Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's getting hot here again. John, another neighbor in the courtyard, read my previous blog post and says I sound superior about my non-use of the air conditioner. I suppose there is some of that. Rich and my colleagues at work actually take my resistance to a/c as a consequence of my protestant background -- ie. that I think it's good to suffer. Probably true there too. I do have a practical side too though ... the a/c covers one of two windows on my third floor and the place is dark enough! But maybe that's only an excuse for my underlining prejudices.

The bathroom is done! Well, technically anyway. Still painting and such to do. Got to get it cleaned up though as a colleague of mine is staying here during the NECC conference. I'm out of here though -- off to Vermont in a couple days to bike around Lake Champlain -- so you all will have to enjoy the conference without me!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Grafitti tags were painted last night on five different places within our little neighborhood. Three of them said "evolve" and two had a painting of a crown with (I think) three spikes. Anyone who knows anything about this, please let me know.

Here's a picture of one of the marks (this one doesn't have a crown ... those have already been painted over).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I need a mason to work on the facade of my house. Any recommendations? I need an assessment of the work and a quote ASAP.

I have been approved for a PHIL Loan from the Redevelopment Authority. It's a pretty good deal -- check it out if you are a home owner in Philly. Apparently they want more people to know about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lots of news about Philadelphia today since an officer died yesterday of a heart attack during a Biodiversity demonstration. Here's a source of independent media to get another view on what is happening here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Here's an email I sent to my fellow Waverly Street garden gardeners tonight. (Write to me if you want a copy of the proposal or to sign the petition.) ...

The garden at Broad and South is in danger. Laurie Fitzpatrick, a neighbor who is a member of that garden, is organizing to save the only precious green space left on the Avenue of the Arts. Last Tuesday, she and some fellow gardeners had planned to present their proposal, a petition and conceptual drawings for the space with the idea of creating a "Garden of the Arts." (I wasn't able to make -- was anyone there who could tell us about it?)

The proposal, as I've read it, is sound and includes various arguments for a non-gardening audience about how and why a green space in that area of town has and will support the surrounding community, businesses, arts venues, etc. That plot was an eyesore for years and I personally really appreciate the work the folks there have done on it and want to support them and thought that some of you might be interested too.

I have also attached a petition that can be passed around for signatures. ... Below, I have copied the vision stated in the document below and attached the full thing here too if you want to take a look at it.

As Laurie wrote "this is truly a grassroots movement!"



The Garden of the Arts
The 68 gardeners who currently tend their community plots and the common area at the Broad and South Community Arts Garden, want to see this green space preserved as a public garden/sculpture park known as the Garden of the Arts.

This 18,000 square foot park will have necessary elements such as:
  • As much green space and trees as possible.
  • Public sculpture in keeping with Avenue of the Arts theme and trash receptacles with sculptural theme.
  • Seating and pathways to maximize potential for social interaction.
  • Wireless web access.
  • Kiosk to sell coffee, snacks, gum, newspapers and magazines to create street life.
  • Security.
  • Lighting for security plus beautification of space, lights in pathways, and in trees for the holidays.
  • Creative delineation of space instead of fencing (beds of plants, low fencing).
  • Gateway to neighborhood, Broad Street subway entrance treated decoratively as Paris Metro entrance.
  • Dog run to accommodate the pets of the 1,150+ new residents moving into this area.
Other elements will include:
  • Succession planting of beds for year round interest.
  • Nature combined with art and technology theme that promotes the vision of the Avenue of the Arts.
  • Special events, an annual fundraiser for the park that will generate street life, interest in the park.
  • Picnic/food tables.
  • Faux or intermittent water feature (shaded flower bed planted to look like a stream), storm water management demonstration project for this green space (water flows only during and right after a rain event).
A walk through hidden delights comes right down Waverly Street!

(Map removed so that I don't run into copyright problems ... I'll look for a public version to share.)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Btw, I just realized that this blog might make it seem like I'm doing this work by myself. In fact, Joe is doing most of it and coordinating the tile and plumbing work by others. ... Now Joe is finishing up and Rich and I are doing the details -- painting, etc.

We did put in the toilet though!
Spent most of the day painting today. Was supposed to go to my aunt's and help her with my grandmother's things but Janet just got home from being away and has a cold. So I made the best of the time and did some more work on the bathroom.

I don't like the color though. It's too light yellow. And despite what I thought were ample coats of primer, the turquoise blue is still showing through underneath, giving the light yellow a sort of green hue right now. Yuck. Will have to go back to the 10th street hardware and ask them to add a bit more yellow and get the tone closer to what I want.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Here's my first experiment with Flickr ... the first pictures documenting the work I'm having done or doing on my house. I published the first three tonight showing the bathroom after the old tile and floors were ripped out.

This Flickr tool is amazing actually. I can click on "Tags" and see photos that others have tagged -- ie. I gave these photos "Bathroom Redo" tags. Now I can click on the word "Bathroom" or the word "Redo" and see a world of others photos. Wow.
Quiet Saturday night here on Waverly Street. It's finally cool out so the roar of my neighbors' air conditioners is on a low intermittent hum tonight, which is a nice change. They can create quite the cacophony of noise in this little courtyard, the only benefit of which is that you can hear less of your neighbors' business which is sometimes the case on cool quiet evenings. But that's just what happens when your windows are only twelve feet away from one another and the sound bounces from wall to wall. Although I noticed living here, that overtime, we do start to develop blinders -- on our eyes and our ears -- in order to just live in such tight quarters with one another.

Our houses, in the summer, are little brick ovens. And one can start to really feel like a pizza. So while the a/c is a source of noise pollution mostly, not to mention the power drain, I realize that in the heat they are quite the relief. ... I have one. In fact I realize I have two (one installed in the kitchen and another in the basement) but I try to use them as a last resort.

I once asked my grandmother, who raised four kids in a small two story row house in the Logan section of Philadelphia, what they used to do before a/c. Several things, she said, including bringing the mattresses downstairs, sleeping on the porch, and putting baby powder on the sheets. And of course fans. I have to say, the fans and baby powder combo really does work! Of course, moving downstairs does too. I don't have a porch though, and I probably wouldn't sleep out on it anymore if I did honestly.

Jean, my next door neighbor to the right, is out of town tonight and I am supposed to walk her dog Tank (he's a chihuahua) and he did not want to be walked, and he gets mean when he doesn't want to do something. So I left him be. Hum ... I better get up in the early morning though and take him for a walk first thing.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I live in a trinity in a courtyard off of a little street in downtown Philadelphia. I really love living here. It's the perfect balance of living in a close community space with others, without actually having roommates you have to negotiate with on an hour by hour basis. It is also on a scale that makes sense ... not too much land, air or sky is taken up by my little house. And my cat loves to hang outside, and the courtyard is good for that too. I have a little plot of dirt out front, a community garden across the street, and I can walk or bike to work. What could be better?