Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adventures in the East Part 3

I have more pictures to post of our vacation. I know it's kind of old news by now, seeing as how it's been over a month since we were there, but you know what else is old news? The Civil War. The Constitutional Convention. Melting cheese on steak sandwiches--all old news. But that doesn't make them any less worthy of consideration and/or discussion. So just look at my old pictures and appreciate them, dang it!

We rented a car to drive to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Gettysburg. First, we had the most cliche lunch that South Philadelphia has to offer: a cheeseteak from Pat's. And it was good!
The thing about cheeseteaks in South Philadelphia is that they are best when served with a little bit of profanity. As Roo was at the window about to order his sandwich, he had to wait for the guy behind the counter to finish hollering, "shut the hell up and make the damn sandwich" at his female co-worker. And that was probably the best Philly Cheesesteak Roo ever ate.

J and Sam loved their cheesesteaks, too. And so did the pigeons--they flocked around and pecked at each other for the scraps from our sandwiches. I think if the guy behind the counter had seen this, he would've hollered, "hey pigeons, shut the hell up and eat the damn scraps." I think its just a South Philadelphia thing to yell at pigeons--pigeons and women. But those Phillies sure can cook a cheesesteak!

We took a nice tour of Independence Hall:

Here is the hall of the Constitutional Convention. It was really neat to imagine what it would have been like to be there with all our founding fathers. And then I wondered if maybe they had their own salty South Philadelphian there to holler, "Shut the hell up and write the damn Constitution." Probably, since their approach to constitutions is much like their approach to cheesesteaks, and we ended up with such a good Constitution, after all.

That's just how they do things in Philly.

The Liberty Bell

We spend that night with Jim and Kathie and their baby, Seth--I mean, Gavin--at their apartment in Baltimore. We had a wonderful dinner and played a killer game of Yahtzee where I rolled my first ever Yahtzee and Kathie made smoothies with their Magic Bullet. So it was like living in an infomercial for the evening. Thanks Jim and Kathie!

The next day was pouring rain and I was coming down with a bad cold, but we drove to Gettysburg anyway. I just loved it there! The colors were perfect. It wasn't too crowded. I had even read Killer Angels last summer to prepare myself. Roo's enthusiasm for the likes of Little Round Top and Devil's Den was dampened (pun intended) a bit by the rain, though...

Probably one of the best parts of Gettysburg was this amazing restaurant we found. We were cold and wet and we came upon this underground tavern in the basement of a historical home which was actually part of the Underground Railroad. The whole place was candle lit, the servers wore authentic clothing, and the menu had a lot of extra "e"s on the end of words like "corne". The dark, warm, rough timbered tavern was perfectly cozy with our hearty food and a warm mug of apple cider, complete with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Two things that matter to me in life are beauty and history (and profanity...just kidding), and we saw a lot of that in Pennsylvania and Maryland. I can't wait to go back and see more someday (when it is not as damp)!

Ode to Roo

Encouraged by the nice response to my poem, I've penned another. This poem is inspired by Roo's absence from my life lately. He spent last week in Tucson measuring rocks or something and will spend this week in Houston at some kind of info session with Exxon--he applied for a job with them. Anyway, the important point is that he is there and not here with me. I've tried to convey my sense of woe with the following ode:

Ode to Roo

Dear Roo, I love you,
When you're not here,
I feel like poo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where I'm From

I used to hate poetry. I hated how ambiguous it could be--how there was no right answer as to what it was supposed to mean. After living some more, however, I've found that some my more complex life experiences are best expressed by the abstract, the ambiguous, not in plain prose.

Anyway, a long time ago I read an excellent poem written here by Tiffany, and, inspired by it, I decided to call a truce with poetry and write a poem of my own. I kept it sitting in my drafts for a few months, but the lull in my blogging of late has, out of necessity, forced me to pull it out.

So here it is--Annie's First Poem:

Where I'm From

I am from stories, from piles of words and pictures in my little girl hands,
that color the ceiling while I wait for sleep.

I am from calloused hands, rough and accustomed to tribulation.
Bent by work, stiff from toil,
Passed from father to son, who grew into father--
My father.

I am from long nights.
The resonant scream of saw blade against wood that cries through the family room floor,
and accompanies our sleep.

I am from homemade.
From home sewn,

home cooked,
home grown,
home bound.
The taste of chicken noodle borne up in steam
that curls in our tired eyes.

I am from bare feet and irreverent laughter in couch cushion forts.
From learning to keep up and watch out and be quiet.
From brothers.

I am from Windows of Heaven
and Father in Heaven
and Stairway to Heaven.
On the yellowing keys of an upright piano
I play--just yellowing keys and me.

I am from someday but not today. Where we are content to wait, to adapt, to settle.
To finish the work.
To do without.
Here the world is apart, so far from our small corner.
It is for someone else.

I am from falling in love with the boy downstairs
who exists in a world where impossible
In my big girl heart I hold his words and pictures
that color the ceiling while I wait no more.

(the end.)

I'm going to ask my mom to hang it on the fridge.

You should try writing your own.