It was quite a surprise.  It happened when I was crossing Randolph, and I pulled into Rodmann’s parking lot.

Edited-Flat-2013Jan13 001

I called AAA and got help.  They sent a rescue car quickly.  And when the rescue car couldn’t help (because the spare tire wouldn’t drop from under the van) they sent a tow truck – whose driver did get the spare unstuck and put on.  The spare is quite ugly!

Edited-Spare-2013Jan13 007

It works (although the lug nuts needed to be tightened.)  I finished my errands (delivered yarn to the convent, went to the office supply store, and got groceries.

Odin woke up to say Hi when I came home.

Edited-Hello-Odin-2013Jan13 005

The tire seems to be in good shape, although it is old.  John bought them, and he’s been gone 5 years.  Perhaps I need new ones.



The broken pole has been removed and all the wires have been moved to the new pole.

Sincere thanks to all who helped with this!

There are several other old poles in and around the neighborhood that have been replaced with new poles, but which have the old telephone and cable wires on them, so can’t be removed. However, none of these are as broken-down as this one was. They are eyesores, but not currently public safety issues. The Holiday Park Neighborhood Association hopes they will be removed soon.

The Utility Pole

I live in an urban forest, partly populated by really big, old trees.  My neighborhood was built up in the mid-1950’s so we have trees that are 50 to 60 years old.  We also have another forest – of utility poles.  Both forests have seen many storms and at least 2 small earthquakes. The utility poles carry electrical power (Pepco), telephone wires (Verizon) and cable (Comcast).

Some poles are in pretty bad shape, and the worst one in Holiday Park is this one with the orange X on it.  The photo below, taken last week, shows the pole has a break in it and has a wrap of something like duct tape holding it somewhat together.  Pepco installed a replacement pole, but the shakey-looking old thing remains because, although Pepco’s lines are off it, Verizon’s wires and Comcasts’ cables still have not been moved — and it has been months.

Edited-broken-pole-2013Jan5 001
The Pole with the Orange X

While we waited for Verizon and Comcast to remove their wires, the old pole has become increasingly decrepit.  I received a reminder photo of the pole from a neighbor on January 3, and contacted Pepco again. (I’m on the executive committee of the neighborhood association, so I am fair game for emails with photos of things the neighbors find annoying.)  Then I contacted Verizon.  Did you know, you can’t contact Verizon with a community issue?  They only are able to track problems associated with a particular phone number, and have no way of even assigning an issue number to a complaint about a public safety issue.  It took me 30 minutes to find that out.

So, I turned to the government.  (See, this is why we need the government.)  I called the county general number and received a complaint number and a call-back from the Cable and Communications Services office.  I sent photos to Mr. W.  He sent an inspector to look at the broken pole.  He called me back on Friday.  He said Verizon and Comcast were given 24 hours to remove their wires.  Today is January 9th, – that’s 4 days later.  Wires were still on the pole.  I emailed Mr W of the country government.

I heard back from Mr W that Verizon would not remove it’s wires until Comcast removed theirs.  (Possibly this afternoon), Comcast reported to have removed their cables. Verizon has not.  However, at this time, the pole no longer has contact with the ground.  It has completely broken off at the base and is supported by (apparently) the Verizon wires.  Check it out:

Not touching the ground...

Not touching the ground…

More photos were sent to the county office.  With any luck the story will end happily tomorrow.  If not, the utilities will be mentioned by name again.  And again.  And on Facebook, too.

Be well.  Get involved.  Make a difference.

Holiday Park Neighborhood Association

Exec Comm



It is definite that both my amaryllis bulbs will have two stalks, which is fabulous.  The taller plant in the photo below is called Red Lion and came from Sam’s Club.  I started it in early December, around the 8th.  It should have solid red blooms.  The second, shorter plant is called Minerva, and was a Christmas gift from my dear brother and sister-in-law.  Minerva is a much bigger bulb than Red Lion, but both are larger than any bulbs I have saved from years past.

Edited-amaryllis-2013Jan8 003

The blooms are still several weeks away.  After these have bloomed I will start some caladium bulbs, to give some of those plants a kick start for the summer.

There is another WIP in the basket, which is more boyish than BB#1.  I don’t think there will be any 2 in this series alike, because it is too much fun to goof around with color combinations.  Hm.  Maybe the white-balance feature gave this photo too much of a blue cast.

Edited-BB2wip-2013Jan8 002

Today is John’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!  I lit a couple of candles at church tonight, and one was for you.

I will have a story for you tomorrow about Verizon and Comcast.  I hope it ends happily for them.  Ciao!


Baby Blanket #1

This is the first Finished Object of the year, Number 1 in the Baby Blanket series.  Since this one is for a girl, it is pink and white with a varigated row that includes pastel blue, green, yellow and pink.

Baby Blanket 1

This blanket meets the approval of Odin, who was kind enough to rouse himself from his 8th nap of the day to sit on it.

Odin approves.

Odin approves.

Blanket # 2 was started on Saturday afternoon.

On January 5, pianist Alexander Paley presented a most wonderful  concert at the Westmoreland Congregational Church, sponsored by the Washington Conservatory of Music.  He played on the Conservatory’s Bluthner piano.  The program included

• Sonota No. 1 in C Major by Carl Maria von Weber

• Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto, by Franz Liszt and Alexander Paley

• Polonaise No. 2 in E Major by Franz Liszt

• And 3 of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies (No. 4 in E-flat Major, No. 10 in E Major and No. 2 in C-sharp Minor)

Paley’s performance was superb. He plays with great emotion, strength and charm, using dynamics and tempo in a way that younger ‘technical’ pianists have not mastered. Because of the intensity and joy of his performance it almost seems he plays the instrument to the limits of its capabilities.

He has performed at 13 concerts of the Washington Conservatory in the past and has performed a very diverse range of works. I was not familiar with any of the works he played at this concert with the exception of the Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C-Sharp, but Paley made all of the works feel like old friends.

The Bluthner Piano

The Bluthner grand piano is beautiful both to see and to hear. The high and middle range notes are pure and sweet and clean. Bluthner Pianos are very special. 300 are hand-made each year using special wood harvested from a Romanian forest.

Westat – 50 years!


Today is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Westat.  We had cake and other treats, plus banners and balloons and a big balloon hoop at the main entrance.  I am proud, as a long-time employee and owner.  That we are an ESOP makes this day really special.  I’ll have been at Westat 34 years in February.

This is so cute, it makes me laugh...(although I suppose I'd rather have a commemorative pen.)

This is so cute, it makes me laugh…(although I suppose I’d rather have a commemorative pen.)

Tonight I made some thank you cards using my Cricut machine.  I used the image of the jug of flowers from the Country Life cartridge.  I am having some difficulty controlling the sizes of the layers of objects that get assembled into a layered image such as this.  I thought I understood what I was doing, but clearly not.  However, even slightly goofed up, the card turns out kind of ok.  This is my third project.  My second project is still not published, but will be two sets of scrapbook pages.

Jug of Flower card made with Cricut Expressions and the Country Life cartridge

Jug of Flower card made with Cricut Expressions and the Country Life cartridge

Yesterday I did some quilting on 2 quilts I started in 2011.  The method I am using is to quilt each block and then to join them.  This quilt will be 36 blocks, 6 by 6 blocks.  The fabric is African prints I’ve collected over many years.  Many of them are “real” rather than knock-offs.  The first photo shows the pattern of the 36 individual blocks.

Quilted block before joining, African series, quilt 1

Quilted block before joining, African series, quilt 1

The following shows the 6 block strips.  The join on the front of the quilt is done by machine.  The back seams have to be joined by hand.

African series, quilt 1, strips joined on top

African series, quilt 1, strips joined on top