Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking of You

Every once in a while, I think he's still here.  I can't remember him leaving, so he must still be here, right? 

Sometimes, I see things in a store that I would like to buy for him.  Cookies.  Golf tees.  Suspenders.  Great sweaters. 

Every few months I find myself sitting in traffic on the freeway, and I'll talk to him as if he's right next to me and can hear me.  This seems to be the most odd thing I do because in reality he was deaf and he wouldn't have been able to hear me. 

I've had quite a few of those moments lately.  I don't know why, but he's on my mind a lot these days. 

I miss him, we all miss him.  Just look at that genuine smile that my Gramma has on her face.  That's not staged.  That's no lie.  There's no pose.  I can't be sure, but I'm fairly certain that he whispered into her ear right before someone took this picture.  I imagine he told her how much he loved her. 

He passed over 8 years ago, but sometimes I can't remember him leaving. 

You know that song, "Johnny and June?"  (If you don't know it, look it up.) 

Well, I change the words when I sing along to it in my car.  I sing, "I wanna love like Don and Lou."  Sheesh, I'm a sap.  Part of me cannot believe I'm going to admit to that, but the other part of me doesn't care. 

Love happy! 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm feeling wacky, with a side of nostalgia!

I thought I'd throw something "old school" at you today. 

So here it is.  One picture. 

Prom, 2001.  Four out of the 5 Princesses.  Remija, Desiree, Danielle, and myself.  Wow.  We look like little kids, it's so crazy! 

What's your nostalgia like?  Do you look through old photos like this? 

Reminisce happy! 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

San Fransisco: The Wandering Wanderers

Like I said in an earlier post, Big Mike and I made no concrete plans for our trip to San Fransisco. 

Instead we wandered the city. 

I've compiled a few photos to help illustrate what I mean when I say "we wandered." 

The largest Nordstrom that I've ever been in.  My mom and I call it the mothership.  Some people want to die in their sleep, I want to die inside of that Nordstrom.  At least I'll go happy! 

The infamous San Fransisco Cable Car.  It was the easiest way for us to get from our hotel up to Fisherman's Wharf and that area.

The Orpheum Theatre.  I love old buildings.  I love restored old buildings.  It was beautiful.

The Civic Center view, from the other side.  Our hotel was to the west of it.  This picture was taken from the east of it.

United Nations Plaza.  Mike really looked cool in the reflection of this series of monuments.

Arms.  I fell in love with these arms. 

This was a random sign on a random bar that we saw while sitting on the Cable Car.  It made me chuckle.  Sorry Cubs fans. 

Our view from our table at lunch.  We were dining at:

Aliotto's!!!  Great clam chowder.  It's amazing in a bread bowl.  By the way, if you're going to order soup in a bread bowl, our server informed us that she things patrons are wierd if they don't eat the bread.

Believe me, I ate the bread.  I at the bread gone.

Gosh darn it, I love this guy.  He doesn't even know how much I love him. 

The view from just outside of Ghiradelli Square. 

If you turn around and put your back towards the water, this is what greets you! 

The Buena Vista.  Go there.  Trust me.  Order the Blue Burger (if you like blue cheese) and an Irish Coffee.  On second thought, order 4 Irish Coffees.  You can thank me later. 

Note the bottom: The Original Chocolate Shop.  This is because there are about 4 different chocolate shops inside of Ghiradelli Square.  This, this one is the original.  Accept no subsitutions.

We had a 10% off coupon for the shop insde of Ghiradelli Square.  Not that I needed an excuse to eat ice cream and chocolate, but I used the coupon and I was pretty sure that they made it fat free for me too. 

And I'll leave you with this.  When you tell Big Mike to look up towards the street light so that you can take a cute picture, beware that you might end up with this. 

Note, I'm wearing a turtle neck sweater.  I had to pack it back away when we got home and had temperatures over 100 degrees. 

Travel happy! 


Monday, September 27, 2010

San Fransisco: THE BIG GAME!

Sorry I teased you yesterday, but I took way too many pictures at the game to cram them all into one big blog.  This needs to be savored! 

So now, I'd like to share with you my most amazing football memory as of this moment in my life: this game was amazing. 

It started off with a Saints kick off, but on the third play of the 49ers drive it would appear that the center mistakenly thought they were punting.  This resulted in the 49ers losing the ball behind the end zone and a 2 point safety for the Saints. 

A safety is a rare thing.  A safety in the NFL as a result of a center losing count of the downs is even more rare.  That poor guy may never live that down. 

Next up the Saints took the field.  In a few short plays, Reggie Bush put the first of a couple of touchdowns on the board for the Saints.

Then, something happened that distracted me.  I have to stop here and tell you that I have friends that are Chargers fans, Cowboys fans, Giants fans, Texans fans, and Raiders fans.  No matter who you cheer for every week, chances are you grew up knowing the next two names:  Jerry Rice and Steve Young. 

Well, this is for you. 

Sorry that picture is sort of blurry, but you can blame it on the Bud Light. 

After Jerry Rice took the field at the end of the second quarter, I realized that this was going to be one of those moments that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.  This man is a legend, and someday I'll be able to tell someone "Hey, I was at Candlestick Park the day that they retired Jerry Rice's jersey.

Here, the stadium put together a card trick with the number 80.  It was pretty enormous when I started to think about it. 

So then I was sitting there, enjoying my life and taking creative shots of people in 49ers gear around me when this happened:

Then he walked in front of me. 

I die. 

Alright people, Steve Young showed up to watch the 49ers retire Jerry Rice's jersey.  Tears filled my eyes.

It's really good to know that after all these years, these guys are still friends.  Or, at least friends enough to show up when their team retires a jersey. 

So after I got my stuff back together, stopped sniffling, and sipped my beer, the game started back up again.  I didn't take a lot of pictures after this, but at one moment I decided that I was going to snap a few more action shots. 

At the moment I decided to do this, Jeremy Shockey lined up on my side of the field. 

Then he took off running down the field and scooted past the 49ers defense. 

Then he caught the ball and turned around and scooted down the field even more! 

I cannot believe I caught that on camera. 

Then, this little girl stole my heart.  She loved to bop me on the head with those foam fingers, and you know what?  I told her she could keep on doing it! 

I thought she was adorable, so I asked Big Mike if we could have one like her.  His response? 

"A 49ers fan?  Sure.  We can have tons of them!

I was thinking of kids.  He was thinking of a footbal team.  Typical. 

Then this happened. 

You read that correctly.  The 49ers scored a 2 point conversion.  The game was tied.  There was 2 seconds on the clock. 

Big Mike put on his I'm concentrating face.

But alas, the Saints kicked a field goal and won the game.  Big Mike was heartbroken.  I couldn't even gloat.  I didn't have the heart to even say so much as "Yay."  Man, it was miserable.  Your team wins, but you can't even enjoy it. 

Then we got back on the 77X bus and headed back to our hotel before we decided we were hungry and headed off to find food. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

San Fransisco: THE BIG (PRE) GAME!

I must warn you, this was the entire reason that Big Mike and I planned this trip.  We bought the tickets for this game and got the hotel thrown in as a package.  We had no other plans except to go to this game. 

San Fransisco 49ers versus New Orleans Saints

We were a bit early for the game so we grabbed a couple of beers and headed down to check out our seats. 


Fourth row. 

I'm still baffled.  I could have sworn that only really rich people and important people got to sit in the first 10 rows.  I'm neither rich, nor important.

So there we are.  In the 49ers endzone.  Four rows from the field.  In front of us, a few of the San Fransisco guys are warming up.  To our left, the pre grame show is being recorded. 

Wait, what? 

Thta's right, the pre game show was being recorded right in front of us and to the left a little bit. 

Then, Mr. "I'm turning in my Heisman trophy" took the field. 

Ladies and gentlmen, Reggie Bush. 

It's at this moment that I should warn you that although I'm a Saints fan, I have never and will never be a Trojans fan.  It pains me to cheer on Reggie Bush, but it's the sacrifice I make for the WHO DAT nation. 

The next man I'm going to show you a picture of is my favorite player.  I was extremely sad a few years ago to see New York "throw him away" after their win at the Super Bowl, but I was extremely happy to see New Orleans pick him up.  He could quite possiblybe my favorite NFL player at the moment, and I've followed his career quite a bit over the past several years. 

I should probably mention, he's sort of a babe.  Well, at least I think he is. 

For those of you that don't watch football, may I introduce, Jeremy Shockey. 

Then the Saints took the field, and they huddled up and they jumped around and everyone yelled "BOO" really loud because we were sitting with 49ers fans. 

But then something amazing happened. 

The team lined up to stretch. 

Jeremy Shockey lined up in front of me. 

I mean, in front of me

I die. 

I didn't take any photos of him bending over with his butt towards me, but I definitely wanted to.  Man, I'm such a goof ball.  If Big Mike hadn't been sitting right next to me, I might have.  But, at the moment I had more respect for Big Mike and Jeremy Shockey's butt.  So I didn't snap the photo.  Don't think I didn't think about it, though.  

Then, the Saints warmed up in front of me.  Man, I could get used to this! 

So next up, may I introduce you to Drew Brees.  Aside from being an all-around great guy, he happens to be an amazing quarterback! 

Next up, head coach, Sean Payton.  Sorry for the bad shot, but he either had his back to me or he was giving me the profile as he watched his team warm up. 

I learned something at this game:  Porfessional football games are larger in both budget and theatrics than any high school or chollege football game that I've ever seen. 

This should come at no surprise, but I was still in awe by the fireworks, the flags, and even the National Anthem. 

Here's the 49ers entrance:

Next up, Jerry Rice entered the stadium.  I'll tell you why he was there in just a minute. 

And, as if all of this wasn't a big enough treat for Big Mike and I, BoyzIIMen was there to sing the National Anthem. 

I die. 

I cannot even tell you how speechless I was, and this was all before kick-off! 

Coming up next, I'll tell you all about the amazing game! 

Go watch some football everybody, and cheer on your favorite team while you're surrounded by the ones you love. 

Oh, and don't forget to be nice if your loved one's team wins the big game. 

Watch happy! 


Saturday, September 25, 2010

San Fransisco: Hotel Tour (Inn at the Opera)

When BM and I bought our tickets for the football game a few months ago, the seller threw in a 2 night hotel stay at the Inn at the Opera.  Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not getting paid for this review.  I am not affiliated with the Inn at the opera or it's parent company.  I don't know the employees and I didn't recieve any perks for writing this review. 

Now that we're done with that.  Let me tell you about our hotel. 

First of all, it was central.  Located on Fulton between Franklin and Gough, it's location places you smack into the heart of San Fransisco's Civic Center and Opera areas.  You're surrounded by beautiful buildings and amazing architecture.  It's breath taking. 

You're direct neighboring building is the home of the San Fransisco Ballet Compnay, which even though it isn't an immense or beautiful building, I had to admit that it was still impressive. 

Just accross the street from that is the War Memorial.  It may not appear to be much at first glance, but let me assure you that a peaceful stroll through this garden while enjoying the views of the Civic Center in the background is incredibly relaxing and very welcomed during our stay. 

The hotel is just about 2 blocks from Van Ness, which happens to be a major street in San Fransisco.  Catching the number 47 or 49 bus on Van Ness will take you to Ghiradelli Square very easily, and that's a short walk away from the Cannery and Fisherman's Wharf.  If you would like to ride a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf instead, you will find yourself walking east through the city's colorful streets to Powell and Market.  (My cable car experiences must be shared in a separate post because they're so infinitely cool and distracting!)

So when we arrived at the hotel, we were greated by one concierge behind the counter as well as a very friendly manager.  Both were curious as to why were were visiting San Fransisco and had excellent insight into some things we might want to try to make our stay a little easier.  Frankly, I had already done my research and prepared our travel arrangements before we arrived, but if I hadn't had this information it's really nice to know that they could have shared it with us. 

We waited a few short minutes for our room to be prepared, and as luck would have it, it was a beautiful and spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite on the 4th floor with a kitchenette.  If any of you are familiar with San Fransisco hotels, you know that this is rare.  We took the small, but clean, elevator to the 4th floor and headed down a short hall to our room. 

What awaited us was bliss, pure bliss. 

The entry room to the suite housed a small siting area as well as a kitchenette. 

We had a spacious bedroom with an extremely soft and plush bed. 

There was an open closet, television, and small stereo in the room for our comfort as well as a chaise lounge that we used to plop our bags down on.  It was here that I discovered that the rate for the room that we were staying in was $450 per night.  Wow.  I don't think I would ever pay that much for a hotel, thank goodness this was part of a package! 

A quick right turn found you in the main bathroom, which was quite larger than any bathroom I could have expected. 

In the room just to the right of the entry room, we found a pull out couch with an additional closet and ammenities. 

A short walk down the hallway would find you in the second large and spacious bathroom of the suite. 

We didn't expect the additional bedroom and bathroom at all, and I immediately had to email the gentelman that we purchased the tickets from to thank him for choosing such an amazing hotel. 

My favorite part about the second bathroom (other than allowing me to do my hair while Mike showered) was that just outside the window was an adorable little community garden!  I loved the idea of a community garden.  I loved the adorable little apartment windows that peeked over onto it. 

I know what you're thinking. 

It's no Ritz Carlton. 

It's no Waldorf Astoria. 

Well, bite me

The room was very neatly kept.  The entire hotel appeared to have undergone a recent rennovation.  Every wall or empty space housed a piece of artwork or something pretty to look at.  There was plenty of seating in the room as well as the common areas, and to top it all off there was a free continental breakfast every morning from 7am until 10am. 

We never tried it. 

I tried. 

I'll have you know I really tried. 

But vacation sleep wouldn't let me go downstairs that early!  Sorry! 

So there you have it.  That's where we laid our head every night.  That's where we slept, free of alarm clocks and wet little noses to wake us up.  That's where I found the bath tub that I want to replace our single unit shower with. 

Yes, it's true.  I made BM measure it to see if we could fit something like it into our master bathroom at home.  I'm   insane like that. 

If you're ever visiting San Fransisco, look this place up.  It's a gem of a location and the entire staff was friendly and very prompt.  I definitely recommend it, and if I can ever afford it, I would stay there again and again! 

Travel happy!