lblanchard: (swannfountain)
The weather is obliging by being perfectly clear and fairly warm. The cherries are mostly done, except for those double-flowered varieties that create pink pom-poms on the ends of their branches, but they're starting to drop petals, too. On the other hand, the redbuds are still fine and the crabapples are coming into their own.

As for photo ops, the city is offering us an embarrassment of riches. There's our big Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts street fair, closing four blocks of south Broad Street from 11-7. There's an Eco-Fest this morning, at Washington Avenue Green. And there's a pub crawl right in my neighborhood, on South Street west of Broad.

Let's see....I could bike down to Washington Avenue Green this morning, take a picture or home...have a bite to eat...catch the bus to the PIFA street fair....and then walk home via South Street. Sounds like a plan to me.

UPDATE: Never mind the bike ride down to Washington Avenue Green. I think several hours on my feet this afternoon will be plenty.
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I got up at 5:15, was caffeinated and dressed by 6:00, but lingered with yet another cup of coffee and didn't pull out of here until 6:35. Which was ten minutes before sunrise but not the magic I wanted. There were three cars in a row right at the corner, waiting for the light to change. Bikes whizzing by. People getting into their cars on Christian Street and revving their engines right in my ear. Big noisy trucks delivering sodas and fatty snax to the little stores. In short, it was Business As Usual before sunrise.

Still, I did make it down to the Delaware River, and the two miles I rode vaguely north on the bike path along the waterfront were pleasant enough. I went across town to the Schuylkill via Spring Garden Street, which has a bike lane, and then turned off on some park roads that are very much the roads less traveled at any time, doing a pleasant eight miles in the park with trees and grass and eighteenth century country houses (Mount Pleasant and Laurel Hill among them), and then rode home past the Art Museum along the Schuylkill River Trail, which is mostly used by bike commuters and serious joggers at this time on a weekday. I didn't see even one of the hated double-wide strollers with leashed dog attached.

So...almost eighteen miles. Two hours less some stops to take pictures, wait for lights to change, search the sky for hawks, etc. Nice. And I came home and did 35 sit-ups.

When I finished my sit-ups and headed for the kitchen, I could hardly hear myself think for the whining of a news chopper overhead. One of the last of the drug dealing families had a dispute a few blocks away, dangerously close to three elementary schools, which fortunately harmed no one but the intended target. Given the location of the shooting I would say the guy almost certainly deserved it. The shooter gets no points, though, as the target was wounded in the back.

Meanwhile, on the windowsill, the Class of 2012 is acting as though it hadn't been pulled out of its previous pots by the roots. Go me.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I'm looking at my Flickr pictures (I've uploaded almost 9,000, a sure sign of a lot of misspent time) and I ran across this one from last year.

My looking glass begonia doesn't look anything like this! Oh, the leaves have the same pattern, but it's not full and lush and certainly has never bloomed.

Perhaps there is a nice spot out back just waiting for me to find it and install one of these so that it will be glorious when I bring it in come fall.

In other news, I just looked out over the rooftops and saw an unspeakably scruffy black cat walking around. on top of the roof about four doors up. I wonder how he got up there...
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Researching web links to support a Civil War tour, I found this fabulous video. I pass this burial ground on the bus when I go up to the Lutheran Seminary for meetings. Now that I know its opening hours, I plan to visit.

Grab a couple of Kleenex and give it 13 minutes.

(Portions of my neighborhood looked more or less like this when we moved here in 1996.)
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Temps are currently (8:30 am) around 60F, so a good time to go sweep up in front of our house and the neighboring houses. Philadelphia's "Hidden City" festival starts today, and Shiloh Baptist Church across the street from us is one of the venues. If all kinds of folks, including tour buses (!) are going to be showing up on our street, I'd like it to look good. I have an email list of block residents, so I sent them a hortatory email on Thurs. about keeping the place looking nice because company's coming.

A few notes to myself: )
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Two peony blossoms are history, another is past its sell-by date, and the third is in full bloom. They didn't last particularly long this year.

and more notes to myself -- read them if you like )
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Yesterday was pretty frantic with cleaning and such. And I've done something to my knees -- I suspect a combination of weight gain, water retention, and the challenge of biking home with a 19 lb turkey and accoutrement after not biking at all. So I hurt like hell.

But the table is set, the turkey is in the oven, and I am enjoying a cup of coffee while I wait for the ibuprofen to kick in so that I can take a shower and finish up the prep.

It's a simple, artery-clogging feast: roast stuffed turkey with gravy; baked macaroni; frozen french cut green beans dripping in butter. My daughter-in-law is bringing dessert. My brother-in-law is bringing a salad. And Roy's first wife's second husband is bringing homemade bread.

Snackies of the prefab and kid-friendly type have been acquired -- potato and tortilla chips, pretzels, dippy thingies. All the gifties are wrapped, and I have found things that will serve for last-minute guests -- niece's boyfriend, brother-in-law's mother, Roy's first wife's second husband's second wife. Now all I need is a slight reduction in knee pain and a trip to the shower.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
This is grander than most, and obviously well-maintained. More than I can say about the door to its left. Damn taggers. I saw this while biking back from an unproductive run to The Craft Shoppe by the Delaware on Saturday. It faces a small city park.

Last I looked, the thermometer outside the kitchen window said 14F. Winds are supposed to gust between 25 and 45 mph. And I have a full set of rounds to make on foot and on the bus.

At least the sun is shining.
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081215vetriOkay, here are my daily happy things, pretty early in the morning:

1. I found the discrepancy in my nonprofit's books (we had about $3K more than I was expecting, a better class of error than losing $3K!) *Worry*worry*worry woke me up at 4 am, which is not especially happy-making, but the result is pretty good, I think. I also have a cunning plan to deal with it.

2. Via [ profile] mamatiger, I found out about a realty TV show on A&E that's all about the Philadephia Parking Authority, notorious for its take-no-prisoners attitude to ticket writing. I love those guys -- they give motorists their comeuppance and make money for the school district.

3. I have worked hard enough over the past few weeks to justify taking a few hours off -- and my sister to lunch at the Union League.

4. I have half a case of wine and half a case of beer sitting in the back house for our quarterly meeting / holiday party. And! I brought it home! on my bicycle! yesterday. Imagine that -- a six-pack and four loosies in my front basket, 3 bottles of wine and one loosie of beer apiece in each of my back baskets. Let me tell you, I got some looks and smiles.

5. As I was walking Mr. Darcy yesterday a man of middling age approached me, shyly, apologizing for speaking to me. "Do you live on Christian Street?" When I nodded, he explained that he has walked by "and I sometimes see you through the window, playing your beautiful piano." Awww.....

And the bonus happyhappy, upper right, is the new mural in process on the side of Vetri Ristorante, 1312 Spruce Street.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Let's see what happiness I have today:

1. I forgot the starting time for a meeting so I won't be going to it. Instead I'll stay home and finish the books for work, whee!

2. St. Michael the Archangel is on the case at Harry's Occult Shop (pictured, right), smiting our would-be insect overlords and making the mantis pray instead of preying. (My sister and I are going there tomorrow so she can moon over crystals and such.) I have a heap o' detail photos on Flickr, which you can reach by clicking the photo.

3. Temps are supposed to be in the sixties today, a good day for a leetle bike ride.

4. Roy is off to Maine now so I can work on his Christmas present tonight.

(EDIT: No work on his Christmas present -- I spent the evening chasing $3K I didn't expect to have in my nonprofit's books at the end of the year.)
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The Herding Cats cabernet shiraz was surprisingly tasty.

We got our Christmas tree as part of a two-mile walk. (No, we didn't carry it for two miles; it was delivered.)

I got pictures of a mural, several interesting buildings, and a freeze-dried rose, which I will put on Flickr, probably tomorrow.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
It's actually a planter full of ferns, sansevieria* and gourds that I passed on my way home today after running a few errands.

I am not feeling so productive today, but I did go out and buy $500 worth of wine for the reception for our symposium. (Much cheaper if I buy it than if the caterer picks it up, even though the caterer physically picked it up from the State Store.) On the way there I purchased my Christmas stamps, so all that's required now is assembly. Everything I need to make the aprons is likewise assembled in my office or the upstairs kitchen. Now all that's called for is a little motivation...

*Or maybe a bromeliad...
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We heard the news choppers last night-- in fact, I watched them from my office window -- and knew something was up. From the CBS-TV website, which erroneously reports this as a home invasion. Whatever we call it, it's too close for comfort: one block down and half a block over. I know folks who live on that block.

news item )

The NRA sticker and the big dog are awfully consoling after news like this.


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