Posts By: Jenelle

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Jun 11 2012
0

NYC – Rome #blogjune

Ahh this Europe vacation was just fabulous. It was the best vacation I have ever had. Out of all of my travels over all of the years… this trip was IT! I loved every minute! It wasn’t the longest or the most adventurous… it was just wonderful to be able to see and experience so much with Bill. I have always loved travelling on my own but this trip, OUR trip, changed all of that!

Departure day! Hooray! Our preflight routine went perfectly. Bill stayed home and I worked half a day and got in the door just after 12. We had a quick lunch and after having showers we were ready to leave by 2.30. We have a check list to work off so we are not having any ‘Home Alone’ moments on the plane where we think we have forgotten something. I am one of those people that needs to have everything spotless before we leave so the days leading up to any vacation are crazily busy. On our day of travel, Bill got a final load of laundry done, powered down anything we could, vacuumed and set our light timers. Everything felt clean and sparkly so we knew we would return to some kind of tranquility!

Our journey started on a rainy afternoon. Our car service picked us up at 3pm and we headed straight to JFK. I always have trouble with the self service check in because I am not a US Citizen but I am also not returning to the USA as a visitor – so after some back and forth we were finally checked in. I was worried Bill and I would be split up because we acutally had two separate bookings as Bill used AA points and I used Qantas points. Thank goodness, our seat request was honored and we were beside each other. We then braved the long security line and got to the Admirals Club with two hours to spare.

Here we go!

AA0236 JFK - FCO

Unfortunately, being used to flying to Australia means I always get to have lots of excess luggage. On this trip we were limited to one suitcase each so we actually bought on a small carry on case. I hate travelling with any carry on luggage and always have only minimal stuff on board. We used our carry on case for toiletries and a spare outfit in case our bags were lost. The case was essentially empty but I wanted to use this for any purchases we made.

We chowed down on pizza (it actually wasn’t bad for lounge food) and I had a lovely big Shirley Temple. We were so excited, the time seemed to fly and it was time to board. After last minute goodbye phone calls to Australia and Albany we were on our way!

They do an awesome Shirley Temple in the lounge –

Admirals Club Lounge - JFK

Our charging setup –

Admirals Club Lounge - JFK

Here was our view before leaving –

Leaving JFK -  AA0236 JFK - FCO

The plane was old with no individual in flight entertainment unit. This was a bonus as we HAD to sleep on this flight – leaving at 7.30pm, we would be arriving in Rome at 10am and it was important that we stay awake for our first day in Rome. Unforutnately, the plane was full of very annoying passengers who were going on a cruise. They made the biggest deal out of everything. But even worse was the couple in front of us. The plane had only JUST taken off… as in the wheels had JUST lifted when the guy in front of me moved his seat back.. and then the girl in front did exactly the same. WHAT PLANET ARE THESE PEOPLE ON?! I shoved the chair back but no good… it was about an hour into the flight until our dinner got served and I requested that our attendant tell them to move their seat forward. They did, but before the trays were even collected, they moved them back again. The person in front of them hadn’t reclined – they just wanted more room. In all of my flights and all of my travel experiences these seat recliners are my pet peeve. What makes it worse? HE WASN’T EVEN TRYING TO SLEEP! It is SO RUDE to not even turn around and say “Do you mind if I recline my seat?” It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate people are… and it only seems to be getting worse.

After dinner, we got about four hours sleep and before we knew it, we were having breakfast and prepping for landing. Here is my view when I was waking up –

En Route to Italy -  AA0236 JFK - FCO

Here is the usual.. plane food pics!

Our first snack –

Snack -  AA0236 JFK - FCO

Dinner –

Bill’s stir fry –

Dinner 2 -  AA0236 JFK - FCO

My curried tortellini –

Dinner 1 - AA0236 JFK - FCO

Breakfast… thrown on the tray.

Breakfast -  AA0236 JFK - FCO

We got off the plane and walked through the terminal and onto the train that connects the terminals so we could go through passport control. Passport control in Italy was interesting. We had to line up, get out our passports, hold them up to the man sitting behind a glass screen and walk through. SERIOUSLY. No forms, no passport swiping, no stamps – nothing. Trying to be ‘Mrs experienced traveler’ I explained to Bill how they will probably get some kind of documentation off us at customs. We collected our bags and… walked straight out of the airport. That was it. No-one knew we were there! No-one checked who we were. No-one knew where we were staying. We were in a cab within five minutes and zipping around Rome in no time and arrived at our accomodation before noon. It was so exciting… ROMA!!!!! ITALIA!!!!!

The angels were looking after us because when we checked in… our room was ready!

Molto bene!!!

Jun 10 2012
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Lindsey Buckingham… again! #blogjune

Lindsey Buckingham has been touring again so naturally, this meant I had to go. Lucky Bill was coming along to keep me company. I just cannot miss Linds when he is in town! It had still only been less than a year since I actually met him! WHOA!

He was playing at BB Kings Blues Club in Midtown and I had never been there before so it is always good fun checking out a new venue.

Lindsey at BB Kings

For dinner, we went to Becco on 46th Street. Becco is Lidia Bastianich’s restaurant – it did not disappoint. I opted for the three dish pasta where they come around with big frying pans filled with the three pastas of the night and continually fill your dish. The pasta was fantastic (the penne with veal ragu and peas was easily on par with pasta I ate in Rome) and Bill got the main chicken dish that was in a light broth with some Israeli cous cous and vegetables – the chicken was absolutely amazing. The only downfall was it was seriously the noisiest restaurant I have ever eaten in. I am not one for shouting over the table so basically we basically didn’t talk through the whole meal.The tables are very close and we had two very loud speakers on either side of us so we didn’t stand a chance but the whole restaurant was like having five McDonald’s playgrounds inside but with adult voices.

We then made our way back down to 42nd St to get to BB Kings. Here is where the ranting starts. We got there 10 minutes after the doors opened and decided to have dessert there so we would reach the $10 per person charge that you must make for sitting down. The tables on the floor was pretty packed already but we didn’t get to choose where we sat… even though it was general admission. The guy leading us to our seats offered us one table that was behind a pillar or right down the front where Bill would have his back to the stage. We took down the front but it was awful. We were told we HAD to sit facing each other. Um ok? Luckily, no-one was sitting beside us so I mentioned to Bill that when the show starts he can come and sit next to me so he could actually see the stage.

Then, at about 8.15 (show was starting at nine) they bought down a girl and sat her beside me. Um – how does it work that you can come in late and end up with a better seat than Bill? Okkk then. But we still had the seat beside Bill where he could move and then wiggle around when the show started. Oh no we didn’t. About 20 minutes later, they sat another girl beside Bill. So we were essentially jammed beside the stage with not even an inch of room between us and the other people and Bill couldn’t see a thing as now he didn’t even have room to spin around. I went up to our waitress and asked if we could just move seats up to the back as they had great booths, with a good view of the stage and these were still empty. She said no – if we did we would have to pay another $10 charge per head AGAIN. This was on top of the $60 each ($73 including Ticketmaster charges) that we had already paid for our tickets and on top of our desserts and drinks that we had already bought. So I cracked it and said to Bill I wouldn’t care if we left because he couldn’t see, I was slammed against the side of the stage and it was just miserable.

Then, the waitress came over with our bill. Bill noted to me how the tip was already included and she wouldn’t be getting anything else as she was pretty much hopeless. She came and took our card and then came back ten minutes later with the receipt for us to sign. She pointed out to Bill that this was just a partial gratuity, basically letting us know to add more to it. Bill is a VERY good tipper so he was very much “No worries!” and was about to up the tip to his usual ‘average service’ tip of 15%. That was until he saw the amount. The included gratuity was ALREADY 15%. So he wrote that on the receipt an when she came back he pointed out to her that it wasn’t partial as it was already 15%. To which she said “Exactly – that is only a partial tip!” AHA – she thought we were tourists – understandable considering my accent but who was she kidding?! I would LOVE to know how much she is swindling other customers (especially those who were drinking) out of more money with her scam. Bill quickly pointed out to her that 15% is a partial gratuity but that is only when it comes to GOOD service. She then just walked away. Worst service EVER.

I looked up towards the back and noticed that all the decent booths and tables up there were only just filling up. Which means that people coming in last, were getting way better seats than us – it was a schmozzle of the highest order.

Lindsey came out and I tried to enjoy it being squashed against the stage and with the girl beside me basically sitting on my lap. He played REALLY well. It was just him and his many guitars… but check out the setlist. Go Insane was AWESOME and he totally rocked Come.

Cast Away Dreams
Bleed to Love Her
Not Too Late
Stephanie
Come
Shut Us Down
Go Insane
Never Going Back Again
Big Love
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
Trouble
Seeds We Sow

Here is proof that I did stay to see him –

Lindsey Buckingham

It was then time to leave… which would have been easy but President Obama was at an event across the road. EEEEKKK. We had to have the flash off for the Obama/Clinton lighting to show up but… here is Obama, Bill Clinton and me!

Across the road from President Obama

See all those huge garbage trucks? They are used as barriers while the President was there. They circled the block! Which left me a bit dismayed as that means all he sees lining the streets when he comes to New York is old garbage trucks?! You can see more pictures here of the garbage truck barricades.

When we were finally in the cab on the way home, Bill also mentioned how he saw a mouse trap under one of the booths there… so then I got visions of mice running over my bag that I had under my seat. UGH!

The worst came the next morning when I checked our online banking and somehow our credit card had been used online at the Apple Store and Anthropologie. I knew the transactions had taken place between 6am (when I first checked) and 8.30am (when I checked again)… sometimes it does pay to be OCD about banking! Bill and I also had a fair idea about who may be responsible but of course, no proof. Anyway, after all that, we contacted BB Kings and they have been STELLAR in dealing with the issues we bought up. We learnt that for a gig like Lindsey’s there should have been no issue with us moving seats and the set tip is definitely is NOT a partial gratuity. They were sad we had such a horrid time with our server and have offered us tickets to another show of our choice. Our bank has also been great dealing with the card issue so no complaints there… the only way we can find out who it was would be to file a complaint with the police and then our bank will hand over any documentation (if they even find it) to them. The Anthropologie transaction didn’t end up going through so that is a bonus but that also means there is no record of purchase or shipping address.

So there you have it. Could any more drama happen over the course of twenty four hours?! Sheesh!!

Jun 09 2012
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Walking home #blogjune

If I decide to walk home from work, it is about 4 miles (about 6.5 kms) and takes me about 1 hour 20 mins. My pace slows considerably over the Brooklyn Bridge due to the amount of slow walking tourists walking in packs.

I tried walking home every night during Lent but various things got in the way and now the weather is too uncomfortable, but here are some pics that I have snapped on my phone along the way home.

Live news broadcast trucks at City Hall –

Walking Home

Walking Home

Walking up to the ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge –

Walking Home

I couldn’t imagine living right on the ramp of the Bridge… the traffic there never stops!

Walking Home

View looking back towards the Financial District –

Walking Home

Ahhh that skyline –

Walking Home

Brooklyn at dusk –

Walking Home

In Brooklyn and looking back towards the bridge –

Walking Home

My bridge –

Walking Home

On the Brooklyn Bridge looking at the Manhattan Bridge. Yeah.. I love bridges!

Walking Home

Cars cars cars!

Walking Home

The aftermath of the Superbowl parade –

Walking Home

Around City Hall –

Untitled

Our neighbourhood in late February –

Walking Home

Can’t get enough of the cables-

Walking Home

The Brooklyn waterfront –

Walking Home

With lights –

Untitled

Getting dark and the skyline sparkles –

Untitled

Home sweet home –

Walking Home

Brooklyn traffic –

Walking Home

Protests at the park –

Walking Home

Police van –

Walking Home

Fireman responding to a false report on the bridge –

Walking Home

Locks on the bridge –

Untitled

Jun 08 2012
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Roma, città aperta #blogjune

Have you seen Roma, città aperta (Rome, Open City)?

If not, you should!

A really amazing film.

(I can’t post anything else about it… but if you are up for a 1945 wartime drama…watch it!)

Jun 07 2012
3

Bill’s Crumpets #blogjune

By now you all know how much home baking we do – as much as possible in our little apartment kitchen! We haven’t bought store bread since February and with that, a few weeks ago Bill set about to make our own homemade crumpets! Crumpets are hard to come by here. When we lived in Chelsea, the local Garden of Eden would sometimes have them in stock and otherwise you can get them in some speciality grocery stores. Now that we know how easy they are to make, we will stick with the Bill recipe.

Here they are being cooked – Bill used special English Muffin rings to keep their shape.

Bill's Crumpets

And here they are nearly finished… with a bad photo.

Bill's Crumpets

I thought I took a photo of the end ‘end’ result but I must have forgotten.. but trust me.. they were beautiful!!

We made a stack and froze them in a large ziplock bag. Bill cuts squares of parchment paper so they don’t stick together in the freezer. They defrosted and toasted perfectly!

Now that we’ve had home made crumpets, I am converted! If you are a fan, you should definitely try making your own!

Jun 06 2012
3

Cruising with the Space Shuttle Enterprise #blogjune

We see some amazing things from the Library.

Back in February we were working away when we heard a horn play New York, New York. We ran to the windows and could see a beautiful cruise ship sailing up the Hudson. It was the inaugural Disney Cruise arriving in the city with much fanfare. They also played When You Wish Upon A Star – it was just beautiful! You can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise

Anyway today, we didn’t have a cruise ship. We had the Space Shuttle Enterprise floating up the Hudson River to its new home at the Intrepid. It was quite a bit of a novelty to be able to say you saw a Space Shuttle going past your workplace!

Shuttle Enterprise

Shuttle Enterprise

Jun 05 2012
2

Ahh The Badloves… #blogjune

I have been thinking about this for a while. What could really be one of the most underrated Australian albums ever?

Today I realized there was one album that deserves this accolade. Obviously, there are more contenders but, for today, it is The Badloves debut album Get On Board.

Every song on this album is just about perfect. They stopped producing music as a band way too soon but this was a stellar debut. I was luckily enough to see them live twice and both shows were unbelievable. I remember working at Parks Victoria and it was a couple of years after the Badloves were big. At that time I was working with a girl from the UK called Joanne and I introduced her to the Badloves. She played the CD over and over and over again. I hope wherever she is in the world now, when she happens to play that CD now (and maybe it is only one that she would stumble upon once per year) that it brings back awesome Melbourne memories.

Another fun memory was one night I was reading the liner notes (with the prevalence of music downloads I really miss the liner notes) and I realized my Library school lecturer was actually a cellist on the album.

If you haven’t listed to them for a while, give Get on Board a spin again. It really is a beautiful album!

Jun 04 2012
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Nail catch up #blogjune

I haven’t done a nail update for a while so here goes!

My nails were a mess when we got back from Europe so I wanted them short and plain. Here they are with a basic iridescent color. I love this one – on one angle it looks pink, the other a pearly green.

After Europe

After Memorial Day I was ready for some pink.. here is my old faithful. My nails have been growing really well lately!

After Memorial Day

And the latest. This looks quite dark in the folder but it is a very neutral color. I think my all time favourite shellac –

Ready for Mass

Jun 03 2012
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Boo to the BBC #blogjune

The Queen’s Jubilee has been something I have been excited about for months. For the river pageant, I made sure our calendar was absolutely clear. Because of the time difference, we could get up and enjoy the pageant on Sunday morning.

So naturally, I was so excited I was up at about 6am. I had plans to basically be on the couch with a great front row seat along the Thames. BBC America finally decided to do away with the eight hours of Top Gear they show a day and dedicate the next few days to the Jubilee. I was excited because we were getting the actual BBC broadcast – not a special one made for America.

For the first couple of hours of the broadcast, we meandered along while listening to many dull interviews waiting for the Royal arrival. But once the Pageant started, the broadcast didn’t improve in the slightest. We learnt hardly anything about what was happening, the shots were awful (this was baffling because even on the most overcast day of weather in London, you cannot get a shot of the Thames and Westminster wrong), one minute there was a interview with some person in the crowd in a Union Jack tie and then we would be cut straight to the Royal barge and then off to speak to someone at some twee-hipster tea party. It was truly awful and amateurish and as the weather got worse, so did the broadcast. It was brutally dumbed down and really did not offer the viewer at home anything more than watching some row boats going along a river in miserable weather with random shots of Her Majesty thrown in. Then, they basically ran out of things to say. This shone a light on lack of research by those who were hosting the segments and just a real lack of understanding of how to portray such an event to us at home.

To say it was disappointing would be an understatement but it was good to know I was not alone in my thoughts on the BBC broadcast. Almost immediately, other viewers were letting their feelings be know on Twitter and the next day, many newspapers also reported on the dismal nature of the BBC broadcast. I was thankful that would still be able to watch the many documentaries that would be shown as well as the Jubilee concert and Thanksgiving service but from the BBC, the Queen deserved better.

Jun 02 2012
0

2012 Lebanese Food Festival #blogjune

Yesterday we went along to the Lebanese Food Festival for the restoration of Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral – for the third year in the row!

Thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as hot and humid as the other years so straight after Mass we headed down to Remsen Street to join in the festivities. The cathedral is beautiful and this event is always so successful – I hope they are getting close to their fundraising goal for renovations.

My photos are very much like the previous years… but it is such a great event, I had to share it again! It reminds me of home. 🙂

People enjoying the afternoon festivities –

Lebanese Food Festival

Dancing and games –

Lebanese Food Festival

The grill –

Lebanese Food Festival

The Lebanese Pizzas were very popular!

Lebanese Food Festival

The menu –

Lebanese Food Festival

Our dinner –

Lebanese Food Festival

Lebanese Food Festival

Lebanese Food Festival

The desserts tent –

Lebanese Food Festival

Getting there for an early dinner meant no wait for a seat!

Lebanese Food Festival

Dessert!

Lebanese Food Festival

Food tents –

Lebanese Food Festival

Lebanese Food Festival 2011
Lebanese Food Festival 2010