Graduation from Cornell

This morning, I woke up at 6AM, hopped in the shower and quickly got out the door. The breakfast food pics went by the wayside because of the rush to get to the campus and go to a Catholic Mass at 8AM at the Annabell Taylor Auditorium. We found parking about 20 minutes away from campus. I was surprised the campus did not have all the old buildings I pictured in this ivy league school, but it was still a really lovely campus.

We needed to be in the stadium at 9AM for the first part of the commencement, but we were there a little before 10am because the procession stopped us from getting through to the stadium.

After that, we went to the other part of the commencement, which was broken up into majors, so Ray’s brother, Brett, received his diploma quite quickly. We left a bit early for a gorgeous lunch to celebrate Brett’s graduation from Cornell. He has big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of the most famous Cornell alum, the great mid-level paper salesman Andy Bernard. We drove through Scranton on the way home from Ithaca, but did not have time to stop at the Lackawanna Coal Mine Museum.

At the lunch, I decided to try a flight of Scotch, given my newfound appreciation for the spirit. It was delicious.

Before the entree arrived, I received a salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

Then for my main course, I ordered a Samosa with Veggies. I played with a remote flash to make the shadow effects.

I even had dessert, a chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream, which satisfied my craving.

To add to the succulent flavors, I had a coffee with flavored creme. I know that I fell off the wagon, but it was worth every bite. Now, I have another 47 days of working out and getting to my goals.

Dinner: Chicken Lasagna with Whole Wheat Noodles. Less calories than a regular lasagna–in fact, it is around 200 calories, but still very filling.

Hiking to a Gorge

We woke up in a beautiful house, overlooking Cayuga Lake to the sounds of splashing. My dad-in-law jumped in the water and took a long swim in Cayuga Lake. After a very big 2 foot water snake swam past him, he quickly paddled over to the edge and got out of the water.

I ate cornflakes for breakfast, even though there were delicious cookies in abundance. You can see how happy I was about that.

We drove to the Corning Glass Museum, which was much more exciting than I anticipated. Actually, I would put it in top 5 museums.

There are all sorts of really interesting pieces and lots of demos and things you can touch and see in action.

My sis-in-law, Christine and I decided to pull glass and created large glass flowers. We had a lot of fun doing it.

First, you take a small piece of hot glass at around 800 degrees and die it. This part is the stem.

Then you put more glass on and then you flatten it.

After this, you pull pieces to form the petals. You have to keep spinning it around and pulling very quickly because the glass hardens quickly.

A beautiful flower forms out of all your hard and heated work!

We picked up some cakes for my mom-in-law’s birthday and Brett and his girlfriend’s graduation.  We stopped at a local bakery, which had fun cakes shaped in burgers that actually tasted good, as well as looked good.

After the glass museum, the family went out to the Robert Tremen State Park to have a picnic. I was excited about exploring the area and hiking.

Ray and I did a long walk up and down the mountains and discovered a gorge with a steep drop off.

The hike was beautiful and the bbq was so good that I forgot to take photos of my food!  But, I had veggies, crackers with “Polly’s Patte,” which was a dip with garlic and feta cheese. I got the recipe-it was amazing, so maybe I’ll make it and blog about it soon.

An Alaskan Breakfast and a Trip

After 2.5 hours of sleep, I woke up to prepare for breakfast with our guest of honor, an Alaskan man that my dear friend, Monika, is dating. He flew in from Ketchikan for Memorial Day Weekend. Ray and I furiously got things together, packed for our trip, cleaned and cooked. I stepped across to the bodega to get some flowers and milk. It was all worth it because we had a beautiful breakfast together.

We had a typical Polish spread–lots of delicious food out, with coffee and tea. On the table were “nalesniki” or crepes. These nalesniki were warm and filled with creme cheese.

We also had potatoe salad, scrambled eggs with peppers and apple crumb cake.

My father-in-law joined us a little later and also had some breakfast, which he liked so much that he asked if he could have a second crepe.

After a few hours on the road, we arrived at the Finger Lakes and went to Glenwood Pines Diner for dinner, the home of the Pineburger challenge. This involves eating 4 large 6 ounce burgers in one hour. The winner gets their photo on the wall of the diner and facebook. I didn’t do the challenge, but I did have 1/2 of a burger along with some fries from dinner. I’m not sure if I stuck to my 300 calorie range, but it’s hard when you’re traveling–I guess smaller portions are the key.

We had some Ithaca beer and root beer.  It was delish!

The diner had a really neat feel to it, there were old arcade games and a bowling machine with pins that went up, instead of getting knocked down.

It was a great night and I got some great news by the end of it — Paul proposed to Monika!

On Vacation in Ithaca

Hello Readers!

Just want to let you know that I’ll update tomorrow on the past two days. I would stay up today, but it’s been months of sleepless nights and I need to still shower tonight. Tomorrow, I am waking up very early to make it to Church before the graduation.

I’ve just included one picture of the beautiful hike Ray and I went on today. The photo is of a waterfall in a gorge.

DC in a Day

This morning I woke up at 5AM, had my breakfast (a quick pre-made broccoli quiche) and caught the Megabus to Washington, DC with my friend, Donnell. I was going to see one of my besties, Cara, and Donnell was off to see an old friend of hers, his fiancée and son.

We had a beautiful lunch at Teaism, where I had a small portion of my Thai Curry Chicken with Brown Rice and Iced Green Tea. Can I just say, it was SO difficult to stop at a small portion of this food–it was so delicious, I wanted to keep eating, but I forced myself to close the top and stop.

Then we were off to the Newseum. I’ve been wanting to see that museum since it opened around three years ago and kept missing out on chances every time I was in DC. It is SO great. I highly recommend it.

Everyday, the Newseum puts out the front pages of all the major newspapers in the U.S. All the exhibits are really interesting. I had a chance to see several different pulitzer prize winning photographs, along with an amazing exhibit on the FBI, which got me even more excited and more motivated to get in shape for the FBI physical fitness test. Part of the Berlin Wall was on display and a watchtower, as well as the radio tower from one of the World Trade Centers. The Newseum is so interactive. You can see videos and touch things and do a fake newscast. I could have spent all day there if time was not of the essence.

Above is a photo of a postcard sent to the FBI about the handling of the Waco, Texas cult and David Koresh.

After I said my goodbyes to Cara, who was flying off to Portland and then moving to Germany for a fellowship, I joined up with Donnell and her friends to do a mission at the International Spy Museum. That museum is without a doubt my favorite museum in the entire world. We had to wiretap messages and search a room for a trigger and keys. We had to jump on the back of a very shaky van and make a quick escape. We had to send out a special black ops unit and run up stairs and jump on a helicopter. It all ended at a bar getting debriefed by the chief. Certainly a fantastic 4D experience.

The bus ride back was an hour an a half late and started off very lousily. I was cold, there was a screaming baby on the second floor of the bus, but he sounded like he was right next to me, I had forgotten to get water for this 5.5 hour ride and I knew I would not be getting much sleep tonight with my late departure from DC and bad traffic on the way. I did remember to bring my apple along, which somewhat satiated me. And what’s worse is that I knew with my late – almost midnight – arrival, I wouldn’t be able to eat because I had to fast for my morning blood tests. I couldn’t believe I had to endure five hours of hunger, thirst, noise, cold and sleep deprivation.

However, through the grace of God, a lovely woman sat next to me and shared her blanket and some intimate stories of her life. We bonded over being immigrants, our cultural and religious backgrounds (she was Greek) and talked about how close we were to our families. I told her how much I missed my family and she talked about how she and her kids would talk and email at least 5 times a day. She even talked to her son four times the day of his death and found a little bit of solace in being the last to talk to him before he was hit by a car and killed in Nevada. I completely understood that closeness. I feel like at any moment, unexplainable things can happen to us, so I love to hear my husband, mom, dad and brother tell me several times a day that they love me and love to be able to tell them right back.

Dumpster Diving

Photo of the Day!  I received some great advice from my friend, Maureen Drennan, a brilliant photographer. The great thing about photographers is they are always friendly and willing to share information, unlike many other professions. She said, when you find something interesting, pull out your camera and wait for something to happen.  So, I did that.  I saw a huge dumpster on 23rd Street that has never been there before and I waited.  What I snapped was interesting…!

Harajuku Girl on the Street

Mondays are always busier than the rest of the week.  It’s the day to play catch up and I was swamped until my evening workout, so I told myself that tonight I would just get some extra walking in to get myself out on this beautiful day.  I was doing that and then in the evening got to walk around for a few hours after my workout.  I ended up doing a total of about 8 miles.

I had time to walk back from class with my good friend, Donnell, and then walked on by myself when she ran to an appointment. The song featured in the video above was created and performed by MARINA. It’s called “The Glory of Your Life.” That’s her playing the violin here and it’s perfect for a good walk around the city at 128 beats per minute.

I missed all the rain, so was able to walk with my umbrella tucked away and took some random shots with my point and shoot Canon G10 as I walked. New York always has some bizarre random things and you’re sure to get something interesting snapped up daily!

Above is a photo of a girl dressed in a Harajuku-style dress. She shouted out, “I don’t always dress like this, I just came from a photo shoot.”

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Raisins and Cinnamon. Aesthetics and presentation are important to me when I’m dining, so it makes a big difference when I put my oatmeal in a pretty dish.

Lunch:  Chicken, Rice and Asparagus, covered with some chili sauce. Anything tastes better when it’s spicy!

Dinner:  Beef with Tomatoes and Sugar Snap Peas.

Schmap Me!

I’m so excited!  I submitted a photo to a Tampa guide My Tampa Convention Center photo is going to be in a Schmap App on the iphone!

Go here, then you can see the same pic above. And here’s the Tampa Guide.  If you download the Schmap App and decide to go to Tampa, you’ll find my pic!

Not Gonna Jump

All over New York, there are 31 iron men in different positions.  Some are ready to jump behind the Flatiron building, some are just standing in random parks. Already, the NYPD has been called by people believing these art pieces are about to jump.  These life sized pieces were created by a British artist named Antony Gormley.

I took this photo of this man right in front of Madison Square Park.

Memorial Chorten

I took a photo of a temple in Bhutan.  These two men sat in those spots for about 30 seconds and then got up and left.  I was only able to snap two shots and am happy with the one above.  Goes to show you how much being at the right place at the right time makes an impact on photography.

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