Hints of Something Else

Walking along the Pennypack Trail, and I am traveling in parallel with experiences I am not part of but I do participate in, just by being in the same space…

Here are two examples of what I mean.


This hand reaching out to grab my attention…a message of some urgency, I feel. You may say it is only a lost glove, but I think it’s more than that.

And here is another…


See the little sign saying “raying n signs”? Yes, you do, and so did I. I kept a lookout for n signs rayed all the way down the trail but could not spot any.

You may say, that sign originally said “No Spraying Between Signs”, meaning that pesticide should not be applied along this section of the trail, but…I still believe we’re being told to look out for the rayed n signs. What to do if any are spotted, that I don’t know. Possibly notify NASA or Area 51.

Well, that’s it for right now. I’ll rejoin the mainstream…if I can. Or want to.

Carwash Sign

This carwash is located next to the Pennypack Trail’s parking lot at Welsh and Terwood Roads. It’s closed today since they work on the weekends. The business does hand washing and detailing for cars. On a normal day you would see cars in various stages of being cleaned and lots of employees at work.


Usually the sign out by the road says something like “A clean car is a happy car”. Right now, though, this is what it says.


I could go on, but I don’t need to. The sign tells us the narrative the people at this business want us to know and to follow.

Day After Thanksgiving, Part 3

Here is the last installment of the trip into Center City Philadelphia that my husband and I took on the day after Thanksgiving. When I left off in the previous post, we had walked down Chestnut Street to Dilworth Park to visit the Garden Maze and to check out the craft fairs. There was one more thing to see, though, and you might have noticed something about it in this picture:


Ice rink! Ice rink!


I’ll tell you right away, I didn’t skate. I last got out on the ice in 2004 and in that session I broke my elbow. With my balance issues and the memory of how long it took for that elbow to heal, I have no business ice skating, but…I do like to watch others doing it!

This rink (sponsored by a large orthopedic institute, something I found amusing, especially since the doctor who treated my broken elbow is associated with it) is a real ice rink, not an artificial-surfaced one. And it’s here all winter, open day and night. I’d love to see those sparkly little lights in the evening…We spent some time watching people go around the circle, all kinds of people, with all levels of skill (including none). When you look at the pictures, notice  the smiles.

Above the scene, William Penn stood, as he has since 1901, at the top of City Hall Tower, and took it all in.


Well, that’s the end of the travelogue. After we finished at Dilworth Plaza, we did take in a little shopping – but for art supplies, at the Dick Blick store a couple of blocks away. It’s a treat for me to go to the store itself rather than buying online, so I can’t count it as shopping, exactly…and at the store, I won a $5 gift card when I spun the wheel for a prize. Couldn’t do that online!

Then we drove home. Nice day we had, wasn’t it?

Day After Thanksgiving, Part 2

More about how we spent an afternoon on Friday, November 25, in Center City Philadelphia. When I left off in the previous post, my husband  and I were walking east on Chestnut Street. Where were we going?

Our destination was Dilworth Park, where City Hall is located. Named for a former mayor, the park is one of the five original ones put into the street grid when the city was laid out by William Penn. It was appropriated for the location of City Hall, a massive building constructed from 1871 to 1901. The structure is as solid and imposing as a mountain and is a city landmark, although many city office are now located in more modern buildings nearby.

Dilworth Park was recently remodeled and is now used very often for city events and festivals. Right now it is hosting the Wintergarden and the Capital Garden Maze, and that is one of the sites I wanted to visit in the city.

The Maze is an installation of plants, topiary, and twinkly lights and will stay in place all winter. It’s a project of  Greater Philadelphia Gardens, a consortium of 30 regional gardens.

We spotted the event from across the street. The white tents are those of a craft fair also taking place on the plaza.


Here is the entrance.


We saw people sitting in café areas – the weather was gloomy but mild enough to sip a hot drink and talk to a friend. And the birds like the leftovers the people drop…

Then we came to the Maze. It was filled with people exploring it.

There are some fantastic topiary animals.

I was intrigued by the metal markers scattered in the beds. Each names a garden in the consortium as well as its mileage and direction from this location. I think this is a nod to the fact that this park is the center square of Penn’s plan, and is as such the very center of the city, from which distances are measured.

The plants in the boxes are ones that grow well locally and will have something to show of themselves all winter.

City Hall is a giant hollow square – and right now the courtyard is filled with another craft festival. We took a quick look inside. And, I took a picture of the tower. This is the landmark local people think of when they picture downtown Philadelphia; the historic area is a mile to the east, away from the main business and shopping area, and not the place residents go to as often as Center City.

All right – more later!

Day AfterThanksgiving – Part 1

Today, Friday, November 25, is Black Friday. Lots of people think about shopping. Me, I don’t. I don’t like shopping and so a special day for it doesn’t excite me. But, being the day after Thanksgiving, my husband took the day off, and so we decided to get out into the world, avoid shopping, and do something for fun.

We decided to take a trip into Center City Philadelphia. I had a few sights in mind to check out. I’ll take you along with me in the next couple of posts – I took a lot of pictures.

I worked for many years in the section of the city where we were going. I have 35+ years of memories everywhere I go around here. Things have changed a lot in that time. I marvel at the new buildings and I celebrate each renovation or repair to old familiar ones. But the city always feels the same to me – as I walk down the sidewalks I am the same person who came here in 1980 and has never left, and never wants to.

Starting off, we parked the car in a garage, ate a quick lunch, and walked down Chestnut Street going east. This street now is a major shopping street, revived after a decline of decades. Plenty of people with shopping bags and lots and lots of tourists. You wonder how I can tell who is from out of town, and I answer: I just can. And then I laugh and I tell you the secret – it’s in how they approach crossing a street. If you are from around here, you barge out. If not, well, you are more cautious about stepping off the curb, and your hesitation reveals you…

Buildings along this street are a mix of old and new.

I like to look at store windows. What they do to make them intriguing. And then, I enjoy looking past the display into the stores themselves. First, some glamor.

Now, people at work. In this shoe store, the man was buffing up pairs of expensive


You also have to look up sometimes if you want to catch what is going on. Here is what I saw when I stopped to pay attention to this hair salon located on the second floor. Street life goes on while upstairs, the stylist concentrates while the client sits in the chair, ready to be transformed.

I passed this sign on the street for a needlework shop. The store is on the second floor and so it needs a street-level presence. To get to this shop you have to follow the instructions on the sign. I might have walked by the sign, not being interested in needlework, but – I visited this shop with my friend Diane several years ago. What a warm colorful place it was, I remember.


I noticed the tile details around the windows and doors of a store. It’s not usual to see this kind of decoration. Our climate is hard on tilework. You can see the effects of seasonal changes on this sample.


A lot of people ride bikes through town. There are bike parking stands everywhere. And I’m not counting the bikes for hire that are available – these are bikes that belong to a particular person who’s elsewhere at the moment, while the bike waits.


Well, that’s it for today. I’ll tell you more next time.

Oranges and Tangerines

Yesterday, November 20, my husband and I were in Allentown, PA, to go to an art event, and we had a little extra time, so we thought we’d drive around a bit.

We chose an industrial area of town.


This section is a mix of factory buildings, some in use, some in the redevelopment zone, some waiting for whatever the future brings, and some doing business even on a Sunday (like the tire dealer – we watched a car with a flat tire drive on the rim, very slowly, and into oncoming traffic, to get into their parking lot. Don’t say the tire business has no drama).

We saw this little building perched at the corner of a vacant area near the old railroad tracks. Intrigued by the signs, we stopped to look.



Here’s a closer look at the signs.


It was a bit of a puzzle to us, this former business. Oranges, tangerines, and temples (a hybrid of tangerine and orange, I later learned), not to mention pecans – these are not local to us in Pennsylvania. So this place specialized in something – special! Why the business existed, why here? I don’t know. We went a little closer.

It’s a solid little building, isn’t it? Look at this sign – mentioning November 15. Not this year, I see, and maybe not any year recently, but at some time, winter was brightened up by the availability here of exotic fruit and nuts from down south. I am old enough to remember when a box of oranges or pecans at Christmas was something special, and they were popular gifts to have shipped from sunny Florida.


Interesting little spot, wasn’t this?

On Foot – Allentown, PA – A New Chapter

For the introduction to this mini-tour, look here.

Along Hamilton Street, there are some buildings with their display windows covered in paper a few blocks up the street from the arena area where development is in full swing. Many of these buildings are for sale or rent; I sense their owners smell opportunity.

I saw these books piled on a windowsill, peeking out from behind one of those covered windows. The sight struck me, though I don’t know why at all, so I took their picture, while the store owner next door swept his entrance-way and looked at me with suspicious curiosity. I realize most people don’t take pictures of books stacked against a paper-hidden store window, but I didn’t feel the need to explain my impulse to collect sights that might not be around the next time I walk along this street…


On Foot – Allentown, PA – Powerful Sight

For the introduction to this mini-tour of Allentown, PA, look here.


Continuing along the street, I noticed this very busy electrical pole.


I traced the wires and here is where they went.


There are houses and buildings along the street here, behind all the new buildings – pockets that haven’t yet been torn down and redeveloped. They will be; their time left isn’t long, I think, and they are in disrepair and many empty. So I took a good look at this structure while it is still here. It’s the back part of what looked to me was a restaurant, in its last incarnation.

I took this picture of it from a little different angle. The spiral of the parking garage’s in/out ramp is that structure behind it. Interesting picture, I thought, and a sight that will not be here too much longer. Look now!

I still don’t really know why this building needs so many electrical wires…


On Foot – Allentown, PA – On the Flip Side

For the introduction to this mini-tour, look here.

We walked along a street paralleling Hamilton – the back sides of buildings on the main street were the sights we saw. Parking garages and service entrances. Well, I’ll tell you, there is much of interest along this kind of street.

One building held a couple of intriguing sights. For one thing, there was this door painted such a great shade of green – set quite a distance above the street. Oh dear. I anticipate problems with entrances and exits, and maybe a lawsuit?

chartreuse-door-allentown-11-11-16-small Further down the street, I took in this sight. I am not sure I would feel safe taking my mail out of this metal mailbox, with so much electricity around. Then again, I bet that mailbox feels plenty safe, with all that voltage whizzing around to protect it?


On Foot – Side Street – Allentown, PA

For the introduction to this mini-tour, look here .

About a block off Hamilton on N. 10th Street, we passed this building and I took a couple of pictures. It obviously has a history as being related to the Loyal Order of Moose fraternal organization.

In doing some research, though, I found that the building is now a gay bar; the closest Moose club is miles away in another town, it looks like. Well, things do change.

I took a picture of the Moose emblem still in place on the building’s façade. It’s still right there in place.


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