May 28th, 2023
Snapshots from Home

Les UDs have watched in amazement as a new house fifty feet from Garrett Park’s two big, beautiful town swimming pools installed its own quite large pool.

Garrett Park is rich, yes; but we’re not Malibu. Not every house installs its own tennis court/swimming pool complex. I mean, almost no house does.

Indeed, along with gorgeous, never crowded, beautifully landscaped pools for the use of Garrett Parkers, the town has two beautifully landscaped, never crowded, tennis courts. And a terrific basketball court (a house just down the street from the basketball court does have a private indoor one).

Anyway, we’ve scratched our heads about the private pool steps from the town pool, but okay.

Still, it’s strange.

Maybe this new phenomenon helps explain it.

A backlash against homeowners renting out private pools

It is only mid-spring, but already dozens of pools in and around Maryland’s most populous county have been listed for rent on Swimply, which launched in 2020 as people sought alternatives to public pools that shut down because of the pandemic on the heels of the wild success of apps like Airbnb and Uber. Hosts set hourly rates anywhere between $25 to $100 an hour to access private backyard pools that bypass lines and crowds.

… Many homeowners are eager to earn easy money by renting out a backyard pool …

A … group of 36 county residents from Chevy Chase, Rockville, Montgomery Village, Kensington and Rosemary Hills, wrote a letter opposing [a proposed bill regulating the practice] and asking the county instead to outlaw the amenity rentals altogether. The group argued that the rentals turn quiet residential neighborhoods into bustling business districts, without the infrastructure to support commercial activity. They raised dozens of concerns, largely over the added nuisance of strangers pouring into their neighborhoods because of the apps, congested roads, scarce parking, and noise and safety.

Now, Kensington… That’s getting much too close for comfort. Next town over. So now UD‘s wondering if this oddly situated and surprisingly large private pool in her town is a rental. Yikes.

May 20th, 2023
‘There is no scenario in which some maladjusted creep who’s frightening children at an elementary school bus stop [by openly carrying an AR 15] should be presented as just some guy with political opinions by the local news. This is antisocial behavior that should be ridiculed, including by normal people who own guns.’

‘That this kind of weapon is a favorite of school shooters, and these are schoolchildren, only adds to the disgusting character of the events here. Carrying a gun like this in the public square is a way to constantly communicate the threat of deadly force to those around you. A gun like this exists for two purposes: to maim and kill, and to communicate the threat thereof…

 [R]ight-wingers [routinely] show up heavily armed to statehouses in an explicit communication of the threat of deadly force if they do not get their way on matters of public policy. This is not normal political expression…’

This happened in Severn, Maryland, not far from UD‘s ‘thesda.

May 18th, 2023
A sweet spring day…

… in UD’s garden.

May 9th, 2023
UD’s older sister…

… greets you from their campfire along a lake in the Pennsylvania woods. UD, her sisters, and Mr UD (looking chiseled below) have been roughing it (as rough as ‘thesdans get) up north, and Les UDs are

now back home, recovering.

May 3rd, 2023
Mr UD got a Police Officer Discount…

… yesterday, at a local cafe.

April 26th, 2023


The mangy fox
From out the wood
Enters my garden.

‘Hardened in heart,’
I note his naked tail
His agony face

‘Like a devil’s sick of sin’

And I say to him

Oh you have outfoxed!
You slink raw grief
Into my garden

And I cannot be hardened.

April 11th, 2023
So you can see the magnolia buds.
April 11th, 2023
The first of UD’s two new trees, courtesy of…

… the town of Garrett Park (which is an arboretum) goes in as we speak.

It’s a Siebold magnolia, variety Colossus.

April 9th, 2023
Koi in sunlight at…

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. Camp David is down the street.

April 9th, 2023
Up in Boston for Easter, La Kid…

… embraces her cousin while waiting to chomp down on mazurek.

Photo Joanna Soltan.

April 4th, 2023
Totally madly insanely blooming viburnum, spicing the air…

… already in early April. In UD‘s garden.

March 29th, 2023
Brunch under the cherry trees…

… at UD’s sister’s place.

March 16th, 2023
It’s not as beautifully presented as the Roosevelts’ sign…

… but the Latin for “The person who plants, preserves” – which is the Roosevelt family motto – appears above the door of the building leading to Pope Farm Nursery, which supplies plantings for parks around UD‘s Montgomery County. UD and her sister visited Pope today – an insanely beautiful clear-full-blue sky day – and gazed at rows of green shoots in little green buckets.

March 12th, 2023
Sunday, Sunrise.
View from the deck off the bedroom this morning. Our friends Holly and Eric are in the early stages of building what will be a beautiful, Japanese-inspired, house in this forest. The land has for seventy or so years been owned by UD’s old friends (I babysat their children 55 years ago) the Pratts, but they sold it last year. It’s fascinating to watch even the very early stages of the site’s unwilding.
March 9th, 2023
Sheep, shadow.
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