Monday, October 31, 2011


Yesterday was a beautiful fall day. We had our kickball's Oktoberfest at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park. 

6 hours of kickball= bliss. I love this kickball league. But more about that in another post.

I have been to Belmont Plateau twice now for kickball. The first time in June, I broke my finger.

Broken finger, fake Canada tattoo. Happy Canada Day to me.
This time at Belmont Plateau was equally as annoying as a broken finger.  Someone stole my wallet from my handbag.

I hold myself partially responsible for forgetting that Philly can be unsafe at times, and I should have been holding onto my purse safely instead of keeping it on the bench with everyone's stuff. But then again, hindsight is always 20/20. 

Funny/sad story: this is not the first time I have had my wallet stolen.  I had it stolen 3 years ago in Atlantic City- we were in town for a Regina Spektor concert, and I had the tickets IN MY WALLET.  Arrrrgh!
I took this photo right before the wallet was stolen.
Lucky (?) for me, I was getting over pink eye, so the kind-hearted people at House of Blues took one look at my sad, swollen eye (and my face from crying), and issued me two new tickets, free of charge.  Amazing!

This most recent wallet that was nicked was actually the replacement of the 2008 one. Grrr- and I really loved my wallet! It was turquoise and pretty.

And while dealing with the credit card companies and filling police reports have been a headache (the thieves who stole it charged over $2,000 in two hours on my cards!), the thing I'm most bummed about is the sentimental things that were in the wallet that I'm sure they just threw away. 

Among the things I will miss:

- Pictures of my nephew at 6 months old and at one year old. Yes, these are luckily replaceable, but I loved how worn those original ones were.  I looked at them all the time and smiled at his chubby cheeks and bald head.
- All my England ID cards: my Oyster card, rail card, and Kingston Uni student ID.
- Old fortunes from fortune cookies.  My favorite: "You're Pretty!"
- Jimmy Buffett concert ticket from 3 years ago. Random, but I loved it and kept it in there since the concert.
- Macys coupons. I wonder if they used them when they charged $600 to my Macy's credit card? :(

It's unfortunate, but it could certainly be worse.  I never have much cash on me, I was aware of it missing right away and reported it stolen within a couple of hours (I wanted to make sure I hadn't left it at home), and I am not liable for any of the charges put on it yesterday.  Also, I wasn't hurt in any way.  AND I had my expensive camera on me the whole time (but not my purse, go figure), which was a lot more valuable than anything I had in my wallet. 

So, to the people who stole my wallet, may karma be harsh and unforgiving to you.  You deserve it.

Friday, October 28, 2011


As most of you know, I grew up in Oklahoma.

I lived in Tulsa until I was 18, Norman throughout college, and then back to Tulsa for one more year before moving to Philly in 2007.

Seeing my good friend from high school last night and watching Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey perform made me kind of nostalgic for my hometown.  Strange, I know- I never thought I'd miss Oklahoma, but actually, my opinion of the state improved when I didn't live there anymore.  People often ask me if Rhett and I ever plan to move back there (Answer: No), but I still miss it from time to time and look forward to visiting it.

Surrey with a fringe on top
Things I miss about Oklahoma:

1. Restaurants: Hideaway Pizza, Braum's Ice Cream, Abeulita's in Shawnee, Victoria's, Ted's Cafe Escondido, La Luna in Norman (can you tell I like Mexican food?)
2. The Tulsa drive-in- so many fun memories here. Sadly, it burned down last year, but if I recall, it has been rebuilt or there are plans to rebuild it.

A fun night at the drive-in- picture taken by Bens
3. Brookside in Tulsa, Campus Corner in Norman.
4. The Will Rogers Museum in Claremore. My dad and I used to visit it every year, first stopping at the Nut Hut for some peanuts and candy rock for me.

Will Rogers
5. Game day in Norman
6. My parents, Rhett's parents, and his brothers and their families.
7. Gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets- I've traveled many places, and they are the best I've seen.
8. Very Oklahoma phrases, like "Do what?" instead of "pardon," or calling all soda "Coke." I was trying to remember the "Do what?" last week and it was driving me crazy...and then my friend said it last night, and I had to laugh.
9. Sadie, my 11-year-old cocker spaniel puppy.

The Mackin girls and cute little Sadie
10. Floating down the Illinois River in Talequah in the summer.

What better way to end this post than with a very appropriate song? Enjoy :)

Questions: Do you still live where you grew up? If not, do you have plans to ever move back there?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Plan for the night

The weather in Philly today is pretty grim- dark, rainy, and windy. Yuck.  I had intended to take a spin class at my gym after work, but right now a power nap and a nice bubble bath is sounding so much more appealing. :)

Tonight I am seeing Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey perform at the Tritone.  I'm excited for two very specific reasons.  1) The Tritone is 3 blocks away from my apartment, and 2) one of my good friends from high school is in the band!  Chris plays the lap steel for JFJO- he is incredibly talented and I know how much he loves being in this band.  In college, Rhett and I would go to venues in Norman, OK to see JFJO perform, so its pretty cool to have a friend in it now. 

This will be the second time Chris and I have met up in Philly for one of JFJO's gigs.  Three years ago, they performed in Fishtown, and I went to see him with ANOTHER good friend from high school, Ashley.  It was a Tulsa reunion!

Ashley, Chris and me

Chris was my date to my sophomore fall homecoming dance :)
I'm really excited to catch up with Chris, but also to hear Jacob Fred's latest album, The Race Riot Suite. Being from Tulsa, I instantly recognized the reference to a very dark part of the city's history, one which unfortunately is rarely talked about or taught in classrooms.

A bit about the album from the band's website:

For its 21st album, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey reaches into the dark annals of its hometown’s history and emerges with a masterwork: The Race Riot Suite.  Written, arranged and orchestrated by Chris Combs, the album is a long-form conceptual piece that tells the devastating story of the 1921 Tulsa race riot-- a real estate-driven ethnocide occurring under the guise of citizen-dispensed justice. The oil-elite, civic government and local press colluded to take advantage of a racially tense climate in Jim Crow-era Oklahoma, resulting in the death of hundreds of black Tulsans and the destruction of an entire city district.

Through jittery, propulsive rhythms and melodies, the album reflects an onlooker’s journey through the night that changed Tulsa’s landscape and nearly destroyed the country’s most thriving black community. The music is at times nostalgic, bombastic, anguished and mournful, yet ultimately a celebration of the Greenwood community and its unflinching resiliency.

All in all, it should be a fun night of friends and good music!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Two Pence: "The Art of Racing in the Rain"

Anyone who was in the little park on Chestnut St. today, if you saw a woman in a bright coral jacket openly weeping, don't worry  That was just me, trying to hold it together while finishing "The Art of Racing in the Rain."

I was warned by my friend Jen that this was a very sweet book and she found herself teary throughout. Because she emphasized "sweet" and not "sad," I predicted it was a different sentiment from "Marley and Me," which had me wailing/crying, and then finally calming down, only to re-read pages and start wailing and crying again. Still, I wish I had read the last several chapters in the comforts of my own home so I could have experienced a good cry at the beauty of this novel.

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is told from the perspective of a dog named Enzo. Enzo is a thoughtful and insightful dog, and extremely eloquent, but of course he is unable to express his thoughts to humans. So as readers, we have the exclusive privilege of seeing the world through his wise dog eyes.  I love how human he often seems, and how his canine instincts often get in the way of that humanness. For instance, he's embarrassed that he sleeps with a toy dog. He'll give into anything for a banana. He knows that hot peppers are not good for him, but he eats them anyways.  He can't say no- he's a dog!

I won't give any more details of the book away, but I definitely recommend this book. It was nice to end every evening in bed, reading a light-hearted, sentimental story told from the viewpoint of the sweetest dog ever.

Well, the sweetest fictional dog ever. This is the sweetest dog ever:


My wild puppy

Goofy, but still such a sweet picture.  Photo courtesy of Bens xx

Newton, Boston and Salem

Rhett and I had a fantastic time visiting our good friends in MA this past weekend.  Correction from a previous post- we got to cross off 3 new states on this one road trip! Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Hurrah!

Jackie and John live in an adorable town called Newton, which is about 10 miles outside of downtown Boston.  Rhett and I couldn't get over the quaintness of the town- this was our first time to New England, and it did not fail to live up to our expectations.  We walked along the Charles River, which is just a short walk from their house.

Charles River, Newton

Trail along the Charles River

Jackie and John

Rhettster and me

Beautiful fall foliage!

Every town around Boston has its own town center, very much like England's high streets. By the end of our visit, I'm sure Jackie and John were tired of hearing "this reminds me so much of London!" We said this A LOT, especially while walking in downtown Boston. 

I want this shirt.
On Friday night, we drove into Boston and had drinks at Mr. Dooley's Irish Pub, where there was a live one-man Irish band. This of course reminded me and Rhett of Ireland (see a trend here?). We also hit up Beantown Pub- I liked Mr. Dooley's better because of the atmosphere, but both had a great beer selection.

On Saturday, we spent most of the afternoon walking around the North End of Boston, hitting up some historical spots along the way. 

Paul Revere's home

They love this guy here!

"One if by land, two if by sea."

After Boston, we drove to Salem, MA.  Now, I'm not sure what I was expecting in Salem. The Salem witch trials are a fascinating subject to me, and I love the literary works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.  So I suppose I was somewhat expecting a bit of eerie spookiness in a quiet, haunted New England town.  Well, that's not what Salem is these days, at least not in mid-October.  The best words I can use are commercialized and hokey. However, we went on a ghost tour that was indeed very creepy at times, as we stood on no less than three burial grounds and saw the 3rd most haunted place in America (according to the tour guide). He left us a lot of info to speculate upon, though (Charles Dickens got the idea for "A Christmas Carol" from Nathaniel Hawthorne? Not convincing).  The four of us agreed that if you were to visit Salem in the dead of winter at night, it would probably be extremely creepy and you might even see a ghost or two.

Adorable house in Salem


So. Many. People

Haunted graveyard

We ended our visit Sunday with brunch and walking around Harvard Square.  There was a big regatta going on, so Cambridge was bustling with people and activity.  It was a gorgeous campus, and I'm excited to explore it more someday. I could have spent hours in the Harvard Book shop.

Harvard.  I was accepted here but chose to go to OU. (Ha)

Dear British and European friends: 375 years is actually a very long time in America!

Publishing friends: A book machine! Makes bound books in minutes.

Beautiful books

Gorgeous gift editions

Smart people studying

Jackie and I decided this building must be a secret society.

Fancy schmany mimosa in Hahvard
 Of course, most of the fun we had was hanging out with Jackie and John. We always have such a great time with them- we miss them so much! We're already planning another trip to hopefully see them in December, en route to a wedding in New Hampshire.