Day: April 29, 2019

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

A Tribe of Her Own

By Lori Welch Brown A Tribe of Her Own I pride myself on being a girl’s girl.  The friendships I’ve built with other females have sustained me my entire life.  I grew up with three brothers so I wasn’t born into a sisterhood, but I learned early on that a girl tribe was important to not only my personal well-being, but also my development and overall sanity.  My first childhood bestie had an older sister, and I was jealous of that dynamic except on the days they were fighting like two alley cats.  Over the years, I’ve cultivated a veritable garden of friends and they all nourish my soul in different ways.  They feed my need for inner calm, peace and harmony.  A few recognize and join me in my need to occasionally howl at the moon.  Some join me on the yoga mat; others saddle up next to me for happy hour and venting.  A couple others pull up an easel beside me as we encourage each others’ creative muse.  Others offer sage professional advice; others relationship wisdom.  They range in age from ten years my junior to a couple decades on the journey ahead of me.  A couple of my besties recently joined me at the beach and my sides still hurt from all the raucous laughter.  Lucky for me, my head stopped hurting after only one day from the hangover.  Ouch. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about ALL the great women in my life—my Mother being the first one on the scene.  Mom has been gone from this planet 13 years—long enough that I have to stop and think of the year, but not so long that I’ve forgotten that she loved Dr. Phil, Peppermint Patties, a good pair of…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Flowers of Yesteryear

The Flowers of Yesteryear By Miriam R. Kramer In her debut novel, Lilac Girls, and its recently released prequel, Lost Roses, author Martha Hall Kelly tells the story of resilient women torn apart by the conflicts and revolutions in twentieth-century Europe, and how they unite to flower together in an unexpected fashion. When the winds of war screech across the land, tossing dead leaves and tearing the twigs that skitter across flowerbeds, these dormant blooms wait for a sun yet to come. In Lilac Girls, released in 2016, Kelly introduces us to three women who must choose roles within the terrible play of the Second World War. Caroline Ferriday, a New York society woman, philanthropist, and former Broadway actress, has chosen to volunteer at the French Consulate in New York. When Hitler invades Poland in September of 1939, she scrambles to continue sending care packages to orphanages in France while helping dazed refugees arriving in a United States that is granting fewer and fewer visas. In Lublin, Poland, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Catholic teenager, decides after the German invasion to work for the Polish underground and resist the Nazis. Doctor Herta Oberheuser, a cold, driven German doctor who wants to be a surgeon, battles sexism in a world where women are supposed to remain domestic and procreate to populate Nazi Germany. When offered a government position as a camp physician at a Nazi re-education camp, she takes the challenge to prove herself as a medical professional. When Caroline meets a famous Parisian actor, Paul Rodierre, she falls in love. Despite returning her affections, he decides to return home to aid his estranged part-Jewish wife, who is in danger from Nazi collaborators.  In the meantime, Kasia and Herta’s actions put them on a collision course that will leave them both collateral damage…

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History, History Column

Walt Whitman and the Civil War

by ©2019 Sarah Becker Walt Whitman and the Civil War “In midnight sleep of many a face of anguish, Of the look at first of the mortally wounded, (of that indescribable look),” poet Walt Whitman wrote in 1867 in Old War Dreams.  “Of the dead on their backs, with arms extended wide, I dream, I dream, I dream….Long have they pass’d, faces and trenches and fields, Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure, or away from the fallen, Onward I sped at the time—but now of their forms at night, I dream, I dream, I dream.” In 1861 the United States offered approximately 40 medical schools and six schools of pharmacy.  Despite the seeming sophistication, Civil War hospitals were mostly makeshift.  “The [Prince Street] house is commodious, and, for a confiscated dwelling, is very fine,” the Alexandria Gazette noted in 1864. Alexandria’s Civil War hospitals included Prince Street Hospital, Lyceum Hall, Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House and Episcopal Seminary.  Also Prince Street’s L’Ouverture Hospital for colored troops.  Medical and other supplies were secured, in part, from Fairfax Street’s Leadbeater & Co. including Lamp Oil, Charcoal, Castile Soap, Laudanum and Morphine Sulph.    Virginia seceded from the Union on May 24, 1861, only to find the Federal Army ready to stake an Alexandria claim.  Occupied Alexandria, a budding hospital town, served as an Army logistical supply center.  It operated alongside the city of Washington, Georgetown and Aquia Creek.    “Still sweeping the eye around down the river toward Alexandria, we see, to the right, the locality where the Convalescent Camp stands, with its five, eight, or sometimes ten thousand inmates,” Walt Whitman penned.  Whitman, a New Yorker, traveled to Washington in 1862 to search for his brother George, missing in the Battle of Fredericksburg.  He called infirmaries the “marrow…

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Featured Post, High Notes

Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3 by Todd Snider

High Notes By Ron Powers Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3 by Todd Snider On Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3 Todd Snider employs the great forms of Folk, Blues, and Country to frame his views on life, love, and politics. Using bare-bone arrangements, Snider continues in the centuries-old tradition of American Roots music and brings us a collection of picture-perfect songs. The first thing that struck me about Cash Cabin was its parallels to Bob Dylan’s second studio album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.  At times, Snider’s vocal is strikingly similar to Dylan’s. Snider also has a wit and charm which bears a resemblance. These similarities feel much less like mimicry though. It’s more a case of being cut from the same cloth. Cash Cabin begins with a tune called “Working on a Song”. Here, Snider poetically expresses the often heartbreaking experience of chasing a dream. This song’s emotional impact is largely expressed through the way Snider sings it. There’s a touching vulnerability to his delivery. You almost hear tears welling up as he sings the lines. Next, we hear a more playful song called “Talking Reality Television Blues”. This is one of my favorites off the LP. Here, Snider takes us on an abbreviated journey through the history of Television and makes a thought-provoking connection between it and the current state of American politics. It’s songs like these that put Todd Snider in the rare class of musicians who actually have something to say. Cash Cabin isn’t just a quaint collection of well written tunes. At times it’s as if nature herself is possessing Snider, breathing a message to the world. This is most evident on songs like “A Timeless Response to Current Events”. Here we get a glimpse into the historic knowledge, and social/political insight Snider has. Whether you agree…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

30 Virginia Wineries that Lay Out a Feast

By Nancy Bauer 30 Virginia Wineries that Lay Out a Feast It’s May, so we’re talking moms. Now my mom, she loved a good lunch. She lived in Annapolis after my dad passed away, and I’d drive out every Sunday to take her to whichever restaurant had recently struck her fancy. She’d always look at the menu and say, “Chicken” with a big sigh. “I’m so tired of chicken.” Then, with great enthusiasm: “I think I’ll have a burger!” I’d look down and stifle a laugh because this was the same thing she said every time she had lunch with me, or one of her other four kids. We never saw her eat much chicken, but that woman sure did enjoy her cheeseburgers. If she were still here, I’d steal her away and spend all of Mother’s Day visiting wineries, talking, and tasting. Not the wine – she didn’t drink much – but the food. Because, lucky, lucky us, beautiful food – fresh, local, artisanal – is finding its way more often onto Virginia winery menus, everything from wood-fired pizza to fancy-schmancy little nibbles. A couple of wineries even do cheeseburgers.  This month, scoop up your mom, point the car toward one of these wineries, and enjoy your time together.  For more information about these wineries, including addresses, websites and operating hours, see NORTHERN VIRGINIA REGION 868 Vineyards, Purcellville: Grandale Vintner’s Table serves farm-to-table lunches and dinners in a rustic dining room and on a deck with fabulous garden views. Bogati Winery, Round Hill: Empanadas, gourmet pizzas, provoleta, charcuterie. Chateau O’Brien, Markham: Light fare including sandwiches, flatbreads, and cheese boards. Creeks Edge Winery, Lovettsville: Fun menu of snacks, sandwiches, pizzas and soups. Crushed Cellars, Purcellville: New Zealand meat pies, bruschetta and cheese. Hillsborough Vineyards, Hillsboro: Light weekend menu in-season…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Boat Rage

By Steve Chaconas Boat Rage We’ve seen it on the highway, and now on waterways…road rage has a companion, BOAT RAGE. We just need to share the water and treat others as we would like to be treated. Tournament anglers are targeted as the biggest offenders. Tournaments provide a venue and showcase for everything from boats to tackle. Without tournaments, some guys wouldn’t even get out of bed on a Saturday morning for fear that their wife would have them work around the house. Are bass boat offenders aware of what they are doing, or do they just not care?  Whatever the case, exercise caution, as we live in dangerous times. You never know what someone will do when confronted. Being out on the water is supposed to be relaxing, but we aren’t alone. Waterways are even more crowded since the war on terrorism. Families have opted for close-to-home activities. Boating has become the choice for many. But boating experience is in short supply. Many states now require a safe boating course. But these lessons do not include actual boating instruction. It’s a learn as you go proposition. In fact, a bass boater like other boaters can purchase a boat, take the keys and hit the water without any training! This inexperience is adding fuel to the boat rage fire. Bass boaters are not the only ones falling prey to their behavior, however they are the most visible because they are in glittery boats that only slow down to fish every once in a while. With enormous outboards and sleek design, many on the water suffer from horsepower envy. Being passed gets the water boiling and tempers flaring. Perhaps the boats are an extension of ego. In addition, the number of tournaments has reached the out of control stage.  This…

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