Thursday, April 29, 2010

98 - Curious Kittens

Cats seriously have the good life. At least, ours do. They get to play around, take naps, eat, take naps, get serious love and affection from humans who think they're ridiculously wonderful (that's us), take some more naps, be curious, take even more naps, be lap warmers, take still more naps... I mean, what's not to love? Our cats love people, and Josh and I totally treat give them way too much attention... so trust me, they've got it good.

Since it's been getting warmer, we've been opening the windows and doors more to get some breezes coming through. While our front/storm door is glass and doesn't have a screen (so no wind/breeze), we still have to keep it open for a few hours because, oh my goodness, our cats think it's just about the 3rd best thing in the world behind cheese and tuna juice.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

97 - Sixteen Years

Sixteen years ago, on April 28, my little brother was born. I was in the room at the hospital, and as a 9-year-old, it was the first time I cried for joy. It still remains one of the most incredible days of my life. 

These photos are about... well, about 4 1/2 years old. I may not look that different, but Jacob does. He's now about 5 inches taller than me, has a voice an octave or two lower than mine, and no longer has braces. Sometimes, he wears contacts instead of glasses. But you know what? His heart is still the same. He loves to have a good time and he cares about people in a way most teenage guys don't have enough courage to. He's pretty much one of the coolest teenagers I know. 

There are probably better photos to put up (I couldn't actually take one today since he's currently about 3,100 miles away), but hey, I did take these (oh, the extended arm reach), and they make me super happy. I think they probably portray both of us pretty well, too. =) Happy birthday, Jacob!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

94-96 - Spring Smiles

There I go combining posts again... but it's okay. These are worth it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

93 - America's Pastime

Once upon a time, I happened upon a baseball game. Actually, I happened upon warm-up for the game. I had my camera (because rarely am I without it these days) and I took a few photos. Then, unfortunately, I had to go. And it was a sad occasion. But my heart was happy that baseball season is upon us... and I also thought about how I might enjoy stalking a few games sometime for more practice. Even though I don't know anyone in Philly who plays baseball. The end.

Friday, April 23, 2010

92 - Hector

I know I'm a bit behind here... but I'm working to get caught up! By May! Haha, that's the goal, at any rate. =)

Below is a photo of Hector, one of the elders at our church, and pretty much one of the most sincere people I know. Hector really just has so much fun in life. You can't help but smile when you're around him. And man, does he have a great way with the youth! I think it's hard not to just love Hector because he's so ready to love you. He's also definitely ready to joke around and have a good time with you, too, as you can probably tell from this shot.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

91 - GreensGrow

Even though we live in the middle of inner-city Philly, Josh and I have enjoyed getting our green on... specifically in regards to growing our own veggies and herbs. Though our back yard is probably smaller than most of your walk-in closets (ok, maybe it's a tiny bit bigger, but not by much), we are fortunate enough to have an L-shaped plot of soil in one of our corners (the rest is concrete blocks). Our little soil patch is about 1.5 feet deep, and we've also gathered quite a few pots and planters to use as well. 

Last year we planted a number of veggies and herbs and also participated in the CSA that our community garden did. Needless to say, for about 4 months last year, I don't think we consumed very many veggies that didn't come from within 4 blocks of our house. There definitely is something to be said for fresh, very local food. It tastes so much better, and you know exactly where it came from and what went into growing it. I like that. 

Josh and I have been pretty excited to get our garden going again this year (as evidenced by this post), and we finally managed to squeeze in a visit to GreensGrow Farm. GreensGrow isalso in the middle of the city of Philadelphia, and in addition to selling produce and having its own CSA (although they call it City Supported Agriculture), they also have a nursery where they have all different sorts of "starter" plants. With the craziness of this year, Josh and I just decided to take the "easy" way out and get most of our plants from GreensGrow. The prices are reasonable, everything's organic, and the cost will be more than covered after about, oh, one week of produce! 

Plus, you get to use the sweet old-fashioned wagons to load everything up... and it doesn't get much better than that! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

90 - Umbrella Joy

A momentous event has occurred in my life, and I feel it is only right and fair for me to share it with you:

I have bought an umbrella.

Now, some of you probably think this is a ridiculous statement... of course I bought an umbrella. Everybody buys umbrellas. They use them for a while, they break, you buy a new one. 

Well, not me. 

See, I'm from Seattle. If you use (or maybe even own) an umbrella in Seattle... you're pretty much labeled either a tourist or a wimp. Sorry, but it's just the way it is. 

But here's the problem. I live in Philly now. And the rain here? Well, it's a little different than in Seattle. As in, there are huge, fat, enormous raindrops that fall quickly and furiously to the earth below. And if you don't have an umbrella, you'll be soaked in about 2.7 seconds.

So, the confession is, that I have indeed been using umbrellas since moving to Philly four years ago. However! I had been using free umbrellas (I received two thanks to TD Bank and one from a friend), and hadn't bought one of my own. Sadly, though, my free umbrellas have run their course, and when I opened the last one to find that half of its spokes were broken.... I caved. It was time. And I bought an umbrella.

Let me just say, I love my new umbrella. I love that I got a big one (because I'm often carrying stuff to/from work and Josh and I can both actually fit under it), and, well, I absolutely love the colors of it. Big surprise coming from me, huh? =)

And, Josh thinks this picture is a bit silly, but I rather like it: 

I think this also marks the first official self-portrait I have on this blog... though it's not the typical, artistic, "this is me", introspective kind of self-portrait. But hey, it is still me in the photo. =)

And, just in case you were wondering, it keeps the water off fabulously well. Again, this is one of those photos that looks better if you click on it for the large image -- then you can see all the water droplets (which make it look pretty cool). 

With that said, I hope if you have to endure rainy days, you at least love your umbrella as much as I do. I know that will be hard to accomplish, but it will at least mean your grey day with be much happier. =)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

89 - West Philly Bike

Sometimes, I see fun things around Philly. And I sort of want and covet them.

The end.

Monday, April 19, 2010

88 - SMART Board

I don't know how much attention you've been paying to the educational tools available nowadays... but there's this pretty fantastic one called a SMART Board. Being pretty interested in education myself (bet you never guessed that), I've been waiting to see one of these in action for a few years now. Luckily, I work in a school, and this year some generous donors bought a few for some of the classes. And they're pretty stinking cool.

Imagine combining a whiteboard, computer, powerpoint, video, survey system, and tons more into one... and that's a SMART Board.I can't really even begin to explain it, other than by saying they are incredible educational tools.

Below, a student is creating a diagram of the lungs by using his finger to drag parts from one side of the screen to the other. They stay exactly where he puts them, unless he picks them up and moves them. He (or the teacher) can also write on the board with one of the special pens or their finger, if, for example, they wanted to label each part of the diagram.

It also lets you use media and technology like never before... and totally gets the kids interested. One day I walked in and they were watching various commercial clips, then discussing and analyzing the persuasive techniques the advertisers were using. And everybody wants a turn up front to be the one to answer and move things around.

Another great aspect of it is the interactive automatic response system. All the students are given an ID number, and for various activities, quizzes, tests, etc, they can use a handheld system to input their answers/responses. It can be in the form of yes/no, true/false, A-G, 1-10... you name it. Each student's answer is automatically logged and recorded for the teacher, but anonymous to the class. So, if there's a vocab quiz, students input answers, and at the end, the teacher sees the individual students' responses, and the class gets to see it broken down instantaneously as to the percentage of the class that got it right, the median score, the correct answer, the most popular answer, etc. It's pretty fantastic.

So, there you have it. A quick post on SMART Boards that barely even scratches the surface. I bet that's exactly what you thought you'd be getting in today's photos, huh? =)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

87 - Stone Towers

In the spirit of Red Doors, I thought I'd add a couple more shots of the church. And yes, it's the same church as the ones with the red doors.

You definitely don't see this kind of architecture everyday in Seattle, but it's quite common here in Philly. It's really quite beautiful... I especially love the ivy vines... and, I must admit, it also reminds me a bit of Hogwarts. =)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

86 - Red Doors

There are a lot of pretty sweet old church doors in Philly from long-past days. I don't notice them as much anymore... but every now and then I remember that when I first moved here, I found them completely fascinating. Just imagine if every church you passed had large, brightly painted doors (usually red or blue, though I have seen a purple one), with intricate details, windows, and handles. Here are just a couple for your viewing pleasure today...

Friday, April 16, 2010

85 - Big Blue Pho

Meet my boss, Seth:

In many ways, this is a very typical scene. Seth is both on the computer and also has a huge mug of coffee next to him. What's unusual is the big punch/serving bowl. 

Meet the contents of Seth's bowl. Mmm, yummy pho (Vietnamese noodle soup): 

Watch Seth eat the pho -- and drink the broth:

Needless to say, we didn't have any other bowls around the office that day that would've let him have his lunch in less than about 9 servings. So Seth improvised. And even let me take a few incriminating photos. Not bad, eh?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

82, 83, 84 - Paint the Rainbow

So, I'm combining three days' posts into one, but before you think you're getting the short end of the stick -- trust me -- you're not. 

Now, I don't have much experience, but in my 4 years of living in Philly, I'm going to throw it out there that we don't get much of a spring here. Usually it's just a really long, cold, and often miserable winter (this one was slightly less so because we got so much snow which kept it fun/interesting), then about, oh, 4 1/2 days of spring, and then, bam! it's summer! Hello sweltering heat and constant sticky humidity. The lovely, fresh, cool warmth of Spring is lost. There's no time to stop and smell the flowers because, well, you're just running back inside where the AC is... and all the "Spring" flowers are already dead. Sorry, depressing, but sadly true.

This year, though, it's been different. We started getting Spring a little early... and then it got really hot (remember the 91 degree weather last week?), and then it got cold again, but now it looks like it's going to hover in the 50-70 range for a while. And I'm pretty excited about that. 

I wanted to share some of the color we've been getting, because really, it's quite incredible. As in, really, truly breathtaking. So I decided to paint the rainbow of Philly for you. These are all photos from right around my school... so it's not even anywhere "special". Yet these are the colors present. I know there's a lot of green thrown in, but hey, that's just how plants work. Chlorophyll, friends, chlorophyll. 

So, with that said... I hope you enjoy these spectrum of colors -- and the three posts combined into one rather long and colorful one. =) Let me know what you think! Which one(s) are your favorite(s)? Why?