From the 5D listserv:



Kenny Lewis was wanted for a Felony Assault that occurred on October 16, 2008, in the 400 B/O Q Street, NW. He is also the suspect in several assaults against women & robberies.

Okay now who is the judge we write statements to? Because if Mr. Lewis is found guilty by a jury of 12 DC citizens (or pleads guilty), the community needs to let the sentencing judge know how crimes against women in our neighborhood impact our lives, even though we weren’t the ones assaulted. Rest assured that Mr. Lewis probably has relatives and friends who will argue that he’s really good or misunderstood or deserving of some sort of mercy that will put him back on the streets unrehabilitated.

Holiday reminders

Thanksgiving is coming up and hopefully you have already taken precautions prior to leaving. But should you leave town you’ll want to make your house look sort of occupied.
You can contact the US Post Office and ask them to hold your mail. There is a 3 day minimum and 30 day maximum.

Nothing says we’re not home like 3 yellowing Washington Posts on your front stoop. You can contact the Post or the Times and have them not deliver for the days you are gone.

Just in case the UPS guy stops by or your mailbox gets stuffed with fliers and Chinese takeout menus, you may want to have neighbors take a quick look at your place and remove the offending items.

Any other pointers?

Random Grab Bag Super Fun Pack Friday Post

First up, local politicians who suck. Well I dislike strongly Micheal A$$hat Brown, and the local GOP is challenging his certification because he isn’t a real independent. Okay, I’m fine with whatever keeps him on his toes. Second, I’ve found reason to seriously dislike DC shadow senator Paul Strauss as well. Before the elections a DC native friend was telling me of an encounter he had with Mr. Strauss, where he noticed Strauss had a NY ring on his finger. I’ve never noticed the man, much less his hand, but I thought of that reading the City Paper’s blog article on the shadow senator’s DWI stop. The print article mentions that he “moves around with a full quorum of aides and interns– often imported talent from European countries.” What of DC talent? My friend questioned the man’s loyalties to the District and its people with the NY ring, this seems to re-enforce that image that DC is just something he can take from. Then there is the whole driving with a .16 alcohol blood level. Please don’t tell me how he’s moving us closer to voting rights. It seems Eleanor Holmes Norton has done more without going the way of tomfoolery.

Next, church benefits and lead time. Mt. Sinai’s Family Unit #3 is collecting hygiene items for the homeless this Saturday at 9AM. Problem is I got this notice Thursday night, I would need more lead time to actually think about it, then go buy the travel size items, and clear up my schedule to drop off the items.

I hope our neighbors in other parts of Shaw have gas. If not, may I suggest what I did when my furnace when kaput, heater fans and staying in one room. But I understand having your gas back on is so much better. I do have one question, are the areas without gas the same areas that had problems with water in the gas lines before?

The tomatoes are done, I mean really done. The temperatures got cold enough to kill the vine. So I chopped up one vine and I’ll probably attack the other later this week. I was able to get a dozen and a half green tomatoes off the dead vine and I’m sitting them in the window so they can ripen there.

Lastly, and I’m probably jinxing it by saying it, but I think my block’s friendly neighborhood drug dealers have moved on. Well at least for the winter. There was a time when cold weather would not keep the boyz from standing on the corner, or having one guy stand on the corner. Part of me wants to say that it is due to some critical demographic changes, a certain family moving off the block, but I’m not 100%sure.

Inauguration Housing Fantasies

I haven’t put my house on Craigslist or anything to try to cash in on the whole inauguration rental thing. Yet, but it is very tempting.
There are several reasons of why I haven’t. For one, I don’t know if I will have a roommate scheduled to be in my guest room at that time. I like to have short term roommates, so I don’t want to screw up that. Secondly, there is family. My mother’s people are country and homey and I’m wondering at what point someone will bug my mother, or father (less country, more moochie), to bug me to put them up for the inauguration. However, I’m sure several family members have written my place off because I live in a tiny house in a “bad” neighborhood. It’s not “bad” it just lacks a driveway and loads of parking, which would make Auntie’s 3 bedroom house in Riverdale, the Other Aunt’s 3 bedroom in northern PG Co., and the Cousin’s 3 bedroom in NoVa, all with generous amounts of pull in parking, way more attractive than my place.
But if I were to rent out my place, the money would be more to ease my mind, than for the space. Everytime I get a new roommate, my anxiety level rises because of how they treat the space. So what amount would soothe my nerves? Oh maybe, $1,000-$2,000 a day, my mental health is very valuable to me. If the people were relatives? Free, nerves would still be frayed, but frayed nerves and relatives go hand in hand. Besides if I charged relatives a few bucks I’d never hear the end of it….. even if all the money went into somebodies college fund. Friends? Possibly free, depends. I might demand a few cases of wine, the good stuff. Nothing soothes the nerves like a few cases of wine. Complete strangers? I’m quite sure they’d be happy to add to the nieces’ college fund, and in that area my mind would be eased.
But seriously, I’m waiting to see what the relatives want.

There’s ethnic pride and then there is something else

Last night the 5C meeting took place at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. One of the presenters at the meeting was looking for approval for a modification, brought on by “suggestions” by the city government, for a hotel and conference center to be built over by the Children’s Hospital and Catholic U. There was the horse trading of what the developers could provide for the ‘community’ in return for support. You don’t ask, you don’t get, so you may as well ask. Most of the chatter was in regards to meeting space. One of commissioners, a flashy dressed and exceedingly verbose man, asked about jobs for the community, specifically for native born African-Americans; to the exclusion of African born, Latino, or any other non-white persons, as I understood what he was saying through all those words. Now, it’s fine to want to support your own ethnic group, however asking someone to give preference to your ethnic group over other minority ethnic groups, is somewhere in the land of wrong.

Historic Districts- When Citizens Bite Back

Bloomingdale Scott beat me to it, but there is an article in the InTowner about the citizen opposition to the imposition of an historic district on to their neighborhood. I think that it’s great that citizens are challenging and questioning the process of historic districting.
DC has a lot of old houses and buildings, which are labeled historic by virtue of their age, which makes a lot of NW DC and Old City DC targets for districting. What neighborhood doesn’t have a number of houses and building 50 years old and older?
Regardless of if an HD assignation is actually appropriate or not for a neighborhood, it is good for the residents and property owners to address their concerns at a point where there is some turning back. For those aiming for HD status, it is good to present their arguments and explanations to their neighbors. And for the Historic Preservation Office and the Historic Preservation Review Board, it can’t be easy having to deal with a zillion little HDs all over the place with, so this citizen slow down may be for the best.

I’m aware, now what

I and others have harped that you need to be aware of your surroundings. Well walking to a 6PM mass, I was struck by how dark the 400 block of Q Street was. There may have been one street lamp out and the trees, still leafy, blocked out the light from the other street lamps. So, I’m in the middle of the block when I achieve the awareness that this is not the best of conditions to be walking in. Once past the block and on lighter streets, I tried to figure out which route back from N & 8th would be the best. Luckily, I ran into a family from my street who drove me back home, so problem solved.
So what do you do when you become aware that the conditions are, or appear to be, less than safe? Thinking of my options, I tend not to like any of them. Turning back around is one. That option adds time to my trip. Crossing the street to avoid the crowd of teenagers, must be done at the top of the block, crossing in the middle is too obvious. So not just being aware but thinking a few steps ahead seem to be required.

Best Kitchen Supply

Best Kitchen Supply
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I do have a format for talking about things at the Capitol City Market/ Florida Avenue Market, but since I want to mention a couple of places, I’ll do that in another post.
First- Best Kitchen Supply at 413 Morse St NE is my alternative to Bed, Bath and Beyond. For one, it is way cheaper. I picked up a zester for $10 and got a big stock pot and some other kitchen gadget that I saw on the Beddie Bye and Begone website for $60, $15 dollars at Best Kitchen. After taking another cooking class with Mt. Vernon Square’s Jean-Claude LeLan I actually paid attention to the shape of the pots he used. LeLan talks kinda fast but I think he said something about the the importance of the pot, surface area and the such. So basically I was looking for pots like Jean’s. Best Kitchen has the same shaped things. They aren’t as pretty as the pots in BB &B, but they are for professional kitchens.
Second- the Mexican Fruit stand has been having some decent looking veggies and fruit. Sometimes the produce is a few days from being compost, but the last few weekends I’ve been by I’ve seen some beautiful bannanas, lemons, limes, pineapples and more.

Money and renovation

I feel a need to talk numbers. However, finances are a very personal topic, it’s sort of like talking about the details of your last doctor’s appointment. Yet, without numbers the topic remains vague.
In 2007 I documented the renovation of my house. Prior to that in 2003 the kitchen was done. Both jobs were done by David of Something Different, and I’m quite happy with David’s work and his work ethic. The kitchen cost about $17,000 and the main renovation was around $100K (hello big fat 2nd mortgage), counting the work done before and after with heating and cooling. The house is a little over 1,000 sq feet, not counting the cellar. So those are the numbers.
So when I hear others say that a renovation for a certain house of roughly the same size would be $200K to $300K to renovate, I’m not totally convinced. Not that you can’t spend that much, but it seems you can spend less. People with more building daring have spent less, being their own general contractor, saving $40K, working with the same sq. footage as my house. From my own experience, I know I could have saved some money by cutting out some luxuries. Such as the heated floor in the kitchen, the tile from Expo, the fancy bathroom with the claw foot tub, the separate heating and cooling systems. Of course there are some things I did and didn’t do that would have bumped the price up. I didn’t replace the section 8 windows, they work, the eco-building guy said they were acceptable, I’ll replace them later. I used low VOC paint, which costs more than regular Home Depot paint. On the other hand, some wonderful volunteer helpers and I painted the house, saving on labor.
Labor, that was a majority of my expenses. David bills by labor and materials. If I wanted we could have come up with a single bid price for the whole job but it would have been more. But with David’s way I saw what I was paying for, and man are men expensive, even the unskilled ones.
Lastly, a thing that I think really helped in price was I was renovating the house for me, not some unknown buyer whose tastes and preferences are unknown. I don’t need stainless steel anythings, so I won’t pay top dollar. I prefer Corian to granite, Formica would have been acceptable too. I am okay with used items, like the tub and the radiators. Also okay with the low end barber carpet. I like IKEA, and we hacked them a bit and gave them a non-IKEA look. My tastes were not an unknown factor, so then money could be targeted towards things I actually cared about or whatever David convincingly talked me into, like the heart pine floors.

Stupefying Illogical Criminals

There was a mugging in the NW corner of the TC this weekend as reported on the TruxtonCircle.Org discussion board. A group of youths violently attacked a couple and their reasoning makes no sense (see below). I’m sorry, I don’t think any under funded city run youth program can redeem these criminals. The unnecessary violence used reveals a deep corruption of spirit, that may reveal a moral poverty in their family life. There are too many kids looking to beat people up. Anyway here’s what was reported…

Around 1 a.m. this am at 4th and Rst, NW Three men and a woman were mugged by a group of at least a dozen youths, some on bikes. The agressors threw the woman against a tree and punched one man in the face. Another one had been struck in the leg.
The group of kids were black, all male, from what I gathered, ages 12-17. The victims described them as “highschoolers.” They approached the victims from several directions, and initially threw a bottle or can over the heads of the victims. The kids wanted their wallets and phones. One of the victims yelled at kid, causing him to run away, without obtaining the wallet. Another kid said this was “for Obama.”

What the….?