Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 127: New Year's Eve at the Kennedy Center

Thanks to my cluelessness, we drove over 300 miles to Washington DC for New Year's Eve. (I bought tickets to a jazz concert for New Year's Eve that I thought was being held in New York, actually, did you know the Kennedy Center is in Washington DC?) This would have been a fun road trip if it hadn't been snowing for hours when we left Connecticut, and if yours truly also hadn't caused us to get lost in New York somewhere around Queens. Anyway, we eventually made it and had a lovely time. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 126: Homesick already

Today we left Chicago for New Haven. It was a great two weeks...hanging out with my parents, sister, nieces and nephew. I miss you guys already!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 125: Memorabilia

We have been desperately trying to go through all the stuff that has accumulated in my poor parents' house over the past 30 years in the hopes of getting rid of things. I went through a number of drawers in my old bedroom and have been finding loads of remembrances from school days. Here are my letters from junior high and high school and my college cheerleading jacket.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 124: DD!

This morning my sister, husband and I went to get doughnuts for breakfast. Dunkin' Donuts rocks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 123: Breakfast at Cracker Barrel

My three little ones pose for a family photo. I converted my family to the wonders of Cracker Barrel's breakfast! The little guy really isn't sad...he's just hamming it up for the camera.

Day 122: Peggy!

My friend Peggy came over tonight for a visit. We had Home Run Inn pizza and my famous artichoke heart dip. For dessert, we had mint Milano cookies!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 121: Merry Christmas!

My favourite new toy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 120: If it's Christmas, we must be...

...making pierogi! My mother did 99% of the work (as she usually does) but I think I might have filled a couple of them in between taking photos. We try to make pierogi at least once during the year, either at Christmas or Easter. Pierogi are filled dumplings (for lack of a better word). We usually fill them with sauerkraut, farmer's cheese, and mashed potatoes. Once they're filled, we boil them and then fry them in butter and chopped onions. A Polish tradition in our home.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 119: Snow, snow, and more snow

My parents have this light-up snowman that they put in front of the house every year. For the past few years it has seemed sort of out of place as we haven't had much snow recently. This year, he fits right in. It seems like it's been snowing for almost 24 hours straight now. White Christmas almost doesn't quite cover it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 118: Angel number 3

The third of the group is the oldest. She did NOT want her photo taken but eventually I convinced her. Somehow the little guy snuck in the shot too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 117: Angel number 2

This is the second niece, playing her Little Mermaid computer game. My sister used to have this very same face when she was little, complete with tongue sticking out.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 116: Angel number 1

They're so cute when they're asleep. Of course, now I expect they'll be up until midnight, thanks to the three hour naps they had.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 115: Ice storm

We were warned of an impending storm all day Thursday, and despite the forecast stating there was a 100% chance of precipitation, it seemed like there was a lot of hype for nothing. Until 10pm or so last night. Then the hail, freezing rain, and snow started and did. not stop. We woke up to an icy wonderland. This is another digital macro mode shot of the tiny leaves on the bushes in front of my parents' house. Each leaf was individually frozen in its own casing of ice. It was quite lovely, actually.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 114: Second in a series

Last night we played a deluxe version of Scrabble that must have been bought in the 80s, and it seemed pretty high-tech twenty years ago. When I said this morning that I wanted a new deluxe version, my mom quickly pointed out that I already HAD one, which I bought myself for Christmas last year, and it was in the basement. I didn't believe her at first, but then she brought it out and I was thrilled. I adore this set! It's a Michael Graves limited edition from Target, and it's just beautiful. It even has a special scoring system (see those silver pegs?). There will be a rematch tonight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 113: The game of champions

The perfect activity when one is feeling a bit under the weather. Can you believe I had a 61-point word that I couldn't play?! I think I still might win, though.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 112: A sign I was really pleased to see

Setting out for Chicago at 10:00 AM, everything seemed like it was going perfectly. The shuttle pick up was perfectly on time; the ride to Bradley International Airport was traffic-free. The airport was very empty; I suppose it's still a bit early for the holiday madness. But then. Our plane had a 'pressure problem'. We left almost two hours later than the scheduled departure time. And then seeing as we were flying un-pressurized, our non-stop flight had to make a STOP! In Pittsburgh! To get fuel! And when we reached Pittsburgh, we were told that Chicago had put a stop on all traffic going in, due to weather, and thus we weren't able to leave straightaway. So I nearly wept with joy when we finally reached O'Hare, only five hours later than scheduled.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 111: Philadelphia

After spending the morning taking a stroll around the Capital complex in Harrisburg, I took Amtrak to Philadelphia, where I changed trains to get another one to New Haven. I had about an hour to waste in Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, and after lunch, I wandered around exploring the station. I found a big, empty room with a man sitting on the floor and sketching this mural. I watched him for a while and took a few photos of the scene.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 110: Cracker Barrel with the kids

We took my niece and nephew (my cousin's kids) to breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning. We ate loads! Plus we bought the kids candy. Good times! This is Bobby (his sister Sara refused to pose for her aunt Geeta).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 109: Spa day and celebrity sighting #4

My cousin and I spent most of the day at the spa. An old boyfriend of hers gave her a gift certificate for a spa package about four years ago. She found it and asked if we could use it, and they said yes. The entire package had been worth $450!! We had massages, manicures, pedicures, and lunch - all totally paid for. We also happened to meet an old high school friend of hers when we were out for a drink who is now a sportswriter for the paper here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 108: A little bit of Scotland in Harrisburg

I took two trains today: one from New Haven to New York City, and then another to Harrisburg, PA, where my best cousin lives. Tonight we went out with her friends to the 11th annual Santa Pub Crawl and one of them happened to be wearing a kilt! He kindly posed for this shot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 107: Celebrity sighting #3, or a chat with Mr Blair

The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair gave a talk at Yale today, and I was lucky enough to get a ticket. It was good fun to see him, and he was a very entertaining speaker. I found it a bit ironic; I never had a chance to see him while I lived in the UK, but during my first month back in the US, here he is, right in my backyard. He has been a visiting professor at Yale this semester.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 106: Digital macro mode

I finally took the time to read part of my camera's manual last night and today I practiced on some saunf (fennel seeds) I've put in my new chutney holder. Pretty! I'll post a photo of the entire tray at some point but today as it was a grey and rainy day in New Haven, I'm happy with this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 105: Another day, another library

I ran a number of errands today, but getting my New Haven Free Public Library card was definitely not a chore - it was a pleasure! I had to restrain myself from checking too many things out, because I leave on Friday for Pennsylvania and then will be going to Chicago next Tuesday. Thus I took out only two books and two films. I've read one book and watched one movie thus far, so I should be on track to finish these by next Monday!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 104: A better example of architecture

Today I took the Yale shuttle from my appointment at the hospital all the way back to my flat. The shuttle is very convenient as I've not got a car yet! This is a gorgeous building on the corner near our place. It houses a law firm.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 103: My new church

To make up for the sacrilege of yesterday's post, here is my new church. It's called Church of St. Mary's and it's the oldest church in New Haven, and the second oldest in Connecticut. The Knights of Columbus was founded in St. Mary's by Fr. Michael McGinley in 1882. It has lovely stained glass windows and a huge choir loft and organ. I had been inside before but today was the first time I attended mass.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 102: The Little Nun

In my first weekend in New Haven, I have thus far been to my first party, went to Starbucks for my first egg nog latte, ate Thai food for lunch (not for the first time), and visited the New Haven Public Library. It is a brilliant place with my favourite thing (books) and I stumbled across this great collection on a display focusing on comics. This strip featuring the heroine 'The Little Nun' was in a book called We All Die Alone: A collection of cartoons and jokes by Mark Newgarden. In my research about this great strip, I found out that Mark Newgarden created the Garbage Pail Kids! How cool is he!! I so want this book now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 101: My office building

I was driving around New Haven and happened across the building where I will start work in exactly one month! Wow, isn't it gorgeous? Okay, perhaps it's not the best example of beautiful architecture in the city, but hey, my office is nice. I'll even be stopping in next week to do some work! And then swiftly off to Christmas lunch with my new team.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 100: I buy a chair

The new flat is nice and large, and very empty. So far we have got dining room furniture, which is great, plus a bed (no bedframe yet, boo), and a desk for me and some vintage cherry side tables. Plus S bought a couch (off someone who was selling it on the street, no less, for $50). Today we decided to stop in at the Goodwill outlet store to see what they might have. There wasn't much of interest but I decided I liked this chair. It is too small for anyone but me (yay!) and not exactly perfect, but for $14.99, I wanted it. It barely fit in the rental car!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 99: Holiday shopping has begun

We hired a car to be able to do some proper shopping and presents have been purchased. This is clearly only the first step, as there are many children who are anxiously looking forward to gifts. Two nine-year-olds, one eight-year-old, three six-year-olds, and a three-year-old. Wow, that is a LOT of nieces and nephews! Not to mention the parents, sisters, brother, cousin sister, etc. Fun!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 98: Dinner of champions

Or another reason I'm happy to be back in the US...Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! I'm still recovering from a slight cold and jet lag, so I couldn't be bothered to cook another full dinner after yesterday's post-birthday feast. Plus I was exhausted from doing load after load of laundry and setting up the wireless router here at the flat. Comfort food at its best!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 97: My new home

Well, here's where it all happens from now on! Did you know that's New Haven's motto? New Haven: It All Happens Here. Hmm...I'm not convinced yet, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 96: Heaven...I'm in heaven...

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University. What better thing to do on my birthday than check books out of my new library for the first time? Bliss!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 95: Le jazz

My favourite jazz club in Paris is called Le Caveau de la Huchette, which is located near St. Germain-des-Pres on rue Huchette. I've been there many times but tonight I looked around the place in a bit more detail and found loads of lovely photos from years ago. The club celebrated its 60th year of jazz recently (2006 perhaps) and it's still going strong. Je l'adore!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 94: Riad

The courtyard of the riad was lovely...this was the view from the balcony outside our room. I wish we could have stayed longer!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 93: Terror

I was just at the train station now named Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus three weeks ago to take a train from Bombay to Pune. Against the wall is the ladies' room I went to when I was waiting to board my train. Photo from the New York Times website.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 92: Souq

The lovely spices sold in the souqs...amazing! How do they make the cones so straight and tall?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 91: Djemaa El Fna, Marrakech

After a harrowing morning and afternoon, we finally had a chance to relax in our lovely riad and then explore the main square in Marrakech. So far, so good: I have only bought postcards!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 90: La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

We took advantage of the crisp but sunny weather in Paris to climb up to the top of Sacré-Coeur. Actually, I thought I was paying 5 euro for the privilege of going inside the basilica; instead I found myself walking up 300 stairs to the very top. But I will admit, it was worth it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 89: Greg and Laurie come for dinner

Greg and Laurie live in Paris and were invited over for dinner tonight at the flat. We had a lovely time reminiscing about Chicago and university and just discussed life in general. They are wonderful friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 88: Sainte-Chapelle

Today we went to Sainte-Chapelle, on l'Ile de la Cité. It was an unusually sunny afternoon so we took advantage of the weather to see the stained glass. I had been a number of years ago but I hadn't remembered quite how lovely it all is in the light.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 87: All About Eve

Today was a grey and rainy day, and a movie seemed like the perfect idea. It's hard to believe I had never seen All About Eve before, and I'm so glad I have done now. This screen shot I took shows Anne Baxter as Eve, Bette Davis as Margo, George Sanders as Addison DeWitt, and a young Marilyn Monroe as Miss Caswell. Brilliant cinema.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 86: Entertaining chez moi

Today I entertained at home. J is one of my friends in Paris and he has hosted me at his place many times for dinner, so today I was able to finally return the favour at the flat. It was fun. Here he is trying to find the conversion for centimeters into feet in the guidebook, but we had to resort to the internet in the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 85: Celebrity Sighting #2

After shifting from the hotel to the flat I'm staying in for the next week, I rested for a while as I've caught a slight cold. I finally motivated myself enough to get out to the American Library in Paris to hear one of my favourite authors read. David Sedaris is an amazing writer whom I have been listening to on Chicago radio and reading for many years, and I was thrilled to have the chance to hear him read from his latest book and his diaries. I didn't even mind that the place was so packed I had to stand for over an hour. Brilliant!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 84: An American in Paris

Apologies for the low photo quality, but I had a lot going on at the time. We were on les Bateaux Parisiens and people were bothering me, I was outside in the cold, and someone claimed we'd get an even better photo when we moved to the other side of the boat. Sadly, the other door leading to said side was locked. So I'm pleased I got any decent shots. Plus I was too excited to have met and made the acquaintance of a local Chicago celebrity!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 83: My view over the next two days

I suppose if you are stuck in a meeting for eight hours a day over the next two days in Paris, and it's finally lovely weather outside, this isn't a terrible view to have.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 82: Second in a series

The view from my hotel room at 11:00 PM. Or was it midnight? I can't recall.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 81: I know it's a cliché, but...

...this really was what I saw as I turned the corner off of the main street on which my hotel is situated. Even in the grey weather, la Tour Eiffel is still lovely to unexpectedly run into.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 80: I might not be the laziest person on the planet

But surely I must be in the top five? Hey, it was a long walk from one gate to the other, and I was wearing heels, and my briefcase was really heavy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 79: A birthday lunch

Today was S's birthday so we had lunch out at Thali Too, a nice vegetarian Indian restaurant on campus. This is a cool projection they have on the back wall of the restaurant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 78: What's in your wallet?

After arriving at JFK last night, I realised I had one US dollar in my wallet. Thus one of the first things I did today was hit up the ATM for some cold, hard cash. It was then that I realised that I have four currencies in my wallet - INR, EUR, GBP, and USD. Note the special Scottish five pound note as well; does that count as five currencies, then?