Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Post

IMG_20161225_214318_378Merry Christmas. :) Hope everyone had a nice holiday. We have had a nice laid back holiday weekend so far. Can't complain at all. :) 

Friday I was off and we went to the movies to see "Rogue One" followed by lunch in Oxford at 121. Then on Saturday (Christmas Eve) we had a follow up appointment at the vet with Bailey to make sure she's healing ok (she is!) After that we headed to Stew Leonard's to pick up some food for dinner and the next day (what a madhouse!!) and then had lunch at the Marketplace before heading home and catching up on some of our TiVo shows and movies. Had a yummy feast of shrimp cocktail, cheese & crackers, Brie & baguette, broccoli & dip and wine. 

Yesterday, Christmas morning, we opened our gifts with Mike's sister and nephew (my niece is in Georgia at the moment visiting her boyfriend) Mike spoiled me with a Kindle Fire HD10 (that thing is massive!) and a bunch of Outlander themed gifts (the special edition season 2 Blu-ray plus a shirt and a shopping bag) Plenty of other nice things (PJs, tea, movie theater gift card, gloves, a cat broche and more) After our gift exchange we hung out at home for a bit, had more of our food and eventually headed to the movies to see "La La Land". After the movies we stopped into TKs for a bit, as they were open and actually quite busy. Had some Cajun wings. Been ages since we've been there. 

Today we slept in and puttered around the apartment for a bit. Going to head to the movies for movie number 3 of our holiday weekend "Passengers". Going to stop at Hallmark after the movie to pick up some Christmas cards. Kind of a tradition for me. Already bought some Christmas labels and wrapping paper online as well. Always good to stock up on that stuff after the holidays when it's on sale. :) 

Well that concludes our holiday weekend. Can't believe it's already back to work again tomorrow but I can't complain as it's another short week really. 2016 is almost at an end. Let's hope 2017 is a better year but I am really not too sure. I guess we will just need to wait and see to find out. In the meantime I hope everyone's happy and healthy and had a nice holiday weekend as well. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Lotte/Denmark, Bianca/Germany and Eloine/NY. 

Posted by Hanna at 12:10 PM in Food and Drink, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday Prep, Sacher Torte & the vet

PixlrAnother busy week. Can't believe it's already Christmas next week. Where has this year gone? It's crazy. I was laid off from my old job the day after the 4th of July holiday and now it's already Christmas. At my new job for about 5 weeks now. Time is definitely flying. 

Was a busy week at work with holiday stuff (Secret Santa, Pot Luck, Holiday Party and more) so the week went by pretty quickly. Friday we had our Holiday Party at Mazzo. Had been there only once before but they have a pretty big banquet room upstairs. Had a fun time. Good food, open bar and karaoke. I am not a karaoke person but I did have fun watching everyone else. :) I am not the type of person who enjoys dancing or karaoke. I can't sing and I am terribly uncoordinated so those things are not fun for me at all. But I still had a good time hanging out with everyone and watching everyone else. :)

In less fun news also had to bring our new cat Bailey to the vet. During her check-up a few weeks ago they detected a small mammary tumor so we scheduled an appointment for her surgery. Before the surgery they took an x-ray and then also discovered that she had 7 bladder stones that needed to be removed. So she ended up having two procedures done at the same time and stayed at the vet from Thursday until Saturday morning. All things considered she's doing well and is dealing ok with her cone. We will need to bring her back to get a bigger cone though because when she twists just the right way she can reach her stitches and that's no good of course. All in all she's being her usual cute self, purring, eating and just rolling with things. Unfortunately the whole thing was not cheap but what can you do? The food she now has to eat isn't cheap either but I don't want her to develop more bladder stones so it's necessary unfortunately. Well, the good news is that the tumor at least hadn't spread yet so that's good. 

So I am spending the weekend hanging out with her. Wrapped my gifts for the people here (the stuff I didn't mail), wrapped up some cake and cookies for people. Oh that's right. I didn't mention yet that my lovely parents sent me a delicious Sacher Torte straight from Hotel Sacher in Vienna. So yummy. I am enjoying it very much but since it's a big cake I figured I would share with other people as well. :) So I made some packages for people, put away my laundry and worked on some other chores.

I have a big pile of letters to write as well but I am not sure I will get to those today. Think I will read some more in a bit after I finish my tea.  The weather has been all over the place this week as well. Some super cold temps with crazy windchill, then some snow on Saturday (which didn't make the trip to the vet very fun) and today pretty warm temps but back to cold tomorrow. Rollercoaster of weather, guess that's New England for you. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Lotte/Denmark, Bianca/Germany and Eloine/NY. 

Posted by Hanna at 05:19 PM in Food and Drink, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Baking

IMG_20161212_070657And yup it's Monday again. The holiday season definitely seems to be racing by at lightning speed but then I guess that's like that every year. I have tried to be prepared and have somewhat succeeded but not altogether. I mailed all my Christmas cards and packages. The last batch of domestic packages went out a week ago so that's all set. I have heard from a few people who have received theirs so that's good. It cracks me up watching the speed the mail travels. A package from CT to Brooklyn, NY took 5 days where a package from CT to L.A., CA took 6 days. Makes no sense at all. Haven't heard from a friend in Delaware so hopefully that one will arrive soon-ish. Who knows about Oklahoma and Seattle. Guess we will find out how that goes. I did try to mail everything on the early side exactly for that reason. 

This weekend I spent a good amount of time with my friend Jana, hanging out and baking cookies. It's become somewhat of a tradition we developed over the last few years. This year we decided to make a variety of cookies and ended up with two recipes from her Russian grandmother (Rugelach and Farmers Cottage Cheese House), my mom's Linzer cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies and Chocolate Sambucca cookies. Quite an interesting mix. I think the Linzer and the Rugelach ones were my favorite. :) 

Let's see what this week brings. Woke up to a wintry mix (some snow, now rain on top of it) so hopefully the ride into work won't be too bad. We're doing a version of Secret Santa at work this week plus there is a potluck one day and on Friday we have our office Christmas party. 

Oh, forgot to mention Saturday we also went to the movies and saw "Manchester by the Sea" which was really good. Definitely a film I would recommend. Have a feeling it will end up with an Oscar nomination but we will see. Few movies out and still coming out over the holidays that I want to see so we may end up at the theater a few more times over the next few weeks. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 07:21 AM in Food and Drink, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

It's the season ...

PixlrAnd somehow it's Sunday again. I am getting used to having both Saturday and Sunday off but the weekends definitely still fly by quickly no matter what.

The week went by pretty fast. My international cards went out on Monday. Wrote my US/Canada ones on Tuesday night so they went into the mail on Wednesday. And later in the week I put up our decorations and the tree. Also packaged up my domestic Christmas packages so those will go into the mail tomorrow for the most part. My international gifts went via Amazon and Target this year. Decided that was better as most of my packages disappeared somewhere in the postal system last year.  So this has had a better success rate so far. :)

Yesterday, Saturday, we went to the movies and saw "Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" in IMAX which I thought was pretty good.  Today slept in and then stopped at Kohl's to return some items I bought online and pick out something else.  Took forever. This is why I swear by online shopping normally.  Ugh. Went out to lunch after and going to catch up on some things on our TiVo later. 

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

Posted by Hanna at 04:13 PM in Food and Drink, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 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)