April 23, 2013

Beagle time

Kenobi does a weird thing.  Here is a video of him doing it:

The beagle has one blanket that he reserves for chewing.  He also likes to chew things on top of this blanket.  He brings a toy over, lies on the orange and black blanket, and chews the toy there.  He has separate blankets for snuggling, but he never chews those.  (Those don't include my blankets, which he continually steals for his own use.)  I don't understand why he lies with this blanket in his mouth and kneads it with his paws.  I don't understand why this is the blanket to chew and the others are the blankets to snuggle.  Kenobi is an enigma.  

*I'm using Blogger for the video in this post.  Previously, I embedded YouTube videos, and those didn't show up on the RSS feed or the mobile version of the site.  I'm curious to see how this turns out.  

April 17, 2013

Laurel Hill Cemetery

For some time I’ve been meaning to visit Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Founded in 1836, it is one of the few cemeteries in the United States to be designated a National Historic Landmark.  It covers over 70 acres in North Philadelphia, adjacent to East Fairmount Park.  Laurel Hill isn’t that far, but if I lived closer, I know I’d go there more often.  I’d make friends with the dead, like the boy in The Graveyard Book.

The office staff and groundskeepers were all friendly and helpful.  I picked up a map and some brochures in the office, and the employees gave me some suggestions on where to head first, based on what I was most interested in.  I was surprised that I didn’t see anyone else visiting that day.  In some places, I felt like I was the only person in the world.  

Many of the graves were from the 1800s.  The older graves tended to have the more elaborate tombstones and statuary.  The Warner plot in particular was interesting.  

the more well-known Warner monument
One of the most recognized graves in the cemetery is the Warner monument.  If you google “Laurel Hill Cemetery,” often you will find a photo of this memorial.  I think another figure in the Warner plot is also remarkable.  

the lesser-known but more liked by me Warner monument
Angels were well represented among the statues.  I didn’t see any Weeping Angels.  

One large tombstone noted that the man it was memorializing was buried in a cemetery in France.  He was an Army soldier in WWI.  I noticed that this monument faced east.  I wondered if that was a coincidence and if his headstone in France faced west, looking home.  

A grave both beautiful and sad was that of a mother and twins.  They died in the mid-1800s.  She was 34 years old.  The gravesite was at the southwestern corner of the cemetery, high up on a hill, overlooking the Schuylkill River.  On top of a pedestal was a statue of a woman holding two babies.  The inscription on the pedestal noted that they were all buried there together.  

These words from a poem by Philip James Bailey were engraved on the side of the pedestal:


I like cemeteries, especially old ones.  I’ve mentioned previously that cemeteries are peaceful places.  City cemeteries can be a respite from the chaos and noise that typify an urban environment.  More than this, the dead are at peace themselves.  Whatever hurt them or burdened them in life is gone, as they are gone.  I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I don’t think that people are burning for their evil deeds or floating on clouds with harps in reward for their good ones.  Everyone gets the same peace of the dead.  

Beside the Dead

By Ina Donna Coolbrith

WITH hands that folded are from every task,
It must be sweet, O thou my dead, to lie
Sealed with the seal of the great mystery,—
The lips that nothing answer, nothing ask;
The life-long struggle ended; ended quite
The weariness of patience and of pain;
And the eyes closed to open not again
On desolate dawn or dreariness of night.
It must be sweet to slumber and forget;
To have the poor tired heart so still at last:
Done with all yearning, done with all regret;
Doubt, fear, hope, sorrow, all for ever past:
Past all the hours, or slow of wing or fleet—
It must be sweet, it must be very sweet!

April 15, 2013

A visiting I shall go

I went to stay with some friends a couple of weekends ago and never blogged about it.  A quick recap is in order:

I was introduced to the HBO show Bored to Death.  It's fantastic!  It is now at the top of my Netflix queue, so I can see the rest as quickly as possible.  We also watched the Gravity Falls episode "Carpet Diem."  It was one of the best episodes of the show yet.

While reading a bedtime story to their daughter, I learned that I cannot do the voice of Scooby Doo.  In fact, she reads so well that we alternated reading pages.

We met a mutual friend at the Quakertown Farmer's Market.  That was a lot of fun.  It's not a traditional farmer's market.  It was more like a giant indoor flea market.  We had Puerto Rican food at Sabor De Mi Tierra.  It was delicious!  I had arroz con pollo.  It was chicken stew, beans, and rice.  YUM.  I need to learn how to make this myself.

I talked with my friends' neighbor about who we thought Jon Snow's parents were.  He is a character in George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books, made popular by the HBO series Game of Thrones.  We were of the opinion that his parents are not who he thinks they are.  This neighbor is very cool.  I hope I get to see her more the next time I visit.

We played tv tag with my friends' daughter.  This is tag in which you can be safe from being tagged anywhere you run, as long as you squat down and name a television show.  Shows I named included Black Books and The Muppet Show.  I am old.

My age also showed as their daughter ran circles around me in Lego Batman on the Playstation.  I played General Zod.  Why is General Zod in a Batman game?  I don't know.  I'm old, remember?

I made us dinner on Saturday night.  I made open face eggplant melts.  It didn't turn out quite as I wanted, but my friends graciously said they liked it enough.  It needed more mozzarella and some parchment paper underneath to prevent the bottoms from browning too much.

We walked to an Indian restaurant for dinner on Friday night.  This was wonderful.  Where I live now, I can neither walk to restaurants nor get good Indian food.  I miss both of these things very much.  Combined with great company, I had an amazing dinner on Friday night.

I had an excellent weekend with my friends, as I always do.  They are great people and even better friends.  I was informed after I left that their daughter would like them to adopt me so that I could spend more time there.  Huzzah!

April 5, 2013

Sugar cookies

This is a short post to share these sugar cookies:

Bake or bake not, there is no try.
Yes, these are Millennium Falcons, Death Stars, TIE fighters, and X-Wings.  The cookies were tasty enough.  I'm still searching for a better sugar cookie recipe.  This recipe was from Wilton.  The cookie cutters came from Williams-Sonoma.  You can never go wrong with Star Wars cookies.
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