Monday, August 03, 2015

Adventures in Pennsylvania

What a busy time it's been for me! Between the night before Lori and I saw "Single Wide" and last night when I came home from Philadelphia, it's been nine straight nights of activity, friends and travel. The pace slacks off a bit this week, but I do have two job interviews (one by phone) lined up, so it's a different kind of activity. I feel like gainful employment is close around the corner so I'd better get my fun time in while I can.

Saturday the 25th Puck and I went to Mariel's monthly queer art salon/house concert Moonshow. It's kind of like Papacookie for the trans/queer crowd. It got started late so I was only able to see the first two spoken word performances before I had to leave to get from Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn all the way uptown to near where Papacookie used to be on the Upper West Side for Katie M's friend Kiersten's birthday at E-bar.

Aside from Katie and the birthday girl I didn't know many people there, but I did meet a new acquaintance, Amelia. We were sitting next to each other at the bar and I noticed her bag from the PIT. I asked if she knew Liz's Josh and she knows him well because she directed the Rocky Whorer PIT-ure Show that Katie had attended with me and Liz last October. So even though I knew her name and her connection to me, this is the first time I'd actually met Amelia and we hit it off well since we're both big theater nerds.

On Sunday I had my women's group picnic, which turned into an indoor affair because a storm front moved it just as we were about to set up. This was not much of a disappointment for me because we got to have our picnic in the top floor club house of Nicole's boyfriend's apartment building. There was air conditioning and a pool table and we had a dozen members attend. Plus, the weather moderated so it was pleasant to hang out on the balcony with a lovely view of Queens.

Monday night I saw Katie M for the third night in a row as she came over after work for a sleepover and we watched The Adjustment Bureau. Although this movie has some significance for me personally, Katie didn't enjoy it quite as much as I do.

I got up early the next morning, even before Katie awoke, to meet up with Kacey and Ilona for breakfast at Petite Abeille near Union Square. Ilona has moved to Boston, but this was her last trip to say goodbye to colleagues and get the last of her stuff from school. I had a nice catch up with Kacey since we hadn't seen each other since my birthday. We also went to Pinkberry to cool off from the blazing heat before I went home, Kacey went to Connecticut to visit her mom,  and Ilona left for Boston.

In the evening I met up with Piper at Delmonico's Kitchen in Midtown for a Restaurant Week dinner, a little tradition of ours. I had probably the best roasted chicken dish of my life, a surprisingly good choice. Afterward we continued our Wes Anderson marathon with Moonrise Kingdom, with Storm coming over to join us for that since she hadn't seen it yet. Tomorrow night we'll finish it off with the Best Picture-nominated The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Wednesday I had another Restaurant Week dinner at Limani to catch up with Liz. She just returned from her weekend trip to Houston for a bachelorette party, while I was leaving for Chris' bachelorette party in Harrisburg the following day. After dinner was the night when I was walking home and a guy touched me on the shoulder as I passed him on the sidewalk and said, ""Hey there baby - how you doin'?" A little further down the block, a panhandler made a comment about my dress as well. It makes me angry that street harassment has crossed the line from catcalling to actual physical contact. Unfortunately, I see no real solution other than to plug in my earbuds and ignore them.

The next day Puck and I passed each other at TSMC as they came to do some work while I left to get Yoshi from Staten Island and head out for Harrisburg. Chris and I went to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant for dinner, then visited a winery to have a few drinks on the patio, where a guitarist played some music. Such a lovely spot for this, although the bugs were a bit of a nuisance. In the evening Bruce joined us to continue our Fast & Furious set with #6.

In the morning, Chris' other bridesmaids Eva and Fiona came over and we had brunch at Hershey Pantry, a charming diner that served the largest cinnamon roll I've ever seen! I had a tasty Eggs Benedict with crab meat, and a side of scrapple, a regional meat product that I enjoyed.

After brunch we visited a salt room at a spa and sat in massage chairs as the ionized air flowed around us and we buried our feet in large tubs of salt crystals. I didn't feel much effect, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Then we drove to another winery and had a flight of wine and cider tastings - one of the ciders was a peanut butter caramel that was very surprising. We finished off the day in Harrisburg at an Indian restaurant where we had dinner and smoked hookah with a blueberry pancake flavoring.

I drove home that same evening, arriving home past 1 am and catching a few hours sleep before Lori met up with me at home and we started our journey down to Philadelphia for a weekend getaway. It's a good thing I like driving! We stopped at the Book Corner used book store first, where I picked up about a dozen cheap books. Lori had a bite to eat at the nearby Whole Foods Store and then I wanted to stop at the Franklin Institute's snack bar because I'd had the best carrot cake cupcake there last time I visited with Puck.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. A wedding closed off the front entrance of the museum. By the time we navigated the side entrance and found an elevator to take us up to the main floor, I got in line at the snack bar only to see the very last cupcake being purchased ahead of me! So we left to check into the hotel, and were delighted to find small pieces of carrot cake at the check-in desk! So I did manage to scratch that itch a little bit.

After settling into the room we headed out for dinner at Jake's Sandwich Board, where I got the off-the-menu Garlic Bomb sandwich that I'd seen on an episode of Food Paradise. I also got Fried Pickles and the Farm Fries. It was actually a little disappointing from a garlic standpoint, but the service was good and Lori really enjoyed her sandwich, so I was happy about that. We walked off the meal in Chinatown before heading back to the hotel for the night.

The next day we had breakfast at Reading Terminal Market and headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the great museums that I haven't been to yet. There was an Impressionist special exhibit but since it was the First Sunday Pay What You Want Day, we just elected to do general admission for one dollar apiece (hey, I'm on a budget right now). I found my Sargent painting in one of the galleries, which was a nice surprise!

In the Asian Art wing, they had a replica of a 14th century Japanese tea house, which reminded me very much of the Shogun miniseries that Puck, Natalia and I finished watching last month.

Outside the museum, I was amused by the line of tourists waiting to take a picture with the statue of Rocky Balboa. Of course, the front steps of the museum were immortalized in a training scene from the original Best Picture winner, Rocky.

We wandered around the grounds and explored the pathways overlooking the waterworks before leaving for home. Since I had to drop Yoshi off in Staten Island, I dropped Lori off at the train station in New Brunswick so she could get home more directly while I took the long way by ferry back to Manhattan. It was an exhausting four-day weekend, but totally worth it!