Sunday, November 27, 2016

Movie Weekend

PixlrAnd the four day weekend is already coming to an end again  How do 4 days fly by that fast? But I can't complain.  It's been a nice, relaxing weekend.  

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  And we went to the movies to see "The Edge of Seventeen" followed by a delicious dinner at the Hopkins Inn. Super yummy food and a nice time with Mike and our friend Robin. Nice relaxed night.  

Friday we went to the movies again,  this time to see "Arrival" which was also a good movie.  Neat story. Sort of like "Contact" but with more alien interaction if that makes any sense at all. Pretty meta. Definitely enjoyed it  Afterwards we had lunch in Oxford at 121 and later caught up on more recorded TV shows. 

Saturday we slept in after staying up past 1am watching TV. Checked out the new Mexican restaurant Puerto Vallarta that opened in Danbury recently.  And later in the afternoon I started on my Christmas cards and finished the international batch (35 or so) I still have the US/Canada ones to do and that's another 40 to 50. Busy,  busy.  I have ordered most of my international gifts as well.  Decided to go with the online shopping route this year as it's easier and less chance of stuff getting lost. Last year almost all my international gifts disappeared in the mail. So annoying.  

Today we went to the movies one more time to round out the weekend and saw "Rules Don't Apply" which had an indie movie feel to it. Now we are at a local restaurant called The Marketplace where one of our friends is playing an acoustic set from 1 to 4pm for brunch. Very fun and a relaxing way to end the weekend. 

 Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment :)

Posted by Hanna at 03:28 PM in Film, Food and Drink, Holidays, Performances | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving :)

IMG_20161124_122102Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends :) Hope everyone is having a great day, spending it with family and/or friends. I have always liked the idea of Thanksgiving ever since I moved to the US despite the fact that I am not super crazy about turkey (I do love all the sides though, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, various veggies, etc) 

We had a nice day so far. Slept in which was nice and then had breakfast at Elmer's. Yum. Then went to the movies to see "The Edge of Seventeen". Really liked it. It's a great movie and depicts teenage life in a very real way. Hailee Steinfeld does an awesome job as Nadine. And Woody Harrelson is great as her teacher. Really the whole cast is great and the movie should be included in the long list of classic coming of age movies like "Clueless", "Mean Girls", etc. If you want to see the red band trailer click here. :)

Home right now but will head to the Hopkins Inn in a little bit for a delicious dinner. Meeting our British friend Robin there who will be joining us. Looking forward to yummy Wiener Schnitzel (I know, I know .. not very Thanksgiving ... but they do have all the traditional sides .. yummmm) and Toblerone Sundae for dessert. Delicious!

Going to relax for the rest of the long weekend, probably catch a few more movies. Also need to start writing my Christmas cards, especially the international ones. I already ordered some gifts for my friends oversees. Decided to go with the online shopping route this year as last year all my international packages except for one ended up lost in the mail. So this year I decided to shop online for my international friends. Let's hope that works out better. :) My US friends I will still buy for and ship from here but I figured this was safer for the oversees people. 

Also going to catch up on some TiVo during the weekend and really just relax. Did some online shopping (Yankee Candle, Kohls) for some stuff that was on sale for Black Friday. Mostly gifts or stuff I needed anyway (more pants to wear for work as I can only wear jeans on Fridays). I would never stand out in the cold for any Black Friday deals though. Hell No! So crazy. Happy to be shopping from the comfort of my warm home. Plus no one needs to work on the holiday for me to be doing that. :)

 Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment :)

Posted by Hanna at 05:04 PM in Food and Drink, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Concert Week :)

IMG_20161120_115057Hello from Boston. :) Just here for a quick stay on the weekend. Came up here yesterday afternoon, checked into our hotel (the Indigo in Newton) and then took the T into Boston to the area around Fenway. Had a late lunch at Boston Beer Works and hung out there for a bit. Afterwards we were going to have another drink at the Yardhouse but it being Saturday night the place was absolutely packed, line out the door wait for tables and the whole bar full. So instead we went into another place we saw walking by called Bar Louie that was pretty neat. Afterwards we took the T over to the venue (only 4 or so stops) - the Paradise Rock Club. Oh, I didn't even mention what we were doing yet. Ha ha .. sorry .. little all over the place this morning. Anyway, we went to see Letters to Cleo. First new music/EP in 17 years. Mike used to be a big fan of them when he was younger so it was cool to see them live after all this time. They put on an amazing and long show. But I have determined I am definitely too old for the standing room only sticky club scene. lol. I can feel every muscle in my body today from standing up for 3+ hrs straight. Definitely not my scene anymore. But regardless, we did have a great time of course. Took an Uber back to the hotel after which wasn't too bad cost-wise. 

Today we slept in and are now hanging out at Starbucks for a bit before heading to Legal Seafoods for lunch. I love Legal Seafoods and am truly upset they closed all the ones relatively close to us. I think the only one we have now is on Long Island somewhere but that's a bitch of a ride and not really very close. So whenever we come up to the Boston area we try to make sure to eat at a Legal Seafoods since there are plenty in this area. Yummm. Can't wait. :) After lunch we are going to make our way back to CT. And then tomorrow it's already Monday again. But at least it's a short work week next week with Thanksgiving. I have never been off for Thur/Fr/Sat for Thanksgiving without having to jump through fifteen hurdles/tons of prep work/scheduling other people to cover so this is a really nice surprise/change having a 4 day weekend. Yay. :)

So let's rewind to earlier in the week. We had another concert this week on Wednesday. Went down to NYC to see Ingrid Michaelson at the Beacon Theater. Really neat venue (such a cool theater) even though being up in the balcony gave me vertigo. The views were really great though. And a fun show. Before the concert we had dinner at Amsterdam Ale House, which was a neat find. Also found a parking garage close to there that was nice and easy to get in and out of. Definitely a win-win. The show was great. Ended up getting to bed around 1am which made Thursday morning not all that fun. But I guess no pain, no gain. Ha ha.

Well that's all the news from this past week. Bailey, our new cat, is settling in well. She seems happy, cuddly and purry most of the time. The other cats aren't too thrilled though. Sadie and Mindy have somewhat abandoned me and are spending a lot of time with Mike's sister, Kristina, instead. Oh well. I guess things will settle eventually and they will hopefully end up getting along. For now there is a lot of hissing/growling and plain avoiding each other. We will see how it continues. 

 Letter/Mail Update: Letters went out on Tuesday and Wednesday to: Jessica/DE, Eloine/NY and Bianca/Germany. 

Posted by Hanna at 11:53 AM in Food and Drink, NYC, Performances | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Let's meet Bailey

IMG_20161113_132013Please meet Bailey, the newest addition to our household. :) Isn't she a cutie?

We adopted her yesterday from a shelter on Long Island (Forgotten Friends of Long Island) We originally heard about the shelter through a friend and had intended on adopting a black and white cat. But when we got there the cat we had picked out wasn't very social at all. She hissed at us and turned her back. I tried to bond with her a little bit but it just wasn't happening.

So we looked around the room and met all the other cats they have for adoption. As we made our way around the room I saw a cute brown tabby. The minute I went up to her she started purring and rubbed her face on me. She was super affectionate and really cute. Her name was China and she had been found on the street in Flushing/Queens and been at the shelter for 4 years. So we decided to adopt her instead of the black and white one. 

Her name is now Bailey. I just couldn't keep her name as China. All I can think about when I hear that is Trump saying "China". So we changed her name and she's now Bailey. :) I think she's ok with that. :)     

She settled in well when we brought her home. Walked out of the carrier and went and explored, used the litter box and ate. She is definitely getting comfortable and seems happy. Not too sure about the other cats yet. But we will see how it goes. That always takes time. I didn't introduce them till a little later but so far every time she's seen them there's been hissing, growling and stand-offs. But yeah, it just takes time. There will have to be some fights before they settle into a routine. Hopefully they can be friends down the road. Fingers crossed. :)

But really, so far so good. Considering she doesn't know us she has been very trusting and sweet. She seems happy with her new surroundings, slept on the bed for a while last night, even jumped on my lap at one point for a minute. I think once she gets to be more comfortable she will be a good addition to our current cat family. :)   

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Eloine/NY and Bianca/Germany.

Posted by Hanna at 04:23 PM in Cats | Permalink | Comments (1)

America - what have you done??

PixlrI really was looking forward to this election to be over, to finally get past all the craziness, all the hate speech, all the memes and propaganda on social media. But while deep down I was slightly nervous/concerned about the outcome I think I never really truly considered the possibility that Trump would actually end up being the next president elect. I think I just didn't have it in me to really consider that option and even now it's still hard for me to really come to terms with it. 

I understand that this is how the vote went and that this is how it's going to be but I am still having a hard time truly understanding it. I think it doesn't make it easier for me that Hillary actually won the popular vote and only due to the electoral college are we stuck with Trump. I am still not a 100% sure I understand/agree with the electoral college concept in this day and age. One of my friends posted a good video on it and while that video does make some good points I am still not totally convinced. But I am glad I watched it to at least try and gain a little more insight at least.

What concerns me is that a lot of people voted for him because they simply wanted a shake up. For one reason or another they didn't feel that they were being heard, their concerns falling on deaf ears and they wanted change, any change, no matter what that meant. And while I do understand people want things to be different that rhetoric also has me very concerned.

A lot of people also voted for him because they hate Hillary. I have heard more than one person say "Do I think that Trump is the best choice? Do I think he is the best person for the job? Well maybe not. But how can I vote for Hillary? I hate her with every fiber of my being". And I really just don't understand that. I don't understand that hatred people have towards her. I am not saying that you need to be in love with her or that she is the most likable person that ever existed. But really. There are a million and a half examples of horrible things Trump has said, done and/or tweeted, without even mentioning the whole "grab her by the pu***y" story. So you are totally ok with all of that? Hate speech? Fear mongering? Fat shaming? Racist? That's all cool? Really? Really? But Hillary you hate with every fiber of your being. Really? Really? 

I mean let's look at the facts. Let's look at what a Trump presidency potentially will mean for us in this country. If he gets his wish and repeals the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare people are going to lose their insurance. I understand Obamacare is flawed and not the best thing that ever existed BUT it's better than what we had before, which was nothing. The solution in my eyes should be to try and fix its issues rather than repeal it and go back to having no coverage for millions of people.

If he defunds Planned Parenthood, people are going to suffer. Planned Parenthood funding covers necessary services for millions of women across the country. And I am not talking about abortions, none of the funding goes towards abortions. Planned Parenthood does so much more. 

I am nervous about his stance on gun laws as well. We need someone in charge who is willing to implement stricter gun control. Mass shootings have become the norm. We can't just sit back and accept that. I went to a funeral after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012 and thought "Surely a mass killing of elementary school children will spark something/change something" and here we are almost four years later. Has anything changed? No. It's gotten worse instead. 

His take on climate change as well as wanting to opt out of various international treaties will affect the whole world. A Trump presidency will have a much wider impact than just what happens inside the borders of the United States.  

He is also normalizing racism and intolerance of LGBT people which means people are going to suffer. It's not hyperbole. It's fact. There are already reports coming from across the country of POC and LGBT people being harassed and assaulted in the name of the new normal. Having Trump as the president elect has made it ok to be hateful and racist. 

I really want to believe that I am wrong. I want to be hopeful and I want to think "Well maybe he will surprise us all" but somehow I am just having a really hard time believing that. I want to think that somehow this divided country can come together and I will give him a chance. I will sit back and wait to see what he does. But deep down I am very concerned. I am worried and uneasy. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Eloine/NY and Bianca/Germany.

Posted by Hanna at 03:42 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A new life in the world of relocation

IMG_20161113_134616Only a week since my last post but I feel I need to make three separate posts to get everything from the past week covered. I will split it into three posts so not to create one completely cluttered and super long post. 

So here we go. I have one week at my new job under my belt. Started this past Monday (Nov 7) and made it through week 1. I really enjoy the new job and company but as with anything new it can be quite overwhelming at first. For anyone who hasn't been following along, the position is for a Relocation Specialist. For anyone unfamiliar with that term, basically it's the task of moving people and their belongings to a new residence. There are both domestic (inside the US) and international (across the world) relocation types. Most times it's corporations and government agencies that transfer their staff or have packages for new hires that help them relocate to the location of their new job. Relocation specialists basically assist individuals, couples and families in the process of moving. Depending on the client package this can cover various things: Arranging a move for their household goods, setting up temporary housing, arranging language and cultural assistance, immigration and other settling in services.

The job definitely seems very interesting but also intricate so there's a lot to learn. I spent the first week picking up some of the basics but there is still much more to cover and learn. Luckily I have a mentor assigned to me who is showing me a lot of things, going over various policies, terms and ways to do things. So that definitely helps.

I really like the international aspect of it. And even domestic, dealing with different states and locations across the US. I think long term this will be a good career choice for me. I enjoy learning about different cultures and the world in general.

It has been slightly strange being at work without Mike. Since moving to the US, the only job I ever had here was at the same company as Mike so it's weird having a job and him not being there. But of course I will get used to it. So anyway, just a quick update to keep everyone in the loop on what's going on with me and the job search/work world. Mike is still on the lookout for a new job but I am sure something suitable and a great fit will come along. Just have to be patient.  

 Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Eloine/NY and Bianca/Germany.

Posted by Hanna at 02:56 PM in Work Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Autumn Weekend

IMG_20161105_142335Had a nice lunch on Tuesday in Montreal before heading back south. Spent the rest of the week catching up with some errands and various other things since I start my new job tomorrow. Can you believe it? Time really has flown. It feels like all the applying, interviewing and searching took forever but in a way it also feels like just yesterday when I still worked at my old job.Where did the last 4 months go? Crazy. 

I am excited to embark on this new adventure but also a little nervous. It's been such a long time since I started a new job. 14 years. But it's definitely neat to be doing something new, learning new things, meeting new people. Send me positive vibes for my first day tomorrow. :) I will update once I have a few days under my belt, latest by the end of the week.

Yesterday, Saturday, we took advantage of a relatively nice fall day and went for a 5 mile walk. It's one of the places we regularly go to during all seasons as it's a paved trail (border of Cheshire and Meriden, CT) so it's fine most of the year. The only time you really can't go is after it's snowed a lot as they don't clear the trail. But once the snow has melted some it's usually fine and even rather pretty walking by the frozen lake etc. So we had a nice walk followed by a yummy lunch at Flipside in Fairfield. 

Today the weather is sunny but cooler and windy so I am glad that we went for our walk yesterday. Today we went for a yummy diner breakfast at Elmer's followed by a stop at the liquor store for some wine and the grocery store for cheese & crackers. Going to relax, hang out on the couch, catching up on our recorded TiVo stuff, snacking on cheese and crackers, tea and wine. Should be a nice relaxed afternoon/evening. 

Then tomorrow it's off to work. I start at 9 tomorrow. Will find out my permanent hours when I go tomorrow. But I do know that I am only going to be working Monday to Friday which will be nice. At my old job I worked a lot of Saturdays which wasn't the end of the world but it will definitely be nice to have a regular Monday to Friday job. Well I will update more as the week goes on.  

Letter/Mail Update: Letters went out on Wednesday to: Carmen/Malta, Celia/MA and Nina/WA. Received a letter/owe a reply to: Eloine/NY.

Posted by Hanna at 02:02 PM in Food and Drink, Outdoors, Work Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from Montreal

PixlrHappy Halloween :) We really IMG_20161031_180832aren't doing anything Halloween related but that's ok. We decided to go to Canada for a 3-night getaway to have a few more days of vacation before I start my new job. One week from today, Nov. 7th. 

Drove up to Montreal on Saturday. It's about a 5 hr drive so not too bad. We timed it so we would get here around 3pm for check in time. Settled in for a bit and then headed to the old town of Montreal which is just a few blocks from our hotel,  very convenient. Had dinner at Les 3 Brasseurs - one of our favorite restaurants. Delicious poutine, popcorn shrimp and spicy pepperoni flatbread. 

Sunday we checked out Exporail, a railway museum about 30 min from Montreal. They had the whole place decorated for Halloween which was pretty cool. Always fun to see the different old rail cars and locomotives. After the museum we headed back downtown and had a late lunch. Delicious Swiss cheese fondue followed by Nutella banana crepes for dessert.  Yum! Checked out another neat bar (Pub BreWsky) afterwards as well.

Today we had a yummy breakfast at Eggspectation. So good.  And then headed east into rural Quebec for some wine tasting. Checked out four vineyards and had a lot of fun tasting and talking to the staff. It being a weekday and off season we were the only people at each place we went to. 

Tomorrow it's already time to drive back across the border.  Going to have lunch and then make our way back. Not ready to leave. Till we meet again Quebec!! A plus tard Quebec!! 

Letter/Mail Update: A letter went out on Friday to; Eloine/NY. Received letters/owe replies to: Carmen/Malta, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 08:34 PM in Food and Drink, Travel, Wine | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Birthday Update

PixlrHere we go, here's my birthday update post. :) Really can't complain. Had an absolutely fun and wonderful extended birthday celebration.

Sunday we started off the day by having breakfast. I had yummy French Toast and bacon, one of my favorites. Then took the train down to NYC and headed over to the theater district from Grand Central. We hung out The Perfect Pint for a bit. Pretty neat bar for midtown where it's usually hard to find anything that's not a stereotypical touristy Irish pub.

From there we headed over to the Imperial Theater which is only a block from there. Was really excited to see "The Great Comet of 1812". We splurged and got stage tickets. The seating and layout was super unique and the whole experience was just amazing. I have seen my share of Broadway musicals, plays and productions but I honestly have never seen one where minutes after it ended I said "I wanna see it again. Now!!" It was just so cool. The stage tickets were amazing. The ensemble and cast was all around us at all times, people everywhere, singing, dancing, playing instruments. It was so immersive. Denee Benton absolutely blew me away. Josh Groban has more of an understated role but does very well with it and gets to show off his impressive singing skills quite a few times. I could go on for ages but I won't. But truly .. if you get a chance to see it .. go see it. Splurge on stage tickets if you can. But even orchestra or mezzanine would be ok. The ensemble and cast is all over the theater at all times so even if you're farther away from the stage you still get to be close to performers. I really do want to see it again. I don't think I can justify paying for stage tickets a second time but I'll be happy to see it from a different viewpoint as well. I honestly think you could watch it ten times and still see something new as there is so much going on all around you at all times. 

After the show we went for dinner at Osteria al Doge which was delicious as always. After a yummy dinner we headed back towards Grand Central but stopped at a wine bar about a block from there (Madison & Vine) and had some wine to wind down. Ended up hanging out there for a while, not paying attention to the time and train schedule. Didn't realize that Sunday and Saturday schedules are different and that there is an hour and a half gap between trains. So we missed the train and didn't get home till about 2.30am. But not the end of the world since we didn't have any early morning plans on Monday.

Monday I filled out my employment paperwork. Oh wait .. I don't think I even updated about that properly on here. On Friday I received a call from the company extending a job offer. They sent the papers via FedEx so I received them Saturday. Filled out everything Monday and sent them back via FedEx (their headquarter is in Pittsburgh) My start date is November 7th. 

Anyway, after we did that Monday morning we headed to the Hopkins Vineyard for some wine and cheese. Nice autumn day with great views at Lake Waramaug. Had a great time relaxing, drinking wine and eating cheese. Perfect birthday afternoon. :) In the evening we went to Rizzuto's for dinner and met up with some friends which was also fun. 

Today I am just catching up on some things at home, drinking tea and relaxing. We decided to book a 3-night stay in Montreal for the weekend (Sat-Tue) to have one more vacation before I start my new job. Once I start I won't be able to take any significant time off for a while so it will be nice to go away one more time beforehand. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to: Carmen/Malta, Celia/MA, Nina/WA and Eloine/NY.  

Posted by Hanna at 02:42 PM in Food and Drink, NYC, Performances, Wine | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gorgeous Fall Day, Job News and more

IMG_20161018_145511Took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a fall foliage drive (we went on loop #4 if you want to check it out here) on Tuesday. The weather honestly couldn't have been more perfect. Brisk blue skies that highlighted the beautiful colors of the leaves. We are definitely at peak or even a bit past peak here now. The leaves were raining down from lots of trees while we were driving creating super pretty scenes. I love fall/autumn, just wish it would last longer. 

Now on to the news from the job search. It's truly been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Monday night I received a message telling me that I didn't get the job and they picked someone else. Tuesday morning I received another message letting me know that there was a new development. Wednesday I was able to speak to someone and learned that I was their second choice candidate and that a second position had also opened up. So now they are running background and reference checks (criminal, verifying my degree in Austria etc) and once all that comes back I will hopefully be receiving an offer. So everyone, please keep your fingers crossed just a little while longer. :) This process could take another 2 weeks, depending how long it takes for them to verify everything, speak to my references etc. So more waiting in my future it seems. 

Other than that not too much going on. Yesterday, Wednesday, our friends John and Jana came over to our apartment and we watched the third presidential debate together. Always fun to hang out with friends even though the debate itself was a crazy mess of course. I can't wait for the election to be over but am also still a bit concerned. We will see how it goes. That will be another crazy night in front of the TV. Since I am still an Austrian citizen I can't vote so I will have to rely on everyone else in this country to do the right thing. 

Today I am just catching up on a few things and drinking tea. On Sunday we have Broadway tickets to see "The Great Comet of 1812". We splurged and got stage tickets. I am really excited to go as the seating and layout just seems super unique and fun.   Also going for dinner at Osteria al Doge afterwards. Yum. Can't wait. :) 

Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment. :) 

Posted by Hanna at 01:09 PM in Current Affairs, Food and Drink, NYC, Outdoors | Permalink | Comments (0)