Thursday, August 28, 2008

So Wrong

Today my friend Beth sent me a link to a website that she thought was blogworthy. I'm not entirely sure. While it is very funny, it's also just wrong on so many levels. I'll let you decide for yourself. Behold, Wiggles Wigs for Dogs.

So very bizarre.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


So last week I started taking a yoga class at the Yoga Center of Lawrence. This is obviously an introductory class, since I've never done yoga in my entire life. Honestly, I've never had any interest in yoga in my entire life, but I'm giving it a go anyway since I've often heard that it can help relieve back pain. I'm not expecting any miracles, but I'm sure that stretching tight muscles and strengthening my core most definitely can't hurt.

The problem so far is just that I find the class extremely boring. It's not that it's not challenging--doing the poses correctly most definitely is. Although I don't really work up much of a sweat, I can certainly feel my muscles working. I definitely stretch all the major muscles in my body. I know I'm gaining strength and flexibility--it's just that I'm stinkin' bored doing it.

I'm more of an active person. I like aerobics, dancing, running, sports--anything that involves lots of moving or shaking, music or competition. Yoga, so far, has been very very SLOW. It's most definitely not my cup of tea. Not only that, but a room with 30 people stretching their bare feet in each others' faces doesn't always smell the best. :/

With that said, I'm going to hang in there for the next couple of months to see if there is any improvement in my back and sciatic nerve pain. I haven't given up hope!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California: Lombard Street

For anyone just tuning in, we took a vacation to San Francisco back in June. I wanted to recall and record the details of our trip after our return home, but I couldn't seem to get all the blogging done in a timely manner, so I'm doing it bit by bit as life allows. This is the next installment of the California series. To see all the previous vacation stories together, just click here.

As I mentioned last time, from the top of Coit Tower we spotted our next destination--one that we knew we wanted to visit while in San Fran but hadn't really worked into our plans yet. If you look at this picture, you might be able to see (in the top right quadrant of the frame) the tourist spot that we were drawn to. After seeing it at this height, we decided to make the walk up to Lombard Street.

Since we'd already walked a good 8 miles that day, we decided to just keep on hoofing it towards the famous crooked part of Lombard, which was only about 1 more hilly mile away. It was actually a pretty fun walk, because there are so many beautiful homes along Lombard Street. I was completely fascinated by the way most front doors on this street were straight up a steep flight of stairs, and most tiny garages were positioned directly beneath each home. No yards, no porches--all houses attached to each other. There were some really cool homes, but it is such a different way of living than here in the Midwest!

When we arrived at the "crookedest street" in San Francisco, we pretty much just walked the steps up to the top and took lots of pictures. They've done some beautiful landscaping on this block, and there are wonderful views of Alcatraz and Coit Tower from the top of the hill, but it's still kind of funny that it's become such a crazy big tourist draw. There are tons of people walking up and down the street at any given time and almost always a line of cars waiting to take their turn just to drive down it. It's kind of crazy that people are so entertained by this, since there's really not much to actually do here except climb up and down a bunch of stairs! With that said, I'm still very glad we visited Lombard!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Family Affair

This is really a post that belongs on my other blog, but I'm just so excited about it I have to share here too. Tonight my brother called to tell me that he's going to join Mom and I to walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day in San Diego! I can't explain how stinkin' thrilled I am! My brother is AWESOME!!! :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Hope

Three years ago today, we brought home a sick, scared foster dog who would eventually become our only furry daughter. Although we don't really know how old Hope is, today we're celebrating her 8th birthday. I won't bother to go on and on about her because I've done so plenty of times in the past, but let me just say that we cannot imagine our lives without this crazy, weird dog. We barely remember our family before she came and we certainly wouldn't be complete without her.

Since I've pretty much said it all about Hope, today I will honor her in pictures, which were taken just two weeks ago.

Hope acting sheepish for no reason, as she often does.

Attacking her bigger little brother, as she also often does.

Sharing a beautiful, post-wrestling match smile!

Happy Birthday, Hope! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life Happens

Today was pretty much a bummer of a day. This morning I found out that a friend of mine, a friend that I've been volunteering at the shelter with for the last several years, has colon cancer. She went to the ER on Sunday with abdominal pain, and a few hours later was having surgery to remove part of her colon. This cancer that she just discovered has already spread to her liver. She is in her late 40s--several years younger than the minimum age at which you're supposed to get your first colon cancer screening.

It's not generally in my nature to be Debbie Downer, but this news left me so distraught today. It was such an abrupt and shocking reminder of the frailty of life. I don't mean to be overly dramatic or philosophical, but it really just makes you think about life in general. It makes you think about the fact that none of us really knows what challenges we might face in the future. None of us can know how long we actually have on this earth. So here's my take: I know God put each of us here for a purpose. We all just have to do the best we can to figure out what that purpose is in the time we have. We just have to try our best to become the people God has called us to be, and hope that He gives us plenty of time to get there. Challenges like this one my friend is facing are just tools He uses to grow us, to change us, and to draw us closer to Him. They are part of His perfect plan--a plan that seems imperfect to us because we can't see the bigger picture.

I know these aren't any brilliant words of wisdom--they're just the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head all day. When life happens, it certainly makes you think.

Oh, and if you think about it, say a quick prayer for my friend. She has quite the battle ahead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Strength and Sadness

I saw a story on Good Morning America the other morning that I found so touching and so inspiring. In case you missed it, actress Christina Applegate was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy, and because the cancer was in its earliest stages and was completely removed through surgery, the doctors told her she didn't need to follow up with chemo or radiation. Since her mom was also a breast cancer survivor though, she decided to be tested for the breast cancer gene after her surgery, and unfortunately she found out she was positive for the mutant gene. She opted to have a bilateral mastectomy as a preventative measure, before there were any other signs of cancer in her body.

When I first heard about people having this drastic, painful and emotionally and physically scarring surgery before they even had cancer, I thought it was a bit extreme. Then I read that 85% of women who have the breast cancer gene will develop the disease at some time in their lives, compared to 10-15% of the rest of the population. I've also read that having a preventative bilateral mastectomy can reduce a gene positive woman's chances of getting breast cancer by like 90%. Ninety percent. That seems like a no brainer, and I'd like to think that if I were faced with the decision to exchange my breasts for a good chance of a cancer free life, I would make the choice to have a mastectomy. I'd like to think that I would be so brave, and yet it would be such a horrible decision I can't even imagine.

Not only did Christina Applegate have the courage to undergo this disfiguring, drastic and painful surgery, she also had the courage to go on national television and talk about it. If you didn't get the chance to see the interview with Christina, you can check it out here. I found her honesty and bravery truly inspiring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blame It On Gravity

Just a couple of hours ago, I almost hyperventilated. Seriously. For real.

I got an email from the Old97's mailing list, which listed a few new tour dates. I scanned the list carefully, looking for anything that might be remotely near Lawrence/KC. I read

Oct 1-----Athens, GA

Oct 9-----Pittsburgh, PA

Oct 14----Des Moines, IA

Oct 15----Columbia, MO

In the split second after reading "Columbia" I got so excited, since we've driven there for games and concerts on multiple occasions, until I read the next date...

Oct 16----Granada Theatre, Lawrence, KS

DID YOU SEE THAT??? I seriously just about flipped out. Although there was no one except for me and the dogs at home, I started yelling "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" and Celtic jumped up from where he was sitting with a startled look on his face. I called Chad (who is at a T-Bones game for a work function this evening) and tried not to sound completely hysterical as I told him the news. Of course, when he heard the hysteria in my voice he immediately thought something was wrong, so he was more than pleased when he realized I was just super excited!

You might remember that the last time I blogged about my 97's was when I was lamenting the fact that they were going to be in Lawrence for the Wakarusa Music Festival while we were going to be in San Francisco. We thought about hitting the Tulsa show, but since it was just a couple of days before we were going to leave on vacation and would have required us to be up pretty much all night, we thought that so much tiredness would definitely put a damper on the start of our trip. We opted not to go, but our friends Jake and Amber went to Tulsa without us! I will admit I was a little jealous, especially when they came back talking about how fantastic the show was! I still thought maybe we'd be able to see them before the end of the tour, but none of the cities (until now) were within driving distance, and since we'd just spent a lot of money on a vacation, flying seemed a little excessive and expensive. Until this evening, I was pretty sure I'd lost the chance to see my boys on this tour!

If you live in the Lawrence or KC area, I highly recommend you come to the show with us on Thursday, October 16. I really really really really recommend it. Really. If you want just a glimpse of what their shows are like you can check out Youtube or this video that I found in this recent article from In this video their sound isn't as good as normal (they were playing in a record store), but the fun banter that is typical of their shows is still present. Just watch Rhett break a string on the first strum and then proceed to change that string while he continues to sing! It's absolutely classic!

I really really really hope you'll join us for the show on October 16th! I already bought our tickets! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Birthday Bachelorette

Over the weekend I made my first trip the new Power and Light District near downtown Kansas City. Although I'm not a big fan of their website (which I found slightly creepy), I have to say that the "live block" of the district where I ate with friends was pretty darn cool. There were many open air bars and restaurants with lots of music, lots of people and a gigantic big screen TV where we were able to watch Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal with hundreds of other fans!

The girls' night in Kansas City was in honor of my friend Robyn's bachelorette party, as her marriage to our friend Danny is coming up in just a few short weeks. Robyn (seen here with her sister Emily) and Dan have become good friends of ours over the last 6-7 years that we've all played softball together, but I have to say that I was a little unsure about going to Saturday evening's events. Not only did I feel like I'm way too old to even be going to bachelorette parties, but I was kind of nervous about the craziness that might ensue that evening. Thankfully, it was a fun night that was relatively tame, and I had a nice time hanging out with my friends! Thanks, ladies!

It seemed appropriate to blog about Robyn's big party since today also happens to be her birthday! Happy b-day, Rob! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Big 4-0

Today I have to give a big virtual hug and shout out to my wonderful friend Heather, who is celebrating her 40th today!! I was lucky enough to meet Heather over 14 years ago when I worked at Raintree Montessori School, right after she and Grant returned from the Czech Republic, where they were stationed in the Peace Corps. For the last 11 or so years, she's been one of my closest friends, and I'm so thankful for her! I blogged all about her last year around her birthday, but I still felt like this year I have to make mention of her big day since it's a big one! The funny thing is that I remember baking a cake for her 30th birthday just like it was yesterday--time flies! The reason it sticks in my mind so well is that I bought confetti to sprinkle all over the plate that was a bunch of tiny little 30s!

This morning we had a wonderful brunch at the Eldridge Hotel with Heather and family to celebrate both of our birthdays, since Heather and Grant were in Florida over the weekend of the 9th. I meant to take a picture of us together this morning, because I recently realized that Heather and I definitely don't have enough pictures together for having been friends for 11 years! Unfortunately, I totally forgot until we got back to the car and were on our way home. This was the most recent picture I could find of us together, which was the very late night that KU beat UNC to go to the National Championship back in April. We were very tired but we were still cheering on our Jayhawks!
Happy birthday, Heather! I hope you had a wonderful day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cake Wrecks

I have a handful of non-friend blogs that I subscribe to through Google Reader, and after a stressful afternoon at work today I was perusing one of my favorites, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Today the "blog" was about a post on a different blog called Cake Wrecks, which is a collection of badly decorated cakes. Maybe it was just because I needed a good laugh, but I found this blog hilarious. This was one of my favorites:

So classic. I'm definitely adding Cake Wrecks to my subscription list.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's with a heavy heart tonight that I write in memory of my dear doggy friend Homer. Homer showed up on the doorstep of our friends Heather and Grant about 7 years ago and instantly made himself a member of their family. This sweet black lab mix was extremely loving and so goofy that he always brought a smile to your face. As a puppy he had this funny habit of sitting right on top of you if you sat down on the floor. He and his happy tail always came out to greet visitors as they approached Heather and Grant's home out in the country. I found out just this morning that Homer passed away last week.

A couple of weeks ago when Heather and Grant were preparing to go on a vacation to Florida, Homer began having difficulty walking and using his back legs. The vet examined him and guessed that he had a pinched nerve in his back, but when the paralysis spread to his front legs as well, Heather knew something else was wrong. Homer was unable to walk most of the time and had to be carried in and outside to go potty. Heather researched the strange symptoms and guessed that Homer had come into contact with a raccoon somewhere on their many acres and had come down with Coonhound Paralysis. At a second vet visit, the vet agreed that this might be the problem. There is no treatment, but most dogs with this temporary paralysis recover within a few months. Heather just continued to carry him in and out--not an easy feat since he was a pretty large dog.

Right before they left for vacation Homer seemed to be doing better. He was getting around a little bit and they let him outside to go potty on his own. Homer's funniest quirk had always been that he wouldn't go potty in front of anyone, so he wandered off into a secluded area to relieve himself. Apparently while he was alone the paralysis struck again and he was unable to get back to the house. They searched for Homer for hours, but on an extremely hot August day, Homer died before they could find him. Heather and Grant didn't tell us the terrible news until the got back from vacation this week.

I know Heather and their daughter Quillen are especially devastated, and my heart just breaks for them. We are going to miss Homer so much too. I tore the house apart tonight trying to find a picture of him so that I could post it here. I know we have some from one weekend that he and his canine sister Leo stayed with us, but for the life of me I couldn't find them. I've searched through every picture box and computer file I could find to no avail. I just wanted to see that sweet little Homey face one more time. Hopefully he and our sweet boy Steeler are having a happy reunion together in heaven.

Monday, August 11, 2008


So I had a birthday over the weekend. Despite the fact that I don't generally like to celebrate my birthdays anymore, I really had a pretty fun day on Saturday. The day started pretty darn early when I woke up at 6 a.m. to go on a training walk with my mom, who drove over from Topeka. We took the dogs about 3.5 miles before the rain started, at which point we headed out to Target to be mall walkers for our remaining 4.5 miles! Mom was so embarrassed about walking in the store, but she stuck it out and finished our 8 mile walk with ease! We even had energy for shopping after our walk was over!

When we got home, Chad made us brunch with pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage and hash browns. It was wonderful! Afterwards we gave Mom a Wii lesson and had a great time Wii bowling for at least an hour. Since Mom had never played a video game in her life it was definitely a challenge for her, but we had so much fun and spent a lot of time laughing, as you can see from all the pictures.

Before my mom left, she gave me the best present I could have asked for by finally officially committing to walking in the 3-Day in November! I am so excited! I got us both registered on Saturday and am starting to get our fundraising pages set up! You can visit our team page here and even make a donation if you want to avoid getting a solicitation email from me in a few weeks! :) Better yet, you could do something bold in the fight against breast cancer and actually join our team as a walker! I promise it would be an unforgettable experience that you wouldn't regret!

My birthday evening was spent enjoying the company of our good friends Bill and Lindsay and some other of Chad's friends from work as we all attended our friend Suzanne's wedding. It was a lovely ceremony, despite the fact that it got moved indoors because of bad weather. At least it wasn't outside on a brutally hot August night, which is entirely possible for a Kansas summer. It's the first birthday I remember in a long time that was actually cool and rainy. Another birthday first: wedding cake and champagne! :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dream Wedding

I've always been completely fascinated by dreams. The way the subconscious mind works with your waking thoughts to create often bizarre (at least in my case) stories and events is so amazing to me. I often struggle to figure out what my dreams mean, or even to remember them at all. Sometimes I can recall them perfectly and completely understand what they're about. Other times I remember only bits and pieces that are so freakishly bizarre that I wonder if I need to see a psychiatrist.

Thursday morning I woke up and could remember my dream pretty clearly. I dreamt that Chad and I were getting married again. It wasn't like we weren't married already or anything--it was more like we were going to renew our vows and have the same ceremony for all of our current friends who didn't know us back when we actually got married. The church was similar to where we got married in Salina, the pastor was the same, and I was wearing the same dress I wore in 1994. One significant difference was that my friend Amber was going to be one of my bridesmaids. I think I'd invited at least one of my original bridesmaids, but I wasn't sure if she was coming or not even though it was minutes before the wedding. I wasn't sure about much of anything, apparently, since at the last minute I realized I hadn't talked to anyone about coming to play the piano or organ.

It was one of those unsettling dreams in the sense that I was so unorganized for such a big event. I got to the church late--so late that I ran through the sanctuary in my dress towards the choir room where I was going to get ready, and there were already a few people sitting there who'd arrived for the ceremony. I remember seeing this woman from work that I wouldn't ever even think of inviting to my wedding, and I'm not entirely sure why she was there. I think maybe it was because I passed her in the hall earlier this week and remember thinking that she was a very nice and friendly person!

The funniest part about my dream is that even though the wedding was supposed to start about 10 minutes after I arrived, I decided that I should probably put on some makeup since it was, of course, my wedding day. Instead of pulling out the mascara, which in reality I do wear on special occasions, I for some reason decided to go with eye shadow and eyeliner. In my real life, I'm pretty sure I haven't worn either since my senior prom. Oh wait--I did actually wear them when I was in a friend's wedding in college, but in that case we had our makeup done for us by professionals. The point is, I have no idea how to apply eye shadow and eyeliner, and this was one thing that was VERY realistic in my dream. I started putting on liquid eyeliner and pretty soon I had it all over my eyelids. I was frantically trying to scrub it off and cover it up with eye shadow when I looked down at my watch and it was 1:30--thirty minutes after I was suppose to have walked down the aisle! I woke up in a complete panic before I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was!

As I was telling Chad about my dream the next morning it didn't seem that strange at all, since several of our friends are getting married in the next couple of months. Since I've been chatting about their weddings and we have weddings on the calendar (one this weekend even), it didn't seem odd that I would dream about a wedding. The dream struck me as fascinating, however, later that morning as I was walking down the hall (laughing about someone's underwear on the floor) right after arriving at work. I looked down and noticed that my wedding ring was gone! I panicked briefly before remembering that the night before I had put it on the nightstand while putting on body lotion before bed. In 14 years of marriage I've basically only taken my ring off to clean it, so I was totally not in the habit of putting it back on in the morning! I couldn't believe I didn't notice it was missing while I was getting ready for work. I must have been totally asleep!

I felt so naked once I realized my ring was gone that I pulled out a paper clip from my desk and bent it into a circle around my finger. That way I knew I wouldn't forget to grab my real ring as soon as I got home for lunch. Despite the fact that I'd completely forgotten taking it off the night before, I felt like subconsciously I must have known something related to my wedding was missing and was going to be late! My dream was just my mind's subtle way of telling me!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

California: Coit Tower

After walking almost 7 miles on the Sunday morning of our vacation, Chad and I were obviously pretty tired. However, because we aren't people who generally like to hang out in our hotel room while traveling, we only spent an hour or so resting before heading back out on the town. Our next stop: Coit Tower. We walked down to a nearby bus stop and took the F-Line, which is actually not a bus at all but a historic streetcar. It was a fun experience, but once again the thing was so packed you could barely move!

We jumped off the F-Line less than a half mile from our destination; the only problem was that Coit Tower is smack on top of Telegraph Hill, a hill so steep that you climb stairs to get to the top. It was kind of an interesting climb, since the "street" that goes up to the tower is more like an alley that goes behind people's houses, so you're basically climbing the stairs up into their yards. I can't imagine living in an area like that which doesn't have a driveway or a street to park on or anything. It looked like they would have to park on a street that wrapped around the hill and then walk up to their front door. Can you imagine bringing home the groceries that way?

Anyway, we made it to Coit Tower and went into the gift shop to buy our tickets to go up to the top. The gift shop smelled pretty bizarre--not in a good way. We bought our tickets and then stood in line for several minutes before climbing onto the ricketiest, tiniest, smelliest little elevator you've ever seen. It really smelled like a dirty cat litter box. I honestly couldn't believe Chad got on it at all--it looked so not safe. Had there been a stairwell that went all the way to the top, we most certainly would have taken it, but apparently there were no working stairs in the place!

Thankfully, we made it to the top in one piece and the beautiful views from atop the city were spectacular. You could see all the sites of San Francisco perfectly from a birds-eye view--it was almost like looking at a map in some ways. We took tons of pictures, none of which really turned out that great because they were all taken through a pane of dirty plexiglass. It appeared that the plexiglass wasn't a part of the original structure, and despite the fact that it obstructed the view somewhat, I could totally see why it was necessary. The wind was so fierce that high up on the hill, it almost felt like the tower was swaying back and forth. The wind whistled through the cracks in the windows so loudly, I wondered if it wouldn't blow you over completely if the windows hadn't been there at all!

After saying a few prayers for elevator safety we held our breath and traveled back down to solid ground. We took one more picture of Coit Tower from the outside just to get some perspective. It doesn't look that big from this angle, but those tiny little windows in groups of 3 at the top are the windows we were looking out in this picture! It's much taller than I think it looks here!

As we sat by this statue of some important person we consulted our map and headed off on our next adventure--one that we only decided on after seeing it from a distance from the top of the tower!

Office Weirdness, Part 2

As if the person sitting on the ground of our parking lot yesterday wasn't odd enough, this morning I was walking down the hall in my office building when I spotted something dark laying on the floor. From a distance, I could tell it was a piece of fabric with some lace on it. When I got a little closer, I realized it was a pair of black underwear. Laying in the hallway. At my office.

As I stood there slightly dumbfounded staring at someone's drawers, one of our facilities guys who has an office nearby came around the corner. Terry slowed considerably as he approached and then stopped completely a few feet away, and then he just went "Uhhhhhh." I assured him that it was what he thought it was, and his response was that the morning couldn't really get much weirder! I couldn't stop laughing, picturing him picking up some ladies panties with a 10-foot pole!

How exactly does this happen, by the way? How do you leave your underwear in the hallway of your office building? Maybe someone brought clothes to change into after work, some of which just fell out of their bag? That's certainly possible, but there are a few other plausible explanations I can think of that are actually a lot funnier!

Speaking of funny stories about things dropped in office hallways, sometime you should ask Chad about someone "dropping" something down the hall of his old office several years ago. The story is WAY too inappropriate and offensive to tell here, but maybe someday you'll get lucky enough to hear the tale. It's a doozy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Good Place for a Picnic?

Today when I left the office to come home for lunch I saw the oddest thing. In the far end of the parking lot there was a person (too far away to identify), sitting down on the asphalt right beside a car, holding an umbrella over his/her head. Apparently, he or she was eating lunch--at least there was a drink sitting on the ground next to them. Is it just me, or is a parking lot an odd place to eat your lunch? I know the weather was much nicer today than it has been, but it was still 85 degrees outside. Sitting on asphalt on a hot day just doesn't sound pleasant to me, especially when there are tables on a patio right behind our building.

My entire lunch hour I wondered about who this person was, wondering if I'd see them still sitting there when I arrived back at the office. As I pulled back into the parking lot, I saw them closing the umbrella and getting into the passenger side of the car they were sitting next to. I kept rubbernecking as I walked into the building, and then continued to stare out my window trying to figure out what in the world they were doing. How long were they going to sit in that hot car? A few minutes later, someone who works in my office walked to the car, got in the driver's side, and drove away. I still can't figure out for the life of me what my coworker's friend was doing sitting on the ground of our parking lot over the lunch hour. Is it just me, or is that a little bizarre?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

California: Golden Gate Bridge

I'll bet you completely forgot that I never finished my posts about our trip to San Francisco. Oh wait...maybe you were actually just wishing that I'd forget to finish my San Francisco posts. Well no such luck. I'm going to stick it out until the very end, assuming that I actually remember the end of our vacation by the time I get around to writing about it. My new goal is to finish by Thanksgiving. :) Here's the next chapter of our exciting adventure.

The day after checking into our hotel near Union Square, we woke up early and had a relaxing breakfast in the penthouse lounge of the Donatello before walking a few blocks down to the start of the cable car line. We waited in line for 20 minutes or so, which is why I took so many pictures of the cable cars coming in for the turnaround. It was really quite a fascinating, because I didn't really have any idea how this old-fashioned method of transportation actually worked until we got there. At the end of the line, the car comes to a stop on a rotating wooden platform, and then one of the operators actually pushes the whole car around in a circle to get it going the other direction. It was a genius design back when it was invented in the late 1800s, but it's so amazingly inefficient by today's standards. I wonder if they would have updated the method of operation by now if the cable cars weren't a National Historic Landmark!

When it was finally our turn to board, we jumped on the Powell-Hyde line and I took the last seat that was left. The car was full enough that Chad had to stand inside, but what we didn't realize was that the car would continue to stop for passengers regardless of the fact that we were already full. We were completely shocked at how many people they squeezed onto each car! At every stop more people piled on, and the operators kept barking orders to the standing passengers to keep crowding together so that more people would fit. Poor Chad was just about squished by a mass of tourists! Thankfully, many people were only riding to the top of the hill to Lombard Street (the "crookedest" street in San Fran), so the second half of our journey wasn't quite as crowded.

We hopped off the trolley at the end of the line, which is down near Fisherman's Wharf. At this point we started walking to the west, with our destination being a bus line that would take us to the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk to our bus stop ended up being a bit a of a haul, not because of the distance (it was just under a mile), but because of the huge hill that we had to walk up next to the old Army post, Fort Mason. The view of the fort and the GGB from the top of the hill was beautiful though and well worth the hike!

Unfortunately we arrived at our bus stop right after the bus had just left, so we had to wait about 20 minutes for the next bus to the bridge to depart. Once our bus departed, it was a short couple of miles to the parking lot of San Fran's main attraction. After taking a few pictures of the bridge with hundreds of other tourists, we set off on our journey to the other side.

Our walk across the Golden Gate Bridge consisted of me taking tons of pictures, and Chad trying not to look out over the railing at the water below. He walked mostly on the edge of the walkway right next to where the cars were whizzing by, and had no interest stopping a lot for me to pull out the camera. There were so many beautiful views I just couldn't help myself, but every time we stopped I could see the look of tension on my dear husband's face--his uneasiness in high places was certainly taking its toll!

As we'd discovered driving across the bridge a couple of days before, the sheer size of this architectural marvel is so astounding when you're up close. You don't really realize how long it is (it's still the second longest suspension bridge span in the U.S.) until you set out to walk across! It took us around 45 minutes to walk the 1.5 miles across, including all the stops for picture taking and reading about the bridge along the way. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and perfect for a stroll. It was of course incredibly windy, but the sun was shining and it was extremely warm for San Francisco. I didn't even need my jacket most of the time! When we arrived at the north end of the bridge and stopped to take some pictures, I decided I'd bust out the zoom lens and take a few shots of the city and Alcatraz. Unfortunately, the wind was so strong there was no way I could hold the lens steady enough to take a decent shot!

One thing that we found a little shocking on our trek across the bridge was the plethora of these signs, which say "The consequences of jumping from this bridge are fatal and tragic." The signs were accompanied by a suicide hotline phone. It made the trip across a little morbid and depressing, since I certainly hadn't previously realized that it was common for the bridge to have so many jumpers. According to Wikipedia, there is a suicide from the bridge about every 2 weeks. There have been multiple documentaries and studies done on the subject, which sound terribly disturbing to me. Apparently there are only a couple of people who have ever survived the jump, since the fall is so far that people hit the water at a very high rate of of speed (ironically, 88 miles per hour, which might only be ironic if you're a Back to the Future fan like I am). As morbid as the the whole thing was, I have to admit I chuckled a little that they felt the need to say that jumping was "fatal and tragic." Was it not enough to say that it was fatal? Is there a time when a suicide attempt isn't tragic? Really?

Okay, sorry for the depressing digression. Back to the story.

After finishing our 3 mile hike across the bridge and back, we started to sit down and wait for the bus to take us back to the Fisherman's Wharf area. As Chad was looking at the map, he noticed that Crissy Field (an old military airfield that's now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area) was nearby, and remembered that there was a big sports warehouse near there that we had talked about visiting. We decided to just walk there, since we were in our good walking shoes and it didn't look very far on the map. It ended up being about a mile and a half, so we were a little pooped by the time we got there since that brought our total walking for the day to almost 6 miles.

We shopped around Sports Basement for a while and bought some new shoes and other athletic apparel, and then grabbed energy bars and drinks for a quick lunch. We headed off to find a bus stop, although we weren't really sure what bus to get on since we hadn't really planned on being in this location in the first place. Thankfully, Chad was very good at reading the route map, so he figured out a route that would work and pointed us towards the proper stop. As luck would have it, on our way there we accidentally happened upon the most beautiful scene, where I of course had to stop and take a few more postcard worthy pictures. The building turned out to be the Palace of Fine Arts, which is surrounded by a big pond with a fountain and tons of ducks and geese. It was so gorgeous!

A few blocks later we came to our bus stop, and thankfully the bus was just getting ready to head off towards our hotel, so we didn't have to wait at all. Much like the cable car, the bus was crazily crowded. Fortunately this time we both got seats, which was nice since we were pretty exhausted from walking almost 7 miles that morning! We made it back to our hotel in the early afternoon and enjoyed a little rest and relaxation to recover from our fun-filled morning!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Night Sweats

I probably shouldn't complain about the weather since we've had a much milder than normal summer this year in Lawrence, but I just can't help myself since the last few days have been so horridly and oppressively hot. Our average high this time of year is about 91, but for 4 days we've had temperatures near 100 and heat indexes near 110. The last few days have been so miserable that the weather is the only thing that people in the Lawrence/KC area can seem to talk about!

These are the kind of days where you get out of the shower, get dressed and go to work, walk from the car to your office and then feel like you need to shower again. These are the kind of days that you have to get up at 6 a.m. on Saturdays to work in the yard or to walk the dogs because after 8:30 in the morning it's too unbearable to be outside. These are the kind of days that you have to wait until 9:30 in the evening to walk your dogs because they'll pass out if you walk them before the sun goes down. These are the kind of days that make me want to move to Colorado. It doesn't help that my friends and family in other areas of the country are enjoying beautiful weather as we speak and not hesitating to tell me all about it!

I've said it a million times, but I really think I could handle this kind of heat if it cooled down at all overnight. As it is, there's just no relief. Tonight when we arrived home at 9:50 after walking the dogs, we were covered in sweat and the dogs looked like they'd just run 5 miles. The heat index was 85 degrees at almost 10:00 at night. Ugh.

The good news is that tomorrow is supposed to be the last day that Lawrence is under an excessive heat warning. Highs in the low 80s are on the way! :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Googling

I love Google Maps. I think it's the most efficient of all the online mapping tools and I love it that when I Google a business or location I often get the Google map as one of my results. I love how easy it is to zoom and drag the map to find what you're looking for and I love being able to see what you're looking for on the satellite view. I've just always been fascinated with maps in general.

A few months ago everyone started talking about a new feature on Google Maps: the Street View. You've probably already seen it, but this new set of images taken from the middle of the road actually shows the front of every home or business on the street. I must have talked with 15 different people about this new Google innovation and everyone had the exact same reaction: it's totally creepy! I have to admit that I was completely creeped out by these new images too. There's just something a little weird about knowing that some strange person has driven down your street and taken a picture of your house!

I recently had a conversation about the creepy street view with my friend Ty at work--specifically about how my mom thought for a second that the images were from a live web cam when I first showed her my brother's apartment in LA (which she realized was pretty silly once she thought about it). So the other day when Ty received a link to this video he forwarded it on to me, knowing that I would totally appreciate it. I thought it was too funny not to share, since everyone seems to have the same feeling about this creepy Google feature!

I watched parts II, III and IV of The Googling as well, and while they are also pretty funny, none of them hit home the way this one did!