East Coast Loop, part 1

Okay I am even further behind Jenn on posting. One would think there would be scads of down time on such a long trip but, but really there hasn’t been. There have been so many great little episodes since we left Chicago on September 6th. Another night in Cleveland with the attorney (but not quite the Gonzo-esque night as we had in Chicago), then on to Pittsburgh, as Jenn mentioned, before making our way to Washington, DC.

Washington DC was amazing. I had been there twice before, but I never did any of the touristy/Capitol stuff. The highlight for me was seeing the entire mall area on bicycle. We put the car, heretofore known as The Spectacle, in the driveway of our airbnb.com hosts, and got around via bike and subway. On a bike you can get from one end of the mall to the other in about 10 minutes, walking it would have taken forever. DC is super bike friendly.

DC’s metro system lived up to its reputation – clean and efficient, and they’re pretty adamant about keeping it clean and orderly. Leaving the zoo, we were denied access to the subway due to rush hour restrictions, but we came across Rock Creek Park Trail. The paved trail easily got us back to the mall area and offered views of some very green parts of the city. Jenn rode like a champ.

Bridge over the Rock Creek Park Trail, Washington, DC

In keeping with the reconnection/past roots theme, I saw my Aunt Marian and my cousins, who live in south Jersey. I called Marian more or less out the blue in Pittsburgh and asked if she was up for a visit. The result was a warm house with delicious dinner and a great visit with a huge group of my cousins and their families. Laurie and her husband Dale were gracious enough to put us up for the night as well. I think it may have been 15 years since I saw any of them, and we will make sure to keep in better touch going forward. reconnected with NJ relatives

After the partial Herrero reunion (there are many of them, I think we did good getting so many of them in the same place), we scooted up to North Jersey and dropped the car off in the driveway of none other than Mr. Rob Krautheim, who dubbed our vehicle “A Spectacle”. He’s not wrong. Graciously and enthusiastically, Rob and his wife Michelle let us leave The Spectacle in their driveway, and after getting to meet their daughters Alex and Eva, we took the train into NYC for a few days. We had an excellent night with Rob at the Gingerman in
Manhattan, reminiscing and enjoying quite a bit of quality beer. On the return trip back to Jersey, we got pizza and subs for lunch with the whole family. Eva:

The Jersey bookends on either side of our NYC trip, made the entire visit of the NYC a delicious double-decker New York sandwich on Krautheim roll. Think about that for a second. And then kick me because I again failed to take enough pictures.

Brooklyn to Maine

There is a lot to catch up.  I’ll try to focus a little and keep it easy.

We did go to Brooklyn, Kyle and Linda were kind enough to put us up for the night – it was really great to get to hang out with them for a bit.

The great and wonderful.

More exciting news?  A severe storm – a tornado? – blew through Queens and Park Slope, right where we were.   Well, Kyle and Brian were in Park Slope, I was a little north and Linda was in Manhattan.  Of course, we were all fine.  Lots of trees down and it it gave everyone something extra to talk about for the evening!

Before Brooklyn!

We left Brooklyn on Friday morning, ran back to Rob and Michelle’s and got the car.  The only goal for that drive was to get around the city and make it into Connecticut.

We got to New Haven after a few hours and hunkered down for the evening.  We got up Saturday morning to go to the Yale campus.  Mostly, I just wanted to see the Beinecke Library again.

Stark white outside...
Warm and smart inside.

That done, Newport, RI was next.  A word of advice: if you visit Newport, check ahead.  It is a very old and fun town on the water that hosts a lot of high-end events that really could put your costs through the roof.  Like a boat show. Still, I loved it there.  One night in and out – Boston!

This isn't quite what Rhode Island looks like...but it you get the picture.

In Boston, Brian and I got to hang out with my Top Pot BF Brendan.  He had just moved to Boston about a month prior to start law school.  He gave us the 3 hour tour of Kennedy’s Irish Pub- nice and easy.  Monday morning, Brian and I came back into the city for a few hours, long enough to grab some lunch and procure necessary provisions for car sandwiches and RUTH.

Beacon Hill, Boston

Ms. Ruth Moss is an amazing (understatement) woman.  BIG TIME.  She lives part of the year in Sorrento, Maine and part of the year in Seattle.  I actually had not met her before starting this trip but had been set up by Irene and  Wendi had told me that she was not to be missed.   I got to talk to Ruth on the phone and, intending only to come around for a bit she insisted that we stay the night.  And am I glad she insisted. We arrived later in the evening so we didn’t quite grasp where we were. There was chilled champagne and a beautiful spread prepared for our arrival.  She told us stories until well after midnight about the politics in the area and politics generally for the last 60 years.  Talk about with it.  This lady has it in spades.

Ms. Ruth

Ruth lives on the water on a peninsula on the coast.  Beyond beautiful and the most ideal place to have your coffee.

Moss Harbor
This is the view from Ruth's living room, no zoom.

Brian and I are still giggling over Ruth and her one-liners.   A few good ones:  “Oh! You’re both such big people!” (followed with “I’m sorry but you’ll have to use the other bathroom, mine is small, made special for me!), “Hey professor, I’ve got another lamp for you to fix.” ,  “I finally found what I’ve been looking for – a menorah for my Christmas tree!” and “Goddamn Republicans.  Excuse me. I told her not to repeat that at school. My granddaughter, she’s very smart.” !!

Somehow, despite an invitation to stay on longer, we managed to pull out of there and head to Bar Harbor. We went to Ruth’s favorite restaurant here, Galyn’s and had lobsters.  Perfect way to end our Maine days.

Sunset, Bar Harbor.

Tomorrow, Canada.  Quebec, Montreal, and Toronto.

D.C. to NYC

“You are driving a spectacle!”*

“I feel like we are sitting in a Goodwill.”**

“I might have gotten crabs.”

These are but a few memorable one liners from the past few days.  Brian and I left D.C. on Sunday and headed to New Jersey.  Via Delaware.  An acquaintance from Delaware told me once that I wasn’t missing much by not having been there.  She wasn’t wrong.

But first – finishing up D.C.  While in D.C., we did LOTS of touring.  Brian’s #1 stop in D.C. was the Newseum, mine was the Army Medical Museum, now the Health and Medical Museum.  Once a tour of bizarre medical curiosities, it primarily houses a lot of information on the progression of medical care on the battlefield.  I was hoping for the curiosities. There was (before someone deemed it un-pc) a large “Operation” type game that you could play to see how you would have treated President Lincoln after he was shot.  Seriously.  There are still fragments of his brain on display.  There are organs in formaldehyde and lots of prosthetic limbs.  It was something.  Interestingly, one of the more curious parts now of this museum is it’s location.  It is in a building in the labyrinth of Walter Reed (did you know that he is the person that discovered Malaria came from mosquitoes?)  Medical Center.  If you happened to be on your bicycle, after you showed your ID to enter the grounds, you could seemingly ride all over this huge complex.  Which led us to the National Zoo.  We rode into the zoo, looked for the pandas and elephants and rode on again. Friday basically turned into a long biking adventure.  We found the Thomas Jefferson monument!

On the last day, Saturday, we mostly rode around and tried to see how many things we could fit into one day.  I saw a sign for Dim Sum and after being denied a table we went into Chinatown and had the most amazing handmade noodles and dumplings.  Then to the Air and Space Museum and the sculpture garden.  We attempted the Archives but there was a long wait.  We found a place called RFD (Regional Food and Drink) that had a great beer selection and I finally got to try one that I had been searching out.

So, Delaware.  Home of Dogfish Head.  I am a fairly recent convert.  Because we were so close while in D.C., it seemed reasonable that we would stop by Dogfish on our way to New Jersey to see some of Brian’s cousins.   Delaware was not exciting and Dogfish was great.  It being that we went early in the afternoon, samplers were ordered and that was it.  The food was great and so was the beer.  On to New Jersey!   Sunday night, we stayed with Brian’s cousin in Sewell, NJ and had a great time hanging out with many of the Herrero’s!  They welcomed us warmly with food on the table, football on tv, and a cool place to sleep!

New York City!  We got to Manhattan Monday night after dropping off the car.  Brian’s friend Rob lives in New Providence, NJ with his awesome wife Michelle and adorable girls.  They let us park the car there while we are in the city.  We explored a little that night and started fresh on Tuesday. We are staying in the East Village and walked down to Chinatown and all around the Fulton Market, Battery Park, and back to Chinatown to eat.  We slowly made our way to midtown to meet Rob at the Gingerman (where * was said by Rob).  Five hours of reminiscing later, Brian and I took a midnight tour of Times Square then went back to East Village.

This morning, I got up and over to Brooklyn where my old pal Kyle met up with me and gave me a tour of some of Park Slope and some of Williamsburg.  It was so great that Brian and I have decided to stay another day.  Kyle dropped us on the steps of Aurora before heading home this evening and Brian and I had a delicious meal.  So, so good.  We walked around for awhile and stopped at the Trash Bar(**, ***).  On our way back to the apartment (thanks airbnb!), we were lamenting all the cool places around us that we weren’t going to have time to see or try.  Despite having an amazing meal, I couldn’t pass up how close the Momofuku restaurants were (we were practically walking past them from the train!) so we decided to stop in the Milk Bar.  Which turned out to be the Ssam Bar.  Either way, we tried the Steamed Buns and a desert called Blueberry.  That desert was one of the best things I’ve had in a long time as far as sweets go.  Then, we found out the Milk Bar was in the back.  So, we went to check that out.  After seeing the Milk Bar, I felt like it was pretty lucky that we hadn’t seen it first because – my guess is – if you’re gonna be stuffed to the gills, it should be with the Blueberry desert and a bun, not a prepackaged compost cookie.  Now, we gotta go to bed early as a pretty massive food coma is settling in.

Brooklyn tomorrow!

Cleveland to Washington, D.C.

You know that moment you realize that everything is going pretty well yet you are not doing what you should be doing?  I had it Monday morning and strong.  When I woke up EARLY I had that feeling.  Loud and clear.  And we hightailed it to Cleveland.  Well, sort of hightailed it.  Turns out I don’t really do anything fast and the time changes have been working against me.  I had made plans for us to have dinner with a friend who happened to be in Cleveland for a bit and, although late, dinner we had.  He was kind enough to offer us a place to stay that night as the only thing on my mind entering Cleveland was getting to the place with the food, the friend, and the beer.  Of course, after driving what seemed like forever this was a godsend and much appreciated.  It was a relaxing evening and an inspiring morning.  The property we were staying at was beautiful and, upon hearing that we were headed to Pittsburgh, my pal said “Oh, you can go to the Mattress Factory.”  You won’t be surprised to know that I said, “What is that?  A bar?”  After it was explained briefly, it took me under 20 minutes to pack my bags and get in the car.

Pittsburgh.  It just sounds gritty doesn’t it?  I imagined dirty and boring.  I was wrong on both counts.  That night (Tuesday) as we got into town, we drove in and I was wondering how, between these two empty hills, there was going to be a Pittsburgh in 2 miles.   Desolate -> Tunnel -> City.  A really pretty city, visually not unlike Portland.  I’ll give you that the Ohio River, majestic as it may be, is no Columbia River.  Still, I see the water and the bridges and automatically am alert.  We had dinner and came out to a major thunderstorm and called it a night.

Wednesday, we got up early to go to breakfast and get ready for the MF.  It was great.  So worth the morning and we liked it so much that we explored the city a bit and got, you guessed it, a very late start for DC.  En route, the traffic was ridiculous and the road is under construction 75% of the way.  One interesting thing that we did see was a car fully engulfed in flames on the other side of the highway.  FULLY.  One sad thing that happened is that my bicycle killed a bird (OR Brian’s, it could have been his too).  We were driving on the highway and the poor thing began to fly up, up, over the windshield, and….feathers in the rearview.  This seemed significantly more tragic than the inferno.

(People were pulled over to help and firetrucks were on their way –  I saw them.  Me + BB* = nowayjose.)

So, we got to D.C. Wednesday evening – just in time to meet our Airbnb hosts (our first time!) and head out to dinner.  We made a quick game plan for Thursday and were fast asleep.   Today, Thursday, was great!  Brian got our bikes in order and we rode to the metro, hopped on a train, and toured DC on our bikes.  Amazing.  I see what all the excitement is about (bicycling that is).  Way better to see things and get around.

Primary stop, Newseum.  All Pulitzer Prize winning photos are here.  A part of the Berlin Wall is here.  So much information about our freedoms – press and speech especially – are here.  Aside from the Pulitzer photos, there is a large exhibit about Katrina and another about 9/11.  The exhibits consisted primarily of the front pages of newspapers and and news footage.  All three were equally moving and emotional.  I didn’t fully make it through any of those sections.  Maybe it was too much at once.  Being such a visual person, the sheer volume is overwhelming and the imagery is too powerful.  I left with a heavy heart and a fuzzy brain.

We walked for a bit, got some lemonade and a sandwich and decided to hop on the bikes.  If we couldn’t handle another museum, we could at least ride around and see some stuff.  So we did.  We rode down to the Mall, saw several monuments, and rode around the White House.  For some reason, the White House really had a spell on me – I wanted to see it from every angle.  So I did.  This proved to be fun largely because I was convinced that around every corner would be another beautiful building.  Mostly true.

*BB = Burning Bomb

Chicago re-connections

I think I’m finally catching up to the present day with the blog, rather than posting about what happened 3 weeks ago. Before I dive into the relatively recent past, I should mention a few of the social/entertainment highlights of this last Chicago stint. Many reunions.

First, Shawn and Jenny were in town from LA, which was a happy coincidence. We met at Café Iberico, a restaurant that set the bar for me for Tapas and Sangría. Joining us was Timm, Marcy, Tyllie, Carrie, Amy, Gabe and Cynthia, a crew that continues to raise the bar for being awesome. It was good to see everyone, and catch up on life adventures while eating, drinking, and generally being merry. You can see evidence of said merriment via the blurry photo. Iberico Dinner Crew

The next day we met them again for a picnic in Lincoln Park, along with the parents and immediate families of Shawn and Jenny, good people. I got to meet Eli, and spend time with the Carr kids and Zig and his son, Logan. Everyone looked good. I never imagined I’d see that entire group in the same place. Jenn was smart and snapped a few pics, I did not and now regret it. Shawn and Eli: Shawn and Eli

Another huge highlight was reconnecting with Eric and Liz. I visited Eric where he worked, managing band rehearsal spaces at an old Zenith Factory. Years ago he and I shared a space there. He played drums and I played bass and we wrote a song or two and did tons of jamming. These days he runs the place, writes, plays and records lots of songs and plays about 12 different instruments. I was really impressed, yet not surprised. Eric has always excelled at the things he throws himself into. The building looked and felt essentially the same except that the once plain hallways walls were now covered end-to-end with spray can art. Click the image below to see more pics on flickr: Zenith Factory

We went through the old 4-track masters of music we had made together and reminisced about good times and lamented the passing of Jim Bauer, who played guitar with us on many a session. Jimbo was a such a large soul, a man of such amazing energy and humor, loved by so many people in his life. When he left this world, a vacuum was created. Where once the man sometimes known as Groot existed, stood a huge black hole, drawing back together the people whose lives he touched. It was in the wake of his passing that Eric and Liz and I reconnected. Rest in peace, Grolchshlofowitz: suspension bridge over the clearwater river, idaho

The next evening Eric and Liz had us over for dinner, a lovely meal in a lovely home. Jenn and I got to spend some quality time with them and their beautiful daughter Addie. Eric, Addie, Liz

Oddly enough, we ran into Eric and Addie at the Shedd Aquarium two days later, which was like a bonus round of hanging out. They take their aquarium and their safety very seriously: Eric and Addie sailing the Shedd

Between Iberico, Hot Doug’s, Schwa, Blackbird, the lovely and elegant Violet Hour, Tony’s Italian Deli, and 3 different neighborhood pizza places, I definitely met my food and drink agenda. Heather and Mark’s Wedding was the final grand reunion of old friends, but that is going to have to wait for another post. I have to go ride my bike.

“love” seems too strong; “like”, not strong enough.

I woke up out of a dead sleep at 6:51 this morning.  Me.  Lord, it’s not even 7:30 and I’m typing on this thing having my first cup of coffee.  I must be excited.  We are leaving for DC today!  Hopefully, we can get this tire plugged (Costco = 3 hour wait) and make it to Cleveland.  Hopefully.

Our time here in Chicago has been great!  Brian has been working his butt off, either with his jobby job or with the house and still, we’ve managed a LOT of fun and interesting stuff.  Getting to spend some time here – and because of the wedding – I’ve been able to meet a lot of Brian’s friends and spend time with most of the great people that I met last year.  Last year, Heather and Mark were just about engaged and Christine was pregnant.  As of yesterday, Heather and Mark were beautifully married and I met Isabel, Christine and Bob’s sweet girl.

Highlights of the last weekend in August:  Cafe Selmarie, Half Acre Taproom, Goose Island Brewery, Iberico, a picnic in Lincoln Park, and meeting the Miller’s, the Carr’s, and nice, cool people.

And my birthday.  Thank you so much for the wishes.  It was fun, sweet, and delicious.  We went to Hot Doug’s for breakfast/lunch.  I love going there so much that I told Brian when we got to Chicago that I was going to go everyday while we were here.  I did not.  Maybe I should have.  Regardless, you have to like meat to go and if you do, it is encased meats like you’ve never seen.    So, that was my start.  A Portuguese Smoked Pork something with saffron something and rustic red pepper cheese.  Delicious sauces and cheese, yum yum yum.

AND, Doug is nice.

Then, we went to Shedd Aquarium.  I love that place.  The jellyfish alone were worth the trip.

We saw as much as possible as fast as possible.  We left when they kicked us out and walked around the Museum Campus for awhile before  finally settling on the W as a place to have a drink before dinner.

Navy Pier from the W.

Post cocktails, we went back to the Situation, changed clothes a little like Superman and headed to dinner.  At Blackbird.  So, so good.  We each got the tasting menu and there was so much food that I took the menu so I could remember later what we ate.  For me, the food was perfect, the wine was great, and the service was amazing.  Could not have asked for better.

Friday found us in a real lull.  Do you have to detox from awesomeness?  I think maybe yes.  Maybe De-rox?  Brian worked and I… ?  I think I read.  I know it didn’t amount to much and I was squirmy and uninspired all day.  Boohoo.

But then, Saturday came and it was a bright new day.  It was also the kick-off for …. THE WEDDING!  Brian and I went in search of some traveling books and Vietnamese food (why do you have such a hold on me Bahn Mi?).  We eventually found them both and waited patiently to go to the Empty Bottle to see the happy couple and meet up with friends.  A great, loud, and early night happened.  I ate tamales out of a cooler.  That were hot.

And the wedding!  Beautiful, easy, sweet and perfect.

Mr. and Mrs.!

2 months and all’s well!

Yesterday marked the 9th week of being on the road. Though, at this point, most of that has been spent in Chicago or Lexington. For me it feels like we left Seattle 4 months ago. I’ll call it a victory in the sense that, while time is always flying by, it seems to have slowed just a little bit for me. But I’m not going to don a flight suit and give my aircraft carrier ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech just yet, because we still have 4 fun-filled months to go!!!

We’re really looking forward to Heather and Mark’s wedding on Sunday. The band Frontier is playing a reunion show Saturday night at the Empty Bottle in their honor. For lack of a more telling description, Frontier is a spacey/droney indie band with a great light show. At least one of their members, Mike, poured many a pint for me as a bartender at the Bottle back in the go-go 90s.

I do feel like I got to do a lot of the Chicago things I never had time to do before, when I would come back for the holidays. It’s always a bit of a social marathon and this time was no exception. Regretfully, I still haven’t figured out how to see everyone I would have liked to see even over a 3 week period. A big part of why so much time was spent here was to get together with my sisters and sort out my mom’s house and get it in shape. The first two weeks in August was spent painting, removing wallpaper, patching walls, removing weeds and bushes, and adding stones along the fence in the yard, cleaning out an extremely cluttered garage, and some light electrical work. Professionals have taken care of the heavier tasks of putting in a sump pump system, tiling and carpeting the basement floor, and putting on a new roof. It’s been good to spend so much time with my sisters, the house has gotten a major refresh, and Jenn has gotten to sample a good amount of the food, culture and architecture this town has to offer. Though it was longer than originally intended, this Chicago time was part of the original plan and to that end I feel really good about what we’ve accomplished. Soon I’ll make some time to talk about the people and places we saw while we were here.

Beyond the wedding, we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road. And in order to make that happen we need to get over to Costco stat, to fix the tire with a nail in it. We’ve been driving around for the last 5 or 6 days with a little “clack-clack-clack” accompaniment sound and luckily that hasn’t translated to an actual flat tire. Recaps of the people and places we’ve seen in Chicago will have to wait.

Chicago, again.

The last four days have been fantastic.  Actually, Wednesday was amazing and I have been recovering from it and thinking about it since.

Friends from Seattle came into town on their own road trip Wednesday afternoon.  Eric and Jackie had been trying to get us reservations at either Alinea or Schwa while they were in town for a few days and, after relentless efforts by Jackie, Schwa made space for us.  As for the experience, it was great.  I love that it’s BYOB, we got to drink exactly what we wanted.  The food was good and interesting.  The service was…a detractor.  However, worth it.  Leaving Schwa, we went to the Violet Hour.  This place, I loved.  Top to bottom.

It was a relief to see familiar faces and wonderful to have a night out. Huh?  I mean a bigtime night out.  We spent the evening together and watched the sun rise on Lake Michigan, something I figured I wouldn’t see again until I started saying “I just can’t sleep past 4:30a anymore.”.

In related news, we had breakfast this morning at Orange in Roscoe Village with our pals Heather and Mark (they are the ones getting married, the reason for our extended Chicago visit!).  It was really good!  Avacado mousse?  I thought no but was wrong.  YUM.  They have pancake flights.  Seriously, 4 different mini-stacks.  Great all around!

That was a lot like a party.

We really did it Saturday night.  Somehow, Dannie suggested that we go out.  My brother never goes out so we grabbed the opportunity and took the town by storm.  Really, Emily, Brian, and I met Dannie at Dudley’s (where Brother B. now works) for a cocktail and to wait patiently for Brother to be released for the evening.  Debauchery and a L-arge bar tab followed.   Super fun, unexpected good time.  The thing most worth noting: Nancy, wherever you are today, you are a saint.  You brought us drinks, you didn’t shussh us, and you even laughed a little in a way that made us think we were funny and one of us charming.

WHAT A WEEK!  Chicago and I have been busy.  We met back up in Indianapolis last weekend (8/12)  for my family’s reunion.  My Mom’s family all meet up at my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Donna’s amazing house for a day (like most reunions).  The big difference between our reunion and most others is the number of people (there are about 130 people just from my grandparents down) and the lack of fights (again, zero).  It was great to see my cousins, aunts, and uncles and newest second cousins!

After the reunion, on Sunday, Brian (Chi) and I drove to Centerpoint, IN to go to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.  My Uncle Johnny and his lady friend Michelle had suggested we go.  Sounded neat so we did and it was incredible!  This sanctuary has over 200 large cats that have been in the homes or businesses of private owners and were taken by the USDA.  To be able to be SO close.  HUGE TEETH.  Hopefully Brian will link to the full set of photos.

It was so hot, he needed a soak.

On our way back to Indianapolis, we met my Aunts Rosemary, Bernie, and Donna along with my Uncles Mike and Jeff and Cousin Carly for dinner at Grey Bros. before heading to Bernie and Mike’s in Fishers for the evening.

Monday we went to Cleveland.  Aunt Rosemary had recommended that we go to the R&R Hall of Fame.  I wanted to go to the zoo.  So, we did both.  We went to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, it was really very interesting and so much better than I thought it would be.  Mid-way through the day, we were hungry and decided to go grab a bite before we toured the special exhibit (Bruce Springsteen!).  We left and tried to find a way to get across the highways and towards the buildings.  We finally found a set of steps and, up we went.  What a great surprise – Beats and Eats!  The Beats were over but the Eats were there.  There were several food trucks there all offering BBQ and/or soulfood.  Yum.  Back to the HoF.

Post HoF, we went to a bar and restaurant recommended by my friend Eric called Bar Cento.  Actually, we went to the attached bar BierMarkt. I loved it!  Amazing beer selection and very good snacks.  I got to try several beers that I had wanted to try but hadn’t got to and still got to put down a couple of my favorite.  It’s seasonal so, when I see it, I want it.  Fortunately, around the corner from BierMarkt is Great Lakes Brewery.  We stopped in, split a sampler and decided it was time to call it a night.

Bright eyed on Wednesday, we went to the Cleveland Zoo.  As some of you know I was on the hunt for tiny Amazonian frogs.  I’ll tell you right now, they weren’t on display.  AND the elephants were in Columbus while their area was getting an overhaul.  Despite the setbacks, fun day – most especially the butterfly house.  Almost always the best at the zoo.

Not my frog but a pretty frog nonetheless.

After the zoo, we drove to Columbus and stayed the night with Doug and Louie.  They have a beautiful home in Dublin and welcomed us late in the evening with “the kids are here!”  We spent the evening chatting and doing a little catchup, making plans to go to Columbus Brewing Company for dinner (beer) the next day.  We were really pushed on our Ohio trip largely based on 1.) my desire to go to CBC which is owned by my cousin Eric and his wife Beth, 2.) Doug and Louie!.  To get to have dinner and drinks at CBC with Eric, Beth, Doug, and Louie – GREAT.  The beer was delicious, the food yummy, and the company fantastic.

– insert photo here that i forgot to take because i was having too much fun-

After leaving the brewery, Brian and I headed to find my high school BFF.  Stephen and his hubby Craig are living in Columbus and were kind enough to host us for the night and feed us dinner at 11p! Craig made us dinner – mushroom risotto, so good!  It was wonderful to see Stephen again (10 years!) and to finally meet Craig.

Friday, we got back on the road to Lexington.  Back again?  What the what?  I had a social event to attend so off we went!  Since we were headed back to Lexington, I made plans with the family that are truly my Shepherds for dinner.  10 years later, there are husbands and now babies and there was a lot to catch up on!  I have been able to see them here and there but this was a good visit – only missing Missy and Henry!

Saturday was a party of grand proportions!  My mom and her long time lady friends had a party for all of their daughters and granddaughters.  It was really great to see everyone – it had been at least 10 years since I had seen everyone together.  Lots of great food, lovely ladies, and a pool!

We were missing Christy but had a great day!

Well, you all know now how my Saturday night went.  It was epic.  Sunday, sunday we recovered and had Steak Sunday at Dannie’s.

And here we are on Monday.  We are supposed to leave for Chicago but I just proposed West Virginia to Brian.  Rethinking what a great week it was seeing SO many people that I love but rarely get to see, I need to get to the mountains to visit Aunt Nancy.  Soon!

tiny synthesizers

I knew that I was behind a bit on updates, but I had no idea that a month has passed since I last posted anything. I’ll write some more about my experiences later, but in the meantime here’s some more audio from the field. It’s not for everyone, but if you like ambient sounds and music, you’ll dig this. Behind the house of Jenn’s mom is a little lake and plenty of trees. As I sat in her yard working in the shade, the sound of cicadas buzzed in the space above me. I never noticed how the dynamic the sound is, the volume faded up and down in little pockets moving all around the trees. Someone somewhere needs to set up multiple mics and catch this in 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. This is a long one at about 11 minutes. It was great background music for writing code. Recorded July 11th, 2010.