Friday, June 20, 2008

Berries, Gatos, and the West Ward Council Idiots

Oi. I read the paper this morning about how city council, without the presence of East Ward councilman, Gino Melone, and South Ward councilman, Jim Coston, approved some some significant expenditures introduced by the administration to council at the last minute. Annette Lartigue, the West Ward councilwoman, protested the timing at last night's meeting, but nonetheless voted "aye" for not only Mayor Palmer's 11th hour request to triple the number of Trenton's full-time municipal court judges, but she (along with her other West Ward, at-large automatons, Paul Pintella, and Cordelia Staton) also voted to approve $10,000 in payments to the legal firm that is FIGHTING council and the citizens in former police director Joseph Santiago's residency lawsuit. She also, by the way (again, along with Pintella and Staton), voted to approve $30,000 in legal fees to the firm representing (if you can call it that) the city in this case. The lawyer representing the citizens in this lawsuit, George Dougherty, is working pro bono (thank you for your commitment to the city, sir). The taxpayers are the ones ultimately paying the price for Mayor Palmer's and former Police Director Joe Santiago's folly, and it is abundantly clear that Annette Lartigue and her vacuous at-large cohorts from the West Ward are completely cool with that.


It was very early when I read this, and it made me very angry. And also, very hungry.

Glen is home today, so I made egg-and-cheese sandwiches (which were delicious, by the way), and then went outside to what's become a damn thicket of blackberries in the back corner of my yard. Last year, I got about 10 ripe ones a day, and made the mistake of thinking I'd get ambitious and make ice cream or something with them, so I froze them, 10 at a time, for the whole time they were in season. And then, I wound up not doing anything with them, which is criminal. So this year, I vowed to eat whatever I picked each day. My blackberry bushes went nutso this year, sending up tons of new growth all over that back area, but I didn't expect much in the way of fruit. I am happily mistaken, though I cannot reach all the berries without slicing my skin (the bushes have thorns).

I hope Glen will eat some of these with me; I am planning, despite the abundance, to eat them all, and not freeze any.

Maybe life is a bowl of blackberries?
The Christmas Cactus belonged to my mother; my father gave it to us last weekend, and as much as I enjoy gardening, I have a hard time with houseplants, so I hope
I can keep it alive.

We have some new neighbors next door. It's a rental, but home to a very nice Spanish family. The landlady is a bit insane, though; I blogged about her last year when she got up in the mulberry tree — which straddles our property — barefoot, with a machete, and hacked away her side of the canopy. I do hate that tree, but felt bad after her violent assault. But mulberries are tough, native trees, and are so resilient. Now, my neighbors don't have the constant dribble of purple mash all over their yard, like we do, for nearly one whole month, but there is new growth all over this tree: nature's little way of saying "Screw you, Machete Lady!" I tried for awhile to embrace the mulberry; to harvest its abundant, but fairly bland berries and turn them into liquors, salad dressings, jams, etc., but there's no keeping up with it, and try as I might, I am no Martha Stewart, besides. The one decent thing about this tree, though, even if it has stained the shit out of our new slate patio, is that it draws the birds away from my tastier, and more precious blackberries.

I mention my new neighbors because one of our local stray cats, the adorable, but whorish, Liz (mother of Hardscrabble, whom I've mentioned a few times on this blog), decided to have her latest litter of kittens next door; at least that's what we think; we're not 100% sure. We have tried a few times to capture her, to bring her to the vet to get spayed, but we always wind up with another cat in the trap instead. Liz is a whore, and elusive! Anyway, the new neighbors love their two little gatos (or, technically gatitos, I suppose), and have set up a little KittyLand (GatitoLand??) Play Center for them out back. It's nice to not have all the responsibility on our shoulders anymore. Despite the toys, the two little kittens, who are quickly becoming quite tame, enjoy sitting in the mulberry tree, so they can watch Steve, our new young puppy, run around our yard like a complete imbecile (at least Steve has an excuse, Annette: his brain is only the size of a walnut, if that). While I was picking my blackberries, I heard rustling in the tree above me, and at first assumed it was birds, who also try their best to eat up all the mulberries, but it's just never enough. Never. Anyway, it wasn't the birds, but rather, the gatitos, trying to get a better look at me.

Glen was watching from the window, and brought me my camera, so I was not only able to document this morning's berry harvest, but also the two little Mulberry Tree Monsters.


Mulberry Tree Monsters

Anyway, despite the yummy breakfast sandwich, and the bowl of berries, and finding two cute kittens watching me from the high branches above, and watching Steve prance around the yard with a cat toy in his mouth, my mood is still sour. How do our representatives get away with NOT representing the people? How can they not be offended that the administration thinks so little of them to not give them any warning about needing major financial approvals? How can this happen? Ask around: it doesn't happen anywhere else but Trenton, and we need to put an end to it. We need an overhaul in the West Ward, and we need a new mayor.

1 comment:

Mister Clean said...

Mulberry trees are a scourge. Ours has left its mark in more ways than I care to mention. If it were not the only source of shade on one side of the Clean Castle, it would be long, long gone by now. Long gone.

I'm too disgusted to respond to the antics of West Ward Councilthing Large-tigue, and Councilthings-ARE-Large PowerPoint and Dum-Dum.

I think Jim Lahey would put it this way: The shit clock's ticking on our shit mayor, his shit former police director, and all of his shit friends in shitty council.