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You know, I think I rather like Philadelphia.  I also rather like road trips with my family.  Combine the two, and you’ve got the makings of a really good weekend.  🙂

I was in Philadelphia to help The Duchess move into her new home (the picture of St. Michael is a photo I took of the stained glass panel in her new front door).  I’ve blogged already about getting her moved in Friday night.  Frankly, it was rather miraculous how quickly everything disappeared up the steps into The Duchess’s third floor room.  Once it was there, we were able to get things stacked and arranged so that Indy and I had room to sleep on the floor (on very comfy cushions, don’t worry!) while Sae and The Duchess took the bed.  We were all exhausted, so we slept very deeply!  In the morning we woke up, ate a leisurely breakfast, and when the guys arrived from Princeton with The Beautiful T, set off on our adventures.

Our first stop was the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia.  The Duchess loves this shrine, and was very eager to show it to us.  In particular she wanted to show us the many pieces of art by Anthony Visco that the shrine houses.  It was very beautiful, and very peaceful in the shrine – a perfect way to start the day.  When we were done there, we headed over to the Italian Market for lunch.  This is a couple of blocks which house small shops and sidewalk vendors who sell everything from fresh produce to Italian delicacies to tables full of flea market stuff.  Most of the group was going to linger there, but Indy, The Beautiful T and I had other plans, so we ducked into one inviting storefront to buy sandwiches (I had the best meatball sub I’ve ever had in my life.  Seriously.) before heading off to visit JoMar fabrics, a discount outlet that Indy had been to when she lived in Philadelphia a few years ago.

I think this is the only fabric store I’ve ever seen which uses razor wire to deter thieves.  Although it certainly did have treasures inside!  Imagine, if you will, a large warehouse room, full of huge shelves piled high with bolts and bolts of fabric.  There’s every kind of fabric you can imagine: cotton, wool, silk, rayon, blends of all of the above, prints and laces and sheers, velvets and burlap.  Entire aisles are marked $.50 a yard.  Others are marked $1 a yard.  The most expensive fabrics (embellished silks, plush velvets, soft wool) are between $6 and $10 a yard.  For comparison, fabric of this quality often starts at $15 a yard and goes up to $50 or more.  I was able to buy a yard of sheer fabric for a new curtain, enough fabric to make several pairs of pajama pants (Christmas presents for a certain little brother), 4 1/2 yards of the most plush sweatshirt fabric I’ve ever felt, and two yards of beautiful charcoal gray wool all for $17.  It was wonderful.  Indy got almost four yards of ravishingly beautiful dusky purple velvet for less than $5 a yard.  It made you feel a little guilty to pay so little for such beautiful stuff!

As soon as the three of us were done at JoMar, we jumped back in the van and headed back downtown to meet the rest of our group at Old St. Josephs church for Mass.  This parish is the oldest Catholic church in Philadelphia, founded in 1733.  It was very cool kneeling in the pew, thinking of the hundreds of years of Catholics who have knelt and prayed in the same place.  After Mass all of us got into our various vehicles, and headed over to Jim’s Steaks to get cheesesteaks for dinner (you can’t leave Philly without having a Philly Cheesesteak, right?).  When we go there the line was already out the door, down the corner, and down the block, so we had a good time hanging out with one another in line, waiting for our turn to order.  Over dinner I had the high treat of talking a little theology with PJ, one of The Duchess’s down-the-street neighbors who joined us for dinner.  It’s been a long time since I got to talk theology with someone who shares my interests.  It was kinda wonderful.

There was some idea of watching a movie together after dinner, especially since a lot of us Ohio people have never seen Rocky.  However, by the time we got back to The Duchess’s new place and found a video rental, it was late.  Plus, they didn’t have Rocky.  We picked out two other movies, but it kept getting later and later, and everyone was tired.  The Duchess held onto the idea of the movie until the bitter end, even suggesting that we put it  on her laptop as we fell asleep.  However, even that plan failed under the weight of our exhaustion.

On Sunday Sae, Mr. T, Boy-O, Indy and I headed back to Ohio.  It was a little sad to drive away and leave The Duchess standing on the sidewalk waving to us.  Even so, we had a really fun trip.  Mr. T had proposed a side trip to Steubenville to visit the Portiuncula, a replica of the little chapel that was the first home of the Franciscans, and which St. Francis of Assisi rebuilt with his own hands.  The chapel has been designated as a place of pilgrimage, where one can receive special graces.  We figured that if we really pushed ourselves on the first part of the trip we could add the trip to Steubenville, and still get home at a reasonable time.  So we did, and for a little while Sunday we were pilgrims hurrying to our holy place.

Now I’m home again, picking up the threads of my daily life for a little while before I head off again this weekend to go visit The Young Queen in Wisconsin and fetch home a couple of kilns TYQ’s father is sending to my mother, who is a potter.  Boy-O is going with me, and I”m looking forward to the trip a lot.  Although I just saw TYQ in July, it wasn’t enough.  And then I think I’ll be done gallivanting for a while.

On the job front, on Thursday I interviewed for the job at the library, and on Friday they called and offered me the job.  I have to get fingerprinted and fill out some paperwork, but as soon as that goes through I’ll start working in the children’s section of the downtown library.  As I told Sparkle Boy this weekend, “Children + books + a little extra money?   What’s not to love?” I’m also still pursuing the job in Wisconsin, but I’m probably not going to blog very much about that until things are settled one way or the other.  So if you want an update you’ll have to ask me privately.

The house that The Duchess has moved into is really gorgeous, and is in a neighborhood full of really beautiful houses.  I got some good photos of both the house and the neighborhood, but you’re going to have to wait until Wednesday to see them.

Until then, my dears!