and even more new adventures!
12.01.2008 - 01.17.2009
You would think 11-degree weather would be conducive to blogging, since I can stay inside, stay warm and blog away, but no. No, Tara and I have actually found a way to brave the usually-below-35-degree weather to continue our adventures! And since it's been so long, we're going to try doing this just like last time: a lot of pictures and short explanations. Perfect for all you busy bodies out there! As always, we miss you all and can't wait to see everyone again! (We'll be in the Bay Area Feb. 16th-20th (ish) and then heading to N. CA and Portland before flying to Guatemala on March 10th.) Enjoy!
Army Navy football game 2008: apparently, this annual game is not to be missed. It was even listed in our 1000 things in the US to see before you die, but perhaps not so much for the excitement of it all, but for the cultural experience. I've never been surrounded by so many military people... While entertaining in perhaps, oh, 60 degrees, not so much in 25. First time I've seen Bush in person, and Tara and I were the ONLY people not clapping for him. *awkward*
A big end-of-the-year highlight was a visit from Aaron and Jeorgea in December! They came and stayed with us for a couple of nights and we tried to show some of Philly's finest highlights, including the Italian Market in South Philly and Philadelphia Magic Garden, a mosaic-ed house and garden. The same artist, Isaiah Zagar, has over 100 pieces covering walls and buildings all over Philadelphia. They're pretty easy to spot! We also took the kids to our local watering hole, known for its strong drinks and giant TVs (it's our favorite place to watch football). This is Aaron teaching Jeorgea a few pool moves.
As Christmas neared, a church on the other side of our block created a manger, complete with live animals. We stopped by pretty often, promising the cuties they'd be sent back to open ranges soon enough and reminding them to cuddle on these cold Philly nights. Gotta love the urban backdrop!
I worked Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, so we hung out in Philadelphia for the day. After a conference call with the family to open gifts, Tara and I set out to find a covered bridge in Fairmont Park. Didn't find the bridge, but found Rittenhouse Town, a super old town with cute buildings and some kind of history...
So this may be my favorite weekend in Philadelphia so far. Well, next to today anyways. Tara and I decided we needed to go somewhere since we had the whole weekend and only a handful left until our departure. It was a toss up between Baltimore and Atlantic City. I don't know how Atlantic City won, but it did, so we loaded up a bag and took off. Oh, before leaving the house, I found a pretty cheap hotel room at a place with a (supposed) amazing view of the water and bay. So we get there, and it's windy and pretty foggy. Well, really foggy. We checked into the hotel and requested a room on the highest floor we could get, you know, for the view and all. It was amazing! Check it out! An amazingly solid wall of fog! We could've been on the ground floor for all the fog. Sometimes, we're just that good. The rest of the evening in AC was fun and a bit of a trip. This west coast girl is definitely not used to the east coast shore, or a strip of casinos lining it.
The next morning we decided we weren't done exploring, but plenty done with Atlantic City, so we headed to 2 battlefields, one in NJ and one in Brandywine, PA, then to a craft fair, finishing off with a bit of really heavenly wine tasting at a visually breathtaking, but don't take a breath 'cause it stinks to high heaven, winery.
New Year's in Philadelphia is a big deal. First there's the fireworks New Year's Eve, which Tara and I miraculously made it to, considering it was 18 degrees with a wind chill of 2 degrees. We watched the explosions from a battleship docked on the Jersey side of the Delaware river. Freezing, but fun, and glad we did it. New Year's Day is the real attraction in Philly. In fact, there was a bunch of ruckus about some Mummers' Parade possibly being cancelled due to city budget cuts. Mummers? you say. Seriously, who knew about these guys? Apparently, a long time ago, a bunch of working class guys wanted to celebrate New Year's Day in a whacky way so put some dresses on and walked down Broad Street to City Hall. It quickly became tradition and now it's a Philly must see. It's very competitive, complex and was a little hard to figure out, but basically there's 3 divisions of Mummers: those who march all wearing the same dress/bloomers and gold shoes, those who wear fancier costumes relating to some kind of theme and belong to a string band that competes at the end of the parade, and the Fancy Brigade, a dance group who relies more on their props than their dance moves to win the evening contest. Talk about a cultural experience! Overall, the Fancy Brigade wasn't as entertaining as it was fascinating. We didn't have tickets, but happened to score some from a guy in line who had extras. He gave them to us for free, provided we promised to cheer loudest for his son's group, which came on last, lucky for us (note: sarcasm).
(We're almost to the end!)
Last weekend, we went to see Aaron and Jeorgea in Brooklyn for one last visit before the big Latin America adventure. We got to their place just as it started to snow, so our weekend was full of snow, slush and icy coldness, but just weatherwise. Otherwise it was full of warmth and love 'cause that's how we roll with the little brother and his girl. We took a short walk through Central Park in the snow (a first for me - to see the park at all), including a pit stop at Tavern on the Green where they had giant animals sculpted from shrubs. Hello, Edward Scissorhands! We also stopped at a cute little bar for a liquid jacket and even hit Burger Joint, the best little hidden burger joint in town!
That brings us to today. Oh, today was a really good day! Today, we rolled out of bed, once again braved the cold and got to see Barack and Michelle roll by on their way to D.C. I won't go into too much detail here because you can read more on SF Gate's blog that I'm writing for. Here's the site: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/inauguraljourney/index? I think I emailed the link to the pictures to most of my email contacts, but if you're someone I missed, let me know and I'll send it to you too. We had a really good time, met some wonderful people and even got interviewed by a local paper. Here were some highlights of the day: 11 degrees registered on the car thermometer. Yessss! Our new friends, Vannessa and Mike, who we plan on having apple martinis with before leaving PA. The man of the hour, and Michelle's arm! We cried.
And how can you not finish off an awesome Philly morning without a cheese steak? You're right, you just can't. We tried a new place called Gooey Louie's and I can just bet you'll figure out where the name came from.
Here we are! 3 weeks left in the big little city of Philadelphia. Tomorrow is a very big day, for the Eagles play the Cardinals and should Philadelphia pull through, the streets will be filled with gay laughter and glee. Should they lose, the streets will most likely run green with true Philadelphian blood. Either way, it's going to be a sight to see. So, my friends, even though the picture is in reference to baseball, I leave you with this very Philadelphian sentiment: Fly, Eagles fly! and...
L & T