Mission

MISSION:
To spend quality time in at least one area of every state. Quality time means exploring the area; rest stops, gas stations, airports or train stations do not count. The goal is to explore the natural and cultural environments of these regions. Each location visited has a story, pictures for my amateur hobby addiction, and maybe a piece of jewelry/art.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Singing in the Rain in NYC

Headed home for the holiday, to spend my weekend with my sister... it has been a while since I headed home to Jersey, and even longer since I visited my city.  The plan was to head to my sisters, go to NYC on Saturday, do holiday dinner on Sunday and then head back to DC.  Technically, the plan worked... it just rained on our plans.  It rained a lot!!!

The original plan was to walk though an area in Central Park. That did not pan out... we had to find something else to do, but with 4 people, finding agreement was not so easy.  We could have went to a show, a matinee, but we were soaked and the teenager with us was not interested in that option.  There is a special Harry Potter exhibit on display at the Discovery Times Square, but I was the only Potter fan in the group. (It is open until September 5th, so I will hit that this summer).  Both the Met and MoMA were vetoed due to interest issues on the part of the teen... I was out of luck.  Suggested the Natural History Museum, but my sister wanted to take her daughter to see the new dinosaur exhibit and did not want to go without her.  We debated Madame Tussaud's but the line was ridiculously long.


So, what was of interest was the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum.  I have seen them in soooo many locations, but never been in one.  Always been too busy and had higher priorities.  Honestly, I had thought tourist trap with these places; I have seen Ripley's in a whole bunch of places.  I thought it would be a waste.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was quirky, and oddly informative.  They had a fantastic collection of African tribal masks from Ripley's personal collection, along with other notable cultural artifacts.... and they had art made out of dryer lint.  There was something for everyone.  I am still scarred from the Medieval Torture Room, I could have lived without seeing an Iron Maiden.

After we took in the craziness of the museum, we headed to the Hershey shop for Easter chocolate, and Roxy's for Cheesecake.  Ohhh, how I miss NY cheesecake - yummy!  There are just some things you can't get in DC...

A quick, wet, but filled trip to mid-town.  Nice to be back!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Picasso Visits the Capital of the South

The Virginia Museum of Fine Art is the only art museum on the East Coast that is temporary home to the Picasso Masterpiece exhibit on loan from Paris.  This week, a friend and I took the day off to visit Richmond for the first time (besides driving through), and took in in Capital of the South.  The timing could not have been more in sync with other notable events since the Civil War 150 year anniversary celebration are being planned around the coast (more so in the South).    Neither of us had any idea what to expect, and we were pleasantly surprised.  The architecture spoke to old southern charm, and Catytown offered a "main street" with food and shopping choices very close to the Museum.

If you are planning to attend the event - BEWARE!  It is crowded.  We visited mid-week in the morning, and we were still dodging insanely large crowds.  The Museum's first entry point shoved all timed ticket holders into the first room, and you were left to fend for yourself.  It was so crowded, we were grateful that we were tall (and in heels) to see over the children, wheelchairs and the shorter masses.  Crowds lasted through the first three rooms and finally broke up after the hall of sketched.  So, if you are interested in the show, wear platforms and go early.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pirates in Denver

Headed back to Denver, and stayed downtown on the 16th Street Mall for the first time (I am typically out near the Federal Center in West Denver).  Same city, different view, but not much different.

I was in Denver for a short trip to attend the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Conference; an interesting mix of professionals, including mediators, academics and lawyers trying to change their practice to focus on dispute counseling... that means that you never have any idea what "type" of theory and skill will be discussed or promoted.  Still, the conference typically offers several excellent sessions to balance out the tedium.  This year was no exception.  Temple Grandin was a guest speaker; Dr Grandin is an animal scientist at Colorado State University and known for animal behavior research, cattle processing designs.  It made for an interesting dynamic, an animal scientist talking to a room of lawyers!  There were some skeptics before the talk began; what could she offer a room of attorneys.  She noted the uniques disparity right away.  Her talk was funny, poignant, emotional and her delivery was spot on... telling the room that not everyone thinks alike and we as people need to do more to engage those that do not think in words but in pictures.  (Dr Grandin is autistic, and made quite famous outside of the animal science and ranching worlds from the HBO movie last year.)  That session alone made the trip worth it.

Having gone to Denver more times then I can count over the last 7-8 years, there was not much that was new.  The view was fantastic and having downtown choices for food made dinner easy.  BUT, I have been there and done that tons of times before.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

French Quarter Fest and Music in the Park

Spent a week in the Big Easy... I love New Orleans this time of year.  The weather is perfect.  Not too hot, festivals abound, but not Spring Break yet so you don't have tons of drunk college students stumbling the streets.  This was my first opportunity to visit NOLA for French Quarter Fest.  Locals had told me that it was a "must," some even saying that it was better than Jazzfest.  I found that hard to believe but it did have one leg up on it... "FREE"!!!

Come late spring early summer, Lafayette Park (in the Central Business District) has a free concert series on Wednesdays, Music in the Park.  I was there for week one, and a free show by New Orleans legend Trombone Shorty.  I have seen him a few times and always enjoyed it immensely, but this show was just amazing.  The park was so crowded you couldn't move and everyone was just grooving to the music.   Shorty commanded the audience, playing jazz standards and some new funk...  and on the stage, you could see Kidd Rock and Lenny Kravitz giving the man his due!  At one point, Trombone Shorty played a Louis Armstrong classic and held a note for well over 2 minutes - the crowd went silent and wild.  It was just fantastic.  And like any great Music in  the Park event, there were a few artists showing their wares.  I visited with the glass artists from UP/Unique Products and the unique silver and stone jewelry of Golden Wagon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Air travel venting

I have lots to write about (and I will)... for the last two weeks I have been traveling the skies to New Orleans and Denver... attended French Quarter Fest, went to a Trombone Shorty concert in the Park, saw the Pirate exhibit at the Denver Science Museum, and heard a lecture by Temple Grandin ... but what I want to write about now are a few airline annoyances:


  • So, if you have a flight at 6am, is it safe to assume that the plane would be ready to go?  It is the first flight of the day; it was on the tarmac.   It thought it would be... Well, according to US Airways, the answer is no.  Just because you take off first thing in the morning, and you get there at 4:30 for the 6am flight - they do not have to start working on the plane until you are supposed to start boarding.   This plane was just going to Philadelphia; it was filled with people catching connections.  And after we waited 1/2 hour extra to be ferreted on a bus to sit on the tarmac for another 1/2 hour+ , we all were well on our way to missing our connection.  Is it too hard to ask that the first plane of the day work?
  • This wasn't enough, US Airways had such a significant delay coming home, they had to find me another flight.  They couldn't get me to National Airport, so they sent me to Dulles; double the taxi fare and no compensation ... gotta love that airline.  
  • What is up with people's need to recline their seat all way back... especially in first class.  You have so much space.  Tonight, I was stuck behind someone that managed to put their seat so far in my lap that I could not open up the tray table... they even kept their seat down when we hit massive turbulence and the captain instructed everyone to put their seats up.  At one point the steward asked them to put up their seat a little, and my neighbor to the north put it right back down.  The person sitting next to me could barely fit to get out of the row.   Looking around the cabin, almost no one put their seat down, and those that did only reclined it a bit.  This is simple airline etiquette.    You get such a small amount of space.  Planes are so packed, you would think that people would be respectful.  You are not entitled to all the space you want.  We share it in the cabin.  Seriously people, your comfort is not more important than anyone else's.  And no, the answer is not to put  my seat back to make up for it... that just bothers the one behind me.   If you have to put your seat back - only put it back a little... no one should be in someone's lap unless you know them (or you pay for it).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lots to Plan and Do

A crazy couple of months are ahead... I love to travel, but it can be exhausting.  The packing and unpacking, the time zone switches, the airports, the extra hours at work because of it... it is a love-hate relationship.

I I leave for a week in New Orleans on Sunday... I am excited, because after work, I am flying my mother out and we will "do" French Quarter Fest.  I have been to JazzFest a few times and done Marti Gras in the rain and in good weather, but I have not been to this festival yet.  I am a big fan of New Orleans - lived there for a few months for a work detail and explored more off of the surrounding areas and try to get out whenever I am lucky enough to go.... this trip, I threw my hands up and said enough was enough, my mom  needed to go (she has never visited).  It will be good to be back...  and she will love the art and architecture of the French Quarter,

I then am headed back to Denver the following week.  I will be spending 4 days downtown for the Bar Association Dispute Conference.  I hope for good weather and some evenings with good friends.

When I get back, a good friend and I are day-tripping to Richmond to see the Picasso exhibit at the Virginia Art Museum.  We both have a hectic schedule, and the only week that lined up with the showing and our schedules was after 2 weeks on the road.

In May, I am gearing up for 2 weeks in Alaska.  For the first time I will be headed to Fairbanks.  I am hoping that some tours open a little early since I am getting there the week before the official start of tourist season.  I want to take a weekend and see the Arctic Circle with my own 2 eyes.  When I am in Anchorage, I will catch up with a few friends.

June will likely have me returning to Colorado... and I hope to like that to a new state for the year... Maybe Oklahoma???  I have to go there before the end of the fiscal year for a few days, so I should plan that and time a few days to explore.

And I still not have been home to Jersey for the holidays.  =-(

Good thing I just bought new luggage.