Monday, 31 March 2008

organic local food in eckington, dc

i was super please to learn about this store saturday. big bear cafe gets all their milk and other dairy products are from the grass-fed cows of trickling springs creamery which is super awesome. but even more awesome is that they get it from timor, this super cute grocery on the corner of 2nd and rhode island NW.

i went by and the store was closed, but the sweet dude who was in the back let me in. sold me some yogurt, and told me all about the place. they get all of their produce locally. their meats from from some grassfed ranch with a name that starts with enviro. it is local. the dairy of course is local and the maple yogurt was to DIE for. they have biodynamic eggs from some other local guy (sheesh, too bad i wasn't taking notes). anyway, it is awesome. they are open from 4:30-8:30 m-f and then all day sat and sunday.

get that yogurt. i promise you won't be disappointed!

dc police behaving badly

i just found(ed) this new blog called dc police behaving badly
it is really awesome.

here are some photos of the bad behaviour that can be found therein

more stories from the house

lots of work happened over the weekend on the house. the biggest thing was replacing the old lead supply line water pipe with a new PEX plastic pipe.

this is matt my plumber, at least for now, digging a huge hole to get to the supply line.
it was a huge job
i am glad i don't have to worry that lead is going to make me crazier.

while all this was going on i noticed that the wall closest to the road in the basement was still wet. so i started digging at the cement that was covering the brick and sure enough they were soaked. so soaked that some of the mortar was actually loose. i also found that the pipe that supplies the kitchen had some small leak spots on it.

each one of the contractors had told me their job would be easier without the ceiling. the electrician needed to see what was under there. the carpenter needed to see what he could do with the stairs, the HVAC guys wanted to see where they could run lines. seriously it was everyone. once matt told me he wished the ceiling was gone i had it. and just started tearing it down -- by myself. it was awesome. i loved it. tons of dust fell out and i almost got hit on the head by a huge 40oz malt liquor bottle.

this was the damage. but from the stairs.

i think this gives a better picture of how much stuff i took down
and how dusty it was

i also bought a few things. it wouldn't really be a house weekend without buying things.

the biggest things i bought this weekend include: this Aquia™ Dual Flush Toilet, 1.6 GPF / 0.9 GPF.

and i got this Aquabarrel(TM)
i am hoping that i can supply my garden with rain water

and this is a shot from the basement out to the garden

Saturday, 29 March 2008

doctor, dermatologist, and dentist recommendations for dc

after 8 years of being in dc, i finally feel like i found good people to keep me healthy and heal me when i am sick. so i thought i would share them.

the doctor is an osteopathic physician, named greg craddock. when i had a horrible sinus infection a few months ago, and i thought my ears were going to explode with pain, he healed me up fast. he prescribed some antibiotics, but provided immediate relief with some manipulation around my ears. i am not totally sure what he did, but i felt a dam "tear" and the muck that was creating all that pressure slowly dripped out. it was amazing. he spent about an hour and a half with me doing manipulation and trying to get at what could be the root cause of my symptoms. he was great!

the dermatologist is dr. ed stolar. as a fair skinned, sun loving, arizonian, i now face the onset of small actinic keratosis(AKs) that are pre-cancerous. the first dermatologist i talked to made me feel like i would soon be covered in cancer. dr. stolar helped me understand what they were, the seriousness (or lack there of) of the situation. he also gave me a prescription for this lotion called lac-hydrin. it is a miracle lotion. my skin feels SO much better. my skin is naturally dry and gets itchy when it is cold outside. this stuff turned that all around. my skin feels softer than it ever has. it is awesome.

and then the dentist. when i was dating a dental student, rob griffin in case you know him, interned at dr. gene gadaire's office. rob was blown away by how awesome dr. gadaire was at everything. he said he had never seen a dentist that did such perfect and precision work. he told horror stories of dentists who he had temped with whose patients loved them, but who would drill unnecessarily and for way too long. i went in search of a dentist last fall and thought maybe i should just try dr. gadaire. i did, and man am i glad. my parents gifted me with some pretty healthy teeth, but it turns out a grind my teeth all the time. he build me a mouth guard for when i sleep and in a few months he is going to fix my occlusion so that my bite is more the way it should be, he says this will reduce the amount of grinding and help prevent any more recessed gums.

so there you have it. my three recommendations for health care providers. i hope this helps you!!

Friday, 28 March 2008

introducing dc neighborhood blogs -- eckington/bloomingdale

many of you are probably thinking, get a life and quite blogging all friday night. and you are right. if you are lindsay you are thinking, could you just clean up the house? but instead i have stumbled upon some cool blogs from my new 'hood. they are just off to your left under "neighborhood blogs". two are from eckington, one from bloomingdale, and one is the super hip cafe that the whole neighborhood loves. (you know because white people love coffee)

anyway, they are cool. lots of updates on the biking trail and big plans for developing the area. i am excited to get involved.

pentultimate and ultimate days in nawlins

on my penultimate day in new orleans (this trip) dianna and i had planned to go on a swamp tour in breaux bridge (near lafayette). somehow we let lazy get the best of us and we ended up just going across the bridge over to jean lafitte national park. i thought we were going over to the chalmette battlefield and was very perplexed when we ended up near gretna.

i am super excited because dianna wants to work on a summer series on the national parks. of course i want to go with her and learn all about them. and i felt like our stop here could be the beginning of a wonderful series.

after learning that the swamp tour at the park requires that you bring your own canoe we opted to go on a nature walk. (dianna's favorite thing to do. i always resist and then have a great time)

queen d at the beginning of the trail

who said the bayou wasn't sultry?

i thought this was awesome.
if you look close you will read
"with a dozen palmettos a person could construct an effective,
watertight dwelling in less than a day"
maybe i should give up the brick house and go with palmettos?
it'd be faster!
this is an old cypress tree.
one of the few this old left.
it really is humongous
the first gator we spotted.
a little baby gator hangin' out in the leaves
can you see him?
another one
this guy was my favorite.
he was so little and i kinda just wanted to try and catch him
how much harm could such a little guy do?
i never tried, so i don't know

spring was everywhere.
little babies of all sorts sitting around
it was awesome

the day i had to leave i didn't want to go. the weather was perfect and i was just getting the hang of life on vacation on the bayou. dianna and i had been running around Audubon park and so we headed out again. this time, i decided that we should do the "parcourse fitness" for fun. so we ran in-between stations. it was great fun! and i was really sore a couple days later.

man these are hard!
i have to wonder why my legs are all the way out there like that?
i was trying to pull up slow and easy
i guess i just kick my legs out weird!
doing curls
i think i look ridiculous, but dianna made me include this photo

i wanted to include this
this is Audubon park

Almost Copeland's Eggplant pirogue

in light of that last post, and kiki's confession of stealing recipes from Copelands, i begged her for it (exaggeration) and she gratefully obliged. i can't wait to try this!

Almost Copeland's Eggplant pirogue

This is my version of a dish at my favorite Cajun Restaurant in New Orleans. Cajun Fried Eggplant smothered in a delicious Au Gratin Sauce with shrimp, crab and crawfish. Serve over angel hair pasta and make sure you have warm French bread because you wont want to leave any of this rich sauce behind.

Au Gratin Seafood Sauce
¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Flour (for roux)

½ tsp. Cajun seasonings (Emeril)

1 tsp. Granulated Onion

½ C crab stock or chicken stock

1 ½ Cup half and half
¼ Cup Butter Pieces
1 ½- 2 C Parmesan cheese
1 TBS butter

½ tsp crab boil mix

2 Cups Cooked Shrimp
1 Cups Crawfish Tails
1 Cup Lump Crab

½ C white whine

Salt and pepper to taste

Fried Eggplant
1 eggplant (cut ½ inch thick pieces)

1 egg

½ C half and half

2 C fish fry

1 C bread Crumbs

1 C flour½ tsp Cajun seasonings or to taste

1 C flour

Garnish With Lemon

In a heavy saucepot bring stock, Cajun seasonings and onion to a boil; thicken by whisking roux into stock. Boil 3 minutes, whisk in half and half and butter, bring to just a boil add cheese. Simmer on low heat.

In Separate pot sauté garlic in 1-tablespoon butter, add seafood and crab boil mix cook for 3 minutes. Add seafood to white sauce. Simmer on very low heat.

Fry Eggplant Pirogues: soak the eggplant in water and 1 tsp salt for 10 minutes. Beat egg and half and half in bowl. Mix fish fry, breadcrumbs and seasonings in separate bowl. Flour in bowl. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, in flour, in egg and in breadcrumb mixture. Fry at 350 for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Ladle sauce over eggplant and serve with angle hair pasta.

tracking crime in dc's neighborhoods

as a new home owner i am interested in the safety of my new 'hood. i found this site from the metro police department (for some reason that is with the DC police call themselves). super interesting! you can enter an address or intersection; school/site; or police area and it maps out the crimes that have taken place during the last year -- but only up to a 1 mile radius.

this is what it looks like around eastern market. i selected to see the burglaries... but you can see murders, sexual assault, armed robbery with a gun, armed robber without a gun, auto theft, etc. ... since i have many friends thinking of buying a house soon. and because i want them all to move near me, i encourage you to check this out.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

the big easy

new orleans is the place that exposes you to tragedy, and then it helps you forget about it.

we went to church on easter sunday in the new orleans branch, where a few people remembered that sister konkel with the perm. and that was great! i got to see ginger grant who used to go on splits with me. she is still as cute and awesome as ever. if i was more dedicated i would post some mission photos here. i am mad that i didn't take any photos. but i am sure that ginger and i will remain friends. we have plans to see each other this summer and i couldn't be more thrilled!
i also got to see the villianuevas. they are awesome. they lost their house too, but the church help them rebuild and they are doing better than ever. they look great. i am hoping i can go back for work and see them! i want to spend an evening catching up.

after church dianna and i drove along st. charles avenue looking for fun. and wow--did we ever find it!

the stately mansion where i will soon move.

a tree budding mardi-gras beads.

dianna in her sunday best, eating easter brunch at commander's palace. the men wore seersucker suits and hats, and most of the women wore broad rimmed hats and high heels. it felt like stepping back in time. they called their easter brunch "cooking with jazz." and the food was SOO yummy.

this 3-piece jazz band went from table to table playing requests. we requested "what a wonderful world."

nb: if you ever want to make me tear up, start singing that song....

this guy was feeling it! and who wouldn't on such a gorgeous sunday morning?

big smiles. we have just polished off their bananas foster for dessert!! commander's palace invented it.

our weekend was briely interrupted by work, when the founder of popeye's chicken died. he was an new orleans legend, and we popped into a popeye's restaurant to ask the people for their thoughts.
i loved playing reported and helped get this story on the air:

Popeyes Chicken Founder Al Copeland Dies

it's crawfish season in the gulf! dianna is really bad at eating them.

and she's super overdramatic.

i, on the other hand, am an expert. see? no hands!

when i was a missionary, i would go to crawfish boils where we'd sit at a long bench with tons of people, they'd spread out newspapers and seriously throw down pounds of boiled and seasoned crawfish. delish!

who wouldn't want to eat a face like that?

dianna would clearly much rather play with her food than eat it.

sadly, the jamabalaya at this particular restaurant wasn't worth eating or even photographing. seriously, avoid eating in the french quarter at all costs.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

new orleans -- 15 years and a heckuva hurricane later

typically this is a pretty light-hearted blog, but my recent trip to new orleans was not. all things added together, it was a wonderful trip, but parts were really sad.
this is the post of the sad, hard stuff--like driving through my old mission and searching for people who were displaced by the hurricane.

as all of you know, katrina wreaked havoc on new orleans and st. bernard parish. i served my mormon mission in southern louisiana, and i spent a great deal of time in chalmette in st. bernard parish (in the glbrm-great louisiana baton rouge mission). st. bernard parish was devastated by the hurricane, the surge, and a toxic oil spill.

going back was amazing. after 15 years, of course things have changed, but nothing prepared me for what i saw. here are some snapshots.

dianna was assigned to go to new orleans to be the npr bureau chief for 3 weeks, so i convinced her to let me tag along. i provided her with all the good story ideas.

we got up to run on saturday morning along the mississippi levee, but wound up just eating breakfast in the french quarter.

you can never go wrong at any restaurant in new orleans--
except, sadly, in the french quarter.
the views are spectacular, even if the gumbo is watered down.

the french quarter is part of the city that survived the hurricane pretty much intact, although there are little signs of it.

our big saturday activity was tracking down marian. i met marian on accident. i was backing out of a neighbor's parking lot after a brief lunch in my brand new sea-foam green corrola (it had 300 miles on it). apparently i didn't look behind thoroughly enough, because i slammed right into marian's car. i had on my missionary name-tag. after the cops came and my fear of getting arresting was allayed (a small miracle--the arizona DOT 's computers must have been down) this poor woman that I'd hit looked at my name-tag and said, "are you a nun?"

i said "kinda." and then i walked away embarrassed.

but i'd just had a convo with my companion that Christ can take any bad thing and make it good. and thought i should give a copy of the book of mormon to the lady i'd hit. my comp though t i was crazy, but i went to marian, and said, "i'm really sorry about hitting your car, but i want you to have this book. it changed my life."

she grabbed the book with both hands, like something she would treasure. she looked at it, and looked at me and said, "maybe the whole reason we got into this accident was so i could get this book. "

marian lived in delacriox island. it was in my missionary area, but really far away. we were only allowed 200 miles/ month and going to her house a couple of times would eat up our miles for the whole month.

so when i told my mission prez that i'd crashed the car with 300 miles on it, and asked if i could have more miles, he told me: "running into people with your car might be an effective finding tool, but it's will NEVER be approved. "

long story short: we taught marian and a few month later she got baptized. a year after that, we went to the temple the temple together.

marian and i stayed in touch over the years, but i could find her after hurricane katrina. i sent dianna to find her in the days after the hurricane hit. but she reported that there was no way to reach delacroix island from new orleans. thigh-high toxic mud blanketed all of st. bernard parish.

in december marian called me, and i was sooo relieved to hear from her. but she didn't sound good. she was calling from texas, and she told me that her house had been completely destroyed in the hurricane. she didn't know that she hadn't had insurance on her house, and that the insurance companies, of course, would do nothing. she also had a hard time proving that she owned the property because the title was still in her father's name and her father had died a long time ago. she'd grown up in that house, and her mom had grown up in that house--the entire family history was in that house. she said a number of times on the phone call that life wasn't worth living. she lost literally everything she'd ever owned. we talked a couple of more times. the last time i talked to her she had called me in the middle of the night when i was working in africa somewhere (i can't even remember where i was).

i, of course, lost my cell phone. it was the only place i had her number. she stopped calling me, i didn't know what had happened to her. i got very worried. so we went in search of her.

driving into st. bernard parish and across the canal was like stepping into the post-apocalypse. it was surreal. i didn't even recognize where i was. heavily populated areas were now wastelands. we drove down judge perez ave, past what i thought was my apartment.

i knew where i was when i passed what was left of the schwegmans' shopping center. this is where i used to shop, makin groceries schwegman's style.

this taco bell represented everything i hated about serving my mission in the states.
it was hard for me to feel like a missionary when i was surrounded by things that were so familiar. it felt weird to tract and be so open about religion in a place that felt so much like home. . . even still, it was sobering to see it marked as a public health hazard.

this is the apartment i was visiting when i backed into marian's car.
it was the house with the yellow sticker on it.

marian was visiting a friend in the apartment at the end of the road there.
and then i slammed her with my car and with the good news.

these markings mean that the house was searched on 9-8 (05) and they didn't find any dead bodies here. spray paint is still on houses all over the city.

this is the living room i used to hang out in.
too bad photographs can't capture the rotting smell.

the calendar says august 2005, like it's frozen in time.

how am i supposed to react upon seeing a crude oil pipeline laying in the grass?

we drove all the way to the end of bayou road looking for marian's house, but couldn't find what was left of it. we did find some pelicans.

(by the way, when i was a missionary, i taught julia roberts' stunt double for the movie pelican brief. i taught her about joseph smith, and she made us a fancy dinner. it was nice to have someone sorta normal to hang out with.)

we reached the end of the road--it literally ends. if you could drive out past it, you'd hit venezuela.

to give you an idea of how desperate things are in st. bernard parish,
this is the government coastal complex.

look carefully, and you'll see a refrigerator in this tree -- almost 3 years after the hurricane.

some old guys on delacroix island remembered marian nash, and told us where her brother lived. he gave us directions to her brother corky's house, who helped us find marian. she was living in a trailer behind her daughter's house.

(this is something i love about southern louisiana. if you asked the neighbors on the end of my block where i lived, they would have no idea. but in louisiana, everyone knows where you and your family live. there's a real sense of community here)

when i knocked on the door to her trailer, all she said was, "you came back." i was filled with all sorts of emotions--i had been afraid i wouldn't find her, and also afraid that i would. i felt so guilty for not being in contact with her and with all sorts of people that i'd loved as a missionary.

marian had suffered a lot in the hurricane. her memeory is really shaky, and she can't even remember how she got through the hurricane and where she lived in the months afterward. she got up a few times to get things, and came back empty-handed.

i thought it was just her short term membory, so i asked her to tell me some longer stories--like about how her family came here from the canary islands. she pauesd a really long time, and said, "if my sister was here, she could tell you, but i can't really remember." that was one of her favorite stories, and seeing her strugle to remember it made me really sad. marain, who always had the happiest of dispositions and could laugh at anything, had lost a lot when her house and all her memories were destroyed.

she doesn't go to the mormon church anymore, but to the catholic church nearby with her family. i can't say i blame her, because the nearest church is in uptown new orleans, 45 mintues away, and it's not safe for her to drive with her mind as shaky as it is. she said she still talks sometimes to margaret villanueva, a tribute to the power of visiting teaching.

we had a pretty short visit, myabe an hour. it didn't feel short. we sorta ran out of things to talk about. part of me wanted to stay with her, but the silences became long. i eventually said we had to go because dianna needed to get to something.

this is me and marain right before we left. i have her address and phone number now, so i'm determind to stay more in touch. missions are a funny thing because you love people you would never have any other opportunity to know. i was a 22-year old zoology student when i met marian. she was a 50 year old crossing guard in delacroix isalnd. our worlds would never have collided. i feel like meeting and teacher her was a real blessing.

i i started recognizing more stuff on the way home driving thru st. bernard parish. i took pictures of this fire station for my dad.

we drove thru some of the neighborhoods that i served in.

the home depot was the only thing open, and it was doing a booming business.

FEMA trailer in front of a house with a gaping hole into the living room.

block after block of abandoned, condemed houses. many have been demolished already. some people are fighting the demoilition, leaving one house standing in an otherwise open field.

these pictures were taken in one of chalmette's wealthier neighborhoods.

when the houses were razed, you could see where tile, wood, and carpet
had covered the cement foudation.

wood floors, walls, tile, and probably carpet.

amidst all the shells of houses and empty lots, there was the occasional house that had been rebuilt, with a kids hanging out in the driveway. but the one thing that was definitely missing in these once-heavily populated neighborhoods were old people.

as we drove through the poorer parts of my old stomping ground, i remembered old people stitting on their porches, playing games, sipping tea, and listening to music. there were no people sitting on porches anymore.

it's amazing that the hurricane and flood happened so long ago, and parts of the city still look like a ghost town. like the disaster stuck yesterday.