August 4, 2014 |
When Luis, our baby-faced driver and guide to the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, greeted us in his beat-up Chevy Aveo at the meeting spot - a dirt lot littered with beer bottles - I shot my husband, Brad, a look. "Come on, just go with it," he said. "It'll be fine. " We made introductions. Luis was the 26-year-old son of the beach vendor who sold tours next to our hotel. He spoke English well. I came to know that because as soon as we crouched into the dusty subcompact, Brad grilled him. "Is this your day job?"
July 27, 2014 |
After the unexpected death of a close family member, an uncomplicated, therapeutic vacation was in order. Knowing my husband was a fan of hot springs for their healing qualities, I proposed several locations: California, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The last was selected because of its easy three-hour drive west down the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-81. Our must-haves included: natural beauty, the waters, and a significant divergence from our daily lifestyle.
July 21, 2014 |
'Did you make it to the bottom?" everyone asked when we got back from the Grand Canyon. "Of course we did," I answered - but it took five days and a father-son journey to get there. My son Ivan and I have enjoyed backpacking in the Pennsylvania wilderness, and our appetite for the Southwest was whetted four years ago on a family trip to Grand Canyon National Park. Ivan and I hiked most of the way down until an early sunset and common sense led us to pledge to come back to celebrate my 50th birthday with a father-son backpacking trip.
July 18, 2014 |
PREPARE TO leave cynicism at the door if you catch the Floacist at World Cafe Live tonight, or Michael Franti with Spearhead (and compatible support acts) at the Mann Center Tuesday. Both artists aim to have you singing along with their boldly uplifting, mind- and world-healing music - and also a physical warm-up option, in Franti's case. Feel the Flo Ever since the opening track ("Breathe") of her first album as a solo artist, Natalie "the Floacist" Stewart has been promoting the cause of taking charge and transforming your life.
July 17, 2014 |
MINNEAPOLIS - With seven players in Minneapolis last night, the Oakland Athletics didn't just lead all of baseball in wins entering the All-Star break, but also in All-Star players. No other team had more than four. More than a couple of those A's players took circuitous routes to Target Field. Former Tampa Bay Rays ace Scott Kazmir, who started opposite Cole Hamels in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series, took a detour to an independent league 2 years ago before his career revival.
July 7, 2014 |
As a young boy, Stephen Reichenbach found himself "drawn to the quiet" of the woods of Cinnaminson, his hometown. "I had already begun my meditation practice" on those solitary walks, the 60-year-old recalled recently. For religion, however, he pedaled his bike to the local Catholic church, never imagining his attraction to "the mystery" he sensed in the woods and the Latin Mass would put him one day in the black robes of a Zen abbot. Those woods of Cinnaminson are long gone and so, in a sense, is Stephen Reichenbach.
June 30, 2014 |
Originally, we decided to visit Bologna because we had never been there, we love medieval cities, and it is a train hub that would facilitate easy transport to other destinations in Italy. Then, we learned that Bologna was the birthplace of tortellini, mortadella, and, of course, ragú alla bolognese. The city actually is nicknamed Bologna the Fat. Every guidebook we read referred to it as the gastronomic center of Italy - which pretty much makes Bologna the gastronomic center of the universe, si?
June 29, 2014 |
BROOKLYN - Among the half-dozen Philadelphia composers currently working on operas, the ultra-expressionistic Michael Hersch is the first to see his produced. On the Threshold of Winter was premiered Wednesday in a small-scale production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by soprano Ah Young Hong and the Nunc contemporary music group - and emerged as something so uncompromising that any future presentation in a traditional opera house is unlikely. Based on Marin Sorescu's 1996 poems written in the weeks before his death from liver cancer, On the Threshold of Winter is a journey into fatal illness that, in Hersch's hands, acknowledges no distance, safe or otherwise, between a listener and the suffering protagonist.
June 23, 2014 |
When I heard that Popes John Paul II and John XXIII would be canonized, I knew I'd be Rome-bound. I traveled to the Eternal City for John Paul's funeral in 2005 and his beatification in 2011, sleeping on the cobblestones to ensure entrance to St. Peter's Square. It worked. This time I decided to travel with an organized group - understanding that I'd be on my own for the canonization, a non-ticketed event. Our group of 40 included a teacher, a musician, an ex-nun, a Korean couple married 50 years, and three priests: Father Matt, a high-energy West Point grad; Father Mike, blind since age 6; and Father Jose, a young Colombian priest serving in Jersey City, N.J. Ordinary people like myself embarking on an extraordinary journey.
June 18, 2014 |
Maya Lang's debut novel, The Sixteenth of June , is a literary bridge between the City of Brotherly Love and James Joyce's enigmatic masterpiece Ulysses . Set in Philadelphia, Lang's book follows a pair of brothers (and the younger brother's fiancée) through a single day, the Joycean holiday of Bloomsday, June 16, from their grandmother's funeral in the morning to their parents' extravagant Bloomsday fete in the evening, a perennial affair at the family's Delancey manse.