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1. Samosas for one dollar, what more could you want? One dollar spring rolls? They’ve got those too! The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is the second best idea University City District has put into action this summer (first being Sustainable Saturdays, in my book). On these magical Thursday nights, Baltimore Ave. comes alive with restaurants, food carts, shops, and craftsmen selling their wares on the sidewalk for a dollar apiece! On my first Stroll I wandered the avenue, purchasing muffins, drinks, and produce from various vendors. Then, right before heading home, I bought two samosas from Desi Village. They were absolutely fantastic! I raved about them for weeks and was determined to purchase as many as I could afford next time. So, when I struck out for Baltimore Ave. this Thursday I had one destination in mind, and one only: Desi Village. It was my first stop and my only purchase of the evening. I bought five glorious samosas for five glorious dollars. What a deal! Next time I’m coming prepared with a little more cash. Left over samosas for lunch the next day? F@#$in’ smart!
2. IKEAAA! IKEA! IKEA! (Sing this like Tevye sings, “Traaditionnnn! Tradition! Tradition!”) As you may have guessed I went to Ikea this weekend! Somehow I managed not to do too much damage to my meager bank account while still shopping victorious. I’m so excited to crawl under my new queen size down comforter this winter! In addition to bedding, I purchased a very practical reflective vest that I am determined to wear whenever biking. Philly drivers are nuts, man. Of course, before diving into the showrooms/shopping we had dinner at the Ikea restuarant. Nothing beats Swedish meatballs, potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce, a salad, and a drink, all for for five dollars (well, except samosas)! I’m thinking of eating there on the regular. “Where did you take Eric this weekend?” ”Oh, I took him to this fantastically cheap little place right by the water. Gorgeous view of a docked Titanic-like ship in utter disrepair. The place? Four letters. I-K-E-A.” Oh-jah.
3. Eric has a stress fracture in his foot! It’s very very sad. Lots of limping and chair dancing. No ultimate frisbee. It should take 4-6 weeks to heal. Hey fracture! Eric wants his foot back! ♥♥
4. The Garden. I saw this DVD sitting on my boss’ desk and, judging the thing by its cover (which is beautiful) and the blurb I read on the back, became determined to watch it! It’s about the largest (13 acres!) urban farm in the US, located in South Central LA. I made Eric watch it with me yesterday and oh my lordy how tragic. What a depressing documentary! I recommend it but I offer you this warning: there’s a very high chance that you will get angry (you might even yell at the screen like I did) and that you will hem and haw about the injustice long after the credits roll. That’s my warning. Watch it, and then take action and help your (local) urban farmers buy their land!
5. Today I participated in my first ever Sacred Harp singing! I was introduced to this beautiful musical tradition by my dear housemate who has a deep passion for Sacred Harp. She led a group at our college and regularly attends singings in the area and, in the summer, around the country. I was eager to see, hear, and sing this thing that she, and many others, find so powerful. So, today, I went to a “singing” with the group that she used to lead. It was amazing. What deep music! What a crazy sound! It was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Sacred Harp isn’t your average choral music. No no, it is something completely different. First off, Sacred Harp singers use shape notes and often go over the tune their about to sing using the four shape notes fa, sol, la, and mi. That’s different. Second, the four parts (basses, tenors, trebles, and altos) sit together in a hollow square. Third, all the songs are from the The Sacred Harp book which was published in 1844. Fourth, everyone sings very loudly. All these differences, and I’m sure there are many more, combine to make something that is at once beautiful and haunting. I was more affected by it than I thought I’d be! Check out this video to learn more.
6. I’m thinking of dying my hair redish again. Hmmm.
Another Wednesday; another work week almost over. Which actually makes me sad, believe it or not. I really love my job! Aren’t you glad to hear that, Mutti?!
Eric brought my plants home! The bamboo has sprouted tons of new shoots over the summer. It’s getting so tall! Sadly, my first college plant has died a bit. Half its leaves are gone! But I moved it to my windowsill and it’s already perking up. It’s my positive energy, I think (wink wink nudge nudge).
The last two photos are of my backyard taken through my bedroom window, which probably hasn’t been cleaned in years. It’s much greener than it looks!
Hurricane Irene hit this weekend! We were very lucky over here in Philly (West Philly) when compared to the rest of the eastern seaboard. Nothing’s particularly out of place when looking at our block, although the sunflowers on the corner are now horizontal, but if you head down to the Chestnut St. Bridge you can see the damage. The Schuylkill is pretty much level with the bike path and has completely flooded parts of the train tracks. Regional Rail is suspended until future notice. That doesn’t affect me though! The buses are fully operational and I will be riding to work tomorrow. There are grants to write and people to call! Work stops for no storm. And in any event, the storm is now over. In fact, I’m currently looking out our living room window at cloudy but sunny skies. All that seems to be left of Irene is the wind. It’s beautiful, this wind. Very Chocolat.
We did make preparations for the Irene blowout. Porch items were taken in, trash cans moved into the lean-to, bathtubs and pitchers filled with water, and candles and matches placed in obvious locations. Our power went out twice but only for a few seconds. One major incident did occur but it was not connected to the storm. No no, our fridge broke down all on its own. Luckily we were able to fix it but not before all my cheese went bad and my almond milk soured. Very very sad.
For many many more images of the storm and the damage it caused, check out the Washington Post gallery. My thoughts go out to all the families affected by Irene (and by disastrous world events in general, families in Tripoli in particular).
2. Aquafarms! Well, aquaponics actually. Have you heard of aquaponics? ”Aquaponics (pronounced: /ˈækwəˈpɒnɨks/) is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.” So there you go. Thank you, Wikipedia! I learned about aquaponics when, doing research for work (urban agricultural models), I stumbled upon this awesome organization in Buffalo, NY. It’s called the Massachusetts Avenue Project and in addition to running an urban farm and rad youth programming, MAP also raises fish, composting worms, and yummy plants using aquaponics! Here’s a little video about it. I can say definitively (can I ever say that really?) that there will be aquaponics in my future. I can feel it in my bones.
3. Eric’s home! ’Nuff said.
4. Hurricane Irene came and went. See Preparations post coming soon!
5. You can’t leave the house because there’s a hurricane coming…do you know how to handle storm boredom? I do! Watch Day Break for as many hours as your brain can handle! Day Break, featuring the beautiful and talented Taye Diggs, is about a man who is being framed for murder and keeps reliving the same 24 hours over and over and over again. Every day he discovers something new about what happened…and the plot thickens. Or as Becky says, thickens and bakes because it is that complex! Watch it. It’s beautiful.
6. Hooping! All summer I was determined to make my own hoop and start hooping for real. Sadly, I just didn’t get it together. Then, today, I was surfing Jezebel and stumbled upon this video:
I must make my own hoop! DIY Operation Sun Mirror might just have to wait!
It’s Wednesday! Yay!
1. I got a library card! I am so super stoked about it. On Wednesday I wandered the stacks at the beautiful Walnut West branch, scoping for fiction. How great to be in a library for a purely non-academic purpose! I got two books. One is slightly embarrassing…Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. I read the first two books in the quartet long long ago and always wanted to read the third. So I’m doing that now. I also got The Defenestration of Bob T. Hash III by David Deans on a total whim. Do you ever pick up a random book, flip to the middle, laugh out loud and decide to just go on instinct and check it out? Well, I do. And that’s what happened with the Deans book. Except I’m not too sure I actually like it. Basically this man, Bob T. Hash III, lives in a picture book (I’m a little shakey on this point but I think he lives in one, either that or in an ESL textbook) and decides to escape to Acapulco. Then his parrot, Comenius, magically transforms into Hash (sorta Kafkaesque) and takes on his life. It’s funny in parts but a little too complicated for my liking. And filled with really big words which usually I dig but because I’m only reading it on the bus I can’t look up the meanings. So I sit there, confused, wishing I’d taken Latin.
2. Believe it or not I do actually have a life outside of my reading life. It is filled mostly with my new job but I also manage to find some time for other things too. Today I went to the Second Mile thrift store and struck total gold (the store is in “Shadow People” by Dr. Dog, I must add–”Stole a bike from the Second Mile.” Yeah, that’s right). Shoes, skirt, shirt, sweater, AND Little Women on VHS. Very very happy! We’ve been joking about Little Women here at Lady House and now we own it! Wooot!
3. So, West Philly is AWESOME! Once a month (only in summer, sadly) University City District hosts “Sustainable Saturdays” and all these rad workshops and events pop up all over this side of the Schuylkill. Tomorrow I’m going to a worm compost bin-making workshop (I went to one in college, on my birthday actually, but I didn’t make a bin) and it’s totally FREE. The worms aren’t, sadly. I still need to do some comparison shopping on that front. Next month I’m planning to attend the canning workshop. So stoked!
4. Okay, so this is ridiculously rad: The Miss Rockaway Armada is coming to Philadelphia this Saturday and I’m going to it! The Miss Rockaway Armada is a floating art show and I don’t know much else about it but what more is there to know? Floating. Art. It sounds AWESOME! I plan to take many a picture and will post more about it later. Sweeeet.
5. LeoFest. Not actually a celebration of Leo DiCap but a celebration of Leo-born fellows. Very pumped. It’s our first Type II party (Mom, you should ask me about that later) and I think Lady House is ready to take it on. Happy Birthday, Leos! I can’t wait to celebrate you!
6. So remember how I was going to make some art out of toilet paper rolls? No? That’s okay. I’ll tell you about it again! I’m making art out of toilet paper rolls! It’s really cool. You just cut them up and glue them together and, tada!, ART! I started working on my “installation” last weekend and plan on finishing it this Sunday. It’s very calming work. And then I’ll put it up somewhere where others can enjoy it. Shweeet.
Okay. Bed time now. Loving this song (we really don’t have any money…Times Are Hard!). Missing Eric. Night night!
The Good Life is a new home cookbook by chef Adrian Richardson. It is gorgeous and filled to the brim with delicious looking recipes that even a not-so-experienced kid like me could probably tackle.
The food looks incredible and so does the presentation, designed by A Friend of Mine. Below is a behind-the-scenes peak into the making of The Good Life.
Sadly there’s no way I can afford to buy this book right now. But someday, someday, it will sit on my cookbook shelf and I will consult it for recipes!