Saturday, March 22, 2008

A New Farmers' Market and Easter Mushrooms

We didn't make it back to spend the holiday with family this year even though Easter is probably my favorite holiday*. Rather, today we continued to work on getting the apartment settled, and tomorrow, we will be at the condo.

Tim had the idea to stop by the Booth's Corner Farmers' Market this morning to see what it had to offer and get breakfast. We went to a little diner at the market run by an Amish family. Everyone was very sweet and the food came out very fast. As we were leaving, we saw the kitchen was full of women. Assuming each one of them cooks at the same rate my mom does, it more than explained the speed with which our orders came out despite the packed restaurant!

We didn't get any vegetables at the market, but they definitely have a lot there, and I'm sure we will be back!

After this it was off to the storage unit to move into a smaller unit and bring a few more boxes back to the house for us to go through. Although I wished I would have packed like this to begin with, we now have to go through all the boxes, take out what we need to keep at the apartment (or for things that add aesthetic value, want to keep), and pack the rest again to leave in the storage unit. Our initial packing was in stages and couldn't be completely organized.

By the time 3:00pm rolled around, we had the storage unit switched, unloaded the car from all the boxes we brought back with us, completed our search for a small dining room table (our first actual dining room table since Minnesota), and bought a vacuum cleaner.

We unpacked and sorted through things for the next 3 hours and then I went to Trader Joe's to get some food for our supper. I made black beans, rice, sliced avacado, and portobello mushrooms with garlic and onions. (Not the traditional Easter fare, but hey - I cooked - sort of. I admit the rice was the microwavable kind).

So, now we are a bit beat and will head to bed soon. Happy Easter everyone!

*I wondered recently why Easter had been my favorite holiday and came up with a few reasons:
1) I was early proof of my desire for individuality. Although I can appreciate the aesthetic reasons behind dressing your daughters alike for a photo, it started bugging me after awhile. I was really happy when the Easter came that we didn't have to wear the same dress.
2) It really allowed me to foster both my hoarding and organizational obsessions. Immediately upon getting an Easter basket containing candy totalling at least half my body weight, I sorted the candy into piles by size and type, found a place to store it, and proceeded not to eat it. I was always surprised when it was spoiled by the time the next Easter came around.

Tim's Note:

I'm hoping that we'll have time tommorow to do our Easter (and often Christmas, as well) tradition of watching The Life of Brian.

And after some nightmare customer service issues setting up Comcast cable, I'm currently looking for a cable provider who carries The Holy Rosary with Mother Angelica, and the Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels in bright and colorfuly crisp HD.

Some of you may remember the electronic/house/chill track I produced ("Hail, Mary") using samples from there.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Fence

Hello Everyone!
Tim here with a much needed update post.

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, whirlwind-style, here in our world. Things have developed quickly and we haven't been able to get the word out to the masses in timely matter.

Well, to cut to the point, as of last week, this is our new neighborhood:


Yeah, not alot going on as you can see. It's a whole different universe than our Old City Philly residence, but we're adjusting. To be honest, I thought that I'd be writing up an emotional, tear-streaked farewell post about our heart-breaking exit from city living and describing the painful realization that we're now a good 40-minute drive from the dozens of our favorite locations that were previously right in our backyard and how we're now isolated from all culture and intelligent life in a horrific suburban nightmare.

Maybe it's just that we've been so busy with the move that it all hasn't sunk in yet, but it hasn't really been that bad. Granted, there are driving rules out here that neither Kendra nor I have figured out yet or a single bar that we would even consider possibly walking to. We no longer have a doorman, elevator, trash service, ATM or dry cleaning service in our building. Fireworks at Penns Landing are nowhere to be seen. In fact, not a single building over 3 stories high is visible out of our window. I can't check the traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge with my own eyes or tell when the Eagles scored a touchdown firsthand. I won't ever be able to walk to a show at the Ritz, 4 Seasons, Rittenhouse or Loews Hotels and the days of walking to work alongside the Ben Franklin & Betsy Ross impersonators and horse & carriage tour guides are over. From the subway station on 2nd Street to my front door used to be every upscale/downscale/funky/hip/fetish/formal/trendy clothing boutique imaginable as well as a half a dozen different places you could pick up an amazingly delicious seared Sashimi Ahi tuna dish. Currently, I have a Super Wawa across the street. That's it.

But then, there's always a flip side to every record. Flip this particular record over and it's spinning a happy, whistling tune of a 10 minute commute to work, massive $$ savings in gas (just in time!), a fond farewell to the paycheck-draining Philly wage tax and a parking lot where the even the last remaining spot in the remotest corner would be considered a nice short walk home. It's a tune of more square feet for Kendra, the cat and myself; no more drunk New Jersey kids, their stupid SUV's and their trash; no more blaring PATCO horns on the BF Bridge and a whole lot less time wondering what the homeless guys might find worthwhile to break into my car for. I can't see my current neighbors using lawn chairs and trash cans to "reserve" parking spots after a big snowfall. Trips back from visiting the family will no longer be doubled in length just because of a Sixers game. We are now paying ZERO condo fees for questionable "improvement projects". Our laundry exhaust is now actually being vented outside our unit. No longer do we have to reserve an elevator to use for large deliveries, sign in our guests, use 15-minute parking zones or borrow wheeled carts to unload from our runs to Target. Right now I can see my own car out of the window and don't have to go move it around the block in an hour and a half. The first Friday of every month will no longer strike fear in our hearts with the knowledge that insanity will reign supreme over our neighborhood just as were getting home from work.

But how cool was it on First Friday's to see every artist in the area out on the street and every gallery serving wine to the public? How cool was it that to get a six-pack of beer, amazing sushi, a top-of-the-line massage, the best coffee in Philly, a bottle of wine, gifts for every occasion and the latest independent films were all less than a mile in any direction? And having all this nestled in between the most beautiful and significant landmarks and structures in American history?

As you can see, we're still on the fence.

But at least we don't have a fence. Or a Yard. Or a Garage. We haven't gotten so suburban that we're fighting with the neighbors over when we mowed the lawn last or how many cars are parked in the driveway (or yard, for some!). We're renting an apartment in a very cool complex (we've already taken advantage of the fitness center we have here and have gotten other exercise from having to take our garbage and recycling outside for the first time in 7 years.) There's an outdoor pool with BBQ grills for when it gets warm and a business center, movie theater, pool table and party space as well. Elora loves the windows and is doing better than she ever has with her walking and keeping her litter from getting strewn everywhere.

We're making slow but steady progress on fixing up the condo to sell. We're trying to put as much effort into squeezing as much value out of it as possible.

So that's the deal. We'll let you know when we're ready for a big Tim & Kendra style get-together here at the new place for all of you. Right now we're getting the place to look more like home and not Raleigh-esque corporate housing.

And so far no complaints from the neighbors about any noise. The Samson Sub is back online and you know how I like my bass!!

Peace, Out.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Things that sound great in Italian, humorous in English, and would be just atrocious in German

Today we spent about five hours at the condo patching holes in the wall, cleaning, and generally taking steps to get it ready to put on the market. For lunch I went to Sassafras to get us sandwiches. I really like those Bacio chocolates and so one for each of us was added to the lunch menu.

Tim's Bacio contained a beautiful phrase from Voltaire... although sometimes the beauty can be lost in translation...

Chiedete al rospo che cosa sia la bellezza e vi risponderà che è la femmina del rospo.

Or:
Ask a toad what beauty is and he will answer you that it is his toad wife.

TOO romantic...