Monday, March 29, 2010

I took the train into Philly to meet a friend for breakfast. He met me at the 30th St. station, a beautiful building, and then we took the subway! I'm excited about that because no one else here seemed to even be sure there is a subway in Philly. I liked finally taking it and seeing how it works. The Tenth Street Pourhouse was perfect -- good food, good music, nice staff. I'm so glad to be getting into the city more.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Philadelphia has the second oldest parade, of any kind, for St. Patrick's day. It was started five years before the Declaration of Independence was signed! They have it the Sunday before St. Pat's. We took the train in to catch the parade and ended up here at this cool old Irish pub tucked in a side street. They're celebrating their 150th birthday! I love all the history up here. I had the traditional Jameson's, corned beef, and cabbage. Yum!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

We went to The Standard Tap at 2nd and Poplar in the North Liberty area of Philadelphia for Peggy's birthday. This place was so cool -- the food, the beer, the architecture, the crowd -- all great. We slid into a big solid dark wood booth in a room of deep red walls. The floor was little black and white tiles. Flickering above us there was a double gas lamp perfectly situated in a dark wood coffered ceiling. Some of the beer choices were "hand pumped" and not carbonated, creamy even. It was SO good. The little town I live in is lovely but I miss city life. I never thought I'd say that!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February 25, 2010

Friday was another "snow day". Or I guess it was an "icy bits suddenly blasting sideways day". The wind was unbelievable; gusts of 50 mph. As the dogs leapt over a snow bank, I wiped out and landed head first, flat on my back, splayed out in a huge pile of fluffy snow. It must have looked hilarious to anyone who saw. The snow whooshed up from the impact and then landed back all over my face and glasses. I blew out of my mouth to clear a breathing path like a dolphin, except snow shot up instead of water. Then I carefully got up and tried to clear my glasses. The problem was that the temperature difference on the surface of my glasses had caused the fluffy snow to instantly melt and refreeze as crusty ice obstructing my vision. That was in the first five minutes of an hour-long walk. I am ready for spring.

February 21, 2010 - Longwood cabin fever

We stumbled upon the Simon Pearce glassblowing studio and had a great meal. Shrimp and arugula frittata -- yum! It came with "petit bread salad", or as I like to call them, croutons. From there we went on to Longwood Gardens. This is a shot inside the conservatory which was full of orchids and all kinds of blooms that smelled wonderful. One of the orchids actually smelled like chocolate.

February 7, 2010 – looky there….more….snow

But a friend is coming over to hang out so that should be fun. I hope there’s somewhere for him to park. Seriously. That’s like a thing up here. There’s nowhere to put the snow so the plows mostly pile it up along the road blocking the parking spots. My car was under a mound of snow and all I had was a dust pan. I started scooping away at it. I heard a sound and looked up. Three college students were helping me shovel my car out! I was so grateful. The South does not have a monopoly on chivalry.

January 10, 2010 – McAvoyage to NYC

Julie gave me the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten, tickets to see one of my favorite actors, James McAvoy, get interviewed in NYC. We took the train in and got to have lunch with my nephew, Jed, Mi Soon, and their unbelievably cute baby, Maia. It was great to see them. Then we cabbed it over to the event. The Times was hosting it so we got to go to their headquarters, which I thought was really neat-o. I’m usually frozen when it comes to talking in front of a crowd but, thanks to Julie poking me, I popped right up and got to ask him the first question. You know what the coolest thing about it was? When something abstract, like what a movie star represents to you, turns into something real, like there's an actual person and I'm talking to him, you get this great sense of possibility. I don't mean possibility with that person; I mean possibility in the world. Do you know what I mean? Like when you see the Eiffel tower in person. Suddenly something that was only an idea is a real thing and the world comes more alive or something. I don't know if that makes sense. Aaaaanyway, it was great fun.

January 1, 2010 - Happy New Year!

December 30, 2009 - Baldwin Book Barn

Peggy found this cool used bookstore. It’s huge and used to be a dairy barn. When you walk in it smells wonderful because of all the books and a woodburning stove. As you walk around the floors creak and crazy looking old books catch your eye. They have new books, too, but the really old volumes were the most interesting with their enigmatic references and peculiar illustrations.

December 22, 2009 - Making a gingerbread house with Lucas

I have to say, when you start out with the blank house and all the mismatched plastic gee-gaws and candy, it doesn’t seem very promising. But Lucas really got the hang of the icing funnel and went to town on the shingles. It turned out great.

December 21, 2009 – I’mmm dreaming of aaaa White Christmas….

Dream fulfilled. We’ve gotten more snow this winter than the past four combined. I have no idea what to do with this stuff. I was pet/housesitting for Julie and Steve and suddenly heard the sound of a snow blower in the driveway. One of their neighbors came down and cleared the way! Their neighbors are so nice.

December 5, 2009 - Move in day

The POD is delivered. Moving help is lined up. Aaaand it starts snowing. First snow of the season. But that’s okay. Everything is in and I have my own place. The dogs seem happy, too.

November 11, 2009 – new job, new place

I got a job at West Chester University in a lovely town called West Chester. It’s about 30 minutes from Julie and Peggy and 60 minutes from Philly. The photo above is where I work.

My apartment building used to be an elementary school. It's small but it has huge windows and high ceilings that make up for that. There are two sets of stairs outside and carved into the stone in two-foot high letters it say “Girls” and “Boys.”

November 8, 2009 - Keb Mo and Kelly

I went with Julie and Catherine to see Keb Mo at the Keswick last night. He had a little bit of a sore throat but he was still great. He’s a charming man. So much so that Kelly, the completely trashed nutball two rows back, felt compelled to make advances between and, as the set progressed, during songs. I know her name was Kelly because one of her favorite refrains was “What about me? What about KELLYYYY?!” and then she would make a strange gargling sound.

October 31, 2009 – Boo!

This neighborhood has two fun traditions for Halloween. Little kids leave a little poem, a bag of candy, and a picture of a ghost at your door. They ring the doorbell then run away. You're supposed to make a big deal over it so the little kids hiding in the bushes get to see your reaction. Then you put the ghost in your window so everyone knows you've already been "ghosted" and your kid has to do it to three other people. The big kids have "mischief night" the night before Halloween (tonight) mostly they run around doing pranks to each other and toilet papering houses. Here are the pumpkins I carved.

October 30, 2009 – Ta da!

Wow, autumn is more amazing than I imagined. The trees look like someone plugged them in. And people tell me this isn’t even a good year. One of the craziest things is every once in a while there’s a leaf that turns white, actually devoid of any color. I didn’t find the source but here’s a single leaf that drifted onto another shrub.

October 6, 2009 - Brandi Carlile at the Keswick

Peggy and I went to see Brandi Carlile at the Keswick. It was great! She was celebrating her new CD release and the crowd was electric. The Keswick is this cool old theater like the Paramount. It’s in a quaint downtown snuggled up next to a beautiful old neighborhood. I think it’s considered a suburb of Philly or maybe part of Philly? I haven’t figured out the geography up here yet. There are townships and towns and “unincorporated communities” and all the lines seem to overlap.

August 11, 2009 – Magic Gardens in Philadelphia

Chris brought me my car! Yea! South Philly is so cool. We ate at a corner deli where I had some of the best pickles and a KNISH. These things are fantastic. There are a lot of different kinds but this one was like a battered and deep-fried Reuben. We wandered around until we came to the Magic Gardens. This artist has being doing this wacky tile-work, beautifying his neighborhood for several decades. You’ll be walking along and then, bam, there’s a whole wall of mosaic two stories high down an alley.

July 26, 2009 - Things don’t look the same here.

I can hardly believe I’m here. Everything, from the way people drive to the kinds of berry formations on shrubs, is different. Went to Stoudt’s Brewery, one of Pennsylvania’s first micro-breweries, located in Lancaster County. Julie is on a quest for an antique side table so we had some authentic spaetzle, cruised the huge flea market for furniture, and reflected on the fun house mirrors.

July 18, 2009 – Boatload of fun on the Chesapeake

Wow, this took me back to when we were teenagers and Steve, Julie, and I would go skiing on the bayou in Slidell, LA. It was a beautiful day skiing, swimming, and wakeboarding with some neighbors.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Here's my video of my trapeze fun! It even has sound. It's pretty dark because the sun had gone down. Unfortunately my other video in daylight was too big to upload and I don't know how to make it smaller.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hi yall!

Julie came to visit and we got to do this superfun thing - we were "secret shoppers" at a wellness spa called The Crossings! That means we stayed overnight, ate, got massages, used the pool and stuff and then it was all free in exchange for filling out a 4 page questionnaire. Market research. The place was absolutely beautiful. I should have taken more pictures but my photo card got full with the video of my trapeze lesson. I got to fly on a trapeze!! It was SO freakin fun and Peter, the instructor, is a master teacher, a real pleasure to learn from. I highly recommend it to anyone.

As with all the pictures here, if you doubleclick on them it brings up a much bigger version.


Here's the rig! Oh my gosh, I'm really going to do this!

Practicing on the ground. Peter is a professional and a fantastic teacher. His wife is also there and is a contortionist in the circus. They and the rest of the instructors were wonderfully encouraging and positive.

OH my gosh, this is WAY higher up than it looks.

Here I go! Julie got two videos of me flipping and catching but I haven't figured out how to upload them to this blog yet.

And this is how you get down out of the net.

Julie and I at the sanctuary off in the woods.

The "infinity horizon" pool overlooking the lake.

My room with a balcony overlooking the hill country. Everything was gorgeous and the food was great.

Wow, after wanting to do this for 6 years, I finally removed the wallpaper in the guest room!

This is what the old wallpaper looked like. Bleh.

And here are some before and after shots.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Check it out! Julie and Steve are on the jumbo-tron in Times Square! Steve's company is now being traded on NASDAQ so they got to do the closing bell ceremony.

Congratulations, Steve!

When the ceremony started, my web view switched to the internal cameras.

Yea! Doing the countdown! This is what everyone out on the street is seeing on that giant screen.

And back out to the street view. There's George's signature 7 stories tall!

How totally freakin' cool!