20 Things: London

Earlier this summer, I went to London on family vacation. (Not the family I was born into, but family nonetheless.) We stayed at an airbnb in Fitzrovia, which was a pretty perfect location. We ventured out to some of the suburban castles/palaces (which I had never done before)and found some great out-of-the way things to do in town. Here’s the list:

1. Saw “the Girls”
2. Stole a skull
3. Sketched at Sketch
4. Admired the Hokusai
5. Met Michael Kors at Balenciaga
6. Lunched in the crypt
7. With British chorale royalty
8. Spied from the London Eye
9. Changed the guard at Windsor
10. Did the rock & roll hootchie-coo
11. Had high tea at the Dorchester
12. Smelled the Tudor Roses at Hampton Court Palace
13. We’re so Fly, London
14. Dined late with the Earlys
15. Developed a passion for fashion at Spitalfield
16. Noshed on Indian tapas (and cocktails)….repeatedly
17. Love is love is love
18. Attended Evensong at St. Paul’s
19. Drank at some of the top 10 bars in the world
20. Dismount!

Thanks to my surrogate family for bringing me along…can’t wait for the next one!

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Photoblog: Key West

I’m going to skip the 20 things for Key West. When I went with Roger 2 years ago,we did all the Key West stuff. (You can read about it here.) This time, we did more relaxing pool side than sightseeing, but some things didn’t change: the view is still amazing, the greenery is gorgeous, and I am the iguana whisperer. And I am ever grateful to Roger for inviting me. Here’s some pretty pics:

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Photoblog: Paris

In the category of “better late than never….” I went to post my 20 Things for London, and realized that I never posted pics from our jaunt to Paris in April with my goddaughter. It was hard to narrow down the photos from such a great trip, with such great sights, food, and company, but here are some favorites:

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20 Things: Paris

Last month, I took my goddaughter to Paris for her 16th birthday. This is a trip that has literally been in the making since the day she was born, but I was a little nervous about it….she and I have never spent so much time together in one stretch, and she’d never been away from her mother that long. I really wasn’t sure how well it would go….but she turned out to be an engaging and adventurous travel partner. She was really game to do almost anything, eat anything, go anywhere. She had some things on her agenda, and I had some on mine, and I think we managed to hit just about everything. Here’s what we did…..

1. Sent my glasses on an adventure of their own
2. Admired the stained glass at Ste. Chappelle
3. Took selfies in the Hall of Mirrors
4. French french fries are the best
5. Went riding on the metro
6. Toured the opera house
7. And then went back for the ballet
8. Ate buckwheat crepes
9. Visited the mental hospital
10. Went Beyond the Stars at Musee d’Orsay
11. Climbed the Eiffel Tower
12. Tea for two, and two for tea
13. Wandered the gardens
14. And laughed at the square trees
15. Ate le mixte for breakfast
16. And macarons at Laduree
17. Swooned over the Monets at l’Orangerie
18. Visited Victoire de Samothrace and Lisa Gherardini
19. Sampled ALL the creme brulees
20. Had some memorable and quality bonding time together.

Until next time….

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Curate: The Closet

The other week, the BFF came over and we went to work on the closet. Like many people, my closet is a little too stuffed. But my biggest issue was shoe storage. The cubbies that I had really weren’t working, both because many my shoes (like boots) didn’t fit in the cubbies and because I have more shoes than i had spaces for them.

After looking around for shoe storage solutions, and talking to a few people about it, I decided to go with plain bookcases from Ikea. There are some very distinct advantages to these, the biggest being that you can add as many shelves as you need, and adjust them to whatever height you want. (And Ikea is only a mile from my house.)

So we set up the bookcases, with extra shelves. We went through a bunch of clothes. In the end, I got rid of 2 large contractor bags of clothing and a bag of shoes. The BFF took the clothing. Her friend has just reentered the workforce after a long absence, and doesn’t yet have the funds to furbish a whole new work wardrobe….and she happens to be the same size as me. So to me, that’s a win-win. I get excess stuff out of my house, she gets some new threads. It’s nice stuff that I just don’t wear, so I’m happy that it’s all going to a good home. When she looked through the stuff, she asked the BFF how much she owes me for it….she doesn’t realize she did me a favor by getting it all out of my house.

I still have some more clothing to go through, and a few things to take to the tailor. And I’m still figuring out the right order for the shoes. (Actually, it’s the boots that are more of an issue. Because I must have ALL of the boots.) But it’ll be done soon, and I’ll post pics when it is.

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Curate: the Pantry







It may not look that different, before and after.  But it is.  Everything in there is edible.  I found stuff with expiration dates of 2007!  (I know those are only guidelines, but 10 years past the date seems excessive.)  There was even room to put in the stuff that was out on the counter.  (I left the olive and coconut oils and balsamic vinegar out, because I use them all the time.)  Now I know exactly what I have, and can start to think about what to make….it’s still soup season, right?

It’s a small step, the pantry.  But it is curation in the right direction.  Moving on to the next….

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Word of the Year Recap

By now, you should know that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions….I do Christine Kane’s word-of-the-year thing, where you use a word as a touchstone throughout the year.

In 2016, my word was “shine”….and shine I did.  I gave a presentation at an international meeting for work, which was well received.  (The session organizer suggested that I write up the work for Microscopy Today.)  I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Bordeaux, France, Lake George, NY, and glamorous Columbus, Ohio.  I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Woodmere Museum, the Renwick Gallery, the Barnes Foundation, la Cite du Vin, the Jules Verne Museum, and Les Machine d’Ile.  I started a business, which grew through out the year, and stretched myself artistically. I threw a couple of parties at the Sparkle Lounge, and spent time and had adventures with my peeps, whom I adore.  There is much for which to be grateful.

But now it’s a new year, so I need a new word. The word for 2017 is “curate,” defined as:

verb: curate; 3rd person present: curates; past tense: curated; past participle: curated; gerund or present participle: curating
  1. select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition).
    “both exhibitions are curated by the museum’s director”
    • select the performers or performances that will feature in (an arts event or program).
      “in past years the festival has been curated by the likes of David Bowie”
    • select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge.
      “nearly every major news organization is using Twitter’s new lists feature to curate tweets about the earthquake”

Although I have done some work in the last few years winnowing down the amount of stuff, but I still feel like there’s too much…too much clothing, too many books (well, maybe not really on that one), too much clutter in my itunes.  It’s time to scale all of that back, to just the things that I love, that I wear, that I use.  There’s also the matter of that fledgling business….now is the time to think about what exactly I want it to be, what kind of art do I want to make, and how to move forward.

So for me, “curate” is all about that selection process, about letting in the things that matter, and letting go of the ones that don’t quite fit.  A tall order, for sure, but a worthwhile exercise.

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Be the Change

It’s that time of year, when people express gratitude for all that they have.  I’ve mentioned before that I live a charmed life.  It’s full of wonderful people, good health, creativity, cheese, and amazing adventures.  And for all of that, I am truly grateful.

This year, though, my thoughts have been going in a different direction.  I have long donated money to a variety of organizations.  It’s an easy way to make a (much-needed) contribution to causes that you believe in. But it’s been a long time since I did any actual volunteer work.

But now…..well, now I’m thinking that it’s time for me to get all Ghandi-like, and be the change I want to see in the world.  We each have the power to shape  not just our own worlds, but the whole world.  I’d like to see a kinder, more tolerant place….wouldn’t you?  I’m still working on ideas of how to get there.  You may have different ideas.  But, either way…..

Be the change.

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Playlist: Bump in the Night #2

A few years ago, I posted the “Bump in the Night” Halloween playlist, which was songs guaranteed to get us out on the dance floor, once upon a time.  And, for your Halloweenie listening pleasure, here’s a new list….

  • Tubular Bells (Part 1)-Mike Oldfield
  • Oblivion-Grimes
  • Dark Entries-Bauhaus
  • Came Back Haunted-Nine Inch Nails
  • (Don’t Fear) the Reaper-Blue Oyster Cult
  • Red Right Hand-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
  • Clown-Switchblade Symphony
  • Bela Lugosi’s Dead-Bauhaus
  • Murderous-Nitzer Ebb
  • Scary Monster (And Super Creeps)-David Bowie
  • Shadowplay-the Killers (covering Joy Division)
  • Atom Bomb-Fluke
  • Dead Souls-Joy Division
  • Bloodletting-Concrete Blonde
  • Christian Says-Tones on Tail
  • Psycho Killer-the Talking Heads
  • I Walked with a Zombie-R.E.M.(covering Roky Erikson)
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Skull-a-Day #5


And finally, a t-shirt.  Thus concludes Skull Week.

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