Friday, September 1, 2017

Sister Trip to Rehoboth Beach, DE

If 65-degree weather makes you want to sip on pumpkin spice and talk about Anne Rice vampires, boy do I have a vacation to tell you about!

While it was unseasonably rainy, and then sunny but cool, for our mid-week beach adventure, we were reminded that strange weather can't really stop us from doing what we love: checking out art museums, singing along to '80s jams in the car, taking long walks, exploring state parks, and drinking craft beer. Oh, and our hotel had a hot tub. We were fine.

Nice midway stopping point: The Delaware Contemporary art museum in Wilmington, DE.

It seemed like half the museum was under construction for new exhibits, but the two exhibitions I did walk through, I loved.

The "Spiral, Recoil" group exhibition alone is worth a trip to the Delaware Contemporary. The exhibition is curated by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell and aims to cover the experience of Black American artists. It did indeed spiral into unexpected directions.

I stopped in my tracks to really absorb Jamea Richmond Edwards' "The sugar-icing of Henrietta Lacks," which juxtaposed the real discrimination and hardships Lacks faced in life and the way she has become a household name due to a best-selling work of nonfiction and even an HBO original series starring OPRAH. I had not considered that the title of the exhibit would evoke a strand of DNA or genetic code sequencing, which the cells of Henrietta Lacks eventually led to.

"Behind the Lines" by Ola Rondiak was another impressive exhibit that merged political graffiti, traditional Russian Orthodox iconography, and intimate portrait techniques to give us a look at Ukrainian personal and political identity:

"Together We Stand" by Ola Rondiak
At the Delaware Contemporary until October 15, 2017

And then we were on to Rehoboth!

Here's some perspective: If it had been a 90-degree and sunny day, we never would have hiked through the beautiful Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE. That would have been a shame, because we took a 2+ hour walk that began on an overcast morning and watched it clear into a gorgeous day.

Climbing the Overlook in the park: Cannot recommend enough

We did get to enjoy the sunshine, fish tacos and funky shops, the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk and Dogfish Head beer.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

See you on the dark side of the moon! (Solar eclipse 2017 in South Carolina)

Total solar eclipse in Greenville, SC, c/o NASA

Millions of people are forecast to flock to the very narrow swath -- 70 miles wide -- that today's solar eclipse will travel across the US.

"This will be like Woodstock 200 times over -- but across the whole country," said Alex Young, solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Federal Highway Administration is calling this a "planned special event for which there has been no recent precedent in the United States."

The moon, which many of us often take for granted, will quite literally have its day in the spotlight. Science geeks have been counting down to the millisecond for today's eclipse.

Professional photographers and amateur astronomers have bought and tested special solar filters for their cameras.

Even the surfers at have gone along the Oregon coast and cleaned the lenses off their surf cameras so they can catch the first glimpses of the moon's shadow reaching the western shore.

Now, the day is here.

"The hair on the back of your neck is going to stand up, and you are going to feel different things as the eclipse reaches totality. It's been described as peaceful, spiritual, exhilarating, shocking," said Brian Carlstrom, deputy associate director of the National Park Service Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate.

If you don't believe, stop, watch and listen.

That was the CNN alert on Monday, August 21, 2017. It delighted me to read it that morning.

The traffic was indeed as bad as predicted, and still, I traveled to South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse.

One car, two people, two dogs. Passing through six states and then back again in three days.

Causing trouble!
I didn't realize this trip would bring me back through the Shenandoah Valley, but I am certainly glad it did.

I don't have the kind of camera that could capture totality, so I didn't even try. I just looked through some binoculars and soaked up the beauty.

Image c/o NASA

I was grateful to be in W. C. Nettles Park in Pendleton, SC.

I made a pinhole through a piece of scrap paper and it made a half-sun on my palm. Look, even the shadows through the trees make half-suns:

I had never experienced anything like the sick, thin, half light of the moon covering the sun. It was uncanny, like someone hit a dimmer switch on the sun.

#NoFilter. This is maybe half the strength of the South Carolina sun in the middle of the day.

The total eclipse approached and owls hooted. I was mesmerized by the corona. It was a 360 degree sunset all around us but dark overhead. Street lights came on at 2:40 pm. Some biological instinct took over and I refused to believe it was the middle of the day or that the sun would immediately return. Logically, I knew what to expect, but while it happened I couldn't quite believe it.

But I do believe it, because I was there.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Crochet A Baby Blanket in 8 Steps!

 You too can invest in a pattern, put it off for half a decade, and then slowly but surely bring it to life!

Step One: Buy a pattern on Etsy in January 2012. Get wrapped up in other projects and put off learning to crochet. (I learned how to knit first, which I think was my downfall.)

Step Two: Have your (patient) mother attempt to teach you crochet once every six months for the next five years. Get frustrated and throw your yarn in a corner.

Step Three: Your patient mom learns the crochet pattern so she can lead you through it step by step. It only takes two weeks of hands-on demonstrations to get it down.

Step Four: You still can't read patterns so you write out your own interpretation of the pattern.


Step Six: Podcast and stitch. Podcast and stitch.

Step Seven: Put it all together in a way you just invented because you still cannot read that pattern and what YouTube is telling you to do is unintelligible.

Step Eight: OMG THIS BABY.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Vibrant Year

It's been one week since my birthday, and I can already tell this year will be lush and vibrant.

I gave myself two gifts: I paid for a manuscript editing service for a fiction project, and purchased a one-month pass at a yoga studio. I am challenging myself to write stronger and to engage my body and mind.

I also recommend beach yoga. Nothing like doing Sun Salutations while the sun is rising overhead.

Made myself a birthday treat: blueberry pierogis with sweet cashew cream sauce:

My life is filled with fresh flowers and herbs--some of which I'll dry to keep.

Also making my life bright: Reconnecting with friends:

Notice my crown

Beachy adventures:

The greatest challenge is looking inward.