Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas

My first destination post-Pennsylvania was Ohio. I hadn't seen Cuz K. or her hubby or my aunt or uncle since I stopped and saw them on my drive west the preceding year. The pups they had only recently acquired were now full-on dogs...who were happy to help me while I did a little editing work.
This guy is a true blue cuddler.
We all went out to a bar for darts one evening. My aunt acquiesced to a Jameson shot.
Family fun times.
Chewbacca pup times.
A. got me a pair of bibs for my b-day/Christmas. They look very pristine in this photograph, but let me just tell you that they have since become all sorts of gross, washed, repeat. I like me these overalls, indeed I do!
This was in West Virginia, after I took my leave of my Ohio family and turned south and east to spend a little time with some other family.
In Greensboro I cuddled with a large and entirely sweet Golden Retriever.
And spent a couple of days with these two ladies. NC C. and J. J. is a funny young woman finding her own way at college and in the world. She isn't particularly interested in nor fond of posing for photographs and generally has this expression of forced smiley-ness or a more blank/frowny look to her. Her mother and I exhorted that she should try something new, but it didn't really work. She is her own person entirely.
Yup. Different C., same expression and pose.
Not budging.
Showing her the range inherent in her blood.
For better or worse.
Then it was on to Charlotte, to see C. and J. The twosome that took on Zul when I first departed PA and made my way to Washington. I spent two lovely evenings with them, enjoying good food and beer in their recently-bought home. On the morning I left, I insisted on photos...and these are what happened. I forget exactly what we said was happening in this one. I am begging for forgiveness and she is laughing at me? We are Victorian and I am professing my undying love? Hard to tell at this point.
They're cuties, they are. I meant to upload another photo of us, but somehow it got skipped. Alas.

Then it was on to Asheville for a very quick swing by an old high school friend's lovely home. We hadn't seen each other since our 10-year reunion, so it had been a while. She showed me her unfinished basement's map room and plant. It was good to catch up.
Oh, here it is. Obviously out of order. Keeping me on my toes Blogger!
This is a photograph I took as I wended my way west from Asheville. I could have taken a more highway route, but chose instead to take a smaller road that routed itself through the Smokeys.
A lake in the Smokies. Smokeys? Smokies.
Then I was in Sewanee just a little before Christmas. At some point a bird got into the house. This is a photograph of my father taking a photograph of the bird.
And this is the bird on the next day, as we failed to get it out of the house on that particular evening. Eventually it did leave...or did it?
Christmas day was a subdued affair on the whole, but not unpleasant. Dad gave me exactly what I wanted: a headlamp for the farm, among other things. And it has been - like the overalls - incredibly useful for late night lamb watches.
Christmas day we went down the mountain for breakfast at Dad's lady friend's. This is a photo from the drive back up.
Then we went to a part of the plateau I had never seen before, which is named in honor of my great great grandfather. Pretty good view.
Dad by the marker that makes it officially about our shared ancestor/relative.
Christmas night we watched The Interview (I incorrectly suggested in a previous post that we did that in October, but that is a falsehood created from a shoddy memory). There were potential snow systems pretty much anywhere you looked, so I thought that instead of my initial plan to take a northerly passage through states like Montana and one of the Dakotas, I would do a more southerly route. On my first day on the road I made it to the far end of Arkansas and found myself in a city with a surprising number of Vietnamese restaurants. Of course I jumped on this like it was my job.
There had been a few flurries on my first day of driving, and the next found me driving in a pretty constant state of light snow and a little ice for much of the morning's drive through the rest of Arkansas and some of Texas. And maybe another state? There were many, many Native American gift shops along the highway. I stopped at many looking for gifts for a few folks and had to restrain myself from buying most all of the jewelry.
My car once I made it to Texas.
Texas rest stop.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bucks County and Philly Times: Pennsylvania, Huzzah!

After the second of my two lovely visits in NYC, I crossed the Verazzano and Goethals bridges and made my way to Bucks County to meet up with Mr. Ass. The evening I arrived I believe we had a nice dinner with his parents and I was introduced to Bob's Burgers. The next day was spent primarily beating Mr. Ass in Scrabble.
We took a walk around their property, which wasn't pretty at all.
Then we went to New Hope and met up with L. for drinks and conversation.
One million photographs were taken in an effort to get truly good ones...which never quite panned out.
Though I won't say the endeavor was a failure.
Good people and good times. Two of my favorite things.

We all went to high school together. Boom. Now we are old.
Pipo very much enjoyed being placed on this window perch and surveying her domain.
Next up was dinner in Philly. Where did I go, and with whom, you ask? Modo Mio of course, and with Mr Ass., E. and B., C. and LW, and A. Pictured below is a terrible photo of A. and I. We lived harmoniously for about two years. I recommend him as a roommate very much. It was nice to catch up with him and to enjoy the combined hospitality of him and LW (because now he is her roommate).
After a wonderful Modo Mio meal, we went to Druid's Keep, drank way too much beer, and played increasingly terrible darts...but we looked okay doing it.
The next day I had my first ridiculous hangover in quite some time. Staying prone for a bit and hanging with Brutus was important.
As was mainlining pho directly into my body...via my mouth.
Then I changed things up entirely and went and stayed with LB and C. and their we little one M...who at this particular moment in time, was a turkey baby.
An out of order 'prom shot.'
I do love me some good baby times.

Not to mention handsome dogs and city views.
As well as babies and tarot cards.
Then it was off to the country. Dad flew in a day or so later for Thanksgiving. It wasn't super cold, but I kept a rather constant fire burning nonetheless.
Copious cheese was consumed.
So. Good.
Vultures in flight.
For Thanksgiving dinner I made us roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and baked asparagus. As well as cranberry orange relish and some carrots from the chicken roast.
Dad and I went for lunch at Black Bass Hotel and then walked across the Delaware River. It was legitimately cold on this day.
I continued to paint. This person liked Canada and coffee and disliked scary movies.
Lehigh Valley views.
Then I drove back into Philly to reconnect with the dart team I captained, the Kitten Mittens. It was great to see all of them and to spend a long evening 'darting it up' with both that team as well as others I knew from the summer league team I was on.
Summer league!
Then I stole Brutus and brought him to the country, where he enjoyed spending time in the fenced in backyard...but found himself entirely stymied/terrified of going down stairs.
I started a new series of paintings. I take romantic quotes from reasonably well known movies and make them, shall we say, not so romantic.
Then L. and Fatty came and played with me one last time. I wasn't sure they were going to be able to make it and then was super duper excited that they were willing to come out for what was basically just a night and half of a day. We took Brutus on a walk.
And posed interestingly.
Then L. and Fatty left, and C. arrived. We had good times of eating and drinking by the fire and generally catching up, gossiping, and enjoying each other's company. This is me hugging Brutus goodbye not long after I woke up.
And this is the selfie we took not long before they left me.
And this is another painting I made.
As is this one. I've made quite a few more since, and they all make me laugh/chuckle, but there is a definite darkness to them. I don't think of myself as a romantic, but I don't think of myself as a bitter curmudgeon either. I think I do take umbrage with romance as it is constructed and delivered to us via media - especially movies - but I do believe there is earnest and authentic sentimentality in the world...but these days I'm more enjoying this side of it. The side of deconstructing the romance into something hideous and amusing.
When the snow melted, the creek swelled.
And then my time on the truly east coast came to mostly a close, and I was driving west towards Ohio. I stopped for a Starbucks beverage at a travel plaza. They asked me my name twice. And this is what my name is.