Friday, April 30, 2010

More Reasons to Love Philadelphia

I had a dream the other night that I was visiting Chicago and my heart did this leap and I thought, Oh, I missed this city! But then I got lost on and couldn't find my way to 9th and Pine (I don't even remember if there is a Pine Street in Chicago), and wished I was back in the City of Brotherly Love (aka Killadelphia b/c of the high murder rate per capita. I think it's going down though. As long as you buy your crack in an upper-class neighborhood, you're safe).

And then both yesterday and today, I ran into Celia on the way to work, and she is one of my favorite people. But seeing people I know is a common occurrence here. After running in Celia again this AM, I also spotted one of the guys who took my fiction workshop a couple of times and we were able to briefly talk about Mary Gaitskill, Raymond Carver, and the importance of bike helmets while waiting for the traffic light to change.So nice. And luckily, I had my promiscuous phase in my early 20s, so there's no real danger of me having to avoid like, dozens of guys I'd rather not see ever again. Oh, and Celia sent me a link today for Emma Carol, Inc. Apparently, my cat has been setting up a boutique behind my back.

So, here are your Friday Philly photos. The first one I took for Celia today, because she commented on this random graffiti on a construction site when I saw her on Thursday. See if you can find the dancing Gila monster thing:

This is a church either near or in Rittenhouse Square. I liked the gargoyle.

And I think that round thing up top is a lion or some other kind of monster

Chalk balloon art.

Handsome black cat in repose.

Far away.

And close up.

I like the detail on this scooter. 

This could be Emna Carol's long lost sister (this cat and 45,098like it in S. Philadelphia alone).

And this is a donkey that we saw last weekend in New Jersey. I made Dan pull over and let me pet him. It was definitely a him.

And friendly, and when you petted him, dirt would fly off in clouds.

I put a dandelion behind his ear, but he shook it off and ate it. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gym peeves

I've been going to Sweat (the gym) a little more often than usual, and I generally like the experience, but there are a few things that irritate the hell out of me:

1. People talking on their cell phones while working out on a machine. Is it necessary to be on the phone while you're exercising? Like, I understand that there might be emergencies, but since I can hear the entire conversation, I can tell you that I personally wouldn't consider a detailed discussion of The Hills to be an emergency. I guess a cell-phone exerciser would argue that I can always just put on my headphones--I don't have to listen. That's true. But it just seems like maybe, once in awhile, it's okay to take a break from talking on the phone. You probably don't talk on the phone while you're in the shower, right? Or while swimming? And at least one person in the world agrees with me.

2. Not turning off the TV after working out. Yes, each of the machines at the gym have tiny little TV sets, because we are spoiled. But some of us are even more spoiled and don't turn off the TVs after they've finished. This makes me have to walk around and self-righteously turn them off, thereby setting a good example for everyone else.

3. Loud noises. Of any kind. One guy at this gym I used to go to would like bark every few minutes or so. Others cough. My friend Leigh Ann knows a guy at her gym who burps incessantly. I don't want to hear any expulsions, if you can help it. And if you're having to bark or hock a loogie or if you sound like a locomotive, then you're pushing yourself too hard.

4. This one is the same as loud noises, except more specific to equipment use. Please don't just drop the 500 pound weight that you've managed to life for .098 seconds. I don't care how much you can lift. I'm not even paying attention. But I do care that when you drop it on the ground from the height of your shoulders, it makes a loud and sudden noise and causes the room to reverberate. More agreement here.

5. You can keep your shirt on.

Zumba tonight for the 4th week. I am not improving much, but I can at least fake it better--like, I'm able to go in the same direction as the teacher, though perhaps not using the same steps.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stop Me Before I Get a Home Perm to Match

I had the sneaking suspicion the other day that I was possibly wearing mom jeans. I bought these jeans in Nebraska because I wanted a pair of dressy jeans--you know, long leg, no back pockets. These seemed to fit those parameters, but then I was walking down the street and caught a glimpse of myself in a store window. I looked like I should be heading to the Dress Barn to pick up a few more mock turtlenecks before starting dinner for the kids. It's not that they were elastic or high waisted, but they just had that aura of mom jeans about them. I don't know if I ever dare wear them again.

Tomorrow, will go with Dan to Art Council of Princeton's "Pinot to Picasso" fund raising event. Tickets range from $75 to$225, but since I'm a guest of his, I get in for the bargain price of $35. He has a painting in the show, along with Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize winning Irish poet who Padhraig says never combs his hair. He is exhibiting his poem, "The Fling" in a frame. That seems like cheating to me.Whatever will I wear to this gala? Mom jeans? I'm going to Green Street after work to see if they have something fancy.

Here is Dan's piece if you would like to buy it outright:

And here is the YouTube video I was sent featuring Paul Muldoon on the Colbert Report: 

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Paul Muldoon
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Decade of Purposeful Nonchalance

Your friend and mine, Jenn Bing, sent me this pic yesterday, and I thought I would share it with you. I am mostly familiar with the 2006, woodsy hipster as I was dating someone like that at the time. Though he wasn't really a hipster. He tried to be. He listened to the right fringe music, drank PBRs ironically, had a tattoo (one), and I think he may have even considered smoking a pipe. Be at heart, he was too big of a nerd to be a hipster. Too high strung as well.

I started reading The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J.Jacobs. Each chapter is him trying out different ways of being--what's it like to employ Radical Honesty with everyone, to have a naked picture of yourself appear in a national magazine, to live each day as a rationalist,etc. One of the things he mentioned in the rationalist chapter is this theory that applies to people always thinking that they're in the slowest line at the grocery store. And that applies to how our brains tend to remember unpleasant experiences more readily than good ones. So, he said that one way to combat this tendency is to pay more attention to the moments where you're not in the slow line--where you actually get through quickly. Because those moments happen more often than the slow line ones. I do that all the time--especially with getting to the subway. It feels like I always just miss the train. But there are probably more instances where I get there right on time, or just a few seconds before it arrives. Today, I heard the "doors closing" warning as I stepped into the station and was like, Damnit! Now I'll have wait 5 to 10 more minutes for the next one. But then I thought, who cares? What's the rush? I wasn't late or anything; I was early. But I didn't like the inefficiency of it. Then I remembered I had the Monday NY Times crossword in my bag and so everything was right with the world once again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Holy Days

I keep meaning to post more of these older photographs. But because I have a bad memory, two things make this a problem (1). I forget I have them; (2). I remember I have them but can't recall which ones I've already posted. So, you'll have to forgive me in advance if you've seen these already. Here we have my mother and two of the her brothers--I think it's Jodie and maybe David? They look like Jersey boys stuck in the middle of the Midwest.

Mother with cat-eye glasses and beehive hairdo with my two uncles, Jeff and Frannie. Curtains are closed.

Mom, younger, before classes--on a horse. I'm not sure if they owned this horse or if they just rented out space for it. I know they had one horse named Strata.
Mom, holy. This must be her first communion. She is a little bride to God.
More holiness and a family dog who likely got run over by a truck or shot by one of the neighbors for terrorizing their chickens.
I may have posted this one before. My mom squinting into the sun, next to her older sister, Margaret.
And again as a little girl with my Uncle David, I think. I love his overalls.
Oh, and this is me as a baby at my Grandpa's. Look at the fields of green and yellow, which match my stroller. Perhaps the stroller was chosen as a form of baby camouflage. 

And this is me next to somebody's old vehicle. I can't tell if I'm holding a book or a self-tanning thing. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee and dolls

This is what I do every morning. Make too much coffee and drink only one cup. On Saturdays and Sundays, I drink more, and listen to Car Talk until I can't stand the Boston accents any more. 

This is the only picture I got around to taking of Saturday's Lo Mo Association flea market. Here is Jenn Bing, offering you a much-needed electronic alarm clock. I bought a toy fire engine for Luke and some cookies and a notebook. I was not a huge supporter of the organization.


 Wish this photo had turned out better. It's a window decorated in celebration of a girl's confirmation You can sort of make out the doll dressed in white and the streamers.

And then, directly across the street you have another celebration--either a wedding of adults or maybe a wedding of a kid in her vows to Jesus. It's not completely clear.

Finally, your hanging holy statute of the day.I believe this is a Virgin Mary. I hope she doesn't get dripped on by the air conditioner hanging above.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What to Do In Philly Today

Go to the Lo Mo Flea Market. That's where I'll be, looking through other people's discarded crap to bring home with me. Jenn said that they have lots of books, so maybe I'll get a few more to put on my shelves and never read...I'll report back with pics later on today.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Your Friday Photos

Not a great week for photos, but I thought I would go ahead and give you what I have...

I, of course, like this door because of the color. 

Here we have a lovely bra display. Not exactly sure what is being advertised here. I always just assumed it was a medical equipment store, but I guess that doesn't work with the bra thing?

Lovely lady behind iron bars (possibly a version of the V. Mary? Not sure).

Curious cat.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blossoming Cherries

Went to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival with Luke and Dan yesterday. Only took us like 3 hours to get into the city for the remaining 45 minutes of the festival. Still, the people-watching was good. Tons of awkward 14 year old boys and girls dressed in funky clothes and walking like colts around the grounds--in that "Is everyone looking at me? God, I hope no one is watching me. Wait, why is noticing me? Am I not interesting?" kind of way. And lots of dogs, including a woman who had six little yappy dogs that she shoved all into one black mesh backpack.

I took the train into Trenton on Sat. afternoon and had to contend with two things I hate in one place--spitting and littering. So, on one side of me, there was this super tall guy in a red jobbing suit talking on his cell phone and spitting over the side of the track every 30 seconds. Really. I timed it. At the time, I was trying to eat a snack, and had to close one eye every time I saw him venture over to the side of the track to keep from seeing the white projectile volley from his pursued lips. Then this other kid was eating something and threw the wrapper over the onto the tracks. Never mind that there was a trash can about 4 feet from the bench he was sitting on. Next, he decided he didn't like whatever he had been chewing and stood over the tracks to drop it out of his mouth. Sometimes, I wish I were more aggressive; why not just go up and say some of the things I'm thinking, like, The world is not your garbage can, you little prick. The most I can manage to do is to make a disgusted face.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jimmy Fallon IS Kate Gosselin

This won't be as funny if you haven't seen the actual performance, but...

Your Friday photos

This week in photos, we have a mix between South Philly pics and ones I took on a walk home yesterday through side streets near Rittenhouse. That's where the homes are worth 5 kajillion dollars. Oh, but first, here is a photo of this woman I saw on my way to the subway one morning. I could not believe her hair--it appeared to be made out of cotton candy or some other non-real substance. She was on her way to the subway too so I was able to observe her in much closer proximity. She was wearing a boob-revealing, tiny top and she had this scary, weathered tan face. But all the dudes were looking at her b/c she looked like she would be happy to turn a trick for like $5 or 2 Oxycontin tables.

Cat praying.

Cat interrupted b/c I tapped on the window. Someday, someone is going to come out and yell at me.

What may be your last Easter window for awhile. The next holiday to decorate for will be July 4, so be ready for some flags, flags, and a few more flags + Jesus waving a flag and the Virgin Mary in red, white, and blue.

I just liked this architectural detail.

Honey, what do you say we put a flailing trout on our door?

Up close.

How big do you think this cat's head is? And by the way, don't you love that flower box so much?


I don't know what kind of dog this is.

But here it is again in primitive form.

This photo is a little blurry. I think I took this because the door seems archaic somehow and because of the lion's head door knocker.

Before I forget, I heard 2 S. Philly girls talking together on the train this morning--they were dressed in identical, spotless white sneakers, long hair slicked back into ponytails, and giant hoop earrings--and one goes, "Yeah, and so we're just sitting there and this lady pulls out a crack pipe and smokes it in front of her kid like it's a cigarette. Can you believe that?" I wanted to ask her where they were sitting. A bus station? A line for Santa? Where?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zumba Makes You Feel Bad Inside

Not really, but taking the class did remind me that I never properly learned how to step-ball-change. Went with Carrie and Jenn B. last night to see what it was like and luckily, there were only two other people who'd taken it before, so the rest of us were flailing our arms around together. The class is basically this combination of Latin dance interspersed with fist pumps and "whoot" noises. I could almost sort of get the steps, but not always the steps along with the hand motions. It reminded me of when I was in middle school and would turn on my clock radio and just bounce around my bedroom listening to Quiet Riot and Pat Benatar or whoever else they played. Alls you gotta to do is jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and jump down (name that song). Oh, and shimmy. Oh, and try not to knock your teeth out when bumping into other awkward participants. The class made me feel a little sorry for Kate Gosselin. Hey, people, it's not that easy to learn the Merengue. Especially not with hair extensions weighing down your light-footedness.

Here is an example. I am played by the 7 and 1/2 month pregnant Latino woman. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hipster Dads

On the subway this morning, I was sitting by two 20+something hipster guys talking about their babies and babies-to-be. One said, "Dude, Mara like totally had the baby all natural. She was in labor for like 49 hours and then had the baby in our bathtub. It was radical. I put it on YouTube." Other guy,"No way! She is hardcore. I don't know if Jules will be able to handle that. She's all, 'Give me the epidural right now...'" Laughter, jangling of chain wallets. Can you still be in the scene and a dad? How does that work? Do you bring your baby to the Death Cab concerts in an organic, hemp baby sling? Get the baby a tattoo for its first birthday? Pierce its belly button?

If you're interested, here is an article on what not to name your baby if you are a hipster. Liz, are you paying attention?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Beauty in Progress

Here is a picture of me in a nightie with a short haircut; probably age 8 or so. Step dad accurately caricatured in the background. Our entire family seems to wear glasses.

And this is me in Laura Ingalls braids, age 10-ish.

I eventually turned out okay. I mean, look at the genes I had to inherit. This is my mom wearing an outfit her brother Richard brought back from his travels in the Army. I believe she is posing without her glasses, next to a glamorous fir tree in the back yard of Grandpa's house. She was 18. Little did she know that in 8 short years, she would have me.