One World Trade Center Heralds a New Epoch

One World Trade Center in New York City
New York City’s One World Trade Center

My first glimpse in three years of Manhattan’s transformed skyline happened about a week and half before the 9/11 anniversary.

I was traveling to New York City from DC, motoring along the New Jersey Turnpike in an express bus where I had a window seat. I noticed Midtown first, but as I scanned south I saw a gleaming new behemoth that dwarfed the Empire State Building. It was One World Trade Center.

My first thought was: yes!

This colossus is the perfect architectural response to the crime of 9/11. It is muscular and massive, but also modern and elegant. I loved it immediately, and felt patriotic pride. Continue reading “One World Trade Center Heralds a New Epoch”

On Being “Nobody’s Role Model”

We counted over 130 steps down to the beach at Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island.
We counted over 130 steps down to the beach at Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island.

Last weekend, I travelled to Block Island, R.I., for a reunion weekend with six girlfriends from my grade school and high school. We’ve been getting together every two or three years in different locations for the past several years.

This time it was at the Block Island vacation home of one of our group. Her place – and the island in general – is beautiful, tranquil, and remote. It was some distance by car and then by ferry, but worth every mile.

It was a perfect get-away for kicking back and letting loose. Early in the visit, my one girlfriend – the happily well-read one – set the tone by raising her cocktail in the air and announcing: “This weekend I am nobody’s role model!”

Yes – she is married with children; most of us are (except two).

We did the usual beach/resort things: spent a sunny afternoon at the beach; did a morning hike along bluffs overlooking the Caribbean-blue ocean; visited the local farmer’s market featuring a motley musical band; and shopped in the sea-side town of Old Harbor.

The salt-water breezes kept us cool at all times, and I encountered NO mosquitoes on this island arcadia.

Gettin' their folk on at the farmer's market at Negus Park.
Gettin’ their folk on at the farmer’s market at Negus Park.

Most late afternoons, we returned to our friend’s house to “enjoy the ocean view.” In other words, for cocktails. Dinners featured excellent seafood either out or at home.

I won’t go on – too much – with effusions of how great my girlfriends are. For one thing, I kind of promised them I wouldn’t write about them.

For another, don’t we all think our friends are great people? We choose to spend precious time with them, so they’re worth it, right?

But isn’t it also true that most of us – all of us? – have wasted time on friends-who-weren’t-friends, at least once or twice in our lives?

I certainly have.

One of the benefits of getting older, however, has been becoming less tolerant of the friends-who-aren’t-really-friends variety. I’ve gotten good at letting those go.

One of the other benefits has been, cherishing the friends who’ve consistently supported you over the years. Who have always been bright lights in your life.

In 1993, the Southeast Lighthouse was moved 245 feet from eroding bluffs.
In 1993, the Southeast Lighthouse was moved 245 feet from eroding bluffs.

So I’ve hung on to friendships from my earliest school days. As a young girl who was extremely shy but couldn’t wait to leave my hometown, I didn’t expect it to turn out this way. We haven’t all been close at all times, and today we are spread across three states.

But we keep reuniting because it’s fun and good company, and because we value each other. I have been told, more than once, that that is not an easy thing to find.

And it’s even harder to keep.

We are a group of seven women – SEVEN – who all get along, in close company, for at least days at a time. We run the gamut of political and religious views, but we wisely steer clear of controversy.

We aren’t clique-y, we don’t need certain combinations of people present to get along; we all mix well with each other and split up to catch up one-on-one with ease.

Nobody is too bossy (despite some best efforts), nobody is wimpy, and nobody is boring. At the same time, everyone is reasonable.

They all bring it, what you hope for in a friend – lots of laughs, substance, wisdom, honesty, strength, loyalty.

The walls and ceiling of The Oar Restaurant is covered with over 1000 oars.
The walls and ceiling of The Oar Restaurant are covered with over 1000 signed and decorated oars.

As one of us has often said: “One requirement for my friends is that they have to be entertaining.”


During our trip, another said: “I love how you guys all amuse me, in your different ways.”


Another friend asked me, when I did something she considered a little quirky: “Are you like this around your siblings?” (She knows I’m close with them.) I said, “Yes.” She said, “Oh good.”

Yes, it’s good – I am always myself with this group, always engaged, always happy.

When I add it up, each of these friends of mine – who pledged this past weekend to be “nobody’s role model” – is a role model nonetheless.

Of how to be a true friend.

The Squirrel Days of Summer (Photo)

Squirrel on fence -- 3 July 2013 -- circled

Forget dog days. The “squirrel” days of summer in the D.C. metro area are upon us — hot, sticky, heavy heat that knocks out even the most industrious little rodent, like the squirrel that lives in my back yard.

Here he is on my fence, where he’s normally sitting up all sprightly, his bushy tail twitching like a nervous question mark. Not today. He’s whipped, and you would be too if you walked around in this muck. Temperatures hovered around 90, and humidity hit 80%.

I felt sorry for the squirrel, but not too sorry to stick around and share his pain. The morning after I took this photo, I booked out of Alexandria and drove north to be with my mom for the 4th of July holiday.

Which means this week’s blog is abbreviated, about nothing but a tuckered out squirrel… I’ll resume with a normal post next week.

FireworksHappy Fourth of July to one and all!!