Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Wanderings: Late Nights

This was a weekend of late nights. After work on Friday, some coworkers and I went a happy hour at the Galway Hooker to celebrate the many promotions in our department. I certainly don't love midtown bars, but to help combat my cold, I ordered a plain cranberry juice, which ended up being really refreshing, and the waiter didn't flinch, which I appreciated. Once I was sufficiently buzzed from the juice, I headed uptown with Roger and my colleague Katie for a lecture on After the Fall at the Bohemian National Hall (aka: the Czech Center of NY). The center was very stylish and modern, but the exhibit upstairs didn't really do anything for me. We gathered up a few people (Leo, Raluca and Matija Brumen) and rounded out the evening at Radegast, before miraculously making the 12:08am train home. And yes, staying out until 1:30am is late for me.

Saturday I did an interview for an upcoming story in the Mahopac News, and searched fruitlessly for fabric. I'm looking to make some new things (namely a gift and Halloween bunting), but can't find any around here, and I'm not really in love with ordering fabric online right now. I'll search the garment district soon, so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Frustrated with my search, I tried in vain to cross some things off my to-do list, and ended up just being cranky for a while before cleaning. In the evening, I headed over to the museum to do a photoshoot for Jess and Roger as a present for Leo. We then gathered with Chris Jones at Leo's to say goodbye. He's returning to Romania as I write this, and I should just say that it was wonderful meeting him and Raluca, and I have some fantastic memories from this summer, in particular, the dragon boat race. Saying goodbye to them was sad for everyone, but the cake we had (sort of a fancy version of my favorite cake in the world), and Raluca's recipe for pizza dipping sauce (chop up garlic, stir into plain yogurt) made it all worth it.

I woke up a little late on Sunday morning, and wrote the aforementioned article as quickly as possible, and enjoyed a fresh bagel as slowly as possible. Roger and I then headed up to Beacon for the Beacon Open Studios. It began at Hudson Beach Glass, which is always lovely and had some really gorgeous glass pumpkins (have I said yet that I'm obsessed with holiday decorations?), and continued on Main Street though a bunch of galleries and open studios. Main Street had also turned into an enormous street fair, and it was nice to be in a crowd where everyone seemed to know each other. The street fairs in the city may be bigger, but it's pretty rare for people to spontaneously run into each other at them, I think. Many of the open studios were interesting, and as always, it's wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying art. I came home and made a fresh apple pie using Carlea's recipe for dough and apples that my parents got while they spent the weekend at the Bellinger Rose B&B in Herkimer visiting family friends.

The leaves have yet to change, and it was still pretty warm, but I felt clearly that this was the first official weekend of fall. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season now!

Friday, September 24, 2010

{This Moment}

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Feel free to share a link to your moment in the comments.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Changing Seasons

In honor of the autumnal equinox, I'm going to postpone this week's World of Wonder in favor of lovely fall art by Andy Goldsworthy and Carl Sandburg. Enjoy, and best wishes for a hearty season!

Autumn Movement
by Carl Sandburg

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

This weekend felt jam-packed and left me exhausted - and a little sick, so I'm just going to make a list of some of our adventures, and ask a quick favor: Does anyone have suggestions for a good soup that's easy enough to make when you're under the weather? All I wanted today was soup, but since I don't get back from class until 9pm, I had to manage on bland egg drop/wonton takeout. I'd prefer something with a little more love before I revert to condensed chicken noodle. It's just a cold, so I think that with some good soup, steam vapors, and a few full nights of sleep, I'll be ready for action soon.

  • Promotion at work (my first ever - very exciting).
  • Happy hour at Fat Cat. Really good a cappella.
  • Poetry reading by the very talented Danniel Schoonebeek.
  • Taxi ride to make early train to meet Dave, our impromptu overnight guest.
  • Breakfast with Dave at the Mohegan Diner, where a waitress tried to throw out Roger's reusable travel mug because it looks like a disposable cup.
  • Shopping for new pants and a blazer (because I got a promotion and everyone should have at least one nice outfit to wear to work, and also because I found a coupon online).
  • Read all of Stitches. It was less good than I was hoping it would be, but I know now that my expectations were just too high.
  • Made fried brown rice and dumplings. It was pretty delicious, considering all the mistakes I made while preparing them.
  • Was asked to write weekly article in the Mahopac News. Also very exciting.
  • Ate cake that my parents bought for their double-date.
  • Ate cake for breakfast.
  • Donated and put away summer clothes, replaced with winter clothes.
  • Front-desk duty at opening of After the Fall.
  • After-party for opening of After the Fall. Met lots of very interesting people (one of the myriad of wonderful things about dating Roger is that he is constantly introducing me to the most incredible people). Ate a different type of cake.
  • Drinks/dinner at Alligator Lounge, where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather.
  • Sea Wolf concert. Easily one of the best concerts I've ever attended.
  • Last minute dash to make train. Town-car woes.

Really a good one, in general, but I'm looking forward to getting some sleep. Right ... now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

{This Moment}

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Feel free to share a link to your moment in the comments.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Worlds of Wonder: Starship Enterprise

I've never actually watched any of the Star Trek series, but my father loved them, and they were always on in my house, so I've absorbed a deep respect for the Starship Enterprise, despite not knowing very much about it. I'll quote the less-than-helpful, though remarkably detailed, wikipedia entry here, since it's almost midnight, and I'm too tired to do a real entry:

The Enterprise or USS Enterprise (often referred to as the "Starship Enterprise") is the name of several fictional starships, some of which are the focal point for various television series and films in the Star Trek franchise created by Gene Roddenberry.The majority of these vessels share "NCC-1701" as part of their registry, with later ships appending a letter to the registry to differentiate them.

So, aside from the pretty epic title "starship" and the sleek design and over 40 years of history and the fact that Virgin Atlantic named the first commercial spacecraft after it, what's so amazing about the Starship Enterprise?

The fact that Patrick Stewart drove it.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Most Versatile Blogger Award

Carlea of Hour of Gold kindly bestowed the Most Versatile Blogger Award on me (along with four other great blogs), and since I'm all about building community (even online) and because I love the word versatile, I'm going to pass it along. First, though, since I won't re-give the award to her, I'm just going to say that Carlea's blog is one of my very favorites. She updates about her life, reviews movies and coffee shops, and each Friday gives us a short piece of her spectacular fiction. If you aren't reading it already, you should start right now.

Okay, the award rules. First, I give seven factoids you might not know about me. Then, I pass the honor of Most Versatile Blogger on to five blogs I love. You can feel free to see it as a "tag," but also, I won't be surprised or offended if you don't pass it on. I get behind that, and mostly, I just wanted to share some of my favorite blogs here.

Seven Facts:
  1. I don't really want to be a travel-writer, regardless of how this blog started out. I love traveling, but doing too much of it exhausts me. And until this blog starts making me the megabucks, the big trips I expected to write on are a little out of my writing budget.
  2. I really enjoy practicing yoga, and started doing it when I was a sophomore in high school.
  3. For my 23rd birthday, my friends bought me a worm-composting system.
  4. My favorite souvenirs (right now) are Christmas decorations and ornaments. This is because I enjoy seeing how other cultures celebrate, and I love holiday markets, and I think it's the one place that kitsch is really allowable.
  5. I've been thinking about adding a weekly feature to the blog where I write about interesting travel products. It feels a little materialistic and silly, though, so I'm still undecided.
  6. I can trace my ancestry back to 1604.
  7. I really enjoy taking classes, especially now that I'm not as type-A about them as I once was.

Most Versatile Blogger Awards:

  • No Wonders - Okay, yes, there's some nepotism in this award, but Roger Arnold's blog is one of the few art blogs I can read all the way through. His art-choices and his words are both interesting and accessible, and the images are always fantastic. Even if you hate art (like the author of a certain blog you're reading right now), you'll like this blog.
  • SouleMama - My friend Liz sent me a recipe from Amanda Soule's website, and from that moment, I was hooked. Each entry feels like a conversation over tea with a close friend, warm and comforting. It's also where {This Moment} was started. (Hint: if you're looking for recipes, you'll find plenty of extremely healthy ones at my favorite food blog, Crisp and Verdant. SouleMama is a little more holistic.)
  • Happy Sighs - I found Liz (who also runs Betsy Ann Paper) while she was moderating comments on A Practical Wedding, and although I've only been reading for a short time, I love her quick, witty, and insightful entries. She's another stranger that already feels like a friend.
  • Sarah Lawrence Girls - Started by a classmate and friend of mine at SLC, Lauren Palmor (who has her own art blog at The Art Object), this blog features ephemera relating to an issue very dear to my heart, pre-coed Sarah Lawrence. Of course, the school is still amazing now, but there's something so charming about these wonderful early images.
  • The Order of Things - Another classmate-friend, Sarah Shoemake, started this lovely blog a year ago, to appreciate the finer things in life. Though I mentioned earlier that I'm worried about being materialistic in a travel products entry, Sarah's blog never feels materialistic. In fact, it seems to move beyond the material to true beauty.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ice Cream & Beer: Burlington, VT

Day One:
After work on Friday, Roger and I frantically ran around trying to accomplish all the things I'd planned to accomplish that morning. Since we'd gotten back from a gallery opening at 2am, I should have known I wouldn't wake up at 5am to pack and shower, but I didn't, and so we spent the 6-7pm window picking up prescriptions, showering, packing and scarfing down pizza before heading up to Albany to see our friends Rachel, Shelby, and Mike. We stayed at Shelby and Mike's house that evening, and admired their new air mattress.

Day Two:
We intended to leave Albany at 8am, but ended up picking Rachel up at around 8:45 (noticing a trend here?), before getting Dunkin' Donuts. We had mostly pumpkin flavored coffees, and they were delicious, and no, I'm not thinking about what was used to flavor them. I'm just enjoying the memory. We caravan-ed up to Burlington, taking the ferry over Lake Champlain. It was a surprise to us when Shelby's gps led us there, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and a nice, quick ride. Once we arrived in Burlington at around 1pm, my brakes failed as Roger was driving, and we nearly killed a puppy. Then we stopped at our campsite, the North Beach Campground, and set up the tents. While we ended up having a nice time at the campground, I wouldn't recommend it. It was really crowded with no privacy (the tents and RVs were just set up in a large field, with few trees in between), and the security guard told us we were being too loud in our tent at 11pm. I can't offer a better suggestion, but if anyone has one, I'd love to hear it. Shelby had the good sense to blow up her mattress in the tent, and while it took up around 1/2 of the tent (it comes up to the blue line in the picture on the right), it fit perfectly and seems to have made for a wonderful sleeping treat.

We headed back into Burlington (taking Mike's car, though the site is close enough that you can probably walk into city center without much of a problem), and since we couldn't immediately find my favorite restaurant from Middlebury, American Flatbread, we stopped in at Mirabelle's for lunch. American Flatbread is right around the corner, as it turns out, and if you're there for two meals, it's absolutely worth checking out. Still, Mirabelle's was fantastic, and extremely well-priced. I had eggs benedict with corncakes instead of English muffins and chili peppers in the hollandaise sauce, and at $11, it was amazing. Our stomachs full, we wandered briefly around the Church Street Market. My only real regret about getting to Burlington so late is that we didn't have much of a chance to walk around, but what we did see of the market was lovely. They had a jazz band playing, and there were some cute shops and restaurants.

We looked up the Magic Hat Brewery, which we had planned the trip around, and walked the 3/4 of a mile to the location. Unfortunately, we had the wrong location, and came upon a large building with a gallery and yoga studio where we thought the brewery was. We did see some of the 2010 South End Art Hop, which was a nice surprise, though we only visited one open studio. I'm always amazed at how many people turn out for art walks, and this was no exception. Since it's only once a year, people seemed to really go all out for it, and the Art Hop logo was all over.

We turned around, did a little shopping, and then got back in the car to go to the Artifactory, the part of the Magic Hat Brewery where they give tours. We've been to a few breweries now (Shipyard, Brooklyn, Bar Harbor Brewing Company), and while I don't like them quite as much as the wineries we've been to, they're often a lot of fun, and Magic Hat was by far the best I've seen yet. Our tour guide was hilarious and really knowledgeable, and the free samples seemed to be unlimited. I think we all tried each of the nine they had on tap, and some of us went back for seconds. They also had a photobooth, a gift shop with glasses, 12-packs, and sleeping bags, and the company runs a few big parties each year. I definitely approve.

After, we ran into a grocery store for hot dogs and s'mores, and headed back to the campsite for a nice evening around the fire enjoying each others' company.

Day Three:
One day of sleeping not on Shelby and Mike's mattress, but rather on the damp ground, convinced me I needed at least one of two things: an air mattress or an under-tarp for the tent. I ended up buying the former on sale at LL Bean when I headed home (one of air mattresses we borrowed from my parents, in addition to being 30 years old and taking about 20 minutes to blow up, has a leak, so I feel this was a practical investment). It really wasn't so bad, but I was a little grumble-y waking up and getting dressed before going to the gas station to pick up brake fluid. The brake fluid seemed to do the trick, so we headed out for Ben & Jerry's, witnessing some of a triathlon on the way. Unfortunately, it became clear that the brake fluid was leaking, and so it only did the trick for about 10 minutes. We hobbled our way to the factory, and enjoyed the cute, if short, tour and free samples before saying goodbye to Shelby and Mike for the weekend.

In the lot, we filled up with more brake fluid, which lasted approximately 10 minutes, and made the three-hour trip to Albany. During the trip, I remembered I'd left my glasses in Shelby's glasses case, and she and I played phone tag. She's being a fantastic friend to the forgetful and mailing them down to me. We dropped in at LL Bean (where they didn't have my mattress, but where they advised I buy it online, since the salesperson likes it better than the Bean equivalent - I love honest salespeople!), stopped by Rachel's lovely pre-war apartment to take care of her cat, and went to eat some very good Indian food at Shelby's suggestion, Ghandi Restaurant. We almost went to another restaurant, called Royal India, but decided we like our world more post-revolution, and had a delicious meal of saag paneer and chicken and lamb korma. We left Rachel to her studies, and filled up the brake fluid one final time before heading back down home, where we found out my father could fix the leak in my brake line, and where we watched Mad Men while eating ice cream. A lovely ending to a lovely weekend!

Friday, September 10, 2010

{This Moment}

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Feel free to share a link to your moment in the comments.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Worlds of Wonder: Dakar at Night

Some things about Dakar I remember very vividly, but night-time isn't one of them. I recall coming back to a hotel after eating dinner, on one of my last nights there, and I think it was very dark and there was that din and smell that I can't really explain, that happens in certain cities at night, and also there were street lights showing through the dust in a lovely and haunting sort of way. I have one specific memory of the night, but the actual surroundings feel a bit reconstructed in my head, and the lack of available images of the city at night (well, there are some, but I didn't take any of them) makes the whole thing feel shrouded in mystery in a way that the city in the daytime, however magical and terrible and wonderful, just doesn't.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekend Wanderings: Family Reunion

The long weekend delayed this post, and then my poetry class delayed it even further, so in the hopes that I'll be able to sleep a little before going to work tomorrow, this is going to be a shorter-than-planned entry. I bet you'll appreciate my brevity, considering that this weekend was spent with my large extended family in Pennsylvania.
Every year on Labor Day weekend, we gather for a three-day-long party to celebrate being a family. We play horseshoes and badminton, drink birch beer from a keg, catch up on the latest news, and eat. And eat and eat. Pork sandwiches, ravioli, pepper cookies, all made by hand on a pasta board just like the ones my great-grandfather made for his daughters. It's a celebration less of Italian culture than of our own, personal culture and the people in it, from our ancestors down to the newest additions. Though my family, like all families, is crazy, they're also funny and warm and interesting and constantly changing. It's always the perfect end to summer, and a wonderful way to begin autumn.

Now, if only the weather would realize it and stop with the 90 degree heat already!

Friday, September 3, 2010

{This Moment}

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Feel free to share a link to your moment in the comments.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Worlds of Wonder: Jan Mayen

I've decided to make Worlds of Wonder a little more flexible, and feature places that are full of wonder for any reason, not just because they don't exist. With that, I bring you Jan Mayen, Norway.
Jan Mayen is a small volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean. Only 34 miles long, the island features a glacier, an isthmus and three lakes, in addition to between 18 and 35 people, depending on the season. These are mainly employees who work on the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, and Norwegian military personnel. What is perhaps most appealing about the island, however, is the history of its possible discovery in the early 6th century by Saint Brendan of Clonfert, an Irish monk cum explorer, who reported that he'd gotten close to a fiery black island with a terrible noise. He thought it might have been the entrance to hell. It may also have been the actual Svalbarð as discovered by the Vikings. Also, there are polar bears, and I bet the aurora borealis is epic there. Need I say more?