Monday, April 15, 2013


The day started with good running news--my niece called to tell me that she'd run her first 5k yesterday.  She was second in her age group (under 13), with a time of 39 minutes and some seconds.  Not bad for a little girl who turns eight on Thursday!  Her father ran it with her, proving his "wonderful daddy" status.  Ironically, despite the comparative snail's pace, he finished in the middle of his own age group (40-50).

I spent most of the morning running around, finishing the application for financial aid from VA Hospital Center, going to the library to print out all the documents they required, and then hand-delivering the packet to their billing office.  It was a few minutes before one when I drove into Georgetown, and the radio reported that the winners of the Boston Marathon had just completed the course--the men's champion had finished the 26.2 mile course in a blistering 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I told Mums about it--unbelievably fast!

Just a couple of hours later, the whole event was brutally interrupted by the pair of explosions by the finish line.  To have run so long, so hard, to be in sight of completing the race, and then to be injured, even maimed by explosives is terrible.  There's certainly no place in civilian life where one expects to have a bomb detonate or to be the victim of a terrorist attack, but to target a general-admission athletic event, where people are testing themselves, celebrating victory over the course and the clock, is, to me, far more barbaric, and unreasonable (that presumes that the bombers have reason; not a given) than, say, even focusing on a shopping mall or a franchise sport, where, perhaps an anti-capitalist statement could be made.

My sister was very shaken up--if her husband hadn't accompanied Rita in her 5k yesterday, he might have been running the marathon as he has in the past, and he would have just been finishing when the bombs went off.  Like my aunt, who lives just outside of Boston, they knew people who were running today, but all were reported safe.  Thus far, three people have died, including a boy of eight, just Rita's age. 

My sister's nursing school, where she has classes tomorrow, is just down the street from the blast area--she said she could see the campus library in the shots of the explosion.  She told me that one mercy for the victims was that they were literally one minute from five of the best hospitals in Boston.  Given also the normal toll of marathons on the runners, the race aftercare tent was also handy with first aid equipment.  But so many people lost limbs.  Even the best hospital in the world can't reattach a leg that has been blown to pieces.

Law enforcement still doesn't know who did it.  Was it a disgruntled American, some evil person determined to avenge some imagined insult to liberty by denying life and the ready pursuit of happiness to others?  Was it a foreign actor, bent by religion or politics on visiting misery on carefree Americans running through a historic city on a beautiful spring day?  Was it a group or an individual--maybe even a private vendetta, coincidentally affecting a large swath of spectators when a single person was targeted?  We'll probably find out in the next few days.

Friday, April 05, 2013

1,001 Blog Posts & The Next Chapter

This is my one thousand and first blog post, which averages out to posting two times a week since I started.  I am no Scheherazade, but just finished watching a Taiwanese serial called “My Queen”:  A thirty-something journalist is pursued by a man eight years her junior.  East Asian television is a clean version of romance novels for middle-aged single women like me.  You know you are getting on in years when a girl you grew up with is appointed to the state Court of Appeals as a judge!

Since three months before Daddy died, I have been terrified of ending up homeless.  It occurred to me today that a specified period of homelessness could be beneficial for me, a condition I should embrace rather than run from.  Obviously, I am not speaking of giving up my apartment to sit on a park bench, but instead putting all my stuff that is worth holding on to into climate-controlled storage and embarking upon a limited career of couch-hopping.
Three days before my current apartment lease expires will be exactly eighteen months before my fortieth birthday.  I am not looking forward to that particular birthday.  Thirty was no problem—one is still considered fairly young—but forty is the official strait into the turbulent sea of middle age.  As one girlfriend who phoned me last Friday (on her daughter’s first birthday) remarked, “At forty, the wheels fall off.”  There are goals to be reached before forty.  I haven’t the chutzpah nor the self-confidence to write myself the legendary check for a million dollars, payable at that point, but I wonder if I shouldn’t do the next best thing: cut my expenses to the bone and work my buns off for a year and a half with the ultimate goal of buying a house (at least having enough to put down a sizable downpayment on one, if not pay for one in cash outright) on that infamous day.  Since my major expense is rent, I have to let the apartment go.

I have a lot of friends here in the DC area, most of whom have been kind enough to volunteer their guest rooms when I have needed them, and to say that I am welcome to crash there in the future.  Without wearing out my welcome at any one house (staying no more than a week, with two months between visits, and offering my hosts, say, $100 per stay plus a meal out for the whole family to cover any additional expenses their hospitality incurs) I think this is actually feasible.  I would have to live light, not toting much with me, but wouldn’t this be an even healthier modern alternative to a Walden retreat?  After all, Thoreau went home every week to do his laundry, so a friend once told me.

I’d need someone to offer to be my "home" for legal purposes, even if I didn’t stay with her at all—somewhere to get my mail, whence to file my taxes, and so forth.  I’d prefer to stay in Arlington County officially, even as I’d gallivant all over the Greater Washington area, because I love the Arlington library, particularly the online collection.  Anita has a guest room, Susan has a guest room, Mary has a guest room, as does my boss (with whom one of my coworkers has been staying for several weeks until she was able to find an apartment).  Leah has a very comfortable couch.  The German professor that I befriended at Georgetown has a couple of guest rooms.  Several other girlfriends and one young married couple I know may have room (three couples I know don’t have any extra space, and a single bathroom each, and I wouldn’t want to think of intruding on them). 

I could keep a journal about my adventures, and eat lots of Trader Joe’s salads.  I’d have to have my Christmas party somewhere else this year, but it’s doable.  Rather than moving back to GA without any employment in place, I could remain here and work.

Let me test the waters by asking possible hosts directly, and see where that takes me.  Eighteen months to economic freedom is an appealing prospect. And when I become a famous writer I could share stories of how I slept on friend’s couches while I was trying to make it big.