Monday, November 28, 2011

We intended to snorkel

We decided on a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year. Our friend E was in town, with her sister-in-law, and we had reservations to snorkel on Thanksgiving afternoon from a glass-bottomed boat. The glass bottom was for me, since I think snorkeling sounds a bit like a sport, or at the very least, like exercise. Unfortunately, our tour was cancelled, and the rebooked tour the next day was also cancelled. (This was understandable, due to the choppy conditions, but next time I wish they wouldn't wait until we were an hour into the trip to make the decision.)

Instead, we had a picnic in the Everglades, followed the next day by lunch in the Keys.

Andrew slices the bread. The lake in the background was part of the Long Pine Key picnic area. I didn't quite catch why it's named after a Key (island), since it's not one.
The spread: ciabatta bread and vegetable pate, truffle deviled eggs, pickled onions, and fruit. The vegetable pate recipe made a LOT, so we still had the traditional Thanksgiving leftovers.
We could almost reach out and touch this guy, as he was sitting right below the board walk. I've never seen such big alligators in the wild. It was fun and a bit unnerving.
The next day we were in the Keys, enjoying the sunny weather, blue water, and pelicans.
Andrew and E enjoy more than just the weather.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reason #412 to live in Miami

People visit you.

In the last year and a half, I've had visits from parents, two aunts, one uncle, a brother with a wife and two kids, and two close friends. That's not bad for someone who can only offer an Aerobed on the living room floor. Even if they mainly come to enjoy the balmy weather and warm seas, I get to see them, and I'm not complaining.

A good friend from DC is visiting Miami this weekend with her sister-in-law. I got to show them my favorite pizza place, Harry's, which has trendy thin-crust pizzas and local Florida beers. (For me: pesto pizza with homemade ricotta and housemade fennel soda). I was so proud that they liked it. After dinner we drove the Mini over the bridge to Miami Beach where they are staying, and they were cheering to see the Miami skyline and neon-lit palm trees. Experiencing your town through visitors' eyes is a great way to appreciate where you live.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It was refreshing to hear such skillful settings in a season that will shortly be dominated by dispiriting dreck.

That was the final line of my choir's concert review. And I agree that it went just smashingly. I am enjoying the feeling of accomplishment that comes from taking on the challenge of learning to sing again. But now I think I will bask in all the free time I have available, with rehearsals done until the new year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Singing through a haze

My choir is singing our fall concerts this weekend, with the first being this evening. I am equal parts exhausted (ten hours of rehearsals plus six hours of commuting to rehearsals) and excited. Last night we rehearsed in the first performance space, a church, which turned out to be a modern building (all cement, glass and wood) which had the acoustics of a Cathedral (because of all the cement, glass, and wood). Singing with the orchestra and soloists makes us sound like an honest to goodness real choir. They hope to put some of the concert on YouTube, so if that happens I'll post a link.

In other news, I somehow hurt my back and am taking muscle relaxants. Although I am only taking one quarter of the drugs prescribed, I am tired and loopy. My coworkers have intimated that I am not censoring my comments quite as much as I usually do. So far they find this amusing, but I'll be glad when I'm back to my usual self.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On the Sandia mountains

We were in Albuquerque this past weekend, and, my, is it lovely there. Andrew was ready to move, but the lure of mountains in my back yard is not as great as the lure of warm seas and city skylines for me. I originally planned the trip so that my husband and uncle could go hiking together, thus relieving me of any responsibility to climb anything beyond a couch cushion on the way to the kitchen to get a drink. Unfortunately, various injuries and maladies prevented hiking, and we took the wimpy tourist option of driving up into the Sandias. On the mountain top we enjoyed lovely views and stunted trees:We also encountered a whole herd of the rare mountaintop antenna:
Later we got our fill of red dirt, visiting ruins of Pueblos and churches at Pecos National Historical Park. As my aunt pointed out, the story of the American West is pretty consistent: Native people lived there until missionaries (or soldiers) came and converted (or killed or enslaved) them. It's a rather disheartening story if you think about it too much.
For Andrew, the highlight of our day trip to Santa Fe and points north was a petting zoo. The "zoo" was really a pen of goats, chickens, and an alpaca in the middle of a tiny town. For $2 you could buy a bag of corn and earn the intense (but short-lived) interest of every beast.

I appreciate the less animate animals, such as the Steel Burro.
For even more about the trip, check out dispatches from our reporter on location here and here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Glades

We had lovely weather last weekend (read: finally cool enough that we can put the top down on the car), so we took a drive through the Everglades. Several entrances to the park are less than an hour from our house, so we managed the trip in an afternoon. I'm a bit pressed for time because I'm leaving for a short vacation tomorrow, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.

From a distance, the Everglades kind of look like the Midwest. Flat.
Even slight changes in elevation are a big deal, because they're the difference between dry ground and swamp.
We saw many birds, but I don't know anything about them.

Andrew's straw hat fits again, now that he cut off all his hair.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Living in the past

I'm having a lot of fun dressing vintage lately. I seem to have hit some magic amount of vintage and vintage-style clothes in my wardrobe such that I can wear the look about half the time. This also means that I've been spending far too much time researching things like how to do your hair in rag curls and whether you can really wear dance shoes outside in rainy weather (they make a lot of inexpensive dance shoes in vintage styles, but many of them have suede soles).

Pity my poor husband, who is the unwilling recipient of all that I learn, and who listens to my debates about whether $110 is too much to pay for a petticoat. (Which of course it is, but there aren't that many petticoat manufacturers around any more, so it's not like I have a lot of options.)

In other news, I took a wonderful weekend trip to DC a few weeks ago. I was in Virginia for work, and extended the trip so that I could visit some of my old friends in DC. It was wonderful to see the fall colors. And to kick leaves. And to be able to wear a sweater. Because I love my job in Miami so much, I keep hoping that my longing for seasons will abate. I hear songs on the radio and think of cider and soup and my heart is struck with a feeling that has no name. Perhaps I will name it Herbssehnsucht, (longing for fall)? In the meantime, I will be happy that it is cool enough that we can sometimes turn off the air conditioner, and I shall look forward to the ten frosty days in Ohio this Christmas.