Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 7: London

Day 7 was very slow paced, especially after day 6. We slept in and caught up on our journaling while it rained outside. I also snacked on leftovers; one of the perks of having a full apartment while on vacation. Most of the rainy day was spent indoors roaming through the exhibits in the British Museum. And wrapped up our last evening in London with a second show, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap

Oh, here's my disclaimer: please excuse the photo quality you are about to lay your eyes on. They were all taken on my phone (and I'm far too lazy to edit and/or crop them). I needed a break from carrying my camera gear all week. Who needs a gym when you lift a heavy bag over your head constantly throughout the day.

Artists at work. They were in every corner of the museum.
Amenhotep III
Rosetta Stone. It was underwhelming, just like when I saw the Mona Lisa.
Lunch at the museum cafe - quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds and pistachios.
Ah, alcohol sold openly. That 4.5 is the alcohol content.
Mummy pets.
Full Samurai amour.
Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island statue.
Lion of Knidos.
Ceiling of the British Museum (cropped using Instagram).
Killing time at Starbucks. I tried multiple times to get a photo of a double decker in the background.
The pumpkin loaf did not taste the same as the ones in the US. Also, Costa Coffee is way better.
The Mousetrap at St. Martin's Theatre. Awesome production!
Chinese comfort food for dinner at Cafe de Hong Kong. Took me back to my childhood. 

Day 6: London
Day 5: London/Greenwich
Day 4: London
Day 3: London
Day 2: Cambridge/London
Day 1: London
Day 1: London - prefunc

*All photos taken by me with HTC Incredible unless noted.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 6: London

I have a small obsession with the Tudor dynasty. Well, specifically, Henry VIII and all his wives. I watched all 4 seasons of The Tudors practically without taking a break. (I may be slightly obsessive-compulsive.) I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was about visiting Henry's palace, Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey

Breakfast on the go - organic porridge (oatmeal) with stewed fruits from Le Pain Quotidien. Holy crap was this good!
Hampton Court Palace, main entrance.
Base Court - imagine it full of people, drinking wine from that fountain. That's right, a wine fountain.
Courtyard outside Master Carpenter's Court.
Doorway in Henry VIII's kitchens.
One of the spits used to roast meat.
Ornate ceiling of the Great Hall.

Great Hall.
Board game.
Lunch from The Privy Kitchen - Traditional Cornish Pasty. It was just a meat pie with gravy on it.
Orange & raspberry juice. Yum!
Fountain Court. Interesting juxtaposition of (old) Tudor chimneys vs (new) Baroque facade. King William III and  Queen Mary II had planned to renovate the entire palace in the baroque style, but they ran out of money.
Great Fountain at the far end. How crazy are those trees?
New meets new: Baroque architecture of King William III vs Tudor style of King Henry VIII. 
Left or right? Hampton Court Maze
The Privy Garden. 
Iconic red phone booth outside Hampton Court Palace.

While we spent most of the day exploring Hampton Court, it was too early to just call it a day. J and I decided to see what all the hub-bub of Herrods was about. We ended up taking a 3 hour walk. It was completely unintentional. And completely organic. It wasn't until the very end that we were both like "HUNGRY", "TIRED". But after all that walking and searching for food that sounded good, we just ended going skipping dinner and going home. 

Harrods Department store. We got there after closing.
Crowd waiting for Lady Gaga. We later read in the paper that her Little Monsters weren't too happy that she was over an hour late.
We passed a McLaren showroom and proceeded to drool through the thick glass.
Sunset over Hyde Park from the east end of the Serpentine.
3 miles!

Day 5: London/Greenwich
Day 4: London
Day 3: London
Day 2: Cambridge/London
Day 1: London
Day 1: London - prefunc

*All photos taken by me with Nikon D7000 unless noted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Short hiatus

Hi there. I still have a lot to share with you from my European escapades (I have only shared half of my adventures), but the last few weeks have been a doozy. 

This time of year is always rough. For me, the holidays means family time. I love my family here, but I miss my parents and my brothers. We may not celebrate with turkey dinners, decorate trees, or exchange presents, but I miss the time we spend together. There is nothing like chatting, making fun of each other, yelling at one another, or telling stories about the trouble we used to get into when our parents weren't looking.

I went back to work after a much needed break. Unfortunately, things are right back to where I left them. Someone asked me how I was doing, being back and all. I said to them, "I've worked 7 full days, and I've skipped lunch 5 of those days." It is nice to know that I am needed, I suppose.

At the same time, I was diagnosed with being "mildly positive for rheumatoid arthritis". I say that in quotations because I am unsure as to how one can test mildly positive. I thought it was a black and white thing, you know, either you have it or you don't. Anyways, the doctors think that I am in the very early stages of rheumatoid arthritis and that with treatment, it may never develop into the full blown thing. One can only hope (and pop pills like no other).

So you are probably wondering what caused me to seek out a specialist in the first place. It all started with a swollen knuckle on my right hand and only my first finger. The finger that I mouse click with. The finger that I push the shutter button with. The hand that I do all my crafting and baking with. I didn't think anything of it at first. But the swelling, stiffness, and tenderness went from weeks to months. 

(early stage of rheumatoid showing swollen knuckles - source)

I have seen the symptoms of rheumatoid first hand. My my mother has RA. She was diagnosed in her mid-30's. It is a rare autoimmune disease, but is thought to have some hereditary traits. I know as well as any specialists that the symptoms show up in generalized areas (i.e., all knuckles in the hand) AND is symmetric, affecting the left and right side equally. It would be absurd that I have a localized case, right? That's what I thought. That's what the doctor thought. Guess we were both wrong. 

It is a double edge sword. I am glad that I had an answer almost immediately. I am thankful that I did not have to see a primary care physician who probably would have thought that I was nut job and just told me to take anti-inflammatory meds. I am grateful that I did not have to go through rounds and rounds of testing without receiving a diagnosis until it became the full blown thing. But knowing also sucks. There are moments where I will look down at my finger and be unable to create a completely tight fist. I fight back the tears and tell myself that I can beat this. I have overcome much worse. I WILL beat this.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Everything but the Cow: Fudgy Brownies

Head over to my baking blog, Delightful Cakery, for full details on this super simple and delicious treat. Not only is it gluten free and dairy free, but it is also packed with protein and fiber.

Dairy free and grain free brownies.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My sabbatical comes to an end


I can't believe that 8 weeks have gone by already. The last two weeks have been a little rough knowing that I have to go back to the "time to make the donuts" lifestyle. 

With the frigid temperatures outside, I spent the last week of my sabbatical holed up in our apartment, bundled up in my Snuggie watching random shows like Ink Master, Breaking Amish, and the occasional train wreck that is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. That's right, I have a Snuggie and proudly use it, especially during College Football Saturdays. I didn't do a lot of the things that I set out to do during my vacation, but I'm OK with that. The important thing is that I was NOT at work. I was relaxed and enjoying life the best way I know how: eating, traveling, and lounging.

Only 6.5 years until the next sabbatical.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 5: London/Greenwich

Just photos and captions today.

Good to see you again, Ben. Ugh, dirty sensor, but I'm too lazy to edit and repost.
Guess where we are headed.
I found a GIANT penguin. (The aquarium is next to the London Eye.)
Yeup, we are going up there., the London Eye!
I was a little obsessed with the mechanics of how the wheel was turned.
Lunch while waiting in line: Tuna salad with sweet corn and cucumbers. Dairy Free!
Almost our turn.

I see you.
Well, hello there.
To Greenwich we go.
Do NOT ever use one of these. DISGUSTING.
Old Royal Naval College.
Fall in the United Kingdom.
Making our way up to the Royal Observatory.
Greenwich Mean Time Line.
From where I stand.
Afternoon "tea" at The Old Brewery.
Scones with jam and jersey cream. I only ordered one.
Flight of beer. I couldn't decide, so I tried them all.

J had to use some rock climbing skills to meet Sir Walter Raleigh.
Cutty Stark.
London across the river.
Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
I rode a dog in the Island Gardens.
Dinner at Bengal Village on Brick Lane. Chicken Tikki Masala with garlic naan. (Samsung TL225)
We covered approximately 2.84 miles in Greenwich.

Day 4: London
Day 3: London
Day 2: Cambridge/London
Day 1: London
Day 1: London - prefunc

*All photos taken by me with Nikon D7000 unless noted.