Cleaning up our act


Yesterday, having written a recap of recent family genealogy work, I had not intended to write another post this morning.  However, writing provides a catharsis. From what I’ve read in various medical sources, reading  and writing also sharpen part of the brain, or help it retain sharpness.  Working puzzles, crosswords, and games like solitaire help other parts of the brain, apparently.

Bored by much of what is on TV, David and I have been watching the old BBC Miss Marple mysteries starring Joan Hickson.  I notice Miss Marple is always knitting or reading, or playing solitaire, much like Aunt Marge and mom once did.

When Aunt Marge’s vision grew too dim (diabetes) for her to read, Cousin Peter bought her a magnification lamp and a set of large type playing cards and I began to buy her audiobooks which she passed along to her blind sister Rita.  I think these books got passed along many times after that. I believe most libraries carry audiobooks today.

Lately, I’ve been listening to audiobooks myself.  I find my eyes grow extremely dry if I stare at a printed page for very long.  My vision is pretty much okay as I have implants (cataracts removed ) but my eyes are very dry.


Today, David and I will do more yard work, emptying clay pots filled with dead flowers, and raking more leaves off our tiny lawn….these to be added to our compost bins. Earlier this week, the county swept the street clean of the leaves we and neighbors piled at the curb last weekend.

Now that it’s a bit colder, the furnace/AC guy came by a day or two ago and checked the system and replaced the calcified humidifier. Water from the limestone based Shenandoah Valley fills the Potomac river and passes through a reservoir in DC then through pipes laid down under the Potomac when Arlington was part of DC before the nineteenth century. Along the way the calcium from the limestone river bed is carried in the water, along with effluvia from dairy farms and smaller communities upriver.

In the nineteenth century, after worldwide urban cholera outbreaks, Paris and London cleaned up their water supplies. Cholera was an issue in poorer neighborhoods and military encampment in the US during and after the Civil War.

I mentioned a day or two ago I’ve ben reading Steven Johnson’s Ghost Map: The story of London’s most terrifying epidemic and how it changed Science, Cities and the Modern World. I’m especially sensitive to this topic because some of my dad’s ancestors died from a cholera outbreak in Chicago in the nineteenth century.  Clean water is so important, I think about it a lot.

Arlington cleaned up its act because the EPA cracked down on the county a few years back and forced it to change the way it handled effluent. As a result, we have a brand new state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant which releases clean water into the Potomac and positively affects people living in more rural areas downstream.

The EPA is very important.












I’ve neen thinking…


I’m still working on my family tree. Lately I’ve worked on dad’s side.  I’m back 10-12 generations in several lines. When you go back ten generations, you have thousands of ancestors.  The lines I have followed lead to England, Wales … Continue reading

Tis the season


I’ve managed to set up the small ceramic holiday tree and buy the ingredients for the seasonal jelly with fruit. Today we will haul food to the food pantry so others might eat. Yes, it matters. This week, I began … Continue reading