I LOVE this picture of my sister and I. This was our first night in Munich. I haven’t sorted through pictures yet, but will do add a more comprehensive post once I do.
Next German class starts this week!
I meant to get these up a while ago, but ran into technical difficulties with the way I wanted to put them out there. I’m just going to put them up, so no slideshow for now, sorry!
Anyhow, more to come. I’d rather that it was a slideshow format but I need to get some time to research and test the plugins first. Really love Prague, and Misha helped us find so much.
My sister was in town so we had to try each beer at Hopworks as she had not been there yet. Also unsurprisingly got burgers, which she declared amazing too.
Took a walk along the waterfront to get a good walk and go to Pendleton to pick up a shirt for Brian. Instead of taking a picture of the beautiful Willamette River, I took a picture of this graffiti instead.
Also admired Tesla, which I would love to own at some point.
Great time at the coast with Gretchen and the kids. We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, and while we really think with the exception of the bellhop and one other guy, the service is completely lousy (making me think twice about buying a unit), the room was quite nice and I love being able to walk down to the Devil’s Punchbowl.
We played frisby on the beach. I tried to do cartwheels and discovered I am no longer able (I think I’m a bit more top-heavy than the last time I tried. I know. I’m working on it.) so I will stretch much more and watch my diet closer and hopefully be able to do it this time next year.
We went swimming, even Brian. I don’t remember the last time he went swimming with me, it was sooooo much fun. Maggie ask him to throw her, and she went sailing halfway across the pool, it was soooooo awesome!! Matt asked for the same, but I think Brian realized his strength at that point, so he didn’t throw as far. I hope I can continue to talk him into at least occasionally swimming with me / us, it was really neat to see him swimming again. Even if he could standing in the deepend unlike the rest of us.
We ate at the Flying Dutchman, which was good. The next day we ate Mo’s (of course) and then went to Rogue for pizza and beer (root beer in the case of Maggie and Matt). Mmmmm. Otherwise we really just read, listened to the ocean, wrote in journals, swam and walked on the beach.
O! We did make it to some terrific tidepools on Devil’s Punchbowl’s beach (the marine garden side, not the surfer side). It was a negative tide and even though we were a little late to it, we got waaay out. The highlights were seeing a new anenome (pictured above, I usually see the light green ones on the coast, and the pink tipped ones just in aquariums) and an octopus!! I was so excited by the latter, I haven’t seen an octopus in a tidepool since I was a kid.
It was also nice to see these tidepools recover – the last time we had done any serious tidepooling there, they had been overcome by urchins, which is usually a sign of an unhealthy tidepool. Also saw two new crabs, which I took pictures of for my flickr pool so that I could identify them.
That’s the coast update. Maggie and Matt realized that other than family, I love the Oregon coast best.
I decided a glass or two of wine would be nice last night, so I opened a bottle of Monticello rioja that we had. Eventually, I went to a friend’s house, where I had a glass or two of boxed wine.
Boxed wine has come a long long way since the days of the scene from Grumpy Old Men (or was it Grumpier Old Men? I get the two confused). I keep a black box of merlot for when I want to have just an occasional glass without finishing a bottle, and while it’s not the best wine I’ve ever had, it’s definitely servicable.
Franzia, on the other hand, is still the same thing it ever was, so this morning instead of getting a ton of stuff done, I am nursing a huge headache and wondering what got into me last night. I know at one point, it involved a great big trampoline. Fun stuff, but ow.
Two days until Gretchen, my niece and nephew come, I can’t wait. Lots to do in prep, and I’m a little nervous about keeping an 8 and 9 year old entertained for three weeks, but Gretchen assures me that the Wii will keep them amused during our slow times and that we will go buy Legos!!! to keep at the house. I can’t wait.
Finally made it home after a colossal screw up by Continental which meant that we had to spend the night in Houston (bleah!). We had to pay for our own hotel, and we had to pay our cat sitter for another day of sitting on our cats, errrr….feeding the cats. We will be spending this week talking Continental about picking up those costs because we were not delayed by an act of God, but instead, by Continental’s computers. It will, I suspect, take an act of God to get Continental to pay, but hey, I’ve got the time to hassle them!
Lesson learned: Never, ever fly Continental. The amount of incompetency we ran into makes me wonder how they keep their airplanes in the sky. My guess is that their pilots are the only ones with any brains because no one else we talked to / worked with seemed to show any evidence of intelligence.
The trip itself was pretty cool, other than the fact that two days into it I became really, really sick for the duration.
It was awesome seeing Brian’s family and watching Brian, Rick and Tom Sr play poker. Bailey is as creative and fun to be around as I remembered, and LoriJean is talking now!
We hung out at my sister’s. Her new house is big, well-lit, cozy and beautiful. I am so happy for them. Maggie and Matt were a lot of fun to hang out with. Maggie is getting to be quite a cook too – she did most of the work for the sugar cookies and nearly all the work of making the Christmas wreath, cool! Matt looks so much like my dad did at that age it is almost spooky, and of course I think they are the most intelligent and wonderful kids I’ve ever been around.
Then we were off to Madison to check on our house and see friends. Brian came up with the idea of playing Abscentee-Landlord Bingo, in which each square is “72 Nova on bricks in front yard”, “house on fire”, “broken windows”, etc. Happily, we couldn’t even fill in one of the squares – the house looked like it was in better condition than we left it, and the decorations for Christmas the tenants put up were tasteful and nice.
Seeing our friends was both fun and hard. We hung out with so many cool people in Madison – intelligent, fun, challenging and awesome, and seeing them made us wonder why we moved. Luckily, the weather that night reminded us. By the time we left Nate and Beth, the streets and sidewalks were covered with a sheet of ice. We tried to park in the Concourse hotel’s lot, but they had warnings that SUV, van and minivan owners parked at their own risk due to 6 foot ceilings (what?). It was pretty obvious that the SUV Brian’s brother lent to us wasn’t going to fit, so we parked on the street in front of MATC. In the morning, the SUV was encased in a layer of ice thick enough that no amount of pounding would open the doors and it was 11 degrees outside without the windchill (which was pretty significant). So, I love my friends in Madison, and will visit them every chance I get, but I am still an Oregonian girl, just like I thought. And not just for the weather :)
Dean and Michele were kind enough to come rescue us as we had plans to eat sushi for breakfast at Murimoto’s. It was fun, but Wasabi still has the very best sushi in town, and Todd’s tofu dish at Murimoto was, in his words, disgusting.
After that, Brian and I headed out, but not before stopping at Willy St Co-op which remains my favorite grocery of all time. Our membership hadn’t expired so we bought a few things to bring back with us.
In Waukesha, my cousin Steve and his wife Sheela and their super cute kids were there to hang out. We played games, watched movies and drank enough to sink a ship. Gretchen taught Brian and I to play Ring of Death (gosh, that’s a lot of drinks). By that time I was sent to bed as being too sick from my cold to hang out anymore.
The rest of the trip, I hung out with Gretchen, Jay, Maggie and Matt and Brian hung out with his family. It was a cozy good Christmas, and I will miss my family and friends until the next time I head back to Wisconsin to see them. But I’m very happy to be home in Portland.
After the long two days of travel to get here, and this horrible cold, I slept for 13 hours straight. The only reason I woke up then is because Moose was purring so loudly on Brian’s legs as we slept – I think he was as happy to see us as we were to see him.
Happy birthday, dear sister!