Pearl Harbor

Pear Harbor Memorial, USS ArizonaPear Harbor Memorial

I wasn’t expecting to go to Hawaii this year, but I had a chance to visit my cousins and took it. We didn’t do many touristy things, but they took me to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. (The official name has changed to “World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument” and includes sites in Hawaii, Alaska, and California.)

While the most fun for me was seeing all my little cousins (four, ages 5 to 13), being at the site was very emotional as well since my grandpa served in the Pacific during World War II. Before boarding the boat that takes visitors to the memorial, we watched a short historical film which was so interesting (although it made most of us cry).

During World War II, my grandpa had leave in Hawaii. I was glad his photo was a solo portrait. Some of the men he served with were photographed with Hawaiian Hula girls. I always feel bad for them when I see the pictures.

WWII Midshipman (my grandpa) on leave in Hawaii




Here I was at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. Too bad none of the cardinal directions begin with an “A.”

Catie Copley, Canine Ambassador

Catie Copley is the Fairmont Copley Plaza‘s Canine Ambassador. When I walked into the hotel, I wondered why a doghouse was sitting outside, behind the lion flanking the door. I was delighted to find Catie resting on her couch in the reception area.

I sat with Catie for a few minutes and was amazed at her serenity in the face of the noise of the lobby. She was unflappable in the face of yelling children, rumbling luggage carts, and crowds of convention-goers. Later, I asked the staff in the gift store (where they sell a book on Catie’s adventures) about her. The very nice staffer seemed to really love Catie and informed me that Catie was 11, and had been trained as a seeing-eye dog but developed cataracts and couldn’t be placed with a seeing-impaired person. Instead, she came to the Fairmont Plaza. Catie doesn’t live at the hotel, but with a staff member, but she is on duty five days a week. Had I stayed at the Plaza, I would have asked to take her for a walk!

Biltmore Estate

Here are some of the photos I took when I visited the Biltmore Estate. The rooms were fascinating, but photography wasn’t allowed inside the manor. I counted the wine glasses at the family table setting (in a dining room with an organ) – there were five! George would’ve loved meals there. Despite how opulent the wallpaper, rugs, and decorations were, the beds were so small! (I wonder when mattress sizes became standardized…) The house had several guest rooms, several parlors, a music room, and in the bachelor’s wing, a gun room. It even had a fitness room with the wooden pins used for exercise as well as an indoor pool and two bowling lanes. The rooms that looked most comfortable to me were for the servants – both their quarters and eating space.

Visit PicMonkey to make a collage like the one above and to edit your photos!

Barnes Foundation Museum

When I arrived in Philadelphia, I had no idea that a new museum, the Barnes Foundation, had opened less than two weeks ago in the city. I was paging through the tourist magazine and saw that advance tickets were required. Luckily, I was able to get a slot at 7:30 p.m. on June 1.
Albert Barnes created the Barnes Foundation in 1922 to promote the appreciation of fine art. One gallery in the museum included his correspondence, much of it around the acquisition of pieces through his overseas agents. It was fascinating to see the negotiations, especially when they went awry, as in one case when a dealer did not want to extend Barnes credit. I decided I liked him immensely when I saw his devotion to his dog, Fidéle, who would occasionally sign letters, complete with his pawprint.

Fidéle’s gorgeous wooden bed was on display, along with many photographs of Barnes, his wife, and the pup.

The collection itself is amazing. Unlike most museums which are organized around historical period, the pieces in the Barnes foundation are grouped according to formal design element. A certain line may be reflected in a modern painting and an ancient African mask as well as a hinge or doorstop. It’s a very different and fascinating approach. Additionally, the collection features more Modigliani than I’ve ever seen before in one place, along with many Picasso and Renoir. This is a museum I’d like to return to soon. If you are in Philadelphia, I encourage you to visit the collection.