Thursday, April 30, 2015

Conservatory Garden

The Conservatory Garden in Central Park is one of my very favorite places. Three years ago, the tulips there changed my life and it's been awing me in every season since. The flowers and trees around the city have been struggling a bit this year, however, with the cold weather lingering on ... and on and on.

I thought it was about time to check out what was blooming in the Conservatory Garden a few days ago during my lunch break, and I wasn't disappointed. The main circle of tulips—usually packed with multi-color flowers—was mostly filled with white daffodils. Daffodils aren't my favorite flowers, but en masse they really were beautiful.

The southern half of the garden is much more colorful and filled with tulips of all different colors currently in full bloom. I think I must have a sort of flower amnesia because every spring I'm amazed by the varieties and feel like it's my first time ever seeing most of them. I'm usually drawn to the darker, more somber colors but this time I couldn't get enough of the pale peach and yellow tulips.

The lilac trees (my favorite) are just barely beginning to bloom but they still smell incredible. The cherry blossoms are also a few weeks from peak bloom, but the pink magnolia trees are spectacular. I've already forgotten what it's like to feel desperately cold while dodging piles of frozen trash that covered the city this winter, which is certainly no small feat.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Scarborough Renaissance Festival: Part Three

When my sister first mentioned that there was a Renaissance fair(e) near her, I looked it up online and immediately knew that we had to go. One of the first things that sold me was the Mythical Monster Museum: "This walk through attraction is filled with all manner of monsters, from tiny fairies to mighty dragons. See the equipment and weapons used to slay and capture monsters!"

The fact that admission was only $3/person further sealed the deal. It appealed to my sister's love of monsters and mythical creatures, in addition to my love of all things ridiculous and it didn't disappoint on either front.

It was surprisingly packed and thorough for how small of a space it occupied and we spent a good amount of time going from room to room. Each mythical creature had a description and illustration on parchment, accompanying a specimen of some sort—we saw a unicorn skull, a siren skeleton, the tentacle of a kraken, a house elf that looked very much like a certain Harry Potter elf, a few gnomes, a Gru ("Sometimes, they kill people"), a yeti, various trolls, some werewolves and one horned, bearded creature that looked unnervingly like John Travolta (John Troll-volta was one of my best jokes of the day).

We joked as we walked through the museum about how disappointed we were that none of the specimens were real—but I guess any museum lucky enough to secure a real troll or vampire specimen would charge a lot more than $3 and probably wouldn't be located in a Renaissance fair(e) in the middle of Waxahachie, Texas.

Part One  |  Part Two

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dachshund Spring Fiesta

Sometime last week the Lord planted a photo in Francesca's Instagram feed that mentioned the upcoming Dachshund Spring Fiesta in Washington Square Park. She showed it to me, we immediately made plans to go and on Saturday we met up prepared to see more wiener dogs in hot dog costumes than we could handle. Unfortunately we ended up seeing exactly zero dachshunds in buns—we squealed with joy upon thinking we had finally found one only to realize it was an impostor (chihuahua).

Other than the bun fiasco, however, the two-hour event was a complete and total delight. I kept repeating over and over "my mouth hurts from smiling so much," and there isn't a better way to describe how the gathering of so many dachshunds in one place made me feel.

I was surprised by the variety of colors and sizes on display, although I will always prefer my dachshunds miniature and short-haired. We did see some really unique color combinations, including the new-to-me "Isabella" (hi Big Al!) and a few all-black dachshunds that were really beautiful.

The weather was really beautiful on Saturday, and since the event started at noon the direct sunlight was causing the most amazing shadows. I became slightly obsessed with capturing the perfect wiener dog shadow—is there anything better than the classic shape of a dachshund?

Although not as perfect as buns, there were some pretty wonderful outfits—a Pope, a skunk, a reindeer, a three-headed, three-eyed dog, a motorcycle dude in a Harley jacket and jeans, and a variety of really adorable sweaters/sweatshirts.

I have always heard that dachshunds tend to be mean, but that wasn't our experience at all. Every dog we met was extremely friendly, happy and maybe just a bit overwhelmed by all the new friends in the park—which also does a good job of further explaining how Francesca and I felt when we left.