Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mini Vacation from Vacation

Destination stops: Philadelphia & Washington D.C.

First stop is Philly

 New science building at Drexel
 Local artist in Old Town
 Keith cooked us balsamic chicken for dinner the first night :)

The trip to see two of my favorite people - Keith and Kristi - was quite a busy time at that. I was glad to finally stay over in Philly for more than a night and browse Keith's neighborhood. He lives in Old Town - where every now and then there's a street made of cobblestone and the decor would remind you of when our four fathers were around - getting the lay of the land. I was so delighted that he wanted to investigate the Philadelphia Folk Festival in Schwenksville (basically out in rural PA). We were very lucky to last the entire day (Friday) without a drop of rain. Unfortunately the weather report did say we were in the mist of a vicious storm heading our way by 7pm - WOW sounds like Falcon Ridge - but lo' and behold it held out until 8. So we saw Brother Sun and a few other bands before it poured during the Comas set. Below are some pictures courtesy of Keith Hobin:

The Comas - during the day
Kala Jojo

One of my favorites Groovemama
The newest member who really can sing!!!

The rest of the weekend in Philly was pretty packed with things to do and see. We walked a lot and my blister on my foot proves how much we pushed ourselves. Saturday morning, after a quick bite at Wawa we took SEPTA to center city and walked to the Parkway heading to the Barnes Museum. Apparently this guy who went to school for engineering I think, became a huge over the top art snob and collected over 4,000 pieces throughout his lifetime. What makes the museum controversial is that Barnes didn't want the pieces to be previewed in a museum in Philly. In fact for the longest time he had a museum out in the country for that very reason. 

I must say I've never seen that many Raphels or the G artist in my life. Even going to the Louvre in Paris! Later we visited the oldest penitentiary in the world, Eastern State Penitentiary. It was cool to see all the inner workings of such a big "prison". I loved learning about its history especially when we went into the old operating room that up until this year was closed due to ingrown trees and debris from the twenty years nothing was being done to protect this fascinating place. 

The operating room -- lamp still in tacked 

We also went to World Live Cafe for dinner and a show with this very eclectic group Bushwalla. The two musicians before the headliner were awesome! However, I was getting a real kick out of the ladies sitting next to our table. It turns out they were celebrating one of their birthdays and as a result Bushwalla took the chance to put her on the spot and sing, dance, caress and had to have been there.

The ladies who partied hard that night...

Sunday was travel day to DC. I took Megabus to Union and hung out a bit in the city, visited TWC apartments to see Alan (concierge of the complex), until Kristi was ready for me. She lives in Columbia Heights which is a really nice area. Her complex is "one of the biggest" in DC or so she said. It was though, I was pretty impressed. Studio apts, laundry, a restaurant, a convenient shop, postal boxes, dry cleaning, security, a POOL!!! so jealous. Kristi had just returned from her trip to Miami. Sounds like the humidity down there is unbearable but she seemed to have a good time with friends. 

Since she works during the day I decided to venture out. Monday I went to the American Indian museum and Pentagon City to browse the mall. After a few hours browsing the museum I decided to check out the cafeteria that Keith mentioned was authentic. I "chickened" out and got an Indian Taco. I thought it would be more adventurous than it turned out to be. Oh well...

 Spearheads...they look like fish

 Looking down at the atrium of the museum.
 Looking up from the same place.
 The museum had a lovely exhibit on horses and how they were used throughout history 
for various Indian tribes across the country. This is a pic of a tipi with 
horse art. 
 The building's exterior

Shopping just isn't my thing but I wanted to say I had been to Pentagon City (since most of the interns during the spring had gone and it sounded like a place I "had to go see"). A mall is a mall. It was nice to sit down on a bench awhile and people watch. Thanks for the idea Alan!

Monday night we ate and drank at one of her favorite places the Xchange near the White House. It was good and I was surprised I drank three Bud Lights (Happy Hour special $2 each). I didn't think I would like it but it was ok. Kristi was so cute being concerned about her weakened tolerance since I last hung out with her in DC. We ended up walking back to her place taking about an hour and twenty mins - three mile walk to Columbia Heights. 

Tuesday was a relaxed day until I realized that Congress wasn't in session and that my idea to bring Kristi a free lunch - thanks to CNP's free lunch discussions - I didn't realize how much work it would be. Since the location was changed to a room in Russell instead of near Union Station then changed again (moved to another Senate building) I was rushed getting there so I got a crappy seat and of course this would be the day they only had boxed lunches for which I assumed there were only enough for those who said they'd be coming. CSPAN was there...ugh it was a hot mess. I looked awful, felt worse and ended up drinking a Coke for lunch. No biggie though I did keep my promise Kristi and she was very humbled. It was okay in the end since I walked to FroYo to get a snack :)

Scrambled eggs, flat bread and The Day After Tomorrow was our night. I was happy to spend some time with Kristi and I hope she had a good time too. It was nice to get away for awhile but thinking about coming home in Union Station Wednesday around lunchtime I started to do my usual worrying. As my friend Jay said, "you're a worrier." She's right and I'm trying everyday to be less so but its a habit I'll need to slowly adjust overtime.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Last Trip to Say Goodbye

Normally I wouldn't dwell on something that is ending and instead I would take a more optimistic approach. However, I've been very blessed to have extra time out at the house in Sag Harbor. I know I'm so lucky to even have a place by the beach that is like home away from home. Mom and I agree that the continuous visits and summers we've had out there are so precious. Things could have been very different after my Dad passed away almost 10 years ago now but Uncle Rene being a good Catholic bishop and good family member told us that we were welcomed out there anytime. He kept his promise even during this time of hardship with his condition (diagnosed with dementia).

Despite that sad fact we did have a good time this past weekend. For two gals with plans to have no plans or expectations did pretty great. Going with the flow pays off sometimes. We decided to go to the Farmer's Market in downtown Sag Harbor (overpriced but nice to hang out and meet local farmers) where we did get pickles and real cow milk! Later Mom surprised me when we drove out to Cedar Point Light house. It sits on a small peninsula, sand strip within a secure state park. It was really great to observe the camp grounds and the possibly for future trips that wouldn't include the house.

The walk out wasn't as long partially since we didn't have anything better to do and because we needed some exercise. Its a stone non-working lighthouse. I loved looking out across the bay to the North Folk and looking the opposite side to see the town and harbor. So peaceful out there...

I almost forgot to mention our first evening. Friday night was beautiful: not too hot or cold. We cooked up some beef soft-tacos and took a trip down to Big Oloffs ice cream for a night treat. We sat outside eating our ice cream admiring the boats docked in the harbor. Longtime friend from the last trip out to Sag Harbor, the Coastal Drifter III was still in port.

The rest of the day (Saturday) was spontaneous. We decided to keep driving. Map in hand and hope to find another lighthouse with drove through Springs on route 40 and came back into Easthampton on route 41 (on the opposite side of town) passing the Arts and Crafts fair in Fireplace. Later we went to Woldoff estates winery for a tasting. No tasting past whenever they decided to stop that but we stood listening to some live music, drank some white wine and flirted with the busboy :)

Afterwards we drove out to Montauk to get new sweatpants (The End on the butt...I got my first pair waaaay b4 Juicy was plastered on girls butts) and of course Lobster bisque soup from Gosman's. Ride back was a little wet but we managed just fine.

Sunday was a much slower paced day. Melancholy feelings on the last day of the trip to Sag Harbor were a little unsettling. Thinking about all the memories I've made over the years since my Dad has been gone and the good-ole days when the family was together. I tried to keep it together while we spent the afternoon on Long Beach (the bay not the ocean) but I couldn't help my emotions. I was happy Mom was there to comfort me and simply listen without judgement. All in all the end of the evening was so worth the tears. We played cards and Sudoku, BBQ (great fire that later we had to manually distinguish), ate, laughed, packed the car and drove away.

I hope one day in the future I'll remember all the great moments instead of remembering the pain of leaving. I'm sure in time...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Don Don Don Don....Kerry's Bridal Shower

I decided to go to Kerry's Surprise Bridal shower to support Sweta and the other bridesmaids/the bridal party who wanted to honor Kerry in her new chapter of life. I've never gone to a bridal shower before and although I asked around and brushed some ideas off of Mom I didn't really know what to expect except there would be a group of women at the party who know Kerry. Instead of trying out the subway route to Auburndale I realized once I reached Newport on the light rail I would be cutting it close to the 12:30 deadline to get to the Purtell residence before Kerry would arrive.

The usual LIRR Port Washington train ride would have to suffice. It was good that I grabbed a little bite to eat before the train considering how hot and muggy it was in addition to the fact that I had forgotten to eat all day and it was already noon. Once off the train I power walked my butt to the house.  Luckily I came around the corner and into the backyard just as Kerry's next door neighbors made an appearance with what seemed to be three huge gifts. The good thing about Kerry and Chris' wedding website is that mostly everything on their registries were practical items like mixing bowls and sheets, etc.

Sweta, Krissy and the rest of the bridesmaids/bridal party kept everyone entertained with cute bridal shower games starting with a roast to see how well Kerry new Chris and how they related as a couple. Every wrong answer was followed by a shot and every correct answer followed by a Hershey kiss - rather a melted kiss. It was soooo humid and hot that day but thankfully it didn't rain until much later in the evening. Kerry and I played together for "guess the celebrity couples" and bridal bingo. After some games we ate and then watched Kerry open dozens and dozens of gifts...not my favorite part of the party but its the tradition.

Shortly after the gifts were all opened we presented Kerry with her pink and white cake and slowly parted. It was really nice to meet some of Kerry's school colleagues and reunite with some of her long-time friends like Sweta and Krissy. I was also happy to meet Chris's Mom Isabelle and his family. In fact I met one of his cousins who lives in NJ and whose mother and aunt live in Jersey City. They were so thoughtful to ask me if I wanted a ride.