Saturday, July 31, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Vote for Something That Really Improves Public Life

by Peggy Robin

Voting, as we all should know, is the cornerstone of our democracy, and we should exercise our right whenever we get the chance. When we vote, we become part of the solution, helping to make people’s lives better. That’s not pie-in-the-sky idealism; it's  a hands-on action, a way to get in touch with the nuts-and-bolts - and in the case of the election I’m about to introduce, the very plumbing of our system. What am I going on about? Your chance to vote for the best public bathroom in America!

The election is taking place online. Go to:   

Why am I promoting this election on the Listserv (you might wonder)? Because the more people who are engaged in this topic, the more chance that we will improve one aspect of our society that is woefully neglected. America – let me be frank -- has some of the worst public restrooms in the industrialized world. Far too many of them are badly designed, prone to breakdowns, poorly maintained, and all too often, disgusting.

If you look at the candidates at, you will see what a good public bathroom is, and what those that are not so good could become, with a little effort.  

Only one of the ten candidates is from Washington, DC – and so if you are inclined to support the hometown favorite, that’s fine. But please keep in mind these criteria:

What makes for a good public bathroom?

Accessibility. Must be easy for anyone including wheelchair and walker users, to enter, use the facilities, and exit.

Attractiveness (Outside). The exterior must should be welcoming, even inviting. In other words, the less it looks like a public bathroom, the better.

Attractiveness (Inside). The interior should have a certain style and flair – whether it's an old-fashioned, comfy/homey look, or a high-tech, futuristic look, or something artsy and unique. 

Clarity of signage, layout. It should be clear how to get in, and if there are multiple parts to it (e.g. a family bathroom for all ages and genders; separated facilities by gender), you should not have to guess where you are supposed to go.

Cleanliness. This is so basic, it shouldn’t have to be said.

Necessities. Changing tables, soap dispensers, tampon dispensers, automatic on and off faucets, automatic flush (so you never have to deal with those who forget or don’t both to do so); hand drying (best to give both a towel option and air drying option), toilet paper rolls that are easy to use and keep a large supply on hand.

Noise Reduction. Hand dryers should not sound like a 747 taking off.

Lighting. Needs to be bright enough in front of the mirror to let you notice if you have something stuck between your teeth!

Privacy. The best public bathrooms have floor to ceiling stall doors so you are never exposed. Doors should have simple-to-operate but secure locks, that instantly tell whether the stall is vacant or occupied.

Amenities. Mirrors (full length is good), lounge seating in an anteroom is the ultimate in luxury. Hooks in the stall to keep things off the floor. Some nice extra touches – boxes of tissues and maybe even a flower arrangement or a few nice framed prints on the wall.

I know which of the candidates I think best embodies all of the above…..but on this subject I think I will discreetly stick to a secret ballot!

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Get Out (Virtually) and Enjoy the CP & WP Village Summer Spritz on Thursday July 29....with Special Guest Mo Rocca!

The big event for the week is the GALA fundraiser in support of our own Cleveland and Woodley Park Village - the SUMMER SPRITZ on July 29.....right in the comfort of your own home online....or you can be away on vacation and still participate!

The pre-show opens at 6:30 pm and the live show starts at 7 pm. You can purchase a ticket (only $25!), donate, bid on an auction item.

The official invitation is below.


Peggy Robin
Moderator, The Cleveland Park Listserv
Home Page:


Please join Cleveland & Woodley Park Village on Thursday, July 29th at 7:00 pm EDT (pre-show begins at 6:30), for our annual fundraiser, the Summer Spritz! This will be a fun (virtual) celebration of our Village as well as an opportunity to support us through donations, a few live auction items, and an online silent auction.

We are pleased to announce our special guest speaker, Mo Rocca! Mo is an American humorist, journalist, and actor as well as a Washington area native. His grandmother lived in Cleveland Park’s Chancery building (opposite National Cathedral) and was the inspiration for his show My Grandmother's Ravioli on the Cooking Channel. He is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and host of The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation on CBS.  

You can see a fun video invitation from Mo Rocca, buy tickets, make a donation, and see our great list of sponsors and major auction donors at

Tickets are on sale now at

Frank L. Finamore, Jr.
Executive Director & Woodley Park Resident
Cleveland & Woodley Park Village
202-655-1258 (while working remotely)
202-615-5853 (office)

Our mission: Create opportunities for older adults to be actively engaged, support those who need it with volunteer assistance to help them live independently, and work to create a welcoming community for people of all ages.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Remember the Main Switch!

 by Peggy Robin

As I noted in a message to the Listserv on Wednesday, I'm away from DC and I won't be back until the middle of next week.

Before I left the house, I did a number of things to reduce the hazard (admittedly rather small) of electrical appliances malfunctioning or causing a fire while we're away. I unplugged the towel warmers. I unplugged the toaster oven. And I turned off the master switch on the stove/oven.

The last time I took a week-long vacation was pre-pandemic -- almost two years ago. I took these same precautions before that trip, too. When I came home, I didn't do any cooking right away. It was probably a few days before I prepared a meal that required baking. So, when I finally went to use the oven again, I turned the temperature dial to 350 to pre-heat the oven, and then started preparing the casserole. Twenty or thirty minutes later, I was ready to put the dish in the oven. I opened the oven door but felt no heat. Nothing. 

The pilot light was lit, and the burners on the stove I thought the oven must be broken. I went upstairs to look up the number of the oven repair company, and was about to dial it when I suddenly remembered why the oven wouldn't heat up. I had turned it off at the master switch. All I needed to do was turn it back on. Good thing I didn't call a repairman to charge me $85 to flip a switch!

This time, right before leaving the house, I did something smart. I anticipated my own forgetfulness, and after turning off the oven's master switch, I left a post it note next to the oven that says, "REMEMBER, the oven is OFF."

It's probably unnecessary, though. This time I also remembered to reset the house thermostat to 84. When I come back from vacation, I won't need to read any notes. I will walk into a stiflingly hot house, and along with the heat, I will be hit with the memory of all the pre-trip actions I took that need to be undone. Though I doubt I will need to use the towel warmers before October

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Get Out! And Go Fishing in the District - July 24, 8:30 - 10:30 AM

What better way to spend a hot Saturday in July than by goin’ fishin’? And you don’t even need to leave DC! And it’s FREE!

Here’s the invitation from  the Department of Energy & Environment:   


Sat, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM EDT
by DOEE Aquatic Resources Education Center 

Join DOEE staff and volunteers for FREE fishing events along the District's waterways!

The Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) invites you to join Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) staff and volunteers for FREE fishing clinics this summer!

July 24 | 8:30am: Diamond Teague Park 
(see map)



  1. Equipment, bait, and tackle provided.
  2. Fishing equipment sanitized after each event.
  3. Registration is first come, first served; 35 persons max per event.


  1. Masks must be worn at all times.
  2. Social distancing must be maintained (families notwithstanding).
  3. Anglers ages 16-64 must possess a DC fishing license.*

*Don't have one? No problem! Click here to get your license immediately online! 


Questions? Contact: 

Chris Campo
(202) 440-3951


The "Get Out!" event of the week column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local, usually on Thursdays, but occasionally (like today), it gets bumped up to Wednesday.  

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Still life with Robin: Shark Week? How About Penguin Week!

Great White Shark - Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

It’s the end of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week but now that Discovery Channel has turned into a streaming, subscription-access channel, I’ve missed it. That’s OK – I realize I don’t mind a bit. Having seen many, many Shark Weeks of old, I realize I’ve had my fill of it: Enough of those interviews with surfers who (barely) survived a shark attack. Enough with the shark vs. elephant seal duels. Enough with the crazy scuba divers who film sharks nose to nose from a shark cage. And enough with the even crazier ones who go nose to nose, NOT in a cage.

When it comes right down to it, there’s not much to love about sharks. They may be top of the food chain in the sea but they’re just not top of my viewing list for marine documentary subjects.

That leads to the question (in case you were wondering): Who is?

Well, I have an answer to that one: It’s penguins!

I may have missed all of Shark Week this year but I’ve just spent an very satisfying week (eight days actually) watching the eight half-hour episodes of a new (semi) documentary series about a more enjoyable form of marine wildlife. It’s called Penguin Town

I’m calling it a semi-documentary because it’s both a film of real penguins and it's a TV series with a regular cast of characters and a plot. Penguin Town follows three penguin couples, who have been given cute names – over the course of six months, and their lives turn out to be a very entertaining sitcom. And sometimes, a rom-com. Which on occasion, morphs into an action/thriller. 

This short trailer gives you a good sense of what it's all about: 

Penguin Town was filmed during the months when penguins come in to nest at a South African seaside city called Simons Town. The first episode begins as the penguins arrive at the start of mating season. We get introduced to several couples as they arrive and look for a good site to make their nest. In subsequent episodes we watch with not a little anxiety as they defend their nesting site, evade a variety of predators on both land and sea, spar with rival penguins on land, and try to do the best job of guarding their eggs and raising their chicks. It’s hard not to identify with their struggles and life choices!

Perhaps unexpectedly, Penguin Town also sheds light on some of the urban issues we discuss here on the Cleveland Park Listserv -- albeit from very different perspective. What makes a community a welcoming place for couples to settle down in? What obstacles need to be overcome? How can we minimize the dangers of car traffic (especially for those too short to show up in the rear-view mirrors)?  

Of course, in the case of this series, the pedestrians in question are not of our species - and frankly, they are also a lot cuter than most of us! They are also only part-time residents of the town, spending all of the non-mating/non-nesting season away at sea. But when they’re sharing the neighborhood with humans, their concerns are strikingly similar.

If you would like to find out how the penguin families fare, you can find viewing information here:   

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

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Get Out! The Washington Monument Is Open Again! (But Who Knows for How Long This Time)

National Park Service
by Peggy Robin

The “Get Out!” column normally comes out on Thursdays but I’ve pushed this one up a day to be able to announce from Day One the reopening of the Washington Monument to the public. It’s also Bastille Day, though it’s not clear if the choice of Quatorze Juillet (that’s July 14th to the non-francophones) was intended to honor the French for their contribution to Washington’s Army in our fight for independence, or just a random coincidenece. Regardless, any day is a good day to bring back this core DC experience.


Oddly, it’s the one DC experience that in my informal survey of longtime Washingtonians may be something you’ve missed. Your children may have been taken there with a school group. You may have accompanied out-of-town guests to any number of Smithsonian museums, the Zoo, or Congress, or even the Library of Congress -- but I have met many, many longtime residents of our city who, when pressed, will admit they’ve never been to the top of the Washington Monument.

Well, here's your chance.....but get your tickets now! Who knows what scenario will transpire to make it close again. Earthquakes? Renovations? Terrorists? New and weirder viruses? Something we haven't ever thought of yet? Don't try to anticipate....just go while the going is good. 


Here's what you need to know:


Tickets are NOT available on-site; get them in advance, online at . From the website:


Purchasing Tickets: The Washington Monument will re-open on July 14th. Tickets will be released at 10 AM ET the day before each arrival date.

Due to COVID-19, the Washington Monument is now allowing visitors to select ticket types which best accommodate your group size, up to four people per group travelling together. Please carefully review the ticket types as every person in your group must have a ticket, including infants. Advanced reservations are required. Tickets listed as “Not Yet Released” will become available one-day before the tour date at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Until further notice, walk up tickets and group reservations will not be available. 


Health and Safety: In accordance with local and federal requirements, including CDC and U.S. Public Health Service recommendations, a comprehensive safety program has been implemented at the Washington Monument that includes timed ticketing and limited entries. These measures include:

• Significantly reduced elevator capacity, limiting trips to 4-8 passengers to allow for physical distancing.

• Face coverings are required for all individuals over the age of two while inside the monument to account for physical distance limitations. Visitors must supply their own masks. 


The Washington Monument dominates the DC skyline as a tribute to George Washington's military leadership, statesmanship, and wisdom. Constructed from marble, granite and gneiss, the monument is the world's tallest free-standing stone structure, towering 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches (169 meters) above the nation’s capital. 


Plans for a national monument began as early as 1783 when the Congress passed a resolution to erect an equestrian statue to honor George Washington. Construction of a privately financed memorial was started in 1848 by the Washington National Monument Society, but faced challenges due to political turmoil and a lack of funds. The US Army Corps of Engineers completed the monument's construction in 1884, and it was opened to the public in 1888. 

Visitors enter the monument and then ascend via elevator to the 500-foot level to behold sweeping views of the city. To learn more about Washington the man, the engineering marvel of the monument, and the design of the city named in his honor, Rangers will be available at each level to provide insight into the stories of this legacy. 



The Get Out Events column is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local (usually) on Thursdays. It’s here today (Wednesday), to let Listserv readers have first crack at tickets for the Washington Monument, which become available at 10 AM on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Capitol Unbound!

 By Peggy Robin


I just saw this on Twitter (thanks, Walter Deleon #DCStatehood, whoever you are!)


Quick….before something happens that results in the Capitol being walled off again! Get yourself down there and stroll the grounds while you can! Take your children/guests from overseas/people who’ve never been to DC before and enjoy the open vistas. And you’ve got a brilliant day to do it. Tropical Storm Elsa has passed us by without much more than a good soaking, and now we can enjoy a weekend of sunshine without excessive heat (at least, for a July in DC). As the Capital Weather Gang scores it, a 9 out of a possible 10. “There might be some July days that are nicer, but not many.”  A bit hotter tomorrow, perhaps, but still a good day to enjoy the reopened grounds. One thing this last year has taught us is not to take any day for granted!


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

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Get Out! And See Her Flag Wave and Doves Fly!

The Doves
Art Installation by Michael Pendry

by Peggy Robin

Now that the “Get Out” column is back to announcement in-person events, choosing one event each week to highlight, we’ve come to our first real dilemma: which of two magnificent exhibits to feature?

Not a hard question to answer! Both! One is in the neighborhood and the other is downtown. One is here for a few more weeks, while the other is ending this weekend. At both, attendance is limited so that social distancing can be maintained -- which means you'll want to reserve your tickets now, to be guaranteed a space.

The first is “The Doves” at the Washington National Cathedral.

The Doves” (“Les Colombes”)
Daytime Exhibit Walk

Immerse yourself in Michael Pendry’s “Les Colombes” (the Doves), an art installation symbolizing hope and the Holy Spirit. In this exhibit experience, walk beneath a cascading column of 2,000 origami doves and watch as the rainbow light from the Cathedral’s stained glass elevates folded paper into something transcendent.      Tickets ($10) are available for certain days each week, 11 am to 7:30 pm (visitors may come any time during open hours), now through July 28, 2021:

COVID-19 Policies:

Please note that by reserving a ticket, you agree to comply with our COVID-19 policies. The Cathedral adheres to all current District of Columbia COVID-19 safety guidelines.
- Masks must be properly worn (covering both mouth and nose) while inside the Cathedral
- Maintain 6 ft (2 m) of social distance from those not in your household
- Your ticket is for viewing the exhibit only; the rest of the Cathedral remains closed to visitors

....And if you can't make it in person, you can see it in the artist's video here:


My other “don’t miss” recommended art exhibition is at the National Museum of Women in the Arts: “Her Flag” – now in its final weekend.

The museum has partnered with Her Flag, a nationwide art and travel project created by artist Marilyn Artus. Her Flag marks the 100th-anniversary year of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which enshrined women’s right to vote within the text of the U.S. Constitution. Artus collaborated with a group of contemporary women artists—one from each of the 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment by 1920—in order to create the large flag that has been installed on the exterior of the museum’s façade along New York Avenue.

Each participating artist created imagery inspired by both the anniversary and her home state. Artus then adapted each artwork into a stripe on the flag. The artists represent diverse ages and ethnicities, and they explored a variety of themes and subjects. Many artists depicted notable women from the suffrage and civil rights movements in their works. Others created scenes that reference the fact that the 19th Amendment did not, in fact, ensure that all women had access to the ballot box. Struggles faced by Native American, Asian American, Latinx, and African American women lasted well beyond 1920, and some continue today. Several stripes incorporate portraits of contemporary women and girls, highlighting the legacy of the suffrage movement in today’s social justice activism.

For more information about this project visit the Her Flag websiteInstagram, and Facebook accounts.

Exhibition Hours:

Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday 12 to 5 pm


Adult $10
Adult 65+ $8
Students $8
Youth 18 and Under Free
Members Free
Military Free

The Museum Shop and Mezzanine Café are closed for renovation. Hours are subject to change. Check the Plan Your Visit page for updates. 

National Museum of Women in the Arts

1250 New York Ave., NW  Washington, DC 20005

202-783-5000  1-800-222-7270


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

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Still Life with Robin: 57 Reasons Why I'll Be Missing Sullivan's

Sullivan's Toys & Art Supplies

by Peggy Robin


We’ve had a steady stream of messages of appreciation for Sullivan’s Toys and Art Supplies, since yesterday’s announcement that Sullivan’s will most likely shut down some time before the end of this month. Let me add my voice to the chorus of “Oh nooo’s! And let me be very specific about what I will miss about Sullivan’s. Here’s my A-Z list of what I got from Sullivan’s over the past few decades:


Abacus bead sets (abaci?)

Alphabet sets

Art kits – a zillion kinds

Baby presents

Balloons – both helium and bendable/animal-making

Bath toys (rubber duckies and other classics)

Beach toys (pails and shovels, sand sculpting stuff)

Beanie Babies

Birthday presents – tell the staff the age and something about the birthday kid and they would help you pick out a suitable present – and they were very, very good at it!

Board games (starting with Candyland, ages 3-5, and moving up to games in every age range to 13-Adult )

Bouncy balls, wiffle balls, nerf balls, even some real sports balls

Chenille sticks (they were called "pipe cleaners" when I was a kid -- back when some people actually smoked pipes)

Coloring books

Crayons, colored markers, colored pencils, etc.

Dolls – all but the high-end collectibles – no American Girl Dolls!

Electronic/talking toys


Flying Fairies, the kind with a sort of helicopter thing over their heads that made them fly – and if you flew one outdoors, it was almost guaranteed to get stuck in the nearest tree or roof gutter.


Goody bag crap

Halloween accessories – example, all the pirate gear you could possibly want, including plastic cutlass, eyepatch, parrot for the shoulder, bandana, tricorne hat, hook for hand, doubloons, and more

Halloween costume – a complete ensemble, which you might need at the last minute, if your fragile, handmade, cardboard box costume fell apart after the 4pm Halloween parade at the playground, and you had to have a whole new thing to wear while trick-or-treating at 6 PM

Hula hoops

Jigsaw puzzles (wooden 6-piece toddler puzzles up through 1000-piece Ravensburger masterpieces of art)

Jump ropes


Lego sets

Lincoln Logs


Low-end sports equipment

Mad Libs (good for long car trips before you could stream movies on your phone)

Magic 8 Ball

Magna Doodle

Mr  Potato Head

My Little Pony

Paints – acrylics, water colors poster paints, finger paints, you name it!

Paper dolls

Piñatas – you name it, they probably had the piñata for it

Plastic sleds

Play jewelry



Polly Pockets

Poster board

Pound Puppies


Rubik’s cubes

Shrinky Dinks

Silly Putty

Stickers – Mrs. Grossman’s were the best….but pricey!

Stuff to make costumes for school plays – even if the play is tomorrow and you only learned of the need to make a costume this afternoon!

Stuff to make dioramas for schools

Stuffed animals – good selection, not overpriced!

Super soakers and water pistols

Tattoos (rub-on, not real!)

Water wings and pool games



OK, OK, that’s more than enough. And don’t write to tell me all the marvelous things you bought there that have been left off this list. The things above are just what I could recite off the top of my head in twenty minutes or less I know there are a bajillion more things that Sullivan's supplied.


Thank you, Sullivan’s, for all of it! And let me end by thanking all the charities that have come over the years to collect bags of giveaway toys that were still in good enough condition to delight another child!


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

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Get Out! Parades Are Back for the 4th of July!

 by Peggy Robin

It’s not by a long-shot the biggest of the area's Independence Day events -- and it may not even be the cutest or the funniest (arguably, that honor goes to the Takoma Park, MD Fourth of July Parade). But at 54 years, it might just be the oldest of the neighborhood parades -- and even if not, I have no hesitation calling it the nicest.

What is it?

The 54th* Annual Palisades Parade!  

It’s got everything you want in a Fourth of July parade: Marching bands. Fun floats in all shapes and sizes. Dancing troupes in colorful costumes from around the world  -- costumes so heavy you have to wonder how they can move so fluidly in the heat, wearing all those ruffled layers! Minor celebrities sitting in cars. Horses! People throwing out star-spangled beads, little candies, and trinkets. People handing out water bottles and paper fans to help you keep cool. Politicians – like the Mayor and a bunch of council members. Bicyclists, scooterists, maybe even some unicyclists or other crazy wheelers. Regular people who have a club, a hobby group, or sports team, who march together and invite you to try out their activity. Plus lots of other stuff – can’t think of it all.

It's all happening on Sunday, July 4 -- with groups lining up starting at 11 AM at the corner of Whitehaven Pkwy NW & MacArthur Blvd NW. The parade should kick off around noon and will proceed along MacArthur Boulevard about one mile, ending at the Palisades Recreation Center at Edmunds St and Sherier Place NW. See route:   

There will be a cook-out at the end with hot dogs, watermelon, special event T-shirts for sale, and a whole lot more!

How we missed it last year!

If that’s not enough for you, and you want to find out about other options – and of course, fireworks displays at night! – then this DCist article has got everything you could possibly want: 

* NOTE: It would be the 55th if last year’s parade had not been cancelled due to the pandemic.

The “Get Out!” events column is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Still Life with Robin: The Downside to Lifting the Mask Requirement

by Peggy Robin

We should be celebrating the DC Is Open! Letter from the Mayor and the lifting of mask requirements for the fully vaccinated. And seven days in a row without a single covid death in DC (daily reports available at This is all to the good!

So what’s my complaint now? Trust me to find some minor but irritating needle of bad news in this haystack of good news. What is it now?

Mask litter.

Now that I’m getting out and about a lot more, I’m noticing it everywhere. Mostly it’s those disposable blue paper masks. People leave them on the grass, and on the sidewalk, and sometimes in the bushes. Who is ditching their masks by dropping them on the ground, not even bothering to walk to a trash can? I'm not sure. Even worse are the occasionally tossed cloth masks. I've seen a few of those, as well, left in an alley, or near a sewer, or in a tree box in the mulch. People used to pay good money for these things, like ten or twenty bucks. You’d think, having lived through a once-in-a-century pandemic, they’d hold on to them – if only to show to their grandchildren one day as a grim souvenir of the pandemic that swept the nation. 

Some of us, having seen yesterday's warning from the World Health Organization on the dangers of the Delta variant, are keeping ours in case the masking requirements come right back: 

No matter whether they can be used again or not, there's no excuse for leaving a mask on the ground. There are enough bugs to bedevil us now, without these litterbugs! 


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