Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Visiting Wine Country in a Hawaiian shirt

Sunday Curt and I along with Jen and Dave headed to Napa. I told Dave the night before that you couldn't wear Hawaiian shirts to Napa. But he didn't listen to me.
We got to Napa for lunch. We had a nice lunch. It would have been better to sit outside by the river, but it was way too hot. We took nice drives and started down the road to the wineries.
First one we hit was William Harrison, where Curt and I had visited before. The guy even took us to the room where they keep all the barrels of wine. It was much cooler in there, too. They had a Chardonnay that was very good--and I am not usually a big Chardonnay fan. Wineries seem to be changing the Chardonnays for the better! So I got a bottle of Chardonnay and we all got to keep our glasses.
Next stop: ZD wines. The wines there were very good. And the guy in the Hawaiian shirt got some extra tastes. We both bought a bottle of their Reisling. The guy pouring wine for us seemed rather entertained by Dave.
Third and last stop: Andretti Winery. Curt and I really love that place. It is a small and cozy winery. It is gorgeous outside. But it was way too hot to appreciate it. Jen took pics while the rest of us stayed inside. (We tried to take pics, but I think our camera needs new batteries.) (I checked the car at one point and it said 107--who knows what the humidity was.) Jen and Dave really liked it, too. At Andretti (because we are Wine Club members) we can pretty much taste any wine they have open. So we did. And Dave, of course, got extra. After Jen came back in from taking pics in the heat, the guy poured her some cold Chardonnay. Talk about service. Curt and I bought some mustard and refills for our Cork pop. Jen and Dave bought some wine and I think mustard, too.
And after visiting just three wineries we were pretty "happy." You can really only visit three or four wineries a day.
It was a good day in Wine Country.
We drove back to Berkeley and headed to the Pyramid Alehouse for dinner. Then back to our place to hang out a bit before Jen and Dave headed back to the city.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Out in the city

So Jen and Dave are in town. We met them at their hotel--Sir Francis Drake. We walked to North Beach for dinner and on the way saw this guy on a motorcycle with his dog. The dog seemed perfectly content. I know the picture is a little dark--but it is with my camera phone.
We had dinner at Michaelangelo's. We take a lot of people there. But the food is good.
Anyway, the four of us are going to Napa today for lunch and wine tasting. Should be a good day.
Oh and Jen and Dave picked the perfect time to be here--it is a real summer. No jackets required.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The typical blogger

A story on the Chronicle talks about the typical blogger.
Also, read an intervention on my friend Jen's blog to her blogger-hater (hate is a rather strong word) ... blog-disliker husband.

Sallie Mae no longer owns me!

So yesterday, I wrote my last check to Sallie Mae. My UA school loans are officially paid off--and two years early!
I can't believe I have been sending them money every month for 8 years!
Feels Good!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

A little burned ...

But we still had a blast in San Diego.
Let's see where did I leave off in my S.D. adventures?
Curt arrived Friday night. After he got there we had dinner at the hotel restaurant.
The next morning we had breakfast in our room and then got ready to head to the beach. We spent a few hours at the beach. I love hanging out in the sand and relaxing. Curt on the other hand is not a beach guy--I told him that information would have been helpful before we were married. HA! Curt still had fun and did some wandering. (Apparently while we are in Hawaii next year he is gonna learn to surf. He said he could learn to be a beach guy.) The water was too cold. Only my feet ventured into the water a couple of times.
Please no one take offense to my next statement: There were plenty of people at the beach in their teeny bikinis, who had no business wearing teeny bikinis, which made me feel much better about myself in my tankini.
After beachtime (we were in Mission Beach) we headed to Ocean Beach to have fish tacos. There is this place where you get fish tacos downstairs and tattoos upstairs. We went to The Black. A cool store we both like--you can get stickers, T-shirts, cards, candles, incense, bongs, pipes, etc. Well, it wasn't as much fun this time around. When you start getting older that stuff just isn't cool anymore. Very sad.
Then we headed to a bar for a beer. We found out you could bring food in so Curt got our fish tacos and we ate at the bar.
Then back to the hotel to freshen up. Then out to dinner in La Jolla--we had Mexican. It was good and cheap. We walked around a bit, then headed back to the hotel.
Sunday morning we headed out to downtown. We had an early lunch. And then on to the ballpark for Padres vs. Braves. The Petco ballpark is pretty cool. We had a fun time.
Then off to the airport for our flight.
So we stayed at the Marriot La Jolla (that is where my conference was). That hotel was nice! In the gym they had TVs at each of the cardio machines, lemon water to drink, free towels and headphones to use. I am not used to being that fancy! Oh, and by the front desk in the lobby they had cold lemonade for hotel-stayers.
Oh, and Curt and I have decided we want to live in San Diego. So all of you who want to visit San Fran and have a free place to stay better come soon. (Well, we will probably be here for a while. But I am just warning you now.)

Friday, July 14, 2006

In San Diego

Well, I left work Wednesday afternoon. I hurried home and got my last-minute stuff together. I thought the 10-minute walk would be easy to the BART station with my rolly bag. It was a little tougher than I imagined. But I did OK.
Once my bag was checked in and I was hanging out at the airport bar I completely forgot about the chaos at work. I hung out, had a few drinks and some pizza. I chatted with the bartender and another guy who sat next to me. He was from Alameda. He was very nice and even bought me a drink. Woo-hoo! He was off to Portland for a little work and golf.
Usually I get kinda freaked out during take-off. Not this time. Being mellowed by my margarita and Coronas had me completely calm and totally into my magazine.
Thursday was my Patent seminar. The instructor was great. I really learned a lot. It was a bunch of information--but it really made me understand the process. It can be a very long process. An inventor on their own would have to be pretty loaded to afford all the fees. It is unfortunate that individuals can't really afford it. And here is the killer part: the money "you" pay to the Patent Office goes into the federal government's general fund! That is why the PTO has to keep increasing fees. I was exhausted after the seminar. I did a little work, worked out and then headed down to the bar and grill in the hotel. I had dinner and unfortunately had the luxury of watching an older couple make out!
I also watched the end of the A's game. Go A's! They won. Then some show on ESPN called Quite Frankly was on. I couldn't hear anything he was saying. But at the bottom of the screen would be a brief summary about what he was talking about. Whenever a male athlete was referred to they used the last name. But the race car driver was referred to as Danica. I was offended by that. Oh well.
Today I did some work, worked out, spent some time at the pool and headed to the University Town Centre for lunch and some shopping. Now I am back in the room taking a little break. Curt will be arriving later tonight.
Tomorrow we are going to the beach. I can't wait. Tho. I feel sorry for all those people who will be blinded by my white skin. That is the bad part about not living in Arizona: pasty skin.
And Sunday we are going to a Padres game at the new Petco ballpark, or the Litterbox as Curt likes to call it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Outta touch

Sorry that my posts have been almost non-existent. I have been working 10 hour days and find little time to blog. I also come home exhausted and the last thing I want to do is talk about all the running around I am doing at work. I am doing my job, another admin's and covering some for our facilities guy who is on vacation. The admins split up his duties--but people want their cold bottled water in the fridge. And when it isn't there they get MAD! I have always appreciated Alonzo, our facilities guy, but I REALLY do now. He is a great person, fun and funny. He has been missed. Lucikly, he will be back next week.
Tomorrow I am leaving for San Diego. I can't wait. I fly out tomorrow afternoon. I have a Patent seminar on Thursday. I am staying through the weekend. Curt is meeting me down there Friday night. Saturday we will hang out on the beach. I can't wait for sun, sand and the sound of the ocean. Sunday we are going to a Padres game. And Sunday evening we come home. Quick weekend, but it will be nice.
Hope all is well with everyone else!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Finally, all the Europe pictures!!!

Sorry I have taken so long to pass these along. I have been working a ton lately and come home exhausted. I have taken on some extra duties at work.
Anyway, here are all the pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, July 03, 2006

I love you, 4-day weekend!

Yup, today is Day 3 of my 4-day weekend. Curt and I both have 4 days off. It is great. We have pretty much just been kicking it and relaxing. I am trying to get my clock back to normal since being on vacation. I think I am pretty much back to normal.
I think I may go take a nap. ZZZZZZZZZZ! Sweet dreams!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ahhhhh ... Paris

OK, let me recount our time in Paris.
Unfortunately, most of the time we were in Paris I wasn't feeling so great. But I was in Paris. I had to make the best of that wonderful city.
We arrived there on train from Amsterdam on Wednesday afternoon. (And riding the train we did from Brussels to Paris was very fancy. We were fed and treated well--sitting in first class rocks.)
We got to our hotel and rested a bit at the hotel before heading out for dinner. We watched "The Simpsons" in French, which was rather entertaining.
We had dinner at a little French restaurant. We sat outside. Unfortunately it started raining and we had to go inside. After dinner we headed to the Eiffel Tower. (Our hotel was about 10-15 min. walk away. Oh, and it had stopped raining.) The tower was amazing all lit up.
Thursday we went up the Eiffel Tower. Man, that is really high up. But the view was amazing. It was a little outcast that day and downright cool up at the top. We spent a little time on the first floor warming up with coffee and hot chocolate.
After that we walked to the Notre Dam cathedral. That was a hike. But we had amazing stuff to look at on the way. After the cathedral we had lunch. And then back to the hotel for me to rest a bit. We met a nice couple from Puerto Rico on their honeymoon later that evening when we were having drinks. (I have to say we met a lot of nice people while on our trip.)
Friday we lounged around our hotel room in the morning--so I could rest up. Then we headed to the Wine Museum. Not as exciting as we thought. But it was still pretty cool. We did some wine tasting after that. And the wines weren't that good. Pretty strong stuff.
Later that evening we headed to The Louvre. Most of the areas forbid photographs, so we got very few pictures. And the ones we did are pretty dark anyway. Rick Steves recommended going to the museum (on a Wed or Friday) after 6 p.m. Crowds are smaller and the price is cheaper. (I highly recommened using his books. I also bought his phrase book. It was very helpful. And our German friends said it was right on. While in Paris we overheard Rick Steves' name many times. He has a great travel show on PBS.) Anyway, the Louvre is pretty cool. And I got a Davinci Code pic, too. :)
Saturday we saw the Arc de Triomphe and walked up and down the Champs-Elysees. That street is where part of the Tour de France rides through. We did a little shopping. Later that night we had dinner at a little cafe and then went to see the Eiffel Tower one last time. We got some pics of it all lit up. Absolutely gorgeous.
Then Sunday we headed home ... well, not really. But you know the story.
Trip pictures coming very soon. Stay tuned.