Saturday, April 26, 2008

An April Memorial Day

A corridor at the Riderwood retirement community connecting two buildings, Silver Spring, Md., April 26, 2008.


Today I went to the memorial service (not funeral) for my friend Paul's mom. She passed away earlier this month on April 10 at the age of 78. The memorial service was held at the chapel at the Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring / Calverton, Md., where she lived. The chapel is ecumenical, but it was a Catholic service held for her.

My friend J/X (not his real name, of course) and I went to the service and the reception afterward. I met him at the College Park Metro station and we drove there as J/X lives in University Park.

Paul's three brothers and their families were all there, as were other relatives and friends, including some rather old folks. Paul and his family lived in D.C.'s Brookland neighborhood and later in University Park.

Left: a jigsaw puzzle in one of the sprawling community rooms in one of the buildings.

At the service there was this very old lady in a wheelchair -- a family friend from long ago -- who kept talking to her friend, who kept trying to shush her. After Communion, the priest went over to those in wheelchairs and walkers who were unable to get up to give them Communion. A few minutes later, while one of Paul's brothers was giving a eulogy, she said loudly to her friend: "Some man came over and gave me a host and I took it!"

Obviously, there were lots of senior citizens there since it is a retirement community. It reminded me of nursing homes and retirement homes that my paternal grandparents lived in in New Jersey before they both died.

Yours truly, Regulus, and a maple tree on the grounds of the retirement community.

I was going to go to the annual Maryland Day event held today at the UMCP campus, but this was much more important. J/X brought me a Claritin, which saved me from either a day of hellish agony thanks to the stratospheric levels of tree pollen in the air, OR being whacked out in a Benadryl torpor. I need to get some Claritin for myself.

The pollen is characteristically sky-high this time of year, and the frickin' rain promised failed to materialize OF COURSE because that's how the D.C. area weather is.

Here is the 2309 UTC (7:09PM EDT) radar from the Sterling, Va. (LWX) NWS office. Everything crapped out, as ever, and that line way west of the D.C. area doesn't look promising.

The weather today was way too warm -- around 84F for a high or about +14F above normal -- as prelude to a hellishly hot and humid (and probably drought-plagued) summer.

I was wearing a shirt and tie along with my favorite but VERY threadbare wool black jacket, a Façonnable I purchased at Nordstrom's for an obscene amount of money in 2001 (the most I've ever spent on an article of clothing). It has two black patches on the back to cover two holes that developed over time.

This old guy came up to me after the service who had been sitting behind me and pointed out the patches. Then he said, "I thought you were doing Oliver Twist with clothes like that."

Look, just because you knew Charles Dickens personally, don't get bitchy with me. When I need fashion tips about how to wear my pants up to my neck, I'll go to you.

"Nice to meet you and I want to thank you for kindly pointing that out. I happen to like this jacket, though," is all I said to him.

There was a picture slide of photos of Paul's mom and family over the years shown at the reception on a wall projector. I never had the chance to meet her.

The reception was pleasant and I had a nice and sociable time. I don't actually interact with families that much, living in the socially and relationally warped D.C. gayborhood and going to a college campus weekly. I will refrain from any mention of one of Paul's nephews, a chef and surfer who lives on the Jersey shore. Trust me, it would be an all - good mention. As it is, Paul, J/X, myself, and two other of Paul's friends all sat at the same table. We were the gay table, I guess.


Thereafter, J/X drove me back to the College Park Metro station, but not before we took a detour through the lovely residential enclaves of University Park and College Heights Estates. J/X knows "UP" and "CHE" in intimate historical and gossip detail. The following pictures were taken on the drive.

The 7000 block of Chansory Lane, College Heights Estates, Md., April 26, 2008. The owner of a local company that performs an essential service apparently lives here.


The house at the corner of Calverton Drive and Chansory Lane, College Heights Estates, Md., April 26, 2008.

The owner of a well-known local business lives here. Of note, while Calverton Dr. dead ends, the "secret" footpath in the woods that connects the campus and the otherwise only indirectly accessible CHE/UP runs between the Mormon center (the College Park Institute of Religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS) and the dead end of Calverton Dr.


The intersection of Van Buren St. and Queens Chapel Rd., University Park, Md., April 26, 2008.

The Metrorail Green Line runs directly beneath Queens Chapel Rd., and the street is closed off to through traffic. Originally, it was closed off for construction of the Metro in the late 1980s, but the town of UP managed to keep it closed.


The "plantation house" dating from the early 19th Century, the sprawling grounds of which later became University Park. This place is sometimes called Bloomfield or Deakin's Hall, the latter for the family that once lived there.


The next two pictures have sad and awful 9/11 connection. Though the five people involved all lived in University Park, the four people from the first house and the person in the second house very likely did not know each other, but their destinies intersected at 9:44AM on Sept. 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

The 4100 block of Tennyson Rd., University Park, Md., April 26, 2008.

A family of four, including a mother who was a professor at Georgetown University, her husband, and their two young girls, ages 3 and 8, were on their way to a six month stay in Australia for a the mother's fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra. Source
here. I don't normally give actual street addresses, but the address -- 4111 -- was sort of ironic.


The house in the 4200 block of Sheridan St., University Park, Md.

A lady lived here (with her partner) who worked at the Pentagon. She too was killed when Flight 77 crashed into the building. Source


On a happier note, J/X said that this house on Tuckerman St., Univ. Park, Md., reminds him of the one in Mama's Family, about which I've written on my Arcturus blog.


Lastly, bringing it full circle, here is the house in the 4300 block of Sheridan St., University Park, Md., where Paul's mom lived for 20 years from 1983 - 2003, during part of which time Paul and his brothers also resided there.

And that concludes my photographic tour of College Heights Estates and University Park, EXCEPT to note that in my entry on April 17, 2008, I incorrectly identified the location of the house on Wells Parkway as being in CHE when in fact it is in UP. J/X also told me that a famous sports person lives there.


A Side Detour ...

Here is my first attempt at embedding a YouTube clip in a blog entry. It's Billy Joel's "I Go To Extremes," which I've had in my head since I heard it yesterday.

My version for no one in particular would be slightly altered. For instance, the following stanza:

"Darling I don't know why I go to extremes / Too high or too low there ain't no in-betweens / And if I stand or I fall / It's all or nothing at all / Darling I don't know why I go to extremes!"

would instead become:

"Damn it, I don't know why I buy these jeans / Too tight or too wide there ain't no in-betweens /And if I shop at this mall / It'll have to be at Big and Tall / Damn it, I don't know why I buy these jeans!"

That's not for anyone in particular, so don't think it is. I mean, if anybody has an obsessive body building goal to look like, oh, I dunno, John Cena, that's their business, and God bless 'em for it. I wish I had such dedication.

As it is, I don't dare appear shirtless in public, except rarely at the beach going in the ocean, nor, come to think of it, in private that much.

But the effect at, say, age 50, when the ratchet effect that governs metabolism and weight has really kicked in and Earth's gravity and too much free radical oxygen, not to mention life's age clock are doing their things, well, the net effect might be startling.


Well, that's all for now, except to say that the radar now looks a bit more promising for thunderstorms tonight.

Here is the 0106 UTC (9:06PM EDT) LWX radar.

There seems to be stuff forming just west of the immediate D.C. area, which is the way it typically has to happen, though the "force field" that seems to deflect so much weather from us should soon kick in. There is also more stuff on the radar because it gets more humid at night as the temp. drops but the dew point stays about the same.


I had my Sat. night steak, potatoes, and peas dinner and now I'm watching the PBS - aired Britcoms on WETA and MPT. It's actually not pledge drive time. Gary and Kristof are supposed to come over in about an hour and then the plan is to go to Cobalt.

Tomorrow, I am going to LP's place to help in store some stuff and tidy up a bit. He is paying my broke ass self a bit of money for that. I paid my May rent and it wiped me out.

My office is closed all next week for spring holiday in Japan (!) but I will be working from home or school. I have about six assignments, including attending two hearings on Capitol Hill for two bills and writing up memos.

I need to update my Arcturus blog with that second entry related to my chance near - passing with Mr. Deneb last Tuesday that I have already mentioned.

-- Regulus


Anonymous said...

Funerals are strange affairs. I mean the thoughts they bring to mind. They are after all, meant to make the living reflect on mortality...

It is natural after all to see a lot of elderly people at Funerals. I always wonder what the ones whose lives are really close to the end themselves are thinking.

P.S. you in the picture of that tree...odd, it almost looks as if you are engaging the tree somehow.

Regulus said...

Thanks for the comment, Handmaiden. You are correct: funerals are strange and awful but ultimately necessary affairs.

As for old people at funerals and what they think, that's a complicated topic. I don't have any good answers off the top of my head. I mean, are they happy that they've outlived the person in question? Or are they pondering their own mortality? Or are they so out of it (like that lady in the wheelchair) that they think Herbert Hoover is still president? (Wait, he is.)

Re. me and the tree, yes, we were having an inappropriate relationship. Actually, I was trying for a suggestive pose that said, "Why are you making my life miserable with this pollen??"

fifi said...

I am still laughing about the Oliver Twist discourse!

I mean, whats WRONG with everybody?

Anyway, you do look nice in a suit. I am immune to them usually, since the Mr spends a small fortune on them.

Funerals are awful. I am frightened of them. Such sites of grief. Having said that, some of my finest moments ahve been delivering eulogies, strangely.


oops. caps lock.

Regulus said...

Hi Fifi,

Yes, I suppose the Oliver Twist line was kind of funny. I know the jacket is threadbare, but I happen to like my Façonnable black wool jacket, and now I'm reluctant to wear it. Boo.

You are correct, funerals are an awful but necessary part of life. And I've no doubt you can deliver a tremendous eulogy!

I finished the draft version of my enviro project course paper and it is part of the larger group report. Not sure how many more iterations there are going to be. In the meantime, I'm working mostly from home this week but I have to write up three memos on Congressional hearings, two of which I need to attend this week.

It is a lovely, cool, rainy day today. Yay.

Oh, yes, as I asked you about last week, I've my Arcturus blog (as part of that Mr. Sirius - related entry) the nice email you sent me, along with those two pictures from Lake Tabourie you posted in your recent entry. They are such beautiful pictures.

krzysztof said...

just looked at the other blog. wow, so many blogs, and the old entries are back and the font is dark on light yellow background. So nice!

Regulus said...

Uh huh.

Thank you.