Monday, April 18, 2016

Swimming With the Scallops


Not the scallops in question, but lovely Orchids scallops none the less.

Cincinnati Magazine has come out with its annual list of the city's best restaurants. It's always a much discussed issue — a veritable what's-what and who's-who of dishes, chefs, old favorites, new favorites and soon-to-be favorites.

Always on the list is Orchids at Palm Court, and this year was no exception, with it coming in at number 3. 


From Cincinnati Magazine: 

To enjoy dinner in its hallowed French Art Deco dining room is to keep one foot planted in Cincinnati’s storied fine-dining past while sampling the very best of Todd Kelly’s modern yet grandiose sensibility.

Hallowed French Art Deco. Storied fine dining. Grandiose sensibility.

Basically, if you're looking for a place to pass out in your food, you couldn't pick it a better place than Orchids. 


I happen to know this from experience. 



 
Happy Birthday!

 

It was Boss Man's birthday. We were all seated in a back booth and I was just about three bites into my roasted chicken with rosemary gnocchi (thus far, it was exquisite) when the Boss Man said: 'I think I am having a reaction to something.'



We all stopped eating and looked at him. 

Indeed, he didn't look well. He was ashen, sweaty, disoriented.

As we stared at him his face went gray and slack, his eyes crossed and his head slowly fell into his plate of scallops.

I wondered: Did we get the bill already? Was it THAT much?




When he raised his face up from the pool of scallops a second or two later — scallops with green garlic panisse, artichokes and saffron nage — Carolyn thumped him on the arm and scolded him for joking. His wife, Roz, sternly told him that he wasn't funny.

For a few seconds we were confused. Is he joking? But he doesn't look well, and you can't fake that. He was still ashen, pale.

It was his 63rd birthday. Maybe this is what happens when you hit 63? 




We kept staring at him. He couldn't focus his eyes on any of us. 

He clearly wasn't joking. 



Booth Healthcare (Think of All the Money You'll Save!)

Roz turned him to face her. She took his hands into hers and commanded, "Squeeze my hands. Squeeze my hands." I don't know if he squeezed her hands or not but he verbally responded with an exasperated, "I'm not having a stroke."

I sent Ray to the hostess stand to tell them we were calling 911. If we were going send this stately joint into a tizzy of paramedics and IV bags, I wanted them to at least be prepared.




Then Boss Man looked at Roz plaintively and said, "I don't want to go to the hospital... Can we just go home?"

It was one of the more human moments I've ever witnessed. 




The irony here is that not 3 minutes prior he was annoyed with Roz for testing him for a stroke and annoyed with me because I was going to call 911. (Later, he would be annoyed with Carolyn. I think Ray is the only one who came out of this unscathed.)

At the hostess station, Ray (who has been a firefighter and medic for 23-years) ushered the hostess through a series of questions with 911 dispatch —  Is he breathing? Is he conscious? Is he ambulatory? Can he look at you?

I looked across the room at diners enjoying their Maine lobster, smoked lamb loin, and seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

I hope the paramedics don't knock over their $200 bottles of wine,
I thought. 


Though 

I admit, I was somewhat excited by this possibility. But at the same time, I thought, if he can walk, maybe he's better off in the lobby. 



I envisioned paramedics rushing into the dining room with a giant stretcher and cases full of AEDs and saline, knocking over fancy, high-backed chairs and tables, sparkling water and carefully plated dishes of lamb Wellington.



Wine stains! Chairs turned over! San Pellegrino everywhere! Running! Screaming! Scallops! 


How Not to Make A Scene in Fancy Restaurant: Go to the Lobby
 


I asked the Boss Man if he was capable of walking to the lobby.

Roz looked at him and told him to move to the edge of the booth. 

He just sat there.

"Slide over here," she said.

"I did," he told her.

He hadn't moved at all.

"Do it again," she said.

Ray came over and quietly said to him: "I am going to walk to beside you and hold onto you. I'm going to help you to the lobby. If you need to stop, tell me."

He said this so smoothly and so confidently it was as though he escorts 63-year-old Boss Men through fancy restaurants every night. The whole thing was orchestrated so calmly, I don't think anyone nearby even knew it was happening. Afterward, Ray told me he thought for certain that the Boss Man was going to collapse.

"Embarrassing or not, I was waiting for him to pass out so we could just get the stretcher to him," Ray told me in the lobby. "It makes our jobs easier when people aren't conscious. Then we can do whatever we need to do."

The Boss Man is perhaps lucky Ray didn't whap him over the head with a $200 bottle of wine to make him more compliant. "Just doing everyone a favor, sir!" 

Within a few minutes the paramedics arrived and took his blood pressure. 

This is a very dramatic way to get Ray to pay the dinner bill, I thought. 


And speaking of dinner, there sat all of our food on the table, abandoned and barely-eaten as we rushed around the medical emergency.
 
I wondered what would become of my roasted chicken. 




Is it poor form to ask for a go-to-box if someone is having a medical emergency? What if I get hungry waiting in the emergency room? I mean, this could take a while, right?

These were all questions I seriously considered while the paramedics told us that the Boss Man's blood pressure was like, 7 over 2. Or something like that.

(I would later learn that the Boss Man scolded Carolyn for not shoving his uneaten scallops into her purse for a snack in the emergency room.) 



Is This A Terrible Story? Or A Great Story?
 

Roz and the Boss Man are regulars at Orchids and the maître de, Charles, was gravely concerned.

Could it have been the food? Was it something he ate? Did he have a reaction to something?

"Don't be ridiculous," Carolyn said. "He eats trash off of the floor. It wasn't the food."

Charles looked at me quizzically. I confirmed that, Yes, this is true — he eats discarded food from the trash. Without asking questions, Charles gave us the cake that Roz had specially ordered for the occasion, in case we wanted to toast to his health in the ER.

When his blood pressure didn't bounce back the paramedics hauled him away in an ambulance. I felt certain he'd had a heart attack and, truth be told, was pretty shook up by the events. I thought of all of the things I've written about him on my blog and what sad reminders they'd be if something serious had really happened.

But, if he recovered and it was simply him just face-planting in the scallops, what. a. great. story.

I told Roz I'd drive their car to the hospital for her so she could ride with him in the ambulance. 



Visions of me speeding through the city behind an ambulance in one of the Boss Man's sports cars — the Porsche 911, or, OOH OOH OOH! Maybe the Ferrari! — danced in my head.

She handed me the keys to the Audi.

Oh.

Well.

Better than my Civic. I guess. 



Does This Mean I'm in the Will?

I pulled the Audi into the emergency room parking at University Hospital and flew into the ER, blowing right past the metal detector. 


Did you know there is a metal detector for visitors in the ER? Me either. But yeah, good idea. 

I rushed to the check-in desk and told the woman that the Boss Man had just been brought in.

“Relationship?” she asked.

I gave her my 'I'm about to ugly cry face' and croaked, "Daughter."

I tried to sound as desperate and as pleading as possible.

She wrote down my name and then wrote "daughter" after it. 




YESSSSS. Victory!



I considered asking for the piece of paper as evidence to later insist I be included in the Boss Man’s will.

Hey lady, this is going to sound crazy buuuut, can I have that piece of paper? It would just really mean a lot to me, being his DAUGHTER and all. So simple yet so profound what you have written there. I'm going through a hard time, can you tell? Just sliiiide it over to me. Thanks.

Thirty minutes later the ER docs decided to admit him. Before we left, I went back to the ER where he, Roz and Carolyn were reading 'All My Friends Are Dead,' the book I had given him during dinner.

Not exactly the book I'd have chosen if I knew he was going to end up in the ER on his birthday... Or is it EXACTLY the book I'd have chosen if I knew he was going to end up in the ER on his birthday?

On the way home, Ray and I stopped at McDonald's for Big Macs. We were starving.


The Kraken Gets Released

Early the next morning Roz texted that there was no new information.

And then, about 10:30 — with NO warning  — the Boss Man came storming into my cubicle, angry and pale-faced, with tape and gauze pads covering his arms and an IV pole practically swinging behind him. 




He was livid.

"Geezus H! What are you doing here?! Did they release you?!"

He had grown impatient waiting for the hospital to discharge him, so he just left and stomped across the street to his office.

“I’m calling Carolyn! She's going to be SUPER mad," I said. "Does Roz know you're out?!"

“Don't you dare! You've called enough people," he yelled. "You've cost me thousands of dollars!"


Official Review: Splendid

Honestly, him passing out was the best thing that's happened to us because it lead to a make-up dinner at Orchids, which we spent making endless jokes.

Are you well enough to order seafood this evening? Perhaps you should get the steak. We don’t want you to pass out again.

What wine pairs best with scallops infused with unconscious face?

Should I bring scallops over for Thanksgiving, in case you want to pass out in them?

And we were able to try all sorts of different menu items — roasted chicken, braised short ribs, butternut squash soup with granola, marinated beet salad. The flourless chocolate torte.

All of which were wonderful. And after desert they just kept bringing us more sweets, I think because the first meal had been so... adventurous.

They were plying us with so many desserts I fully expected there to be a pie in the car when the valet pulled up.

In the end, there never was an official diagnosis for the Boss Man's face-plant into his scallops other than perhaps he was dehydrated and not taking his blood pressure medication properly.

And Orchids, both times, was splendid. The food, the service, the ambiance: all wonderful. 


Dinner at Orchids is especially great when you actually get to eat all of it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

We Belong Together (And You Know That I'm Right)

Hey girrrrl... I know you really love me...

For Christmas Ray got me Boys II Men tickets. The show was on Saturday and I was delighted to discover our seats were in the second row, center stage. We were so close they were practically sweating on me. (Heaven.)

I belted out their hits like it was 1993 all over again, and even though Ray wasn’t into Boys II Men so much back in the day, he sang with conviction. In my head we were perfectly harmonizing with them and they were wildly impressed, naturally. #WeBelongTogether

The show was at Horseshoe Casino, a first visit for us. We don’t really gamble and I am fundamentally against ugly, dirty carpet, but we decided to completely embrace the whole experience.

We had burgers at Bobby’s Burger Palace (which is apparently owned (inspired?) by Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay. I have no idea who that is but we ate his burgers anyway. (They were ok.) The fry sauce was good though… some kind of spicy stuff. (Man, I should be a food writer. I’m great at this.)

Then it was time to win millions gambling. So we headed straight for the penny slots.

Did you know that the penny slots require at least a 30 cent bet? I’m no mathematician, but that doesn’t sound like penny slots to me. And there were multiple lines or something on some of the slot machines so instead of just getting three in a row, you could match diagonally and what have you.

I didn’t really understand it. All I know is that when I played Kitty Glitter (match the cats!), the white fluffy cat got you the most money, followed by the orange tabby, then the white and brown tabby, then the ugly cat (Siamese... truth hurts) and letters followed from there. 


Which begs the question: Why were there letters? Did they somehow run out of cat photos for this game? Have they never heard of the Internet, which is made up entirely of cat photos?


Match the cats, win BIG.

Regardless, we won big at Kitty Litter Glitter. 

Drunk with our extra $3 in winnings, we took our new money to the high-roller 25 cent slots area and skipped around from machine to machine (Let’s play the panda slot!) until we finally burned through our money.

In all, we “donated” $34 to the slot machines at Horseshoe Casino. #ballers. We then salved our wounds with slices of pizza before we left. 


In sum, a wild night at Horseshoe Casino was had by all — Boys II Men, Ray and me, ABC, BBD... pretty much the whole east coast family.

And, it turns out, casino carpeting has come a long way. Or at least the carpet at Horseshoe wasn’t hideous at all.

In other recent news, Ray and I realized last night as we were driving to get something to eat that it was our 6th anniversary of meeting. (We had coffee and waffles on our first ‘date.’) 


So, happy anniversary to us! I think this makes us one of those old married couples who hangs around casinos. (YES.)

I was going to take a photo of us last night to mark the occasion but I forgot. By the time I remembered Ray was sound asleep and I didn’t think he’d appreciate me taking a selfie with him while he was snuggled into bed. 



This is what we look like now.

But here is a recent photo of us from Florida. We took a mini spring-break after a work trip I was on and spent two days sun-bathing and a full day at Kennedy Space Center, which was ahhh-mazing.

If you get the chance to go the Space Center, do so. We were there from opening to past closing and still could have stayed longer.
The actual Space Shuttle Atlantis is on full display, which is incredible just by itself.
 
I posted some photos on my photo blog if you want to see them.
(Just scroll a bit.) 
 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Death Of A Salesman


Arthur Miller reading lines from his play Death of a Salesman. Recorded February 2, 1955 in Manhattan.

This summer Ray and I saw Death of A Salesman at Cincinnati Shakespeare theater. It was superb. The quiet desperation of Willy’s story, played pitch-perfect by Bruce Cromer, moved around in my mind for weeks afterward. 


And the story is Willy’s of course. But it was Annie Fitzpatrick’s moving portrayal of Linda Loman that broke my heart. The actor’s were all phenomenal, and the story, the first I had seen it, was terrific. You understand after seeing it why it is an American theater classic. 

Then last week on Open Culture I saw a link to Arthur Miller reading sections of Death of a Salesman with Salesman’s first Mrs. Loman, Mildred Dunnock. Arthur and Mildred recorded the audio in front of live audience in Manhattan on Feb. 22, 1955.

It’s 52 minutes long. And I was gripped by every second of it. I’d never heard Arthur Miller speak before, and to hear his crisp New York accent sharply deliver the lines, the lines he wrote, is transfixing. 



As Open Culture wrote: “Who better to understand the nuances, motivations, and historical context of this tragically flawed character” than the man who felt it, saw it and wrote it.


I don’t imagine that Miller ever took the stage as his title character, but what a performance it’d have been.


(Arthur Miller and I share a birthday — October 17. Which I note only to feel proud by proxy, as though we might somehow be cosmically connected. And cosmically, Ray took me to see Miller's enduring play for my birthday, which Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was staging for Miller's centennial birthday.)

Miller recalled that when the curtain fell on the first performance, there were “men in the audience sitting there with handkerchiefs over their faces. It was like a funeral.”

I don’t know that the men in the audience at the Shakespeare Theater this fall sat with handkerchiefs over their faces as the curtain fell, but there was a certainly a quiet pall that settled over the theater.



It’s a lonesome play. Of course, Willie dies. But the most sorrowful expression for me wasn’t the delusion of Willie (or really the entire family), but the futility of it all.

Willie laments: “Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there's nobody to live in it.”


When he says this in the midst of the play you think he’s sadden by the fact that his kids are grown and won’t be sharing the home with them. But you’re reminded of the true starkness of the statement when Linda Loman delivers it during the requiem. The kids are grown and now Willy is also gone. It's just Linda.
Standing over her husband's grave she says mournfully: “I made the last payment on the house today... Today, dear. And they’ll be nobody home.


“There were a lot of nice days. When he'd come home from a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch... You know something, Charley, there's more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.”


And isn’t that true of our homes and lives? More to us in the books on our shelves, the sheds built, the roofs repaired, the passed-down crockery and flatware, than all the days of our work?   

The play is gone from the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, but you can hear Arthur Miller deliver the lines above with Mildred. 


It's staggering. 



Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas, My Little Snowflakes



The Christmas holiday season just isn't complete without Ray and I's Christmas video. And this year, we're global! (Our neighbor Alex is from Australia.)

There was clamoring for the video (two people ask me about it; that is clamoring in my book), and finally wait is over.

And remember, kids, no means no.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ho Ho Ho



We are ready for Santa. He will know us by the glow of electric sex in the window. 

FRA-GEE-LAY.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Superb Splendor

Conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Venus. Photo: Demotix via.

A few months ago one my favorite blogs, Brain Pickings*, arrived with a very rare treat: The only surviving letter that Willa Cather wrote to her long-time partner, Edith Lewis.

I read My Ántonia many years ago and have been a fan of Cather since. And Maria Popova's post reminded me why.

The letter is written at 4:30 pm on October 5, 1936, as Cather watches a Jupiter and Venus conjunction. It's a love letter to Edith, to the cosmos and to the magnificence of life and wonder.

"One hour from now, out of your window, I shall see a sight unparalleled — Jupiter and Venus both shining in the golden-rosy sky and both in the West; she not very far above the horizon, and he about mid-way between the zenith and the silvery lady planet. From 5:30 to 6:30 they are of a superb splendor — deepening in color every second, in a still-daylight-sky guiltless of other stars, the moon not up and the sun gone down behind Gap-mountain; those two alone in the whole vault of heaven. It lasts so about an hour (did last night). Then the Lady, so silvery still, slips down into the clear rose colored glow to be near the departed sun, and imperial Jupiter hangs there alone. He goes down about 8:30. Surely it reminds one of Dante’s “eternal wheels”. I can’t but believe that all that majesty and all that beauty, those fated and unfailing appearances and exits, are something more than mathematics and horrible temperatures. If they are not, then we are the only wonderful things — because we can wonder."

I can see Willa dressed to receive the planets in the white silk suit, without a wrinkle, that Edith packed for her. You can read the entire letter here 

I share it today because tomorrow, look up in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise and you will see Jupiter and Venus together at their closest conjunction this season. Mars and Mercury will also be there. You have until October 29, but the best day for all the planetary splendor will be tomorrow.  

To Willa and Edith.

 *If you don't subscribe/read Brain Pickings, you should. It's a daily blog/weekly newsletter of art and literature; poetry and journalism; and philosophy and science for the curious. Maria Popova does a splendid job of curating and finding things to get lost in. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Once Upon A Time - On First Jobs, Leaving Home and Writing for Work

My first job out of college was as a reporter for the Northern Virginia Daily, a small, family-owned newspaper with big ambitions. It covered five counties of the Shenandoah Valley and had several little bureaus throughout Virginia.

It paid pretty well for a first job and we got all the overtime we wanted. Most of the reporters and designers were about my age, and I was 22 at the time. We were mostly all young, on first jobs and were transplants to the area. Which meant that we often spent our evenings and weekends hanging out together because, well, we were all we really had.

I made a lot friends there that I still have to this day.

My pal Andy, who was the only person I knew in Virginia when I arrived. We had worked together at the Ball State Daily News. (I felt very Holden Caulfield in my red cap with the earflaps.)

Where I Lived

The weather when I first arrived in the summer of 1998 seemed extreme. It was either ungodly hot or violently stormy. On breaks from designing newspaper pages — I spent the first few months at the Northern Virginia Daily designing (it was a small ship; I reported during the day, designed pages at night) — I would sit outside the office in Strasburg on the little porch at the side of the building and inhale big lungfuls of the pine trees that separated the newspaper's office from the neighbor's house. It smelled clean and fresh and outdoorsy.

I remember it mostly always being nighttime, because that's when newspaper pages get designed —  between 4 pm. and 2 am.

I lived on Jackson Street above the Title Division in Front Royal, Virginia. My coverage area wasn't Front Royal, but I wanted to live there because it was one of the "bigger" cities of our coverage area with 13,000 people, which was still the smallest town I'd ever lived in.

My mom and dad at the Main Street gazebo in Front Royal, Virginia. Summer 1997.  

My apartment was rumored to have been a former dentist's office, the dentist being the late husband of my elderly landlady. I believed this to be true, as there was a large florescent light recessed into my living room ceiling. I never turned it on because the light from it was so hideous.

Across the street was a small church, painted white with green trim. Every Sunday the African American congregation of the church came together dressed to the hilt — the women in large Sunday hats, the men in suits and ties — and congregated in the squat, concrete block building. It looked like it had been transported in time from 1950.

On Sunday mornings I'd hear the choir singing. There were some weekend revivals when I felt a wave of forgiveness flash over my apartment. 

The little church that was a block from my apartment, still painted white and green.


An Education 

My bedroom in the apartment above the Title Division. I had taken the Matisse "print" hanging on the wall from a book I had.

Virginia was an odd place to me. Remember, I lived on Jackson Street, which intersected with Stonewall Street just a few blocks east. The locals called me a Yankee because I am from Indiana.

In addition to covering town councils, court, education, police and fire, I spent a fair amount of my professional hours covering battlefield associations. The Shenandoah Valley is pocked with Civil War battlefields, and every lawn where a Confederate soldier stood and every tree with a bullet hole or round still in it was ferociously protected from development.

I sat in many a Battlefield Preservation Commission meeting and listened to folks passionately discuss why things should or should not be built on old battlefields.

That little paper with its wide-ranging coverage, dedicated editors and passion for journalism was great training. I learned to be resourceful and to make friends with the retired old timers of the valley. I found secretaries to be excellent allies and endlessly resourceful, and I relished giving the people I wrote about their 15 minutes of fame.

I filed my first Freedom of Information Act requests, and I racked up plenty of billable hours with the newspaper's attorney figuring out how we could get information from government agencies who didn't want to give it us.


My desk at the Northern Virginia Daily. 

The Northern Virginia Daily was small, with about 15,000 circulation at the time, but it took journalism and it's role in the community very seriously. There were no scared cows, advertisers or otherwise.

By the time I left I could easily file three stories in a day, and write most of them within 30 minutes or so. This led me to where I am today — the world's fastest typist.

I spent most of my free time, which wasn't much usually — it turns out the reason they paid overtime was because we worked so much it — hanging out with my colleagues, polishing my resume, drinking beer on weekends and having dinner at the Main Street Mill, a little restaurant and bar up the street from my apartment. I ate many a dinner in that little place, and I loved it.

On workdays and too many evenings when I needed something quick, I ordered a turkey sub from the Italian pizza joint in the strip mall up the street from my apartment. I called in the same order every time and felt sheepish going in there because I ate there so much.

Sometimes I'd call in a slice of pizza instead of my usual, just so they wouldn't know it was "me." 


Northern Virginia

My new friends and I spent weekends exploring the Caverns of the area, visiting monuments in DC, which is just 60 miles away, and climbing up Woodstock Tower to see the Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River. (It seems like we climbed up an electric tower to see the vantage, but that can't be right.) When people came to visit me I took them to the vistas on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.

Some of the seven bends of the Shenandoah River.


The tower to see the bends. It does sort of look like a transmission tower.

On the drive to work each day I was surrounded by mountains. On one side, the Blue Ridge, on the other, the Ridge and Valley Appalachians. They were old, worn down mountains, covered in trees. The Blue Ridge to the east and the Ridge and Valley Appalachians to the west.

Driving in to Front Royal off of Route 66 you go across a long bridge that spans a meadow, and it seems to me now there was always round hay bales dotting the horizon. It also always seems to me now that the sun was always setting on them, but that's probably because I always got home in the evening when the sun was setting when I switched from design to full-time reporting.




I think if I were driving over that bridge today I could find my way to Jackson Street again. (Turn left at the first major light in town.) But then again, I don't know if it's true anymore that I could find my old apartment. The routes and streets that once connected in my mind and created the map of the place is mostly gone. The circuits don't connect anymore. I'd probably have to look at a map to find that old apartment/former dentist's office on Jackson Street above the Title Division, but maybe not. Maybe it would all reconnect if I was driving those streets again. 


Friends For Life

Four years after I left Virginia word got around that I was having chemo and radiation. I received cards and care packages and phone calls from many of those people, and they knew me barely for a year, four years earlier. I was long gone from Virginia by then, but I still heard from most all of them.

Over fifteen years later and I am Facebook friends with most of the folks I knew from back then, and I still consider them all good friends. I check in with them on social media and see that their kids are growing up to look just like them, and occasionally one of them will post a comment to remind me of an event or memory we all shared.

All such good memories.

Me then, along with my first editor (on the left), and a fellow reporter.

Everywhere But Back

It was a great little place for a first job, but it was a long way from home. I moved to Virginia right after graduating from college, and I had lived in Indiana all my life.

Toward the end of my time in Virginia, I spent a lot of energy trying to get out of there and a lot of time worrying where I would land next. After a year and two months, I got a job at another newspaper, this time in Ohio.

I've been to Paris, to London, to Spain... down the Eastern Seaboard and back across to California and up to Seattle. I've driven countless times back home to Indiana from Cincinnati, but I've yet to go back to that little town where I first lived completely on my own.

Thanks to Google street view, I can revisit all these old places. The meadow with the hay bales is still there coming into town, though some vinyl houses have sprung up on the outskirts. The pizza place is there still in the strip mall, and still painted white and green is the church where I'd hear the singing choir drift into my bedroom window on warm Sunday mornings.

My old brick apartment building is still there but it looks like the Title Division has been replaced by a Sheriff's Office. I don't imagine they allow apartments for rent above there anymore.

The squat little brick building where I lived, continuing to bake in the sun.

It's funny that Google captured my old apartment in full sun, baking the brick and concrete, because that is exactly how I remember it.