Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Presidents Day Weekend

I just had a great weekend. I exercised. I ate delicious things. I hung out with friends. I enjoyed nature. I saw a good movie.

Saturday I went for a run (which I'm finally getting back into!) and then scrambled to make some green chili macaroni and cheese for a friend's "4th Annual Mac n' Cheese Showdown." You guys, my mac was pretty delicious. Unfortunately, I was stupid and procrastinated and got to the party after lots of people had already gorged themselves and voted. (And yes, my mom even warned me not to cut my time so close. She knows me!) So I didn't win. And even though people liked mine, I was a little sad to have two different people say "did you make the jalapeƱo mac?!" Um, no. That was fresh (frozen) roasted green chili flown in from New Mexico. Sheesh. In any case, the winner was lobster mac and was indeed prize-worthy.

After the party several of us went to the grand opening of Hardywood Brewery's Charlottesville taproom, followed by a late dinner at Mellow Mushroom (as if we needed more cheesy carbs).

Sunday I went to a cycling class at the gym (also a thing I'm finally getting back into!), then Patrick and I drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked up Humpback Rock. Then we kept heading west and went to Staunton, where we had a cheese plate and glass of wine at a cute little wine bar, followed by dinner and the movie Lion, which was really good and I suggest you all go see it. (If you can. It isn't showing in Charlottesville, and hence our excursion to Staunton.)

Enjoying the view from the top!

Monday I was off from work and I had every intention of spending all day doing dissertation research. But I tell you what, I was tired (and sore), and ended up having a (quite enjoyable) lazy day in my PJs until I finally went out for a run before it got dark. Then I really did do a couple hours of work.

All in all? Excellent long weekend.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

my month in Boston

Alas, my four weeks as a research fellow in Boston have come to an end, and I head back to Virginia tomorrow. This has been such a great experience. I really appreciated getting to concentrate on dissertation research full time. I also loved living the big city life for a little while. And of course I did plenty of sight seeing too.

Three of my four Wednesday evenings I spent at the Museum of Fine Arts. My first visit wandering the American wing was my favorite, but the whole place is amazing, and I think I saw everything I could see.

Gilbert Stuarts's portrait of the aged Paul Revere, which I coincidentally saw the evening after looking through the Revere Family Papers (on microfilm) all day.

Really old Egyptian stuff.

My first weekend in Boston I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Sunday and then attended both the 6pm service and 8pm choral compline at Trinity Church in Copley Square. I also ate my first lobster roll for dinner. That Monday (MLK Jr. Day) I walked the entire Freedom Trail, stopping into the Old State House and Old North Church along the way. On my way through the North End I ate a cannoli, and on my way back through I stopped for a really good Italian dinner.

It was delicious.

A pistachio sighting outside the Old State House! (Don't forget you can see this and all my other sightings on Instagram using the link on the right.)

My cannoli lunch.

Taken at the end of the Freedom Trail, atop Bunker Hill.

My second weekend Patrick came to visit. That Friday night we had an amazing seafood meal at Neptune Oyster. Saturday we visited the art museum again (I had told him about seeing some of the film The Clock in which Christian Marclay compiled a ton of movie and tv clips with clocks or time mentioned in them, making a 24-hour piece that is synced to real time, and he wanted to see it too.) After the museum we headed to Boston Common to see the Women's March crowd. Then we hopped on a train to Worcester, where we had dinner with Patrick's aunt and her family. (I went back to Worcester the next Wednesday to spend the day doing research at the American Antiquarian Society.) The next day we visited the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, in which period actors give you a tour, and the kids in the group get to throw "tea" overboard the ship. Then we wandered around Faneuil Hall Marketplace and got dinner. Monday we went for a run (through sleet) around Fenway Park before he went with me to a brown bag talk at the historical society. Then we had lunch and went for a walk to kill time before he needed to head to the airport.

Women's March signs left at Boston Common
Patrick channeling his inner Sam Adams
Learning about the Boston Tea Party aboard a ship

My third weekend in Boston I worked most of Saturday. Sunday I went to Cambridge, where I ate really good ramen for lunch, visited the Harvard Natural History Museum and the connected Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and sampled some beer at the Lamplighter Brewing Co. I finished the night off with compline at Trinity Church.

A giant but extinct armadillo and ground sloth.
Also yum.
 For my final weekend I left work a little early on Friday and headed back to Cambridge to visit the Harvard Art Museum. And today I took the train up to Salem for the day, which was really fun. I took a self-guided walking tour through the McIntyre Historic District, which has tons of neat colonial and federal-era houses. I also walked around the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, though most of the buildings were closed for the season and the reconstructed ship Friendship was gone for repairs. After a stop for lunch I visited the Peabody Essex Museum. And when I got back to Boston in the early evening I enjoyed one last Italian dinner in the North End.

The Charles River and Boston in the background. I loved this view so much I started walking to Cambridge more.
A bust by Amedeo Modigliani. He's one of my favorite artists.
The Pickering House in Salem, seen after having just spent lots of time looking through the Timothy Pickering Papers (on microfilm).
I walked to the lighthouse at the end of Derby Wharf. It was cold.
Neat nautical art at the Peabody Essex Museum

I've walked my feet off here in Boston. According to the automatic tracking my phone does, I walked an average of 4.2 miles per day. The weekends usually involved a lot more walking, but even on weekdays I would often go for a walk between leaving the historical society when they closed at 4:30 and doing more work either at a coffee shop or back at my apartment. I also lucked out with the weather. Yes it's been cold, but I was well equipped to handle it and snow was never a problem. (For a while I was bummed I didn't get to experience more Boston snow, but the few times I wore my new LL Bean boots one of them was bothering my heel, and now I'm grateful I didn't actually have to wear them much because I wouldn't have wanted to walk so much.) 

Boston, I'll miss you.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


As you know, I'm working on my doctorate. Slowly. But right now, for the first time in my whole PhD-ing time (over six years, mind you), I'm getting to actually work on it full time! Briefly.

Last spring I applied for various research-funding opportunities, and was pretty excited to get three different awards. The first was for repositories in North Carolina, so I spent the first week of 2017 in the triangle area doing dissertation research. It was a day at Duke in Durham, a day at the state archives in Raleigh, and two days at UNC in Chapel Hill. On my last day I thought I'd gone through everything I wanted to, but then I realized there's still some more to do. So I may go back at some point.

special collections library at Duke

special collections library at the University of North Carolina
The second award was for spending four weeks as a research fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. That's where I've just spent the past week, with three more to go. It's pretty great up here. I'm renting an apartment less than a mile from the library where I spend all day looking through old papers. (Or scrolling through old papers on microfilm.) And sometimes I go for walks to explore the city. (Today I worked a half day in the library and then walked to Cambridge and Harvard! Now I'm resting and warming up in a coffee shop before I trek back.)

Massachusetts Historical Society

Walking across the river to Cambridge!
The third research award was from my school, and will help me spend a week or so in New York City later this spring. I'll probably try to combine it with a Philadelphia trip, since there are lots of collections there I should dig through too.

Fun times.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas in Santa Fe

I finally got to go back home to Santa Fe after more than a year away!

I arrived really late on Friday the 23rd. The next day was mostly spent getting the house ready to have people over for Christmas, but my parents and I took a break for a Mexican lunch at Blue Corn.

That evening we picked Granddad up and went to church for a Christmas Eve service. Then Dad and I walked Canyon Road. It was fun, but it was really windy and a lot of the farolitos had blown out.

Christmas morning my parents woke me up and told me to look outside. A white Christmas! There was about an inch of snow. We opened presents with Ryan and Lauren on Skype, then went to church. A couple hours later people came over for Christmas dinner and hanging out.

Monday my parents and I ate lunch at Jambo Cafe. That afternoon we went to my aunt and uncle's house to visit. And that night Dad and I went to see the Eagle Huntress, which I liked a lot.

Tuesday we drove to Albuquerque and I did a little shopping, then we picked Patrick up at the airport and took him for his first New Mexican meal. That night back in Santa Fe I took him downtown to see the plaza all lit up and get a margarita at Del Charro.

Wednesday morning I met up with a friend from college for coffee (he was an administrator but also from Santa Fe and he helped lead the Club de Nuevo Mexico, of which I was obviously a member). That afternoon we had family over for posole and tamales. That's what we usually eat on Christmas Eve but we mixed things up this year. Later that night when everyone had left we played Rummikub.

Thursday we went to Meow Wolf. Apparently it's the hottest thing in Santa Fe right now. We spent over two hours wandering the "immersive, multimedia experience." It was pretty neat.

After all that fun we had a late lunch at the Cowgirl. Then Dad and Patrick and I took a drive up toward the ski basin. And that evening the three of us went to see Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened. 

Friday Mom made a great breakfast for us, then Dad and Patrick and I headed out of town to visit Tent Rocks National Monument. How have I never been there before?! It was amazing. Unfortunately it was also icy toward the end, so we didn't climb all the way up to see all the views. Next time. The slot canyon was still pretty neat though.

After our hike we headed downtown to do a little shopping, and then grabbed a drink overlooking the plaza before meeting up with Mom at the George O'Keeffe Museum. They had a little special exhibit on paintings she did while at the University of Virginia, so that was fun to see. We topped the day off with dinner at Tomasita's.

Another great trip to Santa Fe!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend

I know Christmas is just around the corner but let me backtrack a bit and tell you about my Thanksgiving. My parents flew out to Richmond, so I joined them there for the big meal Thursday with family. Then the next morning the three of us flew to Savannah to visit Ryan and Lauren!

We arrived in the afternoon, and went straight into the city to hang out before dinner. We walked around a little and ended up at the Moon River Brewing Company for a drink outside in their beer garden.

Savannah Cotton Exchange and a lion fountain.

Family selfie!
 That night we had a fancy southern dinner at Vic's on the River. I ate way too much, but it was delicious. After dinner we all drove across the border to Bluffton, where Ryan and Lauren actually live. I tried to hang out a little after that but was too full and sleepy.

The next day Ryan had to work, but the rest of us went to Hilton Head for lunch. I wanted to see the ocean, but it turns out the part we went to wasn't facing that way. (I wasn't the navigator.) We had a fun seafood lunch and walked around a few shops. And I made us walk down on the beach too, which was covered in more seashells than I've even seen on one beach. And a whole bunch of the shells looked just like ears.

They're checking out a little crab.
Ear Shells!
Eventually Ryan was done working, so we met him at the resort where he works. He gave us a fun tour in a golf cart, then we sat on a verandah and had drinks.

Lookin' good in his work clothes.

He also drove us over to where there is a multi-storied tree house, so we climbed up there for the sunset view.

In the tree house!
View from the top.

 After the resort fun we went back to their house to make dinner, which included shrimp, clams, sausage, corn, and potatoes, plus this bread my mom used to always make for us and a salad. It was the first sit-down meal Ryan and Lauren had had in their new home with guests, and it was a good one! After dinner some of us hung out and played Charades, then the UNM football game came on and I went to bed.

 Sunday we got up and had a big delicious brunch at this local farm-slash-southern restaurant. I ate fried chicken tenders on top of a waffle that had candied bacon in it. So good. After our meal we walked around downtown Bluffton and visited some art galleries. We also walked over to this neat wooden church next to the water.

At this point we were getting closer to the time when I would need to fly back home, but we made sure to go somewhere so I could see alligators first. Apparently they're all over the place and I didn't want to visit and not see one. We went back to the area of the resort, and sure enough I saw three!

There's a big one and two smaller ones in this photo.
 After the alligator viewing we went back to the house so I could pack (Mom and Dad were staying a few more days), and we squeezed in a quick walk around the neighborhood with their dog Tess.

It was a short but fun visit, and I look forward to going back!