"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, January 8, 2010

Urban Graffiti Fantastick

"There is a curious paradox that no one can explain, for who understands the secret of the reaping of the grain, who understands why spring is born out of winter's laboring pain, or why we must all die a bit before we grow again?" (From the Fantasticks by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)

Thursday morning, I loaded Winston, my Mini, chock-full of sundry items and headed up to DC, stopping on my way at Rite-Aid for my sister's (RWH) suggested energy booster - under the tongue dissolvable vitamin B-12 tablets. If you've taken note of the squirrel characters in the movies Hoodwinked ("Twitchy") or Over the Hedge ("Hammy") (Is this possibly a yet unexplored Jungian Archetype?)

then you have a a good image in your mind of my temperament today. This B-12 stuff should be a controlled substance. I was totally prepared to use RWH’s testimony in my defense in court for the felony speeding ticket I should have gotten. Seriously, I was almost busted because of the combination of my sister’s recommended energy booster and my unfortunate dyslexic/ADHD condition. I was bopping along, you know, seat dancing, and belting out Mika’s Big Girl ( You Are Beautiful)

Big girl you are beautiful

Walks in to the room
Feels like a big balloon
I said, 'Hey girls you are beautiful'
Diet coke and a pizza please
Diet coke I'm on my knees
Screaming 'Big girl you are beautiful'

You take your skinny girls
Feel like I'm gonna die
Cos a real woman
Needs a real man is why

You take your girl
And multiply her by four
Now a whole lotta woman
Needs a whole lot more

Get yourself to the Butterfly Lounge
Find yourself a big lady
Big boy come on around
And they'll be calling you baby

No need to fantasise
Since I was in my braces
A watering hole
With the girls around
And curves in all the right places

Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful

. . .when I passed the state trooper in the median; I quickly reached for the steering wheel cruise control to reduce my acceleration, but instead I increased the volume on Mika, then I decreased the volume, then I increased the speed, then I finally hit it and decreased the speed. This is not rocket science, o.k.. I mean, my Mini is a rocket, but there were four choices, and it took me four tries. I have driven this exact car over 40,000 miles. If I haven’t learned it yet, I’m not going to. The wiring is just not there. (This is exactly why, BB, that I have not taken you up on your offer of flight instruction. Can you just imagine what would happen to your sweet little plane when I tried to bank left to avoid that mountainside?)

My specific type of learning disability, or perhaps how I learned to cope with it at an early age, does not impact written language (English, that is) nearly as much as it impacts the interpretation of direction, numerals, symbols, music, etc. I seriously have never had an intuitive or otherwise reliable sense of left versus right. Forget about giving me directions to some place through auditory transmission alone. I cannot do acronyms (a major liability in the military). I can’t retain 5 digits in the correct order, and you’ve already heard about my musical ability. I’m terrible with homophones. No, I did not say I’m homophobic. My father was rather gay. Thus my oedipal induced preference for the metro-sexual male. Back to the dyslexia. I read in big chunks and my fingers do the typing. If left to brief, conscious analysis of what I’m writing, I can have trouble spelling a word like trouble. Of course modern software corrects the many mistakes I make before I can even get a sense of how many there are. When I was young, and less trained, I could mirror write – as have both my daughters. When confronted with my inability to tell left from right, many have tried the old finger trick, but the problem is, I don’t know if this is an “L” or if this is an “L”.

I need mnemonics to operate the shower and I’ve spent more time lost in the District than I have working, or dating. I can’t tell you how much I was like Private Benjamin in the Air Force, and Marching Band, how many times did I (think) I followed a command, only to look around and wonder where everyone went. (However, marching and playing, o.k., kind of playing, the Flugelhorn in San Antonio's Fiesta Parade, while I was stationed at Lackland AFB, was one of the highest moments of my life. . .I can still taste the brass at my lips, smell the funnelcake, feel the bass drum beating behind me, my burning arms holding up this marching French Horn thing, hear The Yellow Rose of Texas, and oh the pride of marching in my blues)

. . . So today, by some miracle, perhaps the Mini is so small the cop didn’t actually see me or pick it up on radar, I did not get pulled over. It is my top secret invisibility feature. Thanks M. I continued on my merry way and arrived in DC to unload the car and transform my tiny room into my own urban retreat. Pictures will follow dispersed throughout the rest of this post.

So the landlord/roommate of my new abode - a successful young man who is probably reading this blog, so let me emphasize that he is straight, straightforward, very nice, very much a gentleman, quite cute, and a terrific roommate - buys an investment property/home, advertises in a very gay neighborhood, as "gay-friendly" and lands two straight-female roommates. Do you think he was trying a Three's Company plot? "Mr. Roper, of course I can be trusted to live with these two young ladies, I don't swing in that direction!"
I'm very, very happy we found each other. I love the place; you have incredibly good tastes for a straight guy. But seriously dude, I feel like I could be your momma. And I tend to like older men. . . and I won't continue to flatter myself, 'cause I know you're thinking "She could be my momma."

Here is a picture of the stairwell with wrought-iron-work original to the row house:

And the kitchen. (No, I didn't tell my roommate/landlord that I had to get a separate rider on my home owner's policy in order to be allowed to cook, due to the ADHD/fire possibility. Really, it is only a serious risk when I have children and pets distracting me.)

My first task upon arrival was to bring down the old military foot-locker I'd found last year at a Salvation Army, and paint it to match my decor. Here is a "before" picture of the trunk:

Here it is in process:

I was worried I'd get blamed for the other art projects within steps of my back alleyway.

I feel like I've staked my claim on Washington DC now, by having a room of my own. I've marked my own tiny little territory. With a can of Robin's Egg spray paint from Michael's.

As you can see, I'm in a real DC community. People like myself and my roommate are ruining it through gentrification. It is a "transitional" neighborhood. I love it. I grew up in housing projects and trailer parks. This area is a lovely blend of real and pretty. The architecture is sublime. And best of all, I can afford to live here, and own my home in the Valley. I can park Winston and take the bus from the corner stop, to Georgetown, and save a heap on parking.

I can also afford the place because my room is 8' x 12' at its widest/longest point, and though it has natural light, my two, six foot high windows look out at a brick wall in a deep alley/window-well.

Here is the trunk, finished, just a few hours later. I love the just-beneath-tropical-water-lies-this-buried-treasure-chest patina. I love it that the whole thing cost me like ten bucks and that it serves as table, desk, seating and storage all in one.

I have a lamp/bookshelf, an ottoman/storage/seat, and a closet with a tiny safe.

I spent the afternoon unpacking, framing and hanging pictures. Here is my handy stud-finder. I couldn't get it to work in the Valley. Perhaps I'll have better luck in DC Metro.

I have a deluxe, raised air bed that doubles as a sofa for when I entertain. This baby has a remote control to command the mattress firmness. Someone should invent (and get a patent) for such a device to control men's wankers. I might just quit being a psychotherapist and devote the rest of my life to that end. I'd make a fortune. "Hey baby, I'm ready for more (click)," "No-sweety, I don't have a headache, but I don't think you're open for business, anyway, aw shucks (double-click)."

I also have a remote for the ceiling fan/light, for when I don't want to get up.

The artwork is from my trip to Big Sur in May 09. An artist named Erlinda. Framed and matted myself with supplies from Michael's while I waited for the trunk to dry. Got the pussywillows in the beautiful little vase from there, as well. Vase is from a Torpedo Factory (Old Town, Alexandria) gallery. www.torpedofactory.org -I have a travel Scrabble game, gifted from mom, here, if anyone wants to come over and challenge a dyslexic, attention deficit, old lady like me to a game.

To celebrate my aquisition of the new room, a very special evening was in order. Dinner at a terrific little place: 1905, which has delicious and multifarious martinis. http://www.1905dc.com/

And a show. What a show. Now my favorite Musical. If you haven't seen it, you must. The Fantasticks. At the Lincoln Theater, close to my new DC home. It was absolutely magical. Pretty and poignant. They even managed to put the word "bassoon" in the dialog. Rhymed it with "saloon". Brilliant. It was a beautiful love story (Bah-humbug). The effects and staging were such that it was like looking inside an illuminated snow-globe. The illusions were incredible, imperceptible, undetectable trickery. www.arenastage.org/seson/09-10/sub-text

Here are some samples of the song lyrics:

"Never Say No"


Dog's got to bark, a mule's got to bray.
Soldiers must fight and preachers must pray.
And children, I guess, must get their own way
The minute that you say no.

Why did the kids pour jam on the cat?
Raspberry jam all over the cat?
Why should the kids do something like that,
When all that we said was no?

My son was once afraid to swim.
The water made him wince.
Until I said he mustn't swim:
S'been swimmin' ever since!

S'been swimmin' ever since!


Dog's got to bark, a mule's got to bray.
Soldiers must fight and preachers must pray.
And children, I guess, must get their own way
The minute that you say no.

Why did the kids put beans in their ears?
No one can hear with beans in their ears.
After a while the reason appears.
They did it cause we said no.

Your daughter brings a young man in,
Says "Do you like him, Pa?"
Just say that he's a fool and then:
You've got a son-in-law!

You've got a son-in-law!


Sure as the June comes right after May!
Sure as the night comes right after day!
You can be sure the devil's to pay
The minute that you say no.

Make sure you never say...

"Plant a Radish"

Plant a radish.
Get a radish.
Never any doubt.
That's why I love vegetables;
You know what you're about!

Plant a turnip.
Get a turnip.
Maybe you'll get two.
That's why I love vegetables;
You know that they'll come through!

They're dependable!
They're befriendable!
They're the best pal a parent's ever known!
While with children,
It's bewilderin'.
You don't know until the seed is nearly grown
Just what you've sown.

Plant a carrot,
Get a carrot,
Not a Brussels sprout.
That's why I love vegetables.
You know what you're about!

Life is merry,
If it's very
A man who plants a garden
Is a very happy man!

Plant a beanstalk.
Get a beanstalk.
Just the same as Jack.
Then if you don't like it,
You can always take it back!

But if your issue
Doesn't kiss you,
Then I wish you luck.
For once you've planted children,
You're absolutely stuck!

Every turnip green!
Every kidney bean!
Every plant grows according to the plot!

While with progeny,
It's hodge-podgenee.
For as soon as you think you know what kind you've got,
It's what they're not!

Plant a cabbage.
Get a cabbage.
Not a sauerkraut!
That's why I love vegetables.
You know what you're about!

Life is merry
If it's very
A man who plants a garden
Is a very happy man!

A vegitari-
Very merry

The late evening found me with friends at a favorite DC haunt, Zyntanya, www.zaytinya.com Terrific cocktails and tapas. Let me introduce, by photo, V, my friend with whom I share a contract of no committing to a man for six months.
Here she is pictured with one of the (several) men because of whom such a contract was necessary. (Thank you for everything, BB, especially for being such a sport with my teasing.) We had an uproariously good time, and when we left, the snow was falling, and I came back to my little nest for the first night. It is strange to sleep so alone, no animals, no children, and blessedly, for now, . . .no man.

Picture of the Key Bridge across the frozen Potomac,
to go along with one more, from the Fantaskicks:

Deep in December,
It's nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December,
It's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December,
It's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December,
Our hearts should remember
And follow.


  1. Your sister, RWH, thinks you are "Dyna-mite'"!

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  3. Gilda,

    Happy to have you follow my musings :)