Saturday, October 24, 2009

What's up,

About a week ago I ordered an Adirondack chair cover for my blue deck chair to weather the Chicago winter. After playing door-tag with the UPS man for a few days, I came home one night to find this in my hallway. Yes, it is what I ordered, and I am all for saving packing materials, but I was still a little shocked that the packaging was the product box and not a mailing container. Interesting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trip to Philly and another wedding!

Last weekend Nate and I headed to Pennsylvania for our friend Emily's wedding. We decided to make a mini-vacation out of it and went a few days early to spend some time in Philadelphia. I got a great deal on Priceline for a room at the downtown Marriot which basically on top of the Reading Terminal Market.
I had checked the Man vs. Food website to see where we should try to eat while in Philly and found a few spots at the Reading Terminal Market that we just had to try right away - Dinic's for some Roast Pork sandwiches and Miller's Twist for pretzels and ice cream (I combined and got my ice cream in a pretzel cone!).
After having our fill, we walk to the nearby Fabric Workshop and Museum, where we saw the coolest felt cave made by Marie Watt. It had stalactites and stalagmites - much more advanced than the felting I've started. Hopefully I'll make it out west next summer and I can check out more of her stuff.
On Friday, after having some crepes for breakfast at Profi in the RTM, we headed east for the historical portion of our visit, spending time at the Franklin courtyard, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Then we went to the Franklin Fountain for lunch (which was ice cream, but hey we were on vacation). Another Man vs. Food suggestion, and another successful meal! Lest you think that all of our food choices came from television shows, we did pick a restaurant for dinner Thursday from the hotel guidebook - Nate chose Time because the guidebook said it had a large selection of whiskey - but the food was absolutely amazing.
Nate also picked our museum for Friday afternoon - the Mütter Museum of medical oddities. It was actually quite interesting - as long as you don't mind seeing lots of bodies and things in jars. For dinner on Friday we met up with my high school friend, Ly, for sushi at a nice restaurant by her new condo, on the south side of the city.
On Saturday we drove up to Quakertown, PA for the wedding. I didn't know many of the people there - Emily is Nate's friend from high school, though she did live out here in Chicago for a few years with her (now) husband, so I did get to know her some. The wedding reception was at an adorable country club - lots of food, drink, and dancing, as well as a few guests who were showing their team spirit by wearing a Phillies shirt to the wedding.
On Sunday, with some extra time to kill before our flight, Nate and I drove around Bucks County a little and ended up in Doylestown, the home of Henry Mercer, tile tycoon. We were able to tour the Moravian Tile Works as well as Fonthill, Mercer's tile covered concrete castle. Lunch in downtown Doylestown was at Paganini, a very cute Italian restaurant. It gave us enough sustenance to stand the drive back to the airport, which we really needed because we got kind of lost and it basically took twice as long as it should have.
A great visit to Philly and Buck's County, PA. We hope to get back there someday!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Housekeeping vs. The Dirt Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this book off the "to read" pile because I thought "hey, it's a quick read - Nick Hornby and 150 pages or so." Like Nick Hornby I do have a large pile of books I want to read and I'm constantly buying them faster than I can get through them. So it was ironic that I chose this book because it's short; it's really a gateway book- book reviews of everything he's read in an 18 month period and of course I now have a long list of more books I want to buy and read! How counterproductive!
I have to say I always enjoy a book by Hornby, even though they're not all as stellar as High Fidelity. He's always a human and realistic writer, so realistic in fact that in the forward for this book he argues: "we have got it into our heads that books should be hard work, and that unless they're hard work they're not doing us any good . . . please, if you're reading a book that's killing you, put it down and read something else . . . Your failure to enjoy a highly rated novel doesn't mean you're dim." He questions what makes a book "literature" and then what can make it a classic. But most importantly, he reminds us that he, a writer, is really just a reader like us. In fact, he gives us a few short chapters and snippets from some of his favorite recent reads.
In short, reading this isn't like reading a New York Times book review (not that I tend to do that anyway); it's more like having a conversation, a really smart conversation, with a friend about what books he's been reading. And it tells another story for him, which is more the story of his own life than any of his fictional narratives. I can't wait to read Juliet, Naked!

View all my reviews >>