Monday, September 7, 2009

Honest Scrap Award and a birthday

Hey, I won an award!!
It comes by way of Premium T
and it's called the Honest Scrap Award.

Here's what she said about me:
(One of the conditions of accepting this award is you have to brag about it! No problem!)

Robin, urban-planner/architect/
visionary, writes with conviction and passion
about the need for sustainable communities.
A resident of suburbia, she acknowledges both
the beauty and bane of our 21st century landscape,
and approaches it all with an optimism
to be admired and emulated.

And listen to what they say about T:

Premium T.'s blog is filled with the beauty with which she
walks through her beautiful world...However, she's never
sticky sweet, cloying or in lalala land. She sees what is
there...It is my conviction that if there were more
T's in the world, there would be less need
for other kinds of scrappers.

It's all true, too. Just check out yesterday's nonsense-fairy-tale which brought a little sunshine to a very rainy day...

Now one of the really difficult award rules to follow is number 3, in which you must choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. I'm guessing that it'll be ok if I do this over the course of seven days, or seven weeks, depending on how organized I am.

I will also attempt over the next week or month to comply with rule 5, which tells me to list ten honest things about myself. Wow. I don't know if I can list one. Or if I'll be able to stop at ten. And really, does anybody really care? We'll see. (below)

Without any hesitation my first choice for the Honest Scrap Award is Sean at eff-stop local.

His photos are brilliant recordings of the ordinary and the everyday in a place not usually associated with artistic inspiration: Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, and specifically the neighborhood of Newport Hills. Full disclosure here: he's my husband and partner in the crime of committing to posterity loving observations of our neighborhood. He's also very good at photographing the world outside our neighborhood, as his other blog eff stop international proves. In both design and content, his blogs expand the idea of community involvement through the artistic process with understated humor and originality. Here are a few samples of his work from this year. Bravo!

The Red Apple in January

From his homage to garage doors

Painterly close-ups of car paint

Whether it's mailboxes, loading docks or car shows, eff-stop proves that to survive as an artist in the burbs you need an artist's eye, a keen sense of the absurd, and the wit to know the difference!

And thank-you T. You and Citizen K have been loyal midwives throughout the 9-month "labor" of love that has been this blog. Hey, it's Labor Day!

How absolutely perfect that these awards arrive on the day of an important milestone, a sort of birth-day. If my blog were a baby, conceived on January 7 of this year, and if my math is correct, today would be her due date. She'd be born on or around today. September 7.

Here's a look back at the day of little Elegy's conception:

The Red Apple is No More

After two or three weeks of daily walks to collect groceries, gossip and a little break from our snowbound existence we saw that our beloved Red Apple grocery store is up for sale. Everything 25 percent off. Business is booming.

So what will things look like a year from now? Newport Hills has sustained not one but two boxy grocery stores in its center for decades. Right across the street from each other. The original Albertsons became Stod's Batting Cages, and the Red Apple has shrunk in square footage, repurposing itself over the years. It used to have more foot traffic, a more diverse identity: featuring video rentals, popcorn and a US Post office. Now it still serves a function for gathering--the deli was remodeled to accomodate seating. It's where I always knew I could find my house contractor on his lunch break.

Part of this is sentimentality: my children entered the coloring contests at Christmas and Halloween all their lives. This is where mothers oversaw their daughters sale of Girl Scout cookies, and dads wandered the parking lot with their sons at the annual Classic Cars show. I never actually witnessed it myself, but I'm sure the semi-annual lobster drop was something.

I'll have to find my CAP (Consumer Advantage Pricing) elsewhere. My husband will especially miss those cryptic messages displayed in the parking lot entrance:
chk brst 4.99
H20melon 79/lb
grnd rnd 3.99

Yesterday at Whole Foods an ex-Apple checker looked for a dry cart for me, after a hurried walk across the parking lot in driving rain. He still doesn't recognize me, after ten years! That gave me pause. I realize I have some mixed emotion, and perhaps a little cautious optimism for the future of our neighborhood's center.

So the future: will a smaller grocery store come in? Will it sit empty and abandoned for a year or two? Is there a developer out there who may be interested? Maybe not now, but after the economy picks up? What works in this kind of demographic? Do we have any say at all in the process which is probably dominated by men in suits who live in California?

I plan to watch and learn.

It's meant so much to me to produce a blog. It's a complete joy. For one thing, I get the chance to record any time I want, anything I want. I can play with photos, paintings, music in a totally unique way. For another thing, I have watched people grow artistically in the last nine months to an incredible degree. I can interact with others who produce wonderful blogs, much better than mine, and engage in a dialogue with anyone who cares to comment. It's not going to change the world, but it has certainly changed me.

And the third thing is this: as far as I can tell I'm the only person blogging about Seattle's suburb to the east, Bellevue. My goal is to prove myself wrong and find others who care about building a sense of community that only the people who live there can achieve. I hope I'm wrong and that the coming months will show that there are others here who care too.

I've found that my interests go beyond design and planning, neighborhood and third places, parks, community gardens and, yes, even astroturf!

On this "birthday" I hope to introduce a second blog, a spin-off as it were, of my Red Apple Jukebox entries. I've discovered something new I'd like to explore and share, and feel it's time to add a new member to the Red Apple family. Red Apple Elegy will stay and focus on issues of planning, neighborhoods, and design. And grocery stores (or the lack thereof), first and foremost!

Red Apple Jukebox will focus on dance music. Because it can. And because everybody needs an outlet. And it's also my number 1 honest thing I can say about myself: I love to dance. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Lora said...

I left a little something for you on my Urbanity blog!