Philadelphia Weekend

January 22, 2014

Philly cheese steaks, family reunions, the Philadelphia Pen Show, Elvis in a scarf, a bacon bloody mary, Sideways Stories at Arden Theater, fabulous museums, bookstores, record stores, that famous bell, and chilly hands. Can't wait to return.

Travels with Pacy: Switzerland

January 15, 2014

Look who made the trip to Andermatt with us! Pacy enjoyed the Swiss Alps and all of the snow, but what she really loved was the fondue, especially the Chinese fondue (similar to Chinese hotpot or Japanese shabu-shabu). That was our favorite type of fondue, too.

Be sure to take a peek at Pacy's recent travels to Taipei with Grace and her family. And on a related note, it was nice to see that both Taiwan and Andermatt are on the New York Times travel list for 2014. Pacy is clearly a trend setting traveler.

Discovering Poetry

January 14, 2014

It seems fitting to finally share these photos today. They are photos from my favorite part of our visit to the City Lights Bookstore: the poetry room, which felt like a delicious and secret discovery, a tower room bursting with words impatiently waiting to be freed. And also appropriate since I spent this afternoon with the fabulous poet, Marilyn Nelson.

Today was the official publication day for her newest book of poetry. How I Discovered Poetry is an autobiographical collection of poems that chronicles her nomadic childhood as a military kid (her father was one of the Tuskegee Airmen) during the 1950s. As the voice and subject matter mature from the tender age of four up through her early teens, it's hard not to be sucked into the minutiae of intimate moments and salient memories, while also noting the larger cultural and social happenings that are whirling around her. As an African-American girl during the civil rights era some of these moments are especially piercing. But it is her compelling use of words which reverberate long after the page has been turned and leave me yearning for more. 

How I Discovered Poetry
By Marilyn Nelson 

It was like soul-kissing, the way the words 

filled my mouth as Mrs. Purdy read from her desk. 

All the other kids zoned an hour ahead to 3:15, 

but Mrs. Purdy and I wandered lonely as clouds borne 

by a breeze off Mount Parnassus. She must have seen 

the darkest eyes in the room brim: The next day

she gave me a poem she’d chosen especially for me 

to read to the all except for me white class. 

She smiled when she told me to read it, smiled harder, 

said oh yes I could. She smiled harder and harder 

until I stood and opened my mouth to banjo playing

darkies, pickaninnies, disses and dats. When I finished

my classmates stared at the floor. We walked silent

to the buses, awed by the power of words. 

Spinning with The Pine Leaf Boys

January 11, 2014

You know it's a good night when you have to step into the restroom to remove layers of sweat soaked clothing. It's also a good night when tears of nostalgia and longing mix themselves with pride and cathartic joy. And that's just what happened on a chilly, Thursday night in Rosslyn, Virginia with The Pine Leaf Boys.

We danced. We danced some more. And I found myself spinning between two different worlds. As I watched my baby sister, Emee, sketching the band from the side of the stage, I couldn't stop smiling, while also missing my dad who would do the very same thing. My dad who taught me how to Cajun dance. My dad who was one of the first to document the world of Cajun music in the midst of reveling in it. My dad who would be bursting with pride to see this little crew of Louisiana kids showing the world how this how all works, this generation carrying forth traditions that nearly died away.  I spent my childhood watching Wilson's parents, Marc and Ann playing cajun music in living rooms and on stages and now Wilson is doing the same thing. And doing it well.

When it was all over and we burst back into the cold night, I decided that we need to dance more. More spinning, more sweating, and more live Cajun music. I don't just want it, I need it.

First Walk of the Year

January 6, 2014

We spent New Year's morning traipsing through the woods in Rock Creek Park. Beautiful light, lots of logs for climbing, and icy puddles for was a very good way to start 2014. And here's a peek at one of the winter walks we took in Switzerland. I never thought I would be such a fan of winter walking, but there really is something special about it. Things are pared down and details come into sharper focus without the distraction of the colors and textures that flourish during the other seasons.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014

Andermatt, Switzerland

Wishing you and your families all the best in 2014. May it be a year of laughter, wonder, and peace for all!

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