My birthday was a lovely time. The Barnes Foundation was beautiful. Almost every room is dominated by Renoir, whom I enjoy a great deal. It took us about two hours to go through the entire gallery because there are only about 20 rooms. An amusing tidbit for all of my fellow seminarians, the gallery is on Lapsley Lane. (tee hee)

After our gallery tour, we went to Murray's Delicatessen for a nice lunch. I had grilled cheese and latkes. It was yummy, but a little overpriced. Of course, it was my birthday, so Jordan paid without complaint and we enjoyed our food.

I took a nap in the afternoon. Unintentional, but so good. While I was sleeping and Jordan was supposed to be running, he was actually out buying and decorating a cake for me. I don't know if the gathering at Lydia's house was originally intended to be for me, but it turned into that. There was cake and cookies and more cake.

All the Facebook, MySpace and Blogger greetings were wonderful as well. Thanks to everyone for making my birthday a good day.

Shamless Self-Indulgence

My birthday commences in less than one hour. Other than purchasing an iPod, I can't remember what I did to celebrate last year. My best guess is that Emily and I went out to eat or something.

This year, Jordan and I will be going to an art gallery in Philadelphia, called the Barnes Foundation. According to the site, "the Foundation is home to one of the world's largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Picasso, Matisse, C├ęzanne, Renoir and Modigliani." Since Impressionist and post-Impressionist art is my favorite, I'm very excited to go.

Unfortunately, they don't allow any photography in the gallery. Maybe I will use some of the birthday money that my Grammy sent me to buy a few postcards.

When we return to campus, our married friends, Lydia and Jeb, are having people over to meet their parents and enjoy some pastry... It should be a fun day all around!


Okay, it's not really a snow day, it's more like an ice day, but, regardless of that, Princeton Theological Seminary has granted us a day off from classes. Mind you, I really enjoy most of my classes this semester and don't mind attending them, but there is still something about a snow day that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I don't think I've had a snow day since high school. In Watertown, we were prepared to deal with large amounts of frozen precipitation, so we were more likely to have "cold days" because the temperature and wind chill would actually make it dangerous for children to walk to school or wait at a bus stop. Snow was no problem, we practically had a plow per street to deal with a little white stuff.

It is funny how hearing the "no school" announcement can still make me feel a little giddy, wondering what I am going to do with all my newly free hours. Unfortunately, I think I'll still have to work tonight, but the next seven hours are sitting in front of me like a beautifully wrapped gift. Perhaps I should get some homework done... ;)

Instead of wishing you a happy Valentine's Day, I will wish you all a happy Snow Day!

Emotional Schemotional

I've often been accused of being unemotional. Reacting to news, good or bad, is tough for me. What it boils down to is that I don't want to react the wrong way, so I react no way at all.

What I've discovered is that no reaction is the wrong reaction in many cases, especially when friends are sharing terrific news like "I'm getting married!" "We're having a baby!" "I got a promotion!" No matter what may be going on inside me, my standard reaction is, "That's nice. Want a piece of gum?"

Last night, Matt, Evan, Daniel, Jordan and I were sitting in Applebee's enjoying some half-price appetizers. (Yay quesadilla for $2.50!) Since Valentine's Day is coming up, Evan and Daniel started talking about their long-distance loves, past Valentine's, etc.

Lately, Evan's girlfriend has been putting a little pressure on about getting a ring. (Evan intends to propose at some point, but she wants it sooner rather than later...) This conversation prompted a story from Daniel about a college friend who proposed to his girlfriend in Prague. Apparently, the guy set the whole thing up well in advance and managed to surprise his girlfriend with a love poem, which was planted behind a brick in the Charles Bridge four months earlier, and his unexpected presence and a ring.

Previously, such stories would have made me say, "Awww, how cute" and then I would move on with the conversation. Last night, though, the only woman with four men, I began to blush and involuntarily grin and feel butterflies in my stomach. What an inconvenient time to become a girl!

So, maybe I used to be such a jerk about good news because I was jealous. I suppose that's a possibility which I have to face. While I'm dealing with that, though, if you have some good news, Kate is available for girlie reactions.

I Don't Like the Vibes

The Chick Corea concert was enjoyable. He is a fantastic pianist and, fortunately for me, the experimental bent he's known for didn't show up last night, so I didn't feel dumb trying to enjoy something I didn't understand.

Unfortunately for me, his partner, Gary Burton did show up. It's not that Mr. Burton didn't play well. He got several standing ovations, so I'm sure he did. It's that I think the vibraphone sounds like it should only be used for cartoons. For the first few songs, it didn't bother me, then the monotony of the sound starting rubbing me the wrong way. Jordan said the same thing at intermission, but by the end of the performance he'd grown to appreciate them again...lucky Jordan.

Mr. Burton, if you read this: It's not's me.

When we walked over, I thought I might be under-dressed, but then Chick came out on stage in a pair of baggy jeans, a greyish t-shirt, a large, flannel, short-sleeved button down and what appeared to be sock feet, but later proved to be boat shoes. In his introductory comments to the show he told us to use our cell phones if we wanted and to take as many pictures with flash as we pleased, contradicting the recorded message played moments earlier.

My favorite pieces were Native Sense, played in the first half of the program, and Tango of 1992, played in the second. Native Sense had a fabulous piano part that consisted of lots of banging and bass notes. Tango of 1992 was playful. Every now and then you could pick up the traditional tango tune that always makes me think of a lady in a tight dress with a long-stemmed rose in her mouth and an up-do.

I think I'm developing my mother's inability to sit through movies, concerts, or anything that lasts more than an hour, though. At intermission, I was ready to go; not because I wasn't enjoying the music, but because I kept thinking of other things that needed to be done. Of course, we didn't leave and our patience was rewarded when they played a song based on Cruella Devil as one of their three encores.

I would give the show a B+. Chick gets an A, Gary gets a B- for choosing a noisy instrument. A plain old jazz piano in a crowded bar would have pleased me better, but it was fun nonetheless.

A For Real Date

Jordan and I don't go on many dates. It's expensive, we're poor and both of us prefer to be in the comfort of our dorm rooms playing cards or Scrabble or watching a movie, anyway.

But, not tonight; tonight we are going to see Chick Corea in concert at the University. Jordan's into jazz and apparently, this guy is one of the (or maybe the) best jazz pianists in the world. JZ tells me that Chick has gotten experimental in the last few years. I hope I have enough musical savvy to make the $many that he spent on my ticket worthwhile.

When I was dating in college, me and the boy went to a piano concert as part of the free (to students) concert series offered at Houghton. About halfway through the performance, I noticed that my hand in the boy's was the only thing keeping him from falling out of his chair since he was fast asleep. It wasn't long after that we broke up. I'm not saying that we broke up because he fell asleep at the concert, I'm saying it's nice to have someone with whom I can enjoy art, music, and other activities that I enjoy and are better with a friend.
Two fire alarms at 4 a.m. on two consecutive nights + freezing weather + living on the third floor of the building = decidedly not awesome!

DMV: Accomplished

The Staten Island DMV is like 4 miles from the NJ/NY border. I left Princeton around 9:45 a.m. and arrived back around 12:20 p.m. Most of that time was spent in transit and very little waiting at the DMV.

All in all, it was a pretty painless experience...except for the $170 I had to spend on license, registration, gas and tolls.

But, the point is, it's done!

This Fortune Cookie Message Has the Strangest Implications...

"Alas, you are the apple of my eye!"


DMV Woes...Almost Concluded

I wrote about the trouble I was having getting my car registered in New York State over Christmas break. Well, after what could become a lengthy (annoying and expensive) trip to the Staten Island DMV tomorrow I should be able to put all that behind me.

If you pray, pray for me tomorrow. As an upstate NY resident, I have this image of "city people" that includes much sneering and little kindness, which makes me irrationally nervous about how this trip will turn out. And, more than the nervousness arising from my stereotyped images of how the Staten Island DMV employees will behave, I am worried that I will forget something that I need and have to make a return trip. I guess worse things could happen.