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[personal profile] tatdatcm
Hi All!  Got back from my mini-vacation yesterday evening, exhausted and glad to be home.  I had a wonderful time, but it's always nice to get back to your own bed, you know?

My husband and I went to Philadelphia, where one of my many cousins was getting married.  I should also tell you that his mother is kind of like my second mother.  I lived with them for a couple of years while he was in high school, so it was almost like my brother was getting married. 

The wedding wasn't in the city, but in one of the suburbs about 45 minutes southwest.  My cousin converted to Judaism and it was the first Jewish wedding I had ever attended.  Her family was amazingly nice, hospitable, and very tolerant of my and other family members ignorance and abundant questions. 

The celebration actually stretched over a few days.  We arrived on Thursday and were invited to dinner at the bride's grandmother's house.  Friday there was a dinner and ceremony that my husband and I did not attend.  We had made plans to do some sight-seeing.  Saturday we were all invited to the regular sabbath services where they bride and groom had candy thrown at them, another tradition.  Afterward, there was a lovely brunch. 

The wedding ceremony took place on Sunday and was amazing.  The Jewish wedding is full of tradition, with every portion symbolizing something.  We had a cheat sheet. ;)  It was lovely and simple and really emphasized the promises a couple makes to each other in marriage.  After the wedding there was a reception that was amazing and full of people.  I think they told us there were supposed to be 250 people.  It was loud, the music was good, the food was great, and the drinks were flowing.  We all tried to dance the hora, but it was so crowded on the dance floor that many of us just had to shuffle along. :) 

I got to see family members that I haven't seen in years, and visit with best friends that I haven't seen in months.  My husband...well, he was overwhelmed.  I think he enjoyed himself though.  I finally just started introducing people as "related" and "not related".  He got to drink with my uncles, sort of a ritual of acceptance, and totally received their approval.  He's only met them once before.

Anyhoo, I have some pictures of our sight-seeing to share with you.  We had limited time, so only went to Independence Hall and Valley Forge.

Independence Hall is having some repairs done, so the tower was not visible.  It was awful nice of them to put a picture on the scaffolding though.  Sort of?  [/sarcasm]  We didn't end up going in because the lines were very long and full of school children.

Just another view of Independence Hall.

There are several statues placed around the park, but I liked this one.  It is a generic representation of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  They were pretty amazing men, as my husband pointed out, committing treason to stand up for what they believed was right.  If the Revolutionary War had gone another way, they all would have hanged.

Benjamin Franklin's grave site.  Quite a simple monument, but my husband wanted to see it.

A plaque listing some of Franklin's accomplishments in life.  I think the man had ADHD.

We also got to see the Liberty Bell.  It's cordoned off so people can't touch it, but it's right there in the open for everyone to look at and take pictures with.

The Philadelphia mint is right there too.  Had I known, I might have arranged to go on a tour.  We have a mint in Denver too though, which we have toured, so it wasn't that big a deal.

On our way out of the city, I was able to snap a photo of the William Penn statue from the car.  It's a bit blurry because I zoomed in as close as I could with the little camera I have.

After Philly, we headed to Valley Forge, where the Continental Army had an encampment during one of the worst winters on record.  The soldiers didn't have enough clothes or food and many of them died.  I don't remember the number.  These are the "huts" the regiments built for themselves.

The insides were extremely simple.  You can see the small fireplace in the lower left corner, and the cots take up most of the interior space.  Each hut held six cots.  There were three sets of two cots stacked like bunk beds.  I was amazed at how short they were.

I took some pictures of the surrounding scenery too.  I don't like to visit places I've never been when it's winter because it's always so dreary.  Pennsylvania was quite picturesque though.  It was definitely named well.  There are a lot of woods.

Just more scenery at Valley Forge.

Finally, George Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge.  It wasn't open the day we were there so we couldn't get any closer or go in.  Apparently, Martha stayed here with him for four months while the army was camped there.

So, now I'm back and sims are the furthest thing from my mind.  I'm going to jump right in tomorrow night though.  I've got six days to meet my cremo goal.  I think I'll come close.  My daughter had an orchestra concert tonight so I wasn't able to do any playing, staging or writing.  Might have to play for an hour or so tomorrow to get in the mood.

Hope everyone else is well!
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August 2011

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