Sunday, May 29, 2005

About a year ago, the city finished improvements to the Boulevard, from the highway exits by the Diamond to Broad Street. Every now and then, I go that way to get on the highway. I must report that the unsightly diagonal parking spots between traffic lanes have been replaced by weedy, trash-collecting wastelands with a few yellow daylilies stuck in for good measure. In addition, little elbows of white PVC pipe sick out every 8 inches or so; I think they are an irrigation system. I take parking over collections of snack wrappers and cigarette butts any day.

To the garden: I waited to buy annuals for the garden because I kinda thought I had signed an agreement (in November??) to have a tree taken down, and I wanted to wait until those guys did their thing to plant delicate little flowers. Though there is no sign of the tree company (ok, ok, I will call again this week), I planted some impatiens, petunias, and a fuchsia yesterday, and they really do make the back yard look cheerier. The front porch got big pots of zinnias. If they do well, I'll have flowers for the house, too.
[Blogger's spellcheck doesn't know any flower names! That must make it hard on people who keep online garden journals.]

To the other website: Taken: Camp names on license plates.

At work, June 1 marks the launch of published behavior expectations for patrons: words that make it clear staff can ask you to take your cell phone outside, watch your own child, and quit enjoying pictures "harmful to minors" on that first computer screen that everyone walks by when they enter the building. I hear that some colleagues don't like even asking people to get off the phone, forget the tougher requests, and are very reluctant to enter this new world of creating "an environment friendly to all." Obviously, I worked as a camp counselor for too long: I don't think twice about asking people to get off the phone or shout less.

Capital City weather: sunny, breezy, heading up to 80

Sunday, May 22, 2005

It's a Boy!

My second nephew arrived last -- er, this morning, around half-past midnight. He was born at home (as planned). I think his 'rents are going with Timothy Brian, but I was tooooo sleeeepy to take it all in. Martin was not sleepy and kept Mom/Grandma and I up with endless ball-throwing, book-reading, and peek-a-booing.

Knitting: I got one bootie done before his arrival. . . . It turned out better than I expected. I find the navy blue cotton a bit hard to work with. (I know what you're thinking: what if baby had been a girl? Girls don't wear blue! Of course we do. But I might have made the bows that tie them on pink.)

Capital City weather
: Sunny and warm.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Who knew that possible new kitties for me to adopt could be freakish or illegal? Well, this blogger, for one.

Early morning weather: 48 and wildly sunny and clear, after yesterday's miserable rain. Obvioulsy, I am about to go to work.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This weekend: CUA Commencement.

Birdwatching from the picnic table in North Park's back yard: flicker, robin, catbird (again with this "shy" bird!), grackle.


Found me at Positive Vibe Cafe, with a surprising group of Valentine Museum alumni. Actually, I don't know what surprised me, after all, T told me who would be there; I know people get older; others of us see each other around all the time (Maggi, e.g., and Gregg, whose band played). Oddly, a professional colleague I run into often was two tables away. Perhaps it was surprising to see that group at one table, as we didn't socialize up the chain of command quite that much.

Many of us laborers in the mines of urban history did socialize, for lunch and after hours. I fondly recall T, the other Greg, and the summer intern at Jamestown; T, G, and I at the State Fair; G and his now-wife having CDF and I over for games night; and Jane's "house cooling" party, featuring the talking Last Supper clock and the "GO AWAY" door mat. I remember the lunchtime discussion of Time's article on Gen X.

I remember eating at the first Bottom's Up Pizza on 17th (?) St. We sat in cheap molded plastic chairs on the sidewalk on a warm evening and looked up at the closed train station, the abandoned RR Y, and the skyline beyond.

All that, plus Richmond History Seminars, curating two exhibitions, and being immersed in the Cook Collection. It was a perfect first job.

You know what else was odd? I feel certain that that restaurant / training ground occupies the space where I took ballet lessons in the 1970s.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Boing Boing: Real ID passes in US Senate. You know, many, many Regular Folks can't keep track of their library card. And when I say, We can use your driver's license this once; please bring your card next time, they don't have a driver's license on them, either. Privacy and other concerns aside, I think the government is kidding itself if it thinks we the people can keep up with a very important card.

Capital City weather
: sunny and 80s. Yay.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Local Roundup

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: Haircut 100, "Boy Meets Girl"
At the Byrd: "Million Dollar Baby"
On the front sidewalk: catbird

Friday, May 06, 2005


It's not a reflection of the quality of the book, it's a reflection of my blase attitude towards the Civil War. After a couple of false-starts, I finally finished Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Condfederate Capital (Nelson Lankford, 2002). He uses great primary sources such as diaries, letters, reports, and newspapers to capture the moods of Capital City as the distinction of being a national capital fizzled out. Two strong impression remain: the strength of Northern feelings; and the wrongs perpetrated on documents. I was familiar with Southern hatred towards the North for "doing this to us" and whatnot. Surprising to me was the vehemence of Northerner's jottings. For instance,
James Hane, a twice-wounded twenty-two-year-old corporal in Richmond with the 81st New York condemned [in a letter dated April 20, 1865] "traitors who deserve no better fate than to be hung between Heaven and earth for foul birds to pick their bones." (page 223)
As for the document record, Nelson described Confederate government officials striving to pack and take with them critical records as they prepared to evacuate. They planned to stay in business, and records management is part of doing business. In retrospect, we add the weight of history. What might we learn about the Confederacy if the records had stayed in tact? What wasn't packed was variously burned, left to drift up the streets, and recycled, it seems, as both wrapping and writing material. And then of course, there's the outrage of looters. Soldiers and visitors seeking souvenirs would even take from the White House items actually in use by the Union commanders using the building, not things used by Jefferson Davis.

Why should I be surprised? Destroying the records, history, and art of cultures is a standard way of conducting war. Consider the Taliban's destruction of the enormous Bamiyan Buddhas (see also this article). Librarians and archivists work to protect such places during war through the Blue Shield (and in other ways, I suspect).

New Reading: The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde.
Knitting: baby gift for new niece or nephew
Capital City weather: cold and rainy

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker links I put together at work. Not that any patrons have rushed in looking for more information.

I think I have cardinals nesting in the maple in front of my house.

Peregrine falcons on the First National building.
EPIC 2014: an exercise in future history that recognizes the power of popular demand over editorial (quality, if you will) control.