Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Get Out! The ZooLights Express Is Coming to Your Ward!

by Peggy Robin

ZooLights at the National Zoo has been an annual winter brightening event that's been put on every year since 2007. And it's on this year, too -- pandemic or no pandemic. Just not at the Zoo!

Rather than invite crowds to walk along brightly lighted paths and see displays of colorful lights in animal shapes and other whimsical displays, this year the Zoo and its sponsors have put the show on the road! Keeping it moving will allow for social distancing as well as make the display available to spectators all over the city.

And it's still free. You don't even have to worry about parking!

Here's the announcement from the National Zoo with everything you need to know: 

ZooLights Express — powered by Pepco — brings the colorful glow of Washington, D.C.’s beloved Smithsonian’s National Zoo holiday tradition into the community.

ZooLights will not be held on-site at the Zoo this year. Instead, the 24-foot ZooLights Express truck, festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws,” will hit the road Nov. 27 to Dec. 19 and visit one Washington, D.C., ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8 p.m.

The ZooLights Express truck will visit one Washington, D.C., ward on the following Friday and Saturday nights from 6-8 p.m.

    • Friday, Nov. 27 | Ward 1
    • Saturday, Nov. 28 | Ward 2
    • Friday, Dec. 4 | Ward 3
    • Saturday, Dec. 5 | Ward 4
    • Friday, Dec. 11| Ward 5
    • Saturday, Dec. 12 | Ward 6
    • Friday, Dec. 18 | Ward 7
    • Saturday, Dec. 19 | Ward 8




The “Get Out!” (sometimes restyled as the “Stay In!” events column) is usually published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays, but is appearing a day early (Wednesday, November 25) to get a jump on the Thanksgiving holiday.   

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Tips for the Test

by Peggy Robin

Yesterday (Friday, Nov 20), I went to be tested for covid 19. I knew a lot of things before I set out, but learned a few things that I wish I had known ahead of time, too. I hope the following will be helpful info for anyone thinking of getting a free test at the nearest fire station to Cleveland Park, Engine Company 31 at 4930 Connecticut Avenue NW.

1. Register ahead of time. It doesn’t matter if you’re unsure what day you will go to get tested. I registered two days in advance. I didn’t need to do anything else. Register here:  Once you are in the system, it doesn’t matter which DC testing center you show up at. They will have you down and they will check your information TWICE before they do the swab. 

2. Look up the location and hours of the place you plan to have your test. Find out about parking and other practical information about the location. Go here for DC test sites: 

3. Think about your bladder capacity
– seriously -- ahead of time. You will probably not have access to a bathroom while waiting in an outdoor line. So you might want to pick an indoor, appointment-only clinic instead of a a firehouse, if you think that will be a problem for you.  

4. Consider how you will pass the time. I brought a small iPod shuffle loaded with podcasts. Audiobooks are good, too. Some people bring actual books. Others play online games. I saw one guy with a laptop, looking like he was hard at work.   

5. Dress for the weather. If you are in line in the late afternoon, the sun will start to go down and it will get colder. It's wise to be prepared for that. 

6. Leave food and drink at home. Although you may be in line a long time, you probably shouldn't be doing anything that involves taking your mask off. Not in a place where a lot of the people could be covid-positive. Even though the six foot distance between people in line was well maintained, there were always new people arriving and looking for the end of the line and some of them came a bit close. Whenever that happened, I was glad I was masked and so were they! 

The above are all the things I knew in advance. Now here are some extra tips I wish I had thought about beforehand.   

1. Get there an hour or more before the place opens. It's better to be standing at or near the head of the line for an hour and then have a short wait to be tested when the place opens, than to show up when the line is already who-knows-how-long. By the time I was done with my test, the line was so long I had my doubts that the people at the end would reach the head of the line before closing time. And imagine how frustrating it would be to wait for hours, only to be told, “Sorry, we’re done for the day.”  

2. If you don’t like standing for more than an hour, bring a chair. Some people had lawn chairs, some had fold-up camping chairs. Some people had a “shooting stick” (like this: Wish I had thought of that!)  

3. If you are going to play games on your phone or tablet, make sure your battery is fully charged before you go!  

A few other considerations:  

Starting on Monday, November 23, more testing sites will open and the hours will be expanded at the firehouses – see the announcement from the DC Health Department here: But you probably will NOT get results in time for Thanksgiving. I was told that the results will come by email in 5-7 business days….but that’s a conservative estimate. The tester told me it might be as fast as 3 days.* There's an email address or phone number to use if the results don't come within 5 days. I was also advised to check my spam box regularly, as sometimes the results will not get past a spam filter.  

The big thing to remember is that it’s no use being tested if you go out and mix in a crowd after testing. You really need to quarantine yourself both before testing and afterward, so that you are not exposed to the virus too soon for it to be detected by the test, or in the days following the test.

Here’s how the test went for me:

I left my house in Cleveland park at 2:10 PM and arrived at the Firehouse at Connecticut and Everett at 2:20, which was about 40 minutes in advance of the 3 PM opening time of the testing tents. The line was already beyond the end of the block of Everett St NW and partway down Nebraska Ave. By the time the line had advanced enough for me to be within sight of the testing tents in front of the Firehouse, the line behind me had grown so long that it wrapped around two more streets and had doubled back around to Everett Street (utilizing the sidewalk on the other side of the street) and back again to Nebraska Ave. 

I reached the head of the line and got tested at 4:10 PM and was home by 4:20. The whole experience took exactly two hours door to door.

Epilogue: Right after I got home, I received a text message from the head of the assisted living facility in Potomac where my mother lives. They have decided in the interest of the safety of residents and staff that all in-person visits -- with or without a negative test -- are suspended for some unspecified period of time. So a negative test does not allow me to spend any time with my mother on Thanksgiving!

*UPDATE: The results -- negative (yay!) -- arrived on Tuesday evening 11/24. That's 4 days or 2 business after the Friday afternoon test.

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

Stay In: Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo to Close Nov. 23 - and DC announces increased testing hours starting 11/23

 by Peggy Robin

Covid Testing at Engine Co. 31 at 4930 Connecticut Ave NW

I did not post my usual Thursday column highlight some event for the "Get Out" column -- as almost every place that was hosting in-person events, even with enhanced safety protocols in place -- has now shut down during the current surge of covid cases.

I thought I would just pass along the notice from Smithsonian about its decision to lock down starting on Monday, November 23:

Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. This will impact the eight Smithsonian facilities  eight Smithsonian facilities in the Washington, D.C., region that had reopened to the public to date. Due to the changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a reopening date at this time.

The Institution’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff. We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures. We are closely monitoring guidance from local governments, public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly. Visit our website  or follow the Smithsonian on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates. 

While the museums are closed, we invite you to explore the Smithsonian’s vast online resources including virtual exhibitions, online collections and educational materials  


While so many public gathering places are shut down, covid testing centers are ramping up to handle the increased numbers of people who would like to be tested before they make decisions about holiday gatherings or travel. It's not clear whether anyone getting a test this week will have results back in time for Thanksgiving, but here is the link to the DC's government's Coronavirus Information Site that has the list of available testing sites - both public and private:

On that site you will see an announcement that starting on Monday, November 23, expanded hours will be available at public testing sites across the District:  

While you wait for your results, protect our community by staying home.

The "Get Out!" events column will be back whenever we are able to safely get out again!

The "Get Out" events column is usually published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on  All Life Is Local on Thursdays - but we're a day late today!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Still Life with Robin: You Still Have a Chance to Vote!

by Peggy Robin 

The presidential election had been decided -- and despite what conspiracy theorists and the current occupant of the White House may say or tweet -- we know quite well who will be stepping into that high position on January 20. But we still have no idea who will take the helm of another important and respected leadership role, and that is the one left unfilled after the death of one of the most trusted, dignified, and admired figures of our time....and you should know (if you will recall that I'm a Jeopardy fan from way back, and also former contestant, whose episode aired July 23 2019) that I can only be talking about the late, great Alex Trebek.  

While so many of us Jeopardy lovers are still in mourning for Alex, we know we need a new host, and we are nervous seeing the role left vacant. Of course, no one can ever truly fill Alex's shoes, but we need a new face, a new and steady hand to guide us into the new post-Alex world of Jeopardy.   

I bring this up on the Cleveland Park Listserv, not just out of my own dedication to the game, but because I know there's a big, solid fan-base for the show among CP Listserv members. I thought you'd like to know that the Today Show is running a poll, and you have a chance to vote. 

The Today Show has listed the following seven personalities under consideration to take the helm of Jeopardy -- although, as you will see, not all of them are serious contenders: 

O   Tom Bergeron, 65, is a longtime TV host  of such shows as: "America's Funniest Home Videos," 2001-15; "Dancing With the Stars, 2005-2020; "Hollywood Squares" and others. 

O   Alex Faust, 31, currently does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings during NHL games, and has called other games for NBC Sports and the Boston Red Sox on NESN. He's young, good-looking and would help to bring the energy of a sports competition to the game.

O   Levar Burton, 63, was the longtime host of "Reading Rainbow," but is perhaps best known as an actor for his role as ship's chief engineer Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as his debut role as Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking TV mini-series "Roots." Burton is also generally acknowledged to be VERY SMART! 

O   Laura Coates, 40, is a CNN legal analyst and law professor at George Washington University School of Law, who also has a talk radio show on SiriusXM. Alex Trebek mentioned her as a possible replacement during an interview he gave to TMZ (In the same interview he also mentioned Alex Faust.)

O   Anderson Cooper, 53, is a two-time Emmy-winning journalist who already has his own show,  "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN. He's on the Today Show popularity poll, so I'm including him here, even though I don't for a minute believe he would take the job if offered. He and his husband are new fathers and committed to their lives in New York and he seems unlikely to want to give all that up to move to LA to host a game show. Still, he's a Jeopardy fan and has appeared as a celebrity contestant three times. 

O    Ken Jennings, 46, is the holder of the Jeopardy title, "Greatest of All Time" -- and also had the longest ever winning streak on the show -- 74 games. He is currently a consulting producer on the show, and is widely considered the leading contender to take on the hosting duties. 

O   Betty White, 98, is on this list because whenever anyone asked Alex Trebek to name the person he wanted to see take over from him, he would answer, "Betty White." They were great friends, and she was also a huge fan of the show -- but she does not need or want your vote in this poll! National Treasure, yes -- host of a game show, no.    

The poll is still live - so vote while you still can (scroll down to the end of the article to vote):    

For those of you who favor Levar Burton, let me add that there's a petition urging the producers of the show to choose him. You can sign here:    

And for those of you who can't imagine anyone else in the role of host, you can take comfort in the knowledge that Alex left us with enough taped episodes to see us to Christmas. We will find out afterward, who will take over this position of national authority, respect, dignity....setting the tone for a new era,  starting (we hope!) in January, 2021.


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

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Stay In! And Hear from the Smartest People in the US Talking about Covid-19

 by Peggy Robin

Sorry to get this in so close to the wire (and maybe too late for those who subscribe to the listserv in digest mode! Definitely too late for anyone getting the Daily Summary of yesterday’s posts!) – but the event description below is definitely the most essential one of all the events I saw advertised happening soon or in the next few days. And this one is very soon! That is to say, TONIGHT at 7 PM. (I promise to pick something with more advance notice for next week's "Stay In/Get Out!" column!)

Washington National Cathedral Presents:
Thursday, November 12, 2020 | 7:00pm  

Free, donations accepted

DATES OFFERED: November 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm   

As the COVID-19 pandemic devastates American life and claims more than 225,000 lives, you're invited to spend an evening with one of the nation's foremost coronavirus experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and winner of the 2020 Templeton Prize, and Dr. Luciana Borio, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force, will respond.

Presented as the Cathedral's 2020 Ignatius Forum, Dr. Fauci will discuss the prospects for a second wave and a vaccine. Dr. Fauci, Dr. Collins and Dr. Borio will explore what future "normal" might look like and what the US and other countries have learned about the pandemic that can help us prepare for the next one.

Registration for this online event is free, and all donations go to support the Cathedral's ministry as a center of convening at the intersection of sacred and civic life. This event is part of the Cathedral’s annual Ignatius Forum series, which is sponsored by the family of Paul and Nancy Ignatius in honor of their longtime support of the Cathedral and its public programming.

Hosted by Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review; David Ignatius, columnist at The Washington Post; and the Hon. Amy L. Ignatius, New Hampshire Superior Court

About Dr. Fauci:  

Dr. Fauci was appointed Director of NIAID in 1984. He oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. 

NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2020 is an estimated $5.9 billion.

Dr. Fauci has advised six Presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues, including the Trump Administration's Coronavirus Taskforce. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.   

About Dr. Collins: 

Francis Collins is a physician-scientist and has served under two U.S. Presidents as the Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world. Under his direction, the Human Genome Project produced the first finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. His contributions to science, medicine, and society have been recognized by the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science and the 2020 Templeton Prize. 

A former atheist, Collins became a Christian during his medical training, and wrote about that in a best-selling book, The Language of God.  Subsequently he founded the BioLogos Foundation, to provide a meeting place for individuals interested in serious and civil discourse on the potential harmony between science and Christian faith. 

About Dr. Borio:
Luciana Borio, MD, directed medical and biodefense preparedness for the Trump administration from 2017-2019 and was recently named to the coronavirus task force for President-elect Joe Biden. She is a Vice President at In-Q-Tel, an independent, non-profit, strategic investment firm that works to identify, adapt, and deliver innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the United States Intelligence Community.

She is also a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in biodefense, emerging infectious diseases, medical product development, and complex public health emergencies.

She previously served as the Acting Chief Scientist of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2015-2017), and the Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism Policy of the FDA (2010-2017).  

Registration is free; donations gratefully accepted:  

The "Get Out/Stay In!" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Honk If You Hate Honking

by Peggy Robin

As I was driving along Connecticut Avenue today, I passed by several large batches of people celebrating the election results -- just as called for in the two event announcements posted on the listserv yesterday (see message  and ): by gathering at the corners of the nearest state-named street – in this case, Connecticut Avenue. In Cleveland Park the party was at Connecticut and Porter, and about a half mile to the north, at Connecticut and Van Ness. People were singing, dancing, waving signs and DC and US flags – and here’s the part that got my attention – asking drivers to honk their horns in support. 

As you can imagine, in a jurisdiction where Biden got 93 percent of the vote and Trump barely got over 5 percent, that meant a whole lot of horn honking. It sounded like this:  
(22 seconds)  

I was stuck at the light at Van Ness for probably less than a minute – and about 30 seconds in, I was pretty well sick of the noise. And I couldn’t help but think of all the parents of irritable, wakeful toddlers that were missing a nap because of this. Or healthcare workers on the night shift who need to sleep during the day. Or people with PTSD, who have trouble with loud noises..

Don’t get me wrong. I’m feeling celebratory myself today. I’m just not pro-honking as a way to express it.

That got me to thinking: What if there were another way for passing drivers to show their approval?

What if you could buy a portable signboard that you could slap onto the roof of your car with magnets, which would display a short message in bright red LED lights? There could be some standard things already programmed in:

Go TEAM!!! (This could be used any time your favorite team is in the World Series or some other sporting event)

This would work for some other milestones, too:
For newlyweds, the rooftop display board  could replace the JUST MARRIED sign and tin-cans tied to the rear of the car.
CONGRATS, CLASS of 2021!  

Then you could have a few driving notes, such as: 

The signboard could light up with any short message that you programmed in. This could be done via an app on your smartphone. You just type in what you want to say. Once you have a standard bank of road etiquette phrases accessible, you could call up a message with the push of a single button, without taking your eyes off the road. (Of course, it will be illegal to type in any new phrases while driving - just as texting while driving is illegal.)  

When not expressing your personal greetings or driving notes, the signboard could remain blank -- or it could could revert to a message that is applicable all the time -- perhaps: “DRIVE GENTLY” or THANKS FOR NOT SPEEDING!  

I can see this as one of those gadgets that gets hawked in TV commercials, like WeatherTech Floor Liners or that cellphone holder that sits in your car's cupholder.  

It shouldn’t be very expensive, either. 

If someone built a startup around this idea, and ran up a prototype, they could probably have investors on board and the whole enterprise would be up and running before the mid-terms! If you think this could be you, I say GO FOR IT! And don’t worry that I will accuse you of stealing my idea. I have no claims on this one. It would be enough for me to know that cars were lighting up to express the driver’s enthusiasm, joy, celebration ...and put an end to all that damn honking!

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

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Get Out! And Enjoy a Walk in the Park

by Peggy Robin

This week's highlighted event is not tied to a specific date and time - it's an ongoing thing - but today or anytime this weekend, when the weather is perfect for a walk in the woods, you can enjoy a free, guided tour of the park on your cell phone as you stroll.

You don't even need a smartphone or any device that can download an app -- just look for the "Dial and Discover" signs along your walk at any of a dozen National Park Service sites listed below, and call 202-730-9307 to listen to the recorded information as you walk.

Here's a more detailed account from the National Park Service website:

Your phone provides a fun way to learn more about Rock Creek Park. You can listen to a park ranger give a two-minute narration on various aspects of the park.

When visiting Rock Creek Park you can listen to these narrations at numerous points of interest in Washington DC. Just look for the “Dial and Discover” signs, call 202-730-9307, and enter the stop number. Since this is a phone tour, you can be anywhere in Washington where there is cell phone coverage to listen to the messages. Feel free to stroll along as you listen, then stop and enjoy the view to reflect on what you have just learned.

There is no additional charge to listen to these messages. Please be aware that cell phone coverage in Rock Creek Park can be spotty and not all providers offer service in the park.

We are very interested in hearing your feedback about this audio tour and we encourage you to leave a message about your experience with this program. You can do this by pressing *0 on your cell phone at anytime while listening to any portion of your tour.

Here are some helpful instructions when you are listening to these audio tours:

Press 1 to Rewind
Press 2 to Pause/Play
Press 3 to Fast Forward
Press # to Stop
Press *0 to Leave Comments

If you would like to listen to the Park Ranger Audio Tours while at home, here is a list of tour numbers.

After dialing (202) 730-9307
1. Meridian Hill Park
2. Joan of Arc Statue
3. Dante Statue
4. Buchanan Statue
5. Serenity Statue
6. Ashbury Statue
7. Marconi Statue 
8. McClellan Statue
9. Dumbarton Oaks Park   
10. Montrose Park 
11. Francis Scott Key Memorial Gardens   
12. Old Stone House

For printable map of the cell phone tour stops click here.


The "Get Out!" column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Still Life with Robin: The Halloween Blue Moon/Red Moon/End of DST

Blue Moon by Thrillist
by Peggy Robin

So many ways tonight is special. It's not just Halloween. It's all of the following:

Blue Moon
Red Mars with Blue Moon
Full Moon visible in all US time zones
Hunter's Moon
First Frost
End of Daylight Saving Time 

Let's take them one at a time:

Blue Moon. It was traditionally defined as the third of four full moons in a single season, between the equinox and solstice. These days, the more popular definition is the second full moon in a calendar month -- and this month, we had a full moon on October 2. Tonight's blue moon is even rarer for falling on Halloween. The last time that happened was 76 years ago, October 31, 1944.    

Full Moon Visible Across Many Times Zones. This full moon is even rarer for appearing in all US time zones. It's a Halloween full moon for much of the world -- except for time zones on the other side of the world, where it's November 1.  

Hunter's Moon. The full moons all have traditional names given to them by Native Americans and listed in the Farmer's Almanac. The first one in October is called the Harvest Moon. This one is known as the Hunter's Moon - the time when people must stock up on game for the long winter to come. There are many other names, created by other peoples - learn more about them at - where you will also learn that this moon is a "micro moon" - appearing at a time when it is farthest from the earth. But it won't appear any smaller to the naked eye.   

Red Planet. However, the planet Mars - "the red planet" - is closest at this point in its orbit and will appear larger than usual. So look to the night sky for a Red Mars/Blue Moon combination:   

First Frost. Maybe not in DC but a first frost is expected in the farther flung suburbs. And an hour or so farther west, in the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia, the first snowfall with accumulation may come. So if you're spending your Halloween weekend in a cozy mountain cabin....I hope it has a fireplace!  

The next Halloween night with a full moon? We'll be waiting until October 31, 2077, and if we don't see it, it will be here for the generations after us.  

End of DST. One more thing about tonight: Before you go to sleep, remember to set the clocks back one hour -- if you still have any old fashioned non-computer controlled clocks, that is. I won't repeat my annual rant against the non-energy-saving EDT/DST ritual but will just cite my previous position and I'm sticking with that! 

That time reset is the least of the changes to come - at this point in history! Wishing for better times starting with the first Tuesday in November!

And now a song -- of course it must be this one: 

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

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Get Out! And Enjoy Halloween in a Masked and Socially Distant Way

Postcard by John Winslow
Public Doman via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin    

As you would expect, the "Get Out" events column on the last Thursday in October is all about Halloween happenings - although this year there are a lot fewer of them --for obvious reasons--and you will have to decide which, if any, will fit within your risk-to-fun assessment for your kids/self/significant others.  

Howl-o-Ween Dog Party at Guy Mason Dog Park  
Pop-Up Doggy Costume Parties At DPR Dog Parks. Prizes, Giveaways & More
Date: 10/31
Time: 12pm - 2pm
Location: Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert St NW  

Chevy Chase Outside Trick-or-Treat Halloween Party 
A Classic DPR Trick Or Treat Event, Hosted Outdoors, With Prizes And Gifts
Date: 10/31
Time: 3pm - 5pm
Location: Chevy Chase Rec Center, 5500 41st Street NW   

Palisades Halloween Parade
A Kids Halloween Parade Around The Baseball Field With Treats & Costumes
Date: 10/30
Time: 5pm -6pm
Location: Palisades Recreation Center, 5200 Sherier Pl NW   

Want to be even more socially distant? Head over to the Joseph Cole Rec Center in NE, where they're having a Halloween Car Parade.
Trick Or Treating And Halloween Themed Car Decoration
Date: 10/30
Time: 5pm - 8pm
Location: Joseph Cole Recreation Center, 1299 Neal Street, NE     

Maps to Recreation Centers available at:  

View All DPR Halloween events:  

For suggestions for more adult activities, plus some fun family outings, and some creative alternatives to Halloween, here are the recommendations from Washingtonian Magazine online:   

Want even more ideas? Willing to drive out to the country? You'll find a list of eleven adult and family activities - including some things to do on November 1 - in DCist's Halloween Guide:

If you can't find something you like in any of the above, then maybe just stay home with your pumpkin, roast the pumpkin seeds, and hope for a happier (and covid-less) Halloween next year!


The "Get Out!" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.  

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Have a Happy -Webless- Halloween!

by Peggy Robin

Well, it's been a bad year in so, so many ways....the very least of which is regarding Halloween house decorating. I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that sales of Halloween house trimmings -- you know, those blow-up ghosts and monsters, the witch's legs that stick out from under the porch, the cauldron that produces a dry-ice fog, the spiders, vampire bats, skeletons, and all the rest -- are considerably down from 2019, when sales were booming. So many consumers are wondering if it's safe to celebrate the holiday at all. 

Why dress up your house in a big way when you actively want to dissuade crowds of kids from gathering at your front door?

Of course, until the pandemic struck, the exact opposite thinking was the rule around this neighborhood. For many years -- generations! -- Cleveland Park was known for its annual Halloween parade/haunted house at the Macomb Street Playground. And there were so many elaborately done-up houses - best-known among them, a house in the heart of the neighborhood whose facade was always completely covered by a massive canvas painted with a goblin's face, sometimes with an open mouth at the entrance. One Halloween it was Harry Potter. Those were the days!

Fortunately for Cleveland Parkers, the Halloween spirit is not entirely absent in 2020. The Rosedale Conservancy -- happy to report -- is hosting its annual Pumpkin Party this weekend -- today and tomorrow. It's too late today, but here's what's happening on Sunday, October 25:  

The Rosedale Conservancy looks forward to seeing you this weekend for several Fall/Halloween activities. All activities will be on Rosedale's grounds (35th/Newark) culminating in the first-ever pumpkin patch and annual pumpkin carving the weekend of Oct. 24/25.  Further details below:   

Pumpkin Patch: Enjoy the first-ever John Eaton Elementary Pumpkin Patch -- right at Rosedale. The school will be selling corn husks and pumpkins of all colors, shapes, and sizes (including plenty of large-faced carving pumpkins). Come dressed in your Halloween costume if you'd like to get your picture taken as part of John Eaton's virtual Halloween parade -- or just to get into the spirit!  Sunday, 11am - 2pm

Pumpkin Carving: This is BYOP (bring your own pumpkin), or instead, just purchase at the patch. Per tradition, Rosedale will provide stencils and carving instruction. However, this year Rosedale asks that you bring your own carving tools if possible, although a limited number will be available on-site. Sunday, 12 - 3pm.  

Scarecrow/Harvest People: You are the artist! Create a scarecrow/harvest person to be displayed on Rosedale's fence bordering Newark Street. Prizes awarded for Best Overall, Most Colorful, and Most Unusual. Creations to be installed the week of Oct. 18-23, with judging/prizes on Sunday, Oct. 25. For further details/entry, please visit  

**All activities will adhere to safety protocols with 6 feet of physical distance. Masks required. Please leave furry friends at home.**
[See Listserv message  #165385  for the announcement from the Rosedale Conservancy]  

There is one up-side, as I see it, to the reduced scale of the Halloween festivities, and here it is: Not so much fake cob-webbery in the bushes. That's a small victory for small birds that take shelter in the shrubbery or even small mammals that go foraging for food. 

Even when Halloween is back on in full force (hope that's next year!), I'd like to see this particular form of Halloween decoration die out. Why?

  • It's UGLY! Not the least bit scary -- just gross.
  • That polyester-mesh or cotton gauze webbing doesn't look anything like real cobwebs. It doesn't look like anything found in nature, just some cheap thready crap pulled out of a package. A real spider wouldn't be caught dead in it!
  • After a rain, it's even worse. It turns into a soggy, disgusting mess. 
  • It's a big chore to remove it all -- and it's no wonder you still see remnants of it hanging onto branches well past November 1.
  • Environmentally, it's a disaster. It's not just the hazard to small creatures like hummingbirds and bees, but it can be bad for larger wildlife too. Just look at this poor owl, trapped, tangled up, nearly killed by cobwebbing -- but mercifully freed by wildlife rescuers: For more about the hazards to all kinds of wildlife, read this:

So decorate your hearts out, Halloween householders! Just make it a web-less work of art!


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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Stay In! And Attend the Opening of DC's Newest Museum

The highlighted event for this week is happening in cyberspace....and it's a Planet. But not a planet up in in outer space; it's Planet Word, a new museum at the corner of 13th & K NW, in what used to be the n the old Franklin School building. It's just what it sounds like -- a museum of words. 

You can attend the opening ceremony taking place on Thursday, October 22 at 11 AM

Here's your invitation: 

You are invited to a
Ribbon Cutting
October 22, 2020 | 11:00am

This virtual ceremony to commemorate Planet Word’s public opening will feature remarks by Planet Word founder Ann Friedman and Mayor Muriel Bowser. It will also include appearances by actress Anna Deavere Smith and spoken word artist Charity Blackwell, as well as a musical performance from Renee Fleming, freestyle hip hop from rapper Christylez Bacon, and a poetic dedication written for the occasion by Naomi Shihab Nye. Expect surprise appearances from other prominent Planet Word supporters.

When can you visit in real life? Click here to get your timed passes for your of these days. All (free) passes are sold out for now. But when you are able to get them, you can be assured that procedures are in place for a socially-distanced experience with low risk of infection -- strict guidelines here:

Want a sneak preview? Here's the first look given to the News4Washington TV news crew:

A real life visit sounds like it will be out of this world!

The "Stay In!" event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.