Monday, December 30, 2013

TRAVEL San Francisco: Touristy Things to do in San Francisco

It took me nearly 40 years to get myself some good, quality time in San Francisco.  When I finally got there, I really wanted to do some typical touristy things.  I wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building, I wanted to go to Coit Tower and Ghiridelli Square, and I wanted to see a Redwood tree.  I did all of those things and much, much more!  I still feel like I haven't scratched the surface in SF yet though, and even after a few solid trips to the Bay Area, I'm always thinking about the next visit.

So anyway, I decided to share my favorite tourist attractions in SF. 



Alcatraz - Definitely plan a visit to the notorious "Rock," where you can stand in the prison cells of notorious criminals like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly.  Surrounded by the freezing water of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was believed to be inescapable. Get a ferry from Pier 33 to the island, and visit for either self guided or formal guided tours.  You'll walk up to the prison buildings and tour the cell block, exercise yard and other locations.  Besides being a popular tourist attraction, the island is also a historic site, and is operated by the National Park Service. Tickets during peak season can be hard to get, so plan ahead!

Coit Tower -  to get a bird's-eye view of the city, you'll want to venture to the top of Telegraph Hill, to the Coit Tower.  Built in 1933, some say the 210-foot tower resembles a fire-hose nozzle that stands as a tribute to firefighters.  You can take an elevator all the way to the top, or if you're feeling it, challenge yourself to take the nearly 400 steep steps up and down.

Ferry Building - The Ferry Building marketplace is open all week, and everything you could possibly want to eat will be there.  Amazing coffee, cured meats, burgers, biscuits, fresh seafood galore!  Try some tasty crab at Slanted Door, anything at Boulette’s Larder — it’s hard to go wrong. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you’ll get to experience the famous farmer’s market, which is among the best in the U.S.



Fisherman's Wharf - if you're in search of food, shops, entertainment, and waterfront views, a visit to the Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 is a no-brainer.  Clam chowder in a bread bowl is a must have, or just sit and people watch as street performers of all kinds do their thing, though I've heard people complain that the street performers haven't changed in years. Either way, it's still an entertaining experience.  This is also where you'll find hundreds of lively sea lions on the marina's western docks.



The Golden Gate Bridge - The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the strait between San Francisco and Marin County. The bridge has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and CA, and is one of the most photographed bridges in the world. Its famous red-orange color was chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge.  You can drive, bike or walk over it, and you can pretty much catch a view of it from everywhere in the city.

Muir Woods - one of my very favorite tourist attractions, Muir Woods National Monument was established in 1908 to protect a redwood forest from destruction.  The trees' ages range from 400 to 800 years, their height up to 250 feet.  It is truly a spectacular, awe-inspiring sight.  Flat easy trails loop through the groves, you can make this stop for a quick scenic walk, or hike the numerous trails for a few hours.  Tour buses routinely visit Muir Woods, or you can take a drive and park at the entrance.

Cable Cars - the trolleys operate today as more of a tourist attraction, though many residents say that they actually use them daily.  They're definitely worth the experience. They're a fun, unique ride, running between Market Street and Fisherman's Wharf. A a nice day, prepare to wait for a ride, and to get the best experience, be sure to stand on the running boards!

Lombard Street - located between Hyde and Leavenworth streets, Lombard Street is what's known as the world's "crookedest" street, though it's actually neither the crookedest or steepest in SF.  With eight hairpin turns to reduce the hill's steepness, Lombard Street has a speed limit of 5 mph, and is lined with flowered walkways -- and throngs of picture-snapping tourists. Photo ops are best from the bottom looking up. 

Chinatown - the tourist section of Chinatown is mainly along Grant Avenue, from Bush to Broadway.  There are 24 blocks of crowds, packed densely with shops, markets and restaurants.  Be sure to make a pit stop for some authentic dim-sum.  And don't miss the Golden Gate Cookie Factory, where apparently, every day, two women make over 20,000 fortune cookies by hand. 

What's your favorite tourist attraction in San Francisco?  What have I missed?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

anchorman is my motivation. you stay classy, bloggers.

So I looked at my clock at like 11 something and PROMISED myself that by noon I would get off the computer and stop procrastinating and get shit done!  So far I have been on Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, BuzzFeed... basically everywhere but the places I need to be.

Last night I wrapped about six presents.

I only have 991 left to wrap!  Wahoo!!  Progress!

Seriously.  What is wrong with me?  I am never so sluggish during the holidays!  I cannot get my shit together and make it all happen this year for some reason.  It better all magically come together like some Christmas fucking miracle.  I think it will.  I have faith.  It did snow.  That's a Christmas fucking miracle, right?  Do you think it's rude to say Christmas fucking miracle?

So crap, it's already after noon.  I lied to my own self. It's practically half past noon.  I am shocked.  Shocked!  Where does the time go?!  

And on a completely unrelated note, apparently Phil Robertson made some anti-gay remarks in a GQ article and everyone in social media is having a fit about it and he is being made to take a "break" from Duck Dynasty.  I feel that it needs to be discussed but I just don't have to time to get into it right now.

At least I showered.  Maybe I will go to the mall tonight and go see Anchorman.  That will be very relaxing.  And I could really use some movie popcorn.  Here is the the deal.  If I can wrap 11 presents, I can go to the mall and see Anchorman.  That shit is happening people!  I am doing it!  Wait, if I wrap 11 presents, and order 4 presents, I am going to Anchorman!  Hold on, wrap 11, order 4 and mail 2 packages!  That is the real deal.  And go to the pharmacy.  Because I really need a refill on my prescription.  If I do all of those things, I will reward my good behavior and go see the movie I have been waiting to see all year.

OK.  Now I really do want to go see that movie.  Before I wrap, order and mail though, I better check on movie times... let me just go on Fandango.com...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

really? it's wednesday again?

WTF it's Wednesday again, and here I am!  Blogging like the blogger I am!  Who knew?

I have no business sitting down in front of the computer right now.  I am currently looking at my chalkboard countdown to Christmas, and it's mocking me.  It's like " you do know that it's 7 days til Christmas, dumbass!"  

OK, it doesn't really say dumbass, but I'm sure it means it.  Because the reality is, I have only wrapped about 12 out of 997 presents so far.  And I have not made ONE Christmas cookie.  I have not mailed ONE Christmas card.  I am a massive, horrifying Christmas slacker.

In my defense, my Christmas cards have not yet arrived.  What the heck is taking them so long?!!!  At this rate, I'll be lucky if they get to people before Santa comes to town.  I feel so crappy because Victoria's picture isn't on the cards.  Maybe that makes me a bad host mom :(  The problem was that I had it done and set on Thanksgiving before she came to live with us!  On the plus side, Victoria's Christmas ball came yesterday and she hung it on the tree, so yay!  My status as a decent host mom should hopefully be restored to good standing.

Also in my defense, I am sick!  I have a dumb cold!  I totally blame Ali and her germy family.  Ali had strep throat last week and I took a picture of her germy throat with my phone, because I'm weird like that I guess.  I can't talk, my voice is all hoarse and barky.  I'm all congested and stuff.  So, wah.  It's very hard to want to get out of bed and bake and  wrap and shop til I drop when I am hacking up a lung and feeling generally junky.  Incidentally, isn't it kind of funny when you lose your voice and you have to whisper at people, they whisper back?  I kind of like that...  

And ALSO in my defense, it's snowed!  A lot!  I'm not complaining or anything, because I absolutely love a snowy Christmas season.  I love this time of year, I really really do.  It finally feels like Christmas with snow on the ground and cold, frosty weather, and red rosy cheeks.  I love it.  But.  But, snow means school cancellations and delays.  Which of course means, cramps in my shopping and wrapping style.   How in the heck am I supposed to shop for hours on end in a blizzard with kids at home bouncing around instead of snug at their desks at school?  Sheesh.

So, yeah.  I'm sitting here on the computer.  Procrastinating and looking at awkward cat gifs, bark-laughing by myself like a dummy.  Then, just to balance myself, crying til my nose runs literally to my chin at super sad restore-your-faith-in-humanity dog rescue videos.  Jeez.  Good thing my video cam isn't on or anything.  Nobody needs to see this.

Well.  I guess I should go.  I really have to make a plan of action for what is left of this day.  And I also have to play Candy Crush and Words.  Did I say that out loud?

TRAVEL: What to Bring in Your Carry-on

I'd definitely advocate for traveling with only a carry on, which helps in avoiding the long processing lines you typically wait o while checking a suitcase, and also to avoid the potential hassle of lost luggage.  However, we don't always have that option.  Packing a carry-on bag is a combination of art and science.   Your carry-on bag is the only item guaranteed to get to your final destination with you, so pack the things you'll need during the flight and any essentials that will make dealing with lost luggage easier.


Most airlines allow you to bring one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, and one carry-on bag.  The best way to organize your carry on bag is to separate your needs into three categories: Absolute Needs, Basic Needs and Comfort Needs.

Absolute Needs are, obviously, the things that you absolutely need and could not function without if your luggage was lost in transit.  Tickets and medications are two of the most crucial items to keep in your carry-on.  This includes prescription medicine or medical supplies, travel documents such as drivers license, passports, boarding papers or tickets and confirmation details for flights and accommodations.  A phone charger is also typically a necessity.


For your Basic Needs, it's wise to pack a change of underwear, a simple outfit and something to wear to bed in case your luggage doesn't make it to your destination.  Of course you can buy clothing as needed, but having the basics helps tremendously while you are trying to track down your lost suitcases. I also pack travel sized toiletries, such as deodorant, toothpaste, soap, etc, and a small makeup bag for freshening up.  Valuables, such as jewelry, money, money orders, electronics and headphones should also be in your carry on to avoid theft.  


As for Basic Comforts, knowing that you cannot control the temperature on a plane, and you can't predict whether your flight is going to be overly warm or overly chilly, a jacket or sweatshirt is wise to bring along. 
A light blanket or pillow is also nice to pack to help you keep comfortable during the flight. In preparation of potential boredom, pack these items for entertainment: a book or magazine, an iPod for listening to music (or for drowning out crying babies or noisy seat-mates) a few light snacks, water and gum.


Consider the length of your flight, and how long you'll be away when packing your carry-on. You most likely won't be served a meal. A few of your favorite snacks will make a long flight more enjoyable. The longer your flight, the more books, magazines and electronic equipment you'll probably need to pass the time. It also helps to be familiar with the security regulations for transporting liquids and potentially hazardous items. With careful planning, you can avoid baggage fees and have a more enjoyable travel experience both in flight and on arrival.

Monday, December 16, 2013

TRAVEL San Francisco: How to Navigate BART

BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit, is a safe, reliable and fast public transportation system in San Francisco.  For over 40 years, BART has connected the San Francisco Peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and other cities in the East Bay.

I found BART to be a very user friendly system, as well as an inexpensive way to get around the city, but some people get confused and panicked with public transportation, imagining trying to navigate the different lines.



First, do a little homework!  Look over the map and figure out where it is that you need to go and which line you need to take to get there.  Also, don't be afraid to ask a friendly looking passenger for a little help if you're confused.  Not all BART passengers are as cranky and aloof as they look.


In my opinion, BART fares are average as a form of public transportation.  Fares are based on how far you travel. To check fares, visit the Fare Calculator. Discounted tickets are available , and kids four and under ride free. BART tickets are plastic, basically like a credit-card with magnetically encoded value.  Fare gates automatically deduct trip fares from the stored fare value on ticket.  It certainly is an eco friendly alternative to driving, and it'll save you a bundle on the super high gas prices and parking rates that you're going to find in the city. 


I have an awesome app called HopStop, which has always been super helpful in being prepared for riding BART.  The app provides directions via subway, (and bus, regional rail, walking, and/or bicycle). It also offers multiple route suggestions, schedules for hundreds of trains, and official transit maps for many cities including, but not limited to, the Bay area.  You'll never get lost again! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

the last word, v12

People Magazine has this feature thing on the last page of their magazine.  On the last page, they have a feature called the last word (so clever!) where a celebrity answers a few questions on some of the last things they've done.  So even though I'm not a celebrity or anything (wait. what?!), I'm going to go ahead and answer the questions.  Because, why not?

The last time I was moved to tears, like, besides every day tears?  Hm.  I'm thinking they meant like, in the emotional sense, like something tugged at my heart and made me have a little well... I'm drawing a blank!  Probably because I am a wimpy crybaby whenever I get in my own head, which is like always, but I've been too busy to have time to think lately!  The last time I can honestly remember being moved to tears by something that got me in the heart was unexpectedly reaching into a pocket and finding this satiny piece of ribbon... I know it sounds so dumb, but it was a surprising little jolt and it reminded me of something that made me sad.

The last home project I did, well, does like, Christmas decorating count??  Because that took a really long time this past weekend!  Or like, bedroom shifting was pretty huge recently.  That was a home project and a half!  Every kid moved bedrooms and it took forever - ugh.  That's like four bedrooms filled with crap that needed to be emptied, cleaned and reassigned!  Thankfully I have a teenager with muscles who can lift and carry and heavy things all over the place.  

The last time I laughed hard was listening to Alex try to speak Norwegian.  He sounded so silly trying to get the inflections right and he was making weird faces while he was doing it.  It just made me laugh really hard.

The last text I sent was: #stillherebutsweatingmyassoff, which was pretty much just goofiness.  We were basically hashtagging everything we were saying, just being silly, and he had asked me if I was still at the dumbass mall shopping.

The last game I played was Candy Crush.  Because I am a freak and I am addicted to that idiotic game.  Like only a freak would be.

The last time I danced was at my cousin Dan's wedding.  Which is where I pulled out some serious white girl Beyonce moves.  I never used to dance in public, but I kind of got over it.  Oh, I guess I also did a head bob, sort of slight movement while holding a glass of wine dance at a more recent concert I went to in Woodstock, but that might not actually count as "dancing."

The last time I took a bath was two nights ago.  I love to take baths, especially in the cold months.  And especially at night.  I like to have it really dim and quiet, with the water super hot so it's all steamy.  It's so nice and cozy.  My tub is extra long and extra deep, which I got specifically when we built the house, because I am a huge bath fan.  I can stay in the tub for hours... ahhhh

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

wednesday and slacking and norwegia and christmas...

So today is Wednesday.  Again.  Wootwoot Wednesday?  Sheesh.  Maybe it was a mistake trying to get this blog going again right in the thick of the holidays.  Well.  At least I'm here!  At least I'm not crying and whining and being all mopey!  That is a really good sign, right?

Actually, I am a huge slacker.  Like, huge.  My plan of action for today was to get up and leave to go shopping when I got Brooke to school.  Well.  Somehow, that plan did not come to fruition, and somehow, I ended up here, on the couch, like a bum at 11ish am.  Still in my comfy clothes.  It does not look like I am making it to the mall.  Well, I'll be making to to a virtual mall or two, because, obviously, but I really, really need to get my ass to some stores and get a handle on this Christmas shopping crap.  And I haven't wrapped one present.

Not even one.  My piles are all out of whack.  Like none of them are equal at all and that drives me crazy.  I now have an extra pile.  Oh!  Did I tell you that we now have an exchange student?  Well.  We do.  It was an emergency situation sort of thing.  It wasn't planned at all.  It happened rather quickly.  Like, within a week.  So, yes, we have a new kid in the house, Victoria, from Norway.  

She's a cute little button, a 17 year-old who was having a rough  time with her original host family in another town.  So we'll have her here with us til the end of the school year.  This past week or two has been a whirlwind of paperwork, and school registration, and bedroom set-up, and moving in, and getting settled... it's been super busy.  So far so good though - it seems like it will be a good and natural fit.  It's nice because she is completely fluent in English, so there is really no language barrier at all, though the kids like when she speaks Norwegian.

Alex, Victoria the Norwegian, Brookie and Megan
When he was little,  my son Alex thought Norwegians were from Norwegia.  Like, Norwegia was the country, and not Norway.  That always made me laugh.  He's got Victoria teaching him Norwegian terms and words already and he's actually sounding pretty good!  

This Christmas may be a little out of control with the amount of foreign people in my family room.  Kara is bringing two of her visiting Australian friends home on Christmas Eve, so they'll spend the holiday with us, and we'll already have Norway here.  It will be a full house, let me tell you.  I have no idea where everyone is going to fit.  And I'm semi-overwhelmed with the thought of what to get extra people for gifts... oh well.  It will all be nice I hope.  I better take some extra crazy pills to keep me calm.  I may need to form an escape plan.

So since my plan to shop today went awry, I am definitely shopping tomorrow, off my couch and out into the wild.  But I am also definitely posting.  Because it has to happen.  See you bloggers tomorrow! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

TRAVEL app happy - favorite travel apps for the iphone

tripit
Get Organized!
I used to ­arrive at the airport or car-rental counter frantically searching through a pocket full of wrinkled printouts for my confirmation number and other reservation details. Now, with the TripIt app, they are all consolidated neatly in the palm of my hand. I forward my flight, hotel, and other confirmation e-mails to plans@tripit.com, and TripIt combines them into one organized itinerary, adding information such as weather, maps, and driving directions. (free)

packingpro

Pack Like a Pro
Packing Pro is a mobile app made for super list makers. It helps you remember what to pack and can also serve as evidence of what you packed if your luggage were ever lost. You work from one of many sample lists of items to pack, or you can create your own and tick off items as they go into your luggage. It has a handful of other neat features too. ($3 fee)

flight tracker

Be aware!
There is nothing more frustrating than making an hours-long commute to your airport only to find out your flight has been delayed for half a day or cancelled altogether. The Flight Tracker app aims to make this a thing of the past. Now, you can track flights with amazing maps, and receive real-time info on departure info, delays and gate assignments. (free)

gate guru

Airport Info
If you ever have a long connection through Chicago O'Hare, you'll want to know exactly where to go for the best sandwiches. At San Francisco International Airport, there's a yoga room where you can relax and stretch before your next flight. Or the spot in Denver International Airport where you can get a massage. With this app, you'll have all sorts of great tips and lists of services to help you navigate the world's best and worst airports. (free)

localeats

Eat Like a Local

Sometimes your only food choices are in a strip mall (and that’s when that Restaurant Nutrition app comes in handy) but sometimes there’s a ­colorful local restaurant just a mile or two off the highway that you would never have known about without the Localeats app. Choose “Nearby” and the app will pull up non-chain spots close to you that are recommended by local food critics. You can even ­peruse menus! (.99)
foodspotting
A Foodie's Best Friend
Perfect for travelers in search of the best restaurants, this app is powered by users' own reviews and pics, making it a foodie's best friend. For each city, users can browse the app's selections alphabetically, by category, rank, and even neighborhood location. You can also search for nearby restaurants on the list based on your current GPS location. (free)

hotel tonight

Last Minute Lodging
If you’re in a U.S. city or London and need lodgings at the last minute, Hotel Tonight offers steep discounts at a selection of luxurious and hip hotels.  Rates are ­announced no earlier than noon the day of check-in. Since rooms sleep just one or two people and you can’t request a specific bed type, this app works only for solo travelers and couples. Many hotels let you stay multiple nights at the discounted rate. (free)

hipmunk

Flight and Hotel Search
Hipmunk may seem like your run-of-the-mill flight and hotel aggregation search app, but it does one cool thing that I haven't seen any other travel app do: It includes non-traditional lodging, such as listings from Airbnb and HomeAway.  Also, the Hipmunk app searches flights based on costs and filters them based on different variables. Hipmunk was designed to help people who are overwhelmed with pages of irrelevant search results. (free)

google translate

Communicate with the locals!
Spanning over 50 languages, Google Translate allows you to translate text between 57 languages, receive translation by speaking into the phone for 15 languages, display translations so that they are easier to read, and much more. This is the definition of a game-changer. (free)

hopstop

Get to Where You're Going
One of my favorite apps, hopstop provides directions via subway, bus, regional rail, walking, and/or bicycle.  It also offers multiple route suggestions, schedules for hundreds of trains, buses, and ferries and official transit maps for many cities.  You'll never get lost again! (free)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

TRAVEL San Francisco: Yummy Good Eats part three... Dinner

I absolutely love eating out in San Francisco.  There are an overwhelming amount of amazing, offbeat places to check out, there is always something for everyone, always an option for just about any type of food you are looking for.  I know I have just scratched the surface with the spots I was able to visit.  I'm only going to highlight three restaurants today, but I have plenty of other places to tell you all about, that's for sure!  At some point, be on the lookout for another post about some more great eats in the city of SF!



My favorite dinner experience was at Foreign Cinema, in the Mission District.  There was such a super cool vibe - just an excellent, unique ambiance. Without even taking the food into consideration, the experience itself was great. If you're seated in the partially covered and heated outdoor area (definitely worth it), you'll be treated to an old foreign film being played on a big outside wall - sometimes with audio. The service was great, the waitstaff very friendly and accommodating. The menu was fantastic - a bit fancy, but great and eclectic and ample.   The food was excellent, I had a Burratta Salad as an appetizer, and it was absolutely mouthwatering.  I also had a fantastic steak, which was cooked to perfection.  Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so be prepared for a pricey meal. Note: There is an extensive oyster bar, wine list and cheese menu, and the desserts were amazing.  Also, they have a weekend brunch on Saturdays, which I did not go to, but I would guess is amazing.



Late one night wandering around Union Square, I stepped into King of Thai Noodle on O'Farrell Street, mainly because it was open and I was hungry. And even though it looked kind of like a sketchy strip mall type of restaurant, it was packed. I gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised with my meal.  My huge bowl of noodle soup was piping hot, really tasty and cheap, and it came out quickly.  It was totally tiny and cramped inside, but the service was good and fast, and I would definitely stop in again to try another noodle bowl.



John's Grill, a very well known seafood/steakhouse right in the heart of the city, is apparently a favorite with locals and celebrities.  I went there early one night with friends for dinner based on some really good yelp reviews, and was happily surprised that I didn't have trouble getting a table. I'm assuming because it was pretty early at about 6 pm. Two of us had the Filet Mignon, which was cooked perfectly. The menu didn't mention that the steak came with sides, so we each ordered a side, and ended up with way too much to eat! I had the Roquefort Salad to start, and it was huge - could have easily been a dinner salad because it was covered with shrimp, and there was enough for at least two. Our waitress looked like she didn't want to be there and wasn't friendly, but I suppose she did her job. They didn't have mojitos or the particular wine that we were hoping for, unfortunately. The atmosphere was kind of neat though, old timey wood walled steakhouse feel with nice dim lighting. If you like dessert, I highly recommend the chocolate mousse - it was fantastic. Overall, the food was very good, just priced pretty high in my opinion - our bill was $180 for two salads, 2 steaks, 2 sides, 1 seafood dinner, one glass of wine and one dessert.

Be sure to stop back next week! I'll be posting about some of my awesome experiences in traveling through California.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

woot? meh

Today is supposed to be all wootWOOT!  Back to normal, no more whiney sad face posts, right?  That is what I said, so I am digging deep guys.  I even did yoga this morning.

Actually, the yoga instructor guy, his voice is so relaxing, he kind of shut my brain off for the half hour.  It was sort of shocking.  At the end, I was laying there when you're all in the relaxing pose thing, whatever they call it - you know, the thing where you're just laying there on the floor, and all of a sudden I was like, hey.  I didn't think about sad repetitive bullshit for like a whole half hour!  All I did was focus on the poses and the guy's voice (which kind of makes me feel like I am dreaming or something).  So, maybe I'm on to something there...  that was Hatha Yoga, I can do Flow Yoga with the same guy tomorrow maybe.  The stretches make me a little nervous with my shoulders.  Both shoulders suck right now, so that's lame.  But hopefully, the stretches will strengthen them.  If I tear them fully I am fucked. oh blahblahblah.  This is boring.  Definitely not wootWOOT!

So I mentioned I got kidney punched three times by my sister recently in my last post.  Thankfully she was too drunk to karate chop me - she is a black belt in Karate!  She could have kicked my ass.  I definitely would have been on the losing end.  I only know defensive moves, I quit Tae Kwon Do before I got to really learn the beating up parts.  

The thing is, my sister Jen rarely drinks.  She's like me.  A once in a great while drinker.  Her drink of choice is champagne, and how often is champagne just sitting around, right?  So, we were at my cousin's wedding, and there was a lot of really excellent champagne flowing.  I was originally planning on being a wedding drinker and Jen was going to drive, but then there was a lot of great champagne, and I couldn't pull the trigger.  The wine was not cutting it for me, so we ended up trading positions.  A lot of times, alcohol gives me heartburn.  It'd be great if we just lived in CO and I could smoke up, if you know what I mean.  But you know, NY isn't exactly there yet, legally speaking, unfortunately.  I hate being hung over.  So I only had a few drinks early on.

Well, we had an excellent night.  We felt a lot of pressure to be extra fun because my cousin told everyone that he was so happy that we were coming because my sisters and I are the fun cousins.  He's so cute.  So of course we literally were the last to leave.  Like, we were leaving while they were taking the tablecloths off of the tables, last car in the parking lot - basically, pushed out of the place. So the punching happened because someone said that out of the four sisters, he always liked me best.  :)  Well, in my defense, I was having a great hair day and my earrings were banging.  Plus I pulled out some Beyonce dance moves that were very impressive.  Who knew?

She was highly offended. And of course since she was super tipsy, she was extra highly offended, and could not grasp the fact that I was number one.  She was trying to win him over and it wasn't working, she tried convincing him...  it was really funny.  And we kept having to rehash it the entire night.  So at one point, she got all frustrated and stamped around like a kid and punched me!  In my dress!  On the dance floor of a very fancy wedding!  And I was wearing way fucking high heels, like way higher than I ever wear.  I could have broken an ankle trying to fight back!

Being the only sober one, I had to drag everyone out of there.  My sister Indi was funny.  Then Jen was taking her sweet time, still trying to convince the guy Chris to like her better than me, so I had to pretend to slowly drive away and she had to chase me through the parking lot and jump into the car.

So then, then, the guy called me in the car and serenaded me on speaker phone the song "You are so Beautiful to Me," on the way home which made her punch me one final time for good measure.  It was a really fun, silly night.  My other sister Ali also got smacked in the face, and we had to run into the house to hide from Jenney.  It sort of brought me back to the olden days, when we were teenagers and would go to obnoxious high school parties together.  Which, come to think of it, is why we don't really drink that often...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

broken, whiney and kidney punches

This blog is bugging me!  I haven't blogged in like, months, so I kind of forgot how to fix the settings and everything is all wacky.  I just don't have the patience to mess with it.  Sorry it looks so fucking annoying at the moment.  I really just have to get my shit together and deal with it.  I have to decide what to do.

I am at a crossroad of sorts.  Hey.  Someone said that to me once.  That exact same sentence, and it just popped into my brain.  Weird.  Anyway, so yeah. I'm at a crossroads.  Definitely more than a fork in the road, because your average fork only has like 3 prongs, right?  There are all sorts of paths here in front of my mug these days, way more than 3.  I feel a little bit like a crazy person.  I just cannot get my thoughts together.  I can't sleep.  I just keep thinkingthinkingthinking.

Usually, I am happily introverted.  I enjoy being alone with myself.  I like having a big imagination, I like being able to see things the way I want them to be, the way I wish they would play out.  But right now, that gift, the vivid imagination "gift" is killing me.  Killing me.  I just keep seeing images and things that I don't want to see at all.   My typically happy, chill self ugh... just hurts.  And you know, I'm just not sure how to fix it.  I'm pretty sure I'm broken.  I haven't thought of myself as fragile, breakable, in so many years.  You know how when you were little and some big guy would pick you up and toss you up in the air, up high over their head, and for a couple of brief seconds, it felt amazing?  Like, you felt weightless and breathless and perfect for those briefest moments in time?  And then, those seconds of terror when you'd start to fall back down, hoping and praying he'd please just catch you, just please please not let you slip through his fingers to shatter into a million little pieces at his feet?  I guess right now it feels like I'm in the shattering part, and I'm just hoping not to turn into dust and just blow away.  Like nothing.  Like air.  It's my own fault. It's what I get...

Ah, well.  So you sit here and figure out if you wallow around indefinitely and let what has broken you define you, or if you get up and dust yourself off and do your best to figure out how to repair yourself and move on.  Obviously wallowing isn't an option.  But becoming feeling-less is...  

Jeez.  When did this go from being a funn-ish boring old filler blog to a downer lame whiny drama blog??  That is not how I roll here.  Role?  Roll.  I have this one day to be a downer, ok?  It's downer Tuesday!!  Didn't you know?  Then I'll slap some sense into myself and be normal and boring again tomorrow.  Because tomorrow guys, tomorrow is WEDNESDAY.  Wootwoot Wednesday!  Yes! 

Maybe tomorrow I will tell you a few funny things about how I got kidney punched three times by my sister Jenney when she was drunk the other night when we were out.  AND she punched me on the shoulder, that jerk!  




Thursday, November 14, 2013

10 dream destinations

I love to travel.  The last few years, I've been traveling a lot more, trying to get off of my coast and see places that I haven't seen.  I feel like I'm getting older and time goes by fast - I want to see things and do things and have experiences before I'm too old to enjoy and appreciate them.  I know I'm not that old, it's just, time doesn't wait, does it?

So one of the things I needed to do this year was get my passport.  I want to be able to go out of the country spontaneously, like, if I happen to spot a good deal somewhere.  I'm always looking.  I have a bunch of places that I would absolutely love to see in person.  I have a whole Pinterest board filled with places that I would like to visit some day, so I decided to share my top ten.   One is number one.  Obviously.  But the rest are in no particular order, because it's really hard to decide what I want to see most.  If money was no object, I'd be booking flights every month.  The world is an amazing place...  where would you go if you could?

1.  Vaadhoo Maldives - if I saw this in person, I think I would cry.




2.  Stonehenge - I have always found this place to be so incredible and interesting.  I think I would feel so small standing next to such an amazing thing.



3. Whiteheaven Beach, Australia - apparently, the sand doesn't even get hot here.  Heaven?  I'm thinking yes.



4. Scotland - I can't imagine looking at views like this all day long.  I want to sleep in a castle and listen to sexy Scottish guys talk with their cute accents while wearing kilts. 



5. Fiji - I'm afraid I might never come home.  Seriously, how do people go to work when they live in a place like this?



6. Prague - a place that actually looks like a painting.


7. Switzerland - castles and snow and Alps and chocolate.  Sounds kind of perfect.


8.  Italy - amazingly gorgeous.


9.  Portugal - another stunning place I might never want to leave...


10. Ireland - more kilts and adorable accents... and wonderful scenery, of course.



TRAVEL San Francisco: Yummy Good Eats part dos... Lunch

As I mentioned in my previous post about a few San Francisco breakfast spots, I never really realized how important the food industry is to Bay Area travelers.  After spending a few days in the city, I realized that there are just so many wonderful and eclectic choices and options.  I sometimes found it hard to make a decision, and ended up just eating in areas that I was wandering through.


Showdogs

One great lunch that I had was at a dive-y little spot in the Tenderloin called Showdogs, right on Market Street. There was nothing really fancy about the place, but I was kind of drawn to the fact that it was so unpretentious.  I ended up going simple with the basic all beef dog, some super tasty house made slaw, crispy thin fresh cut fries, and the kicker - a fresh house lemonade. So yummm!  Everything I ordered was delicious, the service was pleasant and speedy.  Overall it was fairly expensive for a hotdog place, but I loved the simplicity of my meal and would definitely go back to try out some other good looking things on the menu.


Clam Chowder in a bread bowl

While wandering around Fisherman's Wharf one sunny day, I had my eye out for a place to get the much heard about chowder in a bread bowl.  I chose Sabella and La Torre's sidewalk stand on Taylor Street, though there were plenty of other places to get pretty much the same thing.  I think I chose Sabella's because there was enough of a line to make it seem like the food would be good, but not too many people to make the wait annoying.  The bread was great, soft and gooey, and the chowder was pretty darned good.  It was thick and creamy, just wish there were a few more clams in there.  Initially it was a touch bland, but with some extra salt and pepper it worked.  At under 10 bucks, I thought it was fair for the amount you got.  The service was quick, and I chose to eat mine outside in the sunshine, though they do offer tables inside.  The only real downside was being stalked by seagulls hoping for a bite, but you can't blame the establishment for that! 


Pad Thai

I've never had Thai food before, so I popped into Osha Thai on Embarcadero for a late afternoon lunch one day.  I really liked the loungey vibe of the place, it was very quiet, spacious and not busy at all.  It looks like they'd have no trouble accommodating a large group.  Also, I have to say, the chairs were super comfy.  I ended up going with a Spring Roll, Pad Thai and an order of Udon Soup, based on the tasty sounding description in the menu.  It was very good, rather spicy.  The portions were generous, and the meal presentation was really nice.  I definitely could not finish everything.  I felt like it was kind of pricey, but probably justified by the atmosphere and service.


Where have you had lunch in the city of San Fran?  I had a super sandwich at a deli in Sausalito and I need to find an equally good sandwich spot that I can walk to from Union Square.  Any recos?


Check back for a review of a few great dinner spots I visited!

Monday, November 11, 2013

posts and things

I didn't write too many posts last week.  I am not sure how I am planning on posting, like, what my new posting schedule will really be.  I kind of fell into a posting habit, back when I was blogging a lot more regularly.  I tried to post pretty much five days a week, and I fell into a rhythm of doing things - I wrote certain types of posts on certain days.  The problem was, it became sort of monotonous for me, and it became hard.  I didn't feel like I could be genuine.  And I didn't want to do it anymore.

I'm still not 100% sure that I want to do it, honestly.  I have been feeling like I miss is, the writing, the having an outlet of sorts.  But I still feel a bit like I'm not all in.  It's still a little bumpy.  I'm still finding my footing, trying to figure it all out.

So if you guys are cool with it, I'll just do my thing, pop on here and post and try to get things going again in my way.  I'll be dropping by my old favorite blogs again too, so don't be startled if you see me commenting.  

Later, blogger friends...  


Friday, November 8, 2013

friday five

6:05

I may or may not have had a mini Twix bar, a mini Snickers and a mini bag of peanut M & M's for breakfast.   Well isn't that what is supposed to happen the week after Halloween?  I have to get this candy out of here.  I have no will power at all.  It's not even funny guys.

Well.  Actually, I literally have pounds of candy in my house and that's all that I ate... it could be a lot worse.  So really a candy breakfast of a few pieces of mini candy is kind of a win, if you think about it.

So jeez, next up is Thanksgiving, and that will roll quickly into Christmas. It's going to go fast this year, I just know it.  I know someone who is completely finished with shopping and wrapping Christmas presents.  Who does that?? Only highly organized people I suppose. I don't ever see that being me. I also know someone who is getting zero Christmas presents for her family because they are going on a 10 day Christmas cruise to some place warm and tropical.  Now that, I could get into. I think she said all she is doing is bringing a stocking for everyone with a few small wrapped things. That's pretty freaking awesome. I don't know if my kids would be into that though. They love our Christmas traditions.  God forbid if I try to change anything up.

6:10 - Time's up!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

TRAVEL San Francisco: Yummy Good Eats, part uno: Breakfast

One thing that I never realized, is that San Francisco is as famous for its restaurants and food trends as it is for the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars.  With upwards of 3500 places to eat, more than any other major city in the US, travelers routinely cite restaurants as a factor in their decision to visit.  Who knew??  Yep, the eclectic restaurants of San Francisco are a main attraction, drawing people from all over the world, and I made a point to try some restaurants that had great reviews on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor.


Dottie's True Blue Cafe

For breakfast, you have to try Dottie's True Blue Cafe.  It's located on 28 6th Street in San Francisco, a bit of a sketchy neighborhood in general, but not too bad.  The thing about Dottie's is that it is so well known, there is almost always a line out the door, which some people just can't handle.  A few people wandered by, attempted the line, then left before being seated.  My thought process is that a great breakfast is worth the wait, so I was prepared.  I am a definitely a breakfast lover and Dottie's did not disappoint.  The atmosphere was authentic and vintage-y.  Nice and dim, which was good for an early morning visit.  The service was good, and the servers were super pleasant and attentive.  But the corn bread, oh the corn bread... (with jalepeƱo jam) was worth the wait alone.  The coffee is pretty good and piping hot, and the server was quick to top it off a few times.  I had the Smoked Whiskey-Fennel Sausage, Mushroom and Spinach Scramble - it was as amazing as it sounds, the portion was excellent and the price was fair at under $12.  The people at the table next to me got an order of pancakes which looked so fluffy and amazing, I was jonesing for a bite.  Based on the oohs and ahhs, I'm pretty sure they loved it.  The menu was pretty extensive and they also serve lunch.  If I had time, I would have definitely visited for one of their yummy sounding salads or sandwiches.  No doubt I'll go back.


Bob's Donut and Pasty Shop, through the window
I also had a stop at Bob's Donut and Pastry Shop, located on 1621 Polk Street in San Francisco.  There were tons of great choices, but I am partial to glazed donuts, and theirs were amazingly ethereal.  The place is open 24 hours a day, so everything is super fresh, and you get the feeling you are in an old-fashioned (pre-Dunkin' Donuts chain store) donut shop, with lots of regulars sitting about bantering.  I heard a lot of people talking about how great the Maple Butter Bar was, and they also made these massive donuts that were the size of your average bundt cake!  The coffee was so/so, but the donuts were well worth the walk and less than a dollar each!  I will absolutely visit this place again.


Boogaloos, Huevos Ranchero

Probably my favorite breakfast experience in SF was in the Mission District at Boogaloos,3296 22nd St, San Francisco.  I was definitely into the hipster diner atmosphere, ‎and it was a plus that they were playing some good tunes.  The servers were really friendly, and didn't seem to rush you at all, they were attentive but not to the point of being annoying.  I got the Huevos Ranchero, and it was the bomb, seriously authentic.  Really, really tasty, and a super portion.  If nobody was around, I may have licked my plate.  Coffee was good and refills kept coming.  The prices were definitely fair for the amount of food you are served, and the menu had a bunch of great sounding options, they also had plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free choices, if that's your thing.  I'm looking forward to another visit to Booglaoos!

Next up... look out for a post on a few cool lunch spots in the Bay A!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do you really want your member mocked?

Maybe it's me, and maybe I'm old, but I'm so not interested in getting a dick pic.

I mean, like, what would possess a guy to text a girl a picture of his junk?  I appreciate a person who is confident in their anatomy, sure.  I'm glad you're proud of your package, just - I'm not all that sure I want actual photographic proof of it on my phone.

Like, what do you expect me to actually do with that?  I promise you, I will not open the picture periodically throughout the day and lovingly gaze upon it.  I will cringe and cover my one good eye.  Because I don't know... it seems so graphic and like, in your face.  So yeah,  it will be completely wasted on me.  So please dude, just, don't.

I just guess I am unclear as to why it's all the rage to send pictures like that to people you are dating.  Apparently it is the thing to do?  I read something online that said over 50% of adults send nude or semi-nude photos of themselves via text message.  I found that kind of shocking.   I guess I sort of understand it with the younger crowd.  Like, the teenager to young twenty-something crowd.  They're all hip and like, young and firm carefree... they're also dumbasses and their brains aren't fully developed, but that's neither here nor there.

I mean come on!  Do you really think that these pictures just disappear into thin air once they are viewed?  They are out there people!  Somewhere, someone is gazing at your private body part!  Possibly laughing at you and mocking your member.  Do you want your member mocked?  And what if you decide you want to run for public office, Cod forbid?  It will come out.  Oh yes.  Because it always comes out.

My son is 16.  He has received numerous boob shots.  I swear to baby Jesus if I see one more underage boob of girls I see regularly in town, I will vomit.  That is so inappropriate!  What do I do?  Do I reach out and try to approach their parents?  I mean, I've talked to my kids about this kind of thing - I periodically monitor their stuff (which is why I happened to stumble across such lovely images in the first place).  I don't understand why more parents don't pay better attention to their kid's online activities.  Some of the things that I have seen sent to my son are repulsive, seriously. 

I am not a prude.  I am not opposed to whatever form of sexting floats your boat - I mean, as a consenting adult, I imagine certain things spice up a relationship - you get to express yourself in ways that maybe you normally don't.  Words and images can be a really powerful way to build intimacy between people, especially those that are separated by distance and/or circumstance.

I don't know.  I guess I just prefer something a little more subtle than a graphic, in your face wiener shot.  Text me a picture of a guy in boxer briefs, vacuuming or something.  Now that, my friends, is something that I'd find totally sexy.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

the last word, v11

People Magazine has this feature thing on the last page of their magazine.  On the last page, they have a feature called the last word (so clever!) where a celebrity answers a few questions on some of the last things they've done.  So even though I'm not a celebrity or anything (wait. what?!), I'm going to go ahead and answer the questions.  Because, why not?

The last time I went out to dinner was two nights ago in NYC.  Megan and I decided to go for a last minute train ride to the city to an Ed Sheeran concert at MSG.  She is such a huge fan.  It was her first concert ever, and she just about died.  We brought my niece Bridgett and met up with Kara and Frank and went to this cool bar called Stout in Manhattan.  I had a great steak salad, and there was yummy blueberry beer.  Mmmm

The last time I cried was so stupid.  I don't even know if it is considered a real cry but it was a well of tears.  Fine, maybe one or two fell, who cares.  I get random wells every other five minutes these days because I am a fucking freak.  I was thinking about this Halloween night way back in the 80's and the memory kind of got me choked up.

The last song I sang out loud is a song that I just cannot get out of my head.  It's called "I Wanna Be Yours," by The Arctic Monkeys.  And now I will share it with you.  Because, oh.  I feel it.




The last time I cringed was while watching a movie trailer for Anchorman, just the other day.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I just know I will be cringing throughout the entire movie, and I cannot wait.  

The last time I cursed was this morning, because, of course.  I make a point to curse every day.  Because I love to fucking swear God dammit.  I believe I said, "Trick or fucking TREAT, yo."  Because I'm so gangsta.  *I said that to a grownup, I swear.

The last compliment I gave was when Alex hugged me.  I said, you smell really nice.  Because he does.

The last TV show that I watched was Duck Dynasty last night at like, midnight.  I love that show so much.  Every time I watch it, I laugh.  It really is addictive TV.  How can you turn it off?

The last website I visited was The Huffington Post.  I pretty much have a lineup of news and media outlets that I hit each day, I can get so caught up reading stuff... I really tend to like articles on The Huffington Post.

The last household chore I did was laundry.  It's always laundry.  Never ending laundry.  Laundry.

The last sports event I attended was a high school soccer game.  My son's soccer team was in the state semi-finals yesterday, it was very exciting!  They lost 1-0, but it was such a great, hard fought game, I was so proud of them.  I'm really sad the season is finished!  I can't believe next year is his last year playing high school sports.  I think I will be so sad when it's all over...


my boy is #6