Saturday, December 9, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Dusting or Blizzard?

by Peggy Robin

It finally stopped snowing at seven pm but nothing has stuck to the walkway or the street. Nothing to shovel, and I think I know why. It’s because I was so well prepared for this snowfall. Here’s how it works: If I read in the weather report that we’re expecting one to three inches, and I check to make sure I have ice-melting or traction-producing substances at hand, and I also see that the pantry is well-stocked with necessities, then by the time the snowfall is over, the amount will be less than was predicted, and all my preparedness will have been unneeded.

Now, suppose for some reason that I had pooh-poohed the weather report and declined to make any preparations for snow – and also suppose that tomorrow wasn’t Sunday but a work day with some essential appointment: That would all but guarantee three times the amount of snow as originally forecast.

Of course, you probably did not realize that the amount of snowfall is inversely proportional to my ability to deal with it….because you thought it was all on YOU! And you are right! There’s a Murphy’s Law of Snow that is waiting to catch us, and somehow it manages to work individually and collectively at the same time. You will see the effect the next time you have some flight that you really, really need to be on, or you have to be able to drive somewhere, and you tell yourself, “Oh, it’s just a dusting on the way….” That’s when it will keep on snowing and snowing all day, accumulating until there’s twenty inches on the ground.  Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Marco Verch via
Wikimedia Creative Commons
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @   

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv      

Friday, December 8 at 11 AM, Games, Lunch & Movie “The Bishop`s Wife," starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. An assortment of games is brought out at 11 AM, lunch is served at 12 noon, and the movie starts at 1 PM. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW. If you plan to attend, please reply to guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center, (202) 727-7527.   

Friday, December 8 at 12:30 PM, Lunch Bites Lecture: Gibraltar in the Revolutionary War.  France and Spain had entered the Revolutionary War not just to support American independence from Great Britain, but also to recover territory around the world from their enemy and colonial rival. Gibraltar, a strategically important peninsula off the Spanish mainland at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, was one of those prizes. The Franco-Spanish forces failed to retake Gibraltar, but their efforts helped to direct British resources away from America. Join Curator Emily Schulz Parsons for a look at two recently acquired artifacts of the Siege of Gibraltar: an oil portrait of British general William Green, chief engineer at Gibraltar, and a Spanish Model 1757 flintlock musket used during a British sortie on the Spanish lines in November 1781. Painted about 1784 by George Carter, the portrait depicts Green in his apartment at the Rock alongside military books and a plan of the defenses. The musket was captured by the British and presented to Green as a token of the successful defense of Gibraltar. Free. The lecture will last approximately 30 minutes with time afterwards for up-close viewing of the objects. Free. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW,   

Saturday December 9 at 10:30 AM, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Opening of New West End Library. Join Mayor Bowser and other officials us for a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new West End Library. The new 21,000 square foot  library features: Welcoming spaces for adults, teens and children; A  meeting room for 100 people with an assistive listening system; 2 conference rooms for 8-12 people; 5 quiet study rooms; Energy efficient and sustainable elements. To reflect the community’s history, the Library commissioned two artworks for the space: A 200-foot long mural, by Adrienne Gaither, features the names of pivotal historical figures who have lived in the West End neighborhood; A colorful mural for the children’s area, by Nekisha Durrett, celebrates the curiosity of children and the discoveries they can make by reading, learning, and playing. Free. The new West End Neighborhood Library is located at 2301 L St. NW.   

Saturday, December 9 from 11 AM - 3 PM, Saturday for Santa - Photos at Tails High Inc./Petco. Come have your photo taken with Santa - with or without your pet. Proceeds go to animal rescue here in DC. Adoptable Tails High cats will be at Petco, 3505 Connecticut Avenue NW, this Saturday from 11 AM - 5 PM.     

Saturday, December 9 at 5 PM, The Colonial English Handbell Ringers invite you to “A Concert of Classics,” featuring holiday favorites such as Silver Bells and a beautiful rendition of Silent Night, a medley of classic Gershwin songs, Pachelbel’s Canon, the incredibly lively March Trepak from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, our traditional Carol Sing-along and much more. The program is about an hour in length and is great for ALL ages. Beautifully costumed in Colonial, Renaissance, or traditional dress, the Colonial English Handbell Ringers are a unique visual and auditory experience. Although most shows are free to the public, donations toward equipment costs are gratefully accepted. At The Center in Tenleytown, 4321 Wisconsin Ave. NW.  

Saturday, December 9 from 6 - 8:30 PM, Jazz@Wesley: A Jazzy Christmas, featuring Bobby Felder and Friends with Vocalists Tiya! and Dick Smith. Arrive at 6 PM sharp for line dancing demo and instruction by Michelle. Complimentary coffee and tea with additional food and beverages available for purchase. Enjoy local jazz in an alcohol-free, family-friendly neighborhood venue. Tickets: $10 general admission; $7 seniors; $5 students, Free for ages 12 and under. Tickets available online at At UMC Church, Wesley Campus, 5312 Connecticut Ave NW. Enter on Conn. Ave. through the glass doors.   

Saturday, December 9 at 3 and 4 PM and Sunday December 10 at 3 PM, End-of-Year Concerts by the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Beginners wind and strings concert: Saturday, December 9 at 3 PM and 4 PM at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol St NE. And on Sunday, December 10 at 3 PM, performance by THEARC Youth Philharmonic and Youth Orchestra concert (our two top ensembles) at THEARC Theater, 1901 Mississippi Ave SE. All concerts are free. See what DCYOP’s young musicians are doing! Inspire your children to join the growing DCYOP family! More info:   

Sunday, December 10 from 10 AM - 4 PM,  “As the Wheel Turns.” Learn about the power of water and its connection to food on a mill tour with park volunteers from the Friends of Peirce Mill or a National Park Service ranger. All ages welcome. Drop-in—staff-led tours or self-guided tours available until the mill closes at 4 PM):00 p.m. Free. Peirce Mill is in Rock Creek Park at  Tilden Street and Beach Drive NW.    

Sunday, December 10 from 10 AM - 12 Noon, Rockin’ Chanukah Party. “Grab your socks and your yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah! This year’s rockin’ Chanukah party at the DCJCC will feature a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats and plenty of fun for the whole family. Pre-registration tickets (register online before December 8 at are $23; $18 Discounted EDCJCC member or DC Minyan Member Rate. After December 8, tickets are by walk-in registrations only: $25 per family; $20 Discounted EDCJCC member or DC Minyan Member At the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC, 1529 16th St. NW.  

Sunday, December 10 from 2 - 4 PM, Santa visits the Van Ness Main Street Holiday Pop-up Shop. The Van Ness Pop Up Shop features DC-made arts, crafts, apparel, food and more. Happy hours, live music, too. At 4340 Connecticut Ave NW 4340 Connecticut Ave NW.   

Sunday, December 10 at 1:30 PM, The Capital Piano Conservatory is hosting its annual “Collaborative Piano Concert”, featuring pianist James Hillis. Bring your budding concert artist to be inspired by our gifted young pianists accompanying professional musicians. With guest professionals: Violinist and international chamber musician Rohan Gregory, coloratura soprano Rebekah Eden, mezzo soprano Lillian Kern, & DC’s “Queen of the Blues” Carly Harvey. Classical works by Grieg, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Catalani, Ernst Bloch; pop songs from “Years & Years,” “Galantis” and “Coldplay”; movie music from “Sound of Music,” “Harry Potter” and “The Snowman.” Free and open to the public. At St. John’s Episcopal Church 6701 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase MD at the corner of Bradley Blvd & Wisconsin Ave. Reception with performers to follow.  

Sunday December 10 at 4 PM, Christmas Concert by the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, conducted by Julie Vidrick Evans, and accompanied by harp and soloists, performing Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols.” Also on the program are choral masterpieces by English composer John Rutter and Venezuelan composer César Alejandro Carrillo. Hand bell ringers, an organ work, the junior choir and community sing along will complete the afternoon. Reception to follow. Free (donations are gratefully accepted). At Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, One Chevy Chase Circle NW (Connecticut Ave. NW, between Oliver & Patterson Streets NW),     

Sunday, December 10 at 5 PM, Handel's "Messiah" performed by the National Presbyterian Church Festival Choir, Soloists, and Orchestra. This concert is open to the public and no tickets are required. There is ample free onsite parking for the concert and complimentary childcare for children under 4 with advanced RSVP to childcare @ nationalpres dot org. At the National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW, 202-537-7553.  

Monday, December 11 from 6:30 - 8 PM, Panel Discussion: “Reclaiming Urban Spaces.” Learn how cities across the country are reclaiming marginal space for new uses. Parks, housing, offices and retail are rising on urban spaces that were once ignored or considered un-buildable. Projects such as Hudson Yards in New York City, Capitol Crossing in Washington, DC, and The Underline in Miami, FL are combining innovative thinking about urban space and cutting edge building technology to create vibrant urban places to live, work and play in places previously ignored or considered unbuildable. Panelists: Braulio Agnese, freelance architecture and design journalist; Isabel Castilla, principal, James Corner Field Operations; Bradford McKee, editor, Landscape Architecture Magazine; Mark Strieter, PLA, ASLA, senior associate, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Tickets: $12 to $20; reservations required - go to At the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Event details:    

Monday, December 11 from 6 - 9 PM, DC Oral History Collaborative Partner Celebration. Last summer, the DCOHC partnered with 10 local organizations and individuals to produce exciting new oral history projects around the city. At this free event you will find out what our community partner oral historians learned about the city through their narrators, and what they learned about oral history through the process. Oral histories include: Buzzard Point Oral History Project; Latino DC - Collective Memory and the Mt. Pleasant Riots; Black Broadway on U: a Transmedia Project; Howard University Nursing History Project; Anacostia Unmapped 2.0; The Intersection of Whitman-Walker Health and HIV/AIDS in DC; DC Jazz Festival Oral History Project; Mapping Segregation in DC: School Integration in Ward 4; ARTS DC: CETA and the Arts in the District of Columbia 1977-1982; DC's Fight for Affordable Housing and an End to Gentrification and Homelessness. Free, but please register at In the Langston Room at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW.  

Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 PM, Author Talk: Harriet Elam-Thomas. Former US Ambassador to Senegal, Harriet Elam-Thomas, will speak about her new memoir “Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar.” Free. At the Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library, 7420 Georgia Ave. NW,   

Tuesday,, December 12 at 7 PM, Santa and the Safe Space: A Reconsideration. This panel discussion looks at a beloved figure anew, in light of growing recognition that boundary-crossing behavior needs to be called out wherever we find it. Should we still welcome the arrival, in the dead of night, of an older man, who enters houses via the chimney, without so much as knocking? And what about the lyrics, “He knows when you’ve been sleeping/He knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good/so be good for goodness’ sake!” How DOES he know so much? Finally, the discussants will consider all the implications of “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus.” Just who initiated the kiss? Was permission granted by the kissee? The panel will include Frosty the Snowman, The Tooth Fairy, and Cupid, and will be moderated by The Easter Bunny. Free, but you must register for this event at:      

Wednesday, December 13 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Chanukah Community Candle Lighting. Come light the menorah, followed by latkes, donuts, dreidel games, music, and more! Open to all ages and abilities. This is a community wide event and is set up to be inclusive of all abilities. Individuals who need support are welcome to bring a friend who will provide support during the program. Candling Lighting at 6:45 PM. Free. In the Kay Community Hall, Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC, 1529 16th St. NW,   

Thursday, December 14 The National Museum of American Jewish Military History hosts its annual Hanukkah Party. Come for the latkes, jelly doughnuts, gelt and song! Explore the museum and eat, play games and sing. You will also learn about the ways Jews in the American military have continued the tradition of the Maccabees. Bring your own Hanukkah menorah for a group lighting. Free. The museum is also collecting winter coats to benefit the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center's (DCVAMC) Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) for homeless and at-risk Veterans. Tour the museum at 6 PM before the party begins at 6:30 PM. The museum is at 1811 R Street NW,  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Still Life with Robin: It's Not a Bird....It's Not a Plane....It's Supermoon!

Photo by Matt Buck, Supermoon over London
by Peggy Robin

On Sunday night if it’s clear – and it should be – you can enjoy the last (and only) supermoon of 2017. Supermoon? No, the moon will not appear to by flying through the night sky like a superhero; it won't look like it has a flowing cape or anything like that. But it will shine brighter and look bigger than your average moon. How much bigger and brighter? USA Today’s article on supermoons answered these question and tossed off some other supermoon trivia, backed by the authority of its source at NASA: 

“According to NASA, [the term “supermoon” is] used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth. A supermoon can appear as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when a full moon is at its farthest distance from Earth, NASA said. The astronomical term for a supermoon is `perigee syzygy.` (Syzygy is when the sun, moon and Earth are all aligned in a straight line.)” []

(Love that term, "syzygy" and hope to work it into a sentence sometime!)

For more about supermoons, including some very clear graphics and animations, I recommend Brian Resnick’s article at

The best time to view Sunday’s supermoon here in DC is at 5:15 PM. Or get up super-early on Monday morning and take a look at it around 4 AM, when it will be at the closest point to earth.

But don’t fret too much if you miss it. You will have two more chances to see a Supermoon, on both the first and the last day of January 2018. If you can see only one, plan for the January 31 supermoon, which is also a “blue moon” (the second full moon in a calendar month) and a “blood moon” – appearing reddish. All these phenomena are explained in the 3-minute NASA video found here:

Any one of these moons might be a chance to do a little “Dancin’ in the Moonlight!  I recommend it highly!    

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Holiday Card Crafting at the Georgetown Library
Sunday, December 3
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, December 1 at 2 PM, African Art on the Go: Kingdoms of Ancient Africa. Bringing the museum to you! Hear about the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms in Africa. By exploring the arts of kingdoms like Mali, Benin, Ghana, and others, you will develop an appreciation regarding the heritage left behind. Ages 6 and up, under 9 with adult. Free. At Chevy Chase DC Public Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave NW,    

Friday, December 1 at 4 PM, Opening of the Ice Lounge. CityCenterDC will open a life-size, modern, ice igloo made of 36,000 pounds of ice blocks in The Park at CityCenter. Styled with plush interiors by Joseph Ireland of JD Ireland Interior Architecture + Design, this one-of-a-kind, frozen structure will allow Washingtonians to fulfill their subzero dreams for a weekend. After the public opening on December 1, the Ice Lounge will also be open to the public December 2 and 3 from 10am - 6 pm. CityCenterDC invites you to share your photos of any CityCenterDC Holiday décor on Instagram using hashtag #CCDCHolidays for the chance to win a $350 CityCenterDC gift card. Details at:  Free admission. CityCenterDC is at 825 10th Street NW.

Friday, December 1 at 6 PM, Guy Mason’s 3rd Annual Holiday Dinner Sing-along, hosted by the staff of Guy Mason Recreation Center and the Friends of Guy Mason. Experience the “Joy of the Season” with your children, neighbors friends. At 6 PM sit down to a free turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Bring a dessert for sharing if you can. The sing-along starts at 7:30 with songs of the holiday season, accompanied by much admired pianist Ann Glendinning. Please rsvp to guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call 202-727-7527 with the number of people who plan to attend. Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert Street, NW.

Friday, December 1 from 6 - 8 PM, Tree Lighting at Cathedral Commons. Live entertainment. Giveaways for the kids. Food and drink. Free photos with Santa (pets welcome - dogs and cats only). Tree lighting is at 8 PM. At Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street NW. See flyer at:

Friday, December 1 at 6:30 PM and Saturday, December 2 at 2:30 PM, Shakespeare's “As You Like It” at Alice Deal Middle School. Betrayals and marriages and disguises, oh my! “As You Like It” is filled with all of these themes and more. Deal’s production will bring this story, originally set in 16th century France, to 2017 Washington, D.C. The play starts with brothers, Oliver and Orlando, at war with one another over broken promises while brothers, Duke Senior and Duke Frederick, struggle with the idea of power. Cousins Rosalind and Celia remain faithful to one another and take on disguises for protection and to win love. A traditional Shakespearean comedy, this five act play ends with a wedding celebration and love and happiness for all. Runtime is approximately 1 hour. Buy tickets online at: Alice Deal MS is at  3815 Fort Drive, NW.

Saturday, December 2 at 9:30 AM, The Rock Creek Civil War Roundtable Presents a Talk by Marvin T. Jones: “An Army of Educators." During and after the Civil War, Union officers and missionaries expanded literacy and skills in the south, resulting in a great rise in the reading population and creating schools, some of which exist today. A school established in a Washington, DC army barracks in 1864 is still going strong. Fisk, Hampton, Howard and Shaw are among the universities that rose in the first five years after the war.  Within ten years after the war, Howard University was graduating men and women with degrees in medicine and law. Marvin T. Jones will give an overview of the people and organizations that propagated education among people of color and how southern whites also greatly benefited. This lecture includes many stories and images of portraits, documents and places. Marvin is a resident of Ward 4 and uses Civil War study to understand his community's past and many events of today. Free. At Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road, N.W. (Off Military Road). After the lecture, attendees may reconvene the conversation at Ledo's Pizza. All are welcome.

Saturday, December 2 from 12 noon - 4 PM, The 13th Annual Winter Market at Janney. Browse the wares of 100+ vendors, from crafty kids to professionals, offering unique gifts, homemade items, and food savory and sweet while listening to music performances by students at local schools. At Janney Elementary School, 4130 Albemarle Street NW. Free admission.

Saturday, December 2 from 12 - 5 PM, Pics with Your Pets at the Made In DC Holiday Shop at Van Ness Main Street. The Holiday Shop features a selection of highly curated items all created by local makers and local artists. Pet Santa features photography by Carole Douglis  The Pop Up is located at 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW. right next to the temporary Cleveland Park Library. More info:  

Sunday, December 3 from 10 AM - 12 noon, “Breakfast with Santa” - an annual tradition put on by The Friends of Volta Park. Your child can meet Santa, you can take pictures, and your child will get a toy. Enjoy free coffee, hot chocolate, donuts, crafts, and more. Free. At Volta Park Playground, 1616 34th St. NW,

Sunday, December 3 from 2 - 4 PM, Holiday Card Crafting. Enjoy an afternoon of seasonal crafting, where we will be making holiday-themed greeting cards and gift tags. All materials will be provided. Due to the projects included, this event is recommended for ages 18+. Free. At Georgetown Library 3260 R St. NW,

Sunday, December 3 from 3:30 to 5 PM, Gingerbread House Decorating Party at the Cleveland Park Club. The houses are hand-baked by former board member Robert Jenkens and come with all the fixings you could possibly want to decorate them with. Tickets $30 - $60 at The first session from 1 - 2:30 is sold out, but there are a few places left in the second session for 3:30 - 5 PM. The Cleveland Park Club is at 3433 33rd Place NW. Proceeds benefit the Cleveland Park Historical Society, 

Monday, December 4 at 12 noon, Artist Talk: “Picturing Kenilworth.” Artist Bruce McNeil discusses the stories behind his art depicting Washington, DC’s Kenilworth neighborhood, part of the exhibition For the Record: Picturing DC. This program is part of the D.C. Mondays at the Museum series inspired by the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. Free; no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW,

Tuesday, December 5 at 4:30 PM, Mark Siegel, children’s author and illustrator, will provide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at making his epic graphic novel series 5 Worlds and award-winning picture book Oskar and the Eight Blessings. The first 15 attendees will receive a complimentary copy of 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior provided by the Friends of the Chevy Chase Library (Limit: one per family). Books will be available for purchase and signing. Free.  At the Chevy Chase DC Public Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave NW,

Wednesday December 6 at 10:30 AM, Toddler Dance Party. Music and dancing for the whole family. Tickets required; available on a first come basis the morning of the program. Free. At Chevy Chase Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Thursday December 7 from 6:30 - 8 PM, “Surviving Homelessness in DC.” A Humanitini Happy Hour/Panel Discussion. The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP)'s 2017 Point in Time study found that on any given night there are 7,473 homeless people in Washington, DC - 31% of whom are minors. In 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched an initiative to end homelessness in Washington, DC, which includes the closure of DC General to replace it with smaller, short-term family shelters throughout the District. Given the alarming figures and the plethora of obstacles homeless families and individuals face, many Washingtonians asked, "How? And how much will it cost?" In Utah, Dr. Sam Tsemberis helped end chronic homelessness through his Pathways Housing First philosophy - an alternative approach and now a national model. And saved the state tax dollars in doing so. Can his approach work in DC? Join Dr. Tsemberis, Kristy Greenwalt, Director of the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness, a representative from Pathways to Housing DC,and a survivor of homelessness to explore what works for our unique city as we embark on this ambitious initiative and understand what it means to survive homelessness in DC. Moderated by Pamela S. Perkins, Founder, CCO of the Human Communication Institute, LLC and currently an Adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of the District of Columbia Community College. Free; reservations required - go to At Busboys and Poets Brookland, 625 Monroe St. NE.

Thursday, December 7 at 7:30 PM, UDC’s Annual Holiday Concert. The University of the District of Columbia presents its annual holiday gift to the Washington, DC community. The UDC Chorale directed by Richard Odom, starts the evening with a program of choral music followed by the gospel sounds of The Voices, directed by Gerry Gillespie. The UDC Jazz Ensemble directed by Allyn Johnson closes the program with big band jazz sure to spread the holiday spirit. Free. In the University Auditorium, Theatre of the Arts—Bldg. 46-East, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW.  

Thursday, December 7 at 8:30 PM, Pets’ Holiday Concert at UDC. After the human holiday chorales and bands are done, let’s give our pets a chance to make a little music! If your dog can howl, your cat can meow, and your parrot can talk -- or screech! -- then bring them to this first-time holiday musical event that we hope will become a cherished annual tradition. We will attempt to get the pets to chime in at the appropriate moments in “The Little Drummer Boy” (Ra-ruff-a-ruff-ruff), and “Deck the Halls” (Arf-fa-woof-a-wah, me-ow, wow, wow). To get your pet in the holiday spirit, let them listen to these cats’ mewing “JIngle Bells” ( and these dogs barking,“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” ( To register your pet to perform a solo, go to:   

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Snow, Ice, and Dockless Bikes

DPW's "Be A Snow Hero" Program
by Peggy Robin

On a balmy day in November – as we’re edging up toward the 60 degree mark -- it’s time to think about winter….and DC’s snow shoveling rules. Earlier this week (11/22)  Angela Fritz of the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang helpfully reviewed the main things you need to know – and the tools to have on hand – to do your sidewalk-clearing duty to your fellow citizens. It’s here: 

Are you willing and able to go above and beyond basic duty? Then sign up for DPW's Volunteer Snow Program and help your elderly and disabled neighbors:   

Are you someone who could use the help of the Volunteer Snow Squad? You can apply here: - or call 202-645-7190. From the subject of snow, let's move on to ice...which can occasionally be nice! Especially if it's in the form of a friendly gathering place. Well, DC is about to get one. It's the Ice Lounge, a very big igloo constructed from 36,000 pounds of ice blocks, opening this Friday, December 1, 4 - 8 PM, at the Park at CityCenter (New York Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets NW:   NW:   The Ice Lounge will be open to the public on Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 from 10 AM - 6 PM.   

If you are thinking of using a dockless bike to travel to or from the Ice Lounge – or anywhere else around town – and are considering taking the Metro one way….well, here’s how NOT to carry the bike up the Metro escalator: The Twitter pic is from CNN producer Vaughn Sterling, but it seems the best caption comes from Dan Silverman“How many times do I have to say this - stand with dockless bikes while riding escalators on the RIGHT.”

It’s too nice for me to remain indoors typing, so that’s it for SLw/R for today!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

WinterFest Winter Feast
November 24 - December 2
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

Friday, November 24  through Saturday, December 2, Tenley WinterFest is on! And the Yeti Scavenger Hunt begins! Using the Yeti Tracker, find the yetis hidden up and down Wisconsin Avenue and get the stamps to prove your yeti-hunting skills. The all-ages scavenger hunt goes on at walkable locations around Tenleytown, and it ends with prizes given out on Dec 2, 12-3:30 PM at Janney ES, 4130 Albemarle St NW.. Download the map and Yeti tracker at: and you can also see the calendar of all the fun Tenley WinterFest activities.

Friday, November 24, “Light Gray Friday.” Turn the “Black Friday” stress down a notch or two with a not-so-dark retail experience. Stores that will be observing “Light Gray Friday” promise that there will be no fighting over hot-ticket items; in the event of any temper flare-ups or fist fights, a sales rep will appear within seconds to perform a coin-toss to award the desired item to one of the disputants. Line-jumpers and cart-rammers will be taken to a “cool-down” room where New Age music plays and aromatherapy is piped in; they will also get a complimentary a hot, spiced cider and a stress ball and asked to stay at least 15 minutes until calm prevails. For a list of all local stores participating in the “Light Gray Friday” experience, visit:

Saturday, November 25, Two highlights of Tenley WinterFest: At 4 PM: Caroling at Fessenden Park. Join friends and neighbors at the park (Wisconsin & Fessenden) for a community sing, followed by hot cocoa at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church - all ages and faith traditions welcomed. At 5 PM: Tenley Gets Lit! The Tenley WinterFest window display is revealed, and Tenleytown Main Street announces the winner of the 2nd annual Tenleytown window decorating contest. Location: in front of the Best Buy window at the corner of Wisconsin and Albemarle. Free. More about these and other Tenley Winterfest events here:

Sunday, November 26 from 1 - 3 PM, Tenleytown Walking Tour. On this tour you can learn some fascinating facts: Who was Alice Deal? Which girls’ school became a home for code breakers? Why did the Reno School close? The tour this year will focus on educational institutions in Tenleytown and their place in local and national history. Free. Presented by the Tenleytown Historical Society as part of this year's Tenley WinterFest. Farleigh Earhart, a THS board member, Deal parent, and frequent patron of the library's Washingtoniana Room, will conduct the tour, which will begin at the entrance to Alice Deal Middle School (Nebraska Avenue and Fort Drive) and conclude near the intersection of Nebraska and Van Ness. Please email info @ tenleytownmainstreet dot org with any questions. Sign up at:

Monday, November 27 at 12 PM, Lecture: The Grocery Shopping Evolution in the DC Region, 1880–Present, presented by Diana Kohn, president, Historic Takoma. Explore how shopping for food has changed over time, with a regional focus on Washington, D.C. and Takoma Park, Maryland. In the 1930s, stores like Piggly Wiggly, Sanitary Grocery, and District Grocery allowed customers to select their own food from store shelves, a novel idea at a time when shoppers had to wait for a clerk to gather their orders. This concept continues to evolve even today, with self-check out machines at Giant and the ability to stock your shopping cart remotely using online shopping services. Free. George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. More info:

Tuesday, November 28 at 12:30 PM, JAZZforum at UDC concert: Pianist, composer-arranger and jazz studies major Samuel Munguia presents his Junior Recital. Free. Recital Hall, Building 46-West, University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Tuesday, November 28 at 5:30 PM, Georgetown’s 14th annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in the courtyard and lobby of the Fairmont Hotel. Families will take the chill off with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as they listen to the award-winning Georgetown Visitation Madrigals perform holiday classics. Children will enjoy decorating holiday cards while members of the United States Marine Corps Reserves will perform a presentation of colors. Santa Claus and Rudolph will make a special guest appearance; all families are welcome to take a photo with Santa. Kelly Collis and Tommy McFly, hosts of 94.7 Fresh FM’s Tommy Show, will serve as the masters of ceremonies. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will benefit The U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Program, a non-profit organization that collects toys throughout the holiday season and delivers gifts to less fortunate children.Those attending the event are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to be donated. The Fairmont is at 2401 M St. NW,  

Wednesday, November 29 from 5 - 7 PM, Workshop: “Archiving Digital Photography.” Using examples from the extensive analog collections of the Historical Society of Washington, DC and the DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana Division and other digital projects, the workshop will offer strategies for compiling the documentation necessary to make your contemporary photography work a possible resource for your descendants, future historians, and repositories. Advance registration and ticket purchase recommended. Onsite registration is subject to availability. This workshop complements the For the Record exhibit, at the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. Tickets, $20 to $30; reservations required - go to

Thursday, November 30 from 5 - 7 PM, "21st Century Cooperation": A Book Launch & Discussion. Please join Louis Goodman, Antoni Estevadeoral, and contributors to 21st Century Cooperation as they discuss regional public goods, global governance, and sustainable development. Louis Goodman is Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of International Service, American University; Antoni Estevadeordal, Manager of the Integration and Trade Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank. They will be joined by six other scholars, professors, and experts in international trade in a panel discussion in the Abramson Family Founders Room, School of International Service, American University, Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues NW. More info:  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Deja Vu in the Mail

by Peggy Robin

Photo by Iain Laurence
via Creative Commons
It’s déjà vu all over again in the US mail. If you’ve been following the recent spate of complaints about mail delivery in Cleveland Park, you may feel like you are rereading old messages on the Cleveland Park Listserv. That’s because we have been here before – last time around was October 4.

And the time before that, July 7 – 13th.

Then skip back through June and May and take a look at the eight-day run of messages that began on April 19th and lasted through the 26th. The kick-off post on April 19th  was message number 124040, titled “A Postal Story,” a long and painstaking recounting of one mis-delivered package and the mysterious trail of clues that the poster doggedly followed until she discovered what was in the missing package (mailed-ordered medications) and who was lying about it and why. That story of woe triggered a cascade of 23 other such stories, with this or that variation in the delivery error, or in the notification process, or the retrieval process, ending with suggestions from other list members for follow-up. At some point the thread took on the more generic subject line of “Mail delivery problems” and nine more messages were posted. And then on April 23 the subject turned into “A Postal Story + Management Change” – ending with the triumphant announcement that new postal managers had taken over and had met with complaining neighbors, and reform/improvement of service was on the way.

I also went further back into the listserv archives and found these same themes in discussion threads posted in and around on the following dates:

November 29, 2016
January 22, 2016
December 5, 2015
October 1, 2015
July into August, 2015
January 12, 2015
….and then I decided to quit searching.

Among the problems discussed/bemoaned in past threads were:

1. False notification of package delivery attempts (notice slips left when the addressee was at home – but no one ever rang the bell)
2. Days without mail delivery
3. Mail delivery after 8 PM
4. Letters and packages delivered to one address that were clearly marked for a different address
5. Letters, bills, checks, and packages that the addressee was expecting, which never arrived
6. Letters and invitations dropped off at mailboxes that never reached the intended recipients

(I should mention that I have personally experienced ALL of the above, and add that number 4 on this list happens about once a week, on average.)

After each new round of listserv discussion, remedies are proposed, including: filing complaints with the Office of the Postal Inspector, meetings and petitions to elected officials both local and Congressional, meetings with local postal officials, phone calls to some or all of the above.

And just maybe, after one more set of meetings, or calls, or letters, there will finally be some lasting improvement.

But if you would like to make a little money, I would advise you to bet that between now and May 19, 2018 there will be at least one more series of messages complaining about bad mail delivery in zip codes 20008 and/or 20016. Now your only problem will be finding someone to take the other side of that bet!


Still Life with Robin is published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on weekends (usually on Saturdays, but like the US Mail, it’s occasionally delayed!)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Ms Jones via Creative Commons
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, November 17 from 1:30 - 2:30 PM, Elvis at 21- a presentation by Chris Murray. Photographer Alfred Wertheimer enjoyed almost unrestricted access to Elvis Presley when Elvis was 21, the year before Elvis exploded onto the international music scene. Wertheimer’s fine art photographs, many unpublished, illuminate not only Elvis, but the culture and history of the time. Chris Murray integrates art and music in his retrospective of 1956 that draws on his research and personal experiences used in preparing exhibitions across the country. Chris Murray is a writer and the founder of Govinda Gallery in Georgetown, which represents rock music-related fine art photographers. Murray has organized over 250 exhibitions of many of the leading artists of our time, from Andy Warhol in the 1970s to Annie Leibovitz’s first exhibition in 1984. He was co-curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition “Elvis at 21” and is the author of more than 15 books on visual culture, including Alfred Wertheimer: Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll and Rolling Stones 50x20. Free, but registration required at: Part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute lecture series. in Room A-101 of the AU Spring Valley Building, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Friday, November 17 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, November 18 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM, “Legally Blonde - the Musical,” presented by Wilson High School. Follow the adventures of sorority girl Elle Woods from college to the courtroom as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Elle heads to Harvard to win back her love--only to discover herself. Based on the popular movie, Wilson’s production of this award-winning Broadway show boasts a cast and crew of more than a hundred students and is filled with nonstop singing, dancing and fabulous fun. Tickets: student/child/Wilson teachers and staff - $5 all performances; adult - $15 ($10 for the Saturday, Nov. 18  2:30 pm matinee). Meet and Greet with the actors following the matinee! Tickets may be purchased at the door. You can also email wilsondramatickets @ to reserve tickets in advance. Include your full name, the date and time of the performances you wish to attend and the number of tickets you’d like to reserve. Wilson High School is at 3950 Chesapeake St NW. More info:  

Saturday, November 18 at 10 AM, “Thanksgiving During the Civil War.” Take a brisk walk to Fort DeRussy with a park ranger. Come and see the earthworks hidden in the terrain, and hear stories about how soldiers celebrated Thanksgiving in and around Washington, DC. Free. For ages 8 and up. At Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW,  

Saturday, November 18 from 11 am - 3 pm, Harvest Bazaar, sponsored by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship program of Carlos Rosario International Charter School, featuring 30+ vendors, music, and more! Jewelry, Accessories, Clothing, Photo Booth, Aromatic Candles and Aromatic Soaps, and Small Gifts. Gourmet foods, International Baked Goods, and other food items. For more information contact Raul Medrano at (202) 797-4700, ext. 235. Carlos Rosario School is at 1100 Harvard Street NW

Saturday, November 18 from 12 noon – 4 PM, Thanksgiving with the Turkeys at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland. Come celebrate Thanksgiving WITH the turkeys – join our friendly turkeys and all their friends in celebrating a cruelty-free Thanksgiving potluck. Please bring a vegan (no meat, dairy, or eggs) dinner or dessert item to serve 8. Suggested donation: $10. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is at 15200 Mount Nebo Rd, Poolesville, MD 20837 - map: For more info:

Sunday, November 19 from 2 - 3 PM, Local artists Sonia King discusses her mosaic techniques, using both a micro and macro approach to create organic forms. Free and open to the public. This talk, part of the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist Lectures series, will be held in the American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave.,   

Monday, November 20 at 4 PM, Reader's Theatre Features “Thanksgiving Day Thanks.” Join us in the children's room of the Mount Pleasant library for Reader's Theatre. "Thanksgiving Day Thanks" by Laura Malone Elliott is the featured piece. Sam has trouble deciding what he is grateful for during a Thanksgiving-themed classroom assignment. Let’s read! Free. The Mount Pleasant Library is at 3160 16th Street NW,

Tuesday, November 21at 4 PM, “In the Zone: Thanksgiving Plates.” Ready to fill your plate? Come create a Thanksgiving “meal” you can take home and enjoy for years. “In the Zone” is a craft making event held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tenley Friendship Library. Best for kids ages 4-12. Free. The Tenley-Friendship Library is at 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,

Wednesday, November 22 at 9 AM, The Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Presidential “Pardon” of a Turkey - with a Twist. This year President Trump has tweeted that he will NOT issue the traditional “pardon” of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day: “Unlike my weak predecessors I will not be letting this turkey off so easy. I am calling for a really great turkey hunt, better than any turkey hunt since those Pilgrim guys shot turkeys with Pocahantas and Chief Wahoo.” The president’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric have set up an enclosed turkey run on the Ellipse, where they will stalk and shoot the designated turkey with high-powered hunting rifles. After they pose with their kill for the requisite trophy photos, they will have the carcass auctioned off to the highest bidder for Thanksgiving dinner, with all proceeds to go to charity. Two weeks from Thanksgiving, Washington Post investigative reporter David Farenthold will attempt to discover whether any funds were actually paid to any charitable organization. If he also discovers that the carcass was never served at an actual dinner, he will look to see if it has been stuffed for display in a backroom bar at Mar-a-Lago. To reserve your place at the White House Thanksgiving Turkey Hunt, go to: To get on the email list to receive an email update from David Farenthold when he tracks down the whereabouts of the turkey and/or the fundraising check, go to

Thursday, November 23 at 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM (for volunteers); 12 noon for the dinner, Thanksgiving Community Dinner. Annunciation Catholic Church, Washington Hebrew Congregation and St Alban’s Episcopal Church host an annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. You are welcome to come and eat (the Thanksgiving meal is served at 12 noon) or volunteer to set up/serve/clean up. Shifts begin as early as 9:30 AM and everything is finished by around 1:30 PM. Register at to volunteer. See for the event announcement. At Annunciation Catholic Church, 3810 Massachusetts Ave NW.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Still Life with Robin: 8 Reasons to Love the Saturday Post

Solar system - NASA (public domain)
by Peggy Robin

One of the glories of a Saturday* is the “Free for All” page in the Washington Post – that collection of letters of complaint from curmudgeons, nitpickers, overly close readers, and the grammar police -- in other words, people just like me.

Today’s paper may have hit new heights (or depths, depending on your attitude). Of the fourteen letters featured in the print edition, eight took the Post to task over the misuse of words or phrases. Let’s look at them one by one:

1. Misuse of “exponentially.” A Post article used it to mean “much larger” when in mathematics it’s only to be used if something grows at a quickly increasing rate. Classic mistake… and I’m sure the Post has been called out on this one before, maybe multiple times! And they just don’t learn! But a good start to today’s Free for All column!

2. “Double Whammy” for something other than a double setback or a double blow. There can be no “double whammy win,” the letter-writer points out, because by definition, a “double whammy” is two bad things happening at once. Score one for the Oxymoron Patrol.

3. Calling another star system a “solar system.” The letter writer points out that no other star is named Sol, so properly speaking, no other set of planets revolving around a star should be called a “solar system.” The correct term, the letter writer insists, is “stellar system.” Hmmm….I take issue with this one, on the following grounds: While the star at the center of the earth’s system is indeed named Sol, the word “solar” refers to suns – and any star can be called a sun. So any planetary system with a sun at its center can be called a solar system. However, my feelings on this point are not vehement enough to inspire me to write in to the Post. Maybe someone else will. Might be worth checking back next week to see if someone kicks off one of those “Welsh rabbit/rarebit” arguments that can go back and forth for more rounds than you would have ever thought possible.

4. “Podium” used when “lectern” is the proper term. This was the big one of the day, folks. Five hundred and fifty words to explain that a podium is a platform used to raise a speaker up to a higher level than the audience, while a lectern is a piece of furniture with a slanted top and optional accessories (microphone, reading light) behind which a speaker stands and reads a speech. Three-quarters of the way through the piece, the writer, George Chartier of Alexandria, admits that the battle over this word has already been lost, along with other battles (for “literally” and “fulsome” and “decimate,” among others), concluding, mournfully, that it is “particularly painful to watch and hear bedrock news institutions contribute to the decay” [of “clear, concise, correct communication”]. Wow, that’s a lot to put on the shifting meaning of a piece of veneered plywood! But I get it!

5. “Table” called masculine when it’s actually feminine in French. The letter writer first makes the general observation that whenever anyone writes in a tone of “supercilious detachment” about the Academie Francaise, the language guardians France, the article is bound to have some grammatical error. And sure enough, that mistake is citing “table” as an example of a masculine noun in French. Bien sur, we smart readers all know it’s feminine. The best thing about this letter is the silly, punning title “Sir le table” bestowed upon it by the “Free for All” editor. (In the online version posted on Friday, it was the far plainer,“Tables are girls, not boys” - see

6. “Pocahantas” as “pejorative.” The Post reported that President Trump called Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahantas,” labeling it a “pejorative nickname.” The letter writer wonders how calling someone a name based entirely on their ancestry is just “pejorative” – rather than the more apt term, “racist.” And he goes on to wonder what the Post would do if the term used was more blatantly offensive than “Pocahantas.” I was inclined to think that “pejorative” was fitting - so I looked it up and here’s what I found (Wikipedia definition): “A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, a slur, a term of abuse, or a term of disparagement) is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation or a low opinion of someone or something, showing a lack of respect for someone or something.” Sounds to me like “racism” is pretty well covered here!

7. “Bare-Pated” to describe a male politician’s head. If one kept track of the number of times in the Post that an article about a female politician has described her hair, or her clothing, or some other aspect of her physical appearance, compared to the number of times such descriptions appear in articles about men, what would the ratio be? Ten to one? A hundred to one? A gazillion to one? I really have no idea, but it’s notable that a Post article describing a male politician’s lack of hair drew fire for sexism. Is someone counting how often a “Free for All” letter objects to an irrelevant mention of a female politician’s looks? I can only hope so.

…and finally 8. “36 holes” on a golf course. I have to assume the original Post article was referring to the total number of holes of golf at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia but failed to point out that they comprised two complete and separate golf courses. Am I glad that a letter writer took the time to make this point? Yes, I am, because that is what “Free for All” is for! And every week I am grateful for it!

* Don’t write to me to tell me that the “Free for All” letters are available online on Friday afternoon. Yes, I do know that. Here the link to the "podium" one: I just don’t believe that seeing each letter on a screen is anywhere near as good as seeing all the letters spread out across a single page of newsprint. And I need the feel of wood-pulp between my fingers. It’s an addiction!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.