New Jersey in the summer

Now that we’ve transitioned to the more wintry part of autumn, how about a good healthy flashback to summer?

A few months ago Homère and I visited his parents in New Jersey. We spent a day walking around Ocean Grove, a seaside town that definitely earns the adjective “charming.” I loved it, and Homère rediscovered it.

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Old-school shore hotels!

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oceangrove_combo2We had the best, the most delicious ice cream ever. Seriously the best I’ve ever had. From Nagle’s, a pharmacy that’s been there since…. forever.

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And of course there’s no point in going to the shore if you don’t spend some time at the beach. I love the beach; I’d been begging Homère to take me for months. Since it was windy and a little cold, I got a promise that we’ll go back next year.

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oceangrove_combo1On the upper right is the Great Auditorium — the big chapel of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which has held summer concerts and revivals and prayer meetings and whatnot there for years and years, since 1869. Homère also graduated from high school in there.

oceangrove432These are some of the tents the association rents out in the summer. And people live in them. Isn’t that interesting? I would love to live there for a summer.

And now I’m off to enjoy my autumn. Happy November!

Uhhh… Happy New Year!

NYC

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been… I’ve been….

WEDDING PLANNING!!!!!!!

and CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS!!!!!

and the NEW YEAR!!!!!!

Homère and I journeyed to New York City the day before New Year’s Eve. And had a marvelous time.

We started with a diner that made me feel like I was in Seinfeld or something…

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and moved on to meet up with the celebs…

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and did various and sundry sightseeing….photo (14)

…including the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Really really late.

The beach

Last weekend I went with the aforementioned wonderful boy, Homère, to his home in New Jersey… It happens to be very close to the beach, which was also wonderful.

Wonderful — full of wonders. I love the sound of waves and the sunshine and the feel of sand between my toes.

Yeah, we’ll be needing to visit again this summer…

Homére’s family is Jamaican. Below is the fantastic breakfast they made Saturday. On the left is breadfruit (tastes like potatoes!), on the right is fried plantains, and in front is ackee and bacon — all delicious.

The Further Adventures of Juls and Liz

Juls and I did more than carve pumpkins. We also ate sushi off a conveyor belt, toured the Occupy DC protest, slept in, and made Mickey Mouse chocolate chip pancakes, among other accomplishments.

On our big “Explore D.C. day”, our friend Rebecca was kind enough to give up her lunch hour to show us mere tourists the Capitol — or, as Juls calls it, “America!”

We then made a brief stop at the Library of Congress before hopping on the Metro to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. No match for St. Peter’s, but beautiful and interesting in its own way and one of my favorite places in D.C. If you’re in D.C., you should go.

The basilica always makes me think about the relationship between beauty and worship. But more on that later. It’s late. Good night, world.

Vice presidential curse words and rainy day Turkish pop

The other day this thought drifted across my mind: “My life isn’t very exciting.” My mind immediately jumped out of its front porch rocking chair and said: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Not that there aren’t days that are very, very slow… (the other day I found myself googling: “Funny bunny pictures”….) or weeks when I feel like all I do is work, go home, eat, read, go to sleep, repeat…

But some days I get told stuff like this:

“Hey, you wanna go see Biden tomorrow?”

Now, I know that as a D.C. resident and journalist I’m supposed to be all jaded and used this kind of thing, and I convinced myself I was for a while, but at some point sitting in that big room waiting for the VP to show up, I got tingles. I’m going to see the vice president of the entire United States of America in person! I felt like a little girl on a field trip.

Awaiting the VP

He was just as goofy as they say he is. The whole room was decked out, police officers’ boots and badges shiny, Aaron Copeland symphonies playing while they waited — a certain sense of grand expectation. And then in walks Biden with a ridiculous lop-sided grin on his face to give a speech that I’m sure had to be more dignified in its original form, but when it came out of his mouth sounded like a talk he was just givin’ the boys over donuts. Maybe that’s his gift.

Also, in case you were wondering, the only inappropriate word he uttered in that speech was “hell” — as in “How the hell are you going to do that [police streets without funding]? Excuse me, how the heck.”

Those pesky broadcast journalists

While we were waiting for the VP, a Virginia congressman I sometimes write about came over and started talking to the woman on my right. Then he turned to me and introduced himself and shook my hand and said: “I wanted to meet you because I see you’re reading All the King’s Men.” It gave me a little a hope for the world that he, too, has read a good book and loved it.

“And now for something entirely different,” as they say. (Pop culture reference!) Yesterday I went to the D.C. Turkish festival with my friend James. I think we both decided we could die happy when, after crooning Turkish love songs ad nauseum, the tan Turkish pop star with the too-tight jacket and slightly unbuttoned white shirt started singing “We will, we will rock you.” I kind of wanted to go touch his hand and swoon with all the other front-row females, but didn’t. I also got to meet some Ottoman impersonators (the historical regime, not the furniture), pet a Turkish kitty, pick up a slightly creepy Turkish airlines magnet with a picture of a pretty woman with hairline problems, and see and smell little reminders of my trip to Turkey last year… scarves, plates, calligraphy, doners, baklava.

"It was fun," as Mehmet would say

And the last picture is for Juls, because I know she would disapprove of me taking pictures of children I don’t know… This polka-dot-covered baby was getting bounced to the beat of Queen and seemed to like it.

Nothing like polka dots to go with your pop music