Wednesday, July 27, 2011


In the spirit of Bastille Day's liberté, égalité, and fraternitéI decided to try my hand at making French macarons.  Not bad for a first try!

Bastille Day

Every July the Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a Bastille Day festival, which includes a comic reenactment of the storming of the Bastille.  Eastern State is an excellent location for this, as the outer walls are quite imposing.
There is a French-themed street fair prior to the Storming.  Some French food, lots of can-can dancers, a drag queen Edith Piaf, wandering accordion players, mimes, etc.

Some friends and I, including our own personal Frenchie Friend, Marion, attended.  Pictured are Val, Marion, and Mia decked out in their revolutionary garb.  I made us all ribbon rosettes, and the flags and other pins were hand-outs.
Our French accessories, including a copy of La Marsellaise, which we all sang very badly at one point during the storming.  Marion, of course, knew it perfectly, and after the singing announced that the woman leading it had sung it "weird".
Val, me, Mia, and Marion.
Guillotine - for watermelon chopping only.
The Storming of the Bastille is led by a small group of Revolutionaries clustered around the guillotine.  They yell, the crowd yells, and eventually Marie Antoinette appears at the top of the battlements.

Marie Antoinette and her minions, including Darth Vader and some Imperial Storm Troopers.  Remember, this is a comedic reenactment.
The public demands bread and the queen says, "Let them eat Tastykake!" as the minions shovel hundreds of Tastykakes off of the Penitentiary walls and into the crowd.  We didn't get any, as the day was hot and the Tastykakes seemed a little gross.  After the Tastykakes, there is a trial and Marie Antoinette is condemned to death by guillotine.  This year, however, M.A.'s sentence of death was commuted, and she was sentenced to being Arnold Schwarzenegger's nanny.  She was not pleased, and stated that she's rather have her head cut off.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fourth of July, Old-Fashioned

The Brockway Old Fashioned Fourth of July is a pretty complex event: when asked, I usually say, "My hometown does it up Norman-Rockwell style."  Which is pretty accurate.  Having experienced the glory of a Brockway July 4th two years before, Liang and Michael made the journey up

Highlights include the Tastee Freeze.  This is Liang's photo, and I think it's the best photo of the Tastee Freeze even taken.
Gun range.  Here, Quick-Draw Doc lines up her shot while the Lil'Bro and Michael look on.  Both Liang and Michael were very good shots, impressing both the Timmy and the Lil'Bro! 
The Timmy was delighted!  Bangs and booms and eager participants!  Such fun!
Fresh off her Pittsburgh Half-Marathon success, Liang joined in the 10K Firecracker Race while Michael and I cheered and acquired coffee for the post-finish line prize (Michael's photos below).
For more shooting, running, picnicking, and parading, check out Michael's blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moms in Philly!

The Traveling Moms came to Philly in mid-June for a long weekend that involved eating, museums, and lots of walking.  Here they are on the steps of the Art Museum!  I was hostessing, so no photos from me (this one by Mary Ann).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trying New Things: Tea

Number one tea: Tetley.

I buy like two 80-bag boxes of Tetley every three months or so, and it requires a special trip to a slightly more-inconvenient grocery story, because the number one Tetley Tea is the British Blend.  (My life is soooo hard!  First world problems - wah wah wah.)  The tea bags are round, have more tea in them, and are even better at brewing darker and are thusly more effective at staining your teeth.
The corner convenience grocery by my apartment doesn't have any form of Tetley, so the other day I decided to branch out, but cautiously, with PG Tips.  PG Tips has a ridiculously awesome name, and is apparently England's number one tea.  Truth - I have actually heard/read of real-life English people drinking it, though when I was in England it was Tetley for me every morning!
Anyway, the PG Tips is good.  It will be my number-two tea.  Emergency run-out-of-number-one-tea or take-to-work tea.

So imagine my surprise when I did a little internet tea-stalking and discovered that the people that make PG Tips are also responsible for Lipton!

Ugh - Lipton.  Why is America okay with Lipton?  So bland, so weak, so nasty.  The tea of conferences - offered by those who only drink coffee, usually with water heated in a coffee pot, so it come pre-sullied with a nasty burnt coffee flavor.  The only thing a cup of Lipton is good for is watering plants: it's so gross.  You might as well just steep a cup of random sticks and leaves that you found in the park.
Interesting side-note.  Tetley British Blend was easy to find in Ottawa.  Once British people get to Canada, they become 250% more British than they were back in the home country, so they need the British Blend to survive in North America, even after they've become Canadian citizens.

There was a second British tea that was all-over Ottawa: Ty-phoo.  I never purchased any Ty-phoo, because the name is too close to Ty-phoid, and it made me think that either a) the tea was only good if you were sick, or b) the tea would infect you.  I did drink some Ty-phoo, and it was okay.  I didn't get Ty-phoid, but then I think my vaccination for that is still good.
Disclaimer: this is all my opinion, clearly.  You might totally love Lipton.  Whatever.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cordelia Cat

Happy One Year Arrival Anniversary, Cordie!