Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2011

It must really be spring now– beautiful sun-shiny days interrupted by days of drizzle and flood-worthy downpours.  Unfortunately today was a bit of the latter, which resulted in an early closure of the “Science Carnival”, kick-off event of the Philadelphia Science Festival.  My museum is the organizing parter and we all put a ton of work into the Carnival so a little bad weather wasn’t going to keep us down!  We saw a surprising number of people and everyone was in really good spirits despite the rain.  It kind of felt like Halloween at Eastern State with all the crowds and lousy weather 😉  I was so proud of my staff and co-workers though, they really know how to get people excited about learning!  I hope all of Philadelphia continues to explore science after the festival ends.

Since I had an abbreviated weekend we made the most of it with a little backyard BBQ on Thursday night and a bike ride yesterday.  P & E brought over their nifty new “Kelly Kettle“, an ingenious little camp stove they plan to take on their upcoming Appalachian Trail hike.

Beer not included
 It is a rocket-shaped stove that you build a little fire under/inside of and can then use with a “burner” or a grill.  The top part also doubles as a water boiler, a very interesting addition.  It took about 3 minutes to boil a quart of water on this sucker– not too shabby!  Then we cooked a sausage on the grill and everyone decided it had a much “woodsier” taste than the ones off our BBQ grill.  Downsides: must be able to start a fire to get it to work (doesn’t help when everyone’s put a nice little dent in the six-packs…) and it did get pretty smokey.  Pat and I are seriously considering one for our trip/camping kit though so if you know any other pro’s/con’s for these let us know!
FIRE!!!

Yesterday Pat and I rode out to REI which is easy to access via the Schuylkill bike path.  We had a much-deserved lunch at Five Guys Burgers and then enjoyed the outdoor shopping wonderland.  Our mission was to exchange the way-too-large sleeping pads we’d ordered online.  Not only did we do that but we were also able to pick up a rain jacket for Pat, biking gloves for both of us, two cases of heavenly Odwalla power bars and some other odds-and-ends all for the same price as our two returned mats!  We decided on the REI lite-core Self-Inflating pad in the shorter version.  They are so tiny when rolled up and felt pretty comfortable on the floor of REI.  Once the Science Festival is over we’re going on our first camping trip!

You know me, so gangsta

On the way out of the city we saw several large birds soaring overhead.  We pulled over, whipped out the telephoto and got a few good snaps before the birds were too far out of view.  I think they may have been turkey vultures, due to the red heads, but there were about 7 hunting together and I thought vultures were pretty solitary birds (?).  I loved watching them glide on the air currents, not once flapping their large wings. 

Hunting party

 

Click, zoom in for a closer look

WordPress is driving me bat sh*t crazy with formatting issues… so hopefully this post looks something close to normal on your computer!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I can’t believe how remiss I’ve been in my journal!  Nothing much exciting was going on and then I was sick for a week and did nothing but lay on the couch (and go to work, so stupid).  But last week I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the “Science of Art” conference hosted by the National Museum of American History in D.C.  The museum paid for my first night and then after the conference was over Patrick and I made a little holiday of it and stayed an extra day and a half. 

Washington Monument and swirly cloud by Patrick

The conference was actually really interesting and I always enjoy meeting colleagues from other museums.  I liked brainstorming with the other attendees and thinking of ways we can better the leaders of tomorrow.  I was also able to incorporate the enthusiasm for arts-based teaching I gained into a family workshop today at work– very cool!  I did a reprise of my fresco painting class, condensed to 45 minutes.  Everyone had a blast 🙂

Anyway, back to D.C.  Pat wandered around on his lonesome while I soaked up all the art and science goodness.  He took some fabulous photos and is now the house expert at the “shutter priority” setting on our camera.  I was especially impressed with some of his museum shots.

Dancing with the planes @ Air and Space

 

Black and white composition

 

Air and Space

After the conference ended we did a TON of sight-seeing.  One of my co-workers used to live in D.C. so she had a ton of insider tips for us (like how to get the Zoo without walking up the huge hill from the Metro- yessss!).  It was so good to be out of  Philly for a few days, to explore a new city together and to just relax.  I am also very excited that we stayed exactly on our pre-planned budget.  My favorite splurge was definitely our yummy lunch at some Mexican place by the Zoo.  Nothing like a pitcher of sangria to put you in “vacation” mode!

Not as awesome when you're on the bus for 4 hours after...

D.C. is a really interesting town.  We were both surprised by the lack of tall buildings (is there some kind of building code?), but it certainly made it easier to orient yourself to the Capitol!  They seem to have a pretty extensive bicycle lane infrastructure– here’s an example of a “bike boulevard”, so classy.

Bike commuter paradise

There are also racks of bikes all over the city that you can rent by the hour and then return to any other rack station in the city.  Seems like a pretty nifty idea and a good way to encourage people to leave their cars in the suburbs.  We did notice a lot of pedestrians using the bike lanes as their own personal extension of the sidewalk though, so I guess this system is still getting some kinks worked out.

Tidal basin Cherry Trees

We spotted an alarming number of bow ties, many potential undercover agents and the usual kinda crazy/kinda funny bums.  It’s really true, no matter where you go… people are pretty much the same! 

Very wise!

On Friday we trekked to the National Cathedral.  Very beautiful art, amazing stained glass and just a wonderful feeling of immensity.  But beyond that we agreed that it didn’t really feel like a hallowed space.  I wonder if it was the hoards of tourists or the fact that this space really does serve a non-religious purpose at times?  I’m interested to see how this experience compares to centuries-old churches we’ll visit in Europe.

My photographic juxtaposition of church/state

My favorite sculpture

Central nave

We took over 800 pictures yowser!  I can’t post them all here so I put a bunch on my flickr site click here.  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites:

Panda butt

By Patrick

Botanic Garden

1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Fun trip!

Read Full Post »