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Archive - 2013

December 10th

Holiday Garden Book Special

The Garden Spot

December is a time for reflecting on our gardens which, with the exception of a stray fall blooming camellia or emerging Lenten rose, have gone to sleep. The holidays are in full swing and for many gardeners like myself the visions of sugarplums come connected to dreams of wave after wave of springtime plants each so eagerly anticipated. During this season of acorn squash and overflowing bowls of chili, holiday menorahs and stars atop trees, a great book can stoke creative ideas for your garden, or just give you the pleasure of enjoying some of the world’s garden masterpieces.

The Garden Lady

The tree in front of our house died two years ago. I missed the June deadline for requesting a new street tree. What should I do now – it is December -- and who owns the places between the sidewalk and the street and what is allowed in them?

Feeling beset by gardening problems? Send them to the Problem Lady c/o The Capitol Hill Garden Club at Your problems might prove instructive to others, and help them feel superior to you.  Complete anonymity is assured.

Books for Cooks


With hundreds of titles released each year, it’s a challenge to pick the best cookbooks for holiday gift-giving. You’ll find some favorites below, something to keep everyone cooking throughout the year.

Dessert First

(L) Dessert First: One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti

Raising Awareness

What’s the Yellow Dog Project?

While the majority of us would love for all of our dogs to get along both on-leash and off, that is often just not possible for a variety of reasons. Many dog owners with good intentions inadvertently put other dog owners in a difficult position not realizing some dogs just need their space. There are a couple of useful initiatives we would like to make you aware of.

Heather Morris, CPDT-KA, is the owner of Spot On Training and lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and dalmatian, Lottie (who is a DINO).  Spot On Training • 508 H Street NE • 202 629 2967 •  Spot On Training is one of the founding members of, a collaboration of three businesses coming together to offer the very best for all your pet care needs.    

Choosing How to Heal an Injury

Injuries happen to everyone. Our bodies get out of balance from stress, repetitive movement, poor posture, over-exercise, a lack of sleep, poor nutrition and from just living our lives. How we handle these injuries can affect our pain level, the time it takes to heal and the residual effects after the initial injury has healed.

Pattie Cinelli is a health/fitness writer and personal trainer who has been in the fitness business for more than 25 years. Contact her at:

Hamburgers on the Hill

The Little Tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue

Waffle Shop. Little Tavern. Hot Shoppe. Mention any of these three names to a long-time D.C. resident, and be prepared for misty eyes. Once ubiquitous in the city (and well past it, in many cases) they are now entirely gone, living on only in past customer's memories.

A Chain is Born

Robert Pohl will be discussing his new book, Urban Legends and Historic Lore of Washington D.C. on November 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the Southeast Library and on November 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the MLK Library.

December 9th

Roadmap to the Holidays!

The 2013 Capitol Hill Gift Guide

Each December, frenzied crowds bombard the malls, clutching gift lists, ready to fight to the death for any buy-one-get-one-free 95% off deal on electronics and poorly made sweaters. But you won’t be one of them, because Capitol Hill is home to so many fantastic local businesses that offer so much more. And this gift guide will help you navigate some of the best. Because who wants a ho-hum big-box store gift when you could get something local and one of a kind?

The Literary Hill

Creole Family Values

(L) In her new memoir, a local lawyer traces her Creole family history back seven generations. 


Christopher Datta is a Hill poet and the author of “Touched With Fire,” a Civil War novel inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft. He has always been interested in animal intelligence and followed the long career of Alex, an African Grey Parrot, who was the subject of a 30-year experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg into whether birds could reason and use words creatively. Alex’s last words to Dr. Pepperberg were “I love you.”

Elegy For Alex 

In all of infinite space
Among all the sea of life and distance
He was the unlikeliest of souls.

Unexpected eyes on the traffic of human migration,
A dream where no dreamer was known,
Unlooked for and denied by the judges of shade
Who see far but not long.

He spoke in ancient tongues
That told of green faces in anxious rainfalls,
While wondering at the confusion of our solitude.

He spoke of forgetful separation until finally one heard him,
Like thunder in the sun on a far sea.
And hearing, she listened to the impossible stories
Of the sky's triumph over gravity.

She taught him, and in learning he revealed
The shapes of color and the textures of mind.

Alex showed us that living is bigger than the weight of water
Or the height of steel and glass.
He showed us all a future of a million crystal wings
Laced with the veins of a common blood.
He showed us the roots of the ancient fire that burns
Through all the outstretched arms of the past.

And, at the last, he showed us that thought is an eye in the stars
And love is the last thing you speak on
Becoming the wind that brings you home,
A pale grey feather on an eddy of balanced light
That comes to rest on your aching hand
So soft
So quiet
So divine

Like the tear drop that does not let him go.

If you would like to have your poem considered for publication, please send it to (There is no remuneration.)