Monday, June 29, 2009

Philly!! Part II

This afternoon, we did the "green tour" of Fairmount Park, the Museum Gardens, and Boat House Row. I'm feeling really blessed by this beautiful, active, awake, energized city...but, I've had a long day and am in need of a nap!


I don't have a lot of time right now, because Funky Rob is here off the Appalachian Trail visiting us, and we're exploring Philly today. But, I wanted to post some pics from our cross-country adventure, and some pics of our (work-in-progress) fabulous South Philly Row Home!!

Promise me you will all come visit! You won't be disappointed, I can guarantee. This place is FANTASTIC...can you tell I'm in love?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Eastward turn...

Today was my last day of work at TAMU. I thought this was a pretty last scene to remeber it by (compared to my cubicle).

It's meant to be.
I don't know how else to say it: We are supposed to be in Philadelphia.
The way everything has panned out leaves me smiling:) I somewhat guessed that our path would lead us on a great adventure after John graduated, but I never anticipated everything would fall into place so easily.

The second John accepted the offer (okay, I admit. I was jumping the gun WAY before he officially accepted) I was on searching for our new nest. Neither one of us know the area, we know NO ONE in Philly, and we are poor poor POOR...but rich in love. So when we started house-hunting we were shocked at the following: a) finding a rent under $1900/mnth is almost unheard of. b) the distinction between "good neighborhood" and "Ghetto" is not crystal clear. I'd call it more of a murky grey. c) there are NO yards--not even teeny plots of grass for a pup to poop on. d) if you do find an affordable rent, the place is most likely in a bad neighborhood or it's a 250 square foot studio apartment with an igloo cooler posing as a fridge.
With that said, when I found an ad that said "$1200 3bdrm in a safe neighborhood" I was immediately wondering what the catch was. The pics in the ad looked clean and cute with hardwood floors and an updated kitchen, plus there's a basement! What's wrong with this place?? I called the guy, and it turns out that the reason why it's so cheap is because the owner (a funky schoolteacher named Matt) is going to gradschool and is being super selective about who he rents to because he wants his place taken care of.

We really like Matt, and even though we haven't seen the place yet, we have a feeling that we stumbled onto a gem. It's a block from a huge park, it's central location is close to the subway station for John's work route, and it's in an old historic part of the city. Oh, and he knocked off $100.00 per month.

Here's the cool part: Dr. Saslow from our department is from Philly. He sent one of his friends to check out our block, and they came back with thumbs up saying it was in a cool part of the Italian Market neighborhood, safe, clean, and quiet. SCORE!

Also, I applied for a Teaching Artist position teaching dance in under resourced school districts through a program called PAEP. They selected me for the month of July, and I'm really excited to meet other artists (networking opportunity) and teach in a different environment.

So far so good. Philly, here we come.

In the meantime, the love shack has been transformed into a war zone as we pack up. See pics.

Shaking things up,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Last Tea

Tonight was bittersweet.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my dear Katie Kelly was in town. Katie is my oldest friend in College Station, and we've seen each other through a lot of ups and downs. She moved to a different city for her job, and this put a serious damper on our favorite thing to do together: Tea Time.

Katie and I have been Tea-ing for years, and I think what makes this time so special is our ritual. She comes over, plops down in the same chair she always sits in, I set the kettle, get out the honey and my grandmother's cups and saucers, and we talk. And I swear, those cups and saucers have seen a lot of hysterical laughter, tears, frustration, and smiles.

It's weird. I had no idea she was in town, and she had no idea that John just got an offer for a job in Philadelphia. If he takes the job, they want him to start July 1. This means that tonight was Katie and my last tea.

We only cried a little. Mostly, we laughed.
I will never ever ever forget our ritual, Katie Kelly. I will hold our teas in my heart.
I love you, and this blog was a love letter to our time we've shared.
Cheers to Tea Time in Philly when you come visit!

And Cheers to friendships that last a lifetime.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baseball and Soap

We went to Houston this past weekend to see the Noels (all of them). The entire family rallied together to show cousin Benjamin how proud we all were to watch him graduate from high school, despite difficult health problems he's battled with over the past few months. He did it! He's a fighter!

On Sunday, John and his brothers wanted to go to an Astros game, and I was a bit...ummm, reticent. Actually, that's not true. I was pretty vocal about my feelings towards spending a Sunday in a HOT, sunny stadium for NINE innings of a game I can't really identify with or relate to in any way shape or form. Let me explain: it's very important that I emphasize how un-baseball-ish I am. When I was in middle school I signed up for a summer softball team because all my girlfriends were playing. I ended up getting hit with the ball almost every game, I was so hot and miserable, I got stuck in the outfield because I can't throw, and I was never paying attention when the ball came my direction because I was either practicing my ballet dance or day dreaming. Needless to say, and if I recall correctly, I think I dropped out mid-season. What a quitter.

So, like I said, I was pretty vocal about the Astros game idea. But, (surprise surprise) I went and I loved it! I don't know what it was about the whole thing, but it was so fun. Maybe it was my red-bearded brother-in-law Alex who dressed up like a Pirate (the Astros were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates) and screamed "RRRRRRRRR" every time the Astros scored. Maybe it was my DELICIOUS 24 0z Heineken. Mmmm! Maybe it was the four guys sitting in front of us, screaming obscenities at the Pirates (but laughing at Alex). Maybe it was the fact that Minute Maid Park (the ex-Enron field) was not only covered with a retractable ceiling, but was also AIR-CONDITIONED!! Whatever it was, I had a glorious time, and will probably baseball-it-up again soon.

On an unrelated note: John and I discovered Skinny Skinny soap this weekend when we ducked into Anthropologie to pick up a thankyou gift for Camp Shannon Esten. OH MY GOD, this soap is so amazing. It's all organic, eco-friendly, and leaves your skin feeling so soft and smelling so good, you think you're special. Check out the website (and blog, if you dare) at

I decided to order the $8 sample pack so we can try the different soaps and decide which one to stick with. I'm thinking the Rosemary Mint might be our family fave, or maybe the Unscented Oatmeal. But, I'm telling you, this soap is BOMB. And nothing beats good soap!

Hope everyone had a restful weekend, tried something new, or at least found something that smells good!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Graduation = Papercrafts

I'm a little obsessed with cutting paper. It started when I handmade 200 wedding invitations, and my obsession has carried over into friends' baby showers, gift wrapping, scrapbooking, and printing:

When two cousins, one husband, and one brother are all graduating, it seems like a paper-cutting occasion to me. Dr. John got (as you can see) a DR. JOHN banner made with textured cardstock and fuzzy yarn.

And the high school grads gave me a much-needed excuse to whip out the gift wrapping stash. Sometimes, a gal just can't wait until December!

I think the graduation gifts we got for the highschool grads are super cool: a copy of Promethius Bound by Aeschylus to "keep them grounded" and a copy of Tony Kushner's Angels in America to "give them wings" :) Both of these plays spoke to me while I was on my college-journey, and I hope I hope I hope Peter, Erin, and Rachel are blessed by these writers.