Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Around Portsmouth

Portsmouth, NH, is just over the border from Kittery, Maine. It's a small town, but we love it so, and continue to return there just about every year.

When we got into town, there was a bicycle rice going on. Some of the streets were blocked off but it wasn't too hectic.

I liked this old sign, which seems to be cut off. (Steps away was a store selling delicious ice cream.)

One of my favorite things to do in Portsmouth is to walk to Pierce Island, where there seems to be a large groundhog population. Last time we went we saw lots of them, but this time there was only one. But he was kind of a friendly guy, and didn't mind us getting close enough to snap some photos.

At this point Dave bought saw there was an update from Hipstamatic with new film, so he bought it and tried it out. I like the bits of pink creeping in around the edges. It feels a bit hallucinatory. (That, by the way, is one of the bridges into Kittery.)

Walking back along the footpath from the island to the main land.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Leaving Maine

We started and ended the Portland component of our vacation at a beach. On the way out of town we had a delicious breakfast at Scratch Baking Company in South Portland, and then walked around Crescent Beach for about an hour.

Seaweed elegantly streaked across the sand.

Puppies were frolicking, even if it was a little cold.

Told you there'd be more rocks.

I couldn't tell if it was man-made or occurring naturally, but there was a crazy stream in the middle of the beach, winding its way around,

and emptying out into the ocean.

Further down the beach were (yes) more rocks. This boy's mother was calling to him. I think he was carrying a buoy.

Shells and seaweed collected in the water pooled between some of the larger rocks.

Dave took a couple of nice shots of this part of the beach too. (Not that he didn't take some nice ones of the rest of the beach as well.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Maine has a lot of rocks

As usual, I slacked a little in the week following my vacation, but now I'm ready to show you lots of pictures, many of which involve rocks.

On day two, we drove up to Portland, Maine, and our very first stop was at the Eastern Promenade, which affords lovely views of Casco Bay. We walked along the rocks for a ways, which was a nice way to start off the afternoon.

I love the texture of the rocks here.

Someone very smart drew in some teeth and an eye.

Sailboats in the water. Not pictured is the party boat where a bad pop punk band was playing a show at 2:00 in the afternoon. As all of those types of bands do for some reason, they ended their set with a bad cover (Richard Marx, I think).

Until about a minute ago, I had thought this was a leftover sign from this year, but I now see that it's a section of a World War I poster encouraging Maine residents to "Eat More Potatoes and save the wheat. Every potato you eat is a bullet fired point blank at a made-in-Germany peace." (Which makes sense, since it's on the side of the Maine historical society building.) You can see the whole poster here.

The rest of the day was spent eating whoopie pies, buying books and records and an awesome shirt from Ferdinand, and eating not so good pizza. (Maine knows how to do whoopie pies, but pizza, not so much. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Around Providence, RI

I've been traveling around New England the past few days, on one last road trip of the summer (actually I guess it's been the only one unless you count day trips). Our first stop was Providence, Rhode Island, where we ate falafel at East Side Pockets, bought records at Armageddon Shop, some books at my new favorite store Ada Books (plus browsing at a few other shops), and were pleasantly surprised by a delicious dinner at AS220 (who knew).

No idea what this place was--might just be an old sign.

Some very nice graffiti on an old door.

A boxcar diner near our hotel.

Dave taking pictures of himself ad infinitum in the elevator in our hotel. (All above photos by Dave as well.)

I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of it (these are stolen from the internet) but we did something a bit uncharacteristic for us and stayed in a kind of fancy hotel. Opened in 1922, the Biltmore (seen above, obviously) is a Beaux-arts style building that was designed by the same architecture firm that designed Grand Central Station in Manhattan.

Here's a shot of the rather grand staircase in the lobby. Our bed was huge and there were more pillows than you could possibly need (Dave told me he woke up in the middle of the night to see that a pillow had fallen on my head while I was sleeping) but other than that it didn't seem like that much of a step up from your typical hotel, other than the historic architecture. There's a Starbucks and a Red Door spa inside the building if that's your thing, but for us we probably could have skipped it. Regardless, it was nice to try something different, and we were able to walk to AS220 for dinner (again, really good food--last time I was there they did not have a restaurant, and I was a little bit skeptical about having dinner in a punk venue, but I'm really glad we gave it a try anyway).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Test prints

I know I've mentioned the Hipstamatic iPhone app a number of times, since in the past few months quite a few of the photos I've uploaded were taken using it. When we went on our Staten Island ferry ride a couple weeks ago Dave took a series of photos to test out some new "lenses" and "films" he'd gotten for the app, and I really like how they look next to one another in a series. My favorite is the last one, but the greenish one is nice too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recent acquisitions

For Dave's birthday I decided to go all out and bought this bright orange bullet planter. It's a reproduction (from Hip Haven), but that doesn't detract at all from its awesomeness. A couple weeks ago we finally got around to buying a plant for it. Apparently it's commonly known as "mother in law's tongue" and seems to be virtually un-killable. (We shall see.) I only wish I had a patio or front porch to keep it on. One day!

Last week I saw a couple of red Kartell Componibili round towers for sale in the Apartment Therapy classifieds and made a rather impulsive purchase. One of them is going to make a nice nightstand (it looks a lot better than the step ladder we had been using). I like how the compartments slide open.

I also bought another plant this past weekend. I didn't really need one, but this guy looked too awesome to pass up. I think I might try to paint the pot--not totally sure what I want to do with it but it needs a little sprucing up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

End of summer foods

Last week I found myself making a lot of summery meals--corn on the cob with veggie burgers, potato salad, fried green tomatoes, etc. Maybe I'm just trying to hold onto the last vestiges of the season, as the weather turns more fall-like. (Not complaining or anything though...bring on fall, please!)

In addition to the aforementioned meals, I made this pasta salad (recipe at Everybody Loves Sandwiches),

and I used up the last of the raspberries to make a crisp. I still have yet to open up that jar of jam I made but looking at this picture is really making me want to.

For good measure, the potato salad we made was also from Everybody Loves Sandwiches, and I think it might be a new favorite.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New house tour: living room

Shortly after I started this blog about a year and a half ago I began gradually posting a house tour, with detailed shots of where I was living at the time. Now I look at those pictures and cringe a bit--partly because the house got so little light that the picture quality is kind of crappy, but also because they're just not that impressive.

While my new place isn't perfect, I think we've come a long way, such that I think I'm ready to show it off. At the very least, it's a lot more light-filled.

I figured I'd start with the living room, as it's probably closest to being finished. (For now--I still want to replace that coffee table. And maybe the side table.)

You may recall the story of our upholstered couch, and the Nauga monster that Dave gave me for Christmas. I want to make some new throw pillows one of these days, but these'll do for now. (Don't mind the crap under the couch.)

A side table outfitted with a shadow puppet, globe lamp, some pocket notebooks, and the awesome new Dovetail ceramics dish I bought a couple weeks ago at Clay Wood and Cotton. (I had posted awhile back about how I coveted these dishes, so when I saw them in the store I couldn't help but pick one up. You can't tell from this picture but not only are the illustrations great but the plate has a slightly organic shape.)

Okay, enough about that plate. Here's the collage of Gwen Frostic cards that I put together, hanging above my overgrown aloe plant, some Georges Simenon paperbacks, and a stack of postcard sets.

I think I posted a very similar photo of this corner awhile back, but who cares. This has been dubbed the reading corner, although I bet that isn't the comfiest reading chair (it sure is pretty though).

We'd been wanting to buy a credenza for the living room but when we came across this beautiful bookcase at 30 West we were smitten. The top is just the right size for the DVD player and our new flatscreen TV (an impulse/splurge purchase, but I think it was probably worth it).

I filled the shelves with my vintage paperbacks, Paris Reviews, DVDs (I kind of wish that bottom shelf were a little less crowded but c'est la vie), and a few random objects.

A stack of Evergreen Reviews, which I've begun casually collecting in the last year, and Raymond Pettibon VHS tapes.

Here's the sculptura chair that we bought last month at Brimfield, and our puzzle bookshelf. This time instead of pushing the shelves flat against the wall we took advantage of the puzzle aspect and shaped it around the corner. Which looks so much better.

Like the TV stand, I've filled it with some random objects, in addition to the books. Here's an arrangement of printers blocks and wooden carpenter letters.

And that's pretty much it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That other borough

Saturday we ventured out to a place that I'd never really been to before, at least that I can remember: Staten Island. (Guess I've been on a roll with visiting New York City's lesser traveled islands.)

The day started with a free ferry ride (not counting the subway ride that preceded it), which is part of the allure.

It was a gorgeous day, but a little windy (this little sailboat looked like it was about to capsize).

Once we got to St. George we took a bus to Joe and Pat's pizzeria (I highly recommend the vodka pie) and then we strolled through nearby Clove Lakes Park.

There we saw lots of ducks, and a heron (visible above in the distance). Plus a couple other birds that I couldn't identify.

Throughout our walk we came across several waterfalls, some more spectacular than others, most of them a bit difficult to navigate (there's a fairly embarrassing photo, not shown, of me struggling to climb back up a hill, hugging a tree for balance).

I love how the water cascades (err, trickles) down the stairs.

We made our way back to the ferry terminal (brilliantly, all of the bus lines in Staten Island lead there), where we saw this colorful barge floating by near the waterfront.

A little farther down (you can see it in the distance near the barge) is Staten Island's September 11th Memorial, dedicated to Staten Islanders who died in the attacks. Each of them is silhouetted in profile, with a listing of their name, birth date, and occupation (lots of fire fighters, bonds traders, and receptionists). It's a solemn memorial, but also quite striking.

Then we went to a baseball game, where wackiness ensued. (Lots of between inning races conducted on those large bouncing exercise balls, T-shirts thrown into the crowd by a man wearing two different colored socks, mentally handicapped people seated behind us and singing...such is the joy of minor league baseball.)

All in all, it was an enjoyable day. I'm kind of curious about what else Staten Island has to offer. And I really want another vodka pie.