Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bright Lights & Evergreens

The lovely holiday season wasn't without explorations.... Even if most of them were close to home.
Midnight Madness early in the month was dampened by rain showers, yet still very mad and festive; I heard the carolers and Santas going until midnight, though that was too late for this old lady who had her yearly holiday brunch the next morning!
A quick jaunt north to Amish country in Pennsylvania brought us to the National Christmas Center, quickly leading to mental comparisons between Bronner's in the Bavarian Frankenmuth, Michigan.  
Clearly, any time there is a festival of flora, like the Tree Fest of Maryland, one has to go.  Now if you've never been to such a festival, you should know... it really is only trees... Beautiful trees, yes.... but just trees.
The Russian Ballet leapt into my heart with my childhood favourite, The Nutcracker.
Baltimore was lucky enough to have a mini and temporary  German Christmas set up shop in the Inner Harbor.... and, even with the Reggae band aiding the German atmosphere,  it wasn't all that I'd hoped for.
Our National Zoo (free as it's part of the Smithsonian's)has an incredible light show, a neon safari, of sorts.
I'd hardly call the whole block lighting up the grid (and no doubt their bills) a miracle, but strolling down 34th  has become a little tradition for us.  Along with 35 dozen cookies, service, caroling, and midnight movies,  this was a simple and lovely season.

& there's still a week of vacation left. **sigh**

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snowy Day No. 2

I've discovered how much I can accomplish when I don't work.  I've also discovered how much I can just be.  Thankfully for me, Dixieland panics at the first thought of Jack Frost.  (Actually, this time around, the roads were slippery.) 

I was the one trudging through the snow with my camera, pretending to know about photography, and relishing in the icy crunch under my boots.  
Hoping the snow stays and gives me a white Christmas.  
Enjoying the warmth of my flat and the sweetness of my Chai as I sit in my own mini Christmas town, listening to jazzed up carols, and diving into the stack of books that've been waiting for me for months. 

Is it wrong to be wishing for a surprise icing & another day to sing, "Let it Snow?"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stones & Snow

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, every where we go.
And so,  we're working through our Holiday Season Wanderlust Wishlist. 
What better place to start than a town named Bethlehem?
Bethlehem, PA, nicknamed Christmastown during the Great Depression, is a quick jaunt from Philli, and the top of my Wandering List this year. Lamp posts adorned with wreaths, traditional Moravian stars hanging even in alley ways, and a light dusting on the rooftops are postcard perfects.   
In the 1700's, Count Zinzendorf led a bunch of Moravians and set up a mission.  Read about them,. Its fascinating.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Of Our Elf on the Shelf

I really don't understand what the controversy is regarding Elf on the Shelf.  I see streams of posts~ One sharing a cutesy photo of what mischief Bobo or Ferdinand got into, another saying how creepy it is, and another, yet, declaring that the whole concept defies religious statutes and principles.  I say, "seriously?!"  

I kind of like the idea of Elf on the Shelf. 
The guy and I have had our own versions of this our entire marriage.  Meet Literal Elf.  
Literal Elf is....well....literal.  We found this fellow about 4 years ago and have been helping him find literal situations since, all year round.   Above, Literal Elf  questions the words to the LMFAO song, chooses to not be done, goes in for the win this past St. Nick's Day, criticizes common expressions, and finally adopts a pet from the storm.
Literal Elf has a Leprachaun friend who likes to just show up from  time to time.

I guess true love is being able to make your person laugh.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Identifying as a Snob

We are food snobs. Typically, the people we like most are other food snobs. We are the ones who go with friends to Foodie Conventions (yes, there's such a thing.... and its spectacular!), scour the area for unique cooking classes, and go to Tapas places, ordering one of just about everything.
We take pictures of our food, shamelessly (occasionally, we even post the pictures). We record our best and most favourite meal experiences. We share recipes and bake goodies for neighbours. We have Farmer's Market bags and are OK with the stereotypes that go with that. Here's hoping to add this year's Thanksgiving to our Favourite Meal List (yes, it's an actual list)...
Food, that's what.

Monday, November 18, 2013

On the Art of Being Colourful...

Typically, unless I'm being chased by a masked man with a machete or there's a rabid, mafia-connected squirrel chasing me, I don't run. I've tried to get into it several times, but each time, I leave the trail to hike and explore; hiking I can appreciate. Preface aside, The Color Run seemed more like Phagwah than a race, so I paid my money... Once I pay, I'm in.
So, I ran-mostly- the 3 colourful miles and surprised myself: I do like running, even without the threat of rodent attack! We're waiting for some other touring 5Ks to make their way to us and thinking.... Maybe we can start living everyday like it's Phagwah!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Of Playing Musical Chairs.... kind of

Such a lovely (slightly bizarre) weekend we've had! 
I was the one driving three plus hours to take a walk...barefoot.
I'm the one who was wall-flowering at the back of the over-zealous, self-proclaimed "fansons" during introductions.
We were quiet, standing on the chilly stairs of history (at Carnegie Music Hall & Library in Pittsburgh/Homestead), waiting for our frosty mile walk
Walking with the drummer, eavesdropping on his fatherly conversation with the random kid, whose dad decided he was destined for stardom; hoping the passion for changing worldly wrongs is real. 

((And now another sign that my life truly is bizarre))
Later on.....
We were the ones standing on the stairs when Helen,  an organizer for the Carnegie Music Hall, burst through the heavy doors, frantically searching for her 2 employees who'd gone AWOL, apparently.  Daylight savings time and the cold  spell didn't exactly create the ideal stair standing scenario, and I don't like seeing people distressed, so we volunteered,
"What do you want us to do? We'll volunteer to help out."

Relieved, she consented.  Knowing the band was directly inside, she pleaded with us, "Please don't bother the band.  Don't speak to them. I could get in trouble."
I giggled and promised that wasn't my style. 

So, in this bizarre turn of events, we were temporarily "hired" as 'door guards' and then ushers. 

I was the one standing 3 feet away from the band.  When the drummer smiled and said, "Hey again," I was the one informing him, "I'm sorry I have to pretend I don't see you."  (Yes, I'm  sure this classifies me in a whole new category of crazy)

Properly doing our job, we became the band's doormen.
The eldest (known as the guitarist) sauntered past us without any sort of acknowledgement, prompting Kyle to push his nose up and declare, "Hoity, Toity!"  (This is why I love this man!)

The middle one at least muttered a thanks as he prepared for 'work'.
And the youngest, our walking companion, smiled and informed me, "Don't worry, I don't see you there." 
(Yes, he has quickly become my favourite-- the only one who seemed to be cognizant of the people around, carrying on polite conversation)

As a reward for ushering, we were offered band merch and drinks, but I said, I'd rather just have a nicer seat than the last row in the balcony, so we stayed on the main floor, getting to visit briefly with the opener as he sneaked in. 
(More bizarrity ensued with the time following the show, but I'm  ready to land this plane)
With amazing acoustics in the 115 year old edifice, a completely unplugged song, an introduction to a new wonderful musician,  and another idea if I need to quit my day job, it was a euphoric night. 

.... Meanwhile in the Strip, a busy district in Pittsburgh...

**Been spending most my life livin' in a foodie paradise.  The kishkas and perogies, perogies and the kishkas, chocolates and lattes, noodles and shnitzels..... Been spending most my life livin' in a foodie paradise....**

That. just. happened. .

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hallowe'en Happenings

Well, the clock struck midnight and the orange & black switched to reds & greens...everywhere.
One of the highlights of Main Street living is the trick-or-treating, shutting down the road for 2 hours. 

A couple highlights from Thursday night.

Now I'm sailing into a beautiful Autumn weekend, planning ahead and resting up for our next set of adventures. **Le sigh** Easy Saturdays are such a glorious time.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who painted the clouds?

Today, as I stared up at the vast openness that is sky I noticed all the clouds I'd ever seen in reality or in a dream, were staring back down to the dot that is earth.
I thought how peculiar these clouds should all speckle today's autumn sky!  So many personalities of vapor exploring together.   And I thought of all of history's artists painting their signature clouds over each other's.  Who painted that one or this one?
And I scrolled through old photos, only to see, I might be slightly obsessed with the curious beauty of something so boringly scientific.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Of Fire Engines and Marching Bands

Grey, cool Autumn days seriously delight me.   
I was the one enjoying my late morning tea to the sounds of sirens and trombones out my window.  That lady curled up in her window sill reading and watching with a bird's eye view.

I was the one wandering through the crunchy leaves looking for the perfect Fall shot.
Capturing the autumn feeling at a local pick-your-own farm.
Wandering through B'more on a crisp evening.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Halloween

Hot cider and pumpkins adorn my living room mantle and my heart.
I'm the one scouring antique shops and boutiques every Autumn looking for the next member of our Halloween family, despite announcing that I think I have enough.

Its a sickness really.
But...I don't think I need to get well.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My New DIY- Dids

This season has been a glorious time to be ... just be....

The air is finally a chill that feels like home.   Speaking of home-- that was our adventure last week.... Re-making it.

I came home one day to find Kyle (who, if you don't know, is wonderful) staining our hideous bathroom cabinet.  (Want a DIY-- get General Finishes Gel Stain)  New wallpaper and shower curtain and the room feels so much more .... well.... cute!    

A day or two before, I came home to find him outside sanding down a wooden box and shelf to stain.   Flipped on its side, natural legs added and I have a new mod record cabinet.   Old doilies and feathers make wonderful dream catchers.
So, while I'd much prefer to have flowers in my hair living out of an always rolling winnebago, home is peaceful and echoes our journeys.   

Friday, October 4, 2013


Its the best month of every year.  The colours feel right, the smells smell right, the tastes taste right. 

Festivals and Re-decorating litter my evenings and sneezes and pencils fill my days.

This is what I am in October.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Of Black Bears and Bonfires

The freshness of Autumn mornings surround me as I crunch through the mountains' fallen leaves and wander in her crisp and dense woods. Traveling into the calling hillsides brings a sort of euphoria; a calming freedom. 
Camping in the dewy (and later stormy) dampness of an Appalachian fall is one of my favourite feelings, where all I know is my banjo, my drum, and my muddy boots.  Sounds of  the black bears and the howl of the woods, coupled with the smell of campfires and wet earth is so very enriching~ a feeling I hate to pack away.
***Trying to figure out the setting on the camera, a task we never mastered!
In the chill, calm before the storm, we hiked to the summit to breathe in paradise. 
**The festival we stumbled upon a couple years ago has become a late September destination.  Mandolins, banjos, dancing, and true bluegrass mingle with fresh cider and sasparilla.  People who appreciate my genuine need to wander and don't ask me to stop, only to 'sit a spell'.

** A diner stop on the way home before hitting another festival. Good foods, good tunes, and good folks= my kind of existence.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Of Weekend Highs

This weekend finally brought the cool air I've been craving, but I suddenly realized-- OH DANG! SEPTEMBER IS RAPIDLY ENDING!!!!!!
Of course that indicates to me how horribly behind I am in all my to~do and to~see lists. Panic button blinking aside, I'm really thrilled that our favourite season of all is tumbling in on us and am [eagerly & now, quickly] planning this year's Hallowe'en celebrations, editing our wishlist, and lengthening my honey-do list. (My "music" right now is the sound of Ky's drill building me a bench out of an old shelf, so that's one less thing, right?)

So, after the morning I had (I'll just sum it up with a gigantic eye roll),Kyle decided the woods and a chilly hike would cheer me up.
Hiking Annapolis Rock (ironically enough not in Annapolis), Antietem Battlefield, and the first Washington Monument on a lovely early fall afternoon.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Of Hoops and Hot Cider

This is the way to start a weekend.  Hoops, Trees, and Hot Cider.
Make believing we're still very young and this is all there is.  Nature and hoops.
Loving Autumn

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wonderful Week's End

Although I'm actually really content with this new teaching position, I've been living for the weekend freedom.  Hoping that I'll 'find my groove' with the whole balancing act of job and life again (new curriculum - heads up = copious amount of time sitting and cutting and pasting and....) within the next week to allow me time to be Karen and not Mrs. G.

With the temperatures finally cooling off, I've been delighted to absorb the feeling of fall through each sense. 

This weekend was lovely.
(Left to Right; Top to Bottom)
There were folk festival posters, fresh apple pickin', Annapolis strolling, a Sarah Jarosz concert, a touch of time to do some art myself, art fair finds, and tomato harvesting.

*Le Sigh* 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Laborless Weekend

September brings to my heart a great, slightly ridiculous yearning for a true Yooper Autumn.  There, September can be felt as the air abruptly chills and the river runs more wildly.  Here, in the city, September is business as usual.   Labor Day weekend, in the mitten, at least, is the final weekend of summer.  Only after one last summer trip to the Cherry Capital or to the end of summer sidewalk festivals will the yellow busses be seen. 

This is the season I am most proud to recognize that, even though I will always be a wanderer, I do have roots planted deeply in the rich, dark soils near the Superior Lake. 

This weekend, although many hours away, had the feeling of September that I have been craving.

I saw a lot of this:
I stalked some of these: 

And I ate a lot of this:
As the summer sun is setting and my most wonderful time of the year begins, I am excited to chase the feeling of Autumn right into winter's cold breath. 

Here's to a 3-day work week and sweater weather!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Whirlwind Couple of Weeks

I plan on going on until the road ends.
Even though I love what I'm doing and where I am.

I need to go like I  need to breathe.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

School Dazed...

The thirst for wandering wasn't at all quenched this week.  I haven't shared any explorations because I haven't explored.  Like a winnebago with a flat tire, I've been parked.  Teaching for a living, the time has come to return to normalcy (as much as I possibly can that is, I mean, c'mon... ).

I've switched positions this year, moving from a self-contained Special Ed. room into a General Ed (and Inclusion-Special Ed.) 2nd Grade Room.   And, though my feet may be planted, my mind and my soul are wandering the world. 

My theme for the year is Learning Takes You Places. Along with the 2nd grade Owl theme, I really am happy with how my room turned out.
Took the doors of the closet to have shelving (along with the behaviour charts), The back of the room with the math and reading boards; I "moustache" you a Question board (yes, I laugh every time); and the welcome pennants into my room.
The small group/teacher area (I have foregone a desk in exchange for a horseshoe table that I finally got-- which, yes, I quickly painted with chalkboard paint); the Organization Station (Imagine me singing, "Let's get organized, organized" ala Olivia Newton John's Physical); and the haphazard quick door curtain I made with a piece of fabric, ribbons, a ruler, and a lot of hot glue.

The Library/Reading nook; Washi tape "rug"; milk crate bench; Suitcase Chair

Writing Center (I've since been gifted an electric typewriter-YEAH YEAH!), word wall and job chart.

The Museum Wall for "Proud Work" to be hung in the clothespins.

Yes, I've covered a table in a map; redone a vintage school desk in teal chalk paint and a vintage map; have globes galore; and a globe wall decal.  But, lets be real-- I'm sharing this on the weekend, I've a full tank of gas, and the mountains are calling. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Of Wild Hikes and Mountainbikes

This glorious season (most call it, 'Summer'; teachers call it, 'Freedom') is quickly ending and the new season (we call the impending months, 'Reality') is already starting.  As when all things end or shift into a new groove, I take a breath and reflect on my Wanderlust Wishlist.   We crossed  quite a few places and things off the Summertime list and are penning our Autumnal one now.

Since I'm switching classrooms (and jobs, essentially), and need to begin setting up ASAP, the weekday chances to drive on are driving on. 

He and I decided that this would be a perfect time for a quick hiking trip!

Saying farewell to summer on the Appalachian Trail.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Two Reasons from the Weekend

2 Reasons Living on the East Coast is Wonderful for a Wanderer (Wrapped up in one city):
(Williamsburg, VA)

1. The History
2. The Proximity (in a couple hours I could be here or there, in the waves or the mountains)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Coolest

Checking off another spot on Summer's Wanderlust Wishlist, we ventured to Lititz, just voted America's Coolest Small Town.  Through the Amish villages and farms, past the bi-plane airport lies some of the states' best kept secrets.
I was the one traveling to see America's first Pretzel Factory, the antiqued Wilbur Chocolate Factory, and the first girl's school. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hung Out to Dry

Yeah, I'm the one who makes the special drive to see the World's Largest Clothespin. 
There's nothing more to say. Its a huge clothespin.
Philli, oh Philli!  You are amazing and weird!