Sunday, December 07, 2008
I can't really remember if packing everything up last Spring and moving was more or less difficult, but for some reason, it has been exhausting! I've pretty much figured out where everything is headed---there are many directions---some things to be stored in New York for my new apartment, some things to be opened in New York and used while I live with Mom and Dad, some things back to Dinsmore, some things to other friends in Charlottesville, and not too much to the trash.
Yesterday was a big day in the process. I brought my herb garden (yes, I've been growing and using a personal herb garden this year, making great use of my floor to ceiling windows) over to Serena and Elaine's and was actually quite sad to see it go. I had debated bringing it up, but knew it would be a disaster in the car and well, I didn't feel like holding it on my lap the whole way up. Alas, I'll be fresh-herb-free until next summer.
Andrew and Brad also came to pick up my couch and bring it back to Dinsmore. Many of you may know these couches well. I took the small one (if you could call it small) to my apartment downtown for the semester, but decided that it's true home was Dinsmore, not New York. So there was a great reunion of the two couches back at their home yesterday. We had a Christmas/Hannukah Dinner at Dinsmore last night with delicious beef stew, sauteed leeks, garlic bread and kugel, and I think everyone was pretty happy to have the couches back together. Plus, as everyone who's ever slept over knows, the small one is by far the more comfortable bed.
Today I'm going to tackle my clothes. This is the real difficulty in dividing up, because I need to separate clothes for the next 2 days of moving from clothes to wear in New York the next week from clothes I'll need in New York the entire winter from clothes that I won't need until the summer and can keep packed up. So, needless to say, many more piles will be created throughout the day.
Tomorrow, Mom comes down to help out. I've delegated her to the china portion of the packing, since she graciously donated her china to my apartment and I have no desire to be the cause of it all breaking during its return. Monday night/Tuesday morning the movers are coming to take everything. Tuesday, my bedroom furniture is being transported over to the McLean's house, for Liz's apartment next year. And then on Wednesday, we drive back home.
Why I decided to outline my moving schedule for this blog post, I have no idea. Well, I do. It's to waste time and put off the actual packing tasks I've now outlined for the day. This is probably the least thrilling post I've written, but at this point, I'm just ready to get moving. I'm not sure how this blog will transform as I make my way north and (hopefully) into the working world. For the next month or so, I'm sure I'll just fill it with Holiday musings and stories about being unemployed and moving back into a bedroom covered in U2, Phish, and Dawson's Creek posters. Plenty of amusement ahead, I'm sure.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Though I've been in Charlottesville for 5 years, this was the first I'd heard of the Grand Caverns, which are over near Waynesboro. The Grand Caverns are enormous caves found inside of a large mountain over 200 years ago, and they were actually quite fascinating. The stalagmites (as in, they MIGHT some day reach the top) and stalagtites (as in, they hold on TIGHT to the ceiling) were absolutely stunning, as were the many shield formations, columns, reflection pools, and calacite coverings. It was really fascinating that such a world exists inside of a mountain!!
Of course, those of you who know me well will be asking these questions: Calvine, aren't you extremely claustrophobic? And don't you get motion sickness with the drop of a hat in the backseat of a sedan, let alone bus? Yes and yes. I stumbled off the bus, feeling absolutely awful, but managed to keep the kids in line. I was quite disappointed that we had to sit in the back of the bus with the students, since I remember teachers getting the lame (but less bumpy!) front end! I also squeezed tightly (you know, to make sure they were ok) the hands of my students when we experiences "cave darkness" and turned off all of the lights. And I threw up in my mouth a little bit when the tour guide said, about 50 minutes into the hike inside the cave, "look up at the ceiling. It is 100 feet above you. 100 feet above that is the ground." Needless to say, fresh air was very welcome!
Of course, our picnic-ing plans (in the much-needed fresh air) were foiled when a snowstorm hit mid-bite of my egg salad sandwich. It was actually somewhat welcome, as most of our fingers were about to fall off because it was so cold. We quickly wrapped everything up, hopped back on the bus, and braved the blizzard back to school! The second half of lunch was eaten at our desks while the students worked on their new Grand Caverns coloring books.
When the bell rang at 2:20, I hugged my kids goodbye, wished them a Happy Thanksgiving, and downed a Diet Coke ASAP. I was exhausted! Field trips were just as I'd remembered them -- physically uncomfortable but the perfect way to get out of school for a day! Everyone was excited and the kids really enjoyed it. I won't go into the curriculum connection because, well, there isn't much of one, but promoting curiousity and exploration is really important for young students, many of whom do not have experiences like field trips outside of school. I drove out of school that day with an "I survived the 2nd grade Field Trip!" smile across my face and headed to the airport for my own much-needed Thanksgiving Break.
For more information on the Grand Caverns: http://www.uvrpa.org/grandcaverns.htm
Monday, October 27, 2008
Yesterday, the Travel section of the New York Times ran its "36 Hours in..." column on Charlottesville. You can only imagine my excitement as I came upon it, sitting in my one-bedroom apartment, drinking tea on a sunny Sunday morning (/afternoon...) all by myself...in Charlottesville!
The column breaks down a weekend in a different city/town/neighborhood every week, and it is actually a really fun read. I tend to want to save them (only to remember that they are all accessible online) for future weekend-getaway planning. To give you a sense of scope, however, last Sunday's column was "36 hours in Paris."
Ahh, the inevitable Charlottesville vs. Paris vs. New York argument. So common amongst haughty Charlottesvillians! There is a store on the Downtown Mall (actually a really great store), Caspari, that lists on its windows: "CASPARI: New York - Paris - London - Charlottesville." The classic joke. You know, because those four cities are practically one in the same. Totally on the same level.
Well, Caspari really does have stores in just those four cities (actually, though, I just found out, there one in Tokyo too), and the Times really does run profiles on Charlottesville. The article was thoughtful, and I generally agree with the daytime suggestions: a walk on the Downtown Mall, wine tasting at Barboursville, a visit to Monticello, a Saturday morning visit to the Lawn, etc. But my main issue with the review (which came off as weak because of this) was its lack of focus on the fantastic restaurants in Charlottesville. Sure, it hit Feast (the greatest lunch spot ever), but its dinners were the Clifton Inn and some place I'd never heard of in Barboursville. Really?? Have you ever heard of MAS???
Well, clearly, no. One day, I'll write my own "36 Hours in Charlottesville," and in detail describe the delicious options that you have for dinner... Ten, Mas, Blue Light, The Upstairs, Zocalo, C&O (seriously I can't believed they missed C&O), Duner's, OXO (RIP), South Street, even the Virginian!!! All I have to say is, if you really want a romantic and/or fun weekend escape to Charlottesville, Virginia--which I'd highly recommend--ask me, not the Times. I've spent 53 months here. A lot longer than 36 hours.
The article can be found here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/travel/26hours.html?scp=2&sq=36%20hours&st=cse and I welcome all commentary on it from all of you current and former Charlottesvillians.
With that, I will end this post with an announcement: I will officially be moving to New York in December. Though I love Charlottesville, I am thrilled to finally be making the move back up north. I am very happy about my decision and am so looking forward to settling into the city! Hopefully this will mean seeing many more of you.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ahh apple picking, we were thinking. What a relaxing, enjoyable, delicious activity to do in the fall. We planned to go an a hike in the afternoon, so this would just be a brief stop off before that. I'd driven by that "Pick your Own Apples" handpainted sign on the way to Monticello and some of the vineyards in the eastern part of town (only about 5 minutes from my apartment) and figured it would be an easy thing to do. Well, clearly we needed a slap in the face, because apple picking was neither brief nor easy. It was a whole-hearted adventure.
Turns out that not only had we chosen the Disneyland of Apple Orchards, we'd done so during their "Apple Harvest Festival" weekend, which also coincides with the Saturday two weeks before Halloween (i.e. ideal pumpkin purchasing time). So, there was nothing leisurely about this.
As we made the turn by the sign, we were met by a man in the road who handed us a map. "A map? How cute," we thought to ourselves, "we'll know where to find which kind of apples," not realizing that this was the first sign of many that this was more than a "cute" day at the orchard. As we wound our way slowly up the mountain (it took about 15 minutes, very windy), we started to realize that there were a heck of a lot of cards coming at us, on their way down the mountain. They were coming in droves by the hundreds, and we just could not figure it out. How many people could really be apple picking that there was this fast of a turnaround?? Ha.
Turns out, it was a complete zoo. Think Playland on a sunny Saturday in July. Took about 20 minutes to find a parking spot, weaving through the hundreds (literally) of cars and thousands (literally) of people. Strollers, wagons, babies, grandparents, families of 20, you name it, they were there. It was packed. Who were all these people? I have no idea and still cannot figure it out. They must have been coming in from all over the state! It was a holiday weekend, so all of the UVA students were out of town, plus there was a UVA football game going on, so all Charlottesvillians who enjoy UVA football were there. These people, whoever they were, there were a lot of them.
The festival was huge. 200 person lines for hot dog stands, doughnut stands, hayrides, bathrooms, tent vendors, pumpkins, everything!! You could barely navigate the place. We grabbed our bags and ran into the orchards, trying to hunt for apples as far from other people as possible.
Luckily, the actual orchards were fantastic. They were only semi-crowded, and if you went just a little bit farther into them than the other families, the apples were abundant. Oh, right, the apples. They were delicious!! We tried every type they had (we each probably ate 9 apples in 2 hours) and picked our favorites -- Golden Delicious, Fuji, York, and Granny Smith. Each apple was juicier than the last, and there's something about eating them while wandering the orchard picking them that makes them taste just that much better.
We ended up with 4 pounds of apples and avoided all lines. One of the highlights of this place (Carter Mountain, by the way) is the view. You are way up on top of the mountain, overlooking Charlottesville. It was absolutely stunning! All in all, the drama was well worth the wholesome fun. We really had a great time and will certainly be laughing about the completely unbelievable crowds for years to come. I honestly had no idea that apple picking could be comparable in hecticness to the Bronx Zoo. Well, the Bronx Zoo with a very southern twist.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
On September 23rd, I got the email from Neimans that they'd shipped. "Perfect!" I thought, "they might even make it in time for the Harriman Cup on the 27th!" Well, they didn't make it. And they didn't make it in time for this weekend, either. Very suspicious.
I got onto Fedex.com to investigate. Yep, still sent from Texas on the 23rd. Currently "in transit." Well, that's bizarre, because unless they were arriving by foot, they should have gotten here a week ago. So I call Fedex. This package has been flagged. "Flagged?" I ask, thinking that was NOT a good sign. "Yes," said Nick of Fedex, "and actually Ms. Dunnan, there's more information here. The Fedex truck that your package was traveling on happened to catch on fire en route from Texas to the East Coast, so that's why it was never delivered." WHAT!!!
I know, talk about a freak accident! I almost went into shock. I felt like Brad in the Rachel Zoe project during that episode where the dresses were stuck in Tennessee, but much worse. My boots weren't stuck in Texas, they were burned in Texas! Destroyed! Was this some sort of sign? Had I chosen the wrong pair of boots??
After much confused laughter and disbelief, I called Neimans the next day. The lady was hilarious. "Ahh yes, ma'am, the old fire on the Fedex Truck issue. We had a number of packages on this truck. " (The fedex guy claimed there were anywhere from 1200-1900 packages on the trailer). So, no, this story does not end all that happily. The boots were no longer in stock, so I couldn't even pull my planned "Well, you should at LEAST overnight them to me for the inconvenience!" schpeal. I just had to accept the credit and move on (to another website for the boots, of course).
Ah, drama. I still can't believe this happened. A freak Fedex truck fire in Texas burned my beautiful boots to a crisp?
When we first walked in, it was totally empty minus one table of three older men. At 8:30 on a Friday night, we were (needless to say) a little tentative about the choice. Nevertheless, they were very kind, led us to our table (good thing we got reservations...) and acted as if it was not weird at all that the restaurant was empty.
OK - all strangeness ended there, as we began one of the most delicious dinners I've had in a long time. The menu consists mostly of seafood (scallops, crab cakes, salmon), french delicacies (sweet breads, foie gras, etc.) and steaks. I quickly decided on a tenderloin, and for my sides ordered garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. I started with the House salad. I mean, the restaurant was empty, I played safe.
The food was out of this world. The salad was simple yet elegant, the steak was cooked absolutely perfectly, and the mushrooms and potatoes were melt in your mouth. Everyone at the table was in heaven with each dish we had. The crabcakes were a particularly big hit, as was the roasted cinnamon butternut squash side that Andrew had. The whole meal was SO delicious. We left promising each other to talk up the restaurant to anyone and everyone.
A meal like this, to me, is so Charlottesville. Nothing is ever completely normal, or smooth, or what you would expect, but everything is high-quality, genuine, and worth the quirks. Empty restaurant? Who even cares - the food was delicious. And we had great service!
For more information, visit www.theupstairscharlottesville.com
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Spain...On the Road Again - A PBS miniseries following Mario Batali, Gwenyth Paltrow, Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols as they drive around Spain in convertibles, searching for delicious food and enjoying Spain's culture. It just premiered last week, and I know, the cast is fantastic. It's casual, light, and very enjoyable. You can also log onto the website for various recipes and extras.
Drawing Babar - The new show at the Morgan Library, featuring original watercolors from the Babar series. They are SO wonderful. Be sure to grab lunch at the Cafe after!
The Sharper the Knife, the Less you Cry, by Kathleen Flinn - The book I just finished, written by a woman who lost her job, and picked up to go to Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. Everyone's dream! Though it toys with some cheesy parts (particularly since her boyfriend came with her), the writing is good and reading about the school is fantastic! She takes Basic, Intermediate, and Superior Cuisines (each a semester) to earn a diploma. It also mixes in recipes.
iTunes Genius - This may or may not beat out the Style.com app for greatest Apple feature. If you download the new version of iTunes, you can now highlight a song you want to listen to, click a button, and voila! A whole playlist, based on that song, is created for you from your library. It has changed the way I listen to music, and I've loved how it pulls out songs I haven't thought about listening to in years. I feel like this is one of those technology things you used to imagine would be cool, but never thought could happen. It did!
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield - Essentially a B-version of High Fidelity, the real draw of this book (which is about music and love and loss in the 90's) is that it takes place in Charlottesville! I'm only through the first chapter, and he's already talked about Tokyo Rose and Plan 9. Sick! (N.B. As I've only gotten through the first chapter, this might not be a true recommendation, but updates on quality to come...)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Obviously, I'm a little behind on writing about the cooking class. Everything has just been so overwhelmingly wonderful this week (I've really had the best time and am so glad I chose this as my graduation present) that I've hardly had time to post. Well, in all honesty, I've just been eating too much to post!
We started off Wednesday with an even more luxurious breakfast - Italian pastries at Ferrara's in Little Italy. The restaurant has been there for over 100 years (back when Little Italy wasn't quite as little) serving delicious Italian food, and most notably, pastries. Unlike yesterday's chocolate croissants, which we could justify as somewhat breakfast-related, these pastries were 100% desserts. We ate scrumptious chocolate-dipped cannolis and creme-filled sfogiarellas and chocolate mousse chimineras at 10am with no regrets! Mmmmm what a delicious way to start off Italian day!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
This time, we decided on a simple, close-knit list: we'd first hit MoMA (on a Saturday, its very important to arrive there or at the Met right at the opening to avoid a complete disaster), then (much to Wright's eye-rolling) we'd go to the Henry Darger exhibit next door at the American Folk Art Museum, and finally, we'd walk down to the Morgan Library and have a late lunch. I'll split up this post into three sections, one for each stop.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
This weekend, I moved from my apartment of 3 years to the downtown area of Charlottesville. It's been pretty hectic but I'm starting to feel somewhat settled, and have spent a couple nights in my new abode. It's a one bedroom apartment, located a block off the Downtown Mall - a central pedestrian street lined with restaurants and stores.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
Though this blog won’t be entirely about art, I wanted to make my first entry about my Senior Art Show, which was up at the Off-Grounds Gallery the last week in April. I just found a review of it on the blog artPark. Scroll down a bit, he reviewed my show last. He also thought I was a boy - I’m not.
I think it was a pretty good review - I agree with him that the images didn’t necessarily evoke a certain nostalgia for family vacations, but they weren’t meant to. I broke down the images in reference to a breaking down of the landscape as our relationship evolves with it, both in the sense of family vacations, and humanity’s construction and destruction of the land around us.
In reflecting on the show, I am really happy with it. It was stressful at times, and though I was very nervous for my two critiques, they both ended up being really interesting. The conversations that occurred during them were intelligent, thoughtful responses to my artwork which I really had a great time participating in.
I wish I had more images of the opening on Friday night, but unfortunately I was so overwhelmed that a camera never even got into my hand. It was a lot of fun, though, and meant a lot to have so many friends, family members, and professors come out for it. Thank you!
Below is a link to more images of the show, as well as my Artist’s Statement.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I'm hoping the blog will be a combination of things I'm doing, trips I go on, restaurant recommendations, recipes I try, etc. Anything and everything about my life.
Updates to come - my apologies for the delay!