Saturday, March 31, 2007


Plants will grow just about anywhere. Concrete is no match for the forces of little cell walls multiplying and pushing roots, stems, leaves, buds.

This used to be a nice vegetable garden, but the stingy man who owns the building where the wild violet is now growing thought it would be an "improvement" to asphalt over the strip of soil that was diverting water and providing diversion and food for the first-floor residents of our apartment across the driveway.

His stupid building is still vacant after a year. . . .

Having just listened to the city's mobile Wet Weather $4 Billion Projects presentation, I am finding myself angry all over again.

1826 Forest

This stone shell is the former Wheatley-Provident Hospital, the city's first medical facility to serve the black community, founded 1916.

The building was originally opened in 1908 or 1910 as the Perry Sanitarium and Training School for Nurses, named for Dr. J. (John) Edward Perry, a black physician no one (like me) has ever heard of.

This is a clip from the Kansas City Public Library site that shows the interior, women working with babies in cribs.

The hospital was replaced by Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Hospital long after it was due, and on June 12, 1972, the last patients of Wheatley-Provident were moved to the newer facility. It was at 2525 Euclid and only lasted 11 years.

I'm having a hard time finding information on the Web about Kansas City's history of segregated hospitals and the development of the existing public health care system we have today.

The place caught the eye of one person at Studio 109 apparently. Know that "someone" is working on connecting the Crossroads and the 18th & Vine districts.

To me, the area is a bit of an oasis, since I like the isolation of empty spaces and wrecked buildings; the folks behind our annual Mardi Gras celebration (Dirty Force Brass Knuckle Street Band and Soul Revue, etc.) happen to march themselves from Wyandotte Avenue along 18th Street all the way to the Mutual Musicians Foundation once a year. Connections are organic.

(Remember that heritage march dealy the city did May 3, 2003? That was rather lame, and being faux-created by the government, it died the next year, I believe.)

The kind of real connection between "there and there" is still a very long time coming.

In the meantime, there are some lovely ornamental pear trees across from the old hospital. Plastic is flapping from one, while a mangled shelf pretends to be street sculpture, and broken glass sparkles up from the sidewalk.

Anyone with a few million could create quite a living space in the old medical building, though I'm sure it's haunted. It still has the "Assylum" haunted house sign frame on the north side, after all.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Santa Fe and Nearby Places

That's Santa Fe Neighborhood, not New Mexico. Benton Boulevard, will it rise again?
Benton and Victor, houses painted in monochrome, perhaps under renovation, view to the southeast.

Across the street, view to the northwest.

Benton and Benton, apartments, view to the southwest.

Benton and 22nd Terrace, view to the west, houses in need.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Only one

Two of the three candidates called Brooks were defeated.

Funkhouser said government of the people, by the people, for the people, was "not just good rhetoric, but a damn good idea" in his victory speech.

He said his opponent always has had the best interests of Kansas City at heart.

Almost an equal number of civic-minded residents care about heart as do care about logic.

The city's slim majority selected someone non-native to this city to lead it.

Personally, I think it was an interesting tactic for him to state at a forum both his starting salary as our city auditor and what it was 18 years later when he retired - the same information anyone hiring someone would have at hand from their application.

People like to be told true things upfront without having to dig for them.

I guess this place is still to be a "tale of two cities," although maybe one half can be joined with the other.

I found out that my neighbors downstairs don't vote because they can't or haven't tried to reinstate their rights (post justice system participation issues). But, if a former prostitute can do it, so can they!

My other first-floor neighbors can barely walk and need to learn how to do absentee by mail.

A bit of work cut out for me for the summer. . .I think we're voting next in renewing PIAC.

PS - Saundra McFadden-Weaver, finally! Maybe people are waking up. . . .or, perhaps they figured that since Troy Nash was out, why not start all over with two newbies (though certainly both no strangers to state politics). . . .

. . . anyway, to all of you - I better not be disappointed this time.


I hate waiting for election returns. This critter was a Saturday highlight. It was in the "butterfly garden" at Scuola Vita Nuova. I was indoors most of the time. It was a writing conference. . .I wasn't there to write, just to move chairs, desks, risers, and to give information and smiles and coordination.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Olive Trede

Olive and Truman; Third District Council signs courtesy of candidates who like to use vacant lots. Graffiti courtesy of someone who seems to have had fun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thou shalt not covet

Thou should get your own!

For all of you who (don't read this blog but) have said "cool purse" to my made-of-diverted-trash handbag, check out which is having a sale on such. . .

I'm excited about the new "chain mail" soda tab bags. Looks like you can really smack the heck out of someone before they steal your stuff, use your ID, spend your credit and recycle your bag!

Happy Spring

Courtesy of my "it's not summer" window marigolds.
Of course, it's raining.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Woodland in springtime

This was the state of affairs in early January.

This was Monday, 26th and Woodland:
25th and Woodland:
22nd Terrace between Woodland and Highland:
Note "no dumping" sign on 22nd Terrace.
This was Tuesday, 25th and Woodland - Did someone get special trash service?
And today, while such things as this remain on the 2300-block:

It seems that my call to "The City Manager's 311 Action Center" was telepathic. 22nd Terrace was cleaned (when we say "no dumping," we mean we'll use tax money to pick it up eventually anyway), the trash at trailer-man's place and a few other random items. That wasn't the usual bulky item pick-up truck, though.

Thank God

- it was only the Sisters of St. Joseph.

(My neighbors. The one we call Sr. Blah blah blah, which is not cruel, because we have good long talks with her. Anyway, she accosted* me Monday morning as I was moping my way to my car to drone towards work and she asked me if I had received some flowers.

(Ah. See, it's not the strangers, after all. It's the people you know. The laundry thing threw us off completely. She said "Yeah, I thought about leaving a note," but offered no real reason why she didn't. Ugh, attribution, people! It really helps. The next day when I came home, there was a little cake outside our door. She had told me about that and I had accepted.)

*(actually, she startled me, for I suppose she had been watching - she spends much of her time taking care of someone about 20 years older, infirm, a fellow nun, so of course, she takes in all the chatting she can; she used to be a Catholic grade school teacher)

Monday, March 05, 2007


Two events, blasé and common: a man possibly "hitting on" a woman who half-folded his laundry and whom he thinks paid 50 cents to complete drying those shirts, and a woman's house getting burglarized.

Does anyone deserve anything?

Latter-she has had her radio stolen from her car at work. She does not live near work, but recently had workers at her house, checking up on a flooded basement and a potentially, but not ultimately, fried furnace. A few days later, a break-in.

She, former, shook his hand and offered to give up the dryer she hadn't placed money in yet. He declined. Even though it was technically still "his."

That's what makes me think the bunch of white tulips are motivated by a cultural sense of Karmic whatever-I'm-assuming rather than any sense of woo-thee. He's Indian, and I've never seen him before (normal when you live in an apartment).

However, there was chocolate by my door when I came home today as well. Three Belgian, shell-shaped pieces. Knowing what I do of Asia (though not so much of India, no matter what three books I read a decade ago), I should go count the flowers.

Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps you could do it for me.

At least my husband is joking about it. As I intimated, he was the one who dried the man's Park University t-shirts instead of sending the note "done, dryer free" under T__'s door as I hap-hazardly had arranged.

The old-ass washers, while only costing 75 cents, are inefficient and frustrating. One does not fill quickly at all and takes over 45 minutes to cycle. The other (perhaps both now) does not spin, leaving clothes so soggy that even seven t-shirts in the most efficient dryer of the pair don't get done after 45 minutes.

Note: other "good" dryer bears a ball-point sign "decommissioned." My landlord is funny, sometimes; there is a random extension cord wrapped around the coin intake, as if someone would go ahead and try to try clothes anyway (or in case the sign would get lost). A cord would not deter most people anyway, but it would show up well in "Clue" or "CSI," you know.

I asked T___, and he said he had had the same problem with the washers. He hadn't called the landlord about it; I suppose he's as nonchalant as I am about such things. Laundry is the most horrible chore in the world.

Anyway, those harbingers of spring could be making up for the fact I thought in his presence though did not utter, "Ah, you got a new Gateway computer last fall, right?"

You may recall the praying mantis blog. That was the day I had spent over 20 minutes breaking down five or six huge boxes fully formed and full of styrofoam and filling the trash container for all 12 apartments. It was how the bug got a ride, I guess. The boxes bore the packing slips, itemizing the printer, the router, all kinds of crazy individual parts, and a name that I presumed was Indian. I thought it was a female's name.

I have no idea what he meant by "we live" in apartment 2N.

And Sunday night, I was "making" my husband do his own laundry just as this guy was having to do (though not keeping very good track of it. I had an earful of such woes when I came home Sunday at six). No indication about couplehood in these modern times can be found in who's doing what chores.

The men's problems with laundry is why I went down to the basement in the first place. . .

For all I know, his roommate, sister or wife encouraged him to remember my apartment number, which I also had described as "ours." Surely he saw the socks, quite male things. He was nice about how the soggy laundry basket had leaked on his towels. I noticed that and had moved aforementioned items, to floor and drying poles, respectively, before he showed up.

As for the other odd incident (which left my soon-to-be-not co-worker to finish ads, intuit the layout, engange in a "do this and then that" oral dialog that made me realize why I put up with other things the other other does and that lasted four hours, two or three past the usual finishing point) I have strange post-eclipse feelings.

Two semi-surreal things in one day's span. Surreal at my age just means slightly out of the ordinary; you know, "news."

So, without a choice, I spent a twelve-hour day, following a 57.75-hour week.

My plan for Tuesday was to clean the apartment all day - recycling, scrubbing, and then washing and drying two hundred pounds of laundry (beds! towels! etc.!) - all work that sucks but that is piling up (obviously) and driving me insane. However, I have to do several hours-long tasks that I did not have time for today - surprise, it always miraculously happens that way, no matter how hard I try - to do. Why plan?

Well, I guess if your home is invaded and a few pawnable, useble, fun things are stolen, you want to go and guard. She at least had to fix the entry-point anyway. Understandable.

I haven't slept much, so little that Saturday slanted-light late afternoon I ran through a red light at a very prominent intersection (two boulevards, no less) long before I noticed what I was doing.

Fatigue turns all those extra/double traffic signals into simply too much to look at. I was watching a red-painted little bus go ever so slowly in front of me; it was after four and I had been up since seven, and I decided to go around. I swear I saw no yellow light, but a smart pedestrian did see me. (He was on the oncoming traffic side anyway, quite safe from spacey I who took so long to process all those details, that I took on the default of "just get through, stopping could upset things and cause others to crash into you" and drove home.)

Thank you for lack of incident.

Saturday night, after two hours at another work-related event, I slept on purpose and purposefully for about 12 hours. Thank goodness you can make some things up.

During the winter, when I wouldn't eat "enough" and would break down into a pained disaster. As of late, though, I can well-survive on less than 1,000 calories a day. Nothing is consistent.

I'm still too fat. No one looking at me would agree, of course, but I know what percentages are supposed to be. People over 30 start to lament their lack of motivation/time to run around most of the day like kids (used to) do.

Sadly, my little hopes of walking my work-hood for fun and for exercise as during my bus-taking summer are running away from a new accumulation of facts.

Robberies, burglaries, stupid things.

Is it just that we collect more experiences overall as time in our lives go by, or are things really "getting worse?"

Mrs. Archer in "The Age of Innocence" laments every Thanksgiving the downward trend of society.

I don't claim to use the word in the same way whatsoever. New York of the rich and structured in 1870 is far different from our loose associations and commercial ambitions. Then again, I suppose we are what she meant was to happen. Also, she was lucky, as all of us are, to go to the family vault before things got too radically-intolerable.

It's what "news" focuses on, you know, the tragedies and psychoses of contemporary humanity. No one applies any of the proffered solutions, either, of course, for we're all streaming down the river of Now. We ignore suffering as much as we shudder to wonder how the citizens of 1942 Germany were able to.

And so we go; we do what we think is right, and we all - don't we? - reason away the implied consequences because they are coming from different times, from different people who are not as smart as you, as "you" as you, as completely thoughtful and right as you.

Our actions still draw their drawn-out consequences. Drawn-out, they still so seem to be grouping and of such numbers that they are felt all the time.

There is a drug dealer living within blocks of you. Drug users, functional and actively criminal. Alcoholics. People who use assault for every purpose. Those who smash out car windows for no reason but to be accepted. Arsonists, random robbers whose motives we so try to search out and use for strategies to avoid. Kids who are so wronged that I would cry if I had to name their experience, whom we somehow don't see. People like you. People like I.

That's annoyingly correct grammar now, eh? Good thing English is so strange, otherwise I would have had to rhyme.

Anyway, I think it's time.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Three 3

I think I once bit a dog that was born on March third.

It has been so long, I do not remember exactly.

He yelped, and I was only teething past babyhood.

Sometimes you get stuck, growth detours.

He ran away eventually.