Yesterday's Pioneers

I posted about the Deco Delights of Oklahoma City several months ago. I made reference to the homes that were tucked away in various historic neighborhoods. Today, as I was out and about, I looked at a few of these gems, and decided I'd keep a little record. I got the pictures as well as statistics from the Oklahoma County Assessor site. These are the only ones I know of so far. One is for sale even (2240 NW 27th)! They were built between 1935-1937. Eight homes in three neighborhoods with very traditional houses. The first five are on the same street in Cleveland. The sixth is in Shepherd (Cleveland's next-door neighbor). The last two are in Crown Heights.

The collection of houses in Cleveland reminds me of what is currently going on in the SoSA (or Cottage District) neighborhood just to the west of downtown and South of Saint Anthony hospital. The difference is that the homes pictured below went up with the neighborhoods. The new modern homes in SoSA are redefining a neighborhood, but an architect's playground nonetheless. I'm so happy that pioneers exist at every stage of the game. There's always a way to be new again. New Urbanism: I love what this means.

2533 NW 24th - 1937 - 1,232 sf
2529 NW 24th - 1937 - 1,295 sf
2525 NW 24th - 1937 - 1,071 sf
2521 NW 24th - 1936 - 1,508 sf
2501 NW 24th - 1937 - 1,071 sf
2240 NW 27th - 1936 - 2,202 sf
801 NW 40th - 1935 - 2,904 sf
537 NW 41st - 1935 - 1914 sf

Update: After seeing this post, a friend told me about another house in Gatewood that belongs on this list. I don't understand the tile roof all the way...but this one is the biggest.
1301 NW 20th - 1940 - 3,307 sf


I don't know where to start.

I met Nargis a few days after a blizzard passed through Oklahoma. There were still several inches of snow on the ground, and she was trudging through it with her daughter in her arms on the first night I'd ventured out after necessities like milk and bread. I pulled into my driveway just before she crossed it, hopped out and offered her a ride as I only had Magnolia with me. She kindly declined. I was unaware of her limited English. I think I was scaring her. She didn't know that was my driveway. I just popped out of my car and started showing her my extra car seat, and motioning toward my house saying I lived there.

A few days later, she was crossing my driveway again when I was leaving. This time we talked a little while, the best we could, and I told her she could stop by any time and we could practice her English. She took me up on it. She and Adibah (her 18-month-old daughter) were pretty regular visitors at my house. She recently got a job at the little convenient store down the road so the stops have been less frequent. She was supposed to stop by on Monday at 2:00 PM. She didn't come by, so I just assumed she had an extra shift.

Salim, her husband, came to our house at 8:30 this evening. He was timidly holding out a note that Nargis had written:

Dear Breana,
How are you? I am not well. Now I am addmitted in to madical center for two days. I lose you phone number. Can you help me?


My honest to goodness first thought after I finished reading it, was "not bad for two months of English immersion." Really, my first thought came in the middle of reading it. My heart sank. Even more so when Jake called to make sure she was at OU. They said she was in oncology.

We drove Salim to the hospital. Cora was with Vaughn and Tracey, so we had room. We got there, and her doctor just happened to come check on her a few minutes after we got there so he was able to explain what was going on. Luckily, it was not cancer. Phew. My heart started rising up from my toes. She'd been in the hospital because of abdominal pain, and today they realized it was a horribly placed uterine polyp. She had surgery this evening, and is recovering well now. She should be released Thursday or Friday.

That leads me to a whole new chapter: They moved into an apartment on Saturday. They have nothing. Not a thing. I was talking about this at church on Sunday, and already someone has offered a bed. I'm hoping we can get it to her apartment before she comes home so she'll have a comfortable place to recover. I found out tonight that they don't have electricity yet either because they don't have the connection fee. I asked how much they make, and this is where I got a little upset. Salim makes 600/month for 15 hour days. That's right, I said 600/month. And Nargis gets 400/month for 7-8 hour days. They are putting in some serious hours. One of my friends gave me a list of free English classes they could take, but they're all during their work, or they get out when the buses have stopped running. Nargis has asked me to help her find work. I'm not sure where to start on that avenue either, but I know there has to be something that will allow them to bring home more for the hours they put in.

I suppose this post is a plea going forth into the universe on behalf of this little family trying to make their way in America. They're trying their hardest to make it work, but they need help right now, especially on the job front. I don't want Nargis to feel like she has bad luck anymore. If you know of any way they can improve their English or get better jobs or anything that we don't even think about that makes our world go round, can you share?

I know that Nargis and I crossed paths for a reason, and I'm thankful for it. It's teaching me about burdens, about coming out of myself to be available to someone (I'm a serious recluse when it comes to being a guardian of my time and home space - I've never liked it when people need me too much, and I've never liked that about myself.) Jake and I were looking at houses today (and have been for a few days), and it's hard to justify our impatience that the perfect house isn't out there in the short amount of time we've been looking when all around us are these stories that we are unaware of. In a few short minutes, I'm going to go crash in my ridiculously comfy pillow top bed, with my pillow, and my sheets, and blankets - and that's just a small part of the things I take for granted.

This is a sweet family, and I look forward to the day when Nargis and I can sit down and have conversations uninterrupted by language barriers.


The. Last. Ten. Pounds.

It's official. I weigh what I did after I lost some of the pregnancy weight from Cora. I lost 16 pounds pretty soon after I had her. And then I stayed around the same weight FOREVER! And then I got pregnant with Magnolia, and gained the same amount of weight I did with Cora but from a higher starting point. The good news is that I didn't hang onto an extra-extra 10 pounds after Magnolia, but I'm back to the dreaded last bit to lose. I mean, 5 would even be cool. I just want to break out of this particular bracket. I'm over it. The other good news is that I don't feel stuck in it yet.

I'm super sore after a toning class on Friday. I went to the gym on Wednesday for the first time in a while. Between the weather and runny noses, we've been enjoying the coziness of home. Anyway, all of my muscles hurt with the exception of my forearms, and below my knees. My quads are the worst. It must have been all those lunges. I have my eye on a particular swim suit. I will power through those 75 push ups and those other things I can't remember the name of. I was voted "best legs" my junior year in high school, and I want them back. All told, I'm down about 20 pounds (give or take a few - I never settle on an exact weight amount because I fluctuate a few every day) since October.

Cora is getting smarter every day. She's grasping all different emotions. Today she talked about mad and angry. I love it when she casts a new understanding on a past event. She told me she was angry [at a past event] that someone had taken her toy and wouldn't give it back. She also talks about memories that are really dear to me. She recently relayed walking down our street in Chicago on our way to dinner at Matt and Lisa's apartment. It was rainy out, so we had our umbrellas. She talked about it for quite a while. She's also been mentioning that she'd like to go to Bechago (bee-chah-go, aka Chicago) quite often.

Magnolia started saying Mama. We were driving to Holdenville and she'd started crying because she was getting hungry. In the midst of her tears came out a long, slow MA....MA! I cried a little too. And tonight she said Papa, and I was very proud of her. She talks all the time. I've been thinking about her birth a lot. I still haven't written it down. It's so tender to me. Like I can't explain it yet. After she was born, I felt so awful, so I didn't write about it, and then the memory was just so sweet to savor and roll around in my mind. I had a VBAC (vagnial birth after c-section) with her, and as much as I hate being pregnant, part of my wants to be able to give birth again, with as little intervention as possible. Pushing that little baby out was one of my proudest moments. I'm sure that since I've been thinking about it so often, the actual words on a page will come soon enough.

I started most of out garden in a seed tray, and I'm happy to report we have sprouts. The broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and marigolds have broken through. I like playing gardener. I even picked up some gardening clogs. I did, indeed.


Today was a great day [it would be even greater if we weren't on attempt number five in putting Magnolia to bed - but a minor detail].

It was Jake's first day off in I-can't-remember-when. We were going to make the most of it. We had two things on our list. 1. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art. 2. Lowe's for some wood for our square foot garden.

We got to the art museum, and the woman asked if we had Bank of America cards. We did. As it turns out BofA sponsors

[just came back from attempt number 6, I think this one might stick]

Hmm. Oh yes, BofA sponsors free admission for its cardholders on the first full weekend of every month. It was also Devon day at the museum. Food, face painting, drop-in art, Spaghetti Eddie.


I'm a cheap-o. Seriously. This could be the highlight of my tight-wad year. There were blackberries. And they were really sweet. I ate a lot of them, and I didn't feel bad because I left all of the seriously decadent brownies for everyone else.

Being creative about how to get Cora into the paintings was fun. Her genuine interest was delightful. Her two art projects were a self-portrait and a lion out of modeling clay. She really has a knack for art. She's always been really interested in it. It's only been a few weeks since her birthday, so I decided a fun little tradition would be to have her make some sort of self-portrait every year. I know I will love seeing how she has evolved in her own eyes, as well as in her own talent. Magnolia loved the Chihuly glass, especially the ceiling.

Jake and Magnolia were walking around for a bit while Cora was finishing her lion, and they wandered into the gift shop. I told Jake about a bumper sticker I saw one day that I really liked, and he mentioned he saw it there. It was a magical summation of our lives in visual form. We came home with it. Watch out Staci [our car], you're about to get fancy. I joked that one day I might be the lady who drives the Volvo with all of the bumper stickers on the back, though the Volvo has probably evolved into the Prius as far as a perfect bumper sticker canvas. Just in-case you forgot.

They also sell t-shirts. My birthday is in a little over two months. Is this a hint? It might be.

After all of the museum fun (I won't go into the actual art here - there were a lot of things I enjoyed, namely the George Nelson Exhibition), we drove to Shawnee to meet Vaughn, Tracey, Parker and Josh for dinner at Chili's. Yes, there are vegan options at Chili's, and we ordered all of them to make a meal.

Jake is busy with some work this evening. Perfection would be if we were cozy watching a movie together, or better yet, at the play I was going to go see before Magnolia started having a rough evening. But this day was so close to perfect, it might as well have been.


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