Kitchen-almost-remodel

Last week, our kitchen faucet started leaking. Not like a little drip drip but like full stream of water was going down the cabinet under the sink whenever we turned on the faucet. At over 15 years old, I took this as time to replace the faucet. Plus the kitchen sink, for as long as I remember, has been rusting on a corner of the rim. It’s not leaking or unusable, but it’s flakey and unsightly. So I wanted the whole set replaced if we were going to get a handyman in. The handyman recommended we consider gutting the whole kitchen, counters, cabinets and all redone if we were going to replace those and after 5 minutes of careful thought, we decided, nah. Re-doing the kitchen means I’d have to be more diligent about keeping it nice and clean and taking care of it. Having old crap means I can use and abuse my kitchen to my hearts content. Plus, landfills! Anyway, we spent all last weekend shopping for a new sink and faucet. Online. At the hardware stores. Everywhere! After driving to 3 different shops, I finally picked out my sink/faucet combo, made the appointment with the handyman and lo, the very next day, after random futzing and tightening of some nut or whatever, it stopped leaking. I canceled the whole thing. Because landfill and because I wasn’t really digging either the new sink or faucet. It was more out of a rushed need that I settled on them. So after running around in circles, we’re right back to where we started. I’m kind of relieved at not having to go through the trouble of having it replaced, but also disappointed because the rusty sink is garbage-looking.

The Barrio

Our previous neighbors up and moved this summer and took with them our favorite pup. I miss that prissy princessy french bulldog. And I miss their always keeping us apprised of the goings on around the barrio. And their pet and plant-sitting services when we vacationed. Good neighbors are good.
So to make more good neighbor-friends, we invited the new family over for dinner. And they’re great!! They love Taylor Swift! They’re vegans. They love cooking and food! One of them plays guitar. Another is into photography. They like books I like – Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver. (Well – granted, they’re books many people like, but still.) I think I said “Oh really?! Me too!” all night long.

Oh and bonus – we have a new Gina-sitter.
Gina

Amish Country

May. That’s when I started planning a trip to Lancaster, PA. I picked it because it was within easy driving distance and some friends had gone there and recommended it. July seemed so distant at the time I can’t believe the trip has come and gone. We knew we wanted to check out the Amish countryside. Bird-in-Hand. And since we were doing small town, I thought a bed and breakfast would fit the bill too. Then I found the Fulton Theatre. Turns out they were showing Les Miserables. Sold! I nailed down the weekend we would visit based on the availability of better seats for that show. I built the itinerary around the show. We pre-watched song performances on YouTube in preparation for the show. As you can tell, this was the trip highlight.

So with one full day there, here’s what we did.
First, we went to Bird-in-Hand and rented bicycles. We biked around to their farmer’s market. Walked around that for a bit. They had knick knacks for tourists and sold jams, jellies, mustards, pretzals, sandwiches, cheeses. Y’know. Amish stuff. Then we biked over to another little market that had a little petting zoo right next to it.
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The market wasn’t too different from the previous one, but the goats running around with the chickens were pretty cool.

The nice thing about bicycling around Amish country is, when you’re off the main road, there aren’t too many other cars or horse drawn buggies. I haven’t biked in years so even though I still remembered how, I was wobbly on it. We eventually got comfortable enough on them, even passed a buggy (going real slow, obviously). The roads weren’t too hilly.

After returning the bicycles, we drove to downtown Lancaster to explore yet another Amish market. Even though I generally love grocery stores and markets these weren’t all that interesting to me. Not a large variety of produce. The most interesting stall was a guy selling celery. They looked smaller and homegrown. That’s all he sold. We were in and out of the market pretty quickly. Next stop, Spring House Brewery for lunch and some beers to cool us off after that bike ride. They had some interesting flavored stouts. Egg Nog stout tasted like sarsaparilla. Yums.

And then, the pièce de résistance: Les Miserables at the Fulton Opera House.
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This theatre was built in 1852. It’s old and beautiful on the inside. And the best part, it’s small. Not a bad seat in the house. I had managed my expectations about this show, thinking more high school production and less Broadway act. It turned out to be more Broadway act (or so it seemed based on what I saw on YouTube). My goodness, the music was amazing. I cried throughout the whole thing. The lady next to me cried. Everybody died. It was spectacular. For the Fulton Theatre alone, I would come back and do this whole trip over again. For a different performance of course. Les Miserables has great songs but it’s emotionally taxing. Once for sure, and once is enough.

For dinner, we went to the John J. Jeffries restaurant located at the Lancaster Arts Hotel.
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Fresh ingredients make tasty dishes. We practically licked our plates clean.
By 8 PM we were back to our room at the B&B. It was a long day for us. Long, fun, and memorable.

Estimated Costs:
Gas: ~$40
B&B (2 nights): ~$200
Dinner (2 nights): $110
Lunch and beer: $30
Bicycle rentals ($10/hour): $25
Fulton Theatre: $120
TOTAL: ~$525

Good Intentions

On Saturday we went to Wolf Trap to see Toad the Wet Sprocket and Counting Crows. Remember them!?! Haha. It was fun to hear the old songs again. Picnicking on the lawn was probably the best part though. I mean, eating anything on a blanket makes the food taste better I think. We got takeout from Natta Thai (10 minutes from the venue) which was very good. I also enjoyed watching other people eat. A double dating group in front of us brought some fancypants stuff. Crudites, artichokes with dip, fried chicken, bite sized Twix. I think I paid more attention to them and their food than the show. To our right was a couple with 2 LeoNora bakery baguettes. I love watching people eat. Oh and I picked up some very creative ways to pop off beer caps. One guy rolled up the programs they handed out and used that as a bottle opener. Another guy held two bottles against each other and used one cap to force off the other. I was going to borrow someone’s bottle opener but it looked like we all forgot to bring one so I used my belt buckle. Worked like a charm.

We got there at 6:30 for a 7PM show which actually started at 8PM and the lawn looked like this.
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We settled in on a shady patch were the views of the stage was this.
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Next time, we should probably get there a bit earlier.

Here’s Counting Crows playing just as we were leaving.
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The sound was clearest right by our car. I could actually hear the words to the songs without the messy echos and reverberations.

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme

Ever since going to see the Beauty and the Beast musical last weekend, I’ve had various tunes in my head every morning on my way to work.
I wake up to, “When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. And now that I’m grown I eat five dozen eggs so I’m roughly the size of a barge!”
It’s made me want to see that movie over again. I think it might be my most watched movie. I’ve seen it at home dozens of times since the VHS came out. Then I took the tape to my college lecture hall during off hours to see it with my roommates. Saw it on IMAX. And now the musical performance. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it, this story of a woman rescuing a prince in distress. Ah love. My favorite part is the climactic ending where she turns him back to a prince with a kiss. It’s like a Jane Austen ending.

Wolf Trap was a great venue. Cool, not cold. Breezy. Fantastic acoustics (“Be Our Guest” with live instrumentation!). Easy to get in and out of traffic-wise. And close to some great restaurants for before or after show dining.

March Madness

I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about the weather! I just went out for some groceries and it was so warm! How can it snow tomorrow? Does not compute. The temperatures would have to drop 35 degrees at least.

Anyway, I went out in a sweats. Perfectly appropriate grocery shopping attire. Still, I felt really out of place because as soon as I crossed the street, hoards of fancily green-clad beautiful people walked by me heading to the bars downtown. I passed dozens more party people on my way to and from the grocery store. Oh well, at least my sweatpants were green. Every bar had a line snaking around the street corners. Madness I tell ya. I overheard a young lady state matter-of-factly, ” I just wanna get drunk.”

I felt over dressed by the time I was hauling the groceries home. Should’ve gone with a t-shirt.

Going to Mom’s

I just started a new job again recently.  Well it’s similar but with a smarter, more competent boss.  The new gig has me re-establishing new routines.  I no longer go to Mom’s Organic Market weekly.

So yesterday, we went there as our weekend grocery run.  It felt so familiar going back there.  I’ve missed it.  I got my usual staples.  A bunch of bulk food items like nuts and beans.  And raisins for our girl, Gina.  We also got lunch there after we shopped.  They have a ton of really great vegetarian/vegan options and a nice little lounge area to sit and eat.  I would highly recommend it as a place to go if this is the kind of food you’re looking for, even if you’re not grocery shopping.  Their food is good.  I highly recommend the Jammed Yam, the cauliflower steak, and the Fakin’ Bacon.  They also have specials which are good too.  Everything is good!

To church!

I attended church services yesterday at a friend’s congregation. They had a friends & family day and I had heard so many great things about this church and the pastor that I wanted to meet the man.  Of all the Christian services I’ve ever attended this was probably the one I enjoyed the most.  There was singing.  Prayer.  Fainting.  Prophesying.  Healing.  Crying.  It was full of passion.  The pastor gave a sermon that was positive and uplifting about making one’s heart right and good.  Being introspective and righting any wrongs.  Can’t argue with that.  It was inspirational.

Noodles and Sushi

Last night, we had dinner at Nooshi with some pals. I had heard so many raves about this place, especially the mee goreng, so that’s what I got. It was okay. They were a bit like pad thai but instead of rice noodles it was like lo mein sort of. Egg noodles? I tried the Phuket noodles and they were better. It’s a rice noodle soup and the broth reminded me of tom yum soup. Gingery, tangy.
For appetizers we had tofu fries (quite yum), fried calamari (no tentacles, boo), and edamame.

Would I rave about Nooshi? Well, I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there, but if I was in the area, it would be a top choice. Overall, maybe because of the hype, we felt like it was a disappointment.