Day: January 31, 2020

History, History Column

Colored Rosemont – A Black History Lesson

by ©2020 Sarah Becker Colored Rosemont – A Black History Lesson In 1939 Winston Churchill described the Soviets as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma;” German authorities required Jews to wear the Star of David, and black American W.E.B. DuBois published Black Folk, Then and Now: An Essay in the History and Sociology of the Negro Race.  Germany invaded Poland; Columbia pictures released “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and Rochester, New York, started a food stamp program.  In Alexandria—on June 19—musician and socialite; heiress and white realtor Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas, Mrs. Augustus Howell Thomas bought “real estate…bounded by Wythe, Payne, West and Pendleton Streets” as part of a privately-funded housing project known as colored Rosemont. “Housing affordability is an issue that disproportionately affects people of color,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam affirmed in 2019.  The U.S. Supreme Court decided Plessy v. Ferguson the racially divisive separate but equal Jim Crow Car Law in 1896. “To Colored People—Own your own home, 5 room houses…dollars down, balance like rent,” the Alexandria Gazette suggested in 1920.  In segregated Alexandria most property deeds, most neighborhoods were racially restricted. The result:  “[T]here is a scarcity of suitable housing for persons of average means,” American Construction council president Franklin D. Roosevelt told The New York Times in 1925. Mrs. Thomas’ good work predates the U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelley v. Kraemer.  “The parties of the first part covenant with the [colored] parties of the second part that they have the right to convey this property to them; that there are no encumbrances [restrictive racial covenants], and that the [colored] parties of the second part shall have quiet and peaceable possession thereof,” the Thomas family Deeds of Bargain and Sale consistently recorded. “Virginia Wheat Thomas was an angel, an abolitionist-minded angel,” Stanley Greene said. …

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events, Featured Post

Leap Year 2020 – Pause. Reflect. Reset.

by Meg Mullery Leap Year 2020 – Pause. Reflect. Reset. An Irish legend identifies St. Brigid as an early feminist by her successful negotiation of a deal with St. Patrick allowing women to propose to men every four years. St. Brigid, weary of dudes making the life-altering decisions and then mansplaining them, attempted to introduce a balance to the traditional male-female roles. The best she could be was every four years. Whatever. St. Patrick, equally weary of St. Brigid’s incessant eye-rolling, acquiesced. He also was dealing with a pesky snake problem that perhaps weakened his resolve. Julius Caesar introduced Leap Year more than 2000 years ago. The Julian (now Gregorian) calendar added an extra day every four years to the common 365 day calendar to synchronize it with the solar year. The extra day keeps our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. Ever since the introduction of Leap Year, Leap Day on February 29 has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions. A google search of these reflects the pathetic status of women and marriage throughout the centuries. To be clear, men looked forward to the dreaded Leap Day much like Mitch McConnell would look forward to slow-dancing with Nancy Pelosi to the music of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” In 1288, Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose to the man of their choice. Any man who declined a leap year proposal had to pay a fine ranging from payment for a silk dress to a pair of gloves. Gloves were a popular form of payment for rebuffing a proposal. In European countries, tradition dictated that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring….

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

Acute Mountain Sickness: An Everest Evacuation Vacation Story

Take Photos, Leave Foot Prints by Scott Dicken Acute Mountain Sickness: An Everest Evacuation Vacation Story Sirens blared as we weaved our way around the airport tarmac and through the morning rush hour traffic of Kathmandu. Sitting in the back of the ambulance I looked down at my wife who was being tended to by an EMT. Looking out of the front window I was horrified to see that we were driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic; a feat not for the faint-hearted on Nepal’s roads. This wasn’t how I expected our vacation to end! A mere 24 hours earlier it had all been so different. My wife’s long held aspiration of reaching Everest Base Camp had been achieved; smiling photos and video footage attested to our success. Everything was going according to plan and the Diamox (medication designed to reduce the likelihood of succumbing to Acute Mountain Sickness) seemed to have adequately done its job. It was time to turn around and start the 4-day descent to Lukla Airport where we would take an onward flight back to Kathmandu. But the high of reaching Everest Base Camp was unexpectedly short-lived. No sooner had we taken our celebratory photos with the rest of our team of intrepid explorers than my wife started to experience searing headaches and crippling nausea. The slow trudge back to the nearest teahouse at Gorek Shep, a 3-hour hike from Everest Base Camp, was a long and painful journey in freezing and snowy conditions; and that was without even considering the lack of oxygen at 17,600 feet. The relative warmth of the teahouse seemed to provide very little comfort and her condition seemed only to deteriorate. Despite attempts to eat, nothing was staying down and she spent the next 15 hours…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Winter Garden Tips – Don’t Be Caught Off Guard!

By Garden Helpers Even though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors, an occasional dose of sunshine could certainly put the gardening bug into you. With a little luck, Mother Nature will send a few blossoms your way this month. We are now at a time when we can no longer put off those garden projects, waiting for a nice day…… Don’t be caught off guard though, winter is far from being over! If exceptionally cold weather is forecast, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material. Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again. Shrubs and trees –Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month, once the buds have begun to swell, it will be too late. Check with your local nursery for information on transplanting azaleas or moving specimen plants. –Trees which weren’t fed last fall should be deep fed by punching a series of 1-2 inch holes two feet apart around the drip line and filled with an appropriate food. A mulch of well composted manure is also an excellent treat for your tree. –Mid to late February is the time to fertilize shrubs and evergreens. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly. –Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Forsythia, quince, spirea and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned a little later, after they have finished flowering. Pruning…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Life on Earth

Life on Earth By Miriam R. Kramer What is the love that creates and shapes you, and how do you bear its loss? How do you not only survive but also live? How do you create a community when you’ve lost all the love you knew? In Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, Jane and Bruce Adler, and their two sons, Jordan and Eddie, are moving across the country on a flight from Newark to Los Angeles to start a new life. When their plane crashes, only one of the 192 passengers and crew survives: twelve-year-old Eddie. In his hospital bed Eddie becomes Edward. Tragedy formalizes him and forces him to enter adolescence as an indefinable combination of child and adult. In Dear Edward, Napolitano has created a lovely, accessible novel and an unusual page-turner. The narrative proceeds along two tracks. In one, she relates the stories of the usual disparate grouping of passengers heading across the country together to an uncertain future, including the then-Eddie and his family. In the other narrative, Edward has to adjust to a radically new existence. Recovering in the hospital, he remains traumatized and unresponsive. With the country fascinated by him and the crash, he receives a condolence call from the President of the United States and gains fame as the “Miracle Boy.” His uncle and aunt, John and Lacey Curtis, come to pick him up and take him back to their home in New Jersey. As Edward heals painfully and slowly, he meets his new next-door neighbors. Single mother Besa introduces herself and her daughter, Shay, who is also 12. After having spent his life sleeping in a room with his brother, Edward gravitates towards this girl his age. He alleviates his almost unbearable loneliness and trauma by spending most of his time with her as he gets ready to start school. Through switching back and forth between Edward’s current life and the lives lived on the flight, Napolitano creates a compulsively readable book. She tells the stories of a group of people on the plane who are planning for meetings, new lives in California, fresh starts, drug trials to cure cancer, and other ventures. Eddie and…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Five Reasons You Should Go Sailing in 2020

Five Reasons You Should Go Sailing in 2020 by Molly Winans Allow me to be the one writer on a February deadline to not discuss valentines, black history, presidents, tax season, or how cold it is. Let’s talk about the five reasons you should go sailing this year. I know, it’s cold—but we’ve agreed not to talk about that. Run with me on this. Reason number One: You know you want to go sailing… someday. Everyone does, right? Perhaps a few of you get sick on boats. (There are solutions for that. Keep reading.). Most of us feel better on boats than we do on land. We dream of the freedom of casting off our lines with the sun on our faces, the wind in our hair. We have seen all those ads with sleek Ralph Lauren and Nautica models on beautiful wooden boats (so much shinier than real bodies of water would ever allow) sporting their navy cable sweaters and white pants, looking so cool. Note: white pants are the dumbest thing you could ever wear on a boat. But who doesn’t want to look cool? Who doesn’t want to feel cool? Sailing feels cool. This you will learn only by actually sailing. Take my word for it. You know you want to go. Two: It’s not as expensive as you think. All of those magazine images and movies make sailing seem only accessible to the super rich. People who use the word summer as a verb. Snobs who say the words “yachting” and “regatta” through clenched teeth as they order martinis on white terraces. These people do exist—I’m not going to lie to you. The good news is that you can go sailing extensively and joyfully for many years and not hang out with those people at all….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Cold Weather and Heart Health

By Nicole Flanagan Cold Weather and Heart Health Although winter is a beautiful time of the year, it brings low temperatures, shorter daylight hours and snow (only once every few years here). Cold weather can strain the heart, and according to research, increase the risk for a heart attack. Many people are not even aware that they are at risk until they have a heart attack, so it’s very important to know the risk factors. The risk of heart disease increases if you’re older, a smoker, overweight, have high blood pressure, don’t exercise enough or have a stress-filled life.  Heart problems can also be hereditary. If you’re at risk, you must be especially careful during the winter months. Why? Colder temperatures cause your blood vessels to get smaller, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen supply to your heart. Your blood becomes thicker when temperatures drop, and this can cause an increase in the risk of clotting. Cold weather can also lead to an increase in blood pressure, which puts more stress on your heart.  If you’re not used to exercising, your risk of a heart attack during winter weather may increase from overexertion. If you are not accustomed to exercise, shoveling snow or even walking in deep or heavy snow can trigger a heart attack.  If you don’t know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather, you could suffer from hypothermia—an abnormally low body temperature. Most deaths from this condition are caused by heart failure. It is also important to know the signs of a heart attack. If you experience any of the following signs you should call 9-1-1. -chest pain, pressure or discomfort -pain, pressure or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach -shortness of breath -cold sweat -nausea -lightheadedness Heart…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Twice the Fun! Exercises for Two!

By Ryan Unverzagt It’s time for the annual “Sweetheart” exercise advice. If you’ve been following any of my advice, you may have discovered that exercising with a friend is a fun way to get that not so easy “chore” done and over with. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and would provide that perfect opportunity to exercise with your sweetheart. I have four partner designed exercises to share with you this month. The first sweetheart exercise to try is the FitBall Squat. This is performed by placing a FitBall between you and your partner’s backs, then squatting together keeping the ball from falling to the floor. This one requires teamwork, great timing, and trust to pull it off successfully. Since you will be facing in opposite directions, communication is essential. Try 15 reps and if you want to increase the difficulty, just pause at the bottom of your squat for a ten second count, then repeat ten times. The second sweetheart exercise is the seated medicine ball (MB) rotation. Sit on the floor beside your partner with knees bent as if you were to perform a sit-up. There should be about a two foot space in between. Both of you lean back about 45 degrees and lift your feet off the floor to balance on the tailbone. Now this is the start position. To begin, grab one MB with elbows bent 90 degrees and rotate at the waist away from your partner, then back toward the two foot space in the center to set the ball down on the floor. Your sweetheart then grabs it off the floor and rotates away from you and back to set it down in the same spot. You should maintain the 45 degree lean with heels off the floor when your partner has…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

V-Day, Your Way!

By Genevieve LeFranc Christmas is a distant memory, New Year’s a blur, and in a couple of weeks, February 14th  will be here in all its red, rose-scented glory. Contrary to popular belief and too many women’s magazines, Valentine’s Day is an equal opportunity occasion where everyone—canoodling couples and sassy singletons alike—should seize the day to look and feel their best. V-Day is all about love, so follow my tips for showing your skin, hair, and nails some major affection, no matter how you choose to spend your February 14th. Date Night Whether you enjoy the comfortable intimacy that comes with years of togetherness or you’re brave enough to agree to a Valentine’s date with a new suitor, few things compare to the giddy excitement of prepping for a date. Everyone enjoys grooming and preening to look their best, and these products will ensure that everyone else enjoys you looking your best as well. For flawless, luminescent skin that radiates in the glow of a candlelight dinner, dab a highlighter, such as Benefit High Beam, across your brow bones, the bridge of your nose, and your Cupid’s bow. This ethereal, radiant liquid highlighter creates a lustrous, dewy complexion for a romantically angelic sheen. This supermodel-in-a-bottle product works wonders for all skin tones, and will have your date drooling over your incandescent skin. To avoid that sloppy, smeared-clown look after hours of smooching, try CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor. This affordable, long-lasting formula lasts up to 16 hours, and remains resilient through a long day at work, a romantic dinner, a tough workout, and, most importantly, a Valentine’s Day snog session with your significant (or not) other. With a moisturizing topcoat that helps lock in shine and keeps your pucker smooth, you don’t have to worry about your lips drying out or…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Valentine’s Day Is for “Chocolate” Lovers!

By Judy Eichner Valentine’s Day Is for “Chocolate” Lovers! Valentine’s Day is observed by many people, in many countries, in a variety of ways.  According to a recent poll, chocolate, in any form, is the preferred gift of both recipient and sender when commemorating this holiday. A long time ago someone said “chocolate is the nectar of the Gods.” The first people to discover the secrets of this nectar were the Aztecs and the Mayans.  Mixing cacao seeds with various spices became a favored drink of royalty, and the seeds were often offered to the gods in lieu of human blood. When the Spanish conquered the natives, they brought the seeds back to Spain in the 1500’s where new recipes were created using the cacao seeds. Nearly a century later, the rest of Europe started experimenting with the seeds and made a variety of different chocolates. However, it remained a royal delectable because sugar and cacao were very expensive. In the 1800’s things changed when mass production lowered the cost of producing the chocolate. Today, it is readily available in various forms, at affordable prices. One day while window shopping in Georgetown, I saw a young woman wearing a T shirt that said “Give me some chocolate and nobody will get hurt.” It struck a familiar chord in my mind, because it made me think of how many times I thought that everything would be better if only I had some chocolate! I am not alone. In this country, there are millions of people who feel the same way. Did you know……..In Europe, Valentine’s Day has many different names: -Wales, the Welsh people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St. Dwynwen’t Day ) on January 25th.  The day commemorates St. Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. -France, Valentine’s Day is called…

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