Friday, July 29, 2011

What is it......

to be in a place that truly makes you feel calm? That truly makes you feel relaxed? More relaxed than you have felt in at least two months?

Tonight it is raining, and the raindrops drip down from the locust trees. The raindrops fall through the sunroof on the drive home, and the feel is it's clean, fresh and wonderful.

Possibilities exist here that don't in other places. Possibilities like: a home in the country where the only sounds are wind blowing through trees and loons calling in the distance. Where ponds are everywhere and people fish in canoes. Where horses snort in stalls in the yard, and jazz music travels in the air. Where you feel both out of place and more than cool in a small town.

How does one live here? How does one make a living in this beautiful place? There must be a way....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being in the Dark

Orion shines down over the pitch of the roof and the wind blows. There is no sound here save the movement and creak of trees, the breath of wind and the distant echo of cars. The sky is bright, but with stars not incandescent lights. My feet crunch on gravel and whisper through grass. The deer huff and puff at me as I cross the hillside as silently as my human feet will allow. The clock chimes downstairs and the moon hangs, glowing, in the sky, framed by trees. Locust trees sing here at night, and all is quiet.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Tri-State Area Misadventure - Savage Beauty & The Bolt Bus

Hello faithful readers! Sorry for the radio silence: my life is in a bit of flux right now and I have been without internet service for a few days....tomorrow I head off to Maine for two weeks and it will be glorious to get out of the city and into the most beautiful country....

Anyway. Last week I took the Bolt Bus from 30th Street Station in Philly up to New York City to visit a friend and go to see Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibit, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you want an exceptional way to get between Washington D.C. and Boston, go and take the Bolt Bus!!! Between Philly and NYC the ticket is $12 each way, there is WiFi on the bus and plugs at each seat for your laptop. Amazing! (Now I have heard some horror stories about the Bolt Bus, such as drivers having to stop for 15 minutes so that they don't go over there 24-hour maximum driving time, or a/c being broken or WiFi being broken, but this did not happen to me, so I am a very contented customer.) Lastly, the Bolt Bus picks up and drops off in insanely convenient locations in Philly (30th Street Station) and NYC (34th & 8th) so that you can hop on and off the subway in both cities with very little effort....

On to the more interesting part of this misadventure....The Met and Savage Beauty.

Walking through the Met to the Savage Beauty gallery line...

Beginning of the this point your wait will be: 1 hour and a half

At this point your wait will be: 1 hour

Amazing tiny medallions in gold!

Weiner Dog Deer......

 Amazing silver chasing and repousee!!!

At this point, your wait will be: 45 minutes

Beautiful golden beads....I want to make these

After you have waited in line for a really long time, the statues start to mock you.

Like this guy: look at that smirk!

Hey baby! Watch those rear claws!

I want my house to look like this painting

Before the next set of pictures are put up, a disclaimer. I was not allowed to take these photos, but I did anyway. I took them with the flash off, out of my purse. You will soon discover the angle of the photos is about hip level, looking up. I really hope I do not get in trouble for posting these!!! Let's see....

These photos go in order as if you were walking through the exhibit with me. There were several rooms that documented different sections of McQueen's career. An interesting sidenote: many plaques contained quotes by McQueen and would lead you to believe that he thought he was God's gift to design. I find it interesting that the curators chose these quotes, being that he later killed himself. It would seem that either he did not really feel that way about himself, or the struggle of being expected to be the most important designer on Planet Earth became too much.


Amazing. If you can get to the Met before August 7th, go! It is well worth the wait in line. The curators have done an amazing job and created an eerie environment in which you are immersed in the ideas and romanticism of the clothing. It will also make you question why he decided to end his life: his talent, creativity and resources were so massive, how could he give that up? I wonder what he would have done had he stayed with us....

Hans Christian Andersen storytelling area in Central Park: see the sleeping fellow? He is my favorite part....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Botanical Misadventure - Why You Should Go to Terrain

In the Furniture Gallery at Terrain

Yesterday, my friend Diana made the short trek to Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and went to Terrain, the magical, mystical spot that is a nursery/showhouse/restaurant operated by the Anthropologie company. We were very pleased to discover that they were having a summer and tent sale, and took advantage of lots of amazing deals! 

Example terrarium in the, you guessed it, terrarium section

My love for nurseries, arboretums and botanical gardens is well known by most people who know me, and I had heard about Terrain a few years ago while reading my favorite gardening blog of all time, You Grow Girl, and immediately wanted to visit....but of course, life intervened. However, I made it, only two years later and was absolutely blown away...

Gigantic staghorn fern in the center of the main greenhouse

 The gift of presentation is one that all Terrain designers must possess....I think

 In need of many tiny bottles? 

 Or a design idea for a dream country kitchen?

Or simply, the most beautiful petunia ever created? (Yes...I bought this one)

Yes, Terrain is overwhelming and many items there are very expensive, but the landscape of ideas is amazing! Everywhere you look are stunning yet very simple ways of organizing the everyday items of home and garden in an incredibly beautiful way. We sat for over an hour in the Furniture Gallery and talked: I wanted to move in. After all, don't each and every one of us have a dream-house, whether in the city or in the country, swimming around in our imaginations? Terrain is good for making those imaginary rooms and gardens a bit clearer...

Miniature Geraniums!

A little bit of all things beautiful....

An Artfully Delicious Misadventure - First Friday & Dmitri's Restaurant

Graffiti on Race Street....

 In the vein of discovering all things about this new city of mine, I convince three friends (and very experienced Philadelphians) to walk around Old City with me and explore the event know here as First Friday. First Friday is a great opportunity for walking around and seeing some mostly good art, drink some free booze, listen to some good music, and mostly, see what is happening in this area of the city that is infrequently traveled by me and others of my ilk.

 2nd street

Old City is located a bit above and below Market Street, generally thought to include 2nd and 3rd streets. Most of these streets are populated by art galleries and strange, old shops that sell light bulbs, antique lamps, and restaurant supplies. During First Friday, there are tables set out in front of the galleries and shops, displaying the wares one might discover within, or sometimes the tables are set with items to emphasize the mood of the gallery's collections. Also you will find many, many, street vendors selling paintings, vegan cupcakes, t-shirts, totebags, pillows, etc.

 The wonderful National Restaurant Supply derelict and about to be made guessed it! Condos!!!

We strolled around for about an hour and saw lots of great stuff at galleries whose names I did not write down (bad blogger!)...but suffice it to say, I think First Friday is probably worth doing about once per season just to see what's out there in our fair city, and how art is changing, and possibly to meet some interesting people. The people watching was great: there is alot of artful strangeness going on here, lots of folks in interesting outfits, laughing, talking, and having a good time.

 2nd street....the dark path to someone's backyard

After the galleries, we went into AKA Music and shopped around in their *amazing* used section (why don't these guys have a website???). I wasn't in the mood to buy CD's, but definitely will go is sad to see, however, how rather bedraggled record shops seem to be in these times of downloading and I-Tunes....

 676 at sunset....walking north on 2nd street

676 is held up by an amazing steel bridge

Once satisfied with perusing AKA's selection, off we went on quite a walk up 2nd street all the way into the neighborhood known as Northern Liberties. Everything in Philly is quite close together, but Northern Liberties does seem to be a bit separated from the have to walk along 2nd street for about 2 miles (maybe?), cross under 676 and the Ben Franklin Bridge, see a really great mural, walk along some commercial sites, and BOOM! You cross Spring Garden and are in a totally different Philly neighborhood.

 Mr Franklin jammin' under the Ben Franklin Bridge
 History of Immigration Mural on North 2nd street
 The colours are really beautiful, but I think it's a shame that it is under an overpass...
 I thought it was interesting that, due to construction, this mural, and all the famous people depicted within, are now held behind a fence topped with barbed wire.

We walked to The Foodery to get some beer as the restaurant we were going to is a BYO, and strolled down 2nd street until we got to the most amazing restaurant I have been to in a while....go there now if you can, by all means, it is so amazing and affordable! should go.

Dmitris is on the corner of North 2nd and Laurel Streets and has really nice waitresses who bring you ice buckets to keep your beers cold. That and the menu here is amazing, and works really well for sharing! We got: the mediterranean plate, pan-fried scallops, shrimp pil-pil, and grilled octopus and seriously, y'all, this was one of the best meals I have had in as long as I can remember....perfect for four people, less than $60?!?!?! So amazing....

A stroll after dinner took us to the much-lauded Piazza, which reminded me of a walking mall in San Miguel de Allende, seems super commercial but maybe it's nice if you live there? Anyway....this was my first jaunt into Northern Liberties, and I hope to explore the neighborhood new school is very close by and it may be a good neighborhood to use as a route home....

My Philly malaise seems to be lifting and I think it is a direct result of being almost finished unpacking and, most importantly, getting out and exploring. Tomorrow I go to Terrain, the Anthropologie-created nursery and dreamland....