Friday, July 29, 2005

Dilworth House [Philadelphia, PA]

There was a meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission on July 28, 2005, the outcome: Philadelphia Historical Commission's Designation Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the commission retain its designation of the Dilworth house as a significant contributing building within the historic district.

What is a designation: Designation means the listing by the Historical Commission of a building, structure, site, object or district on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Cultural resources on the Philadelphia Register include neighborhoods, houses, churches, cemeteries, stores, bridges, street surfaces and horse watering troughs. They all have a recognizable place in the historical, cultural, architectural, archeological and educational values of the City, the State or the Nation. The Commission exercises a jurisdiction over any work that requires a building permit or that changes the appearance of designated properties.

Personally I think this is all bullshit. The Dilworth House located at 223-25 S. Sixth St. is in total disrepair, no one lives in or occupies the house; most recently it was occupied and used as office space. There is no question in my mind that the house should go and I am quite sure given Mayor Dilworth’s “accomplishments” as mayor he would agree that development of the property is more important than the structure, which was at one time his home. The neo-Colonial brick Dilworth house was built by Mayor Richardson Dilworth in 1957; designed by George Edwin Brumbaugh, well known for his Colonial Revival work. The house is seen as symbolic of Dilworth's commitment to Philadelphia. Richardson Dilworth was mayor of Philadelphia from 1956 to 1962. He died in 1974.

State Senator Fumo, who appeared briefly at the July 28th meeting, vowed to fight any demolition on the site and to find state funds to place the Dilworth house in a public trust, should it comes to that. Why should my tax dollars be wasted on this house? I would really love to hear an explanation.

The Society Hill Civic Association, the Queen Village Neighborhood Association, and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, all oppose altering the Dilworth designation.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


God I love crème brulee. I could eat this stuff everyday! I enjoy making it but since it is important to limit my intake I buy it pre-made. Some of my favorite recipes are available at

Recently found a frozen variety that is wonderful; it is available at Trader Joes in their frozen food department (it is a Trader Joes brand). This is a very bad discovery it makes it just too easy to prepare and eat!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Architectural musings:

I love beautiful buildings and great architecture. I appreciate very little modern construction -- just what is going on with modern architecture. There are the ubiquitous MacMansions: "a new, out-of-scale structure that is usually quite large (3000 sq. ft. on average) that does not fit into any neighborhood. These structures are usually tall and massive, losing the side yards to this mass and losing the front yards to large three-car garages and driveways. These ‘Tara on a quarter acre’ overwhelm the homes next to them. "MacMansions" stick out like a sore thumb, both architecturally and culturally." I really hate these houses and doubt if serious architects have anything to do with them. They are the product of greed and the bloated consumer economy.

I love this site -- " is one of the world's most extensive built environment portals, all courtesy of the Royal Institute of British Architects."

Another site I often look at is: Architecture Internet Resources a database of valuable internet resources created and maintained by the UNLV Architecture Studies Library.

Like everything else I have very specific opinions about what I like and what I don't like. And I guess I am highly critical of current architectural trends. Philadelphia has more than its share of new and current architecture and very little has any appeal to me. One architect that has some appeal is Robert Venturi, his firm is Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. I won't begin to describe his work but some is very interesting.

So I was surprised to see this design done by Robert Venturi [personally I think it looks much too industrial and it is too tall]: The Dilworth House. I have no problem with the demolition of the current house and reuse of the property but this building won't contribute to the neighborhood.

From the press release about the building "The Dilworth House, which will grace the east side of [Washington] Square, is flanked by the Athenaeum and the Lippincott Condominiums (the former L.P. Lippincott Publishers Building). The new building will replace a Chester County-style farmhouse designed by colonial revivalist G. Edwin Brumbaugh for Mayor Richardson Dilworth and his wife in 1957. The Chester County replica replaced two important early 19th century townhouses. Ironically, Brumbaugh’s design was a suburban gesture in an urban renewal context. The Venturi design honors both the scale and magnificence of the Square. The building will complete the composition of the Square’s east side, aligning the building with the streetscape. The materials of the façade complement the buildings of the Square with brownstone and limestone, and replace Brumbaugh’s colonial-revival brick and marble. The Dilworth House is designed to preserve light in the Athenaeum’s great stair and rear garden."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

(more) RANTS about Philadelphia:

What is this with torturing horses -- it is so hot and humid and they still allow the horse drawn carriages to operate. The horses are miserable and NO ONE does a thing to stop the abuse. My husband refers to me as a bug-hugger and I guess I am. I just hate to see these animals suffer so much for absolutely no reason! Tourism bull-shit!

Philadelphia smells like raw sewage! I walk to and from work everyday and pretty much traverse Center City and it stinks and the hotter it gets, the worse the smell gets. Odors escape from the street drains, people piss and shit on the street, people don't clean up after their pets, the list goes on and on and the city smells worse and worse. Not to mention all the exhaust fumes and people standing around outside smoking -- this is not a pleasant place to be.

City of Philadelphia Water Department: Urban Water Cycle Philadelphia has over 2,960 miles of sewers. That’s enough to stretch from the east to the west coast of the United States. Philadelphia's neighborhoods use a separate sewer system. This system collects and transports sanitary waste to a water pollution control plant in a sanitary sewer. Stormwater is transported to a stream via a storm sewer. Our combined sewers are currently designed so that during heavy storm events, stormwater overflows are diverted to our local streams and rivers. Combined sewers transport a combination of stormwater and sanitary waste. When overflows occur, the water is diverted to waterways instead of going to one of our water pollution control plants where we would normally treat it to remove pollutants and debris.

Doesn't that sound reassuring? All that crap I see and smell is just washing into either the Delaware or the Schuylkill River.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Web surfing:

Of possible interest?

ONE The campaign to make poverty history. “WE BELIEVE that in the best American tradition of helping others help themselves, now is the time to join with other countries in a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty. WE RECOGNIZE that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs – education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans – would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the US budget. WE COMMIT ourselves - one person, one voice, one vote at a time - to make a better, safer world for all.”

Zebra Hall: The Extraordinary Toy Shop

The Curmudgeony Librarian Superstore The Curmudgeony Librarian Superstore: "the place for all your librarian gear needs. We feature reading, books, and library related apparel. Tees, shirts, baby clothes, journals, stickers, and more are here. Our gift items include buttons, drinkware, magnets, teddy bears, tote and messenger bags, and tons of other library and book items and apparel for smart and discriminating buyers."

Jenni Bick Bookbinding One of a kind handmade books: Specializing in handmade photo albums, scrapbooks, and journals in handmade paper and leather.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"I cannot live without books"

A quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson -- I feel the same way. I love books. I work all day with books and I have books everywhere in my house (too many books). I actually want to start getting rid of large portions of my collection. I've worked in libraries so long I just don't want to burden any place with gift books even if I think my books are great most libraries just are not staffed to handle gift collections. I've been looking around at all the books in the house that I intend to read -- the list goes on and on. Obviously no one can read everything that is published so I'm trying to be selective. I try to limit fiction to authors that I really enjoy. of course new books are constantly published which makes it very hard to "catch up." I try not to buy books anymore with the exception of those that I want to add to my permanent collection. I am fortunate to work at a small research institution that maintains a small lending library. The library acquires most non-fiction and fiction bestsellers on a monthly basis and the books are available to the staff.

I just read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is Elizabeth Kostova's first novel, and it is a good book. In the afterword she mentions her visit to Philadelphia and her visit to an institution that can only be The Rosenbach Museum & Library.

Yesterday was one of the most unpleasant days of my life! I got to jury duty at 8:15 AM and I was finally dismissed at 6:00 PM others were still being held captive and the judge said they might go as late at 7:30 PM or until she could seat a jury. At 6:00 they had 10 jurors. The case involved 14 counts of rape, sodomy, terrorist threats, aggravated assault, the victims were all children ages 6 to 12 at the time of the crimes. They predict the trial will go through August. I could have kissed the ground when I was dismissed. I would have been a terrible person to have on the jury because just seeing the person charged I thought he "looked guilty" -- now that is really fair!

Sunday, July 10, 2005


This morning one of the fish in my aquarium died. It makes me sad. I'd rescued these fish from an Iranian New Year's Celebration in 2000 and they lived a very happy life. Two large goldfish in a 20 gallon aquarium. Mr. White was five years old and doing very well until about a week ago. I think he had a stroke. His little friend seems fine. It is really hard to tell about fish emotions. I buried the fish in my garden near the rose bushes.

Our AC stopped working last night. I called the emergency number but so far no relief!

Tomorrow I have jury duty I know that I should consider this a civic duty but all I can think about are ways to escape. I can't stand the idea of being there and I just want it over! I'll take a book and my cross-stitch and hopefully the hours will just fly by!

Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July!

I always miss my Grandfather so much but the 4th of July has such special memories. Every 4th of July he would take me and my Grandmother to Elitch Gardens [Denver] (it was so wonderful when I was a kid not the theme park it has become. But we always spent the afternoon, had a picnic dinner, and then we'd watch the fireworks. It was always special.

I think about my Grandfather so often he died in 1972 but I still think about him almost everyday. Not morbid thoughts just really great memories. He was a wonderful, kind and gentle man. I still have many of his wonderful recipes from his bakery and make them every once in awhile. I've modified many of the recipes so that I can make one cake, one batch of cookies, or one or two loaves of bread -- all of his recipes made very large quanities. I never learned his art of making great pie crusts but I pretty good at everything else. I'd love to own a bakery but it is definitely VERY HARD work!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Elton John is going to perform this evening and so it Pattie Labelle. It is great weather for the concert and the fireworks. Hopefully everyone in the neighborhood stays sane but that is asking a lot considering the nasty renters that live next door, they are so obnoxious. Would you ever think of peeing on your neighbors garage door? Thank you Mitch you are such a pain!

Sunday, July 03, 2005


This is the message I just sent to my husband -- I give up!

Okay, I give up!

My contract goes through December. They already told me they will probably want to renew it but that won’t change my mind.

We should decide some things.

Pennsylvania probably isn't as civilized as most states even Virginia will grant a "non-contested" divorce in 6 months. But to get a divorce we can't be living in the same house. So that will have to wait. But if this is going to work it has to be a non-contested divorce -- none of my stuff is your -- none of your stuff is mine. We only split what we own jointly.

The house – we need to get an appraisal. Then sell or one of us buy it from the other.

Household items: decide what is what.

I’ll start working with a moving company – I’d rather be the one to move since I know where I want to go (maybe you do too --but you never tell me anything so I’ll assume this is where you want to be).

I’ll try to be out of here by mid-January depending on the weather where I'm moving.

Also you probably need to communicate this to H.& W. since I have been talking with them about a visit the end of October or early November for your birthday.

Too bad it has to end this way but there is no point in dragging this out any longer!

Another party!

Salsa on the Parkway July 3 from 2PM to 8PM! Near Logan's Circle. Fun, fun, fun!

IT IS AMAZING! they actually managed to get all the live 8 trash cleaned up! THANK YOU everyone who had to work so hard. Too bad people are such slobs and that there was so much trash but it looks great. We'll have to see the clean-up job after the 4th of July!

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Went for a walk along the Parkway when live 8 ended how sad. The trash was amazing. I talked with total strangers and everyone was commenting on the amount of trash just left on the ground. I found a brand new baby stroller full of baby stuff, lawn chairs, barbeque grills (one with food still cooking), a $10 bill and 2 $1’s, plus lots of change. Another woman found a camcorder, camera bag, and $800. Walking out there made me think that people had suddenly vanished. How could they leave so much behind? I only walked a few blocks but I encountered others who had been walking for a while and everyone was commenting on all the stuff they had found. I talked with some Japanese tourist who could not get over the waste. They were truly astounded.

All my neighbors and I also went out at the end of the concert and cleaned up trash on Pennsylvania Avenue. Everyone who was watching live 8 near here just dumped their trash on the street. I filled eight large garbage bags. Disgusting!

I talked with one of my neighbors and all he kept saying was I have to move, this is so disgusting! Why do we have to put up with this?

Of course one of our “neighbors” also rents his house (Mitch) and the people he rents to are dreadful. They have constant parties, are usually drunk, they spread trash everywhere, and tonight the police chased one of the young men down and gave him a citation for disorderly conduct. You’d think this was the ghetto! Of course Mitch thinks he is so wonderful and that all of us owe him something. Another reason to leave this town!

I was interviewed by the BBC, they probably weren't ready for all my comments. Loved their accents!


Sylvester M. Johnson and his merry boys are obviously drinking the booze NOT allowed at live 8 since over 75% of the people I've seen and been near are drinking beer (and other things)! Too bad -- they just don't get it -- you have to enforce all the rules not just the ones you think might make you popular!

The people of PHILADELPHIA are complete and absolute SLOBS there are trash receptacles every where for live 8 and where do they put their trash -- on the GROUND! Please, that is SO obnoxious!

There are lots and lots of people at live 8! It is hot. I got a great T-shirt -- the money supposedly goes to help the poverty in Africa. I hope so!

My cats hate all the noise -- but living this close to the Parkway there is no escape. Jack loves motorcycles! Every time a V.I.P. police escort goes by he wanders out from his hiding space to watch the motorcycles! Very funny kitty.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Some things are impossible!

Living in the PRACTICE area for a major ROCK show (live 8) really sucks. I love good music but I have yet to hear any, so far it has all just been noise. They may think they are good but outdoor performances are obviously the wrong venue for these bands! They practiced all Friday afternoon -- probably the best show and I'm sure better than the actual live 8 (and NO crowds!)

THE BANDS: Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Def Leppard, Destiny's Child, Josh Groban, Jars Of Clay, Jay-Z, Kaiser Chiefs, Toby Keith, Alicia Keys, Sarah McLachlan, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Will Smith, Rob Thomas, Keith Urban, Stevie Wonder

LOVE Stevie Wonder, he will be the last performer tomorrow!

I still find it hard to imagine that a city that cuts funds for education, libraries, and other necessities can find the money to fund a fiasco like this concert!