Monday, 30 December 2013

Cohen Christmas

Before he became a Talalay, James was a Cohen. Growing up, the Cohens celebrated Christmas. This year, they renewed the tradition. Everyone showed up and present opening - and over-eating -commenced, as if they hadn't missed a holiday beat.

The table was set.

A little teaser of flurries to set the mood. Eager son conferring with Dad over Santa details. How does he know to skip Jewish homes? Or show up to certain Jewish homes that want him to stop by? Must be an app for that now.

Nephews on an outing.

Fire station decorated. Double yule log dessert - so impressive, Sarah!

Getting ready to rip.

The kiddie-lode. Expectant eyes.
Yea! Christmas rocked! Someone got the costume he wanted!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Birthday Pool Party

One of the important things you're supposed to do in the Foreign Service is to soak up good ol' American culture when back in the United States. Make sure you know what you're representing when stationed in Burundi, for example.

Bring on the casual birthday pool party. First come tables in the backyard.

Then the friends.

The main attraction (after the birthday girl), the pool. Writing a last-minute birthday card.

Yes, a dog day afternoon.


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

At The Bay Area Discovery Museum

James had a chance to hang out with his cute, little nephew at the Bay Area Discovery Museum recently. Museums and kids, usually not a good pair. Snore, ruffled people in old paintings. The Discovery Museum is made for kids and their lust for trains and anything dirty. Bring on the fake fish!

The scenery ain't bad.

The highlight was a loose maze made entirely of woven vines. Divine!

A human-made stream with Chinese-made fish and frogs. Where the rubber meets the water.

A sedate romper room.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Going Deep (Throat) For The Holidays

It's the holidays - so what better place to celebrate than in a nondescript parking garage?

Sarah gets into the spirit, looking happy and festive. Rock them reindeer antlers!

But who's James whispering to? Giving Santa a secret list?

Reveal the gift, Sarah.

Yup, Jame and Sarah got their holiday spirit on at the garage made famous by...

You know you've come a long way as a nation when a historical place related to a national disgrace is deserving of a plaque that even includes the infamous words:

Fantastic! Wishing you a scandal-free holiday season!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Craig Stover, Master Painter

Sarah and James had the pleasure of attending the legendary holiday party of the great painter Craig Stover. As a bonus, they got to peek at the master's studio.

There's a lovely Talalay-Stover connection that runs through a Talalay vacation home in Maine. Craig and family rent the place, and the Talalays hope he gets inspired and brings the place alive as only he can.

Behold, his studio.

Signs of a robust, creative artist: a crammed workspace.

A recent Maine painting, in progress. Artist party groupies.

Sarah, a portrait of a lady.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

It's nice to see the ooze of franchises has stopped flowing to at least a few areas of the United States. For a perfect example, head to Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market. It's a warren of local eating and food shopping, a great place to grab lunch or a few fresh items to take home.

Market, kicking it old school.

Pull up a stool and eat awhile. But don't forget to tip, it's all spelled out for you.

Turkey, getting a royal tan.

The market is filled with nifty vendors with hip logos. Bread o' plenty.

And miles of meat.

You don't want the real thing? Go for your meat in chocolate. Or maybe you're a coco cannibal.

Good advice.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Craft Fair With A Lithuanian Treat

The annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is considered a heavy among U.S. craft fairs. At 37 years old, it's one of the oldest craft fairs in the country. The show features the usual bevy of interesting artists, but, in 2001, it began setting aside an area to showcase the work of a single foreign country.

This year it was Lithuania's turn - what luck! The 23 visiting artists from the Baltic nation provided a perfect little field trip for Sarah to practice Lithuanian. Could it be because there's a Lithuanian community in Philadelphia? Or that Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the European Union?

No matter, it was a great opportunity for Sarah and James to get acquainted with the interesting culture they will soon join.

Bring on the crafts!

Sarah, impressing the vendors with her Lithuanian prowess.

Paper cutting, do not try this craft at home.

More variety, from pottery to jewelry.

Whew, all that crafting makes one drowsy. Time to caffeine up.