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A Love Letter to SEPTA

1 May
Dear SEPTA,

Despite the running shitty jokes about your service, we know how hard you work. We’re there on the early train busting our asses to work, too. We know you keep a balanced budget despite our friends in Harrisburg throwing you under the bus (literally). And we know those 1981 trolleys, though vintage, are better for our air quality than any Prius. So I fucking  love you, despite the fat-kid-in-gym-class-getting-picked-last scenario.

While getting the 5th largest population in America to work on a miniscule capital budget you did me some fucking justice. You found my keys… to my life. House, bike, car. The whole bit. You found them, tagged them, and saved them. For me.

You better believe I fucking love SEPTA.

With all my heart,

Lost and Found Article #61

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Last of the South Philly Kings

17 Sep

“Putting the cunt back into country” is pressed into large blue and red tin boards fashioning a bent over Bettie Boop.  This tiny corner luncheonette has been operational for over 20 years, surviving a destructive blaze only to be brought back by the love and hard work of its South Philly neighborhood.

Carmen’s Country Kitchen serves up some quirkiest combinations of tasty food that you never even knew.  Just last week, I plowed through homegrown tomato and buttermilk pancakes with a side of apple smoked bacon.  *die*

Not to mention the chocolate french toast with carmel ice cream and pecans, over flowing with a side of home fried potatoes.

But beyond the roll-over-in-a-fit-of-delight-and-comatose-joy feeling, was on that day, Carmen opened her shop up on a Monday.  Untraditional hours for the kitchen.  But we called to see if she would cook and she happy agreed to spend part of her Monday morning whipping up the food our mothers would have never even conceived of.

For Eric, it may be his first and last time at the Country Kitchen.  The lease holder has decided this tiny 15 seat luncheonette would be better off as another pizza joint. As much as I can down a cheesy pie, it won’t have the same kitchy feel as the Country Kitchen.  No nipple mugs, penis fertility sculptures, Mason jars full of chilled water, or  windows adorned with thriving plants.

I doubt there will ever be a line of hungry and patient patrons waiting for pizza as they did for the sweet taste of Carmen’s cooking.  Simply for now, thank you Carmen for finding the cunt in me.

Lock Up: Nancy’s Arrival

1 May

“This is death row, although no inmates were ever executed here.  They were sent to Rockview Prison near State College,” said our tour guide Scott.  “Whoop whooop!” I said and I raised my hands in the air.  Nancy knocked them down.  “I don’t think you can rep a prison if you haven’t been there, even if it is in your home town.”

Our tour guide was recently nonplussed by my comments noting he may have been a geologist in a different life.  This second attempt at jesting/reping my hood made no mark on Scott.   To my amazement he was able to fend off and overly zealous tourist with a tactile dysfunction.  He ran around like a 12 year old, touching everything, including his homely girlfriend.

During our tour we came to understand that penitentiary was not a word commonly used at the time of the prisons induction.  It stands for penance…a type of silent waiting drawn from Quaker practices.  Either way, the prison was a cool tour and during the winter (what winter!?)

Eastern State can be so cheap (AAA, public school teacher, lowly student ID).  Its a great place to take a friend with free parking surrounding it on all blocks!

I’m sorry, all my checks say 2011!

2 Feb

I’ve finally hit the end of my epic travel fall.  Snatch up a new house on a new block and headed out to RENO.  Which by the way makes the top 50 places to live, barely.  But so do most of the cities in North Carolina.  Gee wiz.  Philly doesn’t even crack the count.   So check out your future!

I recently checked out ARCgis programming.  An urban mapping device.  So neat and so much information, but not really what I need.  You can have a 60 day trial and tons of tutorials if your interested!

This January we also hired the new Friends Association for Higher Education Coordinator, Kimberly Haas!  Great news!  I also had a chance to use a conference interfacing program called GotoMeeting.  Video chat, call in phone conference and the ability to record it all and share with folks unable to attend the meeting.  Plus you can score some cool screen sharing and bump it up to webinar status if you want.

Can you see the geek in me drool?

I’m also on the job hunt, which has got me salivating over all sorts of options.  From cool places to work, to programs I would keel over to work for.  I’ve been picking up hot and heavy skill sets.  Next stop?  Grant writing!

First They Came…

23 Nov

I am often quiet in the midst of many changing things.  I have observed the uprisings of the Occupy movement in every state.  I’ve witnessed my home of Centre Country be rocked by sex scandal and lack of leadership and have seen the community struggle to pull itself together.   I have said little in the way of either.  I have watched a middle aged women tell her aging mother that the Occupy Moment is just folks complaining about the rich.  And when her mother asked if this was happening world wide, she said no.  She must not have seen the 300,000 people in Madrid Spain, or the oust of political leaders in Rome Italy, or the streets of London.  She must not have been watching.  She must have simply been consumed by her own mundane life.

But I said nothing to her elderly mother.  I did not tell her assessment was right.  Yes, there is something going on in the world.  And I thought about this quote from Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

So, I share this.  Someone from my community, who was a graduate student from Penn State when I first met him:

Do a Job Anywhere: FAHE Coordinator (PT)

8 Nov

Take a moment and think.  To be able to do to a job anywhere? That is what Friends Association for Higher Education is offering.  Its part time 17-20 hours of work a week with excellent pay and benefits. See if this fits you!

Friends Association for Higher Education seeks an administrative coordinator. The responsibilities include managing FAHE’s communications, financial records, serving as registrar for its annual conference, and coordinating the work of its committees.   A job description is at available from the address below or located here: Friends Association for Higher Education Coordinator .  The work would be 17-20 hours per week with time use flexible.  Salary is in the range of $18-20 k.  A benefits package is available.  Applications with resume should be sent to gary.farlow@wright.edu.  Inquires may be sent to the same address.

Check out FAHE’s website: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~fahe/

Secret Stash

15 Sep

We’re all hiding something.  Little baggies of of illegal drugs wrapped up like an engagement ring, your best friends pair of booty shorts, or the reason you have that black eye.  But there is nothing like hiding a period on an airplane.

Somewhere between Boston and Florida you realize the crimson tide has taken hold and you have a few moments before your neighbor gets carried away in a river.  Seat belt sign still on, you can dash for the toilet door (illegal, but who gives a shit when nature is doing its thing), and make a rat hold escape. 

During a recent flight, I came to this particular impasse.  Trapped in the airplane toilet, flushed with embarrassment, searching for anything that could save me.  And to my surprise I found the secret lady drawer.  Right there full of all the (cheap) feminine products I could need.   Relieved after my find, I enjoyed the rest of my flight.

No one makes an announcement on the flight about this “extra” comforts.

Remember your closest exit may be behind you.  Please secure your oxygen device before helping someone else.  Additional feminine products can be found in our restrooms.  Complimentary soft drinks will be available on this flight.

West Philly Worship Group

9 Jun

I’m not too into religion, but I have to say I’ve been a church shopper before.  I am however, a Quaker.  Weird, huh?  A modern girl like myself.

Either way, Quakers in West Philly have been doing something cool and a little be out of the ordinary.  (Quakers in West Philly, who thought that was ordinary!?)  They hold a small worship group on Wednesday at 7:30pm, typically in someone’s living room.  Since it moves place to place each week, its good to check in with their list-serve. (Touch base here for more details: West Philly Google Group.

About 15-30 folks show up each week ranging in age (thought mostly in the 35 and under crowd) and coming from a wide range of spiritual (or non-spiritual) backgrounds.  The worship evening goes something like this:

  • Approximately 15 min of Check-Ins.  (Check-in is a period of time where folks can share their name and a little bit about themselves.)
  • 40 Mins of worship.  (Worship is silent.  Out of the silence anyone may be “moved” to speak and share a message.  If there are lots of messages, it is practice to leave a small amount of space in-between messages.  I typically count to ten.)
  • About 10 min. for After thoughts (anything that didn’t rise to the level of a message.), Joys/Concerns/Prayers, and Announcements.

There is always a bit of socializing afterwards and if anyone has questions about Quakers or the Worship Group, there are always folks available to answer questions.

Not sure what your spiritual inclination is?  Take the Belief-o-Matic quiz to get a better perspective!

West Side Stories

2 Jun

Katie Yow, story documentarian especial, is joining the North (and West) Philadelphian Neighborhood clubs for a week long stay.  Her purpose is to gather and engage local folks in their stories.

She’s traveled across the U.S. and is finally making her way north from the Carolin’s on her East Coast leg.  If you have stories to share or know someone she might need to meet.  Post it here  or forwarded it along on her webpage.

Check out The Stories We Tell Each Other.

Get Out The Way!

12 Apr

Last summer I realized that driving in Philly was a lot like driving in a 3rd world (developing) country.  Pot hole craters, errant cat/dog/goat/sheep/chicken on the loose, aimless drivers, and the always aggravating stationary utility vehicle resting on the trolley line.  For some folks, politely waiting for traffic is an option.   However, those born to Dive City, traveled anywhere else in the world, or simply don’t have the same level of patience, slamming the horn is pretty effective.  Two pieces of advice:

1-If you are being honked at, yell and wave in a passing motion, “go ’round”.

2- Take public transit

Some may argue #2 as being rather ineffective.  Philly’s SEPTA has its fare share of issues (strike, occasional break-downs, lost token/metro card), but consider this:

  • My $3.10 (cost of 2 tokens for a round trip) goes toward the employment of a fellow Philadelphian (why hello, brotherly love), instead of a car realignment.
  • The cost of parking my car downtown for the day ($8-$25), goes to a cup of hot joe from Old City (Philly owned) for a friend (…hello again brotherly love).
  • And lets face it, Trolleys (or cable cars as they started out in 1883) have been moving loads of people, before you were born.

So get your dumb car off my trolley tracks so I can go home.  And if you don’t like it, GO ‘ROUND!