Out and About


My friend, the bug, wants me to write a song for Sufjan Stevens. But my songs are generally of the goofy-make-up-words-to-the-tune-of-an-existing-song ilk, and I think Sufjan might want something a little more pro. My silly song skillz are perhaps more appropriately suited for the commission I received from the bug’s husband, who asked me to write a song to the tune of “Doctor Feelgood” for his med school graduation (which is still way too far away, but he actually asked this of me before med skool ever began).

I am not the only publicly-bursting-into-song woman in DC, though. Not in the least. Perhaps the woman on one of my crazybuses who wrote an original composition, “The More You Cry, the Less You Pee,” would like to take a stab at the Sufjan competition. Crazy bus woman, are you out there? Someone actually found this blog the other day by googling, of all things: “the more you pee the less you cry.” Was it the bus singing woman, looking to see if anyone else had stolen her awesome song idea?

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avery brooks tamburlaine

We saw Tamburlaine at the Shakespeare Theatre Company last night. Tamburlaine was the first play of Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of our friend Shakespeare. The cool kids at Shakespeare Co. are running it and Edward II, Marlowe’s last play, in repertory to kick off their first season in their big new fancy auditorium that will allow them to do cool things … like run two plays at once.
Tamburlaine is a jolly little holiday play about a lowly shepherd who takes over the world through cunning and force and bloody terror. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it … but the costumes were beautiful.

a capitol fourthI started this blog months ago as an experiment, but told no one other than my husband. So it was even easier to *stop* it than it was to start. But what about you, my faithful imaginary reader? Did you think I died on the Fourth of July, caught in the crossfire of fireworks and gunfire? Do not fear.

Months later, I am here to report What Really Happened on July Fourth.

We spent the morning with our adorable godson, because his mother was ill and his dad needed sleep. But most of all, because we love him (and his parents!). We bought a chicken and some potato salad on the way home, then packed our picnic backpack to go see the Capitol Fourth extravaganza. My husband, heretofore referred to as “Ned,” had never spent July 4th in our nation’s capitol, so we wanted to do the tourist thing.

We rode our bikes down toward the mall and soon joined a peleton of DC police who were also cycling mall-ward to patrol the festivities. They let us join their line of bikes — awesome. The highlight: they played a little police siren from their bikes and we ran a red light. woot.

W e headed to the Capitol grounds to get in line for the concert. It was a pleasant, sunny day, but there were reports of thunderstorms outside the city, so the police held us in line while they watched the storm patterns. Eventually, they decide the storm risk was too great and told everyone to practice “operation safe harbor.” This basically meant that we should get out of line and file into one of the Senate’s underground parking garages. People were not happy. They wanted to stay in line.

We went inside the garage and tried to make the best of the situation with a bit of our picnic. But it was not exactly pleasant with all those grouchy people in that tight space … and no idea of when or if we would get out.

I suddenly realized, “I know what an anxiety attack must feel like : this.”

I had to get out of the safe harbor. It was not safe for me.

We walked in the *dangerous* rain to my nearby office and watched the weather satellites on the computer while I cleaned my cube. The storm subsided. We walked outside just in the nick of time. They were letting people back on the Capitol grounds, and we made it through security before the concert started.

The perennially cheesy host this year was Tony Danza. Other talent included Little Richard, who looked and sounded way past his prime, sadly; the fabulous Bebe Neuwirth; some really enjoyable country singer; a very good American Idol loser; and the always-wonderful National Symphony Orchestra playing the 1812 Overture. The symphony alone — with its live cannon fire and concurrent fireworks display — is worth the price of admission … which, as it turns out, is free. More importantly, it is worth the wait in line. Or in this case, the near panic attack.

Having completed our patriotic evening, it was time to return home. We were on bikes, which allowed us to avoid the extremely crowded metro and ridiculous traffic. It also allowed us to be in the midst of the action as the firework-fueled patriotism swept across the nation’s capitol.

There were at-home legal and illegal fireworks blasting off EVERYWHERE. Sparklers and small fountains are about the only things technically allowed, but people had ALL KINDS of fireworks — including stuff that looked almost as good as what they were shooting off by the Washington Monument. And since people in DC don’t really have driveways or yards from which to shoot their fireworks, they stand on sidewalks, lean on cars; they shoot fireworks right next to their houses or from their front stoops. Some people had a long line of fountains in the middle of the road; others were throwing bottle rockets wherever. And who knows what kind of gunfire might have been accompanying it.

It was wonderful! Also, petrifying.

So, our journey home was sort of like riding bikes through a beautiful-and-not-entirely-deadly warzone. It was Ned’s favorite part of the day. My favorite part was when we came home, sat behind our house and watched the extensive display of fireworks overhead in our alley.

I had thought nothing could beat fireworks on the mall accompanied by the 1812 overture, but there is something wonderful about seeing them right above your head in your very own backyard, home sweet home in your hilarious neighborhood

God bless America. God bless our ‘hood.