House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, September 25, 2006

Crossing over to Canada -- Niagara Falls

What cross country trip would be complete without a stop in Canada? We thought we'd stop in Niagara Falls, but since the Canadian side has a better view, we crossed the border.

I don't know if I should blame Canada, but the film I bought got jammed in my camera so we ended up with only a few pictures. The above photo of the falls is only a piece of one of the photos (but was all that was worth seeing). Below is a photo of Jeremy with the Niagara Falls tackiness in the back. It provides some extra color, at least.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Looking forward to Cleveland again

Jeremy was rather sick when we arrived in Cleveland. So we did not make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We stayed a beautiful bed & breakfast, Stone Gables, in Ohio City and received the best hospitality of the trip -- attentive but not overbearing. Coming home to warm chocolate chip cookies in the evening was a big treat for me.

Despite Jeremy's not feeling well, he wanted to see something. So we walked around the neigborhood in the late afternoon/early evening. With so many beautiful, renovated old houses, this neighborhood would have been perfect for my film, SALLY'S DREAM HOUSE. Of course I'm not even showing the pictures of the really nice ones (by the general population's standards), but a couple that touch my heart.

If I were to film SALLY'S DREAM HOUSE again, I could see this house above as Sally's house. I love old little houses like this. I love the color and the little picket fence.
This one does look like it needs some work, but it still grabs me. I'm wondering what was original here and what was done later. I like the closed, broken shutters on the top window and the pink brick on the bottom.
I took the above picture the next morning when we did a brief walk in downtown Cleveland. I thought I'd put it in here since it at least says "Cleveland" on the poster.
This is the pizza place we had supper at, the Ohio City Pizzeria. We were feeling like grabbing some subs and retreating to our lovely room, but while we were waiting for our food, we were liking the atmosphere -- and the quiet (we were the only ones in the place) so we decided to sit down and eat. We had meatball subs and salads. The subs were excellent -- great meatballs, great bread. (And I'm a snob about subs.) The young woman working there was very sweet, too.
This is Stone Gables. We highly recommend it!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More Chicago photos

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chicago -- my other love

I'm a Boston girl. A New Englander. I love where I come from. I love my Patriots, my Red Sox... I always route for Boston. I'm forever loyal.

But I'm tempted to start seeing Chicago behind Boston's back. I think I'm in love. Maybe I'm getting over the pain Chicago caused me in my childhood, after she ripped away my one of my early crushes, Carlton Fisk, from the Red Sox. Boy, did Carlton break my heart. (I forgive him now.) I didn't understand why he would leave Boston. But I know why he'd go to Chicago.

Chicago is the only city on the trip that I've visited before -- back in the spring of 1996 on a 3 days business trip. I didn't get to see that much of it since we stayed and conducted business near the airport. But I did get to go downtown on a few occasions (it was perfect spring weather, absolutely beautiful). Jeremy had been to Chicago, too. Although we were already fans, we wondered how before we missed to realize how truly awesome the city is. I get why Oprah has her show there and why Vince Vaughn moved back. The architecture is just breath-taking. Following advice given by Cousin Nancy, we went on the architecture cruise at sunset. Wow.

(More photos to come...)

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Des Moines

After Omaha we drove a couple or so hours more to Des Moines. After two long days in the car we wanted this to be a short driving day. We got to downtown Des Moines as the city was closing down for the evening (it did not seem to be a night city), but we did get to walk around for a bit. We noticed all over downtown as well as at our motel that this city was set up to get around on foot in the winter. Everywhere were covered walkways between buildings (as you can see above). I admire the element of practicality.

We were most in awe of the capitol building. Not only was it gorgeous but it was set high above, overlooking the city. It had almost as much presence as Elvis Presley. (That's saying a lot!)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Two hours in Omaha

After Denver, Jeremy and I drove another 8 hours to Lincoln, Nebraska. It was raining as we drove through so we didn't stop for any photo opps. But the next day, on our way to Des Moines, we stopped in Omaha for 2 hours. We wanted to check out Warren Buffett's home town. I wish we could have stayed there longer. Omaha had a quiet energy and I was curious to see if it rolled up at night or had anything going on after the work crowd left. Jeremy and I did see an old building being restored and renovated for condos. So maybe that's a sign there is life in downtown Omaha after dark?

Our time in Omaha is when the cinema geeks in us came out. The old buildings fueled our picture taking obsession.

Above is one of the only two photos of us together during the entire trip. Having an old-fashioned, completely manual 35mm camera makes one less inclined to hand it over to a stranger to take a photo.

Jeremy was getting artsy with his water photos. This was taken in the park in the middle of town.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Till we meet again, Denver

We have no photos of Denver. It was raining and after 9 hours of driving we thought we would just rest in the motel room (which was 5 miles from downtown). We figured that Denver was a city that we would make a trip to some other time anyway.

But we found ourselves in the car later to do an errand. It stopped raining. So we went downtown. Without our camera.

The biggest surprise about Denver to me, was that it, out of all cities I've been to, was the one that most reminded me of Boston... minus all that revolutionary stuff, of course. We walked around the 16th Street mall, which reminded me of Fanueil Hall, minus the hall. There was a Copley Square element to it to, minus the square. Wow this is making a lot of sense, isn't it? We really needed the camera for this one, didn't we?

It felt nice to be in a more "normal" city again, but this time Jeremy thought that a few people glared at my T-shirt. I didn't think much about having my New England Patriots shirt on. It was what I put on in the morning (needing to wear some kind of sleeves while still in Utah). It wasn't like I was wearing a Red Sox shirt in New York after the Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees in the '04 playoffs. Plus, the last meeting of the Broncos and Patriots, was in last year's playoffs which the Patriots lost. Of course I don't think the majority of people cared about my T-shirt. And for what it's worth, while Tom Brady is my #1 quarterback, I like Jake Plummer, too.

We wish we had more time in Denver. We wish we didn't have headaches from the high altitude. We got some take-out salads at Chili's to take back to our room. We got lost on the way back to the motel, though. I think we were driving for about an hour. Wow, Denver really is like Boston -- it's easy to get lost.

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Friday, September 01, 2006


It's definitely a change going from Las Vegas to Utah. We stayed in Provo for 2 nights. The first evening we just walked around Provo and the BYU campus. Provo is is a beautiful town, but we felt, well, stared at. I realized that my shorts revealed that I was not wearing Mormon underwear but would that really provoke all these stares? Whatever. We went to a sub shop for some dinner. There were college age kids eating in there and while I didn't pay attention, Jeremy noted that the girls, in particular, kept looking at me and were whispering to each other. Again, I didn't care.

We ate our subs, and being a huge chocolate freak, I went to see if they had anything good for dessert. I saw one of the college guys standing near the counter, eating what looked to be a big mint brownie. Yum.

"Hey, is that good?" I asked him.

"Yeah." He turned away. Did he think I was hitting on him with my big boyfriend there? Or did he just think I was one of those druggies who try to strike up conversations with you whom you desperately try to avoid?

I asked the young guy behind the counter for a brownie. I had my money ready. He got me my fat goody. (Yay!)

"How much?"

"Nothing." He put a finger to his lips as I was about to thank him effusively. "Shhh... just don't tell anyone."

It was a pity brownie. Gee, I used to get free goodies because I was cute. Well, pity or no pity, it was still free chocolate. (Thank you, Young Guy at Sub Shop.)

The next day I decided to NOT wear shorts. If my shorts were a problem, well, I didn't want to push any more buttons. We drove up to Salt Lake City and visited Temple Square. It's hard to tell how welcome you really are there. Because you can walk around, but they don't want you walking around without talking to one of the greeters first. We didn't even want to take picture right in Temple Square. I mean, there was nothing that said no pictures, but I was afraid that we'd be questioned.

We still stood out as different. Jeremy heard a woman "tsk-tsk" us as we walked by. What was it now? As I noticed several couple with gaggles of children I wondered if we were being stared at for being so obviously over 30 and childless. I knew that we would feel different in Salt Lake City, but I didn't quite expect to feel that different. I mean, I grew up with Mormon neighbors back in Massachusetts and I never really gave their difference in religion much thought. We were all just normal friends and neighbors to each other.

Speaking of those neighbors, Doug and Jan were now living in Utah, between Salt Lake City and Provo. So after our Salt Lake City sight seeing, we went to visit them.

Jan informed us that at BYU there is a dress code of no shorts (at least shorter shorts) and nothing sleeveless. She said that they probably thought I was being deliberately defiant. As for Temple Square, she said that she would get stopped all the time, herself, and have to explain to them that she was a Mormon, too. Of course Jan isn't the typical Mormon. Among other things, she had been a stage manager at Club Tropicana in Las Vegas. She and Doug are pictured in the top photo. That's the view from their front yard. Not a bad sight!

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