Monday, January 30, 2017

New England Road Trip: Boston

How's your Monday going?  We woke up to about 2 inches of snow on the ground, but it's been above freezing for the last several hours so it's melting pretty fast.  Still, I took a few pics of it this morning and let Sadie out for a while to play in it, she puffy heart loves the snow.

So I promised I would post pictures from the road trip that Lee and I took through New England last October for our 13th wedding anniversary.  It took us most of a day to drive up to our hotel on the north side of Boston (and it rained the entire day of the drive!) and the next day we spent the whole day walking around Boston.  I had never been and Lee was on a business trip there once and didn't do anything touristy.  Turns out the city is pretty compact and walkable, so we started with the Freedom Trail that goes past lots of the historic/touristy things in the city.

And Lee's like OF COURSE we went to a graveyard first.  Whaaat?  I like wandering around old cemeteries.

This is the famous church where the lanterns were hung before the Revolution kicked off, you know "One if by land, two if by sea"?  That was here.

There was a huge long line to go inside, but from the open door it's not like the inside looked all that impressive (I think I am harder to impress having been to several cathedrals and such in Europe, we just don't have anything to compare to that in America) so we just walked on by.

There's a statue of Paul Revere in front of the steeple of the church.  The lighting was just not right to get to see the face on the statue but I like the angle of the photo anyway.  The Freedom Trail led us to Paul Revere's house, which we DID go in, but no photos allowed in there.

Picture Lee took of an old it weird if I say this looks to me like the kind of picture that they'd make a jigsaw puzzle out of?

I think this is the old State House...and the Boston Massacre happened in the square in front of it.  American patriots like Paul Revere used the event as propaganda against the British troops stationed in Boston, read all about it on Wikipedia (because we believe everything we read on Wikipedia, heh).

And whaddya know, the Freedom Trail led us to the graveyard where Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin are buried.

And here's an obelisk commemorating John Hancock, you know the first dude to sign the Declaration of Independence?  And he signed it with a super big loopy distinctive signature, which is why people sometimes say they put their John Hancock on a document when they sign it (fun fact:  John Hancock's penmanship teacher is also buried in this cemetery).  Right around the time I took this picture, a dude showed up in Revolutionary garb and began a short lecture on John Hancock and others buried in the cemetery, so I stopped to listen for a couple of minutes and learned that John Hancock was the richest man in Boston in no small part because in addition to his legitimate business interests, he was a SMUGGLAH (which is how you say "smuggler" in Boston).  And then we headed over to the Boston Tea Party museum (that comment is relevant, wait a minute).

This is the bridge where the museum is located, and I love the different colors of plexiglass on the fence because it just makes such cool patterns on the sidewalk.

I think we spent 10 minutes just taking pictures of that before we headed into the museum.  So anyway, I don't have many pictures from the museum itself, but the guides are all dressed up in Revolutionary clothes (must be a theme in Boston) and they tell you all about the Boston Tea Party.  And then you get to go on a ship like the ones from way back in the day and you can even reenact the tea party by tossing boxes overboard (which they then haul back up so someone else can toss).

See, ship.  And then after we got off the boat, the tour guide was talking about who actually participated in the tea party and this that and the other thing and she asked the group who the richest man in Boston was at the time...thanks to the dude at the cemetery I knew the answer was John Hancock : D  See, it's good to pay attention, I just thought it was hilarious that I'd just learned that fact an hour before we did the tea party museum.  Anyway, they told us some fun anecdotes, like this one guy got beaned in the head with a super-heavy crate and the other tea partiers thought he was dead so they laid him out on the boat while they finished up their work and came back to find him gone.  So they all leave the boats and go back into town and Mr. Dead Guy is having a pint at the local pub because he just got knocked out for a bit, not deaded.

There's a tea room connected to the museum because OF COURSE THERE IS, how can we talk about tea for so long and not have a cuppa?  They serve a few different kinds of tea that were the types of blends that American colonists used to drink before the Boston Tea Party after which they all switched to coffee (bleh).  Lee and I both had scones and I got a sampler cup so I could try all the teas but one of them absolutely DESERVED to get dumped in the harbor, it tasted like smoke and it was ick.  The other types were okay, though I only tried the black teas because I know I don't particularly care for green or herbal teas.  But we did enjoy the museum.

That's it for today, kids.  We'll see when I get the next batch of photos up.  In unrelated news, Baby Sodapop's official due date is this Saturday, February 4.  Lee and I are taking bets on what day he'll actually arrive...he seems to be pretty happy where he is, though it's getting pretty uncomfortable for ME.  Ha!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

NYC, Part 3: The Selfies Strike Back

Heyyy, last of the NYC pictures!  On our last day in the city, hubs and I basically walked from one end of Central Park to the other.

Believe it or not, Lee took this one, not me--even though it's flowers!  I like the colors.

This tree just made such an interesting shape.

This is the tribute to John Lennon in Central Park, it's just across the street from where he was murdered.  There are signs up to not play music there (seems counter-intuitive for a musician's memorial) but there were a couple of dudes playing some Beatles medleys on guitars anyway.

That is the real-life apartment building that was used as the front facade of Dana's apartment building in Ghostbusters (in the movie it looks 20 stories taller thanks to matte paintings).  Remember at the end with the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man and Venkman yells "NO ONE steps on a church in my town!"  There's the church too.

And here's where we get to the iPhone pictures...all the pics are basically in the order they were in when I uploaded them to print out so all our phone selfies are glomped at the end.  So Times Square!

Selfie at the pizza place...

And one with our pizza.  It was good, but I don't think it's the world's most amazing pizza.  And also we had to wait 2+ hours for it and it was expensive.

Inside Grand Central...we didn't have much luck with our DSLR camera in there due to the lighting conditions.

Selfie at the top of the Empire State Building.

And Brooklyn Bridge.

Last picture, in the display inside the pedestal at the Statue of Liberty, they have a full-size replica of her face which is like 10 feet tall.  Lee took a picture of me standing next to it too but being the irreverent soul I am, I was pretending to pick her nose so that one's staying hidden.

Next up are New England road trip pictures!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

NYC, Part 2

I'm waiting for my yeast to proof to make some homemade rolls so here I am back with more NYC photos!  This time we're starting out at the World Trade Center.

This is one of the memorials for the fallen towers; it's beautifully done.  Each tower is surrounded by a thing that has the names of each of the people who died on September 11 in that tower.

There you can see a bit of the names.  It's very peaceful here, and it's against the law for people to come in there and try to sell you things or be disruptive, which is nice.

I admit, I totally cried while we were here.  Especially when I saw the name of one lady followed by "and her unborn baby".  I think that September 11 will be our generation's version of the JFK assassination; we all remember where we were and what we were doing when we found out about the attacks.

We only stayed there about a half hour or 45 minutes, and then we set out on foot to find the Ghostbusters firehouse which was I think under a mile away.

And to my everlasting annoyance, it's also under scaffolding.  It is a real working firehouse, but while they're working on it the ladder company has moved elsewhere.

They do have these painted on the sidewalk outside the firehouse though, they know why everyone wants to visit there.

In fact, a couple of other people came up to the firehouse while we were there (and I was pouting), so we were not the only ones to be surprised by the scaffolding.

After that, since it was reasonably close by, we decided to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge.

And we walked halfway across it, then back.

Why halfway?  We had timed tickets to go see the Statue of Liberty, so we decided to just go halfway and then book it for the subway to get to wherever it was we needed to be for Lady Liberty.

And there she is!  Our tickets were for 2-something in the afternoon so the light is a bit harsh, but we got to see her.

And take dozens of pictures from the ferry.

Which kinda goes halfway around Liberty Island before it docks.

And then I think we pretty much walked all the way around the island after we disembarked from the boat.  We had tickets to go up to the pedestal level too (by the time we bought ours, even though it was in advance, the crown tickets were all sold out for the entire time we were in NYC).

There's an exhibit in the pedestal about the building of the statue, and there's this, which is the original torch and flame.  They went through a couple of different ideas trying to find one to make her torch flicker that looked good.

Back outside, Lee tried to get some interesting angles and detail shots of Lady Liberty.

Each of the copper-plated panels that make up the statue is totally unique and was put in place by hand.

There's my awesome Ghostbusters shirt, even if the firehouse was a bust.  Boo.

And one more shot of Lady Liberty.  I have some more pictures from there coming up next time; as I said, the pics aren't in totally chronological order.  On our way back to the city, the boat stopped at Ellis Island, so we spent about an hour looking around the museum there but it was getting kinda late in the day and I was tired (and pregnant) and we were starting to get hungry, so we didn't really do much on Ellis Island before we called it quits to head back.

One more set of NYC pictures and then we're on to Boston!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New York City

Uh, hi.  I know it's been a while since I last updated the blog.  And I actually do have pictures to share from a couple of trips that Lee and I took last fall.  I decided I'd better post as much of them as I can now, and write about what we saw before I have this baby and my brains all leak out.  Because I'm pretty sure that happens.

So!  At the beginning of September last year, Lee and I took the train from DC up to New York.  Lee got us a hotel right off of Times Square, which is not actually square (truth in advertising is DEAD, y'all), but it was easy to walk to lots of things from our hotel and we were near a main hub on the subway, so win.

So this was taken from the back side of the NY Public Library that's on Fifth Avenue (more on that in a minute) and there's a view of the Chrysler Building.  Which always makes me think of the musical Annie where the orphans are supposed to clean the orphanage until it SHINES like the TOP of the CHRYSLER BUILDING!

And there is the Empire State Building.  More on that in a minute, too.  Also, nice sky in this shot.  Lee took it, but I was the one who drew his attention to this angle.

Just because the purple building looked cool.

There's the statue at Rockefeller Center, we also saw it in December of 2015 when we did the super-quick photography tour of NYC.

Love the bright neon colors in this one contrasted with the black.

We did a free walking tour of SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown; we saw the apartment building where Heath Ledger died and another building where Beyonce has (or had? I don't know) an apartment.

This is supposed to be the oldest pizza place in America.  We went back later and ate there, and maybe my palate is totally uncultured but I didn't think it was really all that different/mo bettah than pizza I've gotten elsewhere.  Also I was only like 15 weeks pregnant when we went on this trip, just enough that I couldn't get my capris to button, so I've got this stretchy band around my waist that keeps my pants up ;)  (Right now I'm at 36 weeks and I've got a beach ball attached to my front, one that wiggles and jiggles a lot.)

So these pictures aren't really in order since the ones from the big camera are all up first and then whatever snaps we took on our phones.  On another walking foray from our hotel, we happened to find Grand Central Terminal (we weren't looking for it, we were kind of wandering around aimlessly).

We did go back to the library on purpose to take pictures of the lion statues.

If you're a big Ghostbusters fan like I am, you might remember that the lion statue is featured in one of the earliest scenes in the movie.

I think it's at kind of an angle like this.  You know when Ray, Egon, and Venkman go to the library and see their first ghost and it scares the pants off them and they go running out of the library.

Before we even left for our trip, we got tickets to go up in the Empire State Building, and we got the VIP ones that let us skip a lot of the lines (like a FastPass at Disneyland, only it's just an elevator ride and not Space Mountain).  It was expensive, but awesome to skip the long long lines.

We went up I think an hour before sunset; Lee wanted to get pictures of everything during the day, as the sun went down, and once all the lights came up.  We were up there for well over two hours.  I had to sit down while he took the pictures; at this point in the pregnancy I had a lot of round ligament pain in my right side if I was standing for a long time.

The Flatiron Building!  We never did go see it close up though.

There's the Chrysler Building again.  I do like it, it has a lovely Art Deco thing going.

I have no idea what this building is with the gold-plated roof, but we loved it for photographic purposes.

See, we kept coming back to the gold roof.  I did take a few pictures but I think most of these are Lee.

Sun's starting to go down so you see the lights on the Chrysler Building a bit.

Starting to get darker....

...and there's the night shot Lee was waiting for.  I think we took a couple hundred pictures from the top of the Empire State Building before we went back down to street level.

So I've got more NYC pics to share (you know we didn't miss the Statue of Liberty this time!), and I've got a bunch of pics from a road trip to New England in October as well.  But for right now I'm going to sit and watch the snow's coming down pretty good at the moment and it's just fun to watch.  Sadie is gonna want to go out in it so she can eat the snow.

Cheers!  And Happy New Year!