Helping To Put Things In Context: Something You Should Know About D.C.

Everyone knows Washington, D.C. for being the nation's capital where decisions are made that affect the country itself and impacts the world at large. But between the time that politicians and special interest groups like to use the city as the reason for all that ails America, it has a more intimate side. This is the side that one could think of as the "local" aspect of the city. I think if people understood what really exists within the boundaries of this diamond shaped (minus a complete side) metropolis, their perspectives may be altered considerably. As AWashingtonWoman will continue to focus on some of the wonderful women who make up the fabric of the DMV (a term used for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and includes: the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia), we will also strive to give you a little of the backstory, as objectively as we can. So it's been a year since this all began and without really trying, this blog has exceeded what our expectations were. So we are thinking that with a little love and a lot of integrity, we can share some real true insight which can be entertaining as well as informative. Who knows?.... Maybe it will even be ..... helpful.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

True Power Is the Woman of the Day at 4th of July Celebrations in the Washington, D.C. Area

...... So the sun has set on yet another successful Fourth of July Celebrationhere in the nation's capital. There were parades, cook-outs, fireworks and fun available for all. The operative word here is "available". That doesn't necessarily mean everyone was having fun. When my husband, my kids and myself walk over a block or so to try to catch a neighborhood parade and found ourselves serving as the caboose, I encounter many neighbors who still had no power -literally. Tomorrow will make it one full week. For those of us who had our electricity restored....many of us were exhausted.
On a happy note, there were reunions, songs, food and a good time for all to be had, but inevitably the conversations would somehow wander back to "how we are making it". In 2012 it seems this holiday found many of us realizing how truly being powerless feels. There was frustration that so many are in the dark about what to expect in the future. This is a new sort of an experience here. We are used to situations that can be manipulated. We understand who we need to do what with to get our way. To make things happen. This is an new realization that we may not have the power to fix this now. The main topic of conversation today was "power". Many residents seem to be really angry with the regional electric company, PEPCO. Much of the anger is misplaced if you ask me. The fact of the matter is that (from what I understand) natural disasters aren't orchestrated and thus as humans we can only do what we can to correct things out of our control. Now having said that, I believe the true mounting frustration at the electric company is rooted in the power that they seem to possess. Even when things are "normal" the power company will send out invoices along with cut off dates. I think many feel bullied by these type companies. This is now our chance to say "if you demand perfection from us then we demand perfection in our electric company as well.
{Even "Uncle Sam" knows this isn't fair. None-the-less, it's hard to feel sorry for these guys when you know you have tried to talk to them and you realize, this isn't even a human with reasoning abilities. Trying to dialogue with them is like talking to an inanimate object. Simply put, it looks like you reap what you sew.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Washington, D.C. Even Our Thunderstorms Tell A Story of Two Tales

Last Friday evening with little fanfare residents in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area were notified that there would be severe thunderstorms in the area. Now I have lived in this area since I was a girl (that's a long time). So when I hear severe, I think extra strong sounding thunder, sharper lightening, super heavy rains.... you get the pix. I think many of my neighbors were thinking the same. Little did we know what were in store for as violent storms packed winds of over 80 mph. The lights flickered (I felt fine with this as I knew our power wires are underground --- I just didn't think to consider what if a feed blew - it did blow). So, the house went dark. My son came in from Georgetown with a friend telling how he got smacked in the head with a branch. And so the weekend's adventure began. When morning came, and we ventured out it looked like a war zone. And then again it looked like a beautiful Saturday in the nation's capital. Allow me to explain. First, I saw people walking in over 100 degree temps searching for ice. Some carried coolers. They stood in long lines. These lines jammed into the drive through lines for McDonalds (people seeking breakfast). Major streets like Connecticut Avenue were covered with leaves and debris so that you couldn't see the pavement. Georgia Avenue was closed. At times the beltway was a parking lot. There were frustrated drivers coming to intersections with no working traffic light. Many weren't using the rules they learned in basic driver's education. I saw a car that was incinerated sitting in a Whole Foods parking lot in Bethesda. There were men sitting on the corner with lawn chairs (don't ask me what that was about - I think they were shop owners sending away patrons). I saw monstrous sized tree balls & roots pulled from the earth and propped upon gingerbread like cottage houses; I saw trees crashed through the roofs of huge mansions. I saw a red sporty Mercedes with a crashed windshield and smashed body. I am pointing out that one but it represented dozens of cars like that. Huge limbs hung in dangling power lines. It was surreal. Our family decided to find higher ground as they were reporting that electricity may not be restored for up to a week (I thought surely they are saying this to lower expectations -it'll be back before then & they can seem like over-achievers).... Still I had to take their assessment. So we checked into a hotel. All the suburban hotels were booked. This was partly because of the AT&T Golf Tournament put on by Tiger Woods annually. But also, neighbors quicker than I had secured the rest. So we drove downtown and we continued to see devastation even on the mall where the monuments are. But you also saw people on their yachts having soirees; volleyball games; people playing baseball. There were bikers having a ride through the park. It was strange. An area really close to where I live but closer to the D.C. line, Chevy Chase, was unscathed in it's downtown (I call this our very own little Rodeo Drive). This district seemed to be untouched. The Starbucks line was the usual Saturday morning quiet. It's usually busy during the week when everyone are in their offices. The Microsoft headquarters is here. People were actually shopping. I have associates that I would come into their stores and tell my stories of woe. They just looked at me with blank faces. I felt like a loon. They offered their phones and outlets. But they really couldn't relate. And it began to dawn on me. Just how different our Saturday morning had been. This realization, some having an average day while others were feeling desperate for basic survival, played out over and over throughout the day. And I was really struck by how segmented our lives have become. We can live side by side and see life in completely different ways. I can look at television shows; listen to radio networks; read newspapers & magazines; visit internet sites & read blogs that all reflect what I feel happiest being subjected to while my neighbor can do all these things and visit entities completely opposite to what I view/what I live. We can both know and think completely different truths. We think, feel, experience completely different thoughts. And what is amazing is both can be validated. We live in the same place but in different worlds. One of us can have our very foundations crumbling beneath our feet while the other can take a deep breath and expel as sigh of relief. I ask myself "how did we get like this?" or it that it has always been this way? Perhaps this is why we can see things in such stark contrast. Perhaps this is why we can actually not worry about if our fellow man receives the security of knowing his health will be protected with care from his country. At the end of the day, our lights were still off but I began to feel enlightened. These thunderstorms really showed a tale of two sociities.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Stars Shine Through The Clouds In Washington DC For the 2012 White House Corespondent's Dinner

I am back with spring and the 2012 White House Correspondent's Dinner. So much has been going on and I have wanted to come back to this blog with a little more clarity, focus and intention. Big plans lie ahead and this is somewhat spontaneous but I simply couldn't resist providing you out there with the down to earth (how appropriate for April... Earth month ....get it?) perspective. .... Don't worry, I won't quit the day job. So here's the deal, the dinner is generally held at the Washington Hilton Hotel. This is the same hotel where Reagan was shot and that was in the 80's. Back then I actually lived right across the street in a delightful but, small colonial apartment (college days so believe it or not it was humble but had location, location, location). My point in bringing this up is that the hotel isn't what I would call state of the art. I know they have spruced it up here and there, but it's an older building and when you watch the crowds filing down the escalator it is a little short on pomp. There are many hotels in the city which could have provided a much more beautiful backdrop. And though every so often a drop dead gorgeous gown comes by, for the most part many of the attendees could benefit from some real style suggestions. Now mind you, the weather in the nation's capital isn't so wonderful this evening. It's actually a little raw with the rain and slight winds, so I guess it would be fair to say it isn't a great hair day either. I guess everyone is doing their best. (We all know that's provides a wide spectrum of hits and misses)....more about that later..... Anyhow, notables and celebs have been filing into the city for the last couple days and they have been hitting all the noteworthy spots and celebrations. But tonight it seems that only entities authorized by the WHCD Board could purchase tables. So the guest that are attending are invited by the likes of CBS, Politico, Huffington Post, FOX, and so on... just to name a few. Also, just prior to the dinner which will begin at 8:30pm or so, everyone was attending various receptions upstairs etc.. being hosted by People & Time magazines, and many others of that elk ....blah, blah, blah. As a matter of fact I hear the real fun goes on at those receptions. It's unfortunate to watch how so many in the country are in an uproar over issues, culture, parties etc.. when you see politicians like Rick Santorum smoozing in the same gathering with the actor who plays the gay guy in ABC's "Modern Family". They are all having a lovely evening, while much of America writes hate tweets to each other. Believe me, just because we are seeing this tonight, it really isn't that unusual. Marching band music is playing inside the ballroom (reminds me of when my Dad used to bring me to the graduations of the Officer Candidate School for the National Guard Armory.... I guess I am a bit of a military brat) right about now as the guests mill around. By the way, many of them look lost, bored and sometimes clearly "faking it". I imagine a few are engaging in meaningful dialogue, but the volume level in the room makes it hard to concentrate or hear. So in fairness, I guess they do the same stuff we do at parties in general. Hey, I just say Al Roker... and it appears that is his wife Deborah in the hot pink gown with the halter jeweled top. Interestingly, many of guests do not seem to come in with an escort..... O.K. enough for now, last thing I will leave you with for the moment is that the scholarships and awards will start at about 9:45pm. So the evening is young and I am checking out for now.... Certainly, the best is yet to come (though I can't imagine it topping last years)..... I guess we will see.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kids from DCPS win "Teen Design" Award Sponsored By Target & Project Runway

On September 13, 2011 students from the D.C. Public School System participated in a "Teen Design Fair" which was created to introduce high school kids to design.

They got to meet one on one with leading designers in fashion, industrial design, architecture, multimedia & graphic design. Some of the visionaries included Mathew Carter, Jamie Drake, Tobias Frere-Jones, Kathryn Gustatson, Steven Heller and Jonathan Hoelfler. A keynote address was provided by Tim Gunn, chief executive officer @ Liz Claiborne Inc. and co-host of Lifteme's Project Runway (also DC area native)

There was also a White House ceremony for the winners and finalists of the the awards which was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year's National Design Awards.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mothers, Girls, Wives... AWashingtonWoman Honors All Seen & Unseen

Many Women From The Washington, D.C. Area Were Killed September 11th As They Lived The Lives of Everyday Heros

It is another beautiful day here in the D.C. area on this Sept 11th 2011. Today marks the ten year anniversary of that ill-fated day when thousands perished in an act to vile that words will never be able to fully describe. And yet rather than dwell on that reality, AWashingtonWoman will be highlighting just a few individual lives of women who were quietly going about their everyday business. These women are symbolic of too many for us to list but whose contributions to our community is no less significant. Many of these women were teachers, like Sara Clark (Bertie Backus School) or Hilda Taylor (Leckie Elementary; they were government employees like Donna Bowen; they were twenty-somethings who were serving our country in the military like YN3 Melissa Barnes, USN; and so many others.

Both Sara Clark and Hilda Taylor were in their 60's and accompanying their 6th grade students on a National Geographic trip to California. And then there were the kids who fell victim. There were little boys and little girls who were some of our brightest stars of hope for the future who died on that day. Asia Cottman was one of those children. Like myself, she was growing up in an area of the city known as North Michigan Park. It's a neighborhood with "regular, average" people. Like myself, sbe loved to read and she loved Barbie dolls. We can only imagine what accomplishments lie ahead for Asia. As I write this blog, for over a year now, I reflect on how blessed we all are because there are hundreds of little girls and boys among us who will still carry that spirit and do wonderful things. We have to be glad that Asia's spirit will never die. I think we should honor and nurture that spirit whenever we imagine we may be in it's midst. Just as we should try to recognize the spirits of all the magnificent women who paid the ultimate price on September 11th, ten years ago. So let us pay tribute to you today and let us go on that your spirit may live on beyond tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It felt like 10,677 tons of TNT according to the local news reporter at WUSA-TV in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. At approximately 1:47pm houses, offices, and government building all started to rumble. The epicenter is located in a place called Mineral, Virginia. This is about 41 miles from the nation's capital. Early reporting suggests little damage to our structures here. However, there does appear to have been damage to the National Cathedral. This is a church where many state funerals and events take place. More information to follow.