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post NYC Trip

January 12th, 2014

Filed under: art,travel — nics @ 6:12 pm

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Ben and I spent three days in NYC this week. It was lovely and cold and we saw lots of art. My three favorite shows I saw:

  1. Isa Genzken
  2. Mike Kelley
  3. Rituals of Rented Island

I was surprised how much I loved the Isa Genzken show. I didn’t know much about her or her work beforehand. I was struck by the vast range of her work, but it didn’t feel at all disparate. Something that struck me about her show and the Mike Kelley show: what variety, volume, and intellect!

Some other things worth mentioning:

  • I saw Richard Serra in the Richard Serra.
  • The Boltbus cannot handle below freezing temps. I was so cold I put on ALL the socks I brought on my trip and my pajama pants over my jeans.

Please enjoy the Isa Genzken photos. Her work is way too much fun to photograph!

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post Spring Break Down South

March 31st, 2013

Filed under: family,travel — nics @ 2:26 pm

Ben and I traveled to Georgia to visit my parents and explore the coast a bit during my spring break. Here we are on the beach at Cumberland Island. It was rather chilly and windy and wonderful.

Trees, trees, trees on Cumberland Island!

What is the first thing I think of when I imagine Savannah? Spanish moss, of course!

Apparently I was feeling rather nostalgic because we visited a bunch of places I remember fondly from growing up. Cumberland Island, Savannah, The Museum of Arts and Sciences, and here at the Indian Mounds. Ben and the grass are looking bright and colorful as we climb up the big mound.

These trees made an awesome drawing at the Indian Mounds. (Yes, this is a very tree heavy post.)

Blackout in Macon! We had a crazy awesome dramatic freak thunderstorm the night before we left for Savannah. And lost power for a couple of hours.

post Garden Excursion

September 2nd, 2012

Filed under: check this out,travel — nics @ 2:24 pm

This weekend I had a wonderful but all too short getaway to Longwood Gardens with my very dear friends Lisa, Luci, and Kelley, stopping first in Wilmington for lunch. Longwood Gardens was HUGE and beautiful, with some amazingly weird plants. I felt very far from Baltimore. In fact, very far from anywhere familiar. It was rather magical. The Bruce Monro show is up through the 29th!

Wilmington Riverfront (Floating Houses)

Wilmington Train Station

Wilmington Train Station

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Fossil Room)

Longwood Gardens (Giant Lily Pads)

post saying goodbye to summer (already)

August 10th, 2012

Filed under: check this out,travel — nics @ 3:46 pm

Ben and I took one final fling away from Baltimore before I got too swamped down in teaching craziness. I have a ridiculously busy schedule this fall semester but I’m actually quite excited about it. I’m teaching an animation class! Amongst many other things…

We went camping in the Allegheny National Forest in northern PA. It was glorious to escape the stinky sweaty Baltimore air! And our campground was just a few feet away from a huge sparkling reservoir. That you can legally swim in! (For you fellow Baltimorons, you understand my “don’t swim in this lovely beautiful tempting reservoir unless you want a very large fine” pain.) I officially have seen the most stars I have ever seen in my entire life! It was amazing. The last night we sat under the stars for a long time watching shooting stars. I saw at least six.

I highly recommend camping here! It’s beautiful and only a 5 hour drive from Baltimore. But watch out for bears! We were warned upon arrival by the campground hosts that bears enter the campground, searching for food, all the time. And told us several stories of the most recent “visits”. Needless to say, I had a rather difficult time sleeping the first night, waking up at every sound. I heard deep heavy bear-like breathing right outside our tent while we slept. I never said anything to Ben about it (attributing it to my paranoia and confusion between sleep/awake consciousness). But on the drive home HE told ME he heard a bear breathing on us at night! We are now convinced that neither of us are crazy and that a bear(s) was checking us out at night. Unless the campground is inhabited by some large mouth-breathing strange old man that likes to breath on campers while they sleep…

Here are some photos!

sunset by the water

our campground: right through that dark hole

checking out the water

ben swimming

ben poses with beer

i am the fire master. and steaks and corn.

marshmaaaaaaaaalllllooowws!!!

morning, inside the tent

post Colorado Times

July 11th, 2012

Filed under: family,travel — nics @ 10:45 pm

I went to Colorado (the land of fire) last week to visit my brother, sister in law, and their three kids. It was awesome hanging out with everyone and the kids seem more and more fun every time I see them. I wander if that will change at some point when they turn into teenagers? Hopefully teenagers are jerks only to their parents, not to their aunts :) Here’s for hoping!

Jack, Lauren, and Juliet at the Denver Art Museum.

The reality of Fourth of July parades “they” never tell you about: heat, misery, and unhappy faces. And yet you’ll probably do it all over again next year :)

I gave the family the Wii Michael Jackson Experience for their birthdays. It was a big hit! Jack and Lauren loved dancing to Dirty Diana together. Non-family members will probably not be nearly as entertained here… But this cracks me up. (Sadly, I missed my opportunity to catch Eric and Tracy on film. Although it’s probably in my best interest that I’m not posting that to the interwebs, anyway… But I promise you they enjoyed it too!)

And I couldn’t forget Juliet!

post Westward Trip Part II: Vancouver

August 9th, 2011

Filed under: art,check this out,travel — nics @ 6:47 pm

OK. Part II. I’m getting lazy on the writing end, so here are a bunch of photos.

At the beach! The first thing we did upon arriving (no arguments here!!!). I think the only shot I got of everyone, unfortunately.

Rest stop in a park after biking through Stanley Park. My universal “come here, doggy” gesture.

Are we in Vancouver or a tropical island paradise? (the beach in Stanley Park)

The daily view and sunset from John and Heather’s balcony. They have it rough, eh?

Awww… Brothers. (And my forced tourist shot in front of the olympic torch.)

Public art in Vancouver: pixel whale

We gave Kira an ostrich puppet which she named Chewy. (Kira is an AWESOME name-giver. She named a snail puppet that Ben gave her last year Ostranomus.) On our night of babysitting we made Chewy a costume (the red ear/hair headpiece) and a passport (around her neck).

Salmon spawning! I remember learning about spawning salmon at some point in school but I didn’t remember how morbid it is. They basically transform into disfigured monsters and proceed to swim through such treacherous upstream rivers that their bodies are beaten to bloody pulps and then they reach their destination and then they die. This has led me to believe that you should actually feel guilty if you DON’T eat salmon. By eating them, you are saving them from a horrible death. And they are delicious…

post Westward Trip Part I: Top 10 in Food and Drink

August 3rd, 2011

Filed under: food,travel — nics @ 9:27 pm

Ben and I just returned from a trip out west to Seattle and Vancouver. We went to visit Ben’s brother John and his family (his wife Heather and Kira, their daughter) in Vancouver, but with flights being much cheaper to Seattle decided to fly in there and spend a couple days exploring the city before taking the train north to Vancouver. Being the gluttons we are, of course my first post about the trip is food and drink. To thank for all of our wonderful finds are Design Sponge Seattle and Vancouver guides, word of mouth by both friends who have visited and people we met, and just random places that we walked past and couldn’t resist.

1. The Corson Building, Seattle
Wow. I don’t even know how to describe how wonderful this experience is. In every way. Truly magical. If you are going to Seattle, check out the link and make reservations. Just do it!

2. Salt Tasting Room, Vancouver
This restaurant is almost strictly charcuterie based. The best thing to do if you go here is pick some meats and cheeses you want, tell your server what you like and don’t like in general, and let them pair wines and condiments with everything. We had a wonderful server which seems
particularly important at this restaurant. We relied on her artistry to pick perfect taste pairings/sensations of meat/cheese, condiment, and wine. Both beautiful and delicious.

3. The Harvest Vine, Seattle
We were lucky enough to have perfectly beautiful weather for our entire trip and this was one of our many outdoor dining experiences. This was another instance where wonderful service played an important role in our happiness. While on that topic, I would like to add that people in Seattle are so NICE! Whenever we asked questions or mentioned we were visiting from out of town, everyone was so happy and excited to recommend their favorite spots. Even the bus drivers are nice. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times after speaking with a stranger that Ben and I just looked at each other with crinkled brow and open mouths with the expression “that person was so NICE. and HELPFUL.” on our faces. I liked it!

4. Le Pichet*,  Seattle
I forgot to take pictures here, ugh! But… I found this photo online of the dessert I had. Dark dark thick hot chocolate (that’s what they called it, though I found it to be on a completely different level and can’t bring myself to call it hot chocolate) with heavy whipped cream. Oooooh… Amazing food, cozy atmosphere, and great service.

5. Floata*, Vancouver
We had dim sum here (in Chinatown) with John, Kira, Heather, and her family. I love dim sum and couldn’t remember the last time I had it. There’s nothing quite like sharing small delicious foods (and often not knowing exactly what you’re eating) and spinning them around the table with a large group of people.

6. Sha Lin Noodle House*, Vancouver
John and Heather introduced us to one of their favorite neighborhood eateries. They like it not only because the food is wonderful but also because they make noodles in the back where you can watch. And oh so many different types of noodles! Cutting, pulling, dragging, chopped… and maybe more… those are the ones I remember. Yum!

7. Brouwer’s Cafe, Seattle
We stopped here for a beer as we were wondering around the Fremont neighborhood. And I’m so glad we did! They have a huge selection of beers on tap and their smoked nuts (which come out warm, fresh from the oven) are very tasty and go perfectly with a belgian style beer.

8. Street Donuts*, Seattle
Bowls of fresh hot mini donuts with your favorite toppings (we had ginger cardamom caramel) from a food truck. What’s not to like?! And they have an awesome logo.

9. Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle
We knew nothing about this coffee shop and because Seattle has sooo much good coffee, it was hard to decide where to go since we didn’t have time to try every coffee shop in town. But we saw signs as we were walking by describing coffee preparation in ways we had never heard and we wanted to try something new. So we did. We went to the slow bar (a small quiet section of the coffee shop set up for people who want to sit for a while and watch their own private barista perform) and had a vacuum pot. Ahhhh. (And I also like saying “oh, I just had a vacuum pot”.) As she was preparing it, our barista was explaining that the process creates a very “clean, pure” flavor and I was imagining these things would probably be too subtle for me to notice, but no! I could taste the “real flavors” in the coffee and it was velvety smooth. It’s kind of hard to explain…

10. Bastille Cafe*, Seattle
We had brunch here which was delicious. My favorite thing was the homemade scone with lemon curd (also homemade, of course). Because we went to Bastille on a Sunday, we caught the Ballard Farmers Market. I wanted to cry for all the things I saw and knew I couldn’t take home with me! Ben got all worked up about the giant morel mushrooms and then got really sad when he realized there was no practical way to get them home in a decent state. Either of these places is well worth the trek out to Ballard.

Whoa. This is a long post. If you are still here reading this you are quite a trooper. Or maybe you just like food and drink as much as I do?

*Sadly, I forgot to take photos at some places. Locations marked with a * are not photos I took, but are images I found online.

post Catching Up

June 27th, 2011

Wow. I am so far behind in blogging, I’m not really sure where to start. But here are some major events that have happened since the last time I blogged.

1. Kelley and I collaborated on a piece for Transmodern at campcamp. It was so much fun but I was so completely exhausted by the time it opened that documentation is sadly lacking. But here’s an image of our space, taken by Theresa Keil for What Weekly.  J.M. Giordano used our space as a set for a short film for the BMA (which is what you see here). You can see Kelley in the hairy, white-headed costume on the right and me in the white monster costume near the center. We also projected animations but this photo was taken before dark.

2. I went to Ben’s thesis show at UConn. This was my favorite photo from the show of Ben’s mom and aunt looking at his work, probably thinking something like: “Um, what the heck is this?”. You can see more of his work here.

3. Ben graduated. Yay Ben! Congrats to him, Siobhan, Lani, Jamie, and Rita! I will miss you guys.

4. In CT, I visited the puppetry museum, saw a show of Frank Ballard’s work, and lusted after another useless degree: an MFA in puppetry.

5. My mom had heart valve surgery here at Johns Hopkins. She’s doing wonderfully now and is back in GA. I was so happy she was able to be here so I could spend time with her while she recovered. She always likes to visit the cathedral and their gift shop when she comes to Baltimore. And since I was feeling particularly willing to keep her happy after her surgery, I took her there without even whining. I was pleased to discover this gem.

6. Ben moved in to my apartment. For three days in a row, immediately upon moving in, Ben spontaneously and enthusiastically made beautiful delicious dinners (here we have roasted turnips and onions, sesame ginger baked tofu, and salad). I briefly thought I had the good fortune of acquiring a gourmet housewife/chef. However, things have settled down and now he only cooks from time to time (but still more than I do). Ah, well, I knew it was too good to be true…

7. Tambourine (Ben’s cat) and Mito (my cat) hate each other. You wouldn’t think so from the way Mito is reaching out to hug Tambourine in this photo, but trust me, they do.

8. Ben’s thesis show in NYC went up immediately after his CT show. Here’s a photo from the opening.

9. I went to NYC this past weekend to help Ben take down the show. I rode the Staten Island Ferry for the first time (fun!) and saw some Friends with You balloons.

post many many children

September 23rd, 2010

Filed under: check this out,family,thoughts,travel — nics @ 9:33 pm

This is what usually happens when trying to get three kids to pose for the camera all at the same time. And as it should be… who wants boring old posed photos anyway? Shame on me for even trying.

Last weekend my brother, his wife, and three kids were here for a visit. It worked out quite well: one child per adult, perfect for crossing streets and walking through cities. Much museum going, laughter, jumping, talk and jokes of bodily functions (That’s right on my level… Boogers was the big one this time because there was a horse sculpture whose nose they could stick their fingers into and pretend they were wiping snot all over each other at, of all places, the American History Museum. Now you know what they learned about our nation’s history.), and sleep deprived whining entailed. I am just recovering now from those adorable energy sucking critters.

This is the picture Lauren drew of me. Love it! I was so happy to see all the grapes. How did she know I like wine? Lauren had the privilege of spending the night at my house one night during the family visit. This is what she wanted to do (and of course that means that’s what we did!): draw, paint, watch movies, drink hot chocolate, and eat snacks. Luckily I have apparently had a positive influence on her because her favorite movie to watch with me is My Neighbor Totoro.

Sadly, and much to Lauren’s dismay, I think Lauren is Mito’s most hated human in the world (and that’s saying quite a lot, coming from the anger filled depths of what is known as Mitochondria the cat). Her drawing of Mito says it all. I was listening to but not watching her as she drew this and she kept saying that the eyes were “too nice” and she kept redrawing them. I think she got it down.

Even though, by the last day of the trip (and I have to remind myself that sleep depravation that comes with traveling was completely taking the kids over by that point – aka grumpiness), Lauren seemed intent on finding any possible way to annoy me or make me angry, when she hugged me goodbye she told me she wanted to come live with me forever… awwwww.

post goodbye summer

September 4th, 2010

Filed under: art,food,thoughts,travel — nics @ 12:03 pm

I am finally giving in and admitting it. All of my classes have officially started and it is back to business as usual. (Not that I’m complaining… I’m very pleased with my classes so far.)

I can’t believe the summer is over. It was truly a wonderful one. Which only makes it that much harder to go back to the usual grind. The major highlights were: Penland, printmaking, fresh delicious tomatoes from the dirt bird garden, a New England birthday weekend, painting, finishing an animation for Artscape, wild blueberries, and daily seafood in Maine: lobster rolls, whole lobsters, clams, mussels, scallops, haddock…

The only thing I say good riddance to: the heat. This was the worst summer of heat ever for Baltimore. Please don’t ever happen again! It is so beautiful today, though, I have already put all that behind me.

And I leave you with a few memories of summer fun.

Penland printmaking studio

MASS MoCA

Maine beach walk

mushroom family at Roque Bluffs State Park

the beach at Great Wass Island Preserve

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