Friday, September 10, 2010

Trenton Thunder

Last night my friend Karen and I went to a Trenton Thunder minor league baseball playoff game. There are many reasons to love minor league baseball games. One - They are ridiculously cheap. We were in the 5th row off the field and we paid the highest ticket price in the park - a whopping $12 each. Two - Sometimes you get to see big major leaguers who are in rehab from injuries. Last night we got to see Andy Pettitte pitch 4 scoreless innings (Please note the Trenton Pork Roll sign. This is definitely NOT Yankee Stadium!):

Three - There are so many little gimmicks and games between the innings! One of my favorites is Chase That Golden Thunder - the Thunder's Golden Retriever Bat Dog (you can see a better photo of Chase here):

It was a perfect night for a game. And we sat close enough that we were happy we decided to pick up Thunder hats on the way to our seats. The people around us seemed to be mostly season ticket holders. They knew all the players and called them by their first names. And the crazy thing is, the field is small enough that when someone in our section yelled "C'mon Austin!!" you knew he could actually hear them from the batter's box.

We ended up leaving in the 8th inning. It was a scoreless game when we left and remained scoreless until the 12th inning when the Thunder hit a 2-run homer to finish the game. I'm glad I got a little dose of the minor league before the season ended. Thanks, Karen!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

caught up

Oh My Goodness, and now I'm finally caught up with the blogging! Phew! And now, I swear I'll keep up with it. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kayaking in Princeton

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend a bunch of Mac's friends (and friends of Mac's friends) came up to Princeton to go kayaking on the D&R Canal and Lake Carnegie. It was a perfect day for it, although kind of windy once we crossed over to the lake and headed back and the wind was in our faces. But we made it. Our crew consisted of 2 aluminum canoes, 2 individual kayaks (Mac and his friend Keith) and Mac's friend Shrey and I shared a double kayak. Neither of us had been kayaking before, although both of us had been canoeing. I ended up in the back and being in charge of steering. There was definitely a learning curve in that department, but we had a great time. Here are Shrey and I after two hours on the water:

The guy who took the photo said we looked like pros! Little did he know...

Pasha's Sparkling Garden of Rugs

On the Friday of Labor Day weekend, Mac and I headed into Lambertville to hang out, have dinner and see the fireworks. Our plan was to head to Pasha Rugs which, on nights when there are fireworks, hosts Pasha's Sparkling Garden of Rugs. This includes a huge spread of free Turkish food, live Turkish music and free tastings of Rakı in the little yard behind the store. They also claim to have the largest pillow ever that you can lounge on in the store. So Mac and I spent a bit of time here, enjoyed the food and music and then walked around Lambertville and over the bridge to New Hope. We decided that Lambertville was more our speed and headed back over the bridge, which was ridiculously crowded with people getting ready to watch the fireworks. We found our way back to Pasha's and watched the fireworks and then stuck around taking these silly photos in the Sparkling Garden:

This (below) is the worst photo of us, ever. We were trying to make it so you could see the Turkish rugs we were sitting on, but every time we looked at the photos on the back of the camera, we just started laughing so hard at how bad they were.

And here is Mac on the biggest pillow ever. It was really an amazing store, and if I ever have thousands of dollars to spend on a beautiful handmade rug, I know where I'll go.

We ended the night by having a drink at a bar along the canal, which was quite lovely. Really we just wanted to wait until all of the fireworks traffic got out of town, and it pretty much worked. It was a lovely way to kick off the unofficial last weekend of summer.

Now We're Cooking with...Electric

While I was moving I decided to stop by the community garden and drop off my rake and big watering can so that I didn't have to worry about storing them in my new place. While I was there I stopped by my plot and picked one more cucumber, a few carrots and two big green tomatoes. Honestly, the whole garden (not just my plot) is so overgrown with weeds it makes it impossible to water and that will probably be the last time I go this season. I had a great run with the sungolds, tons of cucumbers, nice green beans and other tomatoes.

But back to the green tomatoes. What else does one do with green tomatoes but fry them? This was my first "real" meal (outside of boiling water for pasta and steaming some veggies) that I cooked in my new apartment. Mac came over and we followed this recipe.

After a few debacles of turning on the wrong burner and nearly burning ourselves, we finally figured out the stove and managed to pull together two nice dishes. Earlier I had made this Spanish Potato Tortilla, and the two actually went nicely together.

My Grammy says "Now we're cookin' with gas!" when things are going well with a project. Well, I was cooking with gas in my old apartment, now I'm cooking with electric. And now I have a better understanding of the saying (except back in the day it was probably gas vs. woodburning stove as opposed to gas vs. electric). Needless to say I'm still getting used to the electric stove. The next adventure will be actually turning on the oven for the first time! Stay Tuned...

Everyone's Moving

Both my brother Dan and his family and I moved on the same weekend. The weekend before that weekend, we headed to IKEA with Mom. We were planning on taking two cars because we both had lists of things we were interested in picking up, but decided at the last minute to just take my parents' Subaru. Well, it all fit, but it was a tight squeeze!

I was squished in the front seat, Dan had all kinds of space as the driver (except for that box coming up between the front seats) and mom was squished in the back and had to hold onto a mirror that was over her head so that it didn't fall on her. Good thing it's only a 20 minute drive, but during that drive it started to pour rain, so we took is slow. That I kept reminding my brother that my face was only 6 inches from the windshield.

It was a fun excursion, Dan had never been to an IKEA before. We ended up having lunch there and really getting the full IKEA experience. My favorite thing is to treat myself to an ice cream cone after checking out. It was a little stressful loading up the car, but other than that it was a fun and successful trip.

Messing with Texas

So Mac is from Texas and is never prouder of that fact than during his department's Chili Throwdown. Yes, he actually owns, and proudly wore, the above belt buckle. We both entered different chilis, his was meaty and made with mole sauce and served with Fritos, mine was vegetarian and had cashews and raisins in it. There was a little bit of competitive trash talk before the competition, but it was all for naught. Neither of us won (or even placed in the top three), but we had a great time. Mac's colleague James ended up taking home 1st place, which includes bragging rights and the MAE (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) Chili Throwdown Champion beltbuckle. James didn't have a belt to put it on, so Mac graciously donated his to the cause (for the moment).

You can see in the photo below that Mac no longer has his belt on. We're standing proudly behind our chili entries. Mine was in the red crock pot (thanks to Karen for lending it to me!) and Mac's is in the white. It was a fun day, even if neither of us took home the big prize.

Just wait until next year....

No Food Today

A few weeks ago, when I was still living in my old apartment, I walked over to my garden spot one morning and passed this sign in front of the little church on my street. It was a reminder that even in Princeton there are people who are hungry. And here I was, on my way to pick some fresh veggies from my garden. Well, with these thoughts fresh in my mind, I got to my garden and realized that someone had helped themselves to much of my ripe produce. About 5 early girl tomatoes, the only 2 green bell peppers that decided to grow this year, and possibly some green beans and cucumbers. I was really angry at first, especially about the bell peppers because they were the only two I had. Then I took a deep breath and hoped that whoever took these veggies was using them to make something delicious and healthy, possibly to fill some of those hungry bellies.

My old neighborhood was what some people referred to as the "ghetto" of Princeton. When I moved there I was told that I had to be careful walking around at night, that it wasn't a good neighborhood. The truth is, that neighborhood is full of families, hard working people and probably a bad egg or two. It's full of wonderful smells from kitchens and little restaurants, kids laughing and playing in back yards, teenagers riding their bikes too fast on the sidewalk and day workers waiting for some landscaping or other work. Granted, it's not the huge houses on Library Lane (just 2 blocks away) or manicured lawns that people associate with Princeton, but it is a good, solid neighborhood with a lot of history (Paul Robeson grew up there). It is also the kind of neighborhood where little churches feed people who are hungry (when they can) and where someone helped themselves to some of my veggies. And I'm OK with that.

Visiting Christa in DC

On the Saturday after Cape May, I headed down to DC to hang out with Christa while she was there as a summer intern. We squeezed so much fun into 24 hours! It's crazy. Our first stop was this great Mexican restaurant called Oyamel. They were having a squash blossom festival and all of the food was outstanding - especially the mole sauce. Yum!

Then we did a little museum hopping and I searched all over the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and finally found their brand new Art-o-Mat machine! It's a real beauty. Both Christa and I got some art. After enjoying that museum, we headed to the Native American Museum and after that we decided to head to Nationals Park to see the Phillies play the Nationals.

We didn't have tickets and ended up getting Standing Room Only for $10, which was fine. But after 6 innings of that we were ready to either sit or leave. We found a sweet couple heading out and asked if we could take their seats, so for the next inning we got to enjoy the game from some great seats. It was funny because there were more Phillies fans in the stadium than Nationals fans. I found out later that a Phillies fan blog had declared this game as their road trip game, so lots of Phillies fans made the trip down. It was a fun night.

On Sunday morning we headed down to the Eastern Market and had a great time wandering the stalls and doing a little shopping. They have everything from antiques to artists to fruits and veggies. My two favorite booths were the pickle guy and the peeler guy. Christa and I enjoyed some great pickles - Old Bay! - and both walked away with amazing peelers. It was a great morning.

After the market I dropped Christa off at her house and headed home. Traffic was a little tricky (as always around DC), but overall it was totally worth the trip. I stopped at Mom and Dad's for dinner and then headed up to Princeton. It was a great way to top off my week of vacation.

Cape May 2010

This year our week in Cape May was at the end of July instead of the beginning of August. The weather was great, the water was a little cold some days, but overall it was an awesome week. Mac was able to make it down for a day, which was great. We packed in some time at the beach, some time to walk around Cape May and, of course, some time to play Blokus.

The first night we were there was a nearly full moon and it was a perfect night for a walk out on the beach. It was just my parents, Mac and I and Aunt Angie until late that night when John and Jill rolled in with their kids. Dan and Mo arrived on Sunday.

John's 40th (!) Birthday was the week before we arrived at the beach, so we did it up right and had a good old birthday party for him once everyone was in town. And yes, he was able to blow out all the candles in one shot. Not bad for the old guy.

The boys had a great time playing together (as you can tell from the next few photos). Emerson enjoyed chasing everyone around with a (brand-new) fly swatter. At one point all of the doors to the house were wide open and the other 4 boys were running from Emmy through the house and yard. It was pretty funny to watch.

And there was lots of silliness on the big couch in the living room.

And everyone knows that when Grammy says she's going to the toy store that you should go with her. All of these kids LOVE Legos. Here are the little guys picking out their favorite Legos in the window:

And, of course, we spent a lot of time at the beach. This year we were only a block away from the beach which made a huge difference as far as being able to just head down for a little bit, or walk back with whoever was done for the day. In the past we've had to drive or bike to the beach, so this was great. I think I made it to the beach every day I was there.

On some days the water was pretty cold. Here's Mom and Aunt Angie figuring that out.

The kids didn't care too much. They all like being in the water now.

Every year John takes his kids out really early to build a big sand castle. They like to build them close to the water, which is always risky. Here, their front wall held after a wave made it all the way to the castle. This is a big victory.

Nathaniel is making rows of crops for the people in the castle.

John looking out over the kingdom. A job well done, yet again.

And after waking up so early, Nathaniel needed a well-deserved beach nap.

Here's a cute one of Sebastian in the sand with Mom's hat on:

And we got quite the dolphin show one day. It's amazing how close they come to the beach, but this day they decided to play around and jump out of the water. Everyone on the beach was watching and even applauding as they did this. I think they somehow understand that it's a crowd pleaser.

And one of the lifeguards paddled out to swim with them. It's amazing how big the dolphins are compared to him.

One of the mornings I woke up early and noticed that it was a nice pink sunrise, so I hopped out of bed, grabbed my camera and headed to the beach to take some photos.

The sky was so beautiful. I took a ton of photos of these clouds, but I think I like this one the best.

While I was out taking photos, I noticed that a couple had brought down a little picnic breakfast to have on the beach. They were trying to take photos of each other at arm's length, so I asked if they wanted me to take a photo of the two of them. They said they would and then the girl blurted out "He just asked me to marry him!!". It was super cute and I was glad that I could take a photo of their special moment. He certainly picked the right morning for it, it was beautiful.

There are certain things that we do every year in Cape May and one of them is our Ladies Day. We always go to tea at the Physick Estate and wear our hats. This also includes a tour of the Cape May Show House, which is always a treat.

Another thing we do every year is leave all the kiddos with the grandparents and enjoy an evening of just the siblings. No parents, no kids.

This year we went to the Blue Pig and sure enough, there was a Blue Pig there. We, of course, had to get a photo when he stopped by our table. I was a little surprised to see this because the Blue Pig is actually quite a nice restaurant, not one that you would think would have a mascot roaming around. But it was fun.

And yes, we always squeeze in some time to get pedicures. What a treat!

So here we are, the big happy family. Thanks to Aunt Angie for being the photographer! It was a great week and we've already booked the same house for next year. Already looking forward to it!