Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Small World And All That Jazz

Well this is perplexing....where is my camera?

And am I allowed to write posts without pictures?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?

I could just hit publish and wait for answers but I will forge on ahead.

I have been busy hostessing.

If you are in University anywhere in the UK but mostly Cambridge and you are coming to Washington to do research, I guess you stay with me.

Every one seems to want "a proper room", not a hotel.. Once they get here they like to"go on a bit
of a wander". Everything about my house is "lovely". The cats are "gorgeous". And sometimes they want to go for a run but they have forgotten their "kit".

What more can an Anglophile want?

Cuppa? Don't worry someone is always making one.

The only problems that have arisen, and these are only problems for me, are sussing out peoples nationalities.

If you live in London and are a director at a hospital there, I think you will be English. But no, you turn out to be Irish.

If you say your place of residence is Berlin and you travel between there and Cambridge, I assume you are German. But I would be wrong, you are a Brit.

If you live in and study at Cambridge I assume you are British but no you're a German.

Geography has never been my strong point but I'm beginning to suspect there is a large international conspiracy to confuse me.

Have any of you heard about it in your homelands?

And if so assure "them" it is working.

These last two months have truly been my favorite time of airbnbing

I'm in thrall to the accents, the stories, the massive amounts of attention given to the cats. Who as you can imagine soak it all up shamelessly.

I shut down the inn at the end of October when B.(remember him) comes back from training and assumes his permanent position in the other bedroom. And hopefully at the grill.

But I have loved my months as an American Ambassador.

I've learned so much about other ways of life that it seems my world has exploded..

Since March I have hosted people from China, India ,Brazil, Australia,Cuba via Miami,one of the Stanzs, England, Canada and all parts of the USA.

Incredible experience. I recommend it highly. And to my friends' vast relief, appear to be coming through alive and unharmed, a little wealthier and a whole lot wiser.

 I have always been grateful for the kindness of strangers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Now I'm Back, Just To Let You Know......


Don't ask me. It's like going to the gym or AA meetings or anything else that makes you feel good.

Stop doing it and it's so hard to get going again.

But I'm gonna give it a go. Play catch up.

Iwentontwovacations,atelotsoflobster,readtoomanybooks,walkedablisteronthebottomofmy footinP'Town,sawsunsets,sundowns,sufferedthroughhottestmosthumidsummer,lostplants,

Wait, this deserves it's own time and space.The gun store did NOT open in August.

The community made such a loud and constant noise that the landlord gave up. He owns a hair salon on the same block and his business was over. Kaput. Day after day he and the other hairdressers sat there, day after day no one came, well except to complain or to drop off a letter telling him why they weren't coming.

He kept telling me he had made a mistake but what could he do. He had a lawyer, he got another lawyer, the gun shop had an NRA lawyer. I would go to the NRA website and read about the far left liberals who were attempting to stop this former Marine from fulfilling his life's dream. a second store with more room to stock assault weapons.

When you are mentioned by name twice on such a website it makes your eyeballs spin around in your head.

Then the fateful day arrived, the owner got his permit from Richmond, the capital of Virginia. he was now licensed to sell guns in Arlington.

He brought the letter to the landlord and waved it in his face and asked what he was going to do about it.

The landlord did the right and honorable thing, he bought him out of his lease. And then he made two signs that looked like they were drawn by schoolchildren. They had smiley faces all over them and the words "no guns".

The town went wild! People came racing onto the block jubilant. They went into all the stores hugging and congratulating all of us who had dodged the bullet.....literally.They honked and waved as they drove past. Not a week goes by that someone doesn't come into the store and say how happy they are about the outcome.

So many people told me you can't fight the NRA, they have lawyers, guns and money.

But we had heart and soul on our side.

And in a rare instance of justice, we won.

Now that's a happy ending!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Once Upon A Time

I wrote a long blogpost a few hours ago and then the computer ate it. Editing?

I don't have the heart to do it again so I'll just give you the bullet points.

Owners out of town for 24 days, 4 to go.

In that time we have had our flower cleaner quit, our driver tear ligaments in his ankle and massive amounts of rain fall both from the heavens and from our roof, close to the computers natch.

And not just one rainfall.

While we haven't been busy at work, we've been busy at work.

On the home front the Swiss intern arrived on the 3rd just in time to experience total hood immersion holiday style.

The party started around 4:00. I left at 11:pm, she came home at 2:00am and the stalwart rocked it until 5:30am.

We take the 4th of July very seriously around here.

She was amazed by the welcome; her calender is full, the neighbors are smitten. We hate to leave the block so when I show up with a  fairytale creature all long limbs, black hair and navy blue eyes, tatts and an accent....

Well let's just say my black bean/ brown rice salad was redundant.

I had already paid the price of admission.

So when shop owners return on Saturday and I get the hell outta dodge on Monday the 13th. the cats will have a built in babysitter, the neighbors will all be babysitting the babysitter and the garden will grow thick with weeds. ( outta dodge is off to Cape Cod and my friend Susan's house which contains the best guest room in the universe. Not to mention a stream of delicious food, 3 white doggies, proximity to lobster rolls and a perfect showerhead)

Weeds. That's the Brothers Grimm twist for you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of A Tuesday

Just two more guests and I'm out of the Aibnb bizness till September.

The Italian guy left this morning about 8:15, giving me a few minutes to strip and remake bed before work.

I arrived home with time to spit polish room, add fresh flowers and give the bathroom and kitchen a shine. All this in 100 degree weather, with the window units laboring mightily to keep the house a cool 80degrees in the living room, 74 in the bedrooms.

The Italian guy turned off his airconditioner and the overhead fan saying it was too cold to sleep.

Italy I don't think so, I think he came from Hell. It's never been too cold in my casa.

Now I'm waiting for the Australian.

I'm pretty sure he will speak English unlike my guest of the last three nights.

Hard going for a communicator like myself. I finally downloaded the Translate app, which helped me immensely.

At least I could express my feelings about the USA/Columbia soccer match last night. Bon mots such as "they play dirty" flowed from my fingertips.

But no app was needed for Enrico and Lucy to communicate, it was love at first sight for him.

And even though Lucy is married I detected a lilt in her voice and a tilt of her head which made me suspicious.

Then I saw her tail disappearing into the guest room and I knew it was all over for Lucy and B. At least until the next time he comes over.

She has not learned this behavior from me, I promise.

Unless she has managed to find my dairies.

We are waiting for another storm to hit with winds up to 60 miles an hour and hail.

Oh joy. My backyard has just drained out from last Saturdays tropical storm.

Gus of course rushed out into the inferno as soon as I got home and will undoubtedly wait until he is ready to wring from the rain before I see him again.

Kids. What are you gonna do?

The sky is turning black, this will be my second guest to arrive in a Wizard of Oz fashion.

Gotta run, need to put my umbrella down and start the plaintive cries of "Gus, Gus" so often heard round da hood.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Life Can Be Both Wave And Particle*

Whew. Now I can finally write a blog post.

As I'm sure anyone who's been reading me for any length of time knows, when something big is brewing, I go into radio silence.

Wait, not necessarily true, sometimes I spill the beans before they're even cooked.

But if I'm not writing about what's happening, I'm not writing.

So last Monday I woke up to a bug, maybe a spider, maybe one of those damn flying ants, on my right breast, and when I went to shoo it away I felt a lump where there never was a lump before.

I poked, I prodded and I fell back to sleep.

When I awoke I went about my normal Monday morning, pulling weeds, feeding plants and letting the cats in and out.

It wasn't until I was dressed and ready to go out for lunch that I remembered my strange "dream".

So I poked and prodded again and found that same lump.

This was no dream.

I called my doctor, his office called me back.

By now I'm in a car with friends on our way to lunch.

I could have a breast exam in 2 hours.

We ate a messy lunch of lettuce wraps at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant then they dropped me off to go a little shopping.

I grabbed an iced latte and headed upstairs to see my gynecologist.

He examined me, wrote me a prescription for a comprehensive screening. This would start with a mammogram and go thru the circuit of ultra sound, MRI and a biopsy if necessary.

He asked if I drank a lot of coffee. When I brandished my latte at him, he suggested there may be a link between heavy caffeine consumption and benign fibroid cysts.

He said he didn't think I had to worry but I did the right thing by coming in immediately.

I made an appointment at the imaging center for Monday the 15th. And then I went about my business.

 Today, same friends, different lunch spot, we ate Thai.
They dropped me off and went shopping.

I entered the world of pink. Pink scrubs for the staff, pink tops for the patients. Even the key chain for our lockers was pink. It was aggressively pink.

I had a 3D mammogram, which despite more interesting pictures, hurts just as much.

A radiologist read the results and said all was well, they would send the report to my doctor. I could get dressed and go home.

Other women were told they could get dressed and go see the radiologist.

I felt very lucky. I cried a little as I changed out of the pink and into my white top.

I got an iced green tea with lemonade, my friends picked me up and away we drove.

It's so random, the way your life can change in one split second.

Or not.

xo J

*  Ellen Gilchrist


Monday, June 1, 2015

As Miss Pickering Would Say: Lately And In No Particular Order

I am alone in my house for the first time in weeks.

It's been raining since about 4:00 pm today, it started, it stopped  and then started again everytime I tried to leave the house to walk to the store.

Who cares, I have bowls of ice cold cherries, watermelon and cantaloupe, a pitcher of garden fresh ice mint tea and a lemon syrup.

They can wait for a new bag of crunchies.

I had a guest from Singapour via Morgantown, West Virginia who left this morning.

She was tall, thin and extremely elegant. As if Lucy suddenly became a person.

She's a poetess who just got her Masters in Creative Writing.

To hear her talk about demolition derbys and football games and pepperoni rolls, apparently the state food of West Virginia, was hilarious.

She had a beautiful accent reminincent of a 30's British movie star. She said it's her fake American accent.

I want one.

Meanwhile up in the attic was B. His new place around the corner wasn't available until yesterday so I said he was welcome to stay in the attic if he could make it work.

Several hours later it was clean and  organized, he built a tent like structure from the piles of textiles I have stashed up there, bought an air conditioner and an air mattress.

I think somewhere in the swirl of activity he and Lucy got married, at least I hope so because she moved up there with him too.

I told the next two Airbnb guests he was my nephew.

I don't know why. I didn't know how else to explain why a man married to a cat was in the attic.

So now it's just the 3 of us. Gus is soaked from the rain, Lucy's sulking cause her man did her wrong and I'm missing my griller.

But tomorrow Carlos (another Carlos) arrives, this one from Miami and the next chapter unfolds.

Born to host.

xo J

PS. Gratuitous squirrel picture.  I have never eaten a peach from my tree.

Public Enemy #1

Friday, May 29, 2015

And The Race Is On

Gun shop update.

The Cease and Desist petition now has over 2000 signatures. There is now a Let her Rip petition, or Open Gun Shop petition with numbers that rival ours.

If we had another empty space perhaps an abortion clinic could attempt to open, thus assuring constant strife on the block.

I gave a brief interview to a TV station.

Jane Winter, who works at the flower shop next door to the vacant storefront, said NOVA doesn't fit in to the strip mall that includes a restaurant, hair salon and nail salon.
"People come here for beauty, they come here for peace, they come here for a meal," she said. "If you want to open a gun shop, do it elsewhere."

Trust me when I say I look like hell in the clip, like Martha after a year in jail, so no link will be provided.

Meanwhile construction continues and the gun shop owner gave an interview to The Washington Times, a newspaper that has a different slant on things, to the right , to the right....

But life as we know it continues. Proms, weddings, graduations, births and deaths fill our days with flowers.

Weeds grow in my garden, strawberries are eaten, raspberries ripen, cats go in and out, the trellis is back up and the grapevine is reaching for the sky.

  I am searching online for a no guns tshirt in xsmall.

If I'm gonna walk the walk I'm going to do it in dubious style.

xo J