InShaw: A historic blog

I’ve decided that September I will slowly start doing more history related posts as I semi-retire this. I’ve been inspired to go into a historical direction because of the work I’ve been doing at that place where they pay me to show up and do stuff. However, the problem is though I’m dying, dying I tell ya, to talk about all the gems I find while, doing the stuff they pay me to do. Since I’ve shown an interest in local/regional DC history I’ve been given (and I’m so thankful) projects that deal with the District of Columbia. However, I can’t write specifically about those cool things I find on the blog, something about ethics and abusing my position. I can yak about it to friends, but not publish it on the web, or that’s how I interpreted what my boss said. Any government lawyers read this blog? Wanna offer any advice?
In general, and I think I’m safe speaking generally, it seems to take projects that transform neighborhoods in this city decades from start to finish, not years, decades. Also I’m amazed anything gets done, ask me in person what I mean. I am amazed when I spot something that I swore was a 21st century fixture in the city, being advocated for/ or protested against, back in the 1980s. Oops, maybe I was too specific there.
Yes, and 1980 is history. I used to say that if I was alive during that time period it isn’t history. I had to stop saying that once I hit 30. And in general 1980s DC is a whole ‘nother city. Walk around downtown, and there are buildings that are just part of the landscape that weren’t there in the 70s. The mayor was Barry.
Our neighborhood history, and that is everything that happened, oh yesterday on back, is interesting because we live here. It explains to an extent of why certain things are the way they are. Knowing what happened can enrich our lives here as residents and give a sense of our place in space and time. The other history stuff, the packaging to tourists crap, I have no care for. Nor do I care for simplified sanitized history, life is messy. And even worse, a sort of invented history, where you take a long period, say a 75 year span, pick and choose parts a la cart, slap them together in a vague narrative that puts an image in others minds that was never reality.
Okay, I’m ranting, I gotta stop.

Better living through Real Estate

Y’all west of NJ Ave won’t be interested in this, but my TC brethren, particularly those of you who showed up at the last BACA meeting ( the notes are up at the super secret site user-thismeeting/ psw- neverhappened).

I remember the houses or vacant apartment building on the unit block of Q St mentioned during the public safety section of the BACA meeting. It seems that there have been some squatters who invaded the buildings and caused concern for some of the neighborhing residents. There were some fire marshall signs up but someone mentioned that those signs went missing. Anyway, it appears that those problem houses are up for sale. So if you have a couple of mil laying about the house you could buy 1/2 a block.
The phrase ‘better living through real estate’ came up in a conversation with a Realtor and TC resident, who believes purposeful RE transactions can aid in the betterment of the neighborhood. Well a row of tall townhouses with 2,000 sq ft per lot, are 30, 32, and 34 Q St (MLS DC6490583, DC6490599 & DC6490587) offered at $440K each. According to the listing you can try for a whole package deal. I wonder if you get a discount?

Review of Jimbo’s OMG party and Guyness

I came and I stayed until my voice started going hoarse and my natural dislike for crowded spaces kicked in. The chopped shrimp asian salad on a cucumber finger food was delish. And I had some decent conversations with people other than Jimbo. Of course, it is always nice to talk to Jimbo.
One topic between Jim and I was guyness. Guy-ness has been on my mind since one young gay man made a remark to me that a gay roommate was equal to a female roommate. Ah, no. A gay man, still a guy.
For one you got the toilet seat. Jimbo and I debated the question of up or down. Jim claims men are doing women a favor by leaving the seat up. I say no, put the seat down. Jim countered with the problem of aim and waste liquids hitting the seat. The seat being up wasn’t a problem when I was staying at Scott & Matt’s because its their house, and they could have the seat up. But every so often I would experience this small disorientation when encountering a lifted seat. I got over it. Besides I’m back where if I walk into a dark bathroom there is a 99.99% chance the seat is down.
Another test of guyness is the girlie baby-shower. Jimbo failed to endure a full blown baby-shower. I think he said it was the moment where participants had to guess the circumference of the mother’s abdomen, he left. Maybe that was too close to the trick question many a woman has presented to a man, ‘Am I fat?’


This is how I can describe yesterday. Morning, hot. Lunchtime, hawt! After work, reasonably pleasant. The weather was welcoming enough that I spent some time in the backyard looking at my tomatoes, onions, purslane, spinach, mache, chard, and herbs.
The onions
I planted these bad boys in pots last fall and ignored them. An amazing thing happens when you ignore your onions, and aren’t constantly picking them, they get bulbs. I’ve collected a dozen small white onions and used them in cooking.
This year the squirrels obviously found another food source and allowed my tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Last year I would find 1/2 eaten green tomatoes littered all over the place because the tree rats lost their mulberry tree and decided to make dinner out of my unripened fruit. I’ve had at least two tomatoes ripen, untouched.
I’m also happy that despite being ignored and only watered to the point of wilting, they have produced. Well, now that I’m watering them more often. During the renovation they were hard if not impossible to water as the water to the house was cut off and ‘somebody’ had raided the water barrel’s water.
I’ve talked about my purslane hunt and well there is nothing really exciting about growing mache and spinach in a pot. Throw in seeds. Watch them grow.

Despite not being able to take advantage of Spring I think I’ve done alright for myself and my little garden.

The idea of the edible front yard lives on. I’m wondering if I should put some of the purslane in the front. But that also means, in the ground. Something I should really not do with something considered a weed. Yet, then again, I have peppermint, a weed, growing in the ground. Probably somewhere oregano is a weed. It grows like one, and it too is in the front yard. So maybe I’ll add some purslane, unless someone talks me out of it.

Crime and safety

As I briefly mentioned three men were charged as suspects for Robbery 1 in Northern Truxton (1700 blk of NJ and 200 blk of R). This hopefully will put an end to the robbery spree that was experienced lately. In the BACA meeting (I’ll make an attempt to put the notes up today- notes are up user-thismeeting pwd- neverhappened) the police officer (either Ofc Babcock or McCollough) noted that crime is down. Um, yay.
The problem is although crime statistically may be down, but the feeling of safety hasn’t exactly spiked up. And one of the conclusions I came to during the meeting is some of the things that don’t make me feel at ease aren’t exactly illegal. Teenagers sauntering down the street emulating the thug/ gangsta hoochie momma image yelling profanities and loudly rapping the most profane lyrics, not exactly illegal. Some people just exude and cultivate an air of negativity that you can feel.
The question of is this Shaw/Truxton a safe neighborhood, usually comes from other women. My answer has been, and is, this is an urban neighborhood, not the suburbs. Also I’m not going to say, and you are not going to make me say, ‘oh, this is a bad neighborhood,’ because I live here. If you ask do I feel safe? It could be better, but I’m fine. I do not dread walking home (unless it is in this oppressive heat). If it is late at night, I may take a bus or a cab. Not owning a car, having an employer who does the Metrochecks, and biking, my transportation costs are pretty low, even with the occasional cab ride.
There are shifting degrees of safety I feel. I don’t think I’ve ever felt unsafe, well maybe except for that one time when the woman with the dog kept following me, that freaked me out. I try to be aware of my surroundings, I walk like I know where I’m going, and I try to reduce my risk, because this area is what it is, and slowly it has and will get better.

BACA meeting notes preview

Well Jim sent out this, which was mentioned at last night’s meeting:


I write to offer a friendly reminder to you that we will be in the pocket park at First Street and Florida Avenue, N.W. this evening at 7:30 p.m. in recognition of National Night Out. That is, for the 10th time in the past 10 consecutive years, the Bates Area Civic Association, Inc. has sponsored a rally and candle light vigil at this location, essentially, to promote peace and an increased sense of unity in our community. This year, the event is being co-sponsored by ANC 5C Chairperson and SMD 5C01 Commissioner Anita Bonds, along with several indigenous community organizations, like the Hanover Area Civic Association, Inc., Ebenezer Baptist Church, and TruxtonCircle.Org.

During each of the past 10 years that we have held the vigil, we have observed incremental improvements in the quality of social life in the park and, to a large extent, our presence on NNO is a symbolic yet substantive as well as personal statement by everyone who participates, of our desire to see this location completely transformed into the kind of place from which residents of the community of all ages can derive benefit. I know that we are all busy people, but I make this personal appeal for you to take 30 minutes out of your otherwise hectic schedule to be with us tonight. Indeed, visible and tangible opportunities to be in solidarity with your neighbors around a matter of this type of importance (i.e., public safety) do not present themselves everyday. I hope to see you there!


Jim Berry
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

Also three suspects have been arrested in regards to some burglaries in the area. I don’t know if you can contact 5D to see if they got your stuff. I’m guessing whatever was stolen, got hocked.


Originally uploaded by pawpaw67

There wasn’t any at this Sunday’s Bloomingdale farmers market, but they had some last week and I love the stuff. I’ve had it twice now. Make a dressing of olive oil, lots of freshly chopped garlic and line juice, delish!
I like it so much so that I looked on line to find out how to grow it myself as I also discovered it has a crappy shelf life. After about 4 days in the fridge it begins to fall apart. Well, I discovered it was a weed. And then that same day I noticed it growing between the bricks in Georgetown.
Later in the week I began to notice it growing in Shaw. Never noticed it before, because it is, you know, a weed. So this Saturday I went on a purslane hunt. Found a mess of them growing on a notorious drug dealing corner. I developed a theory, but that was struck down when I also noticed it growing in front of the houses of various upstanding citizens.
I don’t plan to eat what I grabbed. I just want to get the rootstock, get them growing in pots, cut away the old growth and dine on the new. Until then I await the salad guys to bring in more purslane.

Characters unWelcome

I handed the keys back to Matt, because I finally got all my crap out of their house. On the way there and on the way back to my own house I had to deal with the ‘characters’ that populate Scott & Matt’s block. Anyway, during my stay over in the center of the TC I noticed the amount of ‘commentary’ from the characters I had to deal with was high, or higher than over on the western end of the TC.
What was said, voiced, whatever ranged from a general friendly hello to, depending on the situation, like on my bike, ‘hey can I get a ride?’ I didn’t find any of this stuff threatening, just annoying, particularly after the 3rd character. My only danger, I felt, was from spraining my eyes from them rolling in the back of my head. Maybe it was annoying since it was all male commentary. I’m wondering if the women I passed by were just as friendly, would it take a different spin or interpretation. Also maybe if the stupid commentary, with no baby/honey/ boo crap, was rare and there was more of the simple friendly acknowledgement of ‘hello’, I might have viewed it a different way too.
Staying in another part of the TC was informative. Each block is different with its own set of pluses and minuses.