of my childhood lost itself in violence,… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2010 2:51PM

A Ride On The Bus

Today I finished some errands uptown and being too lazy to walk home I hopped on a #34 bus going from Friendship Heights to Southeast D.C. 

I love this route because it goes from one end of the city (very fancy schmancy) and ends up where people are struggling to literally… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 7, 2010 12:55PM

A Peek at My Sanctuary (open call)

Plot #114  is smack in the middle of the city. The deer have ravaged my beans and demolished my squash and I am still trying to salvage my tomato plants.  But my garden plot is really not about the vegetables or the flowers. It's about the unexpected tranquility I find there.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 5, 2010 6:26PM

My Slice of America: Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. might seem like an odd place to live if you are not knee-deep in political life. It might seem an odd place to call home if you are not wealthy or connected.

Yet in reality most of us Washingtonians are not politicians, not wealthy and have no connections that… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2010 9:10AM

Earth Mother Fail

I had such high hopes when I wrote my first garden post back in April.    Garden Plot #114

The dirt is a permanent fixture under my nails. The same nails I used to keep clean and polished. My shoulders and back are sunburned and sagging under the weight of failure.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 23, 2010 9:24AM

What About the Children?

It was 1960-something. I sat in the basement with my parents in front of the large Zenith television watching the Ed Sullivan show. Sunday night, eight o'clock, we were planted in front of the giant box that beamed three channels in black and white.

The memory is hazy in some parts,… Read full post »

JUNE 21, 2010 7:02AM

A Bagel and Lox Kind of Jew

Jan Sand wrote a brilliant and thought- provoking piece called "Being a Jew." It made me think about my own Jewish roots. And my own lack of Jewish roots. Whether I was Jewish by religion, culture or genetics.

For me a Jewish upbringing meant bagels and lox, my mother's brisket and… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 16, 2010 6:51AM

Some of My Neighbors are Homeless

 There is a new woman in the neighborhood. She paces outside my apartment building. Her voice gives me a sharp pain in the back of my head. 

N#gger, F#ggot! N#gger, F#ggot! It is a guttural chant. 

She has made two of the most vulgar words I know into her morning chant.… Read full post »

JUNE 14, 2010 7:07AM

Beads, Bonding And Capital Pride

 Saturday was the annual Capital Pride parade in Washington, D.C. 

This is a yearly event but the first I had attended. I tagged along with my teenage daughter.  My daughter was a member of the gay-straight alliance group at her high school. She also has been in love with a couple… Read full post »

Last week I was cut by a five year old with a pair of safety scissors. It was one of those slow motion moments where I watched the blood drip from my hand while wondering how that could have possibly happened. I minimized the pain so as not to alarm the

Read full post »

This was not an easy year without my daughter's presence in the house. Her first year away at school was an adjustment.

 I felt a perpetual emptiness for many months and only recently found myself again. In my garden, in my writing and in my friendships.

I also healed from the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 3, 2010 7:51AM

My Husband The Cop

I didn't marry a police officer. The man I married twenty years ago had a completely different profession.

When my husband walked in the door that warm June evening with the news that he had lost his job  I was three days past my due date.  I dropped the colander of… Read full post »

I am not a whiner. Hardly ever. I work with 5 and 6 year old children whose job it is to whine. I try not to join them. 

This Saturday morning I am going to bitch and moan a little. Some whining may get through.

Our school system has added an… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 25, 2010 9:14AM

I Now Pronounce You Husband And Wife

Leeandra Nolting wrote a great post yesterday called, "Your Wedding Cost What?" It got me thinking about weddings and commitment, goulash and racism, and all the hundreds of other important things that went into my wedding day. 

Twenty years ago my husband and I were married at a courthouse in M… Read full post »

MAY 22, 2010 10:29AM

Party At The Grocery Store

The grocery store of my childhood was Star Market. I used to hang out at the magazine section reading Mad Magazine while my mother pushed her cart down all ten maybe eleven aisles. 

The choices of my childhood were simple. Bread aisle, dairy aisle, a cookie aisle which was every bit… Read full post »

MAY 20, 2010 7:50AM

An Uncluttered Life

 I long for an uncluttered life.

No stacks of newspapers piled up by the couch. No bills or fliers announcing the grand opening of something covering the dining room table. No mountain of shoes in the entryway. I am sure we are a feng shui nightmare.

Our apartment

Read full post »
MAY 13, 2010 6:42AM

Heaven Is A Scary Place

Several years ago I started teaching yoga classes in an afterschool program at my school. The first class consisted of several dedicated, very earnest seven year old girls, an incredibly eager six year old boy, and a handful of rabble- rousers who had no interest in yoga, but their parents signedRead full post »
MAY 9, 2010 9:07AM

Freezing Time

Mother's Day weekend.  I want to freeze it.  Capture every moment. 

It drives my daughter crazy. I want to take a picture of her here and here, and Here stand in front of that tree just like that. Wait, one more, you blinked. Enough, Mom.

I cannot help myself. I want to freez… Read full post »

APRIL 30, 2010 7:48AM

Accidental Meditation

I found garden plot 114 this week. It is a large enclosed space of nothing but weeds and branches. I look at it lovingly. Weeds and branches.  I am overjoyed to have it.

Perhaps it is because I have never owned a piece of land that these feelings have been awakened… Read full post »