Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two kittens, a scratching post, and a basket of kitty toys

We weren't really sure if we were ready.  I mean, Lisa and I are reasonably responsible people insofar as that responsibility is limited to the proper care and feeding of us, but to be responsible for another living thing?!  Well, after much consideration, we did it:  we adopted two(!) four-month old kittens!  The kittens are sisters -- from the same litter -- and when we met them, they seemed somewhat docile.  "Perfect," we thought, "they'll be a good introduction to cat ownership for Lisa."  So naive we were, but so very happy we were to welcome them into our little family on September 5th. 

This is Rudolfina:
And this is Zanoni:
"Is it take-your-kitty to work day?"
A beloved pink, plastic ball has already disappeared although I suspect we'll find it lodged underneath a bed, cabinet, or radiator...
And when they're not chasing plastic balls, fuzzy mice, and feathered wands, they commandeer the love seat as well as the two sitting chairs in the living room:
"What?  Oh, you can sit on the other cushion."
And the daily shenanigans...
"Time for a bath?"
"Actually, I'd prefer a shower."
...when they aren't chillin':
"What you're making looks much more appetizing than the chicken giblets in gravy we inhaled."
"I guess this view will do."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Buda & Pest

Budapest:  Buda on the left, Pest on the right
Chalk it up to my relative ignorance of Central European history, but I didn't know that Budapest was once three separate cities -- Buda, Obuda (the oldest part of Buda), and Pest -- that only came together, administratively speaking, in 1873.  And the city shares an uncanny resemblance to Prague both in character and appearance...Budapest has been likened to what Prague was ten years ago.  History and impressions aside, Lisa and I spent the Labor Day Weekend in Budapest wandering around, eating Goulash soup, and on Sunday morning, running the Budapest half-marathon.  We weren't in Budapest too long -- we arrived Friday evening and returned Sunday evening -- so the pictures might not do it justice...but we paste them, anyway.
Budapest Parlament (it really is spelled that way) from across the Danube River
I love Goulash soup.  I had it for the first time during a long weekend trip to Vienna in the summer of 2009 and I couldn't get enough...the spicy paprika, the potatoes, the tender beef.  Something so simple, yet so tasty.  Goulash -- as common as it is in a Vienna cafe -- is even more of a staple in Budapest (it has Hungarian origins!) so I was looking forward to some bona fide Hungarian Goulash Soup.  I wasn't disappointed...
"Why don't you just bring the entire pot out to the table?"
The Budapest half-marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning and like most races, runners could pick up their numbers and race packets the day before.  I knew that whatever Expo they put together would pale in comparison to, say, the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll half-marathon Expo, but I'm not sure I was prepared for this:
"The energy, the crowd...so intoxicating!"
"Do you think they'll sell out of socks?"
As with more or less all of our trips, we wandered aimlessly.  And took photos. 
Looking toward Buda from St. Stephen's Basilica (in Pest)
Atop St. Stephen's Basilica
A bridge connecting Buda and Pest
Parlament lit up
Overlooking Pest from Buda's Castle Hill