Thursday, April 2, 2020

Get Out! The Think-Outside-the House Column

by Peggy Robin

The "Get Out!" events column got turned into the Stay In! Activities column last week....and this week it’s gone full circle and is back to “Get Out” again. Here’s a top ten list of things you can do outside – keeping a minimum six foot distance from all others – while you are out and about. The list is arranged David-Letterman-Show-style from the tenth up to the first:

10. Make music outside. You don’t need to be Yo-yo Ma to give a concert. Can you play the guitar? The banjo? The ukelele? Hum through a kazoo? Anything will do (well, maybe not the bagpipes!) You can perform spontaneously or coordinate your music with your neighbors. You may have seen how whole neighborhoods enjoyed making music together some evenings during quarantine in cities throughout Italy. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBByYjjvNzs  or https://bit.ly/3bSsxB7.

9. Go fly a kite. Wait for a windy day. Find an empty field. Get – or make – an easy-to-fly kite. Athletic fields of closed schools may be available. If not, there are open meadows and fields. For some do-it-yourself kite crafting, see: https://www.handmadecharlotte.com/lets-go-fly-a-kite/, which claims to have easy-to-build kites that fly well. I can't vouch for either claim, but these are pretty -- so at the very least, you'll have a nice art object, even if it doesn't get off the ground.

8. Go on a Bear Hunt! You’ve seen the messages on the listserv about the Great Cleveland Park Bear Hunt, haven’t you? Last time I checked the database, there were 139 locations with bears or other animals, each waiting to be found in the own native habitat. You can use the GoogleMap doc as your walking guide. P.S. You don't need to have a little kid with you on the hunt, but it helps!

7. Go on an architecture walk. The preceding activity works best when you're pushing a stroller or holding the hand of companion under the age of nine. For a more adult activity (but fine for teens and tweens, if they have any interest in history and design) – take a walk to spot the many fine examples of famous architects that we have in Cleveland Park (including Waldron Faulkner, I.M. Pei, Waddy Wood,-- or look for the characteristics of distinctive housing styles (Victorian, Craftsman Bungalow, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, and a dozen others). Or you could go looking for some specific whimsical elements on houses, like the cat on the roof of a house on Newark St, or the many houses that feature "rope dipped in plaster" decorations around doors or on gables, or find an "eyebrow window." Learn some architecture terms before you go, and you can give yourself a guided tour. Or use the Cleveland Park History Self Guided Tour available at this link.

6. Get moving in an unusual way. Got roller blades? A pogo stick? Can you walk on stilts? Ride a unicycle? If there's an unusual way you're able to get around -- extra points if you can juggle at the same time -- you’ll be the star of the neighborhood ... at a safe distance. Or maybe you (or your kids) could do some cartwheels across the lawn. Even if you can’t do any tricks, you can put a bounce in your step as you take your walk. I recommend a walk with the dance moves that Dorothy and her pals used as they traveled down the Yellow Brick Road. It’s fun but so simple that anyone can do it. Take a look and see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3K2vidqrUc

5. Grill time. Take your kitchen outdoors. You don’t need a high-tech appliance with all kinds of bells and whistles. A small metal hibachi ($19.99 at Walmart) is fine for a simple outdoor barbecue. Almost every sort of food can be grilled – burgers, hot dogs, chicken, things on skewers -- and will be better for it. Marinate ahead of time and add even more flavor. Cooking outdoors over a real flame has some deep-down appeal that stirs our paleolithic souls. And you can always have s’mores for dessert! Find 49 easy grill ideas here:
https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g3429/weeknight-dinners-on-the-grill/?slide=18 (and yes, you may need all 49 of them, if this thing goes on for as long as we think it will).

4. Decorate outside like it’s Christmas. You put away your holiday lights in January, but in times like these, why not put them back up? Twinkling lights would be very cheery right now, and we could all use more cheer. Add some seasonally appropriate springtime decorations too – like a flower wreath on the door. You can learn to make one here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1122/spring-wreath-diy/. For some creative light-string use, take a look at: https://www.plumdeluxe.com/10-non-tacky-ways-to-decorate-with-christmas-lights-year-round.

3. Become a delivery person. Tired of walking around with no particular place to go? You need a purpose to your outings! Volunteer with Cleveland and Woodley Park Village or Northwest Neighbors Village and they will send you out to help people who need you! Deliver food and drugstore supplies for your neighbors – that can be your super power! Find out more at : https://www.clevelandwoodleyparkvillage.org/volunteer/ or https://www.nnvdc.org/.

2. Make a photo journal for posterity. You will never look back fondly on these days but you may want to document them all the same. Go out and record the empty, eerie carlessness of Connecticut Avenue at what is supposed to be rush hour. Capture the sunset over the Cathedral. Call your family members around the country or around the world and have them send you selfies so you will have a record of what everyone was doing, wherever they happened to be on one chosen day, at an appointed time. Or walk around with a camera and wait for something to surprise you. Walk around with a camera and you never know what you will find. The photo record you make could become a treasure for future generations.

And now the number one suggestion for an outside activity that anyone of any age can enjoy – and it will bring a smile to others, too:

1. Sidewalk Art. Use colorful chalk to draw a sunny scene and leave an encouraging note. Anyone can draw a big, shining sun and write the lyrics, "The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow." How about chalking a short thank you note to doctors, nurses and health care workers? Add a bouquet of flowers. or a single rose. Or go abstract, with wavy lines or jazzy shapes. It won't be hard to create something that will brighten the day of other passers-by. Need more ideas? There's an 84-picture slideshow at
https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200325/sidewalk-chalk-used-to-spread-joy-amid-pandemic
84-slideshow and some even better examples here:
https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/24/home-bound-due-to-coronavirus-people-are-chalking-hope-on-sidewalks/. Think you're pretty good? Here are some phenomenal masters of the chalk who will show you what can be done. Take a look! https://www.boredpanda.com/5-most-talented-3d-sidewalk-chalk-artists/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fool's Day 2020

WHO Calls for Global Cancellation of April Fool's Day; 
President Trump Says It's Back On In 40 Days

In an health advisory issued on 31 March 2020 the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) called on the leaders of all its member nations to cancel all activities normally practiced in their countries in observance of April Fool’s Day. The traditional activity, which originated in France and is practiced widely throughout Europe, is to sneak up behind someone a put a paper fish on their back, then run awayIf the person realizes he or she has been “fished,” the person can then pass on the paper fish to someone else. As this practice is now deemed unsafe (and it was never was particularly clever or hilarious to begin with), the heads of all European countries have formally agreed to ban it, and accordingly, have cancelled this year’s April Fool’s Day in their countries.   

In his daily press conference President Trump was asked whether the United States would follow suit, and he immediately responded, “That’s a nasty question.” With Dr. Anthony Fauci at his side, rolling his eyes so far back in his head that for a moment they went completely blank, the President responded that America would still enjoy a beautiful April Fool’s Day – “Trust me, it will be the most beautiful one you’ve ever known” – but that it would be even greater if moved to a date in May.  

The President then announced that the new date for April Fool’s Day would be on Sunday, May 15, which is also Mother’s Day, adding that the date would be the perfect time for everyone to come out of isolation, visit their mothers, and play the “greatest April Fool’s trick on our mothers that our American genius can devise.” Having the 40-day delay will give people time to plan and the result will be to make our April Fool (AF) into an “the most incredible May Fool (MF) you ever saw.” The President called for a national competition to see “who can be the best at making this MF great as AF!” 

The President has already appointed a commission, to be known as the Trump Commission on Great AF-MF, which, in record time, has rolled out the National Great AF-MF website, listing the rules and eligibility (US native-born citizens only!) for the competition. The website is up and running today. 

You can register your April Fool/May Fool ideas at this link:
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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Twitter News of the Week


by Peggy Robin

In times like these you may feel a need to distance yourself –if only for a short time—from all the important things going on around you, and take refuge in the inconsequential, the silly, the divertingly amusing. Sort of like an amuse bouche before you get down to the real nourishment of a meal. So here's a little amuse-bouche of a column, served up on a Triscuit.

Have you ever wondered where the name Triscuit came from?

There’s a Twitter discussion thread on this topic that now has over 314  tweets -- and a surprisingly well-researched answer.

If you would like to follow the entire thread, a long rabbit hole begins at this link:

I present the highlights below, with the answer early on – and some appreciative comments for the detective work! (This is the short rabbit-hole version. Note: I have cleaned up typos in some of the Tweets):

Mar 25
OK, buckle up. I wanna talk to you about Triscuit.
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Several years ago I was at a party (BRAG!), and I spotted a box of Triscuits. I asked everyone, "What does the word 'Triscuit' mean? It's clearly based on the word "BISCUIT," but what does the "TRI" mean?" (I'm great at parties.)
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
The consensus was that "TRI" means three. Maybe "three layers" or "three ingredients." No one knew for sure, though, so I Googled it. But here's the thing -- Google didn't seem to have an official answer, either. Just more guesses.
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
So we went straight to the source. We emailed Nabisco. And the response we got a few days later shook us to the core. Here it is:
[Screenshot of reply to Sage Boggs from Nabisco]

    Thank you for your interest in our Triscuit crackers.
    No business records survived which specifically explain the origins or inspiration for the name Triscuit. But we do know the name was chosen as a fun derivation of the word “biscuit.” The “TRI” does not mean 3.
    If you haven’t done so already, please add our site to your favorites and visit us again soon!

Sage Boggs @sageboggs
"The "TRI" does not mean 3." How... how do they know what it DOESN'T mean, but NOT know what it DOES mean? HOW??
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Also, "No business records survived"? What the HELL happened at the Triscuit factory? Did the building explode? Did someone run out of the doors and yell "It doesn't mean THREE!" right before perishing in a giant blaze?
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
I was baffled. And I couldn't stand not knowing. So I did a little sleuthing online, and stumbled on some early Triscuit advertisements. Take a look at these bad boys:
[View the tweet with the image of an original TRISCUIT advertisement at the link below]

TRISCUIT
BAKED BY ELECTRICITY
By The Natural Food Co.
Niagara Falls, U.S.A.

       Triscuit is the newest and perhaps the best creation of the Natural Food Co. of Nicaraga Falls, N.Y., makers also of the Celebrated Wheat Biscuits.
       Triscuits are best eaten with cream, fruit juices, as toast with eggs, and a thousand and one other ways, each of which is fully and comprehensively explained in the neat little booklet which accompanies each package of genuine Triscuits.
       Triscuit is baked by electricity, the only food on the market prepared by this 1903 process.
       In neat packages, each 15 cents. If you buy two they cost 25 cents

Sage Boggs @sageboggs
In the early 1900's, Triscuit was [located in] Niagara Falls. And their big selling point? Being "baked by electricity." They were "the only food on the market prepared by this 1903 process." Look at the lightning bolts! And that's when it clicked—
Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Elec-TRI-city Biscuit 
TRISCUIT MEANS "ELECTRICITY BISCUIT"

And the story was confirmed by @realTriscuit – so Sage Boggs reported/retweeted:  
We did it, folks. WE DID IT.
Quote Triscuit@TheRealTriscuit
We had to go all the way up the ladder but we CAN confirm

Now for some of the flood of reactions to this amazing revelation:
Mar 26
Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
I can honestly say that as a man who has eaten thousands of Triscuits, I am forever changed by this.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
First of all, I can’t believe they’ve been around since 1903. Of course, I did find an open box in my pantry from 2003.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Thank you for this fascinating thread, from someone who qualifies as a fangirl.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Damn, the way this year is going I was expecting this to involve Nazis.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
You single handedly made Triscuits the most interesting thing on Twitter today - In the thick of a pandemic, to boot. Well done, sir.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Congratulations this made the local ABC news broadcast in Philadelphia today

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Nabisco lied to you. TRISCUIT obviously derives from the TRI (three) in TRISCUIT vs. the BI (two) in biscuit. The original Triscuit was made from THREE ingredients:  whole wheat flour, vegetable oil and salt. Traditional BISCUITS are made from TWO ingredients: flour and cream.
High voltage sign
High voltage sign

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
This is the hard hitting journalism I need right now. MFer even got Triscuit to add a lightning bolt 
High voltage sign
High voltage signto their name. But seriously: I need that booklet with over 1000 ways to enjoy this futuristic cracker.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
The electric logo seems to back up the assumption that tri is for electricity - is there other times tri is used instead of electric historically - like why not elecruit?

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Oh my God I'm going to call them electric biscuits forever, you have made my night

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Fascinating. They still taste like a block of hay, though

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
There were 1004 ways to eat Triscuits (they list three and say there are "a thousand and one more" that were all detailed in a booklet that came with them? I am not a *great* cook, but 1004 ways to use Triscuits seems excessive.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
It's nice that the booklet fully and comprehensively explains how to eat them. I hate partial explanations of what to eat on a cracker.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
This was a journey, but my favorite part is that they used to include a booklet on how to eat Triscuits. I've just been an idiot my whole life, buying new snacks and just shoving them in my mouth without wondering if there was a better way.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
"Should always be heated in an oven before serving"  well butter my Triscuit and call me Judy.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
I love this story because I too cannot let things go. That said, original Triscuits are the only good Triscuits. Flavored ones can go straight to hell.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Yeah, ok but the unanswered question remains.
What happened at Triscuits that NO RECORDS SURVIVED?!?
And that letter! How could they know what it ISN’T but not what it IS?!?
You have buried the lede here

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
I’m in isolation in New York and I need answers!

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
And love the typo: Nicaraga Falls

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
this was remarkable. Next do a deep dive into who changed the box to this monstrosity from the simple yellow one

Sage Boggs @sageboggs:
I'm on the case

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Is this all an undercover sponsored ad for Triscuit?

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Wait. Niagara Falls. Begin of the 20th century. New electricity. Does that mean we can thank/blame Nikola Tesla for Triscuits?!

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Wait so why were all the records lost?? Electrical fire?

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Historic sleuths:  Sherlock Holmes, Allan Pinkerton, Miss Marple, Columbo, William J. Burns, Jessica Fletcher, to name a few. You, @sageboggs, have earned your place on this list.

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Round of applause and a life time supply of electricity biscuits for you. Don't be shocked!

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Well. Now all I want is a Triscuit and I’m quarantined with a bunch of Wheat Thins! Weary face

Replying to Sage Boggs @sageboggs
Day 11: read an entire thread behind the name of Triscuits
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Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stay In! The (Non) Events Column, March 26 - April 2, 2020

by Peggy Robin

It's another week of not going out -- but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy Springtime. If you've got a garden, get out there and dig. Weed, water, fertilize, and you will be mightily rewarded.

If you don't have a garden -- do you have a windowsill that gets good light? You can grow so many things indoors that will surprise and delight -- and this is true even for those with the brownest of brown thumbs (me!).

Oh, I've killed my share of plants, both outdoors and indoors, over the years, I must admit, but there's long been just one thing that lives on, despite my poor maintenance skills. It's a small potted cactus that's been in my kitchen windowsill since 1997, and it's the hardiest thing imaginable. While all else is withering, that cactus keeps growing and growing. I've had to re-pot it twice to bigger pots. It even blooms periodically!

If this activity appeals to you, it may be hard to find an open garden store near you, but you can find cactus plants for sale at hardware stores or at big box stores like Target and Walmart. Or you can order them off the internet. Here's just one example of what you can get for less than six bucks:  https://succulentsbox.com/products/angel-wing-microdasys

As for the techniques needed to start and maintain different types of plants in the garden or in a windowsill -- I won't get started with recommendations for this or that website or YouTube instructional video. Far too many out there! My advice is just to ask The Great, Wise, and Infinite Google to help you find the specific planting/growing advice you seek (as in this example: "Grow basil in a windowsill"). Just don't spend all day watching the videos, or you may never actually get going on your plan to start to grow something in real life

Not sure what type of gardening would work best for you while you shelter in place? Here's a key question that you might want to consider in light of the current crisis:

Would you rather have something beautiful to admire or something good to eat? If  your answer is food, then try growing fresh herbs. That combines two productive uses of your time -- gardening and cooking in one shot.

If you answered beauty, here's something to consider when choosing a flowering plant: You can get fragrance along with a colorful display. And that can be a predictor of illness during the coronavirus crisis, which has as one of its early sign the loss of the sense of smell. You can grow fragrant flowers in pots indoors and grow them outdoors and take in some cuttings to keep in a vase. That way, not only will your house have a fresh, floral scent but you can give the flowers a sniff a few times a day to check out your state of health. More fun than a thermometer in your ear!

Here's a fun little internet quiz to find out what type of gardening best suits your personality:
https://www.quizony.com/what-type-of-garden-should-you-grow/ (in terms of scientific accuracy, it's about on the same level as "Which Disney princess are you?) And if your answer turns out to be, gardening of any kind is not for me, don't worry -- the Stay In (formerly the Get Out! events column) will be back at this time next week with another non-event-based recommendation.
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The Stay In! Non-Events Column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Still Life with Robin: It's Not About the C-Thing

by Peggy Robin
Image from Woburn (MA) Public Library

Just got to get away from that subject if only for half an hour! You know all too well what I’m talking about. Let’s just call it  the C-word.

It’s time for a break!

You need to see a smiling quokka:

...and learn more about it – all GOOD NEWS:

Want some soothing music and beautiful pix on in the background while you work at home? Try this:

Or this:

For something short (under two minutes), nothing beats flowers opening in time-lapse video:

….And now for something completely different! It's a visit to a pet shop:

Well, we can’t stay entirely away from the current crisis. Here’s a very useful short video about the importance of keeping  your house stocked with the softest type of toilet paper:

These are times that call for….more BUUGENG!

...and of course we can ALWAYS use more cow bell!

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Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life is Local on Saturdays.   

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Stay In! The (Non) Events Column

Photo by Thomas S Mann

Hello All,

I thought about keeping the Get Out! events column going with a list of streaming shows and activities you can join via Zoom or some other live-participation app. Not quite the same, is it? And it wouldn’t fill a need, as the internet right now is teeming – no, exploding! – with lists of virtual things to do and places to see remotely. Just one example: Eventbrite, the most popular online source of IRL (in real life) events has converted itself into a listing of live-stream and virtual events: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/online/events/.

Here's a Washington DC-based site that’s made a game -- “Washington DC Social Distancing Bingo” -- out of all the things you can do online and at home:

However, I will make one suggestion for an actual, physical thing you can do in DC in the coming week: Take a long walk – keeping a safe, six-foot distance from other walkers, of course – down to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms at peak bloom. From Cleveland Park, it’s about four miles each way. According to Google Maps, that should take the average walker about an hour and twenty minutes.

Now here's something you can do tonight, at home: At ten minutes to midnight (11:50 PM EDT on 3/19/20) , it’s the Vernal Equinox. That’s something to celebrate, even in the time of Covid-19. And this year it’s happening on the earliest date since 1896. We’ll have no gatherings to dance under the moonlight, but you can learn all about the 2020 Equinox here:  https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox ….and maybe dream about another spring when people are able to assemble in mass numbers at any of the grand sites for celebration around the world:  

Hoping for an early end to the corona shut-down, and until then, wishing you health and perseverance as you shelter in place!

-Peggy Robin
CP Listserv Moderator

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Still Life with Robin: How to Enjoy Your 14-day Involuntary Stay-cation


Waldo in Self-Quarantine
by Peggy Robin

The number of people in our area who are self-quarantining keeps going up and up. Should you self-quarantine? Read this: https://www.propublica.org/article/should-i-quarantine-because-of-coronavirus-it-depends-who-you-ask). And if your doctor or health professional has advised you to do so, how do you do it? Read this: https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-how-to-self-quarantine.html

Now, for those who are already in self-quarantine or getting ready to start, here's the tricky part. How do you keep yourself from suffering from that inevitable, accompanying side effect – cabin fever?

If you’ve got good, high-speed internet with TV streaming, Skype, Zoom, and other live-time communications, you’re pretty much set. You know you will be able to order everything you could possibly want and have it n your doorstep within a matter of days. You will have no lack on entertainment, especially with so many first-run movies available on demand on your TV screen. And of course it’s the perfect time to binge-watch any multi-season series that you missed out on  before -- probably because you never had the time.

Don’t have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or some other source of movies or TV shows? DCist to the rescue, with this very helpful piece on ways to get free streaming: https://dcist.com/story/20/03/12/free-ways-to-watch-movies-listen-to-audiobooks-and-otherwise-keep-busy-at-home/

So….after you’ve caught up on all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, now what? Here are a few ideas:

Virtual travel. Had to give up that planned trip-of-a-lifetime? Wherever it was you were going, whatever it was you were hoping to see IRL (in real life), you may find you can view in a more in-depth way in VR (virtual reality). Definitely true for any famous work of art you can name. You know you will never get a really worthwhile look at the Mona Lisa, or anything else on display in a museum that is always packed under normal conditions. As for rare species -- almost any David Attenborough documentary will show you scenes you couldn’t possibly expect to see, even f you spent the rest of your life living in a well-camouflaged hide. See a bird of paradise make a bower and do his amazing mating dance. Watch the rare and incredibly elusive snow leopard stalk a goat in the Himalayas. See Antarctic Adelie penguins steal rocks from another’s rookery. No, you won’t be seeing any of that on your average 10-day tour. Take a fraction of what you would spend on your trip and upgrade your TV system to get the largest sharpest picture and the highest quality streaming, and you will. 

Dining in. You may not be going out to eat but you can still try out new restaurants. An amazing number of them have become very creative about getting their food out to their patrons, adapting their recipes for home delivery, and expanding their delivery zones. There’s virtually nothing you desire to eat that can’t be set to go from the restaurant kitchen straight to your table. You pay online, including the tip, and the delivery person stays safe by ringing the bell and talking to you through your security doorbell-cam, and all you do is bring the food containers inside – if they've been transported in a warming bin -- just open and serve. 

Spring cleaning. 'Tis the season to de-clutter. At last you’ve got the time you need to make a thorough inventory of everything in your closets, and in your storage bins up in the attic. Don't forget to do your bookshelves and cabinets, too. Triage (or quat-age): keep; sell; give away;, throw out. Just remember that whatever you touch needs be thoroughly sanitized before it leaves your home. To be on the safe side, best to set the charity pick-up date for after your quarantine is up.

Puzzles and board games. Scrabble, chess, Monopoly, every sort of card game, crosswords, brain teasers – all available in online versions. And then, of course, there are the Settlers of Cataan, the World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Fortnite, or the zillion others with legions of online fans. Or get retro with some old-fashioned physical things, like Jenga, jigsaw puzzles, the Where’s Waldo? Books, and “Second Glance” in the Sunday Post Magazine.

Crafts. Too much virtual life, not enough tactile sensation? You need to knit! Or crochet, or embroider, or tat lace, or make a patchwork quilt. Don't worry, you can order the supplies on Amazon.

Home workouts/yoga/exercise programs. There are more options to keep your body moving, no matter your age, body type, condition, or proclivities, than I can list, so I won't even try. With or without specialized home equipment, as long as you have an internet-enabled screen where you exercise, you will be able to find a program/subscription lesson, to guide your activity, whatever it may be.

Books/Audiobooks/Podcasts. Do you have a list of books you wish you’d read but never had the time? If you’ve got 14 days to kill, "War and Peace" could be just the thing. Or Moby-Dick. How about this for the most appropriate classic you never read: Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year.  (9 hours 17 min, $13.99 on Audible) -- very long but if you’ve got 14 days to kill, you can do it. Prefer new content to the classics? Find some podcasts you like – but watch out because they’re addictive, and once you’re hooked, you’ll never have enough time to listen to all the good stuff that keeps on coming. Here’s a recommended top-50 list to get you started: https://time.com/5524332/best-podcasts-to-listen-to/

….And finally, for the vast majority of you who are not confined, and are going about your daily business – be sure to call those who are in self-quarantine to ask if they need you to run any errands for them. Or stop by and drop off a casserole. Say hello through the doorbell-cam and make someone's day. Seeing you will be like getting a fresh bouquet of flowers. Or you could drop that off, too!

We will get through this together. As Dan Rather used to sign off his newscasts back in the day, “Courage.”

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Get Out! The Events Column, March 13 - 19, 2020

Shamrocks - National Library of Ireland
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 14,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

NOTE! Due to the coronavirus emergency, any of the following events could be cancelled between now and the announced date. Be sure to check the website or use the contact information to find out whether the event is still on before you go!  

Friday, March 13 from  9:30 AM - 5:30 PM, Explore a Future Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Exhibit. The DC Public Library is modernizing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The modernization includes a new exhibit space highlighting DC stories. An interactive mini exhibit will be on display inside the West End Neighborhood Library. You are invited to come and explore the exhibit. Exhibit designers will love to hear what you think. Free. At the West End Library, 2301 L St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66734 

Friday, March 13, all day, This Friday the 13th everyone has reason to fear bad luck! So today, just for one day, give in to your worst fears and stay in bed all day! Pull the covers up over your head. Maybe if you sleep for 24 hours straight, when you wake up on the morning of the 14th, the past 3 weeks will all have been a bad dream. Or maybe it’s just the Weekly Fake Event (‘fraid so, folks!)

Saturday March 14 at 2 PM, Pi Day Pendant Decoration Drop-In at Fab Test Lab. Pi Day is 3.14. Stop by the Fab Test Lab between 2 and 3 PM to decorate a laser-cut Pi Day pendant or keychain. This craft is for kids, teens, and adults, but please note that children younger than 6 are not permitted in the Fab Test Lab. Space is limited, so please register at http://bit.ly/labsclasses to reserve your spot.(If the class isn't showing up in the calendar at the link, registration is full - but please check back for cancellations and future classes. Please note that late arrivals may lose their spot in the class. No safety orientation is required for this class, but you're encouraged to sign up for one so that you can explore the other classes and technology the Labs offer. Fab Lab is at 2000 14th St NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66566 

Saturday, March 14 at 2:30 PM, Author Talk: I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me, by Alyscia Cunningham. From the time we are young, girls are pressured into a set belief of beauty standards. Hair is certainly high on the list and is often labeled as our "crown and glory." Where does this notion fit for a girl with alopecia (baldness; the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows)? This new coffee table book should bring light to the issue. I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me, is a two-part project: documentary film and coffee table book. The book features 138 portraits of 46 women and the stories of their experience with hair loss, as well as women who cut their hair in solidarity with a loved one. 10% of sale proceeds will be donated to Children's Alopecia Project (CAP). CAP changes the emphasis from growing hair to growing confidence. Free. At the West End Library, 2301 L St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66678 

Sunday, March 15 - The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Constitution Avenue (the 50th anniversary parade!) has been POSTPONED. The website http://dcstpatsparade.com/ will have the information later in the spring, when the new date has been determined.

Sunday, March 15 at 2 PM, Jazz in the Basement: Steve Arnold and Friends. Bassist Steve Arnold, saxophonist Sarah Hughes, and drummer Kelton Norris will perform an afternoon of jazz at the library as part of the Jazz in the Basement series. Jazz in the Basement is a concert series featuring local artists, coordinated with the assistance of volunteers Bertrand Uberall and John Cook. The concerts are intended to highlight young artists, new composers, or unique jazz sounds to broaden the listening landscape of our Washington, DC audiences. Free. At Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library, 1630 7th St. NW. More info on the musicians and the series: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66645 

Monday, March 16 at 12 noon, Lecture: Hidden History in Foggy Bottom’s Alleys, presented by Carolyn Crouch, founder, Washington Walks. Expert Washington tour guide Carolyn Crouch shares the unique history of the museum's own neighborhood, Foggy Bottom, and its many secrets and untold histories. Free, no registration needed. The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21 Street, NW. More info: https://museum.gwu.edu/hidden-history 

Tuesday, March 17 at 10:15 and 11:30 AM, St. Paddy’s Day with Pete Moss and the Bog Band. Join Pete (aka Mitch Fanning) and his troupe of talented young musicians of Fábulas Fairy Tales as they pick up their fiddles and bodhran drums to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Spirited music, lively step dancing, and a dash of Irish musical history guarantee “a rattlin’ good time!” At Discovery Theater, Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW on the National Mall. For ages 5 to 12 (K to Grade 6). Individual Tickets: (School Year/ Summer Season) Child: $6/ $7; Child under 2: $3; Adult: $8/ $9; Smithsonian Associate Members: $5/ $6. For advance tickets and more pricing options, visit: DiscoveryTheaterStPaddys   

Tuesday, March 17 at 6 PM, Profs and Pints presents: “Ireland and the American Revolution,” with Sam Fisher, assistant professor of history at the Catholic University of America. What impact did the American Revolution have on Ireland? And what role did Ireland and Irish people play in the American Revolution? Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day by hearing a discussion of the many connections between Ireland and America in the Revolutionary War era. Professor Fisher, an expert on eighteenth-century Ireland, Scotland, and America will discuss the influence earlier Irish patriots had on the constitutional thought of the American patriots, and talk about the shared commitment of the American revolutionaries and Irish patriots to resisting British control. You’ll learn why those Irish patriots were Protestant colonists and not—as you might suspect—Irish Catholics, who were more likely to support the monarchy. Purchasing advance tickets is encouraged as these events often sell out - go to: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4521953 Advance: $12 ($13.59 with service fee); $12. More info: https://www.battlefields.org/events/profs-pints-ireland-and-american-revolution or call (202) 293-1887.     

Tuesday, March 17  from 6:30 - 7:30 PM, Twilight Tuesdays: Irish Step Dancing at Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Irish Step Dancing by the Shannon Dunne Dance Company. This program is part of the museum’s new Twilight Tuesdays series of drop-in programs. The museum is open until 8 PM every Tuesday. The free performance will be outside on the museum's garden plaza. There will be holiday themed refreshments. Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum is at 1901 Fort Place SE. More info: Twilight Tuesdays: Irish Step Dancing Tickets      

Wednesday, March 18 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks - Mesoamerican Landscapes: Ideologies and Practice. Rebecca Friedel, Plants Humanities Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks and PhD candidate, University of Texas at San Antonio, will discuss her research on the history of ancient Mayan uses of plant communities in what is now Belize. Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66562 

Thursday March 19 at 6 PM, Movie Night at West End: Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed.  Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this Peabody Award-winning documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Free. At the West End Library, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66423