Posts Categorized: Life in New York

Mar 04 2012

Now this is good mail…

It is not every day you get a letter postmarked from Hampton Court Palace!

Mail from...

This was our membership pack for the Historic Royal Palaces which saves us some £’s for the palaces we want to visit while we are in London. We are positively jumping out of our skin and seriously counting down to the days until our European vacation! We’re under the two month mark.. cannot wait!

Feb 27 2012

Happy New Year!

Going through my photos, I found one of how we spent New Years Eve this year.

I had a marathon phone chat with mum, Bill relaxed infront of the TV and the people down the hall had their “Let’s turn our apartment building into a nightclub” party. They only play music once a year and that is on New Years Eve. They have serious stereo equipment and they manage to make this place really sound like a club! There were some other apartment buildings around us had fireworks going off their rooftops, there were sirens and some woot woots but otherwise, it was pretty quiet.

Mum and I both had the TV on Fox News as that is the one channel that we both get and can be watching at the same time. I sent in a text message to go along the ticker and I was hoping that they would see the Happy New Year message. Unfortunately, it didn’t get on, but there was one that was kind of close –

New Years Eve

It always gives me goosebumps knowing that this is happening just a few kilometres away… when they start playing New York, New York I nearly lose it!

So that was New Years Eve and it was kind of perfect!

Feb 26 2012

Oscars 2012 aka Fix The Mic

Ok – my observations so far after watching nearly two hours of the Oscars.


Not sure if you can hear it, but there is a faint beep/feedback-like noise while people are speaking into the microphone.

It has been unbearable.. I am one of those people that can hear every little noise at every time. Bill put it on closed caption but it wasn’t the same. Also – Billy Crystal – yawn.

I haven’t seen any of the main movies this year so maybe that is why I am so apathetic to the whole thing. Some of it all just seems so forced. But the microphone issue has infuriating and Bill was sick of hearing me complain about it so… it was time to vent on here.

Feb 21 2012

Lights, Camera…

All week we have had bright pink notices on every lamp post in our street about the filming of Blue Bloods on our block. This morning we came out of the lobby to this view –

Blue Bloods filming in our street

All of the big trucks, change rooms and location vehicles were ready to go. I’ve never watched Blue Bloods, but I know that Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck are in it. So I envisaged coming home to this kind of welcome –

I was so excited all day to hopefully see some action tonight. Unfortunately, when I turned into our street after work there was no filming happening but all the trucks were still there. So I thought they might be shooting a night scene and we’d see them after dinner. When we went outside after dinner, still nothing. Then when we came back from Queen of All Saints we deliberately walked the long way home to try and catch a glimpse of Magnum PI IN PERSON but… they were all gone! So the shoot must have been happening in one of the houses in our street. Boooo! Anyway… that was our little bit of excitement in our street tonight. All back to normal now!

Feb 21 2012

Shrove Tuesday 2012

The time is upon us again – Lent!

I am excited and really looking forward to Lent this year. Just to be still and ‘be’. I will write more about it soon.

Being Shrove Tuesday, tonight we had our pancake feast and it was delicious!

Note – over here, it is traditional to have bacon and maple syrup with pancakes. I know, I know – strange. But it really is delicious so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I had mine with lemon and sugar tonight but maple and bacon really does work!

Here is our recipe for Blevins’ Pancakes.. it is from King Arthur Flour, who we use for all our baking goods.


2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar


1. Beat the eggs and milk until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed of a stand or hand mixer. Stir in the butter.

Shrove Tuesday 2012

2. Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener.

3. Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes, while the griddle is heating; it’ll thicken slightly.

Shrove Tuesday 2012

Shrove Tuesday 2012

Shrove Tuesday 2012

For our bacon, Bill went to Fleisher’s and we splurged on four slices of bacon. Yes, it is a splurge when it costs $14 for FOUR slices. Proof –

Shrove Tuesday 2012

You can see how thick it was though – YUM! Baking bacon makes it so crisp and yum!

Shrove Tuesday 2012

The end result –

Shrove Tuesday 2012

After dinner, we went to Queen of All Saints for the first of our Lent with Thomas Merton Bridges to Contemplative Living sessions that will run weekly through Lent. We did it last year and it was fantastic.

So while we will be hungry tomorrow, I hope that the coming period of time will leave us spiritually full. I definitely feel a lot more open and receptive to changes compared to last year and hopefully this will lead to understanding and appreciating Lent even more deeply. One of my favorite Lenten quotes is – “Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another” – Jean Paul Richter. So, so true.

Feb 20 2012

Christmas 2011

Oh I love love love that I am doing a Christmas post in February. Christmas in 2011 was awesome. We had the shopping aspect over very early so we were really able to enjoy the full season – but it was still super busy!

A long night was spent at Queen of All Saints doing the Christmas decorating. Decorating a church like ours is a big challenge and extremely physical – but the end result makes it all worth it!

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

My friend Michele is an awesome baker. Her cookies are absolutely amazing and she spent many nights baking Gingerbread Men and other treats in the Rectory kitchen for a cookie sale. We spent a night there wrapping them all and then we sold them all after the three weekend Masses. It was such a wonderful success! She hand decorated each one – you can see the detail here –

Cookie Sale

Bill snapped this photo of us at the cookie stall –

Christmas at Queen of All Saints

We managed to get our tree up straight after Thanksgiving which was great because I just love laying on the couch with the room all aglow from the Christmas lights –

Our Christmas Tree

We also decided to do a Christmas ‘portrait’ for our newsletter –

Our Christmas Portrait

Locally, here is how Brooklyn Borough Hall looked. Their tree was lovely –

I remember the first time I ever saw a Yule Log was in the movie Better of Dead when the Meyer family are sitting around opening their presents on Christmas Day. It really does exist. This scene plays 24/7 with Christmas music so everyone can feel like they have an open fireplace –

Yule Log

We headed up to Albany on Christmas Eve. This meant a lunch stop at Sonic in New Jersey. Cannot get enough of their Cherry Limeade. I first drank it in Amarillo in 2001 and I think this is seriously my favorite drink EVER EVER EVER –

Sonic Drive Thru

Here is what a Sonic Burger looks like –

Sonic Drive Thru

But their Tater Tots and Mozzarella Sticks are also awesome –

Sonic Drive Thru

Sonic Drive Thru

The best part of Sonic is the old fashioned drive thru service. You park your car in the space and order and get comfy –

Sonic Drive Thru

Then, out comes your food on roller blades!

Sonic Drive Thru

We got the most gorgeous view of the sunset in Albany from our hotel window –

Sunset in Albany

And then we headed over to the Johnson’s to open some presents, eat some dinner and marvel at their tree –

Johnson Family Christmas Tree

We then headed to Holy Spirit for Mass where we caught up with Steve and Colette and Steve’s family. I think this is definitely now a Christmas tradition to go to Mass altogether. Holy Spirit was very cute as well.. as you can see we got there early!

Christmas - Church of the Holy Spirit

We then got back to the hotel quite late and I stayed up following what was going on with the storms in Melbourne!

Christmas Day was lovely and relaxing. We all gathered at the Blevins Homestead for Christmas Brunch. It was so nice and we had the most awesome stacks of pancakes, fruits, eggs, bacon, bagels – a real feast and so nice having brunch! Then, we all headed back to the Johnson’s for more leftovers and more dinner and just sitting around relaxing. This was such a change to last year where everyone was sick and Christmas was basically cancelled!

Bill and I kept up with our own tradition of heading to Denny’s at midnight… it is the only place in Albany that is open and it was rocking… with some of the most annoying people in the Capital district. But, I still love it!

Our Christmas Tradition - Midnight at Denny's

We spent the next day doing some mall shopping with a necessary stop at LL Bean and spending the afternoon saying goodbye to everyone. Leaving Albany is always sad.. we did the rounds and headed out on the road late. The best thing about driving home is the service centers along the way… these are like mini shopping malls every 30 miles or so. We always stop at one for the fun of it!

I love how they even decorate the service centers for Christmas –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

There is always a long line at Starbucks –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

Bill realized he needed some replacement headphones… so of course we were able to buy these from the Best Buy vending machine –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

There is a good selection of rubbish food and the toilets are always so clean –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

You can even play a skill tester –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

Or pick up travel supplies –

New York State Thruway Service Area/Rest Stop

After getting stuck in a major traffic jam getting back into Manhattan, we got home, opened our door and saw our Christmas tree and nativity all exactly like we left them. Even though we were straight back to work the next day, Christmas kept going at home!

Feb 17 2012

The Long Weekend is here!

I always love Friday night… but Friday night on a long weekend is extra special.

Chilling with Simply Red.
Catching up on all RSS feeds.

Found an awesome lot of Simply Red clips from a concert in Chile. Just about perfect!

Feb 15 2012

A Christmassy Sunday in New York

I have been going through all the photos I’ve taken over the past few months when I realized I have to tell you about Tubachristmas!

It was a lovely Sunday during the December and we went to see the Muppets. I made that my favourite movie of 2011! I watch this clip so much – it is such a happy film. If you haven’t seen it you should go!

When we went to get our sodas at the cinema, we were faced with these amazing new coke machines… 50 trillion ways to make your drink. It is AWESOME… so I had to take photos!

This is the screen where you choose what you want –

Fancy Soda Machine

When we pressed the coke selection, we got all of these options for flavours!

Fancy Soda Machine

This was for Sprite Zero –

Fancy Soda Machine

Mello Yello.. HELLO!

Fancy Soda Machine

We then wandered to one of our favourite quick but tasty food places, Schnippers for lunch. Look what we found along the way… Angry Boys promo in Times Square!

Angry Boys in Times Sqyare

We then did a spot of shopping and found this along 6th Ave –

Then, we kept going to the Rockefeller Center where we got a good position for Tubachristmas . The New York City Tubachristmas is the biggest in the world. The Rockefeller skating rink gets closed and hundreds of tuba players line up and play Christmas carols for everyone to sing. It was a lot of fun and there were so many people there. Here are some of our photos –

Tuba Christmas - Rockefeller Center

Tuba Christmas - Rockefeller Center

Tuba Christmas - Rockefeller Center

Tuba Christmas - Rockefeller Center

When then made a quick stop by St Patrick’s Cathedral with what felt like every noisy tourist in NYC (reverence please!) before going home. Here is the view from our bus stop –


Then we dropped into Olea for dinner that is just around the corner from our place so we could just walk home from there, with leftovers in hand and relax for the rest of the evening.

Feb 14 2012

Four years ago today…

It was 14th February, 2008 when I posted this to my Flickr account –

Happy Library Lovers day!

Caption was –
As a Spinster, Valentine’s Day is Meh. Well it is Meh anyway. Library Lovers Day is heaps better!

How things change! 😉

I’m still not the biggest Valentine’s Day fan, but it is sweet seeing all the tacky flowers and chocolates being sold everywhere today. Bill sent me a gift and card in our inter-office mail (so much fun working in the same office!) and I made salmon patties for dinner tonight. Bill bought home a surprise of tater tots (great match with the salmon patties) and some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream for dessert.

With a marathon of Storage Wars on, this is pretty much perfect.

Also, it is interesting to note that St Valentine is also the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers and young people.