I am writing from the lobby of our hotel just outside the Grand Canyon. 8 out of 10 people are not speaking English. Which is quite a chore for the frazzled desk clerk. I am beginning to enjoy that WiFi is only available in the hotel lobby... great people watching.
Today we woke early (for me at least) and enjoyed our am/pm finds, individual cereals and bananas. Mom and I had another great swim in the less chlorinated but still intense pool before packing up and hitting the road. Oh, and I dealt with the largest spider I'd seen since Costa Rica. But dealt with, not killed, thank you! I drove from Needles CA, to Kingman AZ.. a remarkably large town in the desert. Filled up the tank and Mom took over driving along Highway 40, which at one time was Route 66, all the way to Williams. There we stopped for lunch and argued endlessly about which direction was North. I credit Dad, he was a Boy Scout. But if he was right the entire city's signage was incorrect. After lunch I drove up north to the Grand Canyon! I bought our annual Parks Pass for the Bubs and I and found our way to a convienent lookout point. Of course the MOMENT we parked the car it starting POURING rain, but Mom and I braved the storm to get me to my first witness of this majestic landmark. Luckily the weather soon passed and we were immersed in the veritable UNICEF card that the park attracts. We took lots of pictures for happy tourists and walked along the South Rim. Amazing lightning storm, I was pretty sure that I was next to get hit though. I am impressed with the Grand Canyon. Its scope is beyond comprehension and the colors are unbelievable. Hopefully tomorrow will allow us a less cloudy view. We returned to Dad who had been taking lovely photos and got someone to take ours. We drove around the park a bit and Mom and I explored some of the lodges in between the "usual for the season" monsoon rains. We even visted the very well taken care of pack mules, much to our delight. Finally the rain made us scamper back to the car and out of the park to the hotel.
A seemingly fancy hotel, but really so. Mom and I explored the "town" that is really jsut a lot of hotels and souvenier shops. We all tried to go swimming but it was difficult to dodge the 10 French children playing about and we retired to the hot tub shortly with a family from Virginia who has been travelling for 33 days, including every site in California. Off to dinner with lots of other travelling families, apparently the gas prices aren't keeping people off the road. We are starting to see lots of other state license plates, and my anxiety increases with each one. We are moving FAR AWAY!!
Tomorrow we are going to try to get in an early morning hike around the canyon before hitting the road. Stage 4 heads through Tuba City, where my mom was trained for the Peace Corps years ago. Then through lots of Indian Country before hopefully ending up somewhere near Alberqueque, New Mexico, tomorrow night. A fairly long day, but no determined destination which will be fun. I'll keep ya posted ;) There is a large Portugese (I am guessing) family who seems to be having trouble with their reservations. Yikes!
Food: Breakfast in bed, compliments of Am/Pm and Mom's coffee making skills. Lunch was a funny Mexican restaurant in the historical district of Williams, AZ, called Pancho McGillicutty's. Pretty good food, incredibly rich though. Good thing we've been swimming! For dinner we passed the rather poor looking hotel restaurant and went instead to "Spaghetti Western" whose clever name was lost on many of the foreigners. We were pretty full still from lunch and all got salads. Cute, mostly Mexican, but some European "cowboys" as waiters. Ours was very friendly, although he nearly made off with our credit card.
Music: Still working on the book on tape. Not too much driving today, but only one disc left on this one. Good stuff!
Fun Fact: The Grand Canyon is 227 miles long, 1 mile deep, and 10 miles across. Also, Arizona doesn't utilize Daylight Savings, so even though we are in Mountain Time, we are the same time as CA still. Except on Navajo reservations apparently..
PICTURES AREN'T UPLOADING: MY APOLOGIES. I WILL TRY TO UPDATE THEM TOMORROW. BUMMMMMER!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Hooray for WiFi in the hotel lobby. Though I do feel akward overhearing some very private conversations of the desk clerks. So I will make this brief!
Today went great, better than could be expected. Up early (well, I didn't sleep much at all) for last minute packing, dog walking, and snack gathering. Off to breakfast at the Budget Cafe (a SLO tradition) and dropped the dog off the moment her "camp" opened up. Then we hit the road. Mom drove all the way to Arwin, CA.. middle of NOWHERE! But we found a cute gas station that brewed Dad a fresh pot of coffee. Love to see the little towns scattered about. I drove through the Mojave desert and all the way through Barstow to Ludlow, where Dad started his shift. We were worried about not reaching Needles in time, but shouldn't have feared, we arrived here (after scoping the "town" for a bit) around 4. Into the lovely, albeit over chlorinated pool for some serious swim action to get the kinks out. It is amazingly hot here. The night time low is supposed to be 84 degrees. Lots of trains carrying cargo and not much else going on. We retreated to our cool rooms after venturing to the Chevron station next door for beer and peanuts and Dad and Mom loved the appropriately middle aged "Something has to Give" movie on tv. We ventured out for dinner and photos. Discussed tomorrow (Grand Canyon!!) and Mom and I "urban adventured" for breakfast supplies. What would you eat if AM/PM was your grocery store of choice?? Fun game, try it sometime.
Planning on a swim tomorrow morning before hitting the road. Stage 2 is an easy 220 miles till the Grand Canyon (I've never seen it!) and then hotel reservations (our only on this trip) at 3pm. So it should be a very easy and relaxed day. Hopefully all our hotels will have WiFi, I love blogging this adventure!
Food: Breakfast at a place where they practically start cooking their orders before my parents get through the door. Lunch was Mike's Roadhouse Cafe, which is interestingly the same chain my Dad met my brother in King City, CA, to swap grandkids. Bad service, but good chilie. Dinner was the China Garden across the street. We were the only group there, Dad got Cashew Shrimp.. hope our stomachs can handle it. Educational though: Trent, Xiang-nian ni!
Music: A rousing sing-along to "My Fair Lady" is always a great way to start a long road trip. Followed up with discs 1-5 of Alexander McCall Smith's fourth installment of the "Number One Lady Detective Agency." This one is called "The Full Cabinet of Life" or something like that. Wonderful Botswanian names and accents, great for distracting you for arid nothingness landscapes!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
The Pre-Stage of the Tour de America. After several days of panicking at random moments (This is my last run to the DeYoung), packing, and eating very well with lots of friends, I finally slid my keys under our apartment door mid morning Wednesday. Easy drive down, a drive I have done a thousand times. I know it like the back of my hand.
Food: same old, same old.. burrito from the taqueria next to the palm reader in Prunedale.
Tunes: Loving Ben Harper, got the new album and started listening to his old stuff again. Repeats of "Gone to Carolina" by James Taylor, which strangely doesn't really make sense at all, lyrically. Warren Zevon, my kryptonite.. brings back all the emotions of leaving my Bubs for Costa Rica. Really just cruel but I can't help it. Tom Petty's "Wildflowers" if you ever need a boost, imagine he is singing this one directly to you.
So hopefully I will keep this up as our crosscountry endeavor begins. There should be about 8 stages, if all goes well. Stage One is tomorrow, SLO to Needles. The car is packed, tuned up, and spotles.. everyone wish us luck!
Friday, July 21, 2006
Last night the Bubs and I were lucky enough to score jobs working the Pepsi Jazz party. They were releasing a new line of fancy dancy Diet Pepsi's, Black Cherry Vanilla and Strawberries and Creme. Check 'em out, not my favorite thing, but good in cocktails. I scampered on over after work and changed into my favoritest (but never get a chance to wear) black strapless cocktail dress with red tule extending from the knee length skirt and a red ribbon tied high around the waist. Love it, totally on sale at Macy's too.
We met up with the two event planners, in from NY. We helped finish off the gift bags before taking our position as the greeters. Not on the list? Not in my party. Well, not really, T and I are just too kind! We were spoiled rotten by friends bringing us drinks and waiters bringing us yummy treats. Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers kept us entertained as over 200 "demographically appropriate" people and magazine reps milled about. We started handing out gift bags as people began to leave, until people caught sight of us doing so and mobbed the scene. Poor Trent had to dash up stairs and down carrying boxes of bags while I tried to placate the DVF wearing ladies that there were more coming. Awesome gift bags, Bliss Gift Certificates, SF MOMA coasters, lots of Pepsi Jazz, a t-shirt, and W hotel coupons. Luckily there was perfectly enough for everyone.
We had to "encourage" people to leave the French themed rooftop party and then helped clean and pack up the party. The girls were doing these events in several states, off to Austin, TX, next! We got some more goodies, our $100 each for working, and even a huge beautiful bouquet that was just going to go to waste. Poor Trent had to carry the mammoth bunch of fragrant lillies, white roses, magnolia and fig branches. The Giants game was just getting out, but luckily we found a taxi pretty easily and made it home with all our riches easily. Such a fun, glamourous, evening. Everyone was ooohing and awwwing over my dress (I didn't say it was on sale from Macy's...) and it was nice to be out among 'em, especially while making some money! Hope we can find some gigs like that on the East coast!
Today is my last day at UCSF. It is very bittersweet. Yesterday my lovely coworkers threw me a going away party with lemon cake (my favorite!). The entire pathology department came and wished me well and warned me of alligators. My best boss in the whole world gave me a beautiful redwood platter that was turned on a lathe. We said our goodbyes yesterday, as he usually is in Sacramento on Friday's. I was totally not ready to say goodbye yet. I cannot even describe how lucky I am that a year ago he ignored me when I said I was wholly unqualified for this job, and took a chance on me anyways. It has changed the future of my career in SO many ways and opened up a thousand doors that never would have been there for me before (no offense plant biochemistry). I am writing him one serious thank you letter, and will honestly keep in touch.
Immediately after all this good cheer, I was rethinking the whole decision. Then I got the call from the morgue. One last adventure.. and possibly the grossest one ever. It was kismet to help me realize that this move is definitely a wonderful thing. Thank you UCSF for a wonderful year, but I am done with those stinky tracheas for a while!
Check out this article about the legalization of cohabitation in North Carolina. Good thing, we'd hate to be lawbreakers. I am so excited about our upcoming move. It is so seldom in life you get the opportunity to try something absolutely new, and I am thrilled (and willing to break some laws) that my best friend and adventure mate is coming along for the ride! Say what you will about the "South," I am gonna have the time of my life!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Today my awesome boss took the lab to Blowfish Sushi for my going away lunch. I've always wanted to try it out, and now that time is slipping away quick, I was thrilled when I heard he chose this place. He went to Japan a few years ago as a guest lecturer and has been hooked on sushi ever since. This place was awesome. We totally beat the lunch crowd and all got bento boxes with various assorted sushi and sashimi. I had this bincyo tataki which was super rare albacore tuna in a garlic ponzu.. oh my goodness, it was like butter! And I've eaten a lot of raw fish in my days. They also have really good flavored lemonades, mine was mint ginger. Perfectly refreshing on warm days like this. It's rough leaving, but it sure means lots of good food. I even think the pathology department is getting me a cake on Friday! Yummers!
Trent just sent this link to me. You can adopt an olive tree in Italy and they will send you the freshly pressed oil when it is ready. What a cute idea for a wedding present or housewarming gift. I love the website, so totally eco-geek! Check out the pictures of the various farmers, and the pictures of the groves themselves.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Today I went to a tonselectomy. It was SO nuts!! I got all scrubbed up and walked in right as they were putting the child under. She was quite large and it was a bit sketchy about making sure she could breathe correctly. Finally everything was alright and the surgeon collected a couple nasal biopsies for me. I quickly embedded them and then asked if I could stick around and watch. No one seemed to mind so I got to stay and try to stay out of everyone's way. All I can say is I am glad I had my tonsils out already, if I knew how icky that operation was I dunno if I could do it again. Well, yes I could, because having them out has made everything 200x's better, but man on man, what a crazy day! It is also funny seeing how doctors act and chat while the patient is out.. a great behind the scenes look. I am going to miss my impromptu medical training sessions!!
A bit late, yes, but this week has been crazy at work already!! So for all of those dying to hear.. here we go!
Friday, T had another fun outing with his company. This time they went sailing on the Bay. How jealous am I?? What was supposed to be an easy day for me turned into a hectic one, so I didn't manage to get out until 4. Dashed home, met up with T, loaded the car and hit the road. We made it up to Donner around 9, after a stop in Auburn for dinner. Did you know JimBoy's Tacos actually ran out of food? Strange..
We hung out for a bit in the BEAUTIFUL cabin T's parents rented for the weekend. Absolutely gorgeous. Watched the tour and off to bed. Up early Saturday and on the bikes to get acclimated to the elevation and make sure T's legs were raring to go. After an hour ride or so, we headed back to the house and then T and I went over to the race start station to pick up his packet and browse the vendors. I fell in love with a new Orca sleeveless wetsuit (there goes my buying freeze!) and T and I went for a swim in the lake to try it out. Back home again and everyone napped and relaxed. His aunt and uncle showed up as well as a friend of ours from Hamilton pool who didn't have anywhere to stay. I enjoyed a nice long run before coming back for a big dinner. We watched more Tour and some of the Last Samuri before getting to bed.
Sunday everyone got up REALLY early to get ready for the race. I rode my bike down with T and helped him set up his transition area and get settled. Then I rode back up and drove down with his parents and grandmother. We all got settled at a picnic bench near the swim finish and went and cheered him on as the swim started. It was a beautiful day, no wind and bright sun. He did awesomely on the swim and hopped on the bike after being filmed during his transition. Off on the bike, up and over Donner Summit, down a bit, then back up and over. Quite a lot of climbing, but luckily it is his specialty. Off the bike then off for a run around the lake. What a race! And it was starting to get quite warm. But we were all there cheering, including his cousin from Chico, when he crossed the finish line, way under 3 hours! He ended up coming in 11th out of his age group and 80th or so overall!! Wow. I'll post results when they come in, as well as pictures!
We hung out around the race for a bit, chatting with his teammates and my past teammates from UC Davis. Then back to the house where he showered and passed out. We packed up the car, said our sad goodbyes, and hit the road. I drove to Davis where we dropped of our bikes to be sent over to NC at his parents house, then I went and visited my dear friend Cece Carter. She is such a wonderful lady, we had a lovely chat and enjoyed blueberry truffles.. tres chic. It was about a million degrees in Davis, dunno how we ever survived!! T was more awake after that and took over driving. Back to the coolness of the city to find a parking spot and lots of celebratory video games and beers for my awesome triathlete.
It was a lovely weekend, a great chance to catch up with his family and a very impressive race effort by Trent. Wonder when I will be back there next??
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I know I am all "adult" and such, and probably should be shopping at ShopBop, ShopIntuition or BlueFly (I love the midword capitalizations!). But I am just totally overwhelmed!! Too many options, too many chances to make horribly expensive mistakes while trying to be "fashion forward." That is why I love me some American Eagle. Yes, I know I should technically have outgrown it.. but I love it! Especially when they are having a fabulous summer sale.
1. Green Shorts. I think that pretty much sums up my existance.
2. Cheap, cute, jewelry. Yep, love it.
3. Polos and tees that meet my demanding standards of being probably too long for me. I have a long torso and I hate the bare midriff thing.. it is a challenge!
4. This cute tote. Love the graphic!
It is bad, I could totally wear 92% American Eagle only. Naughty! Except their shoes. Hate their shoes. Blargh. Too bad I am still on my self imposed spending freeze.. I could do some major damage on this sale. Hopefully it will last a few more weeks!
Just look at that shmarm-cicle. I love it! Lack of cable TV has taken my darling Johnathan Anton's weekly drama sessions away, but have no fear... you can always catch up on the latest hot babes and fabulous hair on his blog, video clips, and even the podcast at the Bravo website. Just fantastic.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Two weekends in a row of over the top eating and lazing about, oye vay! So tonight.. yoga at 5:30 with crazy Katie who makes you really work, and then swimming at 7:30 with Rob and Em. Then maybe a Tour recap, if they'll let us crash on their sofa. Emergency measures!!
T and I have been on a definite spending hold (except for very long road trips) in preparation for the upcoming move. I can't believe the state of my finances, I just paid off the smallest credit card bill in ages! But having to furnish a whole new house in Chapel Hill will certainly reverse that. Here are a few things I am dying to buy.. when I can:
1. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. They don't seem to make my old favorite John Frieda version, which was literally salt water and coconut oil, any more. I've heard good things about this stuff though.
2. Diana Pants. Although I've yet to try them on.. I am nearly convinced that these are the perfect requisite khaki's for my new teaching appointment. It's been a long dry spell since I've found any khakis that aren't awful.. let's hope these bad boys are awesome!
3. Anthropologie rugs. Love 'em! And they are "relatively" inexpensive. And actually in stock, unlike a lot of other Anthro nonsense. T likes this one in green, I think this one is fabulous, if not totally outrageous.
4. My plan to beat the Southern heat involves a whole lot of ice tea. And a beautiful pitcher to hold it.
5. Restoration Hardware towels. Have you experienced these terry wonders? Holy moley, they are lovely. And usually $46. Tempted to grab them now while they are on sale, but that defeats the whole plan.. shoot.
6. We are planning on being the most Mac-tastic folks in town. T has a whole line up of minis, moniters, and laptops planned out. I really want this as well. We're such nerds!
This is like .01% of all the stuff we need to buy, but we've decided to not be in a hurry and wait and find great deals and awesome finds. Charitable donations welcome :)
What a busy weekend! I think T and I could be defined by our enthusiasm to get in the car for outrageous amounts of time to visit good friends. Or go to music festivals. Really, any reason for us to be in the car for over 8 hours.. we are down for.
T had his fancy dancy wine tasting bike tour of Healsberg Friday, but luckily I had half the day off and spent it furiously cleaning and doing laundry. He got home around 7 and by 8 we were showered and clean and enjoying the plethora of snacks I prepared for the trip. T drove the first half hour, and then all the sun and wine kicked in and I took over. He konked out and I impressed myself by driving all the way to the Medford, OR. Good tunes, vegi's to snack on, and T looking absolutely adorable passed out were my main sources of motivation to keep going till 2am. Finally I couldn't take it any more and T woke up. We traded but only made it to Eugene before needing to pull over and just sleep for a bit. I guess we aren't as young as we used to be.. T woke up early and got us into Newport, no prob.
We met up with Lobo, Lesley and America at Agate Beach where Lobo was showing us his newly acquired surfing talents. I found tons of starfish to pet, anenomes to poke, and kelp to admire. We all headed back to Lobo's house, just a few blocks from the beach that is generously being provided to him by the UC Davis. We then headed out to the Newport Clam Bake. Such a small town affair, it was marvelous. I had a big helping of clam steamers and we walked around the cute downtown. Finally home, mojitos were in order and we all lay out on the tiny deck behind the house, the only shelter from the wind. T slept the majority of the day, he had a long week and deserved the rest. It was lovely just napping and reading and snacking all day! We all went to the grocery store and bought tons of stuff to bbq and made a delish dinner. Then we all went down to the beach for a bonfire, which was great, but a bit windy and cold. We shivered back up and went to bed.
Sunday, everyone was absoute sleepyheads, so I snuck out for a walk on the beach and cup of coffee from the shop (A very Williams thing to do, no?). My desperate attempt to find a newspaper was foiled so I returned home. We lounged about for a bit before heading to the touristy end of Newport. T's highschool friend Jessie drove down from Portland to hang out with us. The town was very Morro Bay-esque. We had a nice lunch and saw lots and lots of fishing boats and crab pots. We came back home and T, Jessie, and I went on a long walk on the very windy beach before she had to get back home. Dear friend and old college roomie Haley came over for a big old spaghetti dinner. She is in Newport taking some summer classes at OSU that will hopefully turn into a full time Masters program. Quite a change from being in Hawaii for the past year. We watched the Pink Panther and everyone went to bed. I took the time to catch up on the Tour which we had been faithfully watching EVERYDAY. OH man, it is a good one!! So much more drama this year with Lance out, and then all the big names being disqualified the day before. It really is anyone's race!! Anyways, I digress...
Monday we explored Lobo and Haley's campus, getting a tour of his lab and fish tanks, and exploring the vistor's center. T and I went to a talk on "Deep Sea Geology" where T decided to change careers.. mostly because of the cool gear, I think. We got to see a huge Pacific octopus have his crab lunch before heading out to the docks to pick up some crabs for dinner. Fresh off the boat, we opted for the cooked ones though.. A quick stop to the beach for Lobo and Trent to surf some chilllly waves before heading home to make up some corn, salads, and crack and clean the crab. Haley joined us for the crustacean delight. Amazingly good. We cleaned up and packed up and said some tearful goodbyes (honestly, this move is starting to kill me!) before hitting the road. Off to Salem!
We arrived a hour later at awesome amiga Cheleana's new house. She and hubby Ryan are doing awesomely, taking care of 5 year old Shane who is an amazing little artist, and keeping very busy. We stayed up WAY too late catching up and gossiping. Finally got to bed and up late and headed to a leisurely lunch at her mom's restaurant. Everyone was doing well, it was great to see old friends! We hung out till around 1 when we finally, reluctantly, got in the car and started the trek home. A few bits of traffic and a couple scary accidents (not to us, just ones we saw) and we made it home fine. We stopped in Vacaville to get gas and watch a quite impressive fireworks display. It was lovely to get back to our (very clean!) house and back into our own bed.
Quite an adventure, but totally worth it to see old friends. Remember the adage.. "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." And I like my bling!! Thanks to T for putting up with my sudden need to teach him the glories of Bob Dylan, making him listen to Delilah, and laughing at my off key lounge singing. You are my favorite road warrior!