Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Mighty Mighty Wildcats

In our high school English classes we were given several good rules for creating a “well-constructed” composition. Rule 1: “Define a theme for your writing”.

Wonderful day for passing my way.
Knock and my door and even the score
With your eyes.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

By John Lodge

“Lovely to See You Again,” was track 1 on the Moody Blues 1969 album, “On the Threshold of a Dream.” And in 1969 the Arundel High School classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 certainly were on the threshold of their dreams, about to enter that scary, wonderful, awesome, terrible age called adulthood. Thirty-seven years later a cadre of those changelings returned to Landon House showing the smiles and scars of more than 3,000 collective years as “grown-ups”.

OMG, you didn’t come here to read that shit did you??? Soooory!!! But Ms. What’s-Her-Name might be proud of my efforts to produce a work of literary worthiness – or maybe not.

What AM I writing about??? Exactly! Rule 2 of composition: “State your main point early in the work.” OK-OK, so what if I have 2 main points? Does this mean my composition is not a good composition?

Teacher: Yes, my little groundhog, you get a D for composition. In fact it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

Student: But it’s not written on paper.

Teacher: Maybe it should stay that way. What would someone think if it actually got read?

Student: But, I posted it on my blog on the Internet.

Teacher: And, what, if I might ask, is your “block” on the “interneck”?

Oh, sorry reader, my head must have accidentally fallen on the keyboard. LOL. I have two points to make here in this great upchuck of a work, and here they are.

1. Thanks to Lou Ann and Karen (and any and all helpers) who made the 1970, 1971, and 1973 Classes of Arundel Senior High Reunion possible. The ghost tour (we coulda skipped the basement), carriage rides, trivia reminiscences, food and music, and especially the people made it a night to remember.

2. Thanks to all the Arundelites who contributed $155 to Herbie Wheatley’s recovery from a house/garage fire in which he lost everything, including his car repair business, but did not lose the most important thing – his loved ones. See Herbie rock with D’Vibe and Conga sometime. Check out their website, on the Internet (or, interneck).

OK, the suspense is over. I’ve said what I wanted to say. You can stop reading now. Almost… A little more. I’ve got pictures (and more text) below.

It was fabulous to see the turnout at the beautiful Landon House in Frederick, MD on May 19, 2007. The party theme was the Sabers and Roses Ball held at the house just before the Civil War battle of Antietam, but our class reunion was a commemoration of happier times.

The next day the D’Vibe and Conga benefit concert to help Herbie Wheatley was just as terrific. Many friends showed up at Annie’s Paramount Steak House, paying the $10 cover charge (well worth it to hear some top-notch music) that would go to Herbie to help rebuilt his life after a devastating fire that consumed his house and his auto repair business. The rock and roll was non-stop from 2 until 9, with a new band every hour – each musician and all the supporting personnel donating their time and talent to make the benefit possible. At 8 Herbie’s band, D’Vibe and Conga, stormed the stage, and with the help of a cadre of musical friends, stole the show. The event raised over $2000. Herbie said he felt, “Very loved” that day. And he was totally blown away by the generosity of the Arundel High School classes’ donation on his behalf. Herbie didn’t attend Arundel, but his bass guitarist, Keith “Mac” McNamee did. Many contributors, including his Mac’s next-door-neighbor Gary Fritz, mentioned Mac when they gave me contributions to help Herbie. Others had never heard of either Mac or Herbie but sympathized with Herbie’s plight. Herbie was very grateful – that was Wildcat spirit at its best. Below is a photo of me presenting the Arundel High School contribution to Herbie. You can’t see it in the picture but I pinned Gary Fritz’s nametag on Keith’s shirt.

The second photo is of my husband, John enjoying a cold one at the reunion.

Thanks in particular to that sweet guy from the class of 1972 who encouraged me to collect the funds when I was feeling a little shy about approaching people. I’m not so good with names, but I never forget a person with a caring spirit. Bless you.

If you’re still with me, then allow me a paragraph or two (and a few photos) to celebrate the reunion.

As I said, it was a great day and a great evening for catching up with old friends and making new ones – and being reminded of our school daze. Thanks, Mr. Sharkey, for taking the time to come to the reunion and for bringing photos of the high school band. It was a mixed blessing that I wasn’t in them. Who wants to see a 5’ tall sixteen-year-old in a size 40 pseudo military marching band uniform with her teeth chattering against her clarinet reed? At least the pants were long enough to keep me from frostbite. Every time I hear a Sousa march, I still get goose bumps remembering how cold I was. And if I wasn’t in any of the photos at least I could point out where I would have been visible had the picture been taken from a completely different angle. Seriously, as much as I disliked the marching band routines, I did enjoy the concerts. It was great to hear your experiences, Mr. Sharkey, as a new music teacher, sharing an apartment with other new teachers. It’s easy to for us students to forget that you had your own ups and downs as a young man learning his new profession.

Thanks to all the Arundelites for coming out to share the memories, wistful, funny, sad and happy as they were.

Sing it out clear and strong,

We are the Wildcats, the mighty, mighty Wildcats.
Everywhere we go, people want to know, so we tell them who we are.

The mighty mighty Wildcats of Arundel Senior High School. Best wishes to all those Wildcats who did and did not make the reunion, and love and prayers to those who could not because they are no longer with us. D’Vibe and Conga, stay strong. You are indeed very much loved, Herbie.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Selling Our Home

If you are interested in an inside-the-beltway home in Northern Virginia that feels more like a woodland haven, in a community that has just been listed in the National Registry of Historic Neighborhoods you might like to read about our home. As of this posting it is not listed in the MLS or on Craigslist, but we hope to be offering it soon. Email us or call to be the first to know when it's officially for sale.

John & Dianne Battle
3408 Hartwell Ct.
Falls Church
VA. 22042
Home Phone:
Cell Phone:

Gorgeous sun-filled contemporary home in serene Holmes Run Acres (HRA) Community playground and pool (see Walk to county park, streams, tennis courts and hiking paths surrounding the neighborhood. Holmes Run Acres has National Historical status (see ) - no restrictions on home renovations, but up to 20% tax break on qualifying home upgrades/changes. Nice neighbors , in a quiet community that is convenient to shopping, public transportation, recreation, education, and health facilities.

House description: All rooms have wood beamed cathedral-type ceilings. Front rooms have skylights. Hardwood and tiled floors throughout. Master Bedroom suite and 2nd Bedroom are carpeted. Master bathroom has walk-in shower and whirlpool tub. Spacious living room (can accommodate formal dining area) features a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling southern exposure windows facing the deck and large landscaped lawn. Oversized kitchen with plenty of cabinet and counter space, and recently replaced appliances. Large thermal/double-pane E-glass windows in every room. Wooded backyard overlooks grove of rhododendrons.


Pergola covered deck added in 2005, 426 sq. ft. with raised garden. Professionally landscaped property with over 100 shrubs, trees and flowering plants added within the last 5 years. New stone walkway and patio added 2005. Quarter acre lawn roto tilled and newly seeded in fall 2006. Mature oak, maple and dogwood trees on lot give shade in summer. Shed, vinyl covered steel, 8 ft. by 10 ft. To meet outdoor storage needs (purchased in 1998).

Lot Size .2758 acres Lot Size (sq feet) 12,012.


Cathedral wood ceilings throughout house, wood floors, tiling and wall-to-wall carpet. Large, designer windows and skylights. Big hearth and fireplace. Custom oversized front door. House updated and remodeled in keeping with the historical character of the original design.

Bedrooms: 3 Full baths: 2

1500 sq ft. living space.

Living Room: 22 ft. by 16 ft. Spacious enough for formal dining area. Wood burning fireplace. Hardwood floors. Floor to ceiling windows. Ceiling fan. Custom made wood shades.

Master Bedroom Suite: 21.6 ft. by 11 ft. wall-to-wall carpet, designer windows. Master Bath: 7.75 ft. by 9.6 ft. whirlpool tub, walk-in shower, tiled floors, decorator windows

Second Bedroom: 11.4 ft. by 11.25 ft. large windows Second Bath: 4.9 ft. by 9.3 ft. tiled floors, skylight, and linen closet

Third Bedroom: 12.8 ft by 11.3 ft. Wood flooring, skylight, bay window, separate entrance, large closet 11.4 ft. by 4.2 ft.

Eat –in - Kitchen: 18 ft. by 10 ft. with space for informal eating area. Oversized windows, skylight and tiled flooring. Appliances: dishwasher, disposal, stove with exhaust fan, and refrigerator. All Major appliances replaced within the last 5 years.

Utility Room with Front-Loading Washer and Dryer: 7.9 ft by 9.8 ft. Tiled flooring, skylight walk-in closet and pantry storage.

Home upgrades:

Remodeled 1987: New kitchen, laundry room, Hall bathroom renovated, with skylight; Master Bedroom Suite added including: standalone shower and Kohler whirlpool tub.

Double Pane, E glass windows added to ’87 addition.

Remodeled 1990: Double Pane, E glass with Argon gas added to all remaining windows.

Remodeled 1993: wood floors throughout living room and hallway to bedrooms. Tiling in kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room.

Remodeled 1998: closed in carport to create new bedroom with own entrance into house, 9000 BTU furnace and 5000 BTU air conditioning unit. Floor covered in Pergola. Skylight, double pane with E glass added to room along with double pane with E glass bay window. Large closet added to room.


Heat: Forced air Natural Gas (furnace installed 2005) and Natural Gas wall unit (1998) in third bedroom.

Air Conditioning: Central air (unit installed 2005) and wall unit (1998) in third bedroom.

Hot Water: Natural Gas.

Radon Removal System 2004.

County road, water and sewer.


House on cul-de-sac ending in county park area.

Model Name: Luria;

Exterior Wood Siding – painted in 2006

Year built 1954

Real Estate Taxes 2006: $4,402.60 Parcel ID: 059-2-/08/09/0014-1

Legal Description: Holmes Run Acres, Lot 14, Block 9, Section 9.

Community Link and Discussion Group: Holmes Run Acres:

Other Links:

US Department of the Interior, National Park Service National Register of Historic Places, at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website: see page 30 for a description on 3408 Hartwell Court

Modern Capital Blogsite, 12/31/06

Washington Post Article: The Ranch, an Architectural Archetype Forged on the Frontier, By Katherine Salant, Saturday, December 30, 2006


We have been landscaping for the past 2 years, so the photos are of the outside. The latest upgrade was seeded grass, done in the fall of 2006, so the lawn is in better shape than some of the pictures show.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Groundhog: The Other White Meat

What does a groundhog have in common with a famous baseball player? Many things we might not expect. One of them is that they both taste like chicken - yes we very well might not expect one or both of them to taste like chicken, but you never know until you try. I'm thinking about trying next Thanksgiving - catch the little bugger while he's just settling down to a nice REM sleep pattern. Won't they be surprised on February 2nd when they reach into his cozy dugout, I mean burrow, to find it cold and empty. Why do I feel this way? Well, first of all the turkey NEVER gets a break, does he? I'm talking about the bird, not the turkey I previously referenced. And speaking of Mr. Tom Turkey, if the poor bird survives Thanksgiving it still has to sweat out Christmas. That's making a real contribution to society. Looking out over my frozen snow-covered walkway I feel a warm surge of resentment that anybody would give any weight to that rodent's prediction. PHIL!!!! Where are you now ?!?!!?? Napping again!!!! Your "job" is done - you gave us hope, and then you dashed our dreams upon an icy jagged cul-de-sac. You struck out, just like Mighty Casey - almost. I say, "almost," because you're different from that beleaguered batter. YOU do it every year - hoodwink us, then fall back asleep for as long as you damn well please.

This year will be different, however. I know it will. I can envision my warm sense of satisfaction, and even Mudville's long-suffering trials might feel lighter, when we roast Phil instead of Tom this Thanksgiving. If you're really dead-set (figuratively speaking) on having a turkey on your dinner table, why not serve turducken with a difference? Just stuff a turkey with a duck and instead of stuffing the duck with a chicken use a groundhog. Turduckhog - the other white meat(s)!!! Tastes just like chicken, we hope!!! Bone a portmanteau!

No posting would be complete without pictures and here are some from last Thanksgiving. If you think these people look happy in the photos, just wait until next year. You've got a friend in Pennsylvania.

Julia Childs Look Out!

Helping Hands Help Themselves

Come and Get It!!

A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do

One for you and two for me, one for you and three for me...

Dualing Digitals! Ha!!! Got Ya First!

Honey, I found this in the oven...

Good food, Good meat, Good God, Let's Eat that Turduckhog (just kidding...maybe)