Sunday, 29 June 2008

the past month in photos

i have been a lazy blogger. i just haven't wanted to get the photos from my memory card and do all that it takes to get them up on my blog. so i haven't. until today (your lucky day). this is pretty much what the last month of my life has looked liked.

this is at the "free for all" where audrey, dianna, holly, and i saw hamlet.
it was SPECTACULAR!

dianna has made bread almost every sunday that we have both been in town
this was probably the best of all the loaves ever!
can you see how big those holes are?
this was the most perfect bread you have ever eaten.
i really hope she remembers how to do it this good!

introducing mike yea.
he is lindsay's beau.
he was a real gem a few saturdays ago and helped me get rid of all the trash piled up on my deck

some of the trash

more of the trash.
i think there were 3 layers of trash here.
it was overflowing the deck.

hauling trash
as you can see lindsay helped too
it was a SUPER hot day.

this is after making a ton of progress
we had most of the u-haul as full as we could get it
so we decided to take a trip to the dump
i got us super duper lost, but then we finally found it
thanks to mike and lindsay using their noggins

the dump

here is mike yea and neighbor mike helping to empty the u-haul
you will be happy to know that it took 2 trips with that truck to get rid of it all

mike yea and neighbor mike

so it turns out that lindsay LOVES going to the dump.
when she was a little girl and her dad would have to go,
she would always position herself so she would be one to go.
here is lindsay in one of the happiest places on earth
(for lindsay)


the next weekend i took an emergency get-away to norfolk
i was under too much stress and just needed a break
i was much like these trees
there was a hurricane the day before i arrived in norfolk
for the first couple of days i was there we had no electricity and no running water
hoods to woods at its finest


a broken power pole

this is vint's brother's house with a tree toppled on it.


the tree
the best of norfolk in a lingi

the next weekend i was supposed to go to botswana, but y'all know that story
so the saturday that i didn't got to botswana, but spent 5 hours at the airport, dianna and i decided to fill her raised beds with soil
it turned out to be a bad idea

we had to rent a truck but the service at u-haul was ATROCIOUS!
they took SO long to do anything
then after an hour in the line this dude,
who worked at a slow snail's pace,
told dianna she had to call her insurance provider to understand what would be covered if she were to get in an accident with the u-haul.
it was CRAZY!

dianna talking to geico.
dude doing what he does best, veggin out

dianna on the verge of loosing her cool
but keeping it by biting her lip

more ridiculousness

because i missed the botswana adventure, i got to attend my office's culminating conference
that was nice because i had put together a panel and i was very interested to hear what the panelists had to say
i think it went super well

my panel
from the left to right:
burt waller, deborah parham-hopkins, fred smith, don weaver
it was a super interesting panel

then we had a luncheon with this guy as the keynote

with all of the crazy stuff going on,
i decided that it was high time to have some fun
so i planned a bike ride on the eastern shore and dianna joined me
it was wonderful!

but not without its problems.
each time we have gone for a ride the past month+, one of us have gotten a flat tire
this was no exception.
but i turned the tide on the tires
i purchased some tubes and the little things you need to change a bike tire
and had a refresher in changing tires
so when dianna's tub broke
i let out a swear (i am not going to lie)
but then i was able to fix it!

fixing the tire

please note my awesome form!



that hair is a dianna special
she likes to see if it will stand straight up
since i was about to put a helmet on i thought who cares
but she won the battle of the falling hair
and i lost the beauty contest.




take that, tire!
VICTORY!!


it all made me a bit dirty tho

then we were off
it was about 96 degrees when we took off
and we are both not in the shape we were once in
but we made it
and we had a great time!

we rode the "oxford loop"
from easton, md to st. michaels and back
on the eastern shore of maryland
t'was super beautiful and fun!
tho, i am a bit saddle sore

lots of farms and big cottages
and empty country roads
pretty much paradise





we stopped in oxford for lunch at the "oxford market"
we were starving
and for some reason both chose egg salad sandwiches
and then we had potato chips and potato salad
it was a LOT of mayo
but we ate it all

yummm! eggsalad!!

potato salad


below is a quick study on how happy i make dianna

without me

with me!


one of my favorite things about this ride is you get to take a ferry
it was really good timing too, because i was WAY too full to start riding in earnest again

bikes ride for free



hey wind!

ta da!

we didn't take many more photos of the ride, because we both got super tired.

when we got back to our car we drove over to the elk's lodge pool and took a shower and jumped in to cool off. it is always awesome to sneak in and make friends with all the ladies!

then we ate at restaurant local in easton, which was FABULOUS! we had a DELISH cheese plate. and a awesome risotto. we made the mistake of ordering things that we know how to make. thou shalt not do that. no one can make the food you have perfected better than you. so for me i must steer clear of seared tuna and salads at restaurants (at least salads are a no in the summer).

it was a fantastic day on the eastern shore, and i want to do it again!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

i read this and thought it was beautiful -- neighbors

Op-Ed Contributor

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

By PETER LOVENHEIM
Brighton, N.Y.

THE alarm on my cellphone rang at 5:50 a.m., and I awoke to find myself in a twin bed in a spare room at my neighbor Lou’s house.

Lou was 81. His six children were grown and scattered around the country, and he lived alone, two doors down from me. His wife, Edie, had died five years earlier. “When people learn you’ve lost your wife,” he told me, “they all ask the same question. ‘How long were you married?’ And when you tell them 52 years, they say, ‘Isn’t that wonderful!’ But I tell them no, it isn’t. I was just getting to know her.”

Lou had said he gets up at six, but after 10 more minutes, I heard nothing from his room down the hall. Had he died? He had a heart ailment, but generally was in good health. With a full head of silver-gray hair, bright hazel-blue eyes and a broad chest, he walked with the confident bearing of a man who had enjoyed a long and satisfying career as a surgeon.

The previous evening, as I’d left home, the last words I heard before I shut the door had been, “Dad, you’re crazy!” from my teenage daughter. Sure, the sight of your 50-year-old father leaving with an overnight bag to sleep at a neighbor’s house would embarrass any teenager, but “crazy”? I didn’t think so.

There’s talk today about how as a society we’ve become fragmented by ethnicity, income, city versus suburb, red state versus blue. But we also divide ourselves with invisible dotted lines. I’m talking about the property lines that isolate us from the people we are physically closest to: our neighbors.

It was a calamity on my street, in a middle-class suburb of Rochester, several years ago that got me thinking about this. One night, a neighbor shot and killed his wife and then himself; their two middle-school-age children ran screaming into the night. Though the couple had lived on our street for seven years, my wife and I hardly knew them. We’d see them jogging together. Sometimes our children would carpool.

Some of the neighbors attended the funerals and called on relatives. Someone laid a single bunch of yellow flowers at the family’s front door, but nothing else was done to mark the loss. Within weeks, the children had moved with their grandparents to another part of town. The only indication that anything had changed was the “For Sale” sign on the lawn.

A family had vanished, yet the impact on our neighborhood was slight. How could that be? Did I live in a community or just in a house on a street surrounded by people whose lives were entirely separate? Few of my neighbors, I later learned, knew others on the street more than casually; many didn’t know even the names of those a few doors down.

According to social scientists, from 1974 to 1998, the frequency with which Americans spent a social evening with neighbors fell by about one-third. Robert Putnam, the author of “Bowling Alone,” a groundbreaking study of the disintegration of the American social fabric, suggests that the decline actually began 20 years earlier, so that neighborhood ties today are less than half as strong as they were in the 1950s.

Why is it that in an age of cheap long-distance rates, discount airlines and the Internet, when we can create community anywhere, we often don’t know the people who live next door?

Maybe my neighbors didn’t mind living this way, but I did. I wanted to get to know the people whose houses I passed each day — not just what they do for a living and how many children they have, but the depth of their experience and what kind of people they are.

What would it take, I wondered, to penetrate the barriers between us? I thought about childhood sleepovers and the insight I used to get from waking up inside a friend’s home. Would my neighbors let me sleep over and write about their lives from inside their own houses?

A little more than a year after the murder-suicide, I began to telephone my neighbors and send e-mail messages; in some cases, I just walked up to the door and rang the bell. The first one turned me down, but then I called Lou. “You can write about me, but it will be boring,” he warned. “I have nothing going on in my life — nothing. My life is zero. I don’t do anything.”

That turned out not to be true. When Lou finally awoke that morning at 6:18, he and I shared breakfast. Then he lay on a couch in his study and, skipping his morning nap, told me about his grandparents’ immigration, his Catholic upbringing, his admission to medical school despite anti-Italian quotas, and how he met and courted his wife, built a career and raised a family.

Later, we went to the Y.M.C.A. for his regular workout; he mostly just kibitzed with friends. We ate lunch. He took a nap. We watched the business news. That evening, he made us dinner and talked of friends he’d lost, his concerns for his children’s futures and his own mortality.

Before I left, Lou told me how to get into his house in case of an emergency, and I told him where I hide my spare key. That evening, as I carried my bag home, I felt that in my neighbor’s house lived a person I actually knew.

I was privileged to be his friend until he died, just this past spring.

Remarkably, of the 18 or so neighbors I eventually approached about sleeping over, more than half said yes. There was the recently married young couple, both working in business; the real estate agent and her two small children; the pathologist married to a pediatrician who specializes in autism.

Eventually, I met a woman living three doors away, the opposite direction from Lou, who was seriously ill with breast cancer and in need of help. My goal shifted: could we build a supportive community around her — in effect, patch together a real neighborhood? Lou and I and some of the other neighbors ended up taking turns driving her to doctors’ appointments and watching her children.

Our political leaders speak of crossing party lines to achieve greater unity. Maybe we should all cross the invisible lines between our homes and achieve greater unity in the places we live. Probably we don’t need to sleep over; all it might take is to make a phone call, send a note, or ring a bell. Why not try it today?

Peter Lovenheim, the author of “Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf,” is writing a book about neighborhoods.

nope i still don't have my bags

delta has no idea where they are. one person told me it was in atlanta. someone else told me it was in jo'berg. and then another guy told me it was in gaborone. no one seems to really know. the latest word is that it is in botswana. but you know they are "very sorry for the inconvience" and "really value my choosing to fly with delta, because we know you have a choice". apparently they are "working as fast as they can to have [my] bags returned to [me]." whatev! that ain't happening. i am just spending hours on the phone with people in india.

so i langish in dc with out personal products. all my favorite t-shirts are in the bag. also in the bag: my running shoes and favorite running clothes; my favorite work clothes and work shoes; my garmin watch and heartrate monitor; my swimsuit; my pajamas; and all my good underclothing. lets see what makes it back. super exciting...

Monday, 23 June 2008

a parable of frustration and boredom

if you have ever missed 2 flights in 2 days, traveled to a city for no reason, spent the night in that city for no reason, missed an entire (but very needed) weekend for no reason, and missed the work you were supposed to do for the next 10 days for no reason, you can appreciate how i feel right now.

i get stressed out when i travel anyway (makes me think i might need to get a new travel-free or travel-less job). i never sleep well before i go, stay up late worrying about packing, wake up too early worried about packing and getting to the airport. having to do that 3 days in a row really worked a number on me.

in a fit of frustration i wrote the following parable...the idea of the parable came from my buddy t-rex.

you might have to be mormon to get these silly allusions. but i understand that evangelicals are sharing the same stories...so let me know if you get it:

i was walking down a beach and enjoying the feeling of the sand between my toes. i turned around and noticed all this crazy stuff, first there was just one set of footprints, and then mysteriously there were two and then there was just one again. i was like WTF, why all this crazy footprint stuff. all the sudden the sand was not so comfortable. i noticed that i was stepping on millions of starfish. i got really bugged because starfish are not fun to walk on, so i started chucking them back into the sea. a dude came up and started taunting me about how it won't really matter, there are so many starfish you can't save them all (i was confused because i was just trying to clean-up the beach) i turned and said "i never said it would be easy, i just wanted a clean beach." then the dude, dressed in trucker clothes and hat, with a bottle of beer in hand suggest that i need to pray and ask God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

he was driving me crazy, so i decided to change the subject and asked him how long he had been driving trucks? he told me he had been driving so long that he can drive his car right up to the edge of cliffs, with half of his 2 wheels off the edge. i told him that sounded crazy and tried to tell him to be careful. he got really weird, and in a moment of frustration, i decided just to throw him into the ocean. he was ├╝ber heavy, and started screaming: "you knew what i was when you picked me up" i collapsed under his weight and we started laughing. he told me that if i gave him a hug and a kiss and all the money i had he would get me a bike, so we left and i got a super cute red bike.

not going to botswana

i am sure all the readers are waiting on baited breathe for the outcome of this delta disaster... her it is. i wrote to the person in botswana who i was mostly working with and her response was:

teabelly,
Bummer. But there must be a reason. Let's hold off until September. . . . Best regards, ___


so that is that. i am waiting for a cab from the douglas' house to the airport for a triumphant return to dc, minus all my favorite clothes and personal products. but thanks to delta's phone service, there is nothing i can do to ensure that my bag returns to me, UNLESS i go to the baggage people at the airport and file a claim. so all told, this has cost me heaps of money and tons of time to return to my house empty handed, exhausted, and even less likely to fly delta next time.

if you happen to be in SLC sometime in the next 20 days

Canvases of hope by India's lepers
Sales from SLC exhibit aid Bindu Art School

By Elizabeth Miller
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/21/2008 10:40:14 AM MDT

When you hear the stories behind the colorful acrylic and oil paintings on display at Salt Lake City's Art Access Gallery, you have learned more about leprosy, still one of the world's most misunderstood diseases.

The artists at southern India's Bindu Art School have received little formal training. Instead, their work displays evidence of the human drive for creative expression.



Some of the artists attached brushes to their fingerless hands with rubber bands, while others painted despite having no feeling in their limbs. Still other artists, who are blind, created vivid paintings despite being unable to see the canvases.



All of the paintings exhibited at Salt Lake City's Art Access Gallery were created thanks to Rising Star Outreach, a nonprofit agency founded in 2005 at the Bharatapuram leprosy colony.

Becky Douglas, who lives in Atlanta but was raised in Salt Lake City, helped create Rising Star after seeing beggars while traveling in India. To get started, she called on friends, most of whom are from Utah and, like her, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As they worked with leprosy sufferers, she and other volunteers realized that giving them food, shelter and comfort wasn't enough. They were still isolated, even from one another.

"The biggest impediment to their improving is the stigma that they face," said Douglas, the executive director of Rising Star. "[The school has] really given a voice to people who have been isolated and ignored for millennia."

Leprosy - officially known as Hansen's disease - is caused by bacteria transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth of untreated patients, according to the World Health Organization's Web site. In the past, lepers were isolated into separate colonies because of exaggerated fears of contagion.

The widely misunderstood disease is now considered curable, but in contemporary India, many sufferers have trouble getting access to medication. Because of their low place in the culture's strict social caste system, leprosy victims are considered cursed, even untouchable. If left untreated, the disease can cause nerve damage, often leading to the amputation of limbs.

Through art therapy, Douglas said, students have slowly broken out of the shame they have felt most of their lives, while art sales have helped them earn financial independence, ending the cycle of begging for alms.

Before they painted, the students isolated themselves and begged for sleeping pills to ease their loneliness. "The first paintings were dark and isolationist, but became more colorful as the students gained self-esteem and began selling their own work," Douglas said. "It's interesting to see the change over time as they start to feel better about themselves; the work has gotten better."

All proceeds of art sales from the exhbit will be donated back to the school, said Ruth Lubbers, director of the Art Access gallery.

The school is funded through donations and art sales, Douglas said. Proceeds are divided into thirds: One-third is divided among all 26 artists, one-third is earmarked for school programs, while the remaining third is bankrolled into a savings account to start another Indian school.

Utahns have supported Indian disease-relief efforts through more than just financial donations. "They come over to the colonies and hug them and touch the people considered untouchable," Douglas said. "The volunteers and I really believe we will have an impact on the stigma more than anything else and really help these people succeed."

At Art Access Gallery
* "TRIUMPH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT," an exhibition of 35 paintings from the Bindu Art School, made by artists with leprosy, will be on display and on sale at the Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, No. 125, Salt Lake City.

* THE EXHIBIT runs through July 11. For information, visit www.risingstaroutreach.org or call 801-328-0703. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

still not in botswana

i really can't believe this. i am sleeping at dianna's parent's house for the night in atlanta. once again, i made my flight in plenty of time and was the perfect little passenger. i did nothing wrong, except decided to fly on delta maybe?

my plane left national airport about an hour late and had to take a detour because of some inclement weather so the fight took longer than possible. i had been upgraded to first class so once we landed in atlanta i was able to bust a move off the plane. i had to get from terminal A to terminal E. the train stalled for one minute, i accidentally went to the wrong gate, and by the time i got to the jo'berg gate, the gate had closed. i did my best to plea but it was too late. i do know that the flight had been oversold (i was told that on the phone when i was trying to get a better seat). i am sure they knew that i was going to be late: it is in their system after all. so they gave my seat to someone else. and when i got up to the next help desk they told me i was already booked on the flight tomorrow.

i almost had them fly me back to dc, but they couldn't. whatever the "weather situation" was between atlanta and dc had caused them to cancel other flights. so i called dianna who called her dad, who was luckily at the airport dropping becky off. so i was able to get out and get a ride to a comfy bed and all the food i could ever want to eat. that was awesome. we got a nice plan for our cambodia 2008 extravaganza worked out.

the question remains: should i stay or should i go? i can't fly back to dc until noon tomorrow. the flight to joberg is at 4. if i go to jo'berg i will miss half of the week of work i was supposed to do there. i am not sure it is worth the expense for me to get there for half the time. the thing is, i can't really do this until september if i don't go now. just because i have all this house stuff going on. i am going to talk to the woman in botswana in charge of this trip and see what she has to say. if she thinks that 3 days is enough then i will just go. i guess i could extend, but that feels even sketchier because of the house. i will have just been gone for so long. arg!

standby a decision will come soon...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

wait a minute

if you know me well, you might be reading this and thinking, wait a minute are you not supposed to be on a flight from dc to jo'berg right now; what are you doing blogging??!! well the answer is a simple one word answer: DELTA!

i didn't sleep well last night because i had all this packing and stuff to do, so after i woke up at 5:45 and tried to sleep for an hour, i decided to start getting my stuff done. and done i did. i got so much done that i realized that i could just take my checked bag to the airport and leave it and then have the rest of the morning to play or dink around (or maybe take a nap). when i got the airport i discovered that my flight to atlanta had been canceled and now i was rebooked on a south african air flight out of JFK, only, both of my connections were so short that it was painfully obvious that i would never make my connections. i left the airport with the intent of returning to take my connection-missing flights. just a few things to point out. NO ONE called me to tell me my flight was canceled. why did they not just ask me if i could get to atl sooner? why make me fly on a different airline in a way that would insure me not getting to my destination?

after an hour and a half at the airport trying to figure out what to do, i came home starving and so on edge. so i called delta and said, look i don't like sleeping in airports, can you help me? so they said the best they could do was get me on the flight tomorrow. i decided to take that option. it seemed like with the connections the way they were, i probably wouldn't have gotten there much sooner anyhow. so, i just decided to take the day and chill out.

i started cleaning out my closet with lindsay. awesome! i am so stoked to get rid of all these YUCKY clothes i haven't been wearing. then dianna and i attempted, frustratingly, to fill her raised garden beds. the uhaul experience was so horrible it deserves it's own post. needless to say it took way too long, adn by the time we got to the place to get the sand and compost, it was closed. that did not please dianna much. so we tried to back track. i left her alone to get some work done (she is working on a cool story about the grand canyon that should be on all things considered on 30 june...check it out) and i went with cheryl for a mani/pedi. not the best in the world, but one of the cheapest i have had in dc ($32). and now i am blogging.

my luggage is at DCA and i should probably go get it, but i kinda just don't care enough. so there it will sit tonight and i will get it tomorrow. and then i will be off.

coming up: photos of the house and garden, uhaul stories, and blogs from africa.
be all on edge.

dc's neighborhood guide

so according to the city paper i am moving from c-spanistan to turrets syndrome and moving way down in rank as far as "power ratings" go. i am hoping that in years to come my new neighborhood will have a better name (though i love turrets) and we will get better scores.

if you want to see all the neighborhood rankings, click here
if you just want to learn about my 2 hoods, i have conveniently located them in them below the map...
Capitol Hill, Lincoln Park, Stanton Park, Rosedale -- C-SPANistan
The yuppie surge is fueling these new economies, boosting the local schools, and improving the parks and libraries, but it's also raising rents and making for some fantastic gentrification battles.
Arbitrary Rankings for C-SPANistan



Turrets Syndrome
Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park, Eckington, Park View
You get the feeling in these neighborhoods that there is community, and art, and the prospect of a good future, even if there isn't yet anywhere to get a cocktail.
Arbitrary Rankings for Turrets Syndrome

It took gentrification a while to steamroll Turrets Syndrome. The Big G finished the job on some tasks: the restoration of empty and decaying houses, for example, and the opening of cafes and a few shops. Community boards have been added to work with police to protect the hoods’ new amenities.

Other projects are on G’s to-do list. For example, the brick silos at the abandoned McMillan Sand Filtration Plant are going to be accompanied by a mall and apartments sometime in the next 15 years, and an old firehouse in Truxton Circle (which, ahem, stopped being an actual circle in 1947) is being turned into a multilevel, multicuisine restaurant.

On top of that, this area includes the rapidly developing and unfortunately named NoMa, and its northern reaches are just around the bend from Greater U Street’s delights. The hoods are accessible on Metro’s green, yellow, and red lines and are located on decent bus routes.

Turrets Syndrome has quite a bit to offer the slacker urbanite. Pick up a coffee and a delicious grilled cheese sandwich from the Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale (which happens to be one of the only restaurants in that neighborhood). Enjoy the well-tended gardens with their interesting lawn art while noting the storefront churches and (frequently) well-maintained early-20th-century row houses across North Capitol Street in Eckington, as well as the enormous Queen Annes of LeDroit Park.

You could check and see if the art space at 87 Florida Ave. NW is open (probably not), wander up to the boarded-up space on the corner of 1st and Rhode Island to see if Heller’s Bakery has moved in yet (it hasn’t), and then putter over to the tucked-away Crispus Attucks Park to see how its transformation into a tamed patch is coming along. (Nicely: The rose bushes look and smell wonderful, and the division of the park into dog-friendly and dog-unfriendly zones is nearly complete. There are benches under shady trees, and a lot of the back porches facing the park are being fixed up.)

You get the feeling in these neighborhoods that there is community, and art, and the prospect of a good future, even if there isn’t yet anywhere to get a cocktail.

In honor of all this development, let’s contemplate the career of Amzi Barber, the Asphalt King.

Barber was a short-term president of Howard University who left his post during Reconstruction to found an all-white “romantic” suburb on 40 acres of land purchased from the university. The houses in this suburb are invariably spectacular and were all designed by the architect James H. McGill. They’re a mix of row houses and large, incongruous-looking stand-alone Victorians, the aforementioned Queen Annes, and other houses that seem oddly like they might have been 19th-century McMansions. But classier.

Then Barber named the whole thing after his father-in-law —LeDroit Langdon—the father of his second wife (the first wife died a few years earlier). Not much later, Barber became known as the “Asphalt King” due to his ownership of an asphalt company mired in lawsuit after lawsuit; this was the late 1880s, just as America was being paved over; Barber turned out fine, and his obituary in the New York Times notes that in addition to having largely been responsible for traffic as we know it, he was also a great yachtsman.

It’s worth noting that when LeDroit Park was built, it was surrounded by a fence and armed guards, a protected enclave for the neighborhood’s white residents. The fence didn’t last long, repeatedly torn down by the black neighbors it was meant to exclude. In 1893, LeDroit Park’s first black resident moved in, and other black professionals followed suit.

There is no fence around LeDroit now, but there is a gate, right on the corner of Florida and T. On one side of the gate are the large, unusual houses of T Street, which are either restored or are being restored. On the other side of the gate was a long-standing Moroccan restaurant that was priced out of its space, and a block from there is the Howard Theater—the first full-scale theater in America built for black performers and black audiences. It’s where Ella Fitzgerald was discovered. The Howard’s got a chicken-wire gate around it these days, and while there is a lot of talk about it being restored, right now it looks like it’s been hit with firebombs.

Across the street from the Howard Theater is the Dunbar Theater, another of the city’s legendary black theaters. Now it’s a bank.

Touchstones

• Across from the McMillan Reservoir on First Street is the Bloomingdale Inn, where you’ll want to put up your parents if you don’t have a spare bedroom. The Bloomingdale is owned by Lorraine Wilson, who bought the row house from Howard University in 1998. Before the Bloomingdale Inn was an inn, says Wilson, it was a place for African-American Catholics to worship, when Catholic University was still segregated. The house still has details from its previous use: In a guest room on the first floor, you’ll find the raised platform where the priest would stand (now it’s a place for relaxing); in another room you’ll find a low-hanging mirror. Innkeeper Gerald Wilkson explains that it was considered unseemly for priests to look at their own reflections, and so the mirror was hung high enough to make sure their vestments were on properly but low enough that priests could not see their own faces.

• World Missions for Christ is not just a cool-looking storefront church across the street from Big Bear. It is also the subject of a 2004 documentary—Let the Church Say Amen—which follows the lives of four struggling neighborhood residents who go to this poky, run-down church and find hope and support there

Thursday, 19 June 2008

city flag

i am glad i live in a city that has its own flag. it makes for really cool bike jerseys. i never really thought much about it, until i was in chicago. chicago also has a city flag. so then i couldn't decide whose flag was cooler. and then i started to wonder, what other cities have flags. new york certainly doesn't have a city flag or it would be all over the place. phoenix could have a super cool flag, but it doesn't.

and please don't give me guff about how dc is actually like a state so the dc flag is a state flag...i know that but it really isn't because there are NO other cities in the district of columbia and we don't have any representation, so please let me just pretend we are as cool as chicago and have a city flag. sheesh.

so anyway, which city flag is cooler:

dc?

or

chicago?

( in case you were wondering what professionals thought...In a review by the North American Vexillological Association of 150 American city flags, the Chicago city flag came in 2nd with a rating of 9.03 out of 10, behind only the flag of Washington, D.C..[1])

house update coming soon... i will take photos tomorrow and get something up soon. my carpenter hurt his back and so nothing really happened this week. but the garden grew like mad! tomatoes are so close. there are heaps and heaps of little green tomatoes. we just need a few more sunny days.
i leave for botswana on saturday via another trip on delta (dca to atl to dakar to johannesberg to gaborone...and then back again 6 days later...party!) i am going to be really bugged if the first tomatoes ripen while i am gone!