Friday, November 28, 2008

Purple Footprints from the Past

Today as I was reading the news, I came across a story about some red and green footprints painted on the sidewalks that have appeared in lower Manhattan. The red and green footprints, the story said, had been created using the same template as the purple footprints in the early 1980's. These red and green footprints are a protest to a place called "the Bowery Bar", which is a trendy restaurant that has taken the place of a gas station. (I think I remember where the gas station was, and it was the only gas station that I can remember seeing in that area.)

As many of you know, I began spending time in New York in 1985 when I worked for the Fresh Air Fund. I remember the purple footprints as a sign of comfort. I can't even imagine now how many miles I walked through the city. On a day off, we'd get up and take the subway to the World Trade Center or Canal Street stop, and start walking north. It is easy to get turned around amid the tall buildings and the purple footprints were always a sign that we really weren't all that lost. They were a sort of landmark that ran through the sometimes windy streets of Greenwich Village and SoHo.

I remember a one page story in a magazine at the time about the people who were painting the footprints. Back then I didn't totally understand, and I'm not sure that magazine knew the real story either. But, lucky for me "google" has helped me to find the truth. As it turns out, all the purple footprints led to the "Garden of Eden", a community garden developed by a man named Adam Purple.

Sometime around 1980, Adam Purple was a squatter in New York in a building on Forsyth street. Adjacent to the abandoned building where he lived, he created a beautiful garden. I remember this garden and the surrounding neighborhood. I remember coming across it and the disbelief of how a place like this garden could be in the middle of a city. There were vegetables being grown and beautiful flowers, right in the middle of the city. I found the picture posted above on a website that had a lot of pictures of the garden from that time.

I realize you may be thinking that Central Park is in the middle of New York, and it is a huge green space, so what is so different about this? As far as New York City goes, Central Park is in a whole different world. Central Park is on the other side of the economic border from the Lower Manhattan of the 1980's. These are the neighborhoods that were the setting for RENT.

As I have read more about Adam Purple's garden today (there is a lot out there if you google him), I have learned how he made the rich soil for his garden by riding his bike to Central Park to collect waste from the horses and then mixing it with ashes and dirt. He collected rain water and lived off of the food that he grew and about $2000 a year he made from collecting aluminum cans. One of the coolest things I came across today was this video on You Tube by a man that remembered Adam Purple's Garden from when he was young.

National Geographic did a story on Adam Purple and his garden. But, the city still Bulldozed it in January of 1986 to make way for a new building. I am lucky that I got to see it in person.
And the purple footprints? Adam Purple said that he did not paint the purple footprints. But, I'm glad someone did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Beauty of the Cranberry Bog

A few weeks ago, much like the corn in July, I began to miss the beauty of the Cranberry Bog. Right after my graduation from I.U. in 1988, I moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts and began working for Bridgewater State College. I loved living in Massachusetts, but the job was not really what I had hoped. But that is a whole different story.

I lived 30 minutes from Boston and 30 minutes from Cape Cod, so whenever I needed to get away from everything, I would take a drive to one of those destinations. Even now, I see they have a Cranberry Trail Guide published for the area so that you can drive your own cranberry harvest tour.

October is cranberry time in Massachusetts, and a few weeks ago I was hoping to turn a corner out in the country and drive past a bog. However, I was in Indiana, so that was not going to happen. You know those commercials of the guys standing in the cranberries? Those bogs are really out there and you can drive around and see them just like you can see corn fields in Indiana. They are beautiful! The red is so vibrant and against the leaves of fall, it is just breathtaking at times.

Now is the time of cranberry sauce, which has again tickled my memory of the beautiful bogs. I don't really like cranberries, cranberry juice, sauce, etc. I just like to look.

Life Lessons from a Centurian

Grandma Mildred died last week; She was 100 years old. Knowing someone who is 100 is a unique experience, and sometimes it is amazing to think about how the world has changed since she was born in 1908. On the day she was born, the #1 song was "As Long as the World Rolls On" by Alan Turner.

She saw both World War I and II, the Great Depression. Think about the "things" that you use everyday that didn't exist back then. While she did have her driver's license until her 100th birthday, the car wasn't even invented when she was born.

She loved her family, all of them. Those she was related to biologically, and the others she adopted along the way. I was lucky to be one of those adopted ones. My brother Keith was her paper boy when he was 10, and they have been helping each other ever since.

And she loved God. Throughout the last few weeks, she was trying to figure out what God needed her to do. Now she is with Him, wondering no more. No more pain. But she'll be keeping an eye on us. We better behave. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is there a TV station without doorbell sounds?

While hardly a topic to write about, I am wondering if there is a TV station that is free of doorbell sounds. They drive my Tigerboy crazy!

I am sick of the mops and brooms that ring doorbells in hopes that the lady of the house will give up her swiffer. I'm sick of the "reality" shows where the arch enemies sister drops by to "talk", and rings the doorbell. And now, Tim the Toolman Taylor's doorbell is ringing!

So confusing for a young dog set on protecting his house.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Best Party Ever

Today I was checking out the blog over at The One Minute Writer. The One Minute Writer gives a topic every day and encourages you to write for one minute about that topic. While I'm too wordy to keep it to the 60 allotted seconds, I thought I'd write about today's topic here, which is: Write about a memorable party or gathering that you have attended.

The most memorable party I have ever attended was my friend Amy's wedding reception. While I have never been big on the wedding reception deal (I often attend weddings, but skip the reception), Amy and Geoff's was not your average wedding reception.

First off, Amy and Geoff are way cool people. I can't really think of many people who are as down to earth and genuine as Amy. She has a sweet spirit that reaches out to so many people, and she really wants to learn about everyone. So, the collection of people at this party came from many different backgrounds.

So, what was so different? First off, the reception attendees got to sing songs with the word "love" in them to get the bride and groom to kiss. No clinking glasses for this party. The best man gave the most memorable a capella performance of "YMCA" in my lifetime. That's right...I said lifetime. We were also serenaded by the Semester-at-Sea group singing the theme from "The Love Boat" and another group sang the Barney song. I think it has been 12 years, and I still remember all this.

And then came the Elvis impersonator. I've been to two weddings with Elvis so far, and I really think that you can't have a bad wedding if Elvis is there. At Amy and Geoff's wedding Elvis was the reception entertainment. Right there in the Tudor Room.

Best. Party. Ever.

A New Kick-off to the Holiday Season

For the past several years, Trevor and I have been really making the most out of the Christmas season. This has become my favorite time of year because it has become a rule that Trevor spends every weekend with me and we get every drop of enjoyment out of the preparation and festivities around the city.

Typically, it all starts the day after Thanksgiving, when we take all the change I have collected during the year and Trevor does his own Christmas shopping. (It is amazing what a child can do with about $40 in change!) This year, however, we are considering yesterday as the kick-off to the Christmas season, because we got up early and went down to the Monument Circle and watched the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) volunteers put up the Christmas Lights.

Last year, Trevor had asked me, "How do they get the lights up there?", so I told him we could go watch them do it this year. It really is pretty interesting to see, definitely something that is way cool through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy. We watched the workers for a while, went and had some breakfast and then came back to watch some more. There were so many workers there, and they all worked with precision to get all the strands in place. We were there for about 3 hours, and we were hoping to see the "test lighting" when they switched the tree on for the real first time. But, we decided to be on our way to other things. Maybe next year we'll get our timing right so we can wait for that.

When we were leaving, we heard a radio news story about the lights and the IBEW volunteers who put them up. There are six miles of electrical wires that are put up and nearly 5000 lights. This is the 46th year and some of the volunteers have been doing this project every year for 35 years. This week, the city will bring in the other decorations and we have heard that in addition to the toy soldiers there are some new toy sailors. We'll have to take a drive around the circle next week to see everything before the big day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Note from Italy

Last Thursday, I went into Goose the Market to pick up some pork chops I had ordered. Chris Eley, the owner and chef at the Goose, has some amazing marinade for his "country style" pork chops. You may remember that I have written about them in a previous post.

I think Chris and Molly (his wife) know how much I like those pork chops, and when I pre-ordered them, Molly had said I could pick them up on Wednesday. I actually didn't get to the store until Thursday, but when I got there and asked for my order, the guy behind the counter said, "Oh, K.T. ....Chris wrote us an email from Italy and asked us to apologize to you. He won't have your chops ready until Friday. Molly had forgotten about the trip."

Now when is the last time that the butcher at the Kroger (Winn Dixie, Albertson's, Shaw's, Shop Rite) wrote you an email from Italy?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Monumental Marathon

Yesterday, I volunteered at a water stop for the the first Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I had never been a water stop volunteer before, and it was fun.

All and all, the monumental people had it set up pretty nicely. They dropped off all the needed equipment (water, tables, cups, Gatorade, trash containers) right on the street where we set it up, and then came back to get it later.

After dipping all the cups, I was a water girl, meaning I handed cups of water to runners as they ran by. This is a more difficult job than you might think. There was a definite technique that was communicated to us (holding the cup from the top rim to leave as much surface area for the runner to grab as possible). The first few times I tried the hand off resulted in major spills. I'm sure the elite runners really didn't get any water during the race. Later, I learned the true technique. Make eye contact with the runner, let them signal to you that they are taking your cup, then the hand off goes much more smoothly.

I met some cool people at the water stop. And I even saw a runner I new from work who came in 38th in his age category. Pretty cool! And, my weatherman Paul Poteet also ran by the water stop, but I think he went to the Gatorade table.