Category Archives: Travel

Nebraska

Kearny, NE

While planning the drive to New Jersey, some friends mentioned I could stay with their family in Kearney, Nebraska. It would be a six hour drive from Golden — far enough on the first day, with a heavy spring snow still falling. When I arrived at Nancy and Dan’s home, I was greeted with a warm hug, tails wagging on the porch and an adorable granddaughter running circles around Nelson.

She had just lost her very first tooth. Would I like to see it? And had I ever met the Tooth Fairy?

Kearny, NE

Nancy and Dan have a 100-plus-year-old white farmhouse — with horses in a nearby pasture and an odd collection of cactus planted between the dog houses and a trampoline for the many grandkids. Spring had been so wet, there was no corn yet planted. Otherwise, Kearney would have been a scene reminiscent of “Field of Dreams.” They were quick to welcome me to their kitchen table, where we sat for several hours, speaking of our families and interests in gardening. Nancy showed me one of her many scrapbooks, and talked about that cactus garden — one she’s created over the years as she can find the rare plants in middle America. Dan talked about his work around town, including at their church. As night fell, they served pot roast, roasted potatoes and carrots and homemade bread and that was as white and sweet as it was decadent. Their six-year-old granddaughter had her own song as she watched the bread come out of the oven to the table:

“Bread, bread, bread. More, more more!” She hummed this repeatedly through the meal, sneaking Nelson the dark tan crust as she could.

These were my kind of people.

Kearny, NE

Nancy laughed while showing me my room with vintage quilts at the foot of a comfy bed and shaggy green carpet underfoot.

“You know this house used to be one of disrepute,” she whispered. “Way before we bought it, of course.” She raised one eyebrow. We’d just spent two hours talking about families and our love of God. Now that she had me alone, I was delighted to discover this nuance in Nancy’s personality.

“Like a brothel?” I asked, scanning the walls, innocently decorated with family photos and aging school projects.

“Exactly.”

“Oh, wow.” I wondered where the conversation was going, when it took a very unexpected turn.

“And the rumor is, someone was killed in this room!” She said it with a big smile and genuine enthusiasm. I gulped.

I was thinking, “Uh, Nancy? You should probably tell visitors that after the leave. Not before they climb in.”

Instead I said, “Uh, well thanks for the hospitality!” Crickets chirped nearby.

She must have heard the unease in my voice.

“Oh, honey. You’ll be fine. We’ve never seen the ghost! Good night!”

And with that, she was out the door. Nelson, none the wiser, did his characteristic three turns at the foot of the bed before soon snoring like a lumberjack. I pulled back the quilts, settled in and listened as the house creaked. I heard the old wooden stairs leading up to that bedroom shift several times in the night.

Must have been the Tooth Fairy.

Kearny, NE

Before I left the next morning, Nancy had cut an ear off of her prized Galapagos cactus to take to New Jersey as a housewarming gift, and had filled a small bag with her handmade stamped cards, which I had admired after dinner. They even called to make sure we got in okay the next night in Chicago.

Families like these that fill me with hope. Their kindness for a stranger and her mutt was extraordinary.Thank you Nancy and Dan — you exceeded all stereotypical expectations for the caring and warmth of a Midwestern family!
Bread, bread, bread. More More More!

~K

 

 

 

 

Why, hello!

Oh, why hello there! It took a full week for the Interwebs to be connected at our new home, and as such — things are a bit backed up. Bills need to be paid, I’ve have 3 kajillion email to return, and there is that small task of finding a new job.

Also: this. I am have written three drafts this week. (Score one for productivity linked to lack of access to TMZ.)

Two weeks ago I was in Texas, with my folks and my Aunt Karen. I didn’t just attend crazy awesome parades. We also did the river walk, the Alamo, and margaritas the size of my head. God bless TexMex.

San Antonio Visit

San Antonio Visit

San Antonio Visit

San Antonio Visit

San Antonio Visit

San Antonio Visit

Sadly, the Alamo still does not have a basement. 

The best part of the trip? Other than when my mom jumped into a photo with several local beauty queens:

Four Texas Beauty Queens

Tough to beat, I know.  But spending time with my Aunt Karen felt like a gift. We don’t get to see each other nearly enough, and it was a delight to see how she and my dad had an unspoken language. Their mannerisms and word choices were eerily similar; so much is written in DNA. I am thankful to call her family. 

Karen and Dad

xo,

K

 

On the Road Again…

I wish I could quote more Willie Nelson songs, but this one is most appropriate. Nelson and I hit the road tomorrow for Nebraska, then Chicago, and finally on to the East Coast. I have cried buckets this week,  (saying goodbye to my brother? You have to be kidding me.) but I am also so very excited to be moving on to the next part of life.

So, while we are out exploring the Midwest, a few more photos from crazy days in Texas last weekend:

Fiesta!

Pristine gardens in the King William section of San Antonio

Fiesta!

The dude abides. Even in street fair art.

Fiesta!

Nacho Libre as a dog. BEEEEG KISS. (and cheeeeps for the orphans.)

Fiesta!

Confetti dog. Adorbs.

Fiesta!

This woman is a self described “hostess with the mostess.”

Fiesta!

And these are her Twinkies.

Fiesta!

How pretty is this little boy?

Fiesta!

Almost as pretty as this horse.

Fiesta!

And a random parade participant dressed as butter. Who did not explain, but kinda didn’t have to in San Antonio. Folks are big, and happy and love good food in this town.

More to come. Happy trails, friends!

~K

Viva Fiesta!

Fiesta!

I visited San Antonio this weekend to be with my folks and aunt. It was the typical family visit in that I slept, ate and argued a ton. There were board games, long walks with the family dog, long visits on the patio with cool drinks, a tour of the Alamo and river walk, etc.

Fiesta!

This weekend was also Fiesta — an extensive city-wide party that includes a handful of themed parades. We caught the King William Parade Saturday afternoon.

Fiesta!

ROY G. BIV was the guest of honor. It was a feast for the senses. A parade full of thousands of happy people, dressed in the wildest costumes. Streets lined with cheerful parade-goers — wearing wreaths of flowers in their hair, vests of medals, streamers, etc. And my very favorite thing: dogs in costumes.

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

IMGFiesta!_6466

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Fiesta!

Just a taste — many more to come over the next few days. Again, for the second time in a matter of a few weeks — I was delightfully surprised to find myself surrounded by a community celebrating with abandon simply because they could. Truly, wildly, fully loving life.

Thank you, San Antonio. For reminding me to get over myself, and be silly.

My mother could have been queen (a story for another day.) She was shaking her stuff with the best of them!
~K

 

 

 

Spring and the City

The last few shots here and there of a city I no longer find overwhelming. Instead, I now understand it is huge, noisy, beautiful, difficult, always changing, complicated and unwilling to be conquered — but not unwilling to be explored.

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

View from a suite on the 41st floor of the Waldorf Astoria

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

Odd public art found along the Highline Park walk

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

Spring in Chelsea

Spring in the City

My favorite part of NYC: the number of languages that can be heard wandering the street.

Spring in the City

My least favorite part: the claustrophobia. Tiny elevators. Huge buildings. Cramped crosswalks. Elbows in my side, broken curb beneath my feet, sirens screaming, truck drivers vs. pedestrian, and very little room to hear my heartbeat.

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

Spring in the City

The best things in NYC are free. The Met. The parks. The people watching. Such a great place to visit.

~K

5th Avenue Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

Delightfully, we stumbled into the 5th avenue Easter parade after brunch. The street was closed; hundreds of people tumbled out of St. Patrick’s cathedral after morning mass, dressed in their finest. Others — including gorgeous drag queens, families with decorated strollers, socialites with hats tailored to match those worn by their teacup dogs, and just about anything else you can imagine — wandered with wide smiles down the street as the church bells tolled endlessly.

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

Some were celebrating Easter, others Spring and yet others the opportunity to dress in costume and be photographed.

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

It was a surprising display of happy humanity. Everyone was so nice to each other and there was an attitude of pure celebration.

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

NYC 5th Ave Easter Parade

Dogs in hats? I LOVE DOGS IN HATS.

NYC, keep it up. You quirky, fun, misunderstood bunch of weirdos.

xo,

K

 

 

Oh, the food.

I didn’t really get any good photographs of any of the fancy meals we ate. I was too busy, well, eating. And oh, New York, you are so good with the food. Even the gyro street carts with saffron rice and suspicious meat sources smelled delicious at times.

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

Ess-a Bagels is by far the best bagel I’ve ever had. So good, we ate there twice. (I’d eaten there the first time I was in NYC too, after getting a demanding recommendation from my friend — and former NYC librarian — Stacey.) The lox on an everything bagel is so good, I couldn’t finish it. The peanut butter and bacon on sesame? Well. I left little behind. I would eat here far too often if I lived in the city, and justify doing so with the endless miles you spend walking.

Plus, the guys behind the counter provide an authentic NYC experience. You get the feeling that if you don’t move through the line with enough speed, order with enough precision (there is no time to linger once you get to the counter), and do so in voce alto, they will holler back: NO BAGEL FOR YOU!

Oh, the food.

I’d never seen these in person — only in cooking magazines. Dean and DeLuca is quite possibly the most amazing foodie store I’ve ever had a chance to wander.

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

I want to buy the giant pig serving tray. Cute and useful! Also! I need to own absolutely nothing else at the moment. (Score the rare point for shopping restraint.)

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

And then there was the Easter brunch at the Waldorf:

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

We did not eat here, but walked through the lobby for these shots. What I couldn’t get a good photo of was the giant bowl of lobster. Unbelievable.

And then there was Eataly. Oh. MY. GOD! Eataly. All 75 floors of food and ingredient heaven.

Plus beautiful bakery window displays for the Easter weekend:

Oh, the food.

Oh, the food.

And great coffee shops:

Oh, the food.

And champagne by the iced bucket:

Oh, the food.

My favorite meal was Le Cirque lobster risotto. Or that peanut butter bacon bagel. Tough call.

A decadent escape!

~K

The Met

A view from the Met

I’d never been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’d guess this place is never empty, but what a day we picked to visit. Good Friday — and it was packed with families speaking every language you could imagine.

Even though we had all day to wander, after just a few hours, I was ready to leave. It was too much, in a good way. My head was spinning from everything I’d seen. Cezanne. Matisse. Van Gogh. Picasso. Manet. Monet. And plenty of others who studied with these greats, created art just as beautiful, but didn’t rise to the same level of fame.

I felt like a kid who’d been dropped off at an ice cream buffet. Good! Good! Better! Amazing! Woozy!

Ohmygodwehavetoleaverightnow.

A view from the Met

(I will always think of Min and Jason when I see Degas.)

A view from the Met

A view from the Met

A view from the Met

A view from the Met

A view from the Met

A view from the Met

 

I felt so privileged to spend this time with art I’d only ever seen in books. And in a city of sirens, honking and smelly food carts — the world seemed to come spinning to a halt as crowds quietly and politely moved from room to room in awe of these masterpieces.

~K

NYC II

Instagram

I’m packed and leaving for a long weekend in NYC. Theater, long meals, dancing until the wee hours of the morning, walking, walking and more walking.

You know.

(Do you know? Because I don’t. I’m trying to play it cool, while my suitcase with approximately 35 different outfit options screams otherwise. Be cool, Donley. Be cool.)

I’ve had one previous trip to NYC which was really only 8 hours wandering in the city by myself. The rest of my Big Apple knowledge comes from television and film. As such, I anticipate finding my soulmate at Serendipity. Getting mugged for my Louboutins. And seeing a giant marshmallow man near the Empire State, which may or may not also have a huge gorilla hanging off the top.

All bound to happen. Right?

Right.

The good news: my good camera is packed. My shenanigans will be recorded. It will be a weekend to remember.

~K