Wednesday, June 30, 2010

make mine butterbeer . . .

. . . Frozen!

Yes, it was 90 degrees and incredibly crowded. So crowded we didn't stand a prayer to get even remotely close to Ollivander's.

The Castle "ride" was too scary for everyone, but we survived. I found the line leading into the Castle with it's circuitous route and horrendous wait harder to take than some punk Deatheaters that tried to "boo" us on the ride.

But Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle, inside and out, are so well done it was worth the long lines and high temperatures. Honeyduke's Candy Shop was the kid's favorite, no surprise there, but we actually skipped the long lines for the cashier in the shop and picked up a rainbow lolly in one of the other souvenir shops on the way out. No reason to wait twenty minutes for a chocolate frog . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a series of unfortunate road signs

Mr. Pete's Pecans and Gas - Is it just me or did Mr. Pete not think that one through?

Flea World - I'll pass.

Dr. Barry's no knife, no laser vasectomy - With a photo of a beaming Dr. Barry.

Do you know which mole is cancer? We do! - Welcome to Florida.

Monday, June 28, 2010

it's so good to be on the road again

I was just going to post a link to Willie Nelson, but this is better.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

lesson #2,765,309

So what to do when pulling off the highway south, in need of some gas and a Starbucks fix and your car dies? I mean dead. Like the engine won't turn over, even though the windows and navigation system still work? Well, after a couple of good Samaritans at the truck stop you were lucky enough to coast into try to alternately check fuses or give you a jump start, both to no avail, you call AAA and wait (and wait and wait) for the local tow truck to come—in the Starbucks/Blimpie/Game Zone/convenience store combo, which has extremely annoying Hawaiian music endlessly looping in the background.



The tow truck guys arrive and it begins to rain (of course), but they have a truck with a back seat that can get all three of us to the repair shop with our wounded car. They have some good news and bad news: the good news is they are open late tonight (Saturday) and tomorow (Sunday), but the bad news is that the boss is on the road so he won't be able to check it out until tomorrow. But they call the local Sleep Inn to check if they have any rooms (they do) and give us (and our bags) a ride over.

The next day reveals a busted timing belt and the uncertainty of whether there is any further damage to the car and its engine. If it's just a timing belt, they could get us on the road probably sometime Monday—if the engine is damaged we're looking at getting to know this tiny spot for a few more days. Doc Hollywood, anyone? There are four other wounded vehicles in front of us, so it is clear we're not going anywhere for another day. There's not a lot to do in this highway detour/town, but the auto repair guys are sympathetic to our plight, and give us a loaner car (no AC, yikes!) and direct us to the nearest mall (20 miles away, double yikes!) where we do some shopping, take in a movie and cool off, cool down.
We're hoping that Monday reveals a repaired vehicle and a resuming of our road trip. But Monday may also unearth more problems than today's diagnosis of a busted timing belt. We're on the road to a new life, and I'm watching all my carefully made reservations and itinerary go up in smoke. I can't say that this hasn't depressed me, as my Virgo self is all about the best laid plans. But the zen part of me is taking this as a continuation of this year's lesson—the only thing I can truly control is how I react to things. I can't control, no matter how much I want to, the world around me, the people in it. Maybe throwing your hands up in the air opens up other people and their willingness to help you. Or maybe the locals are just nice. But we are trying to have fun while we're here, on this life's detour. I can't help but have my fingers (and toes) crossed that it won't stretch into many more days. But if that is what it takes, I'll deal.


having fun

Saturday, June 26, 2010

road to morrocco

When I was a kid my dad would invariably watch the Bob Hope Bing Crosby Road pictures whenever they came on television. I probably saw all of them. I can't say I liked them very much. The humor was too contemporary, too topical for me to understand or appreciate. Today they would seem even more dated. What I liked was the idea of them. I'd like to think that our road trip will be an exotic and fun adventure - more Hope/Der Bingle than Kerouac.

Friday, June 25, 2010

thx dc

It was great while it lasted - xoxoxo e



Thursday, June 24, 2010

the graduate

Successfully graduated from kindergarten, the young graduate ponders her future in a world where anything is possible, even her very own baklava for dessert (as chocolate ice cream is not on the menu.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

i stay to the shadows

i creep along the wall
maybe catching a cool breeze
or just trying to avoid the unrelenting glare
of the punishing sun

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

waiting room

Over the hum of the air conditioner it's almost impossible to distinguish one canned music pop song from another.

The magazines never appeal, so I sit and wait, crossing one of many final tasks off my master list before we hit the road and leave this town.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ice cream truck

This video perfectly captures the crazy happy silly nostalgic sound, as well as the underlying unrelenting creepiness, of the ice cream truck jingle.

I remember the music-box tune from my childhood at the Jersey Shore, and then later as I lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and now D.C.

Hey, is this guy following me?

Happy first day of summer!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

happy father's day

A picture of my dad at the beach—he was about ten years old when this photo was taken. He wasn't much of a fan of the water, at least as far as I know, but we always lived near the ocean when I was growing up.

He was born on 14th Street in Manhattan, but his family moved to the Jersey Shore when he was a kid, and he spent most of his life there or at least nearby.

The past ten years is probably the longest I have spent living somewhere (D.C.) that it takes more than ten minutes to drive to a nearby beach, but that is soon about to change.

I miss you dad, and will be thinking about you when I get the sand between my toes once again . . .

Joseph at the beach, c. 1935

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

boxes, boxes, and more boxes

photo, originally uploaded by xoxoxoe

Friday, June 18, 2010

dad in central park

A father's day preview . . . my dad at two, on the loose in the big city . . . with a personal photographer close at hand.

Joseph Francis Periale

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the fish have a new home

I had two tropical catfish and then there were three. I really didn't want to consign them to their best or worst chances with the D.C. sewer system, so I am beyond happy that they have a new home. They live on the ground floor while their goldfish neighbors live in the penthouse.




Wednesday, June 16, 2010

sometimes i feel like i live in grand central station

Sorry, I cannot hear you,
I'm kinda busy.

K-kinda busy
K-kinda busy
Sorry, I cannot hear you, I'm kinda busy.

Stop callin', stop callin',
I don't wanna think anymore!
I left my hand and my heart on the dance floor.

Stop telephonin' me!

Sometimes I feel like
I live in Grand Central Station.
Tonight I'm not takin' no calls,
'cause I'll be dancin'.

'Cause I'll be dancin'
'Cause I'll be dancin'
Tonight I'm not takin' no calls, 'cause I'll be dancin'!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
. . .

Well you started out with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please . . . Please . . .

Stealers Wheel

Monday, June 14, 2010

i cugini

cousins . . .

i cugini



Sunday, June 13, 2010


Gabriel & Andrew Live!

hi there


Saturday, June 12, 2010

the story of ann

Every story has an ending. Every life is made up of thousands of little stories. I'd like to tell a few stories about Ann and me.

She was my cousin. When I was a baby she was a little girl. When I was a little girl she was a teenager. We didn't really get to know each other until I was at art school, at Parsons, in New York. At our cousin Barbara's wedding Ann invited me to come visit her in D.C. I jumped at the chance to get away from my Brooklyn railroad apartment and see a real professional artist, as well as get to know my beautiful cousin. I fell in love with Ann and this lovely, provincial town. I started visiting regularly, and many years later, when N.Y. had lost its charms, DC, near Ann, was where I wanted to be.


at the Arboretum

She was my friend. Ann and I were close friends as well. We had so many common interests. We were both artists. She was incredibly intelligent, and talented. We often joked that there must have been a family mix-up. She and I were similar in so many ways that surely we should have been sisters and our younger car-crazy Navy-enlisting brothers should have been brothers. Cousins, identical cousins . . .

We complimented each other. Ann was a wonderful counter to my city-girl brashness with her gentle voice and manner. But her soft demeanor didn't fool me or, I suspect, anyone who really knew her. Inside Ann was a strong core, an iron will. Sometimes curiously evidenced in her strict home driveway parking regulations . . . Sometimes joyfully, willingly, enthusiastically chasing my daughter "just one more time" on the playground while her tired mommy relaxed and watched. Ann's inner strength could rival anyone. Such strength as evidenced in her daily, sometimes moment-by-moment battle with an unrelenting illness.


we found a caterpillar

But Ann's empathy and her huge heart were probably her most defining characteristics. She (twice) gave me a place to stay as I moved down here from N.Y. and set about looking for an apartment, a job. Her home and her heart were always a safe haven. She was with me every step of the way through my pregnancy, birth, and of course, the life of her beloved little first cousin once-removed (yes, I checked that on Wikipedia). It was love at first sight for them both.

When I was a child my family spent almost every Sunday at my Grandma's house—for the great dinners (of course), but also for the family time, for the stories. I really missed those times and connections. Ann understood, and we tried our best to keep that tradition alive by creating one of our own. Before the baby, we might do dinner, a movie or a museum either here or in town. I even got her to a Yankee game. After my daughter was born, it became not just our attempt to visit regularly, but our weekend routine, our life here in DC.


piano lessons

I will be forever grateful for the life and times, discoveries and stories, we shared together. I know my daughter will as well. I will miss our talks, our hugs, our visits. But I know that as long as I continue to tell the stories, to remember, that she will never really be gone. Ann is with us always.

Friday, June 11, 2010

can we keep him?

The first fireflies of the season were out last night in full force and one little guy just didn't want to stray too far from the kid.

But right now is not the time for a pet, so we'll see you tomorrow lightening bug . . .



Thursday, June 10, 2010

always look on the bright side of life

This has been a tough year in so many ways. Actually, the year before this one had its moments too, but who's counting . . .

One of my personal strategies of the past year or so has been to look in the mirror first thing when I get up and flash a big, bright smile (no matter how tired or not bright and shiny I felt at the moment.) The reasoning behind this is that if I smile more, I might actually feel more . . . you know, happy. You are what you put out there, right? Except, according to this article on my new favorite blog of the past ten minutes, smiling may soothe those outside of you, but heal thyself? Not so much. Hmmm . . .

If you are not smiling the Duchenne way, i.e. smiling not just with your mouth but with your eyes, then supposedly you really aren't smiling at all. The article links to a "spot the fake smile" quiz. After reading the article I got 16 out of 20 right. I wonder if I would have done so well if I had taken the quiz first . . . How did you do? Somehow the surreality of taking this quiz brought back Michael Jackson's face-morphing Black or White video. Jackson also covered Charlie Chaplin's classic, Smile. Was Charlie Chaplin wrong? Should we not smile when our hearts are breaking?

The eyes, or at least the little crinkles around the corners that so many overpriced beauty products are trying to conceal, may indeed be the windows to the soul, an answer to how a person is feeling, to the truth behind that Mona Lisa smile. The eyes truly do have it . . .

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

photo paintings

Flavorwire led me to these amazing painterly photographs by Andrei Tarkovsky.

I usually like my film to be a bit more kinetic than the slow ruminations that Tarkovsky is known for such as The Sacrifice, which, when I saw it in its initial New York release, bored me to distraction. I understood that it was his last film, made when he knew he was dying, but it was still a very difficult film to endure.

But Tarkovsky also made Andrei Rublev, for which I am very grateful.

These are most definitely photographs, but they have the same beauty as a Monet, Matisse, or Bonnard.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

i've got a cruella de vil streak . . .

 . . . in my hair.


Concept design sketches by Marc Davis for Cruella de Vil - from Invisible Agent

Monday, June 07, 2010

seventeen days

Am I counting? I guess now I am.


I didn't intend to do a countdown, but my Google calendar is getting so overbooked that I decided to check how many days we have left in D.C. Seventeen. No wonder I'm feeling so overwhelmed. I've been trying to keep my eyes open as I wander through town, snapping a photo here or there of things I have liked or strike me as worth remembering.


I had lunch today at Ollie's Trolley, which had a distinct make-over last year (?) with its antique circus-themed toys. But Ollie's is still the crazy little burger joint that I remember and its signature fries are still spicy. So check that one off the list...


Sunday, June 06, 2010


This week and, I suspect the rest of the month, is going to be like a ride that lasts too long on the merry-go-round. There will definitely be beautiful sights and people to see, but there is so much to do, so much to feel. We'll come out all right at the end of the ride, but I'm afraid I might be a little dizzy . . .
photos © xoxoxo e - all rights reserved

Saturday, June 05, 2010

rolling thunder

A lot happened last weekend. I had originally intended to capture what D.C. is like when Rolling Thunder invades town, but got sidetracked. So here are some belated pix, taken by the mother-daughter iPhone team . . .




photos © xoxoxo e - all rights reserved
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