Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Hounds of Hell

I love dogs.  Really I do.

I have had dogs since I was a kid - mostly large breeds, and some (well, one) with socialization issues.  I understand that dogs are a lot of work, and that sometimes they have genetic or puppyhood-related personality issues which can be challenging.  I am totally sympathetic to this.

Nevertheless, it ultimately an owner's responsibility to keep their animals under control, and - if they have socialization issues - away from other people/dogs/etc to which they might do harm.

Unfortunately, not everybody seems to get that.  And what is even MORE unfortunate, is that it seems often the folks who are most irresponsible with their animals happen to own breeds which ALREADY face challenges due to perceptions of genetic propensities toward violence.

I am speaking, of course, of Pitbulls, Rottweilers and similar.

Take, for example, my neighbors.  Not only do they have three huge Rottweilers that live 24/7 outside, are un-fixed, bark and snarl their brains out ALL FREAKING DAY, but, on TOP OF THAT, their fence is so broken-down that the animals regularly escape and terrorize the neighborhood.  I myself have called animal control no less than three times over the last two years when these animals escaped.

I feel sorry for them, really.  The dogs, I mean.  They have a terrible life.  They are stuck in the hot sun in a dirt yard all day and night, with nothing to do - they don't get walked EVER... but seriously people.  This is not cool:

Monday, July 12, 2010

FLOW - Northside Arts Crawl!

For those of you who don't already know, Saturday, July 24th is the date of the 2010 FLOW Northside Arts Crawl!

We have an exceptional number of talented artists in the area, several of which I am lucky enough to have as neighbors... and you should really come and check them out!

The map and event list is not yet up, but check back here and/or for details in the near future. The event runs from 3PM to 8PM.

Oh, and there will be hooping, obviously!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I only act rude and insulting to strangers, obviously - my bad!

So today I was taking the dog (one of them) around the block for a quick potty break (he's geri[p]atric and can't really hold it very long,) and I happened upon my neighbor to the east, sitting on her stoop drinking a beer. #NTTAWWT

Out of habit (admittedly) rather than sheer friendliness, I said hello to her as I passed. She looked up at me and stared for a moment.

And then she said: "Oh, I apologize for the other night. I didn't know it was YOU who asked us to turn the music down."


On Saturday night, the backyard of the property in question was filled with revelers from about the hour of 6PM onward. #NTTAWWT At some point, the stereo got turned up LOUD. Like, REALLY LOUD. Outside. Across the alley from me. From where I was stooped over in the yard, weeding.

And, I must say, it wasn't the delightful and slightly-relaxed R&B that had theretofore been playing... no... it was some song whose refrain included the word "B*TCH no less than three times per sentence.

So, I went over and did a charades move over the fence, indicated my hand turning down the volume. A guy went to turn it down, and as he did, no less than three other people reacted immediately with things like:

a) "Aw HELL NO,"

b) "Did that b*tch just tell you to turn it DOWN???

c) "Man, turn that sh*t UPPPP!!!


So, what was most interesting to me about the situation (besides the fact that, blessedly, the music did in fact stay down for the rest of the evening and we had no other issues,) was the fact that the owner herself was one of the people yelling (it would seem,) and, that she realized that it's not okay to talk to a NEIGHBOR that way.

But I guess anybody else is fair game.

Or something.

But, she did apologize!

#NTTAWWT = not that there's anything wrong with that

Monday, July 5, 2010

NoMi Chickens?

(image from - a fantastic and highly-informative site)

So, I was seriously thinking about urban chickens BEFORE spotting a random free one on the dog walk this evening... but I must admit the sighting got me even more interested. (Where did that chicken come from??? I know of at least one person with chickens in North Minneapolis, but they are not close by to where we spotted this little hen.)

Anyway, we shall see. It could be fun. Need more research first though...

Anybody want some Allium seed?

These things have produced a MASSIVE amount of seeds.

From what I have read it seems that they make take a couple of years to flower when planted from seed (as opposed to bulb) but hey, seeds are fun, and free.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dandelion Pie

So this ginormous dandelion was kind of annoying me. I kept meaning to pull it, and then forgetting, and then noticing it again... until it became a giant monster.

Today I just couldn't take it anymore.

So I yanked it.

And I blanched it.

Added some fresh mint, oregano, cheeses, onion and egg...

And I ate it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lost my "found" dog!

If anybody sees him... please contact me at minneapolisgirlatgmaildotcom.

I miss my Geri[p]atric.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Preservation Forum

Alright kids, I've been sitting on this for a while because I wanted to make it look a little prettier before I shared it... but since Johnny beat me to the punch, I guess I'll just open it up.

Check out the preservation forum. It's still quite bare-bones, and needs a splash page, etc... but it's up, and I welcome your feedback if you're interested.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Proposal for the Sheltering Arms House

The Sheltering Arms House is a massive, vacant, four-unit structure at 2648 Emerson Avenue North. It has a charming fa├žade, with what appears to be original wood lap siding, double-decker front porches, and –while I have not been inside- I am told that the interior still holds much woodwork and other quality original features.

Per the MLS, the City of Minneapolis acquired this property on January 7, 2010 for a price of $17,500. The cumulative days on market prior to close are listed at 67. So, it was for sale for a little over two months before the City closed on it. However, the “off-market date” which we can use to speculate approximately when the purchase agreement was signed and delivered, is December 16, 2010.

(These dates are important because they refute any potential argument about the house being un-marketable to private buyers. The house was not languishing on the market for an unreasonable amount of time.)

The City acquired this property for the purpose of demolition and land-banking, according to staff of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council.

So the first question is: Why?

Why didn’t the City leave this house for a private investor to purchase and renovate? We have no indications that this house is or was un-salable, nor do we have any illustration of it being deteriorated beyond reasonable hope of repair.

Subsequent to the City’s initial moves to purchase, neighbors began to research a bit of the history, and learned of the house’s beginnings as the Sheltering Arms orphanage. While I will not personally make the argument here that such information qualifies it as historic, it is only because I do not deem that necessary.

What I mean to say is: random demolition of single structures around the city should be a last-resort – saved only for those cases where a home is NOT SALVAGEABLE. This is especially true in our older neighborhoods, where the removal of a home which fits the character of the street will cause an obvious hole; a discontinuity that damages the flow of the block.

The Sheltering Arms house is valuable to the block, and valuable to the community, because –as a structure- it contributes to the architectural and cultural fabric thereof. The fact that it has an interesting history is gravy.

(One need only look at the Phillips neighborhood[s] in order to understand the impact of piecemeal demolition on block character and integrity. The most stable residential blocks in those neighborhoods are, were, and will continue to be the blocks which have the most original structures, which, incidentally, are overwhelmingly occupied by their owners.)

But anyway, today I am less interested in elaborating the folly of these past demolitions than I am in helping determine where we go from here.

The Sheltering Arms house is a good place to begin. It still stands, and it does not have to come down.

But beyond that, what?

There are a few options, the more conventional of which involve the City giving/selling the place to developer, either non-profit or for-profit, for rehabilitation.

I am a fan of a less-conventional method, myself… an approach which I think will ultimately be better for the house, the block, and the neighborhood.

I propose that the City GIVE THE STRUCTURE AWAY.

As in, a lottery.

The neighborhood and other interested individuals could spread the word far and wide, and I am confident that many folks would throw their hats into the ring. Why? Because the house is free. And because it’s got potential to be a beautiful place. And an interesting history.

Of course there should be a few rules involved in entering this lottery, such as:

  1. Owner agrees to enter into a restoration agreement with the City, and post a bond of some amount which is returned after some amount of time.

  1. Owner agrees to occupy the house for some number of years. (There should be some monetary penalty if they cease to comply before the term is completed.)

  1. Owner can provide proof of qualification for a loan (or of cash funds) in some amount for the rehab. (But let’s not be unreasonable here – they should be permitted to do some things with sweat-equity, like painting, sanding their own floors, etcetera.)

It is very simple. The City gets rid of the house (and taxpayer dollars do not have to be spent to demolish it,) someone gets a new home, and the neighborhood gets to maintain an architectural asset AND gain an invested owner-occupant.

Or, you know, we could just go with another vacant lot. I'm not sure NoMi has quite enough of those yet...