Monday, May 31, 2010

Girls' day; housewarming; brunch; etc.

This was a good weekend ...
Friday Curt got off work early as a Summer Friday at his work. I left a little after 4. I came home and met up with Curt. We headed to McNally's for a drink.
Saturday morning I hit the gym. Then at noon Mia came over. We were celebrating her birthday. We lucked out with a gorgeous and sunny day. We walked around the hood; had lunch; then shoe shopping (I got some cute new shoes!!!); mani/pedis; stop at McNally's; then a little more shopping. It was a really good time. We have both been so busy lately that we haven't had a chance to hang out in a long time.
Saturday night Curt and I headed to Ellen and Andy's for their housewarming party/Andy's birthday party. Yummy food, especially the cole slaw and cake--though not together. It was fun. And they have a cute and pretty spacious house.
Sunday we headed to the city to have brunch with Dad and Hilda. We enjoyed gospel brunch at 1300 on Filmore, which is the restaurant my dad is doing his externship at. The food was so amazing. Wow, it was good. Curt had a sandwich and the chips it came with my dad had prepared a day or two before.
The rest of Sunday I was pretty lazy. I did start up my knitting again. I gotta start crankin' out my troop hats again.
This morning I hit the gym and then the grocery. After that a little lounging. And then worked on my iPhone app reviews. Two I had just a few things to tweak and adjust. I also wrote a third review. I worked on it for what seemed like hours. I gave myself a break--as I have a lot of editing (aka hacking at it) to do.
I also worked on some more knitting. I finished one hat (one that I started while in Europe) and started another one. Many more to go.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Apparently I am a jerk ...

I ran a couple of errands on my lunch break today. First I went to CVS. Picked a few things up. There were two sets of lines and, of course, I always get in the slow line.
After that I walked over to the bank to get some cash out of the ATM. At this particular BofA there are three ATMs. There is one kinda on it's own and then two right next to each other. I was in the mind set of two lines. I thought one line was for the two and the other line was for the one. I was in the single line. There was one guy in front of me. As soon as he was done I walked up to the machine and started punching keys and buttons. Soon after that I heard one of the people in the "other" line make a snarky comment to the effect, She didn't hesitate. Then it occurred to me that I took cuts in front of two people. Woops. I felt like an idiot. So I just pretended like I didn't know. But if the two people I cut in front of happen to read my blog ... I am sorry I took cuts in front of you at the BofA ATM line on San Pablo around noon today.
Once I got back to my car I was driving around the parking lot. A car started to pull out and I didn't have time to stop. I honked. The kept going and I just kept honking. Oh geez!
Today when I got home from work there was a jerk parked into part of our driveway. (This is starting to happen too often.) There was enough space on the other side that I could maneuver around and kinda drive up over the curb.
Soon after I got home Curt and I headed to McNally's. I saw that there were actually people in the car. I think if I would have known that I might have laid it on the horn. I gotta keep on my roll, ya know.
There was someone blocking our driveway a few months ago when I came home from work/gym. I went online and found a number to call. Soon after that an Oakland cop showed up. We had the option to ticket or tow. We went with the ticket and we would tow if the car was still there the next morning.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Excitement swirling in all directions

I can't really think of anything exciting to talk about.
Work has been busy, been hitting the gym every day and gotten control of better eating habits this week.
I have been catching up on my shows: Grey's, Army Wives, etc.
So I have to say that Army Wives is a really good show. The relationships, hardships, issues, etc. are pretty real. I think one of the best things about the show is that there really aren't any politics involved. I was thinking about that when watching an episode last night. And really there aren't liberal or conservative slants. I find that really refreshing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing on to do list was completed

On Thursday our friend Jen and her friend Melinda came into town. They stayed with us while visiting the city. Those two had a list of 27 items and I think they crossed a good majority off the list, which I was impressed with.
Thursday night we hit Pizzaiola. We got there about 7:30 and they had at least an hour wait. So we left our names and headed to The Trappist for a drink--an awesome Belgian beer bar in downtown Oakland. Then back to Pizzaiola. They had some crazy pizza--but man, it was so good.
Saturday morning I hit the gym, then ran a few errands, including taking Joey to the groomer, which he wasn't happy about. After that I met my friend Jennifer for lunch in our hood. It was a good visit.
That evening we took them to Sushiya for awesome sushi. It was a delicious dinner.
Sunday morning we headed to the Thai Buddhist Temple for early lunch. After that we headed up to the Marin Headlands for a glorious view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then back to the hood. We headed to McNally's to meet a friend of Jen's for drinks. McNally's has the best Bloody Mary's.
After drinks to Market Hall to get some supplies for dinner: fresh raviolis. So yummy. We had a bunch of appetizers--mostly stuff that was in the fridge and needed to be eaten. We had bread, cheese, crackers, salami, grapes, etc. Then we cooked the raviolis, which were so good!
Last night I drove Jen and Melinda to the Amtrak station. The got home to bed late this morning.
We enjoyed hosting you, ladies. You are welcome back anytime.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finally posted vacation pictures

OK, vacation photos are now posted on Shutterfly and Facebook and captions are written. That took me much longer than I thought. No wonder I procrastinate.

Click here for London vacation photos on Shutterfly.

Good weekend. Got almost everything done on my to do list--but not quite all. Slowly getting there.
Today we put in our garden. Three tomato plants, 4 peppers, squash, herbs and flowers. We left some space in the garden plot of our upstairs neighbor's daughter. She wanted to plant some seeds. And we noticed when we got home from dinner that she had. We hit Sushiya for dinner tonight. Hadn't been there in some time. Dinner was delicious ... like always.
This past week at work was super busy. I am still playing catch up with new projects getting piled on top. At least I am busy, right? Though 12-hour days suck. Hope to not work those kind of crazy hours this week.
I can't believe it is already a little after 9. I still have to get ready for my day tomorrow: get clothes together for work and my gym bag ready for spin.
Good night!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thought I found the cure for jet leg ...

Which is to:

  • Work 12 1/2 hours on your first day back at work
  • Get home about 8:30 p.m.
  • Eat a meat and cheese (cheese from Holland) plate prepared by your husband
  • Drink about two glasses of wine
  • Catch up on shows on the DVR with the Husband
  • Pass out on the couch during the Part 8 of The Pacific
  • Wake up to watch the end of Part 8
  • Get in bed about 11 p.m.
  • Have alarm set for 6:20

So I really thought I would sleep until my alarm went off. I felt like I woke up every hour. But I did fall back asleep rather quickly. But once I woke up at 5 I could never get back to sleep. So 5:45 I gave up and started to get ready for work. The good thing for my readers is I can write a post before heading to work. I mean, how great is that?

Not that the past few days have been that exciting. But here is the rundown: Our flight out of Amsterdam left three hours late. We had to fly way north of the volcano, over Greenland. We missed our connecting flight in Chicago. But were rebooked for an 8 p.m. flight out of Chicago to SFO. We went through passport, customs and got our luggage and then rechecked and got our new boarding passes. Then through security and close to our gate. We found a place that had pretty good carved sandwiches. I had one beer. While we were waiting to board our flight I started to feel delirious and kinda passed out on the chairs. I don't think that beer helped with my tiredness. Curt and I both zonked out on the flight home. We landed about 11 p.m. and got to our house about midnight.
Sunday morning for some reason I was awake at 4 or 4:30. So I just watched TV and napped throughout the day.
I took Monday off from work. Woke up about 4 again. Watched TV, ran errands, went to the gym, got lots of stuff checked off my to do list. (Though not everything.)
Mom and Fred flew home Monday. They had to spend the night in Denver. But got home late morning Tuesday. Ed and Marilyn flew home Tuesday and had to spend the night in Chicago. They will arrive home sometime today.
So really the little extra travel was the biggest glitch we all had. And I am glad it happened at the end of the trip instead of the beginning. Though when you are ready to come home, you just want to come home.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Last day in Amsterdam

(Written Friday night about 10 Amsterdam time)

Tonight is our last night of vacation. Siiiggghh.
Yesterday (Thursday) Mom and Fred took off for Nice. Curt and I had a lazy morning and then we headed toward the train station to meet our friend Rebecca (she and her husband, Cyrus, are living in Germany right now).
Before heading to the parents' boat we hit the Old Sailor for a drink. Had to introduce the Bex to our favorite bar in Amsterdam. She would be staying at the parents' boat that night since Mom and Fred had vacated and we had space. Then the five of us headed out and had a yummy lunch. After lunch we headed to the Anne Frank Huis. Curt and I had been there before so we decided to skip, but the others went on the tour--which is very moving, if you get a chance. Curt and I headed to a cafe for some people watching, sun soaking and beer. I have to say those Dutch can rides their bicycles. I witnessed many women in skirts, boots, having a big purse hanging off a shoulder and a conversation on a cell phone.
At that point us "kids" took off and the parents did their own thing. We stopped for a snack of honker waffles while walking around. They were yummy. Then to our other regular bar for some football watching, beer/cider drinking and watching the working girls outside our window.
Eventually back to the parents' boat to get the extra key and then out to dinner. We had yet another delicious dinner. After that Becky headed back to her boat and we headed back to ours.
Curt dropped by the boat a little before noon today to swing by and get Becky. They came back to our boat. (Ed and Marilyn headed to Switzerland today.) We had a light lunch of salami, cheese and bread (and wine left in the boat) that Curt had bought the other day at the grocery. After that we headed out ... yup, to the Old Sailor. It was pretty busy so we just stayed for a drink. Then Becky and I visited the Rembrandt House--which was pretty cool. We met up with Curt again and headed out for coffee and then hit a few more bars. We just did a lot of hanging out and uh, drinking. :)
Eventually we walked Becky to the train station. She was couch surfing tonight and was heading out to meet her host. (Our boat didn't have enough space for her to bunk.)
Curt and I then headed out for an appetizer and then dinner. Most cafes were packed. It is a Friday night. We ended up at a sushi place, which was pretty good, but, of course, no Sushiya.
Then back home for packing, showering and winding down ...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Amsterdam update(s)

(Written about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5)

Not sure when I am actually going to be able to publish this post ... so it may get long ...
We arrived in Amsterdam on Monday afternoon. We all stored our luggage in lockers and headed into to the city. We stopped at the Old Sailor pub for a beer ... soon after that Curt headed out to our houseboat to meet the owner's friend for the key and basic instructions of the boat we rented. Eventually we all headed out to mine and Curt's boat to look around and then to the parents' boat. After that back to the train station to pick up our luggage.
It was super windy that day. So cold I felt chilled to the bone. Once Curt and I were settled we headed to a cafe nearby. Curt had pasta of the day and I ordered the burger. When I ordered it the server kinda smirked at me. I know why. That thing was freaking huge. But you better believe I ate that whole thing. My burger had a fried egg on it. It was a little rawer than I prefer--but man, it was good! Every order at that cafe (besides pasta) comes with a side of fries and mayo. Fries and mayo are good. Don't knock it until you try it!
Tuesday morning we met the parents near the train station and all headed off to Keukenof. The tulips and other flower were pretty amazing. Keukenof was pretty much the reason Marilyn came on this trip. She was so happy when she arrived ... it warmed my heart. We saw some amazing flowers ... but man, it was cold. Luckily we had no rain. But it was windy and cold. That was the only negative ... the weather could have been better.
Once back Curt and I headed out for "second lunch." We had a small lunch while at the gardens.
There was a visit to the Old Sailor and, of course, a nap after that. Later out to dinner to the same cafe as the night before when Curt had chicken and I had some delicious fondue. And after that a visit to a bar showing football. We met a Scottish fellow named Roddy. He kept buying us beer. He was a riot and we had a great time. He was impressed with Curt's knowledge of football--esp. being an American.
This morning we had absolutely no obligations. So we slept in. Eventually we headed out. Eventually lunch at an Irish pub (we tried somewhere else first and pretty much got no service so we left). I had a cheese and meat plate and Curt had a bacon sandwich ... and it was just that white toasted bread and bacon. Then, of course, another visit to the Old Sailor. After that back home for a nap. Then we ventured out to meet the parents for dinner. We headed to an Indonesian restaurant for "rice tauffel." The food was amazing and the experience was great. It was a wonderful dinner ... and our last one as all six of us. Mom and Fred head to Nice tomorrow.
After dinner Curt and I headed back to the pub from last night to watch more football. We had only been there 20 minutes or so and Roddy showed up. We were surprised to see him since he is a flight attendant for BA and was supposed to fly home today--but the ash cloud changed that. He hopes to be flying home tomorrow. (He also needs to vote.) We had a great time visiting with him again. He flies to San Francisco sometimes so we plan to meet up with him. We also have an invite to Scotland ... and we are seriously thinking of taking him up, esp. since there is some sort of football promise involved.
Tomorrow our friend Rebecca arrives from Germany to visit with us before we head home.
Time for bed. (Have had numerous glasses of wine and 3 beers. Sleepy time.)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Updating on the Thalys train with free wifi

Now this is the way to travel ...
We are sitting on the train in first class with our coffee and tea and sandwiches. The parents are loving this. I have to say train travel in Europe is so amazing. I wish we had train travel like this in the US.
Last night we met the parents about 7 for dinner. We headed out to a restaurant on our street and it was closed. No big deal--there's like 20 more ... So we went to the one right next store called Tribeca. The food was absolutely amazing. Everything that we all ordered we loved. I had a shell pasta I had never had before: Lumache. We shared two bottles of wine. The dinner experience was a great time.
After dinner we strolled over to watch the Eiffel Tower light up. It had been raining on and off throughout the day. We felt lucky that it stopped for our stroll. We were able to take a few more pics and then head back to the hotel.
I showered and packed and got in bed.
Then this morning we all met up to head to the train station.
This fancy train even has outlets. So I am charging while typing. Pretty cool.
Now we are on our way to Amsterdam.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Last day in Paris

Today is our last day in Paris. Tomorrow we head to Amsterdam via train.
After a nap and rest in the room yesterday Curt and I headed out in the early evening to Montmartre. It was a cool and busy neighborhood. We walked around for a bit. Then we found a cafe to have a seat. We each ordered a big beer. And then decided to order a snack--cheese and meat plate. It was delicious. It ended up filling us up and we didn't need any dinner later. (We hit that cafe in time because soon after it started to pour rain.)
Eventually the rain stopped and we continued walking. We walked up to Sacred Heart. Beautiful building and pretty good view of the city from up there. It was so busy up there. Lots and lots of people.
Today met the parents for breakfast and then headed out to Ste. Chapelle again. The stained glass in that place was magnificent.
Afterward we all split up. Mom and Fred went out walking to some neighborhoods and garden. Curt and Marilyn went to some museums. And Ed and I headed out to visit the Arc de Triomphe and walk around Champ-Esyslees. We stopped at a cafe for a drink. Then a little more walking and then back to Rue Cler for lunch. We Skyped with the niece/nephews/grandchildren when we met back up with Curt and Marilyn. Then Curt and I came back to our room for a little relaxing. Shortly we are meeting the parents for our last dinner in Paris. After that I hope to get one more night view of the Eiffel Tower.
Not sure what our Internet access will be while in Amsterdam since we will be staying on canal boats. But will update as I can.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Why stereotypes exist

(Written about 4 p.m. Friday Paris time)

This is a long update, be prepared ... (Finally posting this ...)
We (Mom, Fred, Curt and I) arrived in Paris on Wednesday in the afternoon. We took the Eurostar from London to Paris via the Chunnel.
We checked into our hotel and then took a stroll. We are about a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. We relaxed in the grass and looked at the magnificent view. The we headed back to our street, Rue Cler, and looked for a cafe for dinner.
My bother, John, wasn't able to come on this trip. So his gift to mom was a dinner in Paris for her and friend. So the first meal in Paris was on John. We had wine and beer and good food. It was a wonderful and delicious dinner.
After dinner Curt and I came back to our room for a little rest and then headed out for a show, Nada Surf. It was a pretty good show and we enjoyed the area.
Thursday morning Curt got up early and headed to the airport to meet his parents who flew in that morning.
Mom, Fred and I headed to Versailles. We got on a rather crowded train. We climbed into two seats over two guys who didn't bother to to scoot to let us in. As I was getting to my seat I kinda feel over on Mom. She kinda pushed me into my seat and I said, Sorry! Then the guy sitting next to Mom started yelling at me because apparently I stepped on his foot and he was wearing sandals. I told him I was sorry. He said, you say sorry to your family but not to me. And he went on. I eventually just gave up. I really wanted to call him a French a-hole and tell him that maybe next time he shouldn't wear sandals on a crowded train and he is the reason why rude French stereotypes exist. But I didn't. The guy sitting next to me rolled his eyes and shook his head. As he left the train he said goodbye. (The sandal dude was the only bad experience I have had with the people here. Most people are kind and helpful. Even when you can't speak their language.)
We arrived at Versailles with no problem, bought our tickets right away and were in pretty quick. The palace was pretty magnificent. We walked around the palace for about two hours, looking at the amazing paintings, rooms and ceilings. About noon the three of us met for lunch and we had a nice lunch at a cafe.
After lunch a tour of the gardens. We took a little shuttle that drives you around the gardens and stops if you want to get out and walk around. We did at one stop. We toured an area that Marie-Antoinette had built. THere were cute little houses and an area with lots of animals--chickens, rabbits, sheep, horses, cows, etc. We had the shuttle drop us off near this amazing pool of water and we took a little break and just looked at the view for a bit. Then we headed back toward the palace and on to the train station.
Once on the train I texted Curt that we were on our way back. He told me that he and his parents had been walking around and would head back toward our street and either be at a hotel or at a particular cafe. Once we got back we decided to chance it and check the cafe ... and they were there. So we had a good visit and meal. (Ed and Marilyn got in about 7 a.m. and Curt had them busy walking around to keep them going until at least about 8 p.m. So I am sure they were delirious at that point.)
After dinner we walked back toward the Eiffel Tower. Curt, Ed and Marilyn had visited the tower while we were at Versailles. So Mom, Fred and I decided to visit it Thursday evening. Mom wasn't sure if she could go all the way to the top. From the time we got in line to the time we were at the top was less than an hour. (That's pretty quick.) There are three levels of the tower. When you first go up in the elevator you go directly to the second level. We got off there and Mom was so excited. She was so happy to be there. I was so happy that Curt and I were able to make that possible for her that I got rather emotional and started crying. After we took a few pics she said, OK, let's go to the top. I was surprised and impressed. So we got in line for the elevator to the top level. We walked around, ooohed and aaahhed, took some pics. Then we saw people with champagne. So Mom bought the three of us champagne and we sipped it while looking at the amazing view.
Eventually we started to head back down. We took the elevator to the first level and did a little shopping at the gift shop. By the time we got out of the Eiffel Tower it was almost dark and the tower was lit up. It was absolutely gorgeous. And luckily our new camera took some pretty awesome pictures of the tower at night.
This morning the group met up and headed out for breakfast--which was an interesting experience with out server only speaking French. Curt came to breakfast later. I found it funny that I was looked at for guidance for how to say things. I said, my French is just as good as yours. :)
After breakfast on to the Louvre. We spent about an hour and a half or so looking around. We went to the Mona Lisa first. And we were able to take pictures. Last time I visited (four years ago) they wouldn't let us take any pictures. People were told not to use their flashes--but apparently people don't care about preserving art for others.
After the Louvre lunch at a cafe, which, of course, was another tres bien meal. After lunch we kinda went our own ways. I didn't sleep well last night so I needed a nap. So Curt and I came back to our room. Curt did a little wandering around. And now we are just relaxing in our room and trying to figure out where we want to eat dinner.

Beautiful sights, good food, good drink=Paris

This morning we met the parents for breakfast before heading out for the day.
After breakfast we tried to hit St. Chappelle. But they were closed for a concert. So we went to Notre Dame, which is beautiful and majestic. You could take pictures but without a flash. And guess what most people were doing? The thing is that flash is not gonna help. It is so annoying how people don't pay attention to rules like that. We just recently got a new Canon point and shoot. It takes greats pictures, has a much bigger screen and takes pretty decent pics without a flash.
After Notre Dame we walked around, had a beer/coffee at a cafe and then ventured around the Latin Quarter. Then we all had lunch at this amazing crepe place. I had a blue cheese, walnut cheese buckwheat crepe. It was quite rich, but delicious. I also had a little pitcher of hard cider. Mmmmm.
Then a little more walking around. And then Curt and I came back to the hotel for a little rest and to fill out some postcards. Our hotel room faces the street ... so right now I can hear all the bustlings outside. Love it.
Curt and I are venturing out in a little bit to do some exploring. I am sure we will end up somewhere wonderful for dinner.
Still working from Curt's laptop--so at some point will post my first Paris post ... later.