Glass is expensive – why

This weekend Gene and I did a few tasks around the house, including finally hanging pictures. Along the way we discovered that a piece of glass for one of the frames had cracked in two places. So I took the frame to Michael’s today to look into getting the glass replaced.

After taking measurements, the woman at the frames counter told me the cheapest piece of glass I could get would cost me $68. The frame and glass that was originally bought didn’t even cost that much.

The frame just holds a poster I got in college. It is not worth it. Not worth $68.

Let me say it again.

$68.

I could not believe it.

I still cannot believe it.

And I will never spend $68 on a piece of glass.

Michael’s, I hate you.

New food feeder for Pippin

I bought a 5 meal automatic feeder for Pippin. Well, really for myself to try to get him to leave me alone in the middle of the night. This is his first full day using it and he doesn’t seem to have any trouble.

The meal feeder!

In fact, he seems to quite like  it (at least the box it thing came in)! (It’s a gif)

New office at work

I moved locations at work last Friday. Boxed up my items and in about 15 minutes the movers came, took my stuff, and left.

I now have a larger office in one of the school’s I work with and I think it’s going to be a good change. Did I mention that our office leads into a courtyard? Sign me up for eating outside and getting some sunlight.

My commute should be slightly reduced as well.

Bad news is that our office isn’t actually ready, and although we were told the facilities department would be working on completing it today, no one showed up. So I sat at a makeshift desk, surrounded by boxes and bins. My manager told me I could work from home tomorrow since it’s the same as me sitting at a desk. Woot!

Summer travels: England

(See previous post for full travel recap)

We landed in England and rented a car to make our way to Port Isaac. First we stopped in a town along the ocean to grab some fish and chips and walk along the beach. Then the plan was to go to Dartmoor National Forest and do a bit of hiking and sight seeing before ending at the hotel. We hit a snag, however, when our rental car got a flat tire (it’s difficult driving on the other side of the road). With the help of a very kind man, we ended up getting towed to Port Isaac.

So although we didn’t end up hiking, we did get to see some lovely sights and we made it to our hotel safely. And of course I have a more interesting story to tell now.

Port Isaac

The next morning we had an English breakfast and then walked around Port Isaac a bit while trying to figure out what would happen next with ourselves and the car. We didn’t have a spare tire and no one was able to come out and replace the tire as it was some special kind of thing and they wanted to tow us farther away from our next destination. After hours of being on the phone, Lydia was able to get a final answer. We ended up getting towed to another city and switching out rental cars.

It took us a good part of the day to get the car situation solved so we only ended up going to Glastonbury Abbey before our next stop in Broad Chalke. The abbey was AMAZING, however, and made up for the car trouble. The abbey is comprised of ruins, acres of open space with trails, green grass, flowers, and old trees, an old kitchen, two ponds, and the supposed burial site of King Arthur. I would love to go back there one day. We got there as the sun was setting, which made it perfect. There weren’t many people there either, making it even better.

Glastonbury Abbey

We made it to our hotel in Broad Chalke later that evening and wandered around the town the next morning. There were plenty of thatched roofs and gorgeous gardens. Each home has its own name there, names like Rose Cottage or Little London. I found them fun and interesting and figured it would be awesome if Gene and I named our house. Now to think of a great name.

After leaving the hotel we visited the Salsibury cathedral and then Stonehenge. Both were fantastic. The cathedral houses the best copy of the Magna Carta (there are only 4 left of the original 40 or so copies). And Stonehenge is a place I’ve always wanted to see so cross that off my list. We then took a train to London and spent the remainder of our time there.

Stonehenge

London was busy, non-stop, and expensive. We had fun and saved money by visiting the museums (which are free) and buying groceries to eat at our hotel (dorm rooms converted to a hotel in the summer). We went to the British Museum and saw the Rosetta Stone. We went to the National Gallery and saw works from Van Gogh and Monet. We walked around the Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. We took a tour of the Tower of London and saw Tower Bridge. We went to Greenwich and stood on the Greenwich line. But probably my favorite part of London was the theater shows we saw. I ended up seeing three plays, two comedies and one drama. What a life it is to see three plays in one week.

Tower Bridge

Spending two weeks in Europe was amazing and wonderful. We did so many things that it’s hard for me to remember them all. I am so grateful I was able to go to England for the first time and to revisit France. It was a great trip. So great that I think I’m good on vacations for a good year. It’s staycations for me for a while.

Summer travels: France

I went to France and England earlier this month with Gene and Lydia. (I must acknowledge here how privileged my life is. It amazes me sometimes how easy I truly have it.)

I went for two weeks and I visited amazing places and I was in the midst of true history and I tried not to worry too much about money (but that can’t really be helped, now can it?).

We started in Paris, France and ended in London, England. We went to Mont Saint Michel and Dinan in France and we went to Port Isaac and Broad Chalke in England. We ate a lot and we almost never stopped. We encountered obstacles which led us to meeting some very nice people. It was exhausting but exhilarating. The memories and happiness that came out of it were worth every sore muscle, every bit of stress, and every penny.

If I were to write about the many things we did, even if I just stuck to the main attractions, I would have some very long blog posts. So long that I can’t imagine anyone would read them. So I will try to be brief and hit on topics that I do not have pictures of in my google plus albums (France and England).

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Succulents!

Gene and I arrived in Paris Sunday morning. We found our hotel, checked in early, and then walked around for a bit with not much of a plan. I was jet lagged and therefore sleepy and sluggish so we took a one hour nap back at the hotel before heading out to look for an open air bird market. The market had pretty much closed by the time we got there but I did get to see a few birds and some great looking succulents.

The next day we met up with Lydia at the house boat, our new home for the next few days. It was a lot of fun to live on a boat, although it did rock a bit vigorously from time to time. So many tour boats drove by that the waves were almost constant. Still, it was a great way to experience Paris and having a kitchen meant a break from restaurants, making the boat worth it. And now I can say I’ve spent time on a house boat.

We were in Paris for Bastille day, the holiday that celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution. Although we didn’t get up early enough to get a good spot for the parade, we had an amazing view near the boat for the fireworks show in the evening. It was the best fireworks show I have seen. The show lasted for forty minutes with minimal pauses. Fireworks were being shot off of the Eiffel Tower as well as over the river. It was fantastic.

During the rest of our stay in Paris we saw Napoleon’s tomb (the thing is huge, is he compensating for something? ;P), went to the Louvre, looked at all of Paris on top of Montparnasse, and walked through the Luxembourg Gardens.

Montparnasse Tower.

The Luxembourg Gardens were one of my favorite parts of France. I love the gardens and parks of Paris. The majority of them are free and they are filled with flowers, green grass, and trimmed trees. I love the fact that people utilize these spaces as well. There is always someone walking around or eating lunch. The Luxembourg Gardens are part of the Luxembourg Palace, a palace that Marie Medici (widow of King Henry IV) had built for herself. The palace is surrounded by flowers and is near a little pond where children rent boats and push them around. It was a lovely place and I wish we could have stayed there longer but vacation does not lend itself to much rest.

Luxembourg Gardens

We had to leave Paris at some point so we rented a car and made our way to Mont Saint Michel, an abbey and small “village” (aka tourist stores and restaurants) on a hill on a small island. We stopped at Monet’s gardens and house beforehand, which is another of my favorite parts of the trip. The gardens were breathtaking. It might have held the most variety of flowers I have ever seen in one place. I really liked the bamboo forest there too. His house was neat in itself as well, especially his kitchen and dining room which were blue, yellow, and filled with brass.

Monet’s water lily pond

We made our way to Mont Saint Michel where I was greeted with a lovely view of the abbey and surrounding buildings. The view is impressive and a bit daunting.

Mont Saint Michel at night

We slept in a hotel right below the abbey and were therefore able to take a tour of the impressive structure right when it opened the next morning. The abbey is impressive, but what’s more impressive is that one can walk through a great portion of it. It does cost money (what doesn’t in France) but for the amount of the building you can see, is well worth it.

We ended our day in Dinan, a fairly large town in the Brittany region of France. It was very cute and had many old and interesting buildings. We found ourselves at an art showing of some sort and wandered around paintings and photographs. We got a chocolate chip cookie before finding a restaurant for dinner. And in the morning we walked along an old fortress wall where I attempted to open the door that led to Rapunzel’s tower but sadly was met with failure.

From here we got on a plane and made our way to Southampton, England for the second part of our journey.

City Bakery Cafe

Yesterday I went to the doctor and the dentist for my annual and semi-annual exams. To celebrate that I seem to be in good shape I then had lunch with Gene. Yay.

We ate at City Bakery Cafe, a cafe behind Gene’s building. Neither of us had been there before but Gene’s coworkers had and we wanted to try it out. Super glad we went. I got the Mediterranean turkey sandwich with turkey, olive pepperocini relish, and rosemary aioli. Gene got the French dip sandwich. Pure deliciousness. I tried Gene’s sandwich too and I think it’s the best French dip I’ve ever had. I’m tempted to get that the next time I’m there.

My sandwich was quite huge but I was hungry enough to finish it all. The prices are decent too, you get a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a small cookie for $8.

And when the woman who brought us our food found out this was our first time here, she gave us a free loaf of bread! How amazing and sweet is that?! Took me by surprise and made me love the place even more. They have so many great-sounding sandwiches that I have to go back so I can try more of them. Doesn’t a ham, brie, and pear sandwich sound fantastic? That was one of their specials for the day.

I think I have found the new place to eat when I’m near Gene’s work.

 

Camping trip to Gross Reservoir

I went camping this past weekend with Gene, Kaitlin, and Kevin. The last time I went camping was right after high school so I’m thankful we took an easier route and camped 100 feet from the car. It meant camping wasn’t too intense and we could bring more items.

We camped near Gross Reservoir, a little over an hour away from Kaitlin and Kevin’s house. The scenery was full of wildflowers and hills. It was beautiful.

When we got to the camping area, however, all the camping spots were taken so we ended up having to camp in an illegal spot (although at the time we did not know it was illegal). We also later found out that we couldn’t actually swim in the lake we thought we’d be able to, so a 2 night trip turned into a 1 night one.

The time we spent there was still fun though. We played a few games, went walking, and had a campfire where we cooked hot dogs and roasted marshmallows.

Before we left on Saturday we went on a hike to the lake. On the way there I fell and scraped my knee. I haven’t had an injury like this in a while and was quite surprised I hadn’t been able to compensate and rectify my balance. It wasn’t too bad, my knee just bled a lot. It’s a bit stiff now but give it a couple more days and I’m sure it’ll be back to normal.

Along the hike I saw many awesome mushrooms. I even saw the quintessential mushroom, the Amanita muscaria, which made my day. Looking for mushrooms and wild strawberries makes hiking more interesting and helps me notice nature more.

Camping this past weekend has made me slightly more interested in doing it more often. I’m going to have to look up camping sites once I get back from my next vacation (England and France!).