12.16.2007 Comments: (3)
So, as many of you know, a month ago (yes, it has now been a month. bad friend, bad friend!) Dana came to visit me. She works in admissions at Ohio Wesleyan, and part of her area to recruit is Washington and Oregon - so once a year, she'll get to take a couple of vacation days and head down the West Coast to visit me...I mean, since she's all the way out here already and all. So, I was pretty darn excited to see her, since the last time I saw her was at her wedding for heavens sake. In JULY. Which isn't that long, July to November, but for two years, I saw her approximately 7 times a day, so this has been a big change.

Anyway, we got up early one fine, ridiculously foggy morning to go pick up our Zipcar to go pick her up from the airport. Let me just insert here that the Zipcar we reserved was somewhat unusual - usually, the cars are in parking garages or lots, and there are usually at least two in each location. Yeah, this one was in someone's garage. A private garage. As in, you walk up to it, have to undo the combination lock and lift up the garage door, get in the car, back out, get back out of the car, close the door, relock the door and then get back in the car and drive away. Strange, to say the least.

So, back to it being really foggy - we had to cross the Bay Bridge to get there (obviously) and it was so foggy that we couldn't even see the bridge towers until we were directly underneath them. I've never seen anything like it. We came to learn the next day that I wasn't the only one who thought so, as a container ship ran into one of the columns supporting the bridge and spilled 50,000+ gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay. Nice. So we picked Dana up from the airport, we went back to Berkeley, I went to one meeting for an hour and then we got the heck out of town to go up to Napa. Of course. Where else would we take someone who was visiting for 2 days?? (San Francisco? Psssh.) We went to a couple of vineyards we really enjoy, and then we went to quite the snooty new place, which specialized in sparkling wine. Not really a winner in terms of what we drank, but we tried a really great Brie, which we remember more than the wine, and the place itself was gorgeous. We tried to give Dana the overall range from really casual places to snooterific wineries, while also seeing some of the scenery. Hopefully we accomplished our goal. She seemed to have a good time, but hey, it could have been all the wine, so who knows.

Snooty winery - Domaine Carneros

The next day, we got up and took our sweet time getting into the city - seriously, it was midafternoon by the time we got there. Ah well. We headed downtown and ended up hopping on the a cable car (because who loves cable cars? Thats right. Me.) and taking it all the way to Lombard Street, which is a nice long ride (nice for the $5 fare). Lots of the obligatory Lombard Street photos, and then we headed down to Ghiradelli Square to see it, and to get some nice views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We had planned on walking out on the pier to see it, but it was closed due to the oil spill, which we hadn't heard about until then. Awkward. Not so cute to see all the sand and rocks covered with a nice skim of oil. Anyway, we walked from Ghiradelli Square up into Fort Mason and then caught a bus back downtown to see the "Painted Ladies" which is a row of very well restored, painted Victorian homes. You may remember them from the opening credits of Full House. Basically the entire way, Dana proceeded to sing the theme song from the show and loudly proclaim her love for the Tanner family and telling us that she thinks that deep down, she in fact is a Tanner. This, my friends, is why I love her. We got to the park and we took many a photo of Dana (and some embarassing video that I will not post here, but will show you upon request) prancing around in front of the homes.

That night, we got back into Bizzerkeley and had to run up to Clark Kerr (which is a little satellite campus of residence halls) because my RAs were putting on a huge program called "Fit For a Queen." Basically, it's a drag show. (Yes, paid for with university money. I love working here!) This is the fifth year in a row that it has been put on, and we hire professional queens from SF to come in, do a bunch of musical numbers and then do a Q&A session, which is fantastic for the students, most of whom are like "What do you mean that's a man?!?!?" Except this year, we also had one queen who is a woman (a "faux queen") and she was SO good. All of them were amazing actually. We had hundreds of students come and the ladies loved Dan - all in all a really good program.

The next morning, we had to take Dana back to the airport - quite the quick visit, I know. But, it was lovely to see her. AND the cats loved her to pieces. Clearly, a good sign.

Posts coming soon: chocolate factory tour, 2008 resolutions, holidays in DC!!!!!

To Do: Visit Greece

12.13.2007 Comments: (2)
As you can see from the last post's comments, Laura, Meghan and I are going to Greece, in the next two years. Anyone else want to hop on this? Also, I PROMISE there will be a real post up tonight. I'm going to be on the East Coast next week! BAH with the excitement. PS - I taught all the other RDs "Awkward turtle" last night. Good times.

We have some serious follow through issues.

12.03.2007 Comments: (5)
Clearly, the every day posting lasted for what, two weeks? Well, at least it was a good run. I think we should stop focusing on the fact that we didn't post last week, and focus on the time when we were posting constantly. The glass is half full! A for effort!

I want you to know that Laura Anne Benson has guilt tripped me into writing this post.

So, since the last post, we explored the vast metropolis that is Nashville, Tennessee, came home, tried to suck up to our cats since they were clearly PISSED that we left them for all of five days, made and sent out Hanukkah cards (that's right, MADE. I'm going all Martha Stewart on your ass), did a practice Christmas cookie run, and made a vast holiday "to do" list which I think has really freaked Dan out and now he isn't really speaking to me.

Anyway, Nashville. We woke up all early on our last day in the Central time zone (which is weird - we totally missed some TV shows because we never thought that when the announcer said "9/8 Central" that the show would be on at 8) and drove into the city. Dan's brother works at Vanderbilt, so we started off the day doing a little wandering around campus - made sure to visit the Chi Omega house in honor of Dana. Then we made a little side trip off campus (just across the street) to see the Parthenon. Took some pictures, then there was....yes, I did just say the Parthenon. The only full size replica of the Parthenon in Greece was erected in Nashville in the late 1800s. Did you know? I didn't until we got there. It's really enormous and...you know, RANDOM. But we took lots of photos. It's also an art gallery, which is closed on Mondays since we were there on a Monday.

Yeah, I know.

So after that we wandered more on campus, which is beautiful, and all around the college towny area - lots of fun college town type stores. Then we drove into downtown Nashville, which is...tiny. We seriously walked around most of it in about an hour. We saw the Country Music Hall of Fame, where I bought a shot glass. The outside, hideously ugly...the inside, really nice, although we didn't pay the ridiculous fee to walk around the exhibits. We went to Music Row, which is kind of "The Strip" in Nashville...all these neon signs for honky-tonk bars and such. We went to Printers Alley, which is historically where the newspaper was printed and then it turned into kind of a red light district. Interesting, no? We went to Ryman Auditorium, which was the second home of the Grand Ole Opry (also bought a shot glass there. it's kind of getting to be a problem.) and...yeah, thats really about it. Oh wait. Hard Rock Cafe. Shot glass. Check.

Ryman Auditorium.

Hall O' Fame.

Printer's Alley.

So ends our Thanksgiving, only a week after we got back! It was a really really good time. We have many a photo of Dan's nephews to post as well. ALSO, stay tuned for next year's trip when Dan and I make the pilgrimage to the Jack Daniel's distillery. Oh my good heavens. Seriously, we didn't realize how close we were (about 1.5 hours) until the last day we were there. Something to look forward to. Fun fact: The distillery is in a dry county. WTF?