Garrett Park Ranked #2: Best Places to Live in Maryland

UD‘s home – not just the place she lives now; the place she was raised – is practically the best place to live in the whole state. Maryland is the nation’s wealthiest state, so competition for best place to live must be pretty fierce…

Of course UD has always been proud of her town (as those of you who have been reading this blog a long time know). She ended up here at the age of nine because her mother, just returned from a year in Mill Hill, a charming British village near London, found in Garrett Park an approximation of what she’d grown to love in England. It didn’t hurt that all of GP’s streets are named after locations in the novels of Walter Scott.

UD’s Neighbor’s Backyard This Morning

The third day of massive multiple trucks
breaking and shredding and hauling
“a large healthy pine that snapped in
the wind,” says my neighbor.
“It didn’t uproot.”

After the wind…

… the tree guys deal with the fir that fell
on my across the street neighbor’s house.

Awash in wind…

UD shares the best wind poem she knows. It’s by Ted Hughes.



This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

Mr UD will Give a Seminar at the OECD in Paris on March 23…

…(that’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) on “Measuring Development in the 21st Century.”

La Kid will also be in Paris, on business, so they will meet up there.

UD is the only non-jet-setting member of the family.

Snapshots from Home: My Very Own Parkland Massacre!

Montgomery County police said that [Alwin] Chen’s home was searched and officials found multiple guns, including an AR-15-style rifle, ammunition, multiple grenades, a tactical vest, and a C4 landmine detonator

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from UD, the next 19-year-old mass killer, complete with a list of grievances against fellow students, steps up for his photo!

… Uh, I mean… make that 18-year-old. Highly educated counties like UD‘s feature precocious and far better equipped slaughterers. Does your local tyke-killer have grenades and landmines? Color me proud!

We’ll all go together when we go;
What a comforting fact that is to know.


The defense team attempted to appeal to the judge by pointing to Chen’s status as an honor roll student with offers of scholarships at two universities…

A genius killer of children! Let him go! Free the guy! Two lucky universities (I wonder which? He’s local… GWU?) are competing for him… Alwin! Over here! Choose me! Choose me!

Speaking only for herself, and as a fellow resident of Montgomery County, UD would be honored to be mowed down by someone with amazing SAT scores.


[Chen’s attorney called him] a ‘good student’ who has come to school every day, doing the things that we tell kids to do – ‘Join the athletics team, join the clubs, get involved with school, bring a loaded Glock.’

I added the last thing. His attorney forgot to list it.

Dumbarton Oaks Yesterday…

after a snowfall.

Taken by UD‘s friend Ari.

Very nice moment today in the elevator at GW:

A chatty student, with a hearing guide dog, stood next to me. As we both left the elevator and went outside, I got a good look at her.

Sara Soltani! Her video for the Hillary Clinton campaign was spectacular – I watched it a bunch of times.

“You’re famous!” I said. “I really liked what you did for the campaign.”

She thanked me.

Pre-Amazonian Rain Forest

This is the overcast expanse Amazon
has chosen as one of the finalists
for the site of its second headquarters.

It’s in Montgomery County, Maryland,
just down the street from UD‘s Garrett Park.

‘Overall, I think Montgomery County is the most likely choice out of all the Amazon finalists, and that reflects the power of millennials and their desire for urban living.’



“We combine rural, urban and suburban lifestyles,” County Executive Ike Leggett said after the finalists were announced Thursday.

What Leggett doesn’t say is that you can get all three lifestyles in the same house. Chez UD sits eight miles from a city, so I guess that makes it suburban. But the immediate world around UD‘s house has itself been urbanizing for years, and in fact it feels quite city-like almost the moment you step outside the barriers (dead end streets everywhere) and trees (GP is an arboretum) her town has created between it and urbanism.


Rural? Last night, while Les UDs were eating dinner, they heard one of their red foxes (there’s long been a den at the top of the hill behind our house) barking and screaming only a few feet away from them.

“Prepare yourself,” UD said to Mr UD. “I think you’re about to hear the squeals of a dying rabbit.”

And right away, there they were, the lurid last moments of a trapped animal. Les UD‘s looked at one another, mildly shocked and distressed, as the killing went on inches from their own Takeout Taxi meal. UD took the occasion to explain to Mr UD that while they can press three buttons and summon great feasts, the fox must find and kill her meal.

Anyway. Rural enough for you?

Garrett Park: Amazon!

UD‘s godless little town (it has only a thousand people, roughly sixty percent of whom, in 2010, overcame their “fear of coming out” and identified as having no religion) is way in the HQ2 running.

Soon, instead of walking to the GP Post Office and then through Porcupine Woods, UD and her dog will be looping around massive tree-filled corporate domes. Instead of waiting twenty minutes outside the town’s only restaurant for a table, UD will wait fourteen hours while five thousand people try to eat lunch there all at once.

Yes, life around here will certainly change if we’re chosen for the new Amazon headquarters (it will be a ten minute walk from UD‘s house). Some folks say they’ll move the MARC train station out of GP and onto the new Amazon campus, but UD‘s thinking if stations are that movable she should pitch MARC the idea of a dedicated station down the hill from her backyard, so that UD wouldn’t even have to walk down the block to catch the train but could really literally roll out of bed. UD also anticipates regular feelings of rageful impatience, existential futility, and corrosive irony as she waits for late-arriving Amazon purchases with the realization that hugely looming over her is The Thing Itself.

‘Montgomery County has not made its bid public, but it promoted a 60-acre site near a Metro stop.’

Les UDs are still in the running for the new Amazon headquarters. They live a hop, skip, and a jump from the site.

UD feels fortunate to see yet another transformation of…

… the Old Post Office. Most recently, it was transformed into the Trump Hotel.

Now this.

Architecture is certainly a living thing.

New Year: Finally Going Through David’s Books.

Eve Sedgwick’s devoted brother, my old boyfriend and friend, died seven years ago at the age of 57.

The turn of the year decided me to go to the basement where, over a decade ago, he asked us to store boxes of his books, tapes, clothing, and papers. Time to deal with the books.

I’d already gone through the papers, and sent Eve’s letters and photographs on to her widower, Hal, in New York City; I’d already given David’s clothes to Goodwill. The tightly taped and roped boxes of books, however, daunted me – their physical and emotional weight sat in a dark corner, fit to burst.

Yesterday, out under a winter sky, the sun piercingly clear, I watched a red fox slip across our yard and take the small hill up to our neighbor’s, and this somehow sealed the deal: I’d go down with a sharp pair of scissors and cut the ropes and shelve the books.


Not everything was a book. There
was a colorful, wonderful, untouched
Indonesian journal, in which I’ll
write lecture notes for this
semester’s classes.

There were 36 Heroes of the

David’s mother inscribed a copy
of Orwell’s writings to him.

A Straussian in his teens, David
held on to this 1967 pamphlet.

At the end of the copy of A Dialogue
on Love
that his sister gave him, she writes:

It never seems sensible to pass along moral injunctions.
I sometimes think that beyond the Golden Rule,

the only one that matters is this:
If you can
be happy, you should.

Post-New Year’s Bacchanalia

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