Sunday, March 8, 2009

Schaun's Job - Update

On March 16, Schaun will start his new job in Charlottesville, Virginia. Rachel will be moving down there to join him when she finishes this school year.

Wish us luck!


We don't watch a whole lot of TV, other than Food Network. We love Food Network. A lot. But besides Food Network, we are fans of a couple regular shows. We especially like Lost, and, more recently, we have become fans of HBO's The Flight of the Conchords. It's a great, absurd show about two clueless New Zealanders who come to New York to become famous as a rock band.

Given our appreciation of the show, we were delighted to learn that we know a Flight of the Conchords look-alike. This is the character Bret from the show:

This is Julien, husband of Rachel's co-worker and good friend Jen:

They totally look alike. Yes. Affirmative. If you know Julien, please don't tell him we put this up. He'll yell at us. Instead of telling him, please take the time to enjoy one of the funniest of the Conchord's music videos:

Anniversary Ice Cream

February 24th is our first-date anniversary. Yes, we are still in that we've-been-married-less-than-a-year period where we celebrate things like the anniversary of our first date. We love it.

Our first date was in Hartford, Connecticut. Rachel took the train up to her parents' house in Southington, and Schaun picked her up from there. We went to a hilariously bad show, based on Stevie Wonder's songs, of all things. It was painfully funny. However, the restaurant we went to was as good as the show was bad. It was a place called Trumbull Kitchen. We highly recommend it. One thing we especially enjoyed was the dessert. They took a blow torch to a sliced banana to make the surface crispy, like in a creme brule. They then put vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, strawberries, pineapple, and orange-roasted walnuts on it.

We liked the experience so much that last year, while we were missing each other a whole lot during Schaun's stay in Kyrgyzstan, we each recreated the banana split from our first date. It's become a tradition.

Behold, this year's version!

Korea Town and Top of The Rock

Since Schaun got the news that he'd start work down in Virginia on 3/16, we've started going on date after date in order to take advantage of New York City's offerings before he leaves. On this particular evening, we went down to Korea Town to a fantastic restaurant (Schaun's pick) and tried our hand at kim-chi among other very spicy yummies.

Rachel went with the bibimbap (because of the name, of course) and thoroughly enjoyed mixing the raw egg into the sizzing hot rice dish...don't let any of that crispy rice crust that forms on the bottom of the bowl go to waste. We're just warning you. Schaun went with the spicy pork deliciousness and we rolled out of the restaurant and made our way up to Rockefeller Center.

We were tourists in our own town and went to The Top of the Rock attraction, where you can take the elevator to the observation deck on the 70th floor. Having been to the top of the Empire State building and World Trade Center, this was absolutely the best. Though it was seriously freezing up there, the views were STUNNING. Especially cool was that on the very tippy top level there are no guards so you're literally surrounded by the vast and amazing NYC skyline. Nothing but 360 degrees of breathtaking views. It's absolutely worth the money. And on the way up there's lots of historical information and even some films about Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.

The Empire State Building, which you don't get to actually SEE from the top of the Empire State building. Below is one of the tallest buildings (and our next door neighbor on 54th Street) in NYC, the Citigroup Building, also difficult to see from the Empire State Building because it's BLOCKED by Rockefeller Center.

All said and done, as we left Rockefeller Plaza, Schaun even got this nice shot of his favorite cathedral, St. Patrick's on the way home. We do love NYC!

Our Superbowl "Party"

Superbowl sort of snuck up on us. Schaun simply doesn't watch sports on TV and Rachel wasn't paying much attention until suddenly it happened and we found ourselves on Superbowl Sunday with no party to attend. Being a resourceful people, we scrounged around in our fridge and freezer and Schaun deftly whipped up some homemade tortilla chips, refried beans and salsa, along with some delicous shrimp cocktail. Good show, Schaun. We sat and mostly watched the commercials. Rachel continued working on Schaun's scarf (that will MAYBE be done just in time for him to move to Charlottesville where it's already almost 70 degrees...good job, Rachel.)

The Valentine's Phantom Lives On

Rachel's family has a great Valentine's Day tradition. When they were kids, on Valentine's evening, the Valentine's Phantom came a knockin'. It started sometime after dinner. A rap-tap-tap and ring of the doorbell brought box after box of little heart-shaped, red celophane wrapped Whitman samplers. You know the kind. Each box came one at a time with one of the kid's names scrawled across the top. With screams of delight, each box was ripped open and devoured on the spot. Needless to say, Rachel loves Valentine's chocolate.

The celebration has evolved for us into special Valentine's breakfast and a visit from the Phantom. Last year, while Schaun was in Kyrgyzstan, we celebrated with heart-shaped pancake breakfast. Well, it was breakfast for Schaun and late-night snack for Rachel. This year, Ellen joined us for a sleep-over (our second guest, Rachel's sister, Litzy and her family stayed once too) and then Rachel made a proper Valentine's Day slumber jack breakfast, complete with heart-shaped buckwheat pancakes, scrambles eggs, and turkey bacon. Deeee-licious.

The Valentine's Phantom visited some VERY nice boutique chocolatiers here in NYC. We highly recommend his picks: NY Studio Chocolate Moderne (our favorite was pistachio praline and raspberry truffle) and Francois Pralus' french chocolate (we tried his 45% cocoa milk chocolate Melisse). Wow. Those were fantastic. Thanks Valentine Phantom. We love you!

Totally Shown Up on Valentine's Day

Rachel's sister Ellen came to visit the day before Valentine's Day. They have this thing where they go out to a fancy NYC restaurant on birthdays each year. (This visit was the belated celebration of Rachel's birthday back in December.)

As soon as Rachel and Ellen were out the door, Schaun took the opportunity to run out to a flower shop and get some flowers for his wife for Valentine's day. We have a little corner market that sells nice flowers. These are the ones he picked:

He got home, laid the flowers nicely on the bed, where Rachel could see them when she walked in the door. He then sat down and waited happily for his wife to return home. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. The person on the other end of the intercom said it was a delivery. We weren't expecting any deliveries, so Schaun was a little confused. This is what was delivered to the door:

These came from Todd. Todd is a high school friend of Rachel's. These flowers were part of a present Todd sent in honor of our wedding which, because he is currently stationed in Germany, he had unfortunately been unable to attend. (The Tiffany atlas vase next to the flowers was the other part of the present.) The picture doesn't do either justice.

Schaun's flowers were nice. Todd's flowers were AWESOME. Schaun set Todd's flowers on the computer desk and sat back down to wait for his wife, still happy but a little deflated. When she came home, she literally SQUEALED at the sight of Todd's flowers. She saw Schaun's flowers and thought "Oh, how nice. Schaun got Ellen some Valentine's flowers too!" Schaun, however, was honest, and explain the origin of both bouquets, to which Ellen replied, "That was stupid. You should have said that Todd sent the lame bouquet."

Thanks for the great wedding/Valentine's present, Todd. Rachel got a great bouquet as well as the coveted blue box from Tiffany. All from you. It made our first Valentine's day together a memorable one, and set the bar just a little bit higher for Schaun for next year!