8/3/15 Chronicles

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  Monday 7/27/15

I didn't exercise, nor did I get my hair cut, as planned! I wasn't feeling well all day, so I just stayed in until when we went out to dinner. I got up pretty early, around 10 or so.

We went to Murphy's for dinner. I just had their corned beef, but as often happens, it was overcooked and dried out. I just ate some of the veggies and took the rest home. I also had some sorbet. It was just so hot and humid!

Here's a tip: If you get served any dried-out or overcooked meat, take it home. chop it up intil little pieces and you can add mayo or some other fatty sauce (barbecue is good). Or you can just put cheese on it and melt it in the microwave.  Or you can do that in a frying pan. No need to waste it! It was certainly easier when we had a dog and I could just feed it to him!

I just caught up on some work and also did some singing. Not much else! In the evening, I did do some cleaning, and prepared for our trip tomorrow.

Don't forget to check out my photos on Instagram!

  Tuesday 7/28/15

We are flying out tonight for our anniversary trip to Philadelphia! We go to a new state every year. This year is Pennsylvania.

I got up pretty early, around noon. I worked on my site and also spent a lot of time cleaning up the house and packing to get ready for our trip.

I had a big issue with DISH network and fought with them over the phone. Hopefully it's cleared up now! I was very stressed out and angry.

I had David make an appointment with me next Tuesday for the endodontist. I need to get a root canal, as I said previously, but they first insist you come in and chat with them. David has to give me a ride, and he's the one with the busy schedule, so he has to make the appointment.

He came home around 5:30 and we left for the airport about a half hour later. We're only going for a few days, and we took 2 suitcases, which is way too much. We should have only packed one. The computer bag was super-heavy because it has my laptop, the Samsung Galaxy tablet, and my Kindle as well as cables.

The Hawaii airport is open-air, despite the fact that it's super hot and humid here half the year. When we went through security, it was worse than usual.  There was a long, slow line. Then the people right in front of us were awful. They were stupid and slow, and they had huge bags. Then when we went through the scanner, there were other stupid and slow people that complained about it.  Then David discovered that a bird had pooped all over his hand and down the side of his pants! Yuk. This is what happens when your airport is open like that... Then when he was cleaning it off, a family was there and had a screaming baby. It was horrible.

Then we went to the first sit-down restaurant we could find. It had great a/c but the food was really bland.  Here's the funny thing. When the water came over, I said, "I have to eat gluten free."  He said, "No."   WTF??? I laughed and said, um, what do you mean?  He said none of their food was gluten free. I was getting kind of ticked off because I didn't really want to leave and go somewhere else. I said, you mean, if I get a chicken sandwich with no bread, it has wheat in it? Then he finally explained that when he was trained, they were told to say that none of their food was gluten free due to cross-contamination with the beer-battered food. So I said, that's okay, I don't care that much about cross-contamination. As long as the gluten is not actualy in or on my food, I'm good. So finally I got a chicken sandwich with bacon, and fries. It was not very good. The fries were awful, so I didn't eat most of them.

I remembered there was a really good restaurant in there somewhere that also knew about gluten free, but I didn't find it until after we left there. It's actually called PGA Tour Grill. We went there after for another drink. I went to the Cold Stone Cramery after looking it up to see which flavors are gluten free. Basically, any of their flavors that have cake, cookie, or cookie batter in it (in other words, the obvious ones) are not gluten free, plus the butter pecan. The others are fine. However, funny thing is that the one in the airport only had 3 flavors with no brownies or cookie dough in it! So I just got "Sweet cream" (i.e. vanilla) and strawberry. It was really excellent. I didn't eat it all, though... I'm trying not to completely over-eat.

Our flight was pushed back a little, but not too bad. It was fairly uneventful. It's a really long flight to the mainland, and we flew to Phoenix, so we left about 8:20pm Tuesday but got to Phoenix about 8am Wednesday. We only had a brief stop there. Only enough time to grab a drink and go to the restroom!

  Wednesday 7/29/15

David slept through both flights, for the most part. I couldn't sleep on the first leg, which was the long one. I mostly just listened to songs on my iPod. I did sleep most of the way from Phoenix to Philadelphia, thankfully.

We got to our hotel and checked in about 3:30, so we just slept for a few hours until 6pm. We got our room via Priceline and it's pretty nice-- the Loews, downtown. 

I've done karaoke before in Philadelphia, but never in Delaware, so I found a place across the border to do karaoke. This was my 34th karaoke state! We took a cab over to the Concord Mall and looked around there a little. David had fast food for dinner. Then we walked across the street to the Applebee's. The KJ had said on Facebook that they start at 9, but it didn't start until after 9:30, which was kind of annoying. I was sick part of the time there because of the gluten thing, but otherwise, it was a fine evening. The waiter helped me find something gluten-free to eat off their allergen menu. I had the Fiesta Lime Chicken, which was really good. I used to eat at Applebee's all the time with my MIL at the University Mall in Tuscaloosa, and it was never very good. They've obviously improved their menu. I also had a really good drink called a Bahama Mama.

Our cab driver loved the long fare, so he stuck around and picked us up after. Weirdly, he sat in his cab at the Applebee's parking lot. Whatever, dude. He tried to get us to leave at 10, but I wasn't going to leave before 10:30. I barely had much time there as it was.  We didn't ask him to wait; that was all his idea.

They only had a few singers, but most of them were really good. I sang "Because the Night" by 10,000 Maniacs, and they seemed to like it. Although there were lots of people there, they didn't clap very much for anyone.  The KJ was very nice, too. We had a good time.  I talked David into singing the duet "Stumblin' In" with me, and we had fun with it.  The crowd liked it when I announced that it was our 33rd anniversary! It was also David's 20th karaoke state! I just wish I had remembered to record it....ah, well.

We left at 10:30. After we got back to our hotel, we walked over to a nearby place called Milk Boy for drinks and snacks. It's kind of hip/trendy and had mostly people in their 20's.  I ordered some deviled eggs, and they were really good. I also had a gingery drink called a Moscow Mule. We went back to the room, really tired, and zonked out.

  Thursday 7/30/15

Unfortunately, David had accidentally set the clock for 6 am!  We got back to sleep, but then I woke up around 6:20 choking on acid reflux. UGH. Too many spicy foods before bedtime. I did eventually go back to sleep, though. I was still really tired and a bit hungover. David went out during the day exploring and had a little bit of lunch. I woke up around 2:30pm and he came back not long after that. We went to dinner around 3:30. Most of the restaurants weren't open that early, but I found one about 5-6 blocks away called Jones. It's basically an upscale diner. Meaning it looks trendy and fancy, and it's expensive, but it serves high quality comfort food.

It was our anniversary and we had a great day! We were going to walk to the restaurant, but it started raining out, and then pouring.  So we took a cab. Even walking from the cab to the restaurant door, though, we got soaked. It was very uncomfortable after that. The hostess and wait staff were very good to us and provided cloth napkins and paper towels so we could dry off a bit. They were very knowledgeable about gluten. It's a good city for that (probably most big cities are now). I got the brisket, which was pretty good. Unfortunately, my stomach was not doing well, and I got really sick after that, so I didn't eat much. (From earlier gluten, not from too much drinking) David had an avocado sandwich and some of my brisket. Since we were drenched, I didn't get a photo this time for our anniversary.

The rain seemed to let up, and we couldn't get a cab, so we just walked. That was a bad idea. We got soaked again! LOL! I was so glad to just get to our room, take off my clothes, dry off and get into a nice warm bed. I wasn't feeling great still. David went to another Phillies game and I went back to sleep. I woke up around 8:30. He was still at the game for a little while, so I just messed around on Facebook etc.

He enjoyed his game. We went out to this place I found called Yakitori Boy that was just 6 blocks away down 11th street, in Chinatown. It's a Japanese restaurant, but they have karaoke on the 2nd floor. It was really loud and had a lot of people, but we found a table near the back, more away from the noise. It was mostly young people in their 20's from what I could tell (maybe 30's, who knows?). They sang a lot of modern songs by people like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. We probably sat through 15 songs, and I only recognized a few. It was mostly rap, from what I could tell. Still, it was very interesting. I had a good time. David was pretty tired and hates loud noise. At first, it was hard to get a waiter, then I spoke to three different ones until finally the manager, Bill, came over and talked to me about what had gluten or not. He was very helpful. We got our food very quickly.

David just had some sushi and I had some steak. Both were really good. Bill also sang a duet with me and made sure that two of my songs got in very quickly. The crowd really were great and loved the songs. They were picky, too, so I was happy to be one they liked. They didn't applaud everyone. I made sure to pick good crowd pleasers, too. We did "Bring Me to Life" and then I did "I Will Survive."

This was Japanese karaoke, although most of the people there were white or some other non-Asian mix (local Philly people, in other words). The karaoke disks all had Asian characters and video in the background. The karaoke was 3 songs fo $5. It was a lot of fun. I would definitely go back there. People were having a lot of fun.

I really wanted to try some of the newer songs I'd learned, but neither place had them yet. Oh, well! I guess the KJ's in this area worry about copyrights because neither had the online karaoke that is so common elsewhere. It was all disks from what I could tell. Of course it was only two karaoke places so who knows!?!

We stopped for another drink at the hotel bar. I'm only drinking diet soda tonight. Although I did have a hot chocolate with Bailey's when we went out to dinner earlier. It's just better that way. :)

We discovered later that we do have a mini-bar in our room. I could have kept my leftovers from dinner. Whoops! Ah, well. At least they have healthy snacks...Ha ha! Yeah, right.

It's been a great trip so far! If I can get up tomorrow, we're going to take the train out to see the capitol, and then maybe we'll check out the Harrah's casino if we're not too tired. Then later, I'll go with him to another Phillie's game. We'll probably take a nap somewhere in there!

  Friday 7/31/15

I wasn't able to sleep, so I just stayed up all night (I slept most of yesterday while David was at the ball game). We went to breakfast around 9. They have a train station a few blocks from here, and there's a fun market there with many booths and restaurants. We went to the Down Home Diner. I was very pleased and surprised to find that they had gluten-free pancakes, made from coconut and quinoa! They were delicious. I also had turkey bacon and it was outstanding (nothing like what you buy in the store).  Just a wonderful breakfast.

We then took the train to Trenton, NJ. It was about an hour's ride. I was not really awake, so I didn't really think/know that we'd be on a train, with no bathroom, for an hour. Stupid me! So I brought nothing to do, no water, and I didn't go to the bathroom beforehand. Usually I'm really prepared for anything like that. I got through it, but it was kind of annoying. The train was really bumpy.  The train station in Philly was really nice, and very clean.  The one in Trenton, not so much.

Then we walked about 15 minutes through a very colorful, but somewhat-depressed neighborhood (but not a dangerous one) to get to the state house, which is what they call the Capitol building out here. It's a fairly pretty building, with a gold dome on top. I was pretty tired at this point, but they said we couldn't just wander around by ourselves. We had to take their guided tour (which was free). So we got in this tour with this nice woman, with about 7 other people. It was a fairly interesting tour, even though I don't care about local history etc. I had forgotten that this is New Jersey. The governor, Chris Christie, has his office there, too. I'm not a fan of his!

I took many photos, which you can see at the link above on Instagram.

After the tour, we walked over to this little diner/bar called Checker's. I just had a bacon cheeseburger with potato salad. I wasn't super hungry, since I had the big breakfast, but it was really yummy. The place was pretty crowded and had a very east coast feel to it.

We took a cab back to the train station so that we could catch the next train pretty quickly. The ride back was better, but I was just exhausted and it was not comfortable for sleeping. When we got back to our hotel, I just went to sleep. David woke me up after 2 hours, but I was too tired to go to the ball game with him. I really wanted to go, but I just couldn't make it.  He understood...

Here's a weird thing. The maids moved all of our stuff.  Normally, in a hotel, if you leave your stuff lying around, they either clean around it, or they pick it up and clean under it. Actually, I usually move the bathroom stuff out of their way just for that reason. I don't want strangers touching my toothbrush.  We have two beds, and we're not using one, so we put the suitcases on top of one (which we do often in hotels), and I also had my computer there, plugged in.  They moved all of it! They put the suitcases on the stands and unplugged my laptop, re-plugged it in over on the desk, etc. Everything was moved and not at all put back where we had it. It was weird. This never happens. I'm going to make sure to let the hotel desk know that's not acceptable. I don't want people touching my stuff without my permission. It was very creepy.

David's game is over, so he's heading back and we're going out so I can get more food etc.

We went to the Hard Rock and had a fine late dinner. We stopped at 7-11 to get some snacks and drinks, then went back to the room. I was really tired, despite sleeping most of the day, so I went to bed pretty early. I woke up around 5:30 am and worked on my site.

  Saturday 8/1/15

We went to breakfast at our hotel's restaurant, the Bank and Bourbon. They did have gluten free bread, which was nice. I ordered the Taste of Ham. It was just too much ham! LOL! David was very tired still and didn't eat much.

I wanted to go to one of the casinos, but they weren't very close, and we were concerned that we wouldn't be able to leave at 11 like we'd planned. Instead we just walked around a little and took some photos, then headed back to the room. I had already mostly packed.

I discovered that the maid had left us a note. I believe the note was near our lottery tickets that we'd left behind, and she said something about us being big winners. Great, so not only did she move our stuff, but she read it as well. Extra creepy!

Otherwise, it was a very nice hotel. They had fresh roses all over the lobby. The room was very nice, and the bed was very comfortable.

The Philadelphia Airport is also really nice. They have lots of great shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Legal Seafoods. I wasn't really all that hungry, but I love that place. They had a lobster roll, which I'd never tried before. It came on gluten free bread, too. I also had their wonderful onion strings, which are like onion rings but the really thin kind. I only had a little bit, but it was really good.  It was not as good as a regular Legal Seafoods, though. That is usually a fine dining kind of place. This place was not as fancy, and the service was not so great. Our waiter was not very good. He forgot my soda and almost gave me regular bread instead of gluten free. We used to go to the one in Atlanta all the time, and that one is way better.

Then I got some Pinkberry frozen yogurt, which is really good and not something they have in Honolulu as far as I've ever seen.  It's yummy. (I checked and supposedly they have one in our airport, but I've never seen it)

Well, we're about to board our plane. They announced the restrooms on the plane won't work until we reach a certain altitude (something about the vacuum system), so we have to go before we board or wait quite a while. They have thick accents and pronounce it as owl-tee-tood. Weird!

Now I'm on the plane... they have Wi-fi! Woo hoo! I never used it before. My laptop says it has 82 hours and 3 minutes left. Somehow I don't think that's right...

It took a really long time for the plane to take off and to reach the altitude so we could use the restroom..Whew.

We change planes in Phoenix again and then we paid a little extra to upgrade to first class the rest of the way, so that'll be nice.

My laptop is really wide, so it's hard to use on the plane. Not much room. I worked on the site for a while, and then my battery died. It had a full charge, so obviously I need a new battery. After that, I discovered I could get online with my phone with WiFi, even in airplane mode. Unfortunately, the phone was almost dead, too. I tried with the iPod, but it didn't have email and social media set up, and I didn't have my passwords handy. I just gave up and listened to music after that.

We had very little time in Phoenix; no time to charge any of my electronics. We had very nice seats in the 2nd row. They treated us well. We got free food and drinks, and a really nice blanket and pillow. David said the food wasn't that great. I couldn't eat their hot meal choices, but I got a salad, and some cheese and grapes, and some hummus and veggies chips, and then an ice cream sundae! So there was plenty of good food for me to eat.

We both slept quite a lot. It was way more comfortable than the first leg of the flight. The plane was freezing, though.  Even though we were in first class, we were ready to get off the plane. They showed a movie, "Far From the Madding Crowd," but I didn't watch it.

So now I'm home and ready to go to bed!

  Sunday 8/2/15

I slept a lot... I went to bed around midnight, and then we went to breakfast at Zippy's around 10:30. I went back to sleep around 1 and slept another 2 hours. I guess I needed it!

Lots of work to catch up on.... even more than usual because of going out of town.

We last went to Philadelphia in 2003 for a conference, and we both were very disappointed in the city. We like cities, for the most part.  The restaurants we went to were not very good, the weather was awful (too hot and muggy), and it just didn't seem to be a good city.  This time, I'm pleased to say that we both really enjoyed it a lot. I think they cleaned up the city a bit, like most big cities have. It has a lot of character, the buildings included. The people were very nice and friendly, like New Yorkers but with more smiles. We even had someone say hi to us as we walked by on the street, which has never happened in NYC, Chicago or Boston. The train station was very nice and clean. All of the restaurants were pretty good and had gluten free stuff. That's a big plus in my eyes! We will definitely go back someday.

Three of my plants survived our being gone, but I somehow killed my cactus. I thought it was doing ok, but then I took a close look and realized it was all rotted through. I don't know how or why it did. I'm a little sad... That's the one I've had the longest (since June 2014). It was so pretty, too.

We went to Zippy's for breakfast. I always love their eggs, bacon and hash browns. I'm still not sure if it's gluten free or not, though. I sent them an email quite some time ago, and they didn't write back. I just sent them another one, and also posted on the local Zippy's Facebook page, so maybe I'll finally get an answer!

For dinner, we went to our usual place, Downbeat Diner. It's always good there!

I really hate unpacking, doing the laundry and all that.  Our washer is still leaking sometimes, and I've been telling the landlord about it. It doesn't leak on every load, and it appears to be occurring right before the rinse cycle, so when the guy came out to look at it, it didn't leak because he only let it fill up and didn't stay long enough (and also because it's not happening every single time). It's so annoying.

I'm not looking forward to this week... I have a lot of appointments, trips to the dentist, etc. Bleccchh!

My brother is still in Turkey but having some problems there with his new job. I hope he's able to figure things out. I really worry about my brother sometimes...

The new Fantastic Four movie comes out this coming weekend, so hopefully I can go to see it the following week with Tom and Cynthia. I still want to see the movie "Mr. Holmes" as well!

Have a great week!

Don't forget to also check out my TV Blog! Both are updated about once a week.

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