Archive for November, 2010

Her Royal Highness

Home for Thanksgiving was great– time spent with our families and a much-needed recharge from life in the city.  If it wasn’t so freaking cold in Michigan in November I would have taken some more landscapes… I guess I better work on toughening up to the weather though.  We had a most delicious Thanksgiving meal with my grannnie and grandpa, two of the most interesting people I know.

Well, not as "interesting" as this guy...

My grandpa has a museum in his basement, a perfect example of a modern-day Wunderkammer— a cabinet of curiosities.  His basement is the first museum I ever visited and is still my favorite.  It is a collection of collections, though the bulk of it revolves around World War II (in which my grandpa proudly fought for home and country). 

I had to laugh when I asked my grannie if we could sneak down to take some pictures and her only response was “make sure you turn some lights on down there…”  I have had many guided tours of the basement (and so has Pat) so we showed ourselves around.  Bullets, marbles, Nazi stuff, canes, beer steins, photos, pins, rocks… the list goes on and on. 
My grandpa also has a HUGE collection of little figurines he cast and painted:

Love that mustache!

There is a story (or two…) for each of the items in his collection.  My grandpa’s museum reminds me about the importance of objects.  The “stuff” of our lives carries a narrative, builds memories and can mark our life travels (both physical and emotional).  Grouping these objects adds further meaning– a well-curated exhibit can open your mind to new ways of thinking, to make connections you’d never made before.  I love museums because they are like a big, 3-D, tactile storybook– one you can read a million times and still say at the end of it “huh, I didn’t notice that last time!”  That’s what my grandpa’s museum is to me 🙂


Some day I will tell you the story about the lake in my grandpa’s back field that mysteriously disappeared in the night.


Read Full Post »

Time for calories!

My special helper with the goods

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it: today I’m baking some CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!  I’m sure you’re saying to yourself “what, that Liz is crazy! It’s only November 20, Christmas is over a month away!” But guess what people? I don’t care!  There is no time like the present to start holiday baking.  Plus we’re going home on Monday and I want some sweet treats to share with all our family.  Fa la la la laaaa!

I love this blog post about work place pot lucks.  My office is pretty obsessed with pot luck luncheons.  There was one summer where we had a WEEKLY pot luck… I don’t think I’ve ever had so many varieties of pasta casseroles in my life.  And desserts– we always have way more dessert than main dish.  My office also loves the themed pot luck.  One of the best was the Tribute to Michael Jackson Pot Luck featuring dishes like Banana Smoothie Criminal, Jackson 5 Layer Dip (my contribution), etc.  We’ve also had various cook-off pot lucks like the chili cook-off (Thai Turkey Chili won), slow-cooker recipes, all breakfast foods, and so on.  But the best pot luck of all is coming up: the holiday pot luck.  This one usually involves a lot of foods with booze on the ingredients list: bourbon chile, whiskey weenies, rum balls, rum cake… I’m looking forward to this one!

Video of some jingle bell wearing, sword fighting Renaissance people we saw on Penn’s campus…

Read Full Post »


Last night my museum had a midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The theater sold out the first day they opened ticket sales!  We did some programming for the event, what I fondly refer to as “edutainment”… educational entertainment, of course!

Care of "Magical" Creatures

My intern is probably the biggest Harry Potter fan I know (even more so than my sister-in-law, who will kick your butt at HP trivia any day).  See the cape she’s wearing?  All hand-sewn!  Anyway, she organized most of the activities for the night.  We had a “Care of Magical Creatures” class where she showed off our bug collection– both living and some really beastly preserved bugs.  A couple of volunteers helped people make star wheels and pointed out names of stars that HP characters were named after.  I did a “Potions Class” for people waiting in line– turning water to “wine”, making a liquid “disappear” and creating colorful fire. 

Franklin's Honeydukes

This is the second non-educational film I’ve done programming for– we had some creepy activities for the premiere of the last Twilight film.  At first I wasn’t sure if this kind of stuff is worth doing– people aren’t really there to be educated after all.  But then I realized this is a great way to introduce a captive audience to our programming and hopefully get them interested in coming back to the museum during the day.  It’s definitely not the most educational venture, (though I did make everyone say “sodium polyacrylate” several times for scientific effect) but given the choice between “fluffy” programming or no programming at all… I’ll take the fluff.

Mini Blast-Ended Skwert?

I didn’t stay for the movie because the theater was sold out.  Pat and I are planning on hitting up NCG when we’re home next week.  Their seats are so comfy and they have a flavored popcorn bar, how can you go wrong?

Read Full Post »

Forbidden Drive and dirty lens

“Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
–   George Eliot

This was our first free weekend since what felt like forever.  We rode out of the city to Forbidden Drive on Friday.  Breakfast stop at the Manayunk Diner (oh so delicious).  I got a flat on the way home but somehow, mysteriously, my tube retained a lot of air so I was able to ride (slowly) all the way back– hurrah!  I need new tires though before winter comes, the “standard” my bike came with is pretty well-worn down.

Of course the camera came out for a spin, too:


Geese and Philly


Clark Park

I have so much free time now, I almost don’t know what to do with myself.  We did make a very sizeable dent in our massive laundry pile.  All that remains is towels and sheets– a victory in my eyes.  Patrick and I consumed much monkey bread in celebration.  I’m trying to focus on my writing, both here and at examiner.com Thanks to everyone who clicks on my various articles, it helps!  I’m also getting excited for the holidays. Looking forward to a much-needed trip home later this month and then a hectic month at work.

Our trip is becoming more and more real in my mind each day.  Today we took another look at the map (upon the guidance of my friend Emily, who is living in Europe) and are considering an alternative route, which gives us a potential departure of June, 2012.  19 months away??  Maybe! I’m glad winter is so boring here, it helps us save money 🙂

He's a model, on the cat walk, the cat walk

More soon!

Read Full Post »

My goodness, what a long two weeks I just had!  Working at the haunted house 6 days a week on top of my real job is exhausting.  Patrick is working late at his job tonight and I just realized this is the first time I’ve been home alone in a loooong time.  But now the season is over (well… 2 more days but they are easy and fun), how did that happen so quickly?  You should see our laundry mountain, it is a little terrifying!

Also my post-Halloween body does not understand why there is not sugar coursing through my veins right now.  I’m trying hard to remind myself that when you don’t walk around for 6 hours a night in the cold you don’t need an extra 700 calories a day.  I am still making monkey bread muffins for next weekend though: yummy yum  I just can’t resist. 

I can’t resist posting this either:

photo by Tom Quigley

My dear friend Emily is visiting this week from Belgium.  She’s an international student/exchange student coordinator there, which sounds like a super fun job.

rocking out, as usual in 2002

Eastern State provided us all with free tickets to something called Lucha Vavoom.  From what I’ve surmised it’s an adults-only-Nacho-Libre-esque variety show with crazily costumed people and lots of audience jeering/cheering.  Obviously I can’t wait!  Saldy no cameras are allowed in the venue but I’ll get Pat to snap a few pics on his phone for me, bwahaha!


Now that I have some free time again I’m looking forward to getting back to writing/blogging and bike riding (if the weather stays mild).  But tonight it’s time for R&R and some hulu.com 🙂

Read Full Post »