Monday, June 30, 2008

A Perfect Ten

10 long months.

That’s how long I haven’t had corporate employment.

That’s how long I’ve been paying for my own health, life and dental insurance.

That’s how long I have been searching for a job.

And let me define job as being one that pays as much or more than I was making at my other gig. A job that doesn’t involve serving or servicing anyone, has built in sick days and vacation time.

It would be nice not to say, “Would you like that house salad to come out first?”

It’s beyond frustrating.

I’m tired of worrying about working multiple jobs, sweating making the mortgage every month.

Make no mistake the mortgage comes first; much to the detriment of everything else and my credit rating.

Almost 40 years old and having to rebuild my credit rating---great.

Shouldn’t I be alfresco dining in Paris right now? Not worrying about coordinating my three jobs so I have enough money to keep my utilities on.

Paying the utilities these days is a series of Faustian deals with Com Ed, Peoples & AT&T.

I’m tired of having my friends help either via employment or funds.

My two of my three part time jobs are with close friends. The other is in the office suite of a close friend.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate everything that everyone has done for me, but I’m of the mind set that no matter how much someone likes you, there comes a time you have to stand on your own two feet.

It seems like my attempts at standing have been met with a massive ass kicking.

Plus no one needs to know every last thing about your life---no matter how much you like them.

It blurs the lines of friendship and we all know how tricky that can be to negotiate.

The fact of the matter is that apparently my best job hunt efforts aren’t good enough.

I’m trying to figure out how to correct and redirect my efforts so I don’t have to choose between groceries and paying my condo assessments.

Not that those are up to date but a girl can dream can’t she?

And then to drive the unemployment point home, one of my part time jobs (yes I had four) shut down about two weeks ago.

My main part time gig at Pottery Barn on Michigan Avenue is no more.

Jesus take the wheel, I’m the great job killer.

I know I’ve done a few of these posts over the past ten months but it just seems like everything is going into a downward spiral despite my best efforts.

I seriously want my life back.

Like right now.

It really takes fortitude to get out bed these days.

But knowing that the alternative is homelessness has served as motivation enough but now even that isn’t the kick that it used to be.

Frankly the cat meowing for his breakfast is what gets me to move my ass in the morning.

And yes, I’m not feeling too confident these days but I tell myself that I have to refocus and redouble my efforts. I also try to let go of the things I can’t control and deal with the things I can control.

So to pull me out of my funk, I’ve committed myself to making my little nest as tidy as possible.

While my place is still not completely spit and polished, things were progressing nicely.

Until the grease fire that happened on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sourbelly Trio

As of yesterday I've been unemployed for 10 months.

Needless to say I'm in a shitty mood but those particulars are for another post.

This little piece of my childhood is helping to lift my spirits today. I don't know what's scarier---the fact that the male characters always fall for Bugs Bunny in drag or that I remembered the actual name of the clip (Hillbilly Hare).

I do love my Looney Tunes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Frank---The Back Story

Yes, that is a picture of a squirrel with a chicken wing in his mouth.

And no it wasn’t photo shopped.

But I’m getting ahead of myself----let me introduce you all to Frank.

Frank is mainly seen in the Washington Park neighborhood but no one knows exactly where he (or she?) resides.

My friend who lives across the street from Washington Park encountered Frank about four years ago when he started digging up the container garden that I worked so hard to plant.

At the time I didn’t know that those cute furry woodland creatures commonly known as squirrels were garden destroying rats with a fluffy tail and good PR.

Both my friend and I were extremely pissed.

Frank tore out my hard work to bury one of his many prizes----a corn cob, half a snickers bar or perhaps some other delicacy he found amidst the urban landscape.


So over the years during the warmer months, a battle would ensue between us and him.

At first my friend would leave his three dogs on the back porch where the flower boxes were located.

Frank merely kept out of their reach while he proceeded to rip apart another flower box.

Then at the start of last planting season we heard that blood meal would keep squirrels away from your flower boxes. So naturally we grabbed a few bags.

It seemed to work, yet Frank still came around to tease the dogs.

It seemed that Frank had upped the ante. It wasn’t about the flowerboxes anymore.

If my friend didn’t keep up with his blood meal application Frank would merely come back and we’d find plants on the floor of the back porch the next day.

That flipping squirrel was (and is) a sadist.

So it was no surprise when I got an excited phone call one day about his outrageous behavior.

“Woody, you won’t believe what I just saw!”

“Good God, what happened now?”

“The dogs were going crazy on the back porch barking at Frank.”

“Alert the media.”

“He was carrying a hot chicken wing in his mouth.”

“Shut up you liar. I should hang up this phone right now. Since when do squirrels start eating chicken wings?”

“I don’t know but he has a chicken wing in his mouth right now----I have a picture to prove it.”


“No really, I have a picture.”

“So let’s see it, homeboy. Send it to me.”

And so he did.

At this point, all I can do is shake my head.

Progress In Pictures

Pictures from my cell phone of Mt. Carmel's turf replacement project. Note the brand new sidewalk in the corner of picture #1 and in picture #2.


And yes, I finally figured out how to download my Blackberry so don't be surprised by the flood of pictures on the blog.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

True Progress

It's true. We now have a sidewalk.

On the north side of my street between Stony Island and Dorchester is a new continuous two block stretch of sidewalk.

Part one was done by the city last fall and part two was just completed yesterday as a part of Mt. Carmel's turf replacement project.

After years of looking at an unkempt and crumbling parkway and sidewalk, the school across the street has finally come through.

It looks absolutely wonderful.

Pictures are forthcoming.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I just added new links to the South Side/Woodlawn section of the blog.

Three of the new links; Darius Williams, The Sixth Ward and Really Boring have been kind enough in the past to mention yours truly in their blogs. But don't think that praise, recognition and vanity swayed my decision making process.

Once these site got on my radar I actually sat and read them. These cats have a great deal to say and I'm proud that fellow south siders continue to represent in the blogosphere.

Plus I just dig Hyde Park Urbanist.

For those of you who read my humble offerings on the regular, may be the surprised that the fourth link is to Mt. Carmel High School.

For quite awhile they were simply known as "The School Across The Street."

But then the straw broke the camel's back and I cleared up any misconceptions about who really resided across the street.

I've had issues with Mt. Carmel's true commitment to our neighborhood in the past and very well may have some issues in the future.

For now it seems that they're doing right by the 'hood by stepping up and installing a new sidewalk from Blackstone to Dorchester and seeding the parkway.

So in the interest of moving on, Mt. Carmel has finally made the cut.

Being in Woodlawn for over 100 years, surviving the lean times and continuing to thrive has to count for something.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dorchester Is Killin' It

Seriously, what's with the emergence of the hardcore gardeners on Dorchester between 63rd and 65th?

I know it's only two blocks but the explosion of color, the variance of plants, the mix of perennials and annuals create such as beautiful tapestry it's litteraly jaw dropping.

The now mature parkway garden in the 6400 block of Dorchester looks amazing with the addition of new perennials. Hopefully I'll be able to download my Blackberry pictures so you can enjoy the full beauty of this garden.

A few doors to the north, the newly built condos have some stunning lawn borders.

A lilly may just be a lilly but when you live in a neighborhood that has many vacant, trash strewn lots; that lilly represents progress.

Hope, even.

But the ones who are absoulutely killin' it on the gardening tip is the Apostolic Church of God.

Yeah, the one that the Obamas are probably attending as I write this post.

Note: Do not go near the corner of 63rd and Dorchester. The traffic will be nightmarish.

I schlepped past Apostolic yesterday and was stopped in my tracks by the vibrancy of their parking meridians.

Personally, I love the use of common household annuals----petunias, impatients. begonias, geramniums----in uncommon (and large bold) pairings.

Once again, if I ever figure out how to download these friggin pictures from my Blackberry I'll show you the visual feast.

Small steps make a big impact for a stronger neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's Not Just Me

A few weeks ago one of my neighbors texted me near the end of my waitressing shift.

Since it was late, I was rather taken aback that I received a message that didn’t involve a dire emergency.

I pulled up the message, it read:
“Carlton was on Ch 7 hiding face coming out of court! Funny!”

I peed on myself a little ‘cause I got excited.

Hiding? Coming out of court? WTF is going on?

Despite my aching feet and crabby disposition, I rushed home in enough time to catch the rebroadcast of the Channel 7 news.

And just as I locked the door and turned on the TV what story should appear but the big splashy corruption investigation probe named Operation Crooked Code.

This time I about popped a boner.

As I watched the news report, a few of the indicted individuals were named but a complete list wasn’t made available.

That was a head scratcher.

I didn’t want to shout the joyous news from the rooftops until I saw my developer’s name in a federal indictment.

In short I needed to make sure that the T’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted.
The more I looked, I just couldn’t find any evidence that Carlton had been rounded up in the sting.

No peeing. No boner.

I’m glad I listened to my inner voice.

It turned out that the person who was covering his face coming out of the Dirksen Federal building was not Mr. Knight.

When I broke the news to my neighbor she was deeply disappointed.

And when I say deeply disappointed I mean buzz kill disappointed.

As much as I’ve chronicled Mr. Knight’s dealings with our association, I’m simply the smoke---the rest of my neighbors are the fire.

There's more than one owner who would like to see him get his comeuppance.

I’m just the one who happens to write about it.

While he wasn’t indicted, the city did file two new civil lawsuits against him. I also have to find out what’s going on with the Dixie Highway foolishness in Harvey.

Unfortunately my 12 part time jobs mean I don’t have the same amount of time to go sleuthing like I used to but I’ll eek out some time next week to go to the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office.

Because as you should know by now, the saga is never ending.


Monday, June 09, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering

A few updates:

The cat's ass dandruff is clearing up nicely. Apparently I can't feed him cheap cat food, he has to get the good stuff. God, he's such a high maintenance divo.

The basil is flourishing since I took it inside. Now I think the birds are attacking the impatients in my flower boxes.


I know I've been promising to learn how to download pictures from my Blackberry Curve but it still hasen't happened. But now that Mt. Carmel is stepping up to the plate, I have to record this photographically for all to see.

Sidewalks, cats and basil oh my!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


It's nice to know I'm not the only one who picked up on this trend.

Caveat Emptor.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wait A Minute

As I was schlepping down the street this morning, I noticed that the crappy sidewalk running from Blackstone to Dorchester had been broken up as a part of Mt. Carmel's turf installation.

What the hell?

It would stand to reason that if the crappy, uneven sidewalk is no more that it will soon be replaced with a brand spanking new smooth and even sidewalk.

Right? It does stand to reason----correct?

Is it possible that our little hood will have a passable sidewalk for walkers, runners, seniors, dog walkers, stroller pushers and our neighbors in wheelchairs on the north side of the street?

That is so money.

Now the older wheelchair bound man who shamelessly flirts with all of the women in neighborhood will be able to give a more spirited continuous chase for two blocks.


I'll keep an eye on the progress and post what happens.

Now if Mt. Carmel could only spring for some Turf Builder our shit might just be the hotness.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Block Is Hot

The fallout from the subprime crisis has been all over the news since last summer.

Faithful readers will remember how I wrote about my own personal drama in this forum with my own adjustable rate mortgage.

It would have been easier for me to get into a size ten pair of skinny jeans than to refi nance my mortgage last year.

I know that things are still bad.

I predict that the market won’t straighten out until late ’09 or early 2010.

Despite those grim predictions, I get a feeling that things are looking up for the old hoody hoo.

Realtor’s trying to get rid of excess inventory in this market shouldn’t come as a surprise.

But it seems like there’s a breath of fresh air in recent listings. And when I say breath of fresh air I mean new condo construction.

Not only are there newly built inventory on 65th place, Dorchester and Kimbark but methinks there may be a real estate turn around lurking amidst this downturn.

Obviously it’s not over until the units sells but as a nearly seven year resident of Woodlawn, the price points of the current condo inventory thrill me to pieces.

The new condos behind me are listing from the high 200’s.

For someone who bought her humble little cold water flat for considerably less, when the market does turn around ,those of us who saw Woodlawn’s potential and bought in early will reap the benefits.

And when I say reap I mean raking in the scads of cash when I finally choose to sell.

While I’m not a fan of our city’s Olympic efforts and I don’t think we’ll get the games---if we did, the real estate market for the south east side is going to blow off the map.

But for now it’s all just speculation.

I feel it coming though---change is afoot.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Nature My Ass

Who knew that the local wildlife loved fresh Basil so much?

Those motherfucking birds have practically picked clean my container of Basil I had out on the back deck.

And before I caught a clue, they started working on my Rosemary.

I took the two flower boxes that contained the Basil, Rosemary and Chives inside yesterday to sit on my windowsill.

So I have to worry about urban ills AND scavenger birds?

That's just bullshit.