Is it a weekend if you go away Sunday and Monday? Well, after two weeks of covering for my boss I need a week of Gina time. pov_power
came over Friday for dinner and it was the perfect way for me to start my little holiday. We had those leek and onion pasties I made over the summer, salad, and bluestocking79
's delightful brussels sprout recipe. The pictures are not that impressive, but I assure you the brussels sprouts were melt-in-your-mouth heavenly. Pictures and recipe:
Leek and onion pasty ( with salad )
Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots and wild mushroom in a white wine ( cream sauce )
Recipe can be found here
On Saturday I putzed around, did some dishes, relaxed. But on Sunday drfardook
and I took a little trip to Philadelphia where we stayed overnight at a very odd hotel. Nothing in the room matched - except for two identical wall decorations. And it had a kitchen (including dishwasher! actual pots and dishes!) larger than mine. I imagine people who stay there go for weeks on end, not overnight.
Anyway, on Sunday we went to the Mütter Museum and looked at all manner of creepy things. My brain, ever loving to amuse itself, started playing "Inside of You"
in my head. As for the museum, I was struck most by the 8ft colon, depictions of various skin diseases, the human skin leather-bound books (considered an apt way to memorialize someone at the turn of the last century) and the rows of skulls with causes of death including "suicide from weariness of life."
Have you ever heard a description more Victorian? Photography was not allowed inside the museum, but drfardook
did take a picture of me on the oversized couch in the atrium where I felt like a Gashlycrumb Tinie awaiting ( my doom )
(Also, I was approached no less than six times by people asking about or complimenting me on my kitty hat during our trip).
I also toyed with buying a small phial of Ü, the museum's signature fragrance by BPAL. With aromas of frankincense, vanilla and cinnamon on my wrists (and lingering on my sweater well into the next day), I kept declaring it smelled like death and breakfast. Intellectually compelling, but I remain ambivalent about its aroma as a sensual pleasure.
We ate at two places, one the Monk's Cafe
where mussels in leek and garlic broth were devoured with glee accompanied by the smallest pommes frites I've ever seen in my life, and a selection of Belgian beers. We liked the place so much we went back the next day for more Belgian brew. The other was a little hole-in-the-wall that served vegan and vegetarian versions of the kind of food Philadelphian University students devour after a night of cramming and/or stumbling out of a bar at 3am. I got a vegetarian Philly cheese steak which was just ok, but ( looked rather nice )
Looking for a night's entertainment, he googled a dive bar in the area. I was not pleased that they had on a football game instead of music, so I asked a guy at the bar if he knew a better place to go. Turned out his name was Luke and he's in a band from NYC called The Runaway Suns
. They were playing across the street at a dive called Tritone
and were actually pretty good! We took his advice and stayed to watch a couple of bands, which really hit a spot needing hitting. Their sound was part garage band, part psychedelic, part sixties pop. I could definitely see myself checking them out ( again )
On the way back to the hotel I was somehow struck by this view, my only shot of an actual Philadelphia ( monument )
On Sunday, we went to the Franklin Institute
, which neither of us realized was geared toward 8 to 12 year olds. We didn't want to spend $26.50 each on the Cleopatra exhibit. So we just wandered about the main museum (as an educator I gained free entry). I had crazy flashbacks to my childhood because my father took me there as a child and I vividly recalled the walk-through heart and the steam engine. We played with the displays in the electricity room, where I learned a valuable lesson about taking off scarves with metallic threads before touching anything focusing on static electricity. I also played with the pulse detector where I learned that if I think about studying, my heart rate shoots up; but if I think about the Mighty Boosh I completely flatline. LOL I question the reliability of the machine. Oh, and we watched a video in the Planetarium about black holes, which made me think of John Crichton until Liam Neeson (the narrator) sternly advised us that wormholes would be too dangerous a place to navigate for space travel. Party pooper.
Across the street from the museum were a string of now-defunct parking meters covered in ( cosies )
Afterward, we walked a mile in the cold to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
and discovered IT WAS CLOSED. Aaaargh! The walk in the cold wore me out, so we waited for the bus. Growing impatient, and my blood sugars dropping, I suggested we find a cafe instead. I jokingly said "I bet you the bus will come rolling down that hill the second we've crossed the street (it was something of a highway)
". And sure enough, it did exactly that. But we wandered into a small cafe where we were warmly greeted with tea, OJ, and a discussion with the worker behind the bar (named Mika) and two patrons about relationships. This was a sweet little surprise as we sat convivially and compared notes about cheating, time, expectation, and so on. At one point a sushi salesman walked in (the cafe used to be a sushi place) and offered Mika a calendar. Mika asked if he was selling calendars, and this set off in me the idea of a door-to-door sushi calendar salesman. I think it will have to wind up in a story at some point for the sheer absurdity of it. Then one of the guys (Tyler) offered us a ride back into the center of town in his VW bus, where he told us his theory of Faery and Elfin myths being comparable to Native American lore. Now, normally I would not get into a van with a stranger. But seeing as how I was not alone, and the day felt more and more like an unraveling adventure, we rolled with it and everything came up roses. It was just one of those days where you feel like you have wings on your feet. Know what I mean?drfardook
and I ended the day by splitting some fried mac n' cheese and a fried oyster po'boy at a stall in the Reading Market called Beck's Cajun Cafe
, a couple more beers at Monk's Cafe, and then back on the train to NYC. I taught him that memory car game "I'm packing a picnic basket" where you go down the alphabet and name things, repeating each prior item on your turn. We chose to load up an iPod instead and came up with band names. First just bands, then he came up with the idea for a second round with only bands who play terrible music. I could not have been more entertained.
Now I'm home and it's a blustery 21F (-6C). I was meant to meet up with a friend for lunch and statistics consultation. But instead I've opted to hibernate and avoid the cold and
blinding whiteness of the tundra
smattering of snowflakes.
I leave you with this picture I took in the doctoral lounge the other week. I had to laugh when I saw my jacket and accoutrement in juxtaposition to ( the others )
Phew. Well, I hope you enjoyed the regaling of my trip as much as I enjoyed having it.