Monthly Archives: July 2010

When the lights went out in Bethesda

Last Sunday at 3:29 pm a violent storm passed through the DC area knocking over trees and bringing down branches. It also resulted in no power to around 300,000 homes and businesses in the DC Metro area.  We were among  that number.

The actual storm was kind of fun.  It didn’t last long, but was very strong. We saw huge branches fall from our Tulip poplar, and the torrential rain flew sideways for a while, drenching everything in our screened in porch. Stupidly we all stood at the front (cracked) picture window in the dining room while the storm raged. Had I been carrying my mobile phone with me I would have gotten the tornado “SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM!” warning text. But it was charging in my office.

Sometime before the end of the storm we heard the muffled pop of a transformer, and the lights went out. We suspected we were in for at least a day without power. During the blizzard last winter people were without power for several days (we were lucky and didn’t lose power — or at least not for long if we did). A number of years ago a hurricane took out our power for a week. That was not very much fun.

Anyway — Dean took Clare and Brandon (my nephew who was visiting from Illinois) to DC to a museum and Georgetown while I stayed home and cooked dinner — which was my plan before the storm but was going to be more of a challenge with no power. Luckily we have a gas stove and I could use the burners after lighting them with a match.

That night, after Dean, Clare and Brandon returned we ate dinner and talked about what to do that night. Brandon was the most concerned — he worried about sleeping without air conditioning. Also: no TV or Xbox. Andrew and Clare went out with friends. Dean and Brandon went to bed early but I stayed up and read by candle light.

The next morning Dean, Andrew and Brandon headed to Pennsylvania to camp for the night. Clare and I stayed home. Clare slept until noon, as usual, but I was up early. With not much else to do I tackeled the cupboards and drawers in my kitchen — something I’d  been meaning to do for months. I started on one side of the kitchen and ended up at the other side. No longer does one feel like they’re looking at a puzzle in an “Eye Spy” book when trying to find the measuring spoon in one kitchen drawer.

After Clare woke up we celebrated her 19th birthday by going to the mall and buying her a couple of items for her mobile phone. We also bought some more flashlights, since the boys took the good ones camping.

That night we lit several candles while I continued to clean the house. I remarked to Clare that this must be what I would be like had the Internet not been invented. I would clean all day. She thought that sounded sick.  After Clare left to hang out with friends, I read for a few hours by candle light, then went to sleep — exhausted after a day of hard work in nearly 90° temperatures.

On Tuesday I found more cleaning to do, and was just about to begin work on the basement when I heard a strange noise. The air conditioner fan! We had electricity again! Goodbye cleaning! Hello Internet…


My hair has gone through many changes over my lifetime  which is probably true for everyone — well most women, at least.  Since I first started making decisions about my hair, it’s been long  (to the middle of my back), short (pixie cuts), and permed (short, medium and long). It’s been highlighted and colored (self and professionally). I’ve used electric curlers, blow-dryers, flat-irons, curling irons, and Velcro rollers to style it. I’ve just left it to dry naturally. I’ve pulled it back in a ponytail. I’ve worn it in braids. I’ve had bangs and no bangs.

In the 1980’s I probably changed my hair-style every 6 months. A friend of ours, who we saw a couple times a year, commented that he never saw me with the same hairstyle one time to the next.

Thinking about it, I believe that my hair is a measure of my emotional state (or my emotional state dictates my hairstyle  — or both). In the 1980’s I think I was trying to figure out who I was, and tried on new hairstyles to see if I could discover the real me.

In the 1990’s I think I tried to have easy-to-care-for, but stylish hair because I had young children, but wanted to look fashionable.

In the 2000’s I think I wanted to avoid anything that would make people think I was trying to look younger than I was, so opted for shorter styles, and didn’t go to the stylist as often as I should have gone, especially when I took some years off work and went to part time. The less frequent visits to my stylist and the resulting not-so-nice hair put me in a funk which resulted in me not really “caring” about my appearance which put me in a bigger funk.

A few years ago I tried to grow my hair long again, but didn’t like the look — I felt that the length pulled my features down, so had Doug cut it short again and the funk continued.

Recently I thought I’d try long hair again, and this time learn how to use a flat iron or curling iron properly. Oh, and products. Lots of products. Doug has been very supportive (he has long hair himself) and thinks the long hair looks good on me. I think he’s right. I feel good about my hair and appearance again.

I bought a new curling iron and the first time I used it was wowed by the results. It takes a long time, so I don’t use it that often, but when I want to look glamorous I do take the time. Usually I just blow it dry (if that) and pull it back in a ponytail. Just knowing the glamorous me is possible is all that matters.  It feels good to feel good about my hair again.


I awoke to the news that our region had a 3.6 magnitude earthquake at 5:04 this morning. I slept through it, as did another local blogger. Dean was awake and said he felt the house shake and walked outside to see if an airplane was flying overhead.

Gaithersburg Earthquake
Gaithersburg Earthquake

This is the second time I’ve been in an earthquake and have not felt it. The first time I was not asleep. It took place on a Saturday — I want to say it was in the morning, but it may have been later. Anyway the reason I didn’t feel it was because I was in a BLOODY BOWLING ALLEY! Of all the places not to be if you want to experience a rare Illinois earthquake is in a bowling alley.

Although I’ve never been in an earthquake I do have an earthquake story:

I was teaching students with learning disabilities in a small self-contained classrroom (10 students or so) in  a public school in Northern Virginia. It was near the end of the day and I was reading to the students when I felt the floor shake. The students also felt the shaking. I stopped reading and went to the doorway and looked out into the hall to see if anyone else felt the shaking. No one was in the hall and I heard normal teaching sounds coming from the classroom across from mine.  Still the rumbling continued, so I told the kids to get under their desks while I checked on the situation with the senior teacher next door. I was about to knock on her door when I noticed that her entire class of 30 students were running in place. Then they stopped. So did the shaking.

I went back to the class and told the students that the earthquake was over and they could get out from under their desks.