Thursday, June 01, 2006

Scenes from the Spot That Loves You Back

[Note: This post was written yesterday, but due to an unfortunate Blogger bug did not have any pictures.]

Here, as promised, is a summary (I'll try to keep it brief) of the weekend in Philadelphia. Lots of pictures ahead!

Amazing, my office closed early on Friday, at 2:30, so J and I were able to get on the road by 3 p.m. We were able to beat rush hour traffic on the way to the Turnpike, which is what would have really slowed us down, and we encountered very little traffic on the Turnpike itself. We stopped once to use the facilities and fill up on gas, and we arrived at our friends' place in Warrington, Pa., by 7:40. (Yes, that's right, we made it there in four-and-a-half hours. What can I say, J has a bit of a lead foot. No worries, no speeding tickets were issued.) We had a late-ish dinner at a Chinese/Japanese place down the road from their house and then passed out. Well, at least J did. Although I was tired, for some reason I decided to start feeling nervous about the audition at that moment and didn't fall asleep until after midnight.

We were up before 6 a.m., showed and dressed, and got on the train into the city, where we arrived in plenty of time for my Jeopardy! audition. J wandered around the city for the two hours I was in there, and amazingly didn't get lost (it was his first time ever in Philadelphia, so he didn't know his way around at all). The audition itself went well, I think. It's really hard to tell because they didn't give any sort of feedback. There were about 20 people in my group, and we took another 50-question written test before playing a mock game in groups of three. They told us that they were calling us up to play in random order (this is after they graded our tests, mind you), and don't you know I was the last one called up? I had fun, knew the answers to most of the questions, and got a free Jeopardy! pen for my troubles. On the way out, one of the other people trying out with me told me that he didn't want to be up against me in an actual game. I'm choosing to take that as a compliment. So if they want me to be on the show, they'll call me, but that could be any time in the next year, or not at all. I figure, hey, I had fun, I got a pen, so if they call, they call.

I hadn't eaten anything at this point, so while we waited for our hosts to meet up with us I got a cup of coffee from a stand in Reading Terminal Market (where we saw real live Amish people!). We went for an early lunch at Marathon Grill, then headed down to Old City to see the famous historic landmarks.

As you would expect on a beautiful holiday weekend day, Old City was mobbed. J had wanted to see the Liberty Bell (which, if you don't know, is now in its own building with a museum or something inside as well), but the line was huge and we didn't feel like waiting, so we walked around the back of the pavilion where we could see the bell through the glass, albeit not very close up. Here's my mom's Pomatomus with the bell in the background (if you look closely you'll see it):

From there we turned around and took a look at Independence Hall, site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which we also didn't go into. Sock took a good look:

We then decided to get away from the hordes of Asian tourists (just what is it about the Japanese and Independence Mall?) and walk down to Front Street at Penn's Landing. There was some sort of music festival going on at Penn's Landing, and admission was $60 a person, so needless to say we did not hang around. We soon hailed a cab over to West Philly, to visit Penn's campus, my old stomping grounds. One of our hosts thought Penn was kind of a dump, so I took them through the most scenic route through campus: starting at 34th and Walnut, up Locust through the green, ending at the bridge over to Superblock. We paused by the compass so Ben on the Bench could admire the Pomatomus:

(Ben says: A penny saved is a penny to be spent on wool!)

And don't worry, fellow Penn grads, the sock did not actually come into contact with Ben and will be washed thoroughly anyway before it goes to my mom.

We did just a brief loop through the main part of campus -- we didn't even make it up to the western edge where I used to live -- and stopped for some ice cream before hailing a cab back to the Rittenhouse Square area.

Our first stop in Rittenhouse -- yes, I dragged J and our (non-knitting) hos
ts -- was Rosie's Yarn Cellar, my former LYS. They had renovated a bit since my last visit, but it was still as cozy and welcoming as I remembered. I successfully resisted the lure of the wall of Koigu and instead settled on a shawl pattern and some Misti Alpaca Lace to knit it up (I started it once I got home, see below). It was hard to tell if J was impressed by my restraint in spending less than $25 in a yarn store, especially after what I spent in D.C.; he seemed pretty comfortable in a chair with a fan blowing on him and was impervious to the wool, silk, and alpaca all around him. He did, however, admire the softness and silkiness of the yarn I purchased, if he was puzzled by my eagerness to try lace after my last lace misadventure.

Our hosts bid us adieu after we left Rosie's (they both had evening plans, and had to catch the train home to change), and J and I headed over to my old apartment building to visit Julia, who happens to live in my old apartment! We relaxed in the air conditioning for about an hour and a half (J dozed on her sofa while the two of us caught up), and then the three of us went out to dinner at Pietro's, where I had my favorite Rigatoni alla Vodka, sans pancetta. Mmm.

J and I caught the train back to the 'burbs shortly after dinner, got "home" at about 9:15, watched most of Fever Pitch on TV, and passed out at about 11 p.m. We were up by about 8 the next morning and had lunch before getting back on the road. We made great time again and were back in the 'Burgh in plenty of time to go to barbeque Sunday night. The rest of the holiday weekend was scorching hot but fairly uneventful. I spent Monday doing some work (grr) and doing my grocery shopping while J played golf with my dad. And that was the weekend.

Yesterday evening I met up with Jen and Lori at Knit One, where I picked up another skein of Cascade 220 for Forecast (no, I haven't started yet, but I'm swatching so much to get gauge -- or not -- that I was worried I'd be short on yarn) and some Regia sock yarn, so that J and I will have semi-matching socks (see picture below). Jen found one skein of some gorgeous hand-dyed merino sock yarn that looked somewhat like Koigu, and Lori cast on for a piece of Trellis, which made me feel guilty for having not yet started the second sleeve of mine. We then went to dinner. The plan had been to go to an Indian restaurant up the street from Knit One, but we discovered that it had closed and been replaced with a Thai place. After surveying our options, we decided to give it a try, and Jen enjoyed (I think) her first Pad Thai.

I've decided to close this post with a brief rundown of what I'm currently knitting and, since this blog is allegedly also about books, what I'm currently reading. Perhaps I'll do this regularly to close my posts; we'll have to see just how monotonous/boring it becomes. So here goes....

Currently Knitting: Pomatomus #1 (for mom); toe-up Mata Hari in cotton/lycra (for me); Trellis - one sleeve, collar, and sewing up to go (for baby due in July); Leaf Lace Shawl in Misti Alpaca Lace (for me)

Currently Reading: Marley & Me by John Grogan


  1. Great pic of Ben with the Potamus sock, I think he would have appreciated it and maybe even wore them.

  2. LOVE THAI FOOD! We must go. How good was the pad Thai?? Did they have lemongrass soup??? Now I am SO in the mood for that. I'll be begging you in emails to meet me there...and help me with my socks!!

  3. I love the photo of Ben with the sock! Maybe it's better that you didn't go into the Liberty Bell building. You actually have to take your shoes off and go through a metal detector for inspection. Not a fun thing to do in February, I can tell you. However, I will say that I learned from their very informative exhibit there that the Monty Python theme song is actually the "Liberty Bell March". Who knew! Glad to hear more about your trip and the good time that you had. I am sure that Jeapordy! will be calling you soon. Also, if you did make it on the show, just imagine the photo opportunity for your sock to pose with Alex Trebek!

    Oh, and I did enjoy the Pad Thai, though I think I would definitely go meatless (and for a 0) next time!