Birthday girl.

Alexandra's birthday celebration commenced! We stopped for brunch at the wonderful Farm Shop [where I sampled the most spectacular chocolate chip cookie of my life], accidentally bought a book at next door, and continued on to Julia's workplace, the undeniably hip Smashbox Studios. Family portraits were taken, stories of the Kardashians were told, and I was informed that I looked like someone who should be performing at the Grand Ol' Opry. New life plan! We hit up Hollywood -- the Chinese Theater is the stuff of legend in my household, as it is where my parents saw Star Wars in 1977 -- and continued to the tar pits. Hold on to your hats, those will post tomorrow.

Palm trees and warm breezes.

My first time in California! Alexandra and I hopped a Virgin flight [what a magical airline] and popped out on the west coast last week. The day included emergency stops at In-N-Out for snacks, Santa Monica wanderings, and an incredible dinner at the Farmers Market at The Grove. A's sister, Julia, was the best host and tour guide we could have asked for. I'm starting to think that I need to live somewhere with at least a couple of hills and perhaps dinosaur fountains.


I realized that I left out the most important part of the Field Museum visit: the procurement of a new chess set! Jeff and I broke it in next to the lake, where I lost horribly -- and very, very slowly.

Field trip.

I took a field trip to the... Field Museum this week but failed to take any pictures of one of my favorite places in this city. Upon reflection, I realized that I had a pile of photos from a visit before the Amsterdam adventure. 
I know that I should be attracted the the newer, flashier exhibits, but I really my heart lies in the older sections, with their beautiful signs and dark corners, even though I can never find my way out of the taxidermy as soon as I'd like. Still, it's a gorgeous, albeit overwhelming, place. And this doesn't even touch my favorite section: plants. THAT will make for a riveting post in the future. Hold your breath.

At the stars.

 I love the twinkle of Las Vegas at night, but at a certain point, I wanted a different kind of sparkle. We rented a car and headed out to the desert for some star watching. To kill time before the sun went down, we drove through Red Rock Canyon and marveled at a silence so stifling that it made me dizzy. As it got darker [and wonderfully cooler], we were treated to coyotes barking and bats zipping overhead, and we made our way out into the darkening nothingness to spot the Milky Way. After a weekend of fake cities and constant noise, it was a relief to spend a couple of hours in a muffled landscape.

Found the mountains! Good job! 
Far away Vegas.

Looking slightly out of place. Nature is not my natural habitat. 

A Vida Portuguesa

I wanted one new blog post in 2017, with the promise to myself to document my travels in the new year, before I completely forget the a...