Monday, April 27, 2015


"I am scattered in times whose order I do not understand."

--Augustine, Confessions

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Neighborhood Sculpture

There are many things that I love about our neighborhood. The art, though, is nothing to write home about.

This series of three sculptures is particularly offensive. They are lined up along the road, the kitchiest set I could ever imagine. It took me months to get used to that policeman and to realize that he is not real and that he is not pulling me over.

This photographer: how dated; that sweatshirt!

And this lady on a bench is the worst.

I don't know if you can see it in the close-up, but her face has accumulated a lot of dirt over the years, making her prematurely old.

(Apologies for the photos--as many times as I've thought of photographing these sculptures, I've never remembered to do it with my actual camera, so I had to do it with my phone camera.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Random Assortment

~ I'm not sure if I agree with this take, but I do love Barbara Pym.

~ I don't quite agree with this take, but I do think internet shaming is a really bad thing. Mostly I'm not sure I'm against social mores in the way that this author seems to be, but I think when you apply social mores in a detached, de-personalized, technological realm (like the internet) they become more insidious.

~ I love Bill Cunningham. This barely has anything to do with fashion; mostly it's just about spring and expresses his sense of wonder (could he possibly use "wonderful" any more often?). I have a suspicion that the man's a saint.

~ I like this blog, which I discovered through Myrrh's pinterest. (Do you read it, Myrrh?) It's all about color in the form of quilts, flowers, and stained glass. Also, she's British. From her latest post on giving blood:

Giving blood is easy, making an appointment to give blood is easy, and drinking tea and eating biscuits afterwards is easy.

Of course British people drink tea and eat biscuits after giving blood! As far as I remember from back in the day, in America, we have cookies and soda. (I'm not knocking America here, though--some immediate sugar can be really good post-blood giving.)

~ On a personal note, I just met a big work deadline (although next week will be even crazier), and now have an enormous pile of back-grading to catch up on this weekend. So hard to motivate myself when the weather is fine.

Also, yesterday I bought our summer pool pass! So excited!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


At a talk yesterday, the speaker was discussing suffering and referred to a recent academic book that characterizes suffering as something evil that we should work to eliminate. The speaker qualified that the academic book said that some things that we consider to be suffering, such as a woman giving birth, aren't really suffering. In the back of the room, I was seized with uncontrollable laughter; I couldn't restrain it. Everyone turned to look, and then the other mothers in the room also shook their heads and one agreed with me out loud, "Childbirth is suffering."

I don't think I've ever before had such a physical response to an academic argument.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Frank Lloyd Wright in Our Neighborhood

I was googling Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Philadelphia to see if he had any in this area, only to discover that he has four or one, depending on how you look at it, in our neighborhood. So we took a walk to see them. (Thank heavens for better weather; now we can enjoy some family walks.)

I'm not quite sure how it works, as we could only stalk them from the street, but purportedly there are four homes connected and arranged in a pinwheel fashion. Like an update on the row house, but with more privacy.

This is another example of his Usonian houses, or architecture for the masses. (Francisco and I visited one back in St. Louis.)

Monday, April 13, 2015


Easter. Stearns informed me that I do not instagram correctly--your shot has to be from directly over the food. Regardless: it was a feast, and we're thankful for family.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thank You, Hopkins

Baby Leopard got an Easter present.

Opening presents is a full-body affair.

He loves the books.

And thinks they taste great!

The little ones are his mama's favorites!

They also taste great.

Although of course the wrapping paper is the best part.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Random Assortment

Here’s the trade-off: at 9 a.m. the following morning, my doorbell rang. It was our kraamzorg (probably best described as a “postnatal nurse.”) This is the woman who would come to our home every day for the next week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to teach us how to use a baby. She’d show us how to feed my daughter, dress her, change her, bathe her and put her to sleep. She’s the one we’d turn to when we needed to ask, “Is this normal?” When our confidence dipped and we started to realize we had no clue what we were doing, she was the person who’d assure us, “you’re a natural at this!”
But, wait – there’s more. Our kraamzorg also did the laundry, vacuumed, bought groceries, made lunch and, best of all, put clean sheets on the bed every day. She was here, too, to check out my stitches and make sure I was on the path to recovery.
To be honest, I was lucky, too: my mother did this for me (and we had a nurse come to our house the day after Baby Leopard's birth--the best sort of medical care is the kind that comes to your bedside). I think it's pretty essential that everyone have someone to do this for them.

~ I think you all know that I love letters. I really liked this; I thought that the audio added a lot--it captured opening an envelope and unfolding a letter. There's also an excellent disjunct between the French, which I can't understand, and the emotions contained in the letter, which I can. I guess some of the props might be a little precious.

~ I love little fruit and vegetable stands and market set-ups, but I never thought that was because there's some art behind them (and fonts, Ilana!).

~ How great is this? Her voice! I'm thinking a lot about her at the moment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I've been meaning to mention: There's a new "restaurant" in our neighborhood called, "Fuel." It's tagline is: "Everything under 500 calories." A) I think it needs a new name, because fuel is precisely what it isn't. B) I would never, ever eat there, because I assume it's a scam: it takes your money and gives you no energy in exchange. C) This made me think of you, Frankincense, who I think once said, quite aptly, on twitter, "I like my food to have calories." And the more, the better, in my opinion!

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Did I mention that Mercer is obsessed with concrete? Here's his house.

He built this over an old house, which he encased in concrete. (I think you can sort of see the old house he encased below.)

So unfortunately you can't take pictures inside! So Francisco took a picture of this vault decorated with tiles outside to give you an idea of what the entire inside looks like. It's almost Gaudi-esque.

Here are some other peoples' pictures of the inside:

Mercer seems like a character; his house was unlike anything I've ever seen. It was covered with engravings that he bought en masse, and cool old tiles he'd collected (including ancient tablets that in my opinion were precariously displayed). Anyway, it seems people were devoted to him--namely his assistant and his housekeeper, who he suggested marry each other later and so they did and then they kept up his house without changing a thing after his death. And they even left his clothes in his drawers until decades after his death; now they're being preserved elsewhere. (WHY?! Who needs Mercer's clothes? And why?)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Mercer Museum.3

More of his tiles--I guess he was an arts and crafts--small-batch, locally sourced tile-maker.

This is a stove, I think!

A great skylight.

And one more of the building:

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Mercer Museum.2

Here's a picture of the great room in the middle (the rest of the displays are around the edges of this room).

I love this picture of the bull on the side of the coach.

By Francisco.

Mercer was a tile maker and some of his tiles are on display (far more of them can be seen at his house, which I'll show you in a couple of days).

We went to visit the Mercer Museum when we did because there's a little fractur exhibit to complement the one at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And I'm mildly obsessed with fractur.

And Mercer was mildly obsessed with concrete. Here's the Mercer Museum: