There’s an outstanding profile of my neighbor and friend Rob Chamberlin in this month’s Encore magazine. His life is exactly as magical as they describe it, and every meal or conversation I have with him and his wife Suzanne is remarkable. Rob’s a heck of a guy, and one of the things I admire most about him is that he leaves his life open for miracles and mysteries, and they find him with unerring timing. Check out the article here.
The Signal boosts of the week go to two Kalamazoo artists —
First to my husband Paul Sizer, who’s got a show of his posters up at The Bureau during this Friday’s Art Hop. The Bureau is a co-working office on the Kalamazoo Mall, where entrepreneurs and freelancers can rent professional space. It’s a great asset to downtown Kalamazoo, and we’re really happy that they invited Paul to show his work. If you’re in the area this Friday, stop by and have a look!
The second signal boost goes to Judy Sarkozy of Sarkozy Bakery, who just announced that she’s re-opening after the tragic fire that wiped out her business earlier this year. The new space will be right downtown (hooray!) in the Columbia Plaza, just down the street from Bimbo’s Pizza, and only a couple blocks from her old location. This is such good news, and I’m so excited that we’ll have Judy and her staff of wonderful bakers back where they belong, with brand new ovens, and the same great recipes. I can’t wait to buy my first loaf of Brewer’s Bread — but in the meantime, if you want to help, you can attend one of their fundraisers — including visiting them at the Art Hop! — or, soon, you can buy your bread ahead!
Went to my very first ever Roller Derby Bout tonight at Wings Stadium, and now I suddenly get what all the fuss was about. It was amazing! And man, those Killamazoo girls can skate! They trounced the Muskegon team by over 150 points. Paul and I were most impressed by Javelin, who skates so fast it makes my head hurt. Favorite Derby Name of the Night: Auntie Gravity, who was voted MVJ (Most valuable Jammer) from the Muskegon team.
A buddy of mine was head ref for the Detroit League for a number of years, and to my regret and consternation, I never got out to see him. Tonight I am extra sad, as I can only imagine how much more fun a bout would’ve been with him dressed as Evel Knievel.
I don’t think I’ve got the skill or tough hide it’d take to be a derby girl, but I know I’ll be in the stands from now on. Awesome!
Man, the Kalamazoo River oil spill is just heartbreaking. Nearly a million gallons of crude, dumped right in my back yard, gives me new respect for the horror the Gulf Coast’s been going through. Terrible pictures of oil-slicked Canada geese and muskrats are everywhere, and the beautiful river I’d been hoping to kayak tonight is ruined all over again.
Poor Kalamazoo River. It’s been the dumping grounds for all sorts of heinous shit for as long as western settlers have been here. Things were finally looking up — after years and years of Superfund cleanup and local efforts, the river was clean enough to sport and play in, again. Festivals, like Kanoe the Kazoo, sprang up in an effort to lure residents, long taught to avoid the smelly watershed, back to the rejuvenated river. And now it’s all gone, those years of effort will have to start all over again, thanks to one company’s negligence.
The summer-long Kalamazoo Water Festival — sponsored by the watershed council — couldn’t be more timely. Maybe the last few events of the year will be turned into volunteer cleanup parties. God knows we’ll need it.
I confess that I’m kind of scared to volunteer, myself, though this is kind of thing is right up my alley. But something’s got to be done, and we can’t count on the folks who made this mess to clean it up.
So this last Saturday, I spent all day volunteering at two separate community gardens. The first is down at the end of my street in the Vine Neighborhood, and I was really thrilled to see all the folks who stopped by to help. I got to meet neighbors I’ve lived near for literal years and never met. I’m really looking forward to getting the majority of the plants in the ground over the next few weeks — it seems like a really dedicated enthusiastic bunch, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of new friends afterwards. The Vine Neighborhood really needs more stuff like this to get us all out of our houses and interacting — it’s way too easy for us to just go to work and come home and never talk to one another. (On a side note, Paul and I have really been enjoying how many folks we’ve been meeting lately as we all use the park across the street to exercise our dogs. It’s good times!)
The second place I worked was at Peace House — and just like this awesome workday last year about a hundred local volunteers showed up from various churches, colleges and high schools. All the neighborhood kids volunteered too — and just like last year, most of them worked harder than the high schoolers, who seemed to prefer leaning on their shovels rather than using them. We built four enormous new raised beds and shoveled a dumptruck’s worth of compost into them, and added a huge sandbox to the playground. Peace House also just got some really good news — they received a grant to put in a fruit orchard of 18 dwarf trees! Soon they’ll have apples, pears, peaches and cherries to compliment their strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. I’m trying to convince them to put a grape arbor in, too.
Yay for community!
Well, it’s for good reason. The People’s Food Co-op really deserves a massive shout-out for all their hard work on this issue, especially Chris Dilley and Elizabeth Forest. Unlike most other crunchy-granola organizations, they’re not about the food suppliments and high-end specialty items that only the well-to-do can purchase regularly — they’re about bringing healthy, affordable, local food to the community — and in Kalamazoo, making that food available with WIC/EBT/Bridge programs is essential. When the Coop had their first big outlay of seedlings this spring, I was delighted to see signs up next to them saying you could buy them with your Bridge card — so if you wanted to start a little window-box of lettuces and have fresh, cheap salad all summer long, you could lay out the $3 and be all set. How awesome is that? If you local folks have neighbors who might not know about this, spread the word, so that everybody can take advantage of this great resource
Rock on, Food Coop, and Farmer’s Market. You make this city such a good place to live.