Sunday, November 25, 2007

Farewell, my countryside

Ah, my Kentucky. It's a fading memory, chopped down by subdivisions and strip malls. My memories are erased by McMansions and vanishing trees, disappearing meadows, green Kentucky grass paved over by concrete.

I took S to meet the family for Thanksgiving. Of course he knew my mother, father and siblings, but he'd never met my grandmother, various aunts, uncles and cousins. Where are the rolling hills, he wondered. I promised him a detour to where my grandmother used to live, in Anchorage, where she cultivated a quarter-acre garden, hedged by honeysuckle.

I have a lot of fond memories of that house, sitting on the grass watching the incredible stars that you would never see in the city lights of Wilton Manors or Fort Lauderdale. The smell of brewing coffee in the morning, the fried chicken and green beans in the large kitchen where we'd chat as we strung and snapped the beans.

There was the playhouse at the corner of the lot where my aunt, three weeks younger than me, played, dark curly hair where mine was straight and blond, clear green eyes where mine were murky brown, battling weight while I struggled with gauntness. When we were really daring, we'd duck under the barbed wire fence to visit the retaining pond below. We'd go visit Pam at the farmhouse a crop away.

Now a huge house sits where the pond was. The rolling hill beyond seems to have vanished. The farmhouse and the crop are gone and several brick houses are there. Grandma's old clapboard white house seems shrunken and disheveled, no longer shaded by the large elm tree.

The windy Flat Rock Road, which used to twist and turn with the woods, is straight and smooth as it goes by one huge house after another. The old falling down barn is long gone. So is the old general store on Highway 60, or Shelbyville Road that would signal you were nearing the turn.

All gone. Childhood is gone, eaten away by progress.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Community Activism

So I joined in as a homeowner for the first time in my life.

I attended the ANC6A alcohol committee meeting tonight. The committee held a public hearing on possibly establishing a moratorium on bars and nightclubs on H St.

It's way, way too soon to consider such a thing. H street is still more vacant buildings than anything else right now. A two block stretch that is only starting to thrive is just that -- only starting to thrive.

People kept mentioning Adams Morgan. That's a different situation. For one thing, as I pointed out when I said my piece, the problem there is bars exploiting loopholes to get a restaurant liquor license when they're really bars. I think everyone in the H Street corridor will bow down and worship the first real sitdown restaurant we get in these parts.

That's what just about everyone said at the hearing: it's way too soon. Maybe we should look at some other successful corridors in the city (U st, Barracks Row, Chinatown) and see how many bars it took before restaurants and retail showed up.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway 4.1

It's baaaack! My favorite reality show, well, any tv show. Tim is as thoughtful a critiquer as ever. Heidi does her crisp you're out, auf wiedersen thing. It will be interesting to see where this cast of characters goes. They seem talented. It's always hard to tell at the beginning when there's such a large cast.
We already have one standout irritant, or maybe two. My DH votes for Christian. I vote for Elissa.
Remember the Breakfast Club? What would Ally Sheehy's character be like if she grew up. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit Elissa as my nominee.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stocks and pillory

Residents of DC have been reading with horrified fascination the story of Harriette Walters, the mid-level manager in the property tax division, who along with others, stole at least $20 million from city coffers.

The Washington Post's most recent story discloses the most shocking and mortifying nugget about this most sorry affair. As much as 20 percent of the property tax refunds last year went to Walters' criminal enterprise. That's $1 out of every $5 in property tax refunds, folks.

It's times like these that you think the old Puritans might have had the right idea with stocks and pillory. I'd like to lob a few rotten tomatoes at this woman and her cohorts.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cellphone conversations

Let's see, on the walk home over the last two work nights, I've listened to a guy talk about how his mortgage was going to be $8,800, plus $1,100 in property taxes so that they would have $4,000 left over for other expenses. Sounds like a winner to me.

Then I couldn't help but overhear a girl's tiresome conversation about Olive Garden. uh-huh. whoo-hoo, what a great life!

And the last one was the nauseating details of another girl's hot date. I mean, it's not something I'm going to repeat on a public blog. I tried walking faster so that I wouldn't have to listen, but she seemed to pick up her pace too. And every word was annunciated clearly and loudly.

Why on earth do people blab about these things where perfect strangers can't help but overhear their convos?