Monday, March 30, 2015

30 March 2015 And we won't talk about the Cricket

Time certainly passes by faster and faster. I keep thinking that I blogged last week, but it actually was two weeks ago. 
Almost two weeks ago, after work, Reece and I hit up the Perth Noodle Market for dinner. It’s a 10 day market being hosted as part of the Perth Food Festival. I thought it would be a good chance to test out some nice food. I was a little disappointed, the food was really nice and the portion size was good, but there wasn't anywhere as many noodles as I thought there would be. It should have just been called an Asian Food Market.
Reece was busy doing his assignment on his break. It’s the last semester and he is trying to do the work in his breaks predominantly. It’s pretty full on as he isn't really getting any time to relax but there are only two more assignments to go now.
I managed to finish this wee top. Another Quick 5 Hour Sweater that takes longer than 5 hours. 
I had finished the yoke previously but decided to rip it and start again on smaller needles. Of course since I was then focused on getting it over with, I forgot to add button holes as an abbreviation to the written pattern. I had to add ribbon to close it as it was written but I don’t particularly like that type of closure and I will probably add some snaps along the yoke closure section instead, once I have gone to Spotlight and picked up some snaps.
I painted the ceiling in the living area over the weekend. I can finally organise to get new curtains. I didn't get too much paint on me this time and neither did Magnet.
Magnet provides an immeasurable amount of amusement. Here is helping me take pictures of my knitting….
Thinking the painting tape is a toy that is out of his reach….
Giving kitty approval to the slight rearrangement of furniture in the living area…
Helping to look at potential recipes…
I made some blueberry muffins Easter themed on the weekend. The best ones I have made. I think I have already eaten half of them. Sorry Reece...

And a Black and Blue – Berry pie from the Woman's Weekly Pie Recipe book. Turned out pretty good. I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert while warm. But it is just as good on it's own. Don't worry, I didn't use Nanna's Berries. 

5 January 2015 Day 2 in Washington D.C

I just wanted to be like Captain America, so I got up and ran The Mall in D.C. Running around The Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial was a very cool feeling. Not too many people out when I started but it must be a popular run since there was a few people as I was on my way back to the hotel. It was a beautiful morning, though very cold.
We headed off to Arlington Cemetery. I might not have gone there if it hadn't been for Rachel and I am very glad we went. We worked out yet another public transport system. Used up a whole lot of Rachel’s coinage. She was given a whole lot by previous travellers to the US, so we had fun putting pennies into the ticketing machine like a pro. It was only a few stops, very straight forward.
As I said above, it was a beautiful day, but you can’t see that the wind was bitterly cold. Standing on top of a hill in the wind for 10 minutes was enough to stop feeling your fingers.
The first stop was to see the ‘Eternal Flame’ at the Kennedy’s Grave site. 
It is definitely worth paying the $12 for the bus ‘hop-on, hop-off’ tour. The place is massive. The guide said that they have 22 funerals a day here. 400,000 people are buried in this cemetery and they are currently making an extension to allow an extra 32,000 souls. I can’t remember the acreage.
Went and had a look at the section dedicated to Supreme Court Justice’s. The only name I recognised was Warren Burger; he was the Supreme Court Justice when JFK was assassinated.
I can’t remember what the sculpture is for but it is based on the formation the planes do for acrobatics.
This was the best view of the Pentagon we had.
We managed to catch the changing of the guard at the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Warrior’. It is pretty impressive what they do as it was a really cold day and they are required to do a lot of standing in one spot and walking very sedately the same 50m over and over.
The Amphitheatre is representative of a lot of the buildings in D.C. Grand, with as many columns as possible but not a lot of detailing. The government and people were definitely trying to make a big statement at the time.
The monument for the Challenger Disaster is near the Amphitheatre.
While waiting to be picked up by the bus we saw this beautiful funeral procession. It is very stark, grand and beautiful.
Once we were back at the entrance, we decided to walk back to D.C as we wanted to go to the Lincoln Memorial and look at all the things on Mall in more detail.
I don’t think that there is ever a time when there wouldn't be tourists at these locations but with a very bitter wind it certainly cut down the numbers. 
We didn't want to linger. It must be beautiful in Autumn with trees lining The Mall.
The Pool was as reflecting as it was when I went for my run. I don’t like to run with my phone so I didn't get any photos of it then.
The slight rise of the ground at the Washington Monument was a killer. Not because of the walk but the wind made my eyes water and I thought that the water would freeze. Rachel was trying to get an awesome shot of the monument (which was indeed great) but I was seriously considering abandoning her right there and then.
I was very tired by this time. The wind takes it right out of you and I was starting to feel that 5am run. Also there are no cafes or restaurants or anything along the path we treaded, no hope for a break and caffeine to reinvigorate you.
We scooted off to the side out of the wind to catch a brief glimpse of The White House. With this building being so prominent in movies, I wasn't sure exactly how I would feel about seeing it in real life. It looked so small off in the distance. We had been watching the helicopters going around the city off and on all day, so we knew they were home. We didn't linger, we were frozen, hungry and tired, well I definitely was.
We wandered through town looking for a convenience store and we obviously didn't make the right choices in choosing what streets to walk down as we did find them. We found the restaurant strip but it wasn't dinner time yet, so not much was open.
We headed back to the hotel and we found one shop to stock up on snack supplies as well as a bakery. I love how French Bakeries have taken over the world. The best thing ever.
Once back at the hotel we arranged to meet for dinner and I then went back to my room and tried to warm up my bones by having a hot shower. It started the thawing process but then I did the smart move and jumped into bed to relax and keep warming up. It took the whole time until we were going to meet for dinner, about 3 hours.

I went to bed early. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Catch up Post - Washington D.C. Day 1 (4th January 2015)

It was an early start to get to the train station on time. We did decide to just grab a taxi even though it wasn't that far but our bags were already quite heavy. Amazingly it was an excellent choice as taxis are pretty cheap in New York.
We found our way to the right entrance for the platform and we had a while to wait, so decided to go and have a sit down and find some coffee.  I had quite a bit of fun people watching though the coffee was made too hot and didn't really get to drink it before we had to go to the train.
People didn't really queue for the platform; it started as a nice line that quickly turned into a funnel shape. Really weird. People weren't necessarily pushing but I think since there wasn't that much room to form a really long queue it sort of becomes a mess.
We managed to find a quiet enough carriage down the train and piled our suitcases in. It was very warm on the train and we had to take off our thermals or we would have melted.
I love travelling on trains, listening to music and watching the scenery pass by, and it’s lovely and soothing. The Amtrak trains also have free wifi, which is very luxurious. The train trip was 3.5 hours to D.C. We passed through Philadelphia and Baltimore on the way and it was very informative since we were going through the outskirts.
D.C. was the end of the line; it’s always nice to know that you aren't going to miss your stop. The train station in D.C. is a beautiful old building and it is very indicative of buildings in D.C.
We knew that the hotel we were staying in was fairly close to the train station and we were in no hurry, so we flexed our muscles and got our luggage into some sort of semblance of order to walk with.
Luckily when we got to our accommodation, they let us into our rooms early and all I can say is wow. They were a bit step up from the previous room. I felt like a star. They cater for more the business crowd I believe and it was lovely. They also gave us free wifi in the rooms which was a double bonus.
We were pretty hungry by this time and headed out to hunt for some lunch. We headed towards The Mall in the hopes that there would be food. This was the worst thing we could have done. We should have done our research. There are no cafes or take out or really much of anything in terms of shops in The Mall. You have to go into the town for that. We ended up going into a random Smithsonian Museum to find some lunch at the cafĂ© in there.  The one we ended up in was the ‘Native American History’ Museum. We didn't go around but they were serving some ‘Game’ food and it was all actually pretty good food, huge servings, but a bit more on the pricey side. But we didn't care by this stage.
We orientated ourselves and decided since our energy levels had been restored, we could make it to the National Archives before closing. It was great, no line really and the perfect amount of time there. We admired the Declaration of Independence and thought that the security guards must get really sore feet standing in one spot all day not moving. The museum shop was very cool, I would have bought a lot more but space and weight in my bags was a consideration, since I wanted to buy all the books.

We came outside to see a very spectacular sunset. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

17 March 2015 Happy St Patrick's Day

I have gone green for the day and my boss's reaction was a little odd since it's the first time since I have started working here that I have turned up for work themed. 
I really just wanted to test out my dinosaur cookie cutters and I thought that this would be a good opportunity. I used this recipe and added green food colouring. It took me a while to get the technique of the imprints and next time I should maybe not roll it as thin. 
They cutters make quite large biscuits and I found a lot of the heads broke off in transit. I also tried using a decorating writing pen to do the skeletons but it wasn't a fine line and it didn't really set. It was too time consuming too. The imprints are cute enough by themselves anyway. It makes a nice generic biscuit and they taste fine. 
I made mum's peppermint slice recipe and also coloured the peppermint icing green for the occasion. It has been a huge hit with my workmates. It is similar in construction as caramel slice but no where near as time consuming. I will definitely be making this again. I imagine Reece prefers the caramel slice but this is a nice change. 
Having a much slower month. I needed it to get over February. I did finally manage to finish Half-life, taking a break from that series and started up with Bioshock now. 
I still have to sink some more time into The Witcher. I finally sat down and watched 'After Earth' and 'Snowpiercer' on the weekend. 'Snowpiercer' was excellent, I wouldn't recommend 'After Earth', I found that the kid wasn't all that convincing and he had most of the screen time as it was from his perspective. 
Magnet is still doing his best to help me with my knitting still...

and keeping me company while knitting.
He was also fascinated by the shredder on the weekend.

New York Catch up - I can't remember what number I am up to...

New York, New York! I finally got around to doing the more generic site seeing. I started off by picking up the tickets for Cabaret. We had pre-purchased them for the 12 January and I decided to pick them up early on. Luckily, there were people there hoping for tickets but it was sold out for a lot of the shows.
I wondered down to Times Square with all the big screens and advertising boards and the crowds. This is winter; I wouldn't like to think about how busy it must be in warmer times.
On my way to the public library (yes, I found a library), I fell in love with the Chrysler Building. It is a lot prettier than the Empire State building.
I found it difficult to take pretty pictures in the Public Library, I am not a very good photographer, but it is a beautiful grand building. Hard to heat I would imagine. 
Sadly the Rose Gallery was closed for renovations but the stairways and entrance made it worth the while.
The lions outside were still very festive.

As I wandered the streets looking at all the buildings in Midtown it started to snow. Not all the heavy but it was lovely to see a lot of people excited like children.
I wondered past Grand Central Station and had a hot chocolate at Starbucks (They do know how to pack the sugar content into one of those) and admired the Chrysler Building up close.
The snow was quite wet by this time and I found refuge in a comic book store
I wish this store was in Perth. A very good range of comics and graphic novels and the staff were really nice. I dropped a few pennies while in there.
After the hours of walking, I headed back to the hotel to relax and pack my bags for the trip to Washington D.C. early the next morning.