Sunday, December 28, 2008

Detroit Scenes

Tina Holtz Grew up in Detroit and needed a large work of art (or series) for a challenging space in her home. After some conversation with her, this is what I came up with. Watercolor, paper, charcoal on paper. Mounted in a frame made of reclaimed moulding and hardware from buildings that will shortly not exist. Frame detailed with brushed on gilding. SPM.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Remembering Naggy

When I moved back to Michigan, I was unsure I would like living here and had no idea how to connect with anyone. Until I moved into an apartment in a chopped-up old Victorian house upstairs from Naggy. (Her mother named her Agnes, but Naggy told me the name just didn’t take.) We started with nods or "hello's," moved on to the weather, then came family, and, finally, we were friends.
Naggy was eighty-years-old, swore as she said her rosary, observed a Saturday Sabbath and owned a lovely 18th century Thai Buddah, "Just in case."

Christmas day was looking all lovely in white lace and diamonds that year when I shoveled the steps of my building and headed over to Naggy's with goodies. She never cooked, only baked, so I made all of her favorite real foods and packaged them in Gladware.
(I found the best present for a woman who knew everything: A highly inaccurate, but very entertaining, biography on Lucretia Borzia [sic.] published in 1852 and bound in tacky red leather with a gold-tooled death's head grinning unconcernedly from the cover.)

We sat down in her tiny front room (I want one just as interestingly cluttered when I grow up. She even has a plaque from a London taxi commemorating the time it got hit in the Blitz.) and had slurry-thick coffee only old and young fools of the bookish kind can stand.

Toward the end of the visit I asked how she was going to put in her day. She looked out the window a minute, turned to me and said she missed snow angels. I looked out the window a minute, turned to her and asked what she wanted to do about it.

Naggy waddled outside behind me bundled from ankle to neck in fur, wearing a hat made of several dead pheasants and a quantity of brown ribbon and REEKING of moth balls. We made snow angels. We made several. And we laughed hard the whole while and whooped to no end. It was one of the best Christmas mornings ever.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday at Dawn's

It was a Sunday night at Dawn’s in the Bearinger Building. Music nights at Dawn’s tend to be a very eclectic bag… yesterday the place was filled with punk bands and fans.

When the bands were done, the boys done skipping in vicious circles and the furniture sorted, the air still rang with the sounds that once filled it. There was a wad of hair in the middle of the band room stuck to the floor with what later turned out to be a smear of blood, and I had learned a fascinating fact from one of the lead vocalists: Satan loves bologna. Who knew?

But Sunday was different…the evening started with Evan Mann and Haylie Miller singing soft, warm songs that could’ve been lullabies. There were original songs that talked of last Decembers in this place and past loves that echoed through everything along with a cover that was delivered with the sincerity of musicians who have decided that there is no need to reinvent when one can take up a song that exists and pass it forward…

Song For The Road
(by David Ford)

well the day cast down
lengthy shadows on unfamiliar towns
and i drove 300 miles from the place i call home
and i tipped my hat to the angel of the north
and the sun, it set fire to the heavens
on the hills over sheffield tonight
and i will sail over this countryside with new friends and old
we are nowhere but man, we’re alright
so you can keep your belief in whatever
and i’ll wear my cynicism like a tattoo
and while poets try to engineer definitions of love
oh you know that all i can think of is you
and i just can’t wait to see you on sunday
far from the traffic and the smoke and the noise
but for this evening i will play back every message that you sent
so i can sleep to the sound of your voice
now i don’t lightly use words like forever
but i will love you ‘til the end of today
and in the morning when i remember everything that you are
well i know i’ll fall for you over again
now i know someday this all will be over
and it’s hard to say what most will i miss
just give me one way to spend my last moments alive
and i choose this, i choose this, i choose this
i choose this, i choose this, i choose this
i choose this, i choose this, yeah i choose…

The writer spoke of other places, but it seemed appropriate for the current place, time and economic climate that one should choose to savor what was now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Savoy

It was the day before Thanksgiving, and Roderick and I had been packing in our apartment, then scraping and sweeping in the new old house on Millard until we decided we needed a break.

We began walking down Jefferson toward Genesee talking of this and that toward Dawn’s to grab a sandwich when it occurred to me we had not been to the Savoy in a long while so we turned down Federal and then Franklin past empty buildings and emptier lots until we came to the restaurant.

The board outside said the day’s special was Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, but no price on the board. We walked in and paused: two-thirds of the tables were filled – which was odd in itself – but the crowd seemed somehow off, as well:

There were construction workers next to a retired couple, a young Mexican couple who looked around nervously with every bite they took, and I’m certain I recognized the random vagrant who haunts the parking lot of the library asking for quarters sitting off to one corner chatting to no one in particular.

The waitress – warm smile, very tall and very slim with tidy dark hair – told us to sit anywhere, followed us to our table and set points of pumpkin pie in front of us and walked away without asking what we wanted…

When she came back I asked about the price of the special and she said the meal that day was on the house: The meal was free. The waitress told us tips were welcome to help with expenses, but not at all expected.

One of the owners said they served over 325 last year. Our waitress said it was the Savoy’s way of showing thanksgiving to others before celebrating the day with family.

Our food came out before our shock cleared and we watched as extra (volunteer) staffers cleared plates as folks ate, grinned and left.

So we ate our turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and pie chatting with friends, neighbors and acquaintances who had all stopped in to support the second year of a very special contribution to the neighborhood we had just found out about.

It seemed lately that there have been so many national concerns over everything from the presidential election to whether Brad and Angelina hate Jennifer Aniston, that it was so *amazingly* refreshing to see a couple of small business owners supported by a hand full of friends and neighbors making a difference in the neighborhood in which they lived.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
(Margaret Mead)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New House

We are supposed to close on a house on Millard Street between Jefferson and Owen. It will be a massive project, but since the roof and wiring are intact and part of the deal is new heating, I think we can manage the plumbing and tons of cosmetic work the house needs. We'll see. Bob is pretty optimistic about the whole thing, lol. SPM.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Hundred Years

We had been up all night patrolling the neighborhood against arson. Roderick crashed around 2a.m. to catch some sleep before having to go into work, the volunteers went home around 4a.m. and I headed to what we hoped would be our new house for one more walk-about before bed.

Peeking out of the partially boarded windows of 515 Millard, I think: "This. *this* is where we'll live:

519 Millard looks so peacefully watchful as ill-considered paint fades from its brick exterior. The Jefferson apartment building sleeps quietly among bits of broken glass waiting patiently for its next life to begin. Across the street - on the other side of the empty lot where the O'Keefe place once stood - 509 Owen sits under the remains of its weather vane wanting to be loved by more than the dozen-or-so cats that live under its porches. The sadly-gray Barie house on Jefferson sighs and sinks a little lower into its cellar as another rented moving truck passes without stopping to bring a new tenant’s things to the New Amadore. Across Jefferson sits Rick and Chummy's place with its gables and chimneys leaning so protectively over it that the torque occasionally pops a slate from the tired roof.

Looking out on all this through the wavy, bubbly window glass of our new-old house makes me wonder: Maybe the world hasn't changed all that much in a hundred years. Not really. Maybe it's just the window glass that's changed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Hundred and First Acre Wood?

I think we wanted to move to Saginaw because we felt a little trapped. Who was to know that one town over there existed a strange district that seemed to exist only to those who knew it existed... a sort of Hundred-Acre-Wood with gritty edge. Who was to know that the furthest corner of the world stood within a ring of floundering businesses and crumbling warehouses in the inner city, and – as with most good things – you only needed to know the place existed to get there.

Photo Of the District taken from the sixth floor of the Bearinger Building.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


"We've hardly been in Old Town at all...Are we annoyed with somebody, or is it just a change of habits? I can't remember..."

When come the cooler nights toward the end of summer, we begin nesting. We look into the panrty and wonder if we have enough loose tea to last through to spring and make a list of people we will to dinner so we don't have to drive in the snow. Winter is a time for nesting as the snow wraps the city and the world gets smaller.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall again...

"Some things are so wonderful they cannot be described as they actually are, so - instead - we can only try to make clear how precious they are to us"

Sunday, September 28, 2008


One of my friends scooped up a blob of orange goo from the top of a sushi roll and flung at someone sharing our table. It ocurred to me just then that everyone has manners, it's just that some of them are really scary.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A mother can be an odd creature, but very important.

My family lived in Norway when I was a child and my mother once took a short trip to London while my brother, dad and self stayed home. In the hours between the end of school and dad’s getting out of work, by brother and I stayed at the house of a sweetly loopy woman named Maria. Maria had a spastic little son named Nodder and a very butch older daughter who collected comic books and pretended not to care about anyone because she actually cared about everyone and it left her a total mess. I do not remember the daughter’s name, but I do remember that she let me read as many comics as I liked and when she heard my mother was in London, she quoted a fragment of a poem that has been a favorite ever since. It is taken from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal, c. 1939:

“September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fireplace.
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers
who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy.
Who has left a scent on my life, and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Still Fiesty

Mary Tyra has lived on the block of Sheridan between Hoyt and Thompson since the late 1940's and has declared herself boss of her block... Perhaps this is why her block is tidy. Mary is 81 today, and - I think - every bit as fiesty as she must've been fifty years back.

Faith and Coffee

I and a couple others were having coffee at the Red Eye and, as per usual, discussing everything that could possibly pass through the heads of four adults blessed with ADD... We covered food, funny smells, Scientology, street people, toe nail clippings, faith, and the condition of the districts on or near the Saginaw river.

In one of the topic swings, the Rev. Sarah Fosatti made an interesting observation:

"It used to be that you were martyred. Now, You go on South Park."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


A lot of my friends date a lot of losers because they haven't learned yet that life is too short to spend it beating around anybody else's bush.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mrs. Leonard

People bounce back from most things, I said, but every time they're stretched they bounce back a little less so it's no wonder you have to surprise a smile out of old people.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To see. To not see. To see and react. Or not.

"You can hold back from the suffering of the world. You have free permission to do so and so it is in accordance with your nature. But perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could have avoided." KAFKA

Monday, August 11, 2008


She said one of the great beauties of being a grown-up was that you could eat chocolate cake for dinner as often as you liked. I though about it for a minute and decided I still liked curling up with someone after a long day and that being kissed goodnight wasn't so bad, either, and she agreed.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I've heard over and over that ignorance is bliss, he said, but I think denial is almost as good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Borrowers in Barely Living Color

I have often wondered if “The Borrowers” wasn’t based upon the street folk of an inner city neighborhood. . . They are not all homeless. They are not all hungry. But they all have needs they feel they may share with us. Why? Ah. Yes. That’s it: They’ve noticed we are also human and hope we act accordingly. . .

She used to stand on the corner of Warren and Thompson in our front yard attempting to add to her “client list.” Her nose was a little too wide, her eye make up a little too un-natural, her clothing a little too home-schooler mom and her hair. . . well it was a combo of two very different weaves:

The main article was black and consisted of braids and dreads tucked every which way and the secondary layer was a peroxide blonde streak that started at the top of the back of her head and ran down from there to her shoulders like a paint spill or yellow skunk stripe. The whole thing was most fearfully and wonderfully glued, oiled and tucked into a cohesive mass that resembled something Raquel Welch might have used to conceal her pink bits in One Million B.C.

She wore a variety of baggy T-shirts under a variety of loose coats and – always – a sidewalk-length denim skirt that she would slowly roll up toward passing cars while yelling: “Pokes for the Lady!!?”

Eventually the Gang Task Force began hassling her and she was in need to move on from our corner. So she was sharply questioned (*not* by the Gang Task Force) as to whether she was in business out of need, or out of interest in her work. When she stated the latter, she was taken to Victoria Secret to get fitted for proper under garments and have her colors done to get her into appropriate cosmetics. Then on to Lave Bryant to open a charge account for clothing better suited to her build and line of work.

Today she works out of a house that she is buying in a much “better” neighborhood with the help of a few regular clients. We called her the Ugly Hooker, and – though we would have preferred a planting of petunias around a birdbath or sundial, she *did* lend interest to our corner. Sometimes we look out the window toward the corner and cannot help but miss her. . .

The Ugly Hooker. The Dead Baby Doll Lady. The Angry Veteran. Charlotte (who melted all over Tom’s counter). Old Lady Who Scowls. Man Who Says He Needs Milk Money For Kids He Does Not Have. Lady Trying To Get To Bay City.

The people that live on our streets know need better than any pastor, and they touch us at a shared need in a way that sometimes feels akin to a nerve suddenly heard from in a dentist’s chair. We all have a need to be sheltered. To be fed. To be noticed. To be loved. They are no needier than we are, our street people, not really. They are just more honest. SPM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Escape to Detroit 7/11-7/14/2008

Roderick and I arrived at the Howard Street bus station in Detroit around 8:30p.m. on Friday the 11th of July for a long weekend with our friends, Nick and Jayke.

Their car being a bit wonky, we were planning on walking a lot over the course of the visit and started that walk down Michigan hopping this and that block as Nick pointed out buildings he particularly like until we passed St. Patrick’s and the being-restored worker’s rowhouse in Cork Town. (Even the trash under the house had been catalogued to give an idea of the lives lived in the structure.)

So we walked. And walked. And walked. We walked past houses that were lived in and massive apartment buildings where missing roofs and trees growing out of the upper floor windows let us know that there was plenty of space available on a fixer-upper basis. Here and there Jewish temples that had been turned into theatres stood in the shadows of skyscrapers built in the 1920’s and empty since the 1970’s.

There are enough churches in Detroit to hold flickering votives for all the lost of the world, but – you know what? - a lot of them are sitting dark. Where has the faith that supported them into being from nothing gone?

(There was one in particular – the Episcopal Cathedral – that was lit and had only a massive stump where it should have had a massive tower. In the beginning of the Great Depression the church was still under construction and it was decided that the money for the tower was better used to help the destitute community. The empty space where the tower should have been became suddenly more comely than any tangible structure could ever be when I heard that story.)

We dumped bags at the apartment on Antoinette near Wayne State’s campus before heading out to the Motor City Brewing Works for a late dinner (470 W. Canfield, 313-832-7000,

The atmosphere was warm as the night and the place was pleasantly busy as we placed out order and headed up to their roof-top terrace to relax and wait for our food. We were hungry, so we decided to try a variety of things: Their Nut Brown Ale, their wonderfully tangy-smoky artichoke dip, cheese sampler (changes regularly, so you get to choose your cheeses from a chalkboard) and three of their brick-oven baked pizzas, all wonderful: The Bronx Bomber (tomato herb sauce, fresh mozzarella, bacon, mushrooms, green pepper, Italian Sausage that did not look like dog food because it was cooked and sliced in house, Pepperoni & onions, $9), The Godfather Part II (pesto sauce, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic & Italian Sausage, $8) and the Maui Wowie (tomato herb sauce, fresh mozzarella, crushed pineapple, Canadian bacon & fresh basil, $7).

On our way back to the apartment after dinner, Nick walked us through the West Canfield Historic District off of Cass (possibly 2nd?). The street is cobbled with granite in a webbed, or fish-scaled pattern from one stone-curbed side of the road to the other. There are trees – both mature and some planted in the last twenty years – lining the street and sheltering the houses in a way that make the short street feel like a green tunnel or a very secluded garden. Most of the homes on this block were built between 1869 and the 1880’s. Some of the homes are private, single family residences, and some of them are still subdivided into several apartments. Regardless of current use, all of the houses in this small historic district are stable and – at the very least – moderately kept or in the process of being restored. From the district markers, street paving, paint colors, gardens, newly planted trees and ongoing work, it is evident that as much planning is going into the preservation of this street for future generations as went into its laying out in 1818.

We caught a Woodward bus to Ferndale (Check out House of Chants for some great clothing options) to see its shopping district on Nine Mile. . . When asked several times (after finding we were not from the area) how we got there and told “by bus,” the response was, “Oh. That’s so. . . big city.” It’s kinda interesting that four white boys bussing or cabbing through Detroit and the ‘burbs is called “So Big City,” because when anyone else travels by public transport, it gets called “Kinda Ghetto.” Just interesting. . .

We walked through the area near the Masonic Temple on our way to meet one of Jayke;s co-workers from The Whitney passing on our way crumbling façades of once-swanky hotels and apartment houses, mostly now empty. I ended not meeting the co-worker because the girlfriend, Julie Zager turned out be very interesting (add a “.com” to see some of her older work).

We wandered through a random junk shop on our way home and then had dinner at the Cass Café (more amazing food with a great atmosphere, 4620 Cass, 313-831-1400, One of us had a sandwich with seared, smoked wild salmon, bacon, mescaline and tomato with a jalapeño/caper aoli. Our waiter combined the unfortunate qualities of slow and stinky so as to add a creeping funk to our table now and then. There are other waiters in the establishment, so I still highly recommend a visit.

Over the rest of our visit we had Brunch at The Whitney, pondered items at MOCAD, (Their exterior neon reads: “Everything Is Going To Be Alright.”), trotted through the major galleries of the DIA, ate at Slow’s BBQ in/near Cork Town (Good sandwiches and *amazing* mac ‘n cheese), crawled through the Mines-of-Moria-like depths of the abandoned Detroit Train Station (most of the “NO Trespassing” signs had been stolen by scrappers) and spent the final day packing, sipping coffee and preparing for a return to home in Saginaw.

As we rode the bus north, I had to wonder: Why is it that Detroit has so much of its architectural heritage intact awaiting more optimistic times and individuals to make an investment? (It is interesting to note that some of the buildings that have been host to only taggers for thirty or more years are seeing rehabilitations into housing, retail space and academic usage.) Why has Saginaw been precedentially so eager to demolish any building not of immediate use? Stating that empty buildings are dangerous just doesn’t make good sense when said buildings are not sitting hard by a schoolyard or collapsing onto a sidewalk.

Do some digging through newspaper clippings and local recollection: Many buildings demolished fit neither criteria (i.e., the former Feige building that was once part of the Tower Block on Genesee near what is now Health Delivery), but were downed, regardless, at significant cost to the city, property owner or both.

The districts of Detroit that are currently seeing a slow revival have one interesting item in common: They all contain buildings that can be converted into affordable housing and interesting retail space. Without said buildings, initial development is far less likely.

I look at the building-speckled fields that represent Saginaw’s downtown district, and have to wonder, as well: Where are businesses supposed to operate out of? Where are the young people a community needs for continuity supposed to live? Tents? I don’t think a 21st-Century Hooverville is such a good idea, but what other option remains? Sadly, it would seem that the only viable option is building inferior facilities in areas other than the city center.

Detroit may have shopping carts full of political and economic messes aplenty, but it *does* have one or two vital things going for it: The city has a vibrant network of subcultures in every economic bracket and contains enough amazing, or even just average and utilitarian, architecture still standing that its districts will be able, in time, to achieve economic recovery while Saginaw is still talking about Urban Blight and attempting to address the issue of recycling building materials long after the buildings themselves have been quickly demolished and the lots grown over and forgotten.

Detroit: Watercolor, pencil, charcoal on paper. Collection of Tina Holtz.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Demolition of the Symon's Building

Demolition of the Symon's Building

The crane's neck
swaying in a concentrated dance
above the arcing shell
of brick and blinded windows
seeing only shadow, gaping cold

Each graceful movement
ends with a momentary pause
and then the hollow clack
like footsteps in an empty room
as the unseen wrecking ball
takes dull, unhungry bites
from the red and black carcass

Daily they continue
yet i never see people,
only the slow, dancing machine
and pale, intermittent billows
of dust

Each evening i watch
as the sinking sun
sets fire to the window sockets
and pulls gold from destitute brick

They have altered my sunset
opened up more of the sky
and reshaped the mood and spirit
of the russet and purple veils of cloudlight

I wake each morning
expecting it to be gone
but those walls are stubborn
and as difficult to kill as the wind

Yet in one thing man always persists:
the destruction of progress or
progress of destruction
we care little which–
Armies march not to make war
nor to make peace
Armies march to march
the rest is inconsequent residue–

So i am shocked at my surprise
of coming home one evening
to watch a fading sunset
behind a flat and sterile field of brown
stretching away, brickless and silent,
to the old river that washes our memories
like dirt from a child's face.

–Marc Beaudin

(Originally published in The McGuffin)
This and other works by the author can be found at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And all that was left. . .

*This* was once a home . . . This shell on Tuscola this past spring. Now all that's left are shards of broken glass, a single carved chair leg and gaping holes where wiring and plumbing were ripped out of the walls by scrappers who moved in as soon as the last family moved out. And now the house is to be torn down.

You have to look under the orange shag carpet and behind the crappy panelling to see what was once here, but that isn't so far to be allowed to see what isn't here anymore, (and I don't think Superman could've done better).

The house once had oak on its floors, high oak base boards, and thick oak mouldings surrounding massive oak pocket doors and large, well-placed windows.

I decided to pause for a second as the woodwork was being disassembled, place a hand on the worn-smooth newell cap and reflect on the people who once lived here.

There were random keys and a century-old dime under the first tread (under which the carpenters had signed thier names in a Spencerian script), and piles of wood shavings from the finishing of the stair that had gotten sealed in before the first family carried their possessions up these stairs with thier faux-Chinoiserie bannisters.

I did a complete walk-through before the volunteers began removing doors, hardware, base mouldings, stairway, etc. In less than two weeks all raditors and heavy plumbing had been scrapped; you could see the marks where the heavy objects had been drug over the floorboards. . .

When I came up from the cellar, Sarah was standing exactly where I had left in the center of the dining room. She told me she couldn't go down there with me because she was too afraid the ghost of a dead baby would come up from behind and touch her (She has issues with babies, this girl).

This is when I raised one eyebrow, pointed a glass doorknob at her and and said, "Look, in my other-other life I'm a bartender, and do have any idea how many people try to touch you as they get drunk?" I said I'd take dead babies any day over a linty old man with a pitcher of beer in one hand and my backside in the other . . .

Sarah still wouldn't go into the cellar, but did agree that there are worse things than dead babies in this world.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Storm

The huge storm after Jazz on Jefferson gave me an idea that came out as a charcoal/pencil sketch laid over in watercolor of the Warren Avenue entrance to our neighborhood. (Paper mounted on mahogany panel.) The piece was planned slightly differently so far as details, but rough weather at the timed art battle hosted by the Magic Bean on State Street changed the end product.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The sky began churning and lowering in the late afternoon of a very, very hot day for a town this far north. The clouds were tinted the colour of greenish lead and were rolling under themselves like waves on a muddy beach and the temperature held as the humidity rose.

Without warning, water - not rain in drops - but flood water, dropped from the air as if God were a child emptying a bucket over an unsuspecting anthill. At the same time, winds began twisting, pushing and pulling simultaneously under the cover of the blinding downfall.

The storm lasted less than ten minutes and the rain and wind stopped almost together . . . What a change ten minutes of no-rules play can make:

Across from Art Sample on Michigan, a massive tree had been twisted until its trunk burst and the rest of the tree dropped onto the porch of a house nearby; the porch was flattened and the corner of the house dented slightly like a box of cereal that got dropped. (On the bright side, a Bonneville was crushed beyond recovery, making the world a prettier place.)

Crossing the Court Street Bridge, the tops of all the tall trees on Ojibway Island looked like coral with the tips broken off . . . Turning down Washington one could hear sirens coming from so many directions it was difficult to know where to look.

Thompson in front of the New Amadore was blocked by a fallen tree that had crushed the fence while the beautiful white house with its enfolding porch across the street had had the mature tree that once kept it sheltered twisted and dropped onto the house - breaking the roof of the porch in the middle and digging out the attic gable on its way down.

The corner of Warren and Thompson - in front of our apartment - was obstructed by a tree that had been snapped in the middle and swung like a bat to knock the top of the nearby power pole cleanly off dropping the lines into the street below amongst the tangled limbs.

Weadock, Park, Cherry, Sheridan, Owen, Jefferson, Warren, Millard . . . all either blocked by fallen trees or littered with more leaves and limbs than the autumn would ever bring. And the immediate district is now without power and likely to stay that way for a couple of days.

If is odd to think that so many trees are damaged or gone when only a couple days before during Jazz on Jefferson everything was so lovely. The trees are probably the greatest loss since the district has no policy to replace missing trees . . . some of those taken by the storm are old enough that we won't see young trees grow big enough to replace them in a lifetime.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Taking the Pulse

The sun is shining, the suddenly warm wind is lightly jollying the green out of every dormant thing. The neighborhood is filled with sounds that make me pause and consider the silent, other-worldly fastness of the winters here when windows are closed and layered over with storm windows and heavy drapes, and when we forget how green the world can be.

Barking dogs, blurred discussions, laughing children, squealing brakes of busses and the rumble of passing cars with thier snatches of radio noise froms the seasonal pulse of the district.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

We had Chris Marcott, Fran, Jacki, MaryLynn, Elizabeth & Floyd, Nick Piotrowski, Self, Roderick and his sister, Jenny (who, in passing, is *such* an odd creature) to our place on the corner of Warren and Thompson. . . With soup one can always have company because soup feeds an army. This is my version of a British classic, and is a crowd pleaser. . . I decided the name was enough reason to work with this recipe and the test-group liked it.

3 Strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 whole chicken, quartered and skinned
3 leeks, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
3 cloved garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 fists full button mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 c. white wine, (Louis Jadot 2001 chardonnay preferred)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 soup cans of chicken stock
1 soup can of beef stock
4 medium parsnips, scrubbed and thinly sliced

Simmer all in a pot for the afternoon on low flame, pull and bone chicken when tender, discard bones, return meat to pot and serve.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


He laughed and said he loved her because she was off the wall and she looked past him and said reflectively that she didn't think she'd ever seen the wall, and he said me niether and that's when they knew they could be friends.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

645 S. Weadock

Interesting note: Until yesterday there was snow in the attic of the house and a sheet of ice you could've skated on in the dining room . . .

attic at 645

(Photo by Tyler Griffis)