Be sure to scroll down when you see this picture.

Magic Margot Shoebox is a collection point for all that I hold dear - and that's a lot. My recent inspiration is Don Floyd's new blog thecaptainandthomasine.

The original title of my blog "Chihuahuas for Change" popped into my head two years ago when I was looking for a place to "store" all the information I accumulated on Sarah Palin. I've since dumped that information as others have done a far better job researching and accumulating.

Life is about change and since I have darling Libby the chihuahua the title seems to still be fresh.


One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.

"Nullius in verba" Take no one's word for it.
Do your own research.

Success if going from one failure to the next with enthusiasm. Winston Churchill




I told you this is a shoebox and we all know that we simply put stuff into a shoebox in no particular order. That's how things are going to appear here. When something whaps me over the head you will be the first to know.

Right now, I want to tell you about my favorite blog in the whole wide world - Margaret and Helen. Hope you go read their post called "I can see November" - while there note their statistics. A grandson set this site up and it's been around the world several times. Margaret and Helen have been friends for over sixty years and counting.

Don Floyd and I have been friends for more than thirty years and counting. We first became pen pals in the late 70's. We are cousins and share a passion for genealogy. My major project this year was helping Don get his book "The Captain and Thomasine" published. Will give you more details in later post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


February 12, 1999

The future will know the true meaning of this day with all its anomalies and allegories.  Steve and I flew to Washington this morning and landed at BWI airport under the most turbulent air conditions we’ve ever experienced.  The plane seemed to take an extraordinary time to find the airport and complete the descent.  During the entire time it shook, wavered and dipped.  Everyone was outwardly clam, but a huge unspoken sign of relief was palpable when the wheels finally rolled on the landing strip.  An otherwise smooth flight from Tampa concluded with a theme-park thrill ride. 

Approaching Washington from the Baltimore Washington Parkway flooded my senses with memories of how delightful it could be on a bright “spring-like” February day.  We rode with interesting folks among whom were the Peterman’s who announced that their son was a St. Petersburg city Council member.  They were coming from Ft. Lauderdale to Howard University probably for some sort of Black History event.  We chatted our way through the north east section of Washington past Howard University, Catholic University and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  Between chats we listed on the radio to the two roll call votes for the impeachment of Bill Clinton.  Our driver seemed to have some sort of ‘bet” going on the vote’s outcome for he mentally kept score and verbalized his delight when several of the congressmen changed their vote.  The van reached the Peterman’s hotel just as the final tally was being taken on the first article of impeachment (the vote followed the cold reading of the charges against William Jefferson Clinton), and pulling under the portico caused static that blocked out the final announcement of the actual count.  Mr. Van Driver returned from helping the Peterman’s with their luggage to inquire about the final ‘score”, and was disappointed to learn that we had not heard it.  (Perhaps his rapt attention to the proceedings explain why he earlier failed to listen to the Peterman’s destination and took us first to Howard University rather than their hotel; but then this is Washington., D.C.)

The second roll call reached its conclusion at exactly the moment the van carrying Steve and me approached the northern most foot of Capitol Hill.  The surreality of the event and the moment will stay with us in the same way as the memory of where we were when we heard Kennedy had been shot.  I said to Steve, “Just think, we could walk right up there and be in the gallery for this very moment.” 

We turned right at the foot of Capitol Hill and followed Constitution Avenue toward the FDIC building just one block west of the White House.  Our route followed exactly the path of Inaugural Parades every four years and caused a vision of Hillary and Bill Clinton walking for a portion of their first parade six years ago to flash into my mind on this balmy bright February noontime.

The van driver dropped Steve off at the FDIC as the surreality of the day continued.  Suddenly I realized we were at a place that had changed so little since the first day he entered in 1964 as an FDIC employee.  Its been thirty five years, and our life story seemed sucked into this one tiny block of the universe.  As I watched Steve cross 17th street I remembered viewing the Fourth of July fireworks from the FDIC balcony, waiting in the car at 17th and New York to pick Steve up from work and watching the “stabile” art work displayed on the outside corner of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (in fact, I even sketched this “stabile” once during a wait, and later this weekend would discover it installed at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Museum).  The more things change the more they stay the same.

Washington is remarkably the same as it was when I was growing up.  Many buildings look better as a result of cleaning, and attention to making the public spaces friendly.  The Department of the Interior remains on the park filled with magnolia soulangiana, and I half thought I might see my father come out its north door as we pass it on our way to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge going to Virginia.  From the bridge I see below us was the formerly serene “Roosevelt Island” formerly known as “Analostin” Island, and known even earlier as an assortment of other names by the various Indians and white settlers who once called the island home.  It remains a small oasis of some calm in a vibrating town, but is no longer an island.  The super-ugly Roosevelt Bridge lodged one of its supports right in the middle of the lovely natural swamp more than thirty years ago, and forever removed the unique tranquil sense of being on an exotic island that I remembered from childhood when getting to the island meant taking a boat or canoe.  Today the island is accessible by a footbridge on the western side allowing visitors to walk to the Theodore Roosevelt monument a forest of upright stele that replace the thick forest of trees.  Does anyone but me remember the place as it once was?  So recently it was a archetypical forest of large hardwood trees interspersed with vine entangled foundations of former dwellings that rose mysteriously from the shade like the ancient temples of the far east.   Once a visit to Roosevelt Island was like a trip to a foreign land.  The quiet amidst the city, the call of birds and rustle of leaves and sense of being alone were exceptional feelings.  No summer was complete without a walk on the paths followed by a picnic beside the water. 

Home for this “President’s Day” weekend was “The Virginian”  Now, there is a place full of memories!  It has been a hub of our lives for more than thirty-five years, and remains mostly unchanged, and is like coming home to Washington for it is so familiar.  There is an enormous sense of completeness in our being here at the beginning of the closing of the Garrett case, but that’s a story in itself.  Its only one in the afternoon but already a full lifetime has flashed in front of my eyes.  This is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday now called “President’s Day and celebrated on February 15th  along with George Washington’s Birthday formerly known as February 22nd.  In times past both were separate Federal Holidays most welcome in a dreary month.  Now they are combined and have lost their flavor and become the generic “President’s Day”.  Today hearing the impeachment vote brings a whole new meaning to the very bland  and generic “President’s” day.  Clinton’s actions and predicament certainly put more “spice” into the day than anyone could possibly imagine.  What would we expect?  Its Washington!

My goal for the afternoon was the National Gallery of Art.  The day was warm and sunny, but nevertheless, I grabbed the umbrella I’d bought for four dollars last October at the Istanbul market and slung it over my shoulder.  Perhaps I wouldn’t need it for rain on this glorious day, but then again, if I needed a weapon to defend myself it might come in handy.  As I stood on the metro platform waiting for the train to downtown I heard very loud ranting and raving from a semi-street person, and nuzzled my “weapon” securely under my arm.  I still clutched it closely as I emerged into the bright sunlight of Independence Ave.  A mistake in choosing subway stations brought me up above ground right at the very old Smithsonian Institute Arts and Industry building once the home of the 1876 Centennial exhibit, and a short walk along and across the Mall toward the Capital and the Art Gallery.  This walk was meant to be.  The voting events of only two hours previous combined with the view of the Capitol in one direction and in the opposite direction, the Washington Monument in the traction of scaffolding brushed a sweep of history through my mind.  The whole of the American experience was present in one moment and I was swallowed up in the experience.  How fortunate I felt to have been born a Washingtonian and to have the experience of the city when it was my back yard.

The rotunda of the National Gallery of Art is one of the most stupendous places I’ve experienced.  It ranks right up there with the Parthenon – smaller, but in better condition.  To me it is second only to the main hall of the east building of the National Gallery  which is my favorite place on earth.  Suddenly I was in the midst of both on this incredible day.  The east building opened in 1978 just at the time my father died, and I remember coming to visit it as a break from his funeral weekend and all the necessary details of settling of his estate.  He died on June 14th.  The Sunday following his death we attended Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception then visited the National Gallery to see the Treasures of Dresden exhibit and have lunch in the wonderful upstairs restaurant.  The building has changed very little and I still enjoy its Zen-like serenity with the super enormous Calder mobile silently swimming in the air currents.  No cathedral or church has ever left me with the pure serenity that I feel in this building.  Is it the shape, the light, the art? 

Three hours passed in bliss until I surfaced at the coat check in the west building to find that the weather was half way through its 180 degree turn.  As Maureen Dowd says in her column we went from Midsummer’s Night Dream to King Lear in one afternoon.  Outside the fierce cold wind of a February front scoured the Mall that had only recently been a springtime park.  Rain came in horizontally in floods and cold buckets.  The weather was a mirror of the past year.  One moment things are well, and then they change and blow and turn cold.  I found a taxi to the FDIC and huddled on a bench in the lobby hoping to catch Steve as he left his meeting;  Another flashback to when the FDIC building was new and shiny and sophisticated.  Now it looks dowdy and neglected with a once shining floor dull and dusty.  A bored guard sits in the corner just past beeping security gates.  Is he here to fend off any malcontent banker who might storm in with a bomb to put the pace out of its misery?  The old glamor and majesty of the foyer has disappeared, and we are in just another government building.  I watch the employees leave the elevators on their way to the parking garage.  They are dull looking robots who plaintively cry out to one another “have a good weekend” as they slip away for the “President’s Day “ federal holiday. 

By and by a lady wearing a walking foot cast and casual clothes comes and escorts me to the third floor, and deposits me in a wing chair in the upper elevator lobby.  Perfect viewing from this position so I fade into the upholstery to watch different versions of the same dull people do their time until they can leave for the weekend.  These inmates serve a lifetime sentence here paying homage and offering sacrifice to the goddess “Regulation” with no knowledge of the outside world.  Not one of them has ever had to take a business risk or worry much about the consequence of their actions.  They minister to their goddess and play petty political charades and pass their lives in rapt contemplation of the rules.  I fully realize how fortunate Steve and I are to be on the other side now.  We escaped.  The trip “over the wall” produced scars and hurts, but we are truly free, and live a life full of fresh air.  We’ve succeeded on our own merits, and by our own will and intelligence.  Blessed is the fact that we can proclaim the cracks we see in the visage of  her majesty “Regulation”. 

The night is as raw, cold and windy as the day was sunny warm and balmy.  Like drowning city rats we scurry to the Farragut Square Metro Station right in the shadow of my childhood.  Only steps away was the Farragut Medical building, home of my childhood dentist, across the park from my optometrist where I spent hours waiting for the dilation drops in my eyes to take effect, and just down the block from Louis Hairstylist home of the $5.00 permanent, and only two blocks from 1710 H. St. former home of Travelers Insurance company and my very first job.  Washington is really a small town.  We are hungry, but the weather is too bad to search for a restaurant.  We are forced to take shelter in the train to Roslyn.  The best we can do is a Chinese restaurant at the Roslyn Metro station. 

What a day President’s Day February 12 1999 has been.  Born in sunny Florida, it became a toddler in a stormy airplane descent, then matured into a dream afternoon, and expired after a stormy joust with a cold front.  A day such as this is one to remember forever.  It was full of allegories of all descriptions, and I was so full of delight at our being a part of the city again.

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