Trick or Treat

Next Wednesday is Halloween and I do expect kids and adults to trick o’ treat my block. Talking with neighbors, we expect the bands of costumed and uncostumed to come by between dusk and 8ish-9ish. Despite the groups of kids who don’t make an effort, giving away candy is fun, doing it keeps the tradition alive, and kids 5 and younger in costume are sooooo cute.
Frozen Tropics has a pretty good tips to doing Halloween in the ‘hood. The only thing I would have to add is I ration the candy. I buy cheap candy that I give to people who don’t try or who are not the target audience. That’s my punishment for them. Kids in costume get the good stuff. It may seem to some unfair, but hey, everybody gets candy.

Announcements has been the page I’ve been posting the odd announcement. I say odd, because I post things when I get around to it. There are some groups whose stuff I don’t post, but most of the time if I don’t post something, it’s because I’m lazy. Or I didn’t get it early enough. I need a week at the least. Or there was other stuff going on when I got the message and then it got buried under a ton of other emails. Or, there is the odd chance that my spam filter caught it.
Anyway, on this page over on the right hand menu, I’ve got a link for those random haphazard announcements that can overcome my too full email box and my habit of procrastination and not wanting to do stuff.

Buncha Bloomingdale Stuff

Ya know there are like 2 or 3 Bloomingdale blogs.
Farmers market still the neatest thing since sliced multi-grain bread. Every time I go there I think, damn, this/my neighborhood is so cool. Yes, technically in Bloomingdale, but right on the TC/Shaw border. It’s the vibe. You run into neighbors and people with kids, people with dogs, people with people. Some of the vendors at the market take WIC so there is an income mix and fresh food goes to the people. The market goes on until sometime in November, so if you haven’t experienced it, go.
Friday, North Capitol Main Streets had a beer and wine tasting at Bloomingdale Liquors. That was an interesting social experiment. ‘Cause you get a mix of people going in and out. There was a beer table and a wine table, and a big crowd. I only got one little cup of wine, and the merlot wasn’t that great, but I was told the other higher end but lower priced red was much better, Unfortunately, they were out of the better red by the time I made my way back to the table. The store seemed to be doing some fairly brisk business. Of course it was Friday night. Before I bought my tequila (for a great shrimp tequila cerviche dish) I was asked if I was going to bother reporting about the ‘secret meeting’ that occurred two days before. Not a secret meeting, because I posted it in the announcements.
DC GOP hold meeting in back of the St. George’s Episcopal church basement to meet with 3-4 Ward 5 Republicans and an Independent. The goal, as I’m remembering this off the top of my head, is to hear what the people want. Lower crime, lower taxes, and better support for small businesses, which this city seems so hostile to, seems to be desired.
And lastly, circling back to the market area, check out the Big Bear if you haven’t been there lately. There is a thing in the corner, which was supposed to be there till Oct 14th, was still there when I passed by Friday, so hopefully the Bear got the extention for this installation piece.

Shooting at 1st & O NW

So much other stuff to write about, more positive stuff, but anyway…. Saturday (I think maybe the 20th, unless the message was about an earlier incident)’round 3AM there was shooting on the unit block of O st. Someone attempted (not clear) to break into SOME. No one was hit, but a car was damaged.
CORRECTION: It seems it may have been a man with a gun trying to protect his car. Whether the gun is legal is one question and there is no link to SOME.

Wine tasting in Bloomingdale

I should have posted this earlier on the announcements part of the blog. Anyway this Friday night there will be a wine tasting from 6-8 at the corner of 1st and RI NW. Gotta go there anyway, I’m running low on tequila.

Tonight: First-Ever Fall Wine Tasting at Bloomingdale Liquors from 6 pm to 8 pm

Wine tastings are popular because they override the limitations of sampling wine alone, at home. How many wines can you taste on your own (unless you don’t mind throwing away nine-tenths of every bottle)? How many wines are you willing to buy on your own? And how much can you learn by tasting wine in isolation or with a friend whose expertise is no greater than yours?

At wine tastings, you can learn from your fellow tasters, as well as make new friends who share your interest in wine. Most importantly, you can taste wine in the company of some individuals who are more experienced than you, which is a real boon in training your palate.

NCMS invites you to come out to taste great wines and beers, mingle with neighbors and friends and get to know your neighborhood purveyor of Fine Wines and Spirits, Mr. Singh of Bloomingdale Liquors.

North Capitol Main Streets
First-Ever Fall Wine Tasting
Bloomingdale Liquors
1st and Rhode Island Avenue NW
Friday, October 19, 2007
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Fall garden report

Squirrels are evil.
I had some little green tomatoes but the furry little bastards keep grabbing them and eating them. I didn’t buy any blood meal to thwart them, so really it’s my fault. Next year, tomatoes in the front. They don’t seem to mess with the front yard produce.
The front yard has a good amount of Swiss Chard, arugula, and purselane going on as well as the herbs. These things dealt with last winter’s cold quite well. However I’ll probably try to get rid (ie eat) the front yard chard before it gets really cold.There are some beet seedlings that I’m not sure will be okay when it starts getting cold. And there is one little bean plant that looks like it may give me a little something.
I discovered the joy of beet greens kinda late in the year. They don’t give the same furry teeth feeling as the chard. I have more beets in the back yard, but I think I’ll make more of an effort next year and maybe try turnips.
And minus the weeds, the front yard is edible and doesn’t require a lot of work (once established). I do enjoy grabbing some herb or greens for dinner, but the same could be said of the container garden in the rear. The good thing about the plants being in ground is that I don’t have to water that much, as I tend to forget to water….

Historic districts- more stuff from the Eckington Listserv

The exchange on the yahoo listserv has been quite informative.
First off, let me say that I respect those who support HDs difference of opinion, as I strongly disagree with it. Y’all have your own reasons for support, I have my own for not supporting certain HDs. Second, I believe in the marketplace of ideas, where the different sides present their arguments and evidence and let people judge for themselves. And lastly, let us acknowledge the subjectiveness of several terms that get bandied about in these things like expensive and burdensome. What is fine and not a problem for one person could be hard and disastrous for another.
Scott Roberts provided info about the fight against Brookland HD designation:
“Battle of the Vinyl Windows” by Jeff Horwitz, Washington City Paper, 8/5/05
Brookland: Historical or Hysterical? Possible Designation Riles Brooklanders” by Elizabeth McGowan DC North August 2005
Historic District Off the List“, DC North September 2005
Mentioned in the articles listed above was Carolyn Steptoe on the side against, who also has added to the Eckington list discussion. She mentioned that HD designation occurs in 3 phases and the process was in phase 3 when she learned of it. It appears the sampling of Brookland residents she queried knew nothing of any of the phases. Her statements also make me wonder about community input and awareness, which can go to the problem of communication, which can be difficult when dealing with different populations regardless of the issue.
A comment via the Bloomingdale listserv (which I’m not on) wandered on reading:

“The Historic Preservation Board may have advise on renovations, windows and doors, etc; however, what they suggest is not always what they will approve. They still have final approval of any and all exterior renovations to a historic dwelling. AND, if you have a door that lets out heat during the winter and A/C in the summer, you cannot just go to Home Depot and buy a door to replace the bad one. You must submit an application, get on the calendar (which usually takes one month or more) and sometimes submit drawings, pictures, and other documents, to help the Board with their decision. Even after all that, they still may not approve your door. So the simple task of changing a defective door, is not so easy anymore. Plus during the review process, your neighbors can attend the review meeting and “have their say” as to whether they like, or don’t like what your are doing to your house. If they express a negative opinion, the board can side with your neighbors and you must start again. Thus, the process for you to actually change your door becomes subject to the red-tape of the system. So it could take several months and even years to get your defective door replaced. The same process goes for any change you wish to make I.E. painting the exterior, replacing gutters, anything associated with the exterior. Having this designation is a double-edge sword. It will be good for keeping the architectural fabric of the neighborhood consistent, and will stop the unsightly 3rd floor additions, but will make simple tasks of keeping your home nice looking and efficient harder for everyone.”

And this last thought (as this post is getting long) there is an extra consideration one must take in. There are things you can do without a permit from DCRA such as installing window screens and storm windows; repairing exisiting fencing with like materials; painting (whether they mean interior or exterior it is not clear); brick pointing; replacing non-rated windows & doors; replacing roofing, siding and gutter and so on IF you don’t live in a historic district (see DCRA Permit Factsheet PDF).

InShaw’s Historic Preservation Greatest Hits

There is a, er, discussion, going on over on the Eckington Listserv about historic districting. And it was funny re-reading my words as one of my old posts was used as part of the argument against HDs. Although I love history, and I’m truly blessed to work in a history field, I strongly believe that history has its place and it should not always be dominate. I also take issue with a push for HDs motivated by something other than an actual historical narrative that has some meaning and value outside of the place in question. Upper-middle class aesthetics (and a inaccurate view of the past based on romantic notions) to me do not justify the extra complication of an HD on the homeowner or landlord.

Gentrification and Historic Preservation:
Part 1— Intro
Part 2– This Old House vs Old House Journal
Part 2a
Part 2B
Part 3— When it is Right

Why don’t we make the whole d@mned District Historic and get it over with– Really what isn’t ‘historic’ or old in this city.

Still Anti-Historic District– Read the comments about the windows.

Rob Goodspeed has a great post on the topic of DC Historic Districts and the Architecture of Gentrification.

If you’re a GS-5 step 1, you’re poor

Argue with me if you want but a MA in History is one of the most useless graduate degrees out there because my first job out of grad school was a GS-5 step 1 Museum Technician job (bathrooms, down the stairs and to the left). Looking at the AMI link from a posting on the ANC2C02 blog clarifying affordable housing and the locality pay schedule for the DC metro region from the largest employer, GS-5/1 are a tad below 50% of the AMI (Area Median Income) for single households. You hit 50% at step 4. I’m not criticizing Uncle Sam’s wages. No, my then $19K (1995-96) salary and living in a shared apartment barely being able to pay back my student loans for 2 years inspired me to go back to grad school and get a practical degree.
Now I know non-profit people, just starting out, with their bright new shiny BAs and BSs or whathave you, get paid jack because just working for the cause is payment enough. Besides, more where they came from when one set gets jaded. Anyway, when I did once non-scientifically compare salaries with newbie non-profit people, they were also below or around 50% of the AMI. In time this changes. You get experience, pick up some valuable skills, get older, get/apply for something else in the org or at another nonprofit or association, go back to school, something, and you start moving into the 60%-80%-100% range. Or you move back to Wisconsin or Minnesota, one of those things.

Waddaminute: Porch Culture

Something said at the Shiloh FLC Gentrification forum is not sitting right with me. And this is just my life experience, which may not reflect someone else’s who may have lived in a different era and place. But the idea of porch culture being so prominent isn’t exactly jiving with my memories.
I grew up in a mediumish North Central Florida city in the 1970s-1980s. I’ll admit there has been some climate change, but the general weather is hot & humid. I had no clue what people meant by humidity until moving north because when it was hot it was always humid. Shade did not matter, much. So in the 70s I think people did hang out on their screened (Florida has big bugs) porches, but as air conditioning, sweet, sweet humidity controlling AC in the form of window units became more affordable in the 80s and 90s people in my neighborhood were seen less often on their porches.
Also, I think cable also played a part. My family got cable in the early 80s, 1982 or 1983 to be exact. Yes, it is entertaining to watch the world go by sitting on the porch, but so are the stories and wrestling and that new Michael Jackson video in the AC.
FF to today in Shaw.
Not that no one hangs out on their porch or stoop. I will occasionally sit outside in the front yard, when the mood grabs me. Cell phone guy will be out, in his front, broadcasting his business (at some point he’ll wander to his backyard too) loudly and clearly. Other households will sit out front for a smoke, or to decompress before heading back inside. There are so many inside things that demand our leisure time, so it seems unfair to blame gentrification for the decline of porch culture. Maybe technology is to blame.