Friday, January 30, 2009

Fridays, I'm in love

Today the weather is fantastic, which is sure to make this weekend even better than I had hoped for. My dear friend Heidikins is coming to town tonight and some fun things are in the works. Chinese New Year celebrations continue in Chinatown. Super Diamond is in town. Tartine is still a few blocks away from my house. And um - can you believe that January is over? What the....?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Links

I guess I should tell you that Kirsten got bangs. Forgive me for not taking a picture, but by the time I got the opportunity to last night, it was midnight and taking pictures for the blog just wasn't at the top of my priority list.

So today, instead of a before and after photo shoot of my wonderful roommate, I thought I'd give you some bullet points to enjoy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Style Advice; she needs it!

You guys - my roommate needs your help and she needs it by 1pm California time TODAY! Are you up for the challenge? Please leave your vote in the comments section and I will send it to her before she gets her hair cut this afternoon.
...and you thought election season was over.

Here she is right now. And while Paul would love for us to vote on his hair, please keep in mind that the voting is only for Kirsten and although the hair color may slightly vary from picture to picture, it will not be changing. Ok. Please vote!




Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another year, another race.

I'm in the midst of training again. With each race I run, I think that it will be the last, but really, I know that if I want to stay in shape, a race is a good goal to have. Keeps me going on those hard days when all I want to do is lay on my big red couch.

I've had some questions recently on how I train. Other than my amazing roommate Rita teaching me how to begin running (you might have to talk to her to get those tips) I thought I'd give you a bit of insight. There are tons of training schedules on the internet. Tons! I have books that tell you run for a certain amount of time instead of distance; Hal Higdon has various schedules for novice runners to very experienced marathoners; Jeff Galloway has some really great racing tips , etc. Really, there are more schedules out there than I can tell you about. I used one on for my first half marathon, but I can't find it now. My best advice is to find a schedule that works for you. And also keep in mind that I'm not a fabulous runner - but I try hard.

And one more tidbit of advice from me about running. Lately, I've found that podcasts are WAY better for me when I run than music. I think it has something to do with my mind being completley occupied by the talking and learning instead of just going along with the beat of the music. It is making all the difference in the world - seriously. Give it a shot.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Urban Camping 101

Most you - if you know me or if you've been reading this blog for a while, know that I do not camp. As in, I hate it. There are some exceptions - I can be swayed by men I'm dating, but this is by far the exception and not the rule. Ever since I moved to my new place last April, I've been wanting to sleep out on my porch. {You know this, right? I have my own private porch that balances out the lack of square footage in my bedroom. I might not have a closet in my room, and I may have to walk through the bathroom to get into my room, but by golly, I have a porch!} I'd been unable to convince anyone to sleep out there with me during the past 9 months until a few weeks ago when my roommate and I decided to have our very own urban camping night. Our plan was to just invite some people over Friday night and sleep out on the deck in sleeping bags.

The weather in San Francisco was not good for sleeping outdoors this past Friday. At about 4pm, I emailed Kirsten and asked her what Plan B was since the weather was obviously not cooperating. She emailed me back and said "I totally rigged a canopy! You are going to love me!"

And rig a canopy she did.

With some wire hangers, she attached a tarp to the roof and then tied it down to the porch railing. We also bought another tarp to put down on the wet deck so that we could sleep in maximum comfort on my air mattress. I pretty much felt like I was sleeping in a homemade greenhouse.

Matt & Barry arrived and we made some urban s'mores over the stove.

Then we watched a movie out on the deck - we just attached some external speakers to my laptop and propped up the lappy inside my room so that everyone could see it and there was no chance of it getting wet from the drizzle. This is also where we all slept. Yep - all four of us.

I have to say that 90% of the canopy had fallen down through the night and half of our camping party was on the couch by the time the sun rose. I, however, woke up at 9:30am on Saturday morning all cozy inside my sleeping bag still laying on my tiny portion of the air mattress. We even finished off the experience by walking down the street and eating breakfast at the Crepevine. Definitely my idea of camping. I have a feeling that this won't be our last urban camping adventure; even in the rain it was a great time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bliss. On a rainy day, even.

So yeah - other than blogging about my travels, I've sucked lately at blogging. I will try to be better in the future, OK?

This week at work I've been making lists of things that need to get done. Today, I made my 2009 file folders, which will help me cross off "Clean the crap up off your desk" on my list. Being organized makes me happy, but some days, I'd rather be lazy than organized, so that's just the way life goes sometimes.

Life has been good lately. I truly don't have anything to gripe to you about. I've been eating fairly healthy for over a week now and although I don't necessarily "feel" different, knowing that I'm eating healthy makes me feel good about myself. Is that what people mean when they say that they "feel better" when they eat better? I'm not sure. I'm definitely not one of those people who gets a stomach ache after eating taco bell - or a cupcake, so I'm not really sure. Moving on.

Last night I filed my taxes, sufficiently stalked people on facebook for a few hours, read, talked to my roommate, watched a few funny youtube videos, ate some sweet potato fries that I made, and vegged in front of the tv. I must say - it was quite the perfect evening. If only every night could be just as nice.

Who knows what this year will bring. Well, there are a few things that I'm scheduling in - that's for sure. I can tell you one thing that will be nice: when I'm sitting here in November.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts about my Tuesday.

Although I've come to terms with the fact that I am indeed a republican, yesterday was a happy day. I'm happy that people won't be saying rude things about our president for a while and that the person in that office will finally get the respect he deserves. I'm happy that for once, we can all agree that things in our country need to change. And changing starts from within. Time to reach out our hands and unclench our fists. Time for Americans to rise to their potential.

And in other news, the San Francisco auditions of American Idol were great last night. I can't wait to see the Puerto Rican Princess in Hollywood.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Le jour passé à Paris

These pictures are from my last day in Paris, which means that on this day, we had to cram everything in that we hadn't done yet and wanted to do together. And for fun, I thought I would show you that the Americans aren't the only ones who are crazy about Edward and Bella. These huge posters were everywhere on the Subway walls. Along with posters for Australia with Nicole Kidman and the new Brad Pitt movie. I mean - I even remember from when I was in Paris as an 18 year old that the movie "The End of the Affair" was out then because there were so many posters. Cost of advertising must be cheaper in France due to the quantity of possible advertising locations. Anyway -

On our way to church Sunday morning, I decided that I didn't want to wear pants into church and then go change in the bathroom since I had my knee high boots on, and then its complicated to change. Problem solved. I put my skirt on over my pants and then rolled up my pants under my skirt. And of course, I did this all on the metro. If you check out my left knee, you can see my awesome infected band-aid from my fall the previous Sunday. The best thing about my outfit was that you couldn't tell at all that I had pants on under my skirt.

Right after church, we took advantage of "First Sunday of the month=Free Museums in Paris" day. The last time I came to Paris, the Louvre workers actually went on strike. The one day we were able to go. Sad! Lucky for me, Kristine was willing to go back so that I could see some of the highlights, which included:


Mona Lisa. Time spent in this room = 5 seconds.

Psyche & Cupid

Venus de Milo

Afterwards, we went to the artist's square and Kristine had her portrait drawn. She doesn't think it looks like her, but I do!

Even if you don't go to the artist's square, going up to the Sacre Coeur is totally worth the view of Paris.

Later that night we went to the museum of modern art, the Pompidou, and to be honest, my feet were done. I just couldn't walk around the museums anymore. Kristine does the exhibits way more justice than I could give them, so click here if you'd like to read about that. On our way home, we tried unsuccesfully to go to a Souffle restaurant, and in our attempt to stay warm, just ended up eating at the nearest place we could.

Monday morning came too fast and I was sad to say goodbye to Kristine. I have a feeling though that this New Years Eve trip won't be our last together. So much fun - and what adventures we had.

I could write an entirely separate post on my flight home since we were snowed in on the runway for 5 hours and then had a 9 hour flight back to Dallas. I nearly missed the last flight to Salt Lake which was also delayed and got in at 1am. I had plans to take Matt out for his 30th birthday, but turns out all he got was a few hours of sleep and a hug. C'est la vie. I'm just glad I made it home to San Francisco on Tuesday morning on my originally scheduled flight. I even went into work by noon that day!

And with that, I will start tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can I Say I've been to Germany if I've been to a town that used to be IN Germany?

By the time we arrived in Colmar, we were happy to be back in the land of Euros and stores being open. I mean - there's only so much you can buy at the COOP in a train station. So! We arrived at Colmar in the early afternoon and took a bus out to our hotel, which was out in the country. By the time that we got back into town, the twelve layers of clothing I had on just weren't quite keeping me that warm anymore. BUT! We did get some really great pictures and eat some good cookies while we were walking around town. Without further ado, I present to you: Colmar, Germany - I mean France!

I just have to post this picture - check out this couch. It's pretty much the pimped out French version of mine!

To warm up, we decided to go into this cute little Alsatian restaurant - the menu was in French, English, and German. Yikes. Even in the restaurant, we had Frenchies on one side, and Italians on the other. And maybe the Italian guy looked like a member of the Volturi - meaning that he was HOT! Although we didn't get a picture with my beautiful future boyfriend, Kristine did get a picture of me with the cute restaurant behind me.

The next day we had a few hours to tour around Colmar, but word to the wise - there were no lockers in the train station, so we had to carry our huge bags around with us for the next four hours. Ow! I had to do this once before this year - I don't recommend it, just fyi. We went to a cool art museum called the Underliten, which was mainly religious art, but it had a great audio tour that came free with admission. I am convinced that all museums should do this - it made the museum so much more enjoyable. Here are some of my favorites:

Since it was light out, we took advantage and snapped a few pictures of us in front of the customs house:

And in front of Petit Venis. Obviously, meaning "Little Venice." Even the Europeans love themselves some Italy. Please note the "Romantik" restaurant behind us. Charming little town, don't you think?

That afternoon, we took a train to Strasbourg. Basically the same thing as Colmar - only bigger! More shops, bigger church, bigger clocks. Here's their bigger version of Petit Venis - they just call theirs "Petite France." Creative. Does that look like Little France to you? More like "Little Former German Town on the Canal" to me!
The most amazing site in Strasbourg is their Notre Dame cathedral. Serious - it is HUGE and looks about a mile high when you are standing in front of it. Kristine took this great shot of it - but keep in mind that she only got the tower! Here's a good picture from wikitravel.

Inside the cathedral there is this amazingly huge clock that - based on our travel guide - gave some good performances at least every 15 minutes. We waited around for a while to see the 4:15 performance. The book said that it would be a "ho hum" type of deal unless it was on the half hour, but I wasn't expecting this.

And in case you were wondering what the weather was like at this point, still freezing.

I feel like all the pictures taken of me make me look about 30 pounds heavier than I am - due to the 5 layers of sweaters I had on underneath my coat. Like in this picture for example. Then again, maybe its the hat. What do you think?

That night, our first class train tickets were worth it when we were whisked back to Paris in about four hours from our trip to Little Germany. Huzzah! Home again, home again, jiggity jig! Tomorrow (or maybe Monday :)) - my last day in Paris and some of my silly shenanigans. As if you weren't sure about those.

Check out all the pics from Strasbourg and Colmar here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Down Low on Lausanne

Our 10am New Years train to Lausanne came a little early for Kristine. We were waiting at the bus stop and I turned around to see this:

We were just starting the day! The train ride was only about an hour if I recall correctly, which for me, meant some good nap time. So when we got to Lausanne and checked in to our hostel, we were ready to go check out the town. First things first - a little morning exercise! Well, kinda. We climbed up to the top of a little hill and saw this view:

The water in the background is Lake Geneva, which is fairly large.

After that, we were left to get around in a town where apparently everything is closed but the train station and the church on New Years Day (and the day after, as we found out). So we went to a church that looked like it had vinyl on the ceiling. If I wanted a little overkill in my bedroom, this would be amazing on my ceiling, don't you think? :)

We took silly pictures...

Then we ate crepes and I talked to the Spaniards behind us in line - so fabulous to be able to communicate with someone except for Kristine! I mean - my Spanish isn't fabulous by any means, but it is FAR superior to my French skills.

The next stop on our trek through town was at Notre Dame. For a better picture, click here. Of course it was at the top of the town so there was an amazing view and was very beautiful inside.

There was one relief that caught my eye since I couldn't figure out which story it was referring to. How did I never hear about the Assumption of Mary? I mean - obviously I'm not catholic, but I thought I was moderately familiar with bible-related stories. Learn something new every day, right?

Here's a beautiful view of Notre Dame from later that night.

While we were still inside the church, I looked for some candles so that I could light one for Scott S, since it is tradition. I didn't see candles anywhere - but I did see the following sign:

In French it reads: "Visitors, register your intentions of prayer here, a name, a request..."
So I left a note:

We went back to the hostel to get some rest, unpack, make our beds, etc. There were some cutouts in the wall down our hallway, so Kristine is demonstrating below how easily you could fit a statue there. Or maybe she's volunteering to be a statue in the hostel for free room & board.

We were very very lucky to find that the best Fondue restaurant in town, Café de l'Eveche was open for dinner on New Years Day. What a way to start of 2009 right! Look at that huge pot of delicious quatre fromage fondue!

On our way back to the hotel, I saw Scherenschnitte in the window display of a local shop. Too bad I don't know where my less awesome one is.

Back at the hostel, we settled in for an early night after I semi taught Kristine how to play dominoes. We slept in before our noon train to Colmar, where we stayed 16 km from the border of a country that I still haven't been to. Bah!