April 15, 2016

Southperry'hood still not perfect and still our neighborhood

Friday, April 15, 2016 Posted by Ryan No comments

One of the things I love best about my neighborhood is that we're not all the same. People of different ages, different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different incomes, different political views all live in South Perry. And for all of the changes in the last 10 years, so much has stayed the same. Most of my neighbors are the same people who've been here for over 10 years. We still walk the dogs up the street and get coffee at the Shop and enjoy seeing people gather in the parking lot on warm Saturday nights for the free Summer movies. People from all over Spokane now come to South Perry for pizza, flowers, our farmers market (Thursday Market), beer, and to hear Sir Mix-a-lot. True, many of these people wouldn't have dared come down here before the recent revitalization, but then we didn't give them much of a reason to either.

We're interlopers, the new people, and self-described yupsters (Yuppie/Hipster). We bought our house in the South Perry neighborhood in 2007 at the height of the housing bubble, and just before the crash, after two years of searching and looking for our forever house. We had narrowed our search to West Central and South Perry with the desire to live close to downtown and in an established neighborhood -- that we could afford. Even in this neighborhood our house was a bit more than we felt comfortable spending but we saw the potential - of the house and the neighborhood. We decided to take the chance that over time our house payments would feel more affordable. We love our house. We are only the second family to live here since it was built in the 1920s. The original owner of our house lived here until he died here at 101. The woman who lived across the street from us when we moved in also lived to be 100 and my sister's elderly next door neighbor lives in the house that he inherited from his mother. People stay in this neighborhood long term. My sister and her family moved into the neighborhood when they came here from Portland, OR. They couldn't afford to buy a house there but now live near us in a four-bedroom home with chickens in the backyard. We walk to each other's houses and share power tools and plants. Their kids come over when we have barbecues in our backyard and play with our next door neighbor's kids with whom we share a driveway. I don't know all of my neighbors names but we say hi to them when we walk the dogs and they're on their front porch or in the garden. We see our neighbors at The Lantern where we've become regulars and can join in any conversation when we stop by. We see kids playing in the park. Kids who walked or rode their bikes to the park by themselves, the big ones looking after the littler ones. We see families in the park at the playground or having a birthday party or playing basketball with their kids. We see little league baseball practices and games and hipsters playing kickball games. We see the running club go up the hill and then back down the hill, weaving through Liberty Park and coming back up along I-90.

I know there are dangers with "gentrification" where budding entrepreneurs and hipster couples buy up cheap houses and change a neighborhood but I haven't seen that happen in South Perry. Zillow sends me emails with updates about the "value" of my home and according to their metric, it haven't even rebounded to the value it was when we purchased it before the housing crash. Most houses for sale in the area are selling for prices similar to 2007 (before there was any thing much going on). I've seen a few houses fixed up and sold for more money but they tend to be on the southern border of the neighborhood and well, I couldn't afford those houses 10 years ago either. The neighborhood is still a mix of houses with neatly maintained yards mixed with those that needed a paint job in 1996. We have vacant lots and empty storefronts but I hope that someone has a vision and fills those spaces soon. Our neighborhood businesses aren't started by outsiders looking to turn their money into quick profit. Many of the shops on Perry are owned and operated by people who live right here in the neighborhood. They invested their time, efforts and money into making our neighborhood better. You can walk down the street at night now and see people and lights and life on the street. You see the business owners at work at their shops and we know many by name.

I'm glad that people want to come to my neighborhood for dinner or to meet up with friends for a drink. Come, spend your money here, enjoy a walk down the street and come back for our annual street fair in July. Please don't park your car in front of anyone's driveway, we have plenty of places to park if you just walk a few blocks. Better yet, take the #45 bus or ride your bike. We even have a bike shop down the street if you're in need of a tune up or even a new bike.

I'm so glad that we are able to live in South Perry. We still have work to do on our house to bring it's systems up to date and we have one of those paint jobs that's needed to be repainted for 20 year but we're working on things as we can. Meanwhile we'll continue to enjoy our neighborhood shops and parks and our easy access to downtown and the NY Italian sausage at Sonnenberg's,  Pho at Vien Dong and we'll pick up groceries and produce at Bay's (Best Asian Market) or pop over to the new Bennidito's on Sprague. I hope our neighborhood continues it's positive improvements and we're definitely not pushing out those who are brown, or poor, or different. We can make it a nice place, a safe place to live for all of us. 

This post was written in response to an article in The Inlander: Gentrification's Downside - Displacement and the loss of an imperfect but honest neighborhood

March 24, 2015

spring biking (#errandonnee challenge)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 Posted by Ryan No comments
For the last two years I've participated in the National Bike Challenge but it's been a mostly internal/lonely endeavor. I ride my bike, I log my miles, that's it. This spring I got caught up in the idea of joining one of Chasing Mailboxes' bike challenges which have actual rules, and accountability, and a #social component. I considered the 2014 #coffeeneuring challenge but I realized I don't go to coffee shops that often and it could be rather expensive to ride to a shop and buy coffee just to tick the boxes. The newly coined #errandonnee challenge though, that's just going places I was already going to, and to perhaps purchase what I was already going to buy. This one I could do.

spoiler: I didn't quite complete the challenge with only 11 errands in 12 days. I don't normally have that many places to go but I made a valiant effort and had a very busy weekend!

#errandonnee 2015


#1: We're in Seattle for the weekend and I had to try the bike share. Also, I'm tired and don't want to walk back to the hotel if I can bike instead.
Type: Personal Care
Mileage: 1.6

#2: I'm late for the neighborhood meeting so I bike instead of walking to shave a few minutes off.
Type: Personal Business
Mileage: 0.8


#3: I'm riding my bike to work for the first time this year and the first time to a new job. I haven't ridden this exact route before but I've mapped it out. Saw 10 turkeys in someones yard on the way there.
Type: Work or Volunteering
Mileage: 11.4


#4: I have a meeting before work and I don't want to be late so I give myself 15 minutes to get there. It only takes 7 and everyone else was late.
Type: Non-store errand
Mileage: 1.6

#5: I ride to work after my meeting, then home in the afternoon. There are a lot more people on bikes than I usually see and the same rider passes me three times (or it's three different men on red road bikes wearing a high vis jacket and a black backpack - both scenarios are believable). Also, deer!
Type: Work or Volunteering
Mileage: 12

#6: My sister an I ride downtown to the Uncharted Territory collaboration concert and lock our bikes to the power pole support wire. The other three people who ride bikes to the event lock up to the chain link fence poles. We're all near the event security guards. Hipster events should have hipster bike parking, no?
Type: Arts and Entertainment
Mileage: 3.95


#7: Morning ride to a neighborhood gym for a Yelp Fit event. The gym doesn't have any bike racks so I lock up to one of the railings.
Type: Personal Care
Mileage: 1.09

#8: I may have been the last person to finish the workout, but I'm going to treat myself to a coffee downtown and stop in for a quick visit.
Type: Social Call
Mileage: 0.75

#9: Despite the rain, the annual St. Patrick's Day parade winds through down town. I watch for a bit and then wind my way along the route to my next stop.
Type: Arts and Entertainment
Mileage: 0.75

#10: I check one of my social media apps to see if anyone I know is downtown for the parade and stop in for a beer with some guys from work.
Type: Social Call
Mileage: 1.09

#11: Stopped by the market to pick up beets, salmon and cabbage and then headed home.
Type: Store
Mileage: 1.635

Total Mileage: 35.575

October 25, 2011

below freezing, but ready for outdoor entertaining

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Posted by Ryan , No comments
The temperature dropped below freezing for the first time last night and I broke out both the window scraper and my winter coat for the first time. Today was the first day in over six months that I've worn a coat to work, previously just grabbing a scarf. So the cut off for no coat wearing is actual freezing temperatures. We will also be having the celebratory patio barbeque in the now freezing weather. By the way, we finished (almost) the patio. Projects that bridge the seasons seem like they took forever to complete, but then it was almost two months ago that we started. We started digging out for the patio in 90+ degree heat at the beginning of September and just this Sunday realized that if we didn't get the rest of the pavers set soon, they'd be covered in snow. The backyard still looks like a construction site with a giant pile of dirt/rocks, stacks of concrete from the small slab we cut out, piles of crumbled clay bricks from the old window well that we rebuilt, and pallets that need to go back to the paver company so I can get my deposit back. But, the patio surface is done. After we fill in the dirt around the perimeter and sand between the pavers, it will be even more done. Maybe that will even happen before the snow comes.

October 21, 2011

Out of town

Friday, October 21, 2011 Posted by Ryan No comments
We went to Leavenworth last weekend for the end of Oktoberfest and Paul ran in the half-marathon. I didn't take a single picture - I'm horrible about taking pictures. The weather cooperated and it was cool and crisp and sunny almost the entire time. Apparently they get over 300 days of sunshine a year (compared to our 260). I wore my blue corduroy blazer and my "fancy" scarf and that kept me plenty warm even at night. We ate German food and drank beer didn't do much else. Paul bought five packages of landjägers and I found one of my new favorite teas.

As I stood browsing and waffling in the tea store, the shop assistants kept asking if I wanted help, or if they could scoop anything for me. The shop is tiny with the long wall on the side cover with two rows of large glass jars filled with tea. Every tea has a corresponding tiny glass jar for sniffing to discourage customers from opening the big jars to get a whiff. I let one of the girls give me some suggestions and she picked out a few teas for me to smell. But you don't really know until you try it. I did buy three of the teas, they sell them buy the ounce, and after a few cups, I'm looking at where to buy more of the Cream Earl Green. It's light (because it's a green tea) with a creamy texture, but not sweet and a little smokey (bergamot). The tea also has blue coneflower petals which make it pretty, I don't know if or how they affect the flavor, but they look pretty. While I was looking for more of the Cream Earl Green, I found another tea called the Dorian Grey Blend. I know it's like picking a book based on it's cover, but I have to try that too.

August 2, 2011

Dog 2.0

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 Posted by Ryan , No comments
Flynn in the chair

After just 2 months, I can't imagine not choosing to take Flynn home, but why did we pick a dog who:

  • Licks things (like my feet, the sheets, my leg, the couch...)
  • Likes to sleep on his back
  • Has a super loud bark
  • Wants to lay on my lap
  • Has giant ears that actually hurt if you're too close when he shakes
  • Carries shoes around, and occasionally nibbles on them

Flynn upside down
I guess we could have done worse.

July 7, 2011


Thursday, July 07, 2011 Posted by Ryan No comments
Last Month...We got a new dog. Flynn. Pictures eventually.

Last Week...I finished sewing a pair of shorts with a full fly zip (i am very proud of the zipper, it was the first time ever for that technique) then wore them three times.

Last Night...I watered my yard for the first time this summer.

In the last hour...I ate a popsicle.

March 23, 2011

Cleaning products

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 Posted by Ryan 4 comments
I don't use a lot of commercial cleaning products and totally jumped on the hippie bandwagon of cleaning primarily with vinegar and baking soda. I've tried the no-poo thing for a month, but it didn't work for me. Recently I've decided to try an make my own hair conditioner and lip balm and peppermint foot lotion. I haven't actually made any yet, but I have rounded up some of the harder to find ingredients. Now I just have to make a batch.

I haven't completely abandoned the cleaning isle at the grocery store however. I did discover that you can refill the foaming hand soap dispensers with any soap you like. Just dilute the soap with water. It really cuts down on how much soap you use, especially if you have anyone in your house that likes to double or triple pump. I've been using Dr. Bronner's Peppermint castile soap in the kitchen and a lavender castile soap made by Seattle Organics. It seems that you're supposed to use a 3:1 or 4:1 water to soap ratio, but I just eyeball it and probably err on the side of more water.

I saw today that Method has a new dish washing soap pump bottle. I buy the big jug of Kirkland dishwashing soap and refill an old grocery store sized bottle to keep on the counter. But the Method bottle is pretty, and the pump controls how much soap comes out. It seems crazy to pay 3.99 for a bottle of dish washing soap, but I only have to buy it once to get the pretty bottle and refill it with what ever i want. The reviews are mixed on the pump bottle, but I really want it to work. We'll see.