Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunday, September 24th: A lazy, lazy day

Ah, sleeping in never felt so good! We had started watching a Bollywood movie, Hum Aapke Hain Koun? (What am I to you? (literally)) Saturday night, but seeing that it was 209 minutes long, we left off somewhere in the middle. Sunday morning, we watched the rest, interrupting at some point to speak to my parents and show them our faces via webcam. They get such a kick out of watching Bandit run around. Even when the webcam's not on, my mom keeps saying she can hear his bell.

At 12:30, we had sausage egg biscuits - everything made from scratch (well, biscuits came out of a Pillsbury can, sausage out of a Costco box and well the eggs out of a carton, so as from scratch as can be without me chasing hens around), with hashbrown patties.

Then, at 2:30, we left for ... yes you are hearing right ... the Maryland Rennaisance Festival. It was fun, even though I forgot my discounted tickets at home, and we had to buy full price tickets. That just means we get to go again. I think the only reason I go to fairs like this is so I can eat things that I wouldn't in my normal daily life. Like:
  • Ice cream covered in King's special coating (something with coconut), deep fried and smothered in whipped cream.
  • A pound of mixed nuts, cinnamon roasted.
  • Steak on a stake.
  • Cheesecake on a stick, covered in dark chocolate.

I am glad we're going again because now I want that ice cream ... mmmm.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23rd: a busy, busy day

So, what did I do this past Saturday? I sent Jeff off to work at 8:30, went to the gym myself. Then, I came home and talked with my parents using Skype for about an hour. Then ...

  • I had about 5 small wooden jewelry boxes that I wanted to get rid of. So, I got a jewelry armoire and transferred all my jewelry to it.

  • Jeff and I bought bookshelves from IKEA a few weeks back that we had put 2 coats of tongue oil on. I put the final coat on and moved them out to the living room where they're going to live.

  • When we moved here, we bought a bunch of furniture from Value City Furniture. We love all of it, but I could not understand why the coffee table was getting so scratched. Well, I alkso put down a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover which took some paint off the wood. So, we bought some finish etc. and I started fizing the table. Well, we realized that the coffee table and the end tables had never really been finished with a sealer. So, I sanded them down and put 3 coats of oak red stain and then sealed it. Look at them now!

  • For the guest room, I wanted some sort of dresser. Nothing too fancy but something enough so guests wouldn't have to live out of their suitcase. I spent a couple of weeks looking around and then at Lowe's one day while getting some stain, I saw these. I thought I'd have to stain and all that stuff but when I opened them up, all I had to do was nail and stack. These are 2 seperate pieces that stack using dowels.

  • Lastly, I also wanted a coffee table and a quilt chest for the guestroom. We found pine toyboxes that will do the work of both. I ended up having to sand them, tongue oil them, nail them together, sand them again and Sunday, I stained them a second time. One more time and they'll be done.

Now, all I need is a quilt chest for my room ... except I think I might have promised Jeff not to buy any more furniture for a while.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Finally, a tour of D.C.

Well, Autumn's visit was a call for me and Jeff to do somethign we've been planning to do but never did. Visit D.C. So, on Sunday, Jeff, Autumn and I went down to D.C. and walked all over the D.C. Mall - about 8 miles altogether. I have a map of our route with the sites circled in blue that we saw. For some reason, that picture won't post.

Here are the photos from the DC visit.

Keep watching ...

for the pictures of our new tvs!!! We finally got tired of watching my second hand tv where we had to squint to read words on the Guide channel and the colors were always off. So, now we have a 27 inch gaming tv for the study and a 37 inch flatscreen widescreen LCD for our living room.

Update: Here are the photos:

This is the living room tv. I am proud to say I bought the TV stand at BestBuy, carried the 78 lb box up 3 flights of stairs and put it together. Jeff helped put the top down because it had to be put down on 12 dowels.
And, this is is our study/second bedroom tv. The XBox and Ps2 are attached to this now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Creme Brulee

I tried my hand at Creme Brulee today. I had bought the ramekin and blowtorch set at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $15. (using their 20% off coupons) a while back. Then last weekend, while shopping at the Arundel Mills Outlet Mall with Autumn, I bought the QuickMix, which came with 4 flavors of caramelizing sugar.

Today, the ramekins, the blowtorch, the quickmix and the sugars were all put to some good use. As you can tell, everyone in the family enjoyed it. Bandit even seemed to ask for more. Now, I am looking forward to trying some different recipes and my own versions.


I love WalkerTracker! I was the third top walker yesterday, and today, I fell to number 6 ( I am so ashamed of myself.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bandit takes up excercising and calls Autumn out!

These pictures tell a story!

Bandit, worried about his health, decided to start walking more and keeping track of how much he was walking.
He lovingly shows it to Autumn, his current best friend:
Autumn shows her disbelief in his conviction and calls him FAT!!!
Bandit: "What? FAT? Look at me! I say just look at me! I am int he best shape of my life ever!"
And he proceeded to untie her halter top to prove his manliness!!!
But, he also got really upset at the pedometer and tried to eat it at the end:

The Yanks are coming! God bless us all!

This is the sign Jeff, Autumn and I saw on our way back from the Friday night Orioles-Yankees game. The Yankees lost 9 to something. We left during the 7th inning stretch. It was fun though. I took a bunch of food and we had cheap (comparitively) tickets. In Oakland, we could get tickets for an As game for $5 that included a soda, chips and hotdog. We paid $20 for the Orioles ticket (each). But, you couldn't bring any of your own food in Oakland. Friday night, I had a bag full of sandwiches, sodas, 3 types of chips, plums, peachess and cream cheese pound cake. We had a feast as we watched the game.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Weird Cravings

All day today, I wanted baked potatoes, bread pudding and kheer (Indian rice pudding). So, on my way home from the gym, I stopped off at the local grocery store and picked up some almonds for the kheer, sour cream for the potatoes and eggs for the pudding. I planned on being home before 6, which is when Jeff gets off work. Then, I would be showered and everything would be ready before Jeff even got home. Except, he called me at 5:30 to say he was getting off work early. So, I barely made it home, dragged my laptop to the kitchen so I could look up recipes; and Jeff was home.

I almost had a meltdown because the potatoes would take 90 minutes in the oven. Then, I saw my microwave. They might not have been as good as oven baked potatoes, but they took care of the craving.

The bread pudding, my very first attempt ever, turned out well. I added raisins and cardamom. Too much cardamom this time but it wasn't too bad. The kheer I haven't eaten yet, because the biscuits and beef stew we had was really filling (well, alongwith the potatoes and pudding).

NYPD in riot gear, dead Bodies in motion, and oh, so much more!

Jeff and I spent Labor Day Weekend in the Big Apple. We took the Amtrak up because it was easier, faster and more relaxing for us. We left early Saturday morning and got there by mid aftrnoon. Walking through a slight drizzle to our hotel, we saw about 4 NYPD cars/vans parked at an intersection. Nothing seemed to be happenign and we were looking around while waiting for the light to change. Jeff suddenly notices a Donut shop at the same intersection. Needless to say, that invoked some laughter.

We walked a few blocks and got to our Hotel - the Hotel Deauville - in a misting rain. I was worried about the hotel a bit because nobody had seemed to know about it but it had gotten great reviews on Tripadvisor. It is one of my favorite travel related sites now. The hotel was great. We were 2 blocks form the Empire State Building. Our room was bigger than what I had when I was at the Crowne Plaza with people from work. We didn't have a writing desk or a minibar but we never use those anyways. The bathroom was a funky bright purple but hey, it added character.

So, happy with our choice of hotel, we left our luggage with them and went exploring. We walked to the Empire State Building and had lunch at the Heartland Brewery, which is at the base of the Empire State Building. As we're sitting there, Jeff notices a blue unmarked van park outside and cops getting out the back. I turn around to see the cops taking out bulletproof vests and assault rifles. They have dogs with them and they start going inside. Jeff went and got some photos. They said they do this regularly and there was nothing to worry about. That's good but for a few minutes, I was ready to get as far away as possible from that building.

Well, we felt safe enough to go up into the building after dinner. Except that it was now raining. We got some pictures from the 86th floor:

We also went upto the 102nd floor, which was 1,250 feet up. It felt and looked like we were in a hurricane up there.

We actually had to go back to our hotel and check in because we'd gotten there too early. After checking in, we walked down 34th St to Macy's on 34th and Broadway, and then onto Times Square. We went into the largest ever Toys "R" Us there and had to buy ponchos because our umbrellas were pretty much useless.

Our first day in New York was wet and windy. Jeff had to buy a cap, jacket and ponchos. Now, we woke up the second day to a sunny, cloudless morning. We decided to walk up to the New York Public Library, then take the train upto the Guggenheim and walk down the Museum Mile. We walked down from the 86th Street to around the 56th along Central Park to what Jeff calls the "Mac lovers' Mecca" (no religious offense intended whatsoever).

In the Madison Square Garden:

We got some photos in the :

We took the train upto 86th street area and walked upto the Guggenheim. They are renovating the building, so we didn't get a photo, but we got a photo of the sign. Then we walked down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We saw a very interesting exhibit on armor and a special exhibit on horse armor. We also saw a temple that was rebuilt here from the original stones and in the original architectural layout.

We ended our sightseeing with this: Notice the ear to ear smile!

We actually ended the night with running out to see why there were fire engines stopping near our hotel. We also thought there was smoke coming out of the tower of a building close by. But, apparently, they were just running around doing drills, getting ready for 9/11.

Now, it is Monday, Labor Day, 9/7, and we decided to go down to Historic South Seaport and see the Bodies Exhibition. We walked on the Brooklyn Bridge for a little bit, and got a cool picture of the Municipal Building.

A couple of pictures in South Seaport. You can sea the signs for the Bodies Exhibition on the right in the first one. We laughed when we sw the No Honking signs because we heard drivers honking anyways. The last photo is of us in the Amtrak back to Baltimore.