General Life Update: KK

6.30.2009 Comments: (3)
A lot of our posts of late have been very picture heavy, so I think a "How the heck are you?" post is in order... Most of what we've been doing lately gets posted here, although you all really do get the highlights - our everyday is not quite as adventurous as this blog may lead you to believe. :) Currently, I have a bit more free time because it's summer session here and I'm not in charge of any the residence halls over the summer, and instead my primary responsibility is working on the training team, planning hall staff training in August. While training is a huge task - I'm on a 6 person team working on it, so it doesn't consume my life. I've been reading a lot, I'm up to 30 books for the year. Dana and Larry were here to visit a couple of weeks ago, and we had some fantastic adventures with them - campus tours, wine tasting, SF highlights, Alcatraz, and skydiving, which Dan is going to write a separate post about for tomorrow. Just before coming to visit, they moved into the house they just bought - which is amazing for them! I'm so impressed that they have a HOUSE, like grown-ups or something. I know that several of our close friends have homes that they bought too (Kel/Mike, Mer/Geoff, Chris/Holly, Matt/Katie, Tommy/Kristen) but this was more impactful for me. I think because Dana and I finished grad school at the same time, and so we officially started "being grown-ups" at the same time too. Clearly, we have different paths, but she feels much further ahead on hers. Hmph. Anyhow, it was great to see them. You may have heard in the news lately that California has approximately $13.48 to its name, which makes it hard to pay it's millions of employees, provide decent education, and the like. So, while I am NOT in danger of losing my job (mom, please read that sentence as many times as you need to) all educational institutions in the state are taking big cuts. Because I work for an auxillary unit of the university (which means we have our own source of income beyond tuition - ours is room and board) we aren't hit as heavily as some other campus units. But, the university is considering either pay cuts across the board, or furloughs - which basically amount to a pay cut. If the university enacts either of those plans, we will have to do the same...just because. So, next year should be super exciting! *Heavy sigh* I have had two dreams in as many weeks that my cousin Christine is engaged. Uncle Mike - any news you want to share? Lily and James are doing just fine - although they have developed quite the endearing habit of waking up and then waking us up at 4 or 5 in the morning. We're working on it. The scavenger hunt diamond ring thing continues to be weird. I'm slowly telling my colleagues and people here about it, but it's hard to do because most people kind of stop listening and make their own assumptions about how the story ends. The pictures that the event released (that we posted here after the fact) are not helping matters. And, no I don't wear the ring around. If there is any more related news, trust me, you'll all be the first to know :)

Extreme archery!

6.29.2009 Comments: (3)
Because it was 103 degrees. One hundred and three degrees. While we were outside. Shooting arrows at targets. And also, while we were packed inside a tiny NON air conditioned room taking the informational class beforehand. Ugh. But, learning archery has been one of Dan's "would most like to do" things for awhile now. Lately, my quest has been to begin enjoying the Bay Area on the cheap, or even on the free. Hence the free diamond scavenger hunt, outdoor movies, street festivals, more city walks, etc. I get much of this information from a website, cleverly named funcheapsf, and last week they added an event -- "Archery open house!" So clearly, it was quickly put on our list of things to do. It was about 45 minutes away at a private members-only archery club, that opens up twice a year to the public for lessons and a chance to shoot, and have lunch. Anyway, we got there after driving up into the hills - it's about as close as I've gotten to the boonies of California. Andd also 103 degrees. Anyhow, we got there, feasted on our corn dog/chips/fruit roll up lunch (yes, seriously. I felt like I was in 3rd grade) and then we got to sit and take a class about safety, shooting stance, and archery terminology. The guy talking was a BIT too detailed. All I really needed was how to stand, how to hit the target and not shoot anyone in the leg or anything. I got, though, a pretty thorough history lesson about the bow and arrow, it's development, all the different types, all the equipment, and on and on. (D: It was prety cool to learn that if you have a friend with the last name Fletcher, back in the day they likely made arrows for royalty.) 40 minutes later, we were free to go try it out. It was nice to try it out - they had a lot of their members available, and you basically got one on one coaching through your first quiver of arrows and then you get to shoot as long as you wanted. I'm happy to say that I was the first of the two of us to get a bullseye, and ended up with three actually, after about 30 minutes of shooting. Dan, of course, got 5. Ass. Enjoy some photos: I sort of felt like a badass while we were there. I feel like I mostly look the long as you can't see my flip-flops. Dan, demonstrating excellent form. I think his aviator glasses helped out his badass archer look. The huge friggin bruise on my arm, caused by the bowstring snapping on it on my second try. Clearly, my form was not correct when this happened. Let me tell you that every shot after that, my form was perfect. Yes, it hurt. Yes, we wrote several posts this weekend, which are scheduled to post almost everyday this week. Come on back for more tomorrow!

City Walk: Pacific Heights

6.28.2009 Comments: (3)
Continuing on the quest to appease Rosa, and to get through all the urban hikes in our book o' city walks, we completed another one last Thursday. I know you may be kind of tired of hearing about them. If so, sorry...because we've done 10 of them, and there are 26 total. Get excited. If I had been reading ahead like I usually do, I would have noticed that this one basically connected to the walk we last posted about here, and we could have completed them in one day, although that would have been a lonnnnnnnnng walk. So, instead, we had to go all the way back to pretty much the same area as the last walk. This walk was in Pacific Heights, which started being developed into a residential area after the first cable cars started running up and over the hills in the 1870s. Parts of it are pretty flat, so the lots were able to be drawn large, and rich people bought them right up and WOW. The homes are enormous. I feel like I have said that about a few of the walks already, but these are a new level of outlandishly huge. They're more like homes you would see on a plantation, with hundreds of acres of land around them. Except they're in a city, right next to each other, on the same streets. View of the Bay from our starting point This is where the Consulate General of Norway hangs out. We passed by a few residences of Consulate Generals...including Norway, Indonesia, Italy, and Ireland. Alta Plaza Park, built on a really steep bit of land. Problem solved with LOTS of stairs. Great view at the top though. Also at the top - a picnic table full of adults letting their children run amok in the playground, and their dogs chase each other, while they chilled with several bottles of wine. The port-o-potty down on street level that Dan had to run down and use, since the bathrooms in the park had already been locked for the day. I'm pretty sure he was actually in there when I took this picture. (TMI?) House. Not sure what else to say about this. Except, WHY do people have this much money?!? House again. Hahaha not really. It's actually a private school for K-8th grades. Still, pretty ridiculous. (D: It still used to be someone's house!) Aston Martin. Parked on the street, in front of a house with a garage. What on earth is in the garage? And now, for movie fun facts of the day: House front that was used as the school front in The Princess Diaries House from Mrs. Doubtfire (Stats, for Rosa. Per Google Earth, walk was 2.55 miles and took us 1 hr. 45 mins.)

The story continued...

6.27.2009 Comments: (0)
So the scavenger hunt folks recently posted pictures of the event, and of course, we are in them. Here are a few (we look FANTASTIC in them, let me tell you). Lovingly provided with captions of what I was thinking at the time. This is Dan looking for the ring while I am still running to get there. You can't really tell from this angle, but his feet/knees are in the bay, while he looks around close to water level. Ewwwwww. Holy crap, you found it! What is this camera guy doing in our face? Good job baby! ...thank goodness this is over...i am le tired. Aww fake engagement photo! I swear to you on everything holy that at this exact moment I was thinking "Holy crap, I should probably put down my water bottle. Siggs are NOT romantic." Hence, this photo. I'm not turning away from Dan because I'm repulsed or anything.

Just Another Weekend

6.23.2009 Comments: (7)
We honestly don't even know where to begin this story. I could easily blame our recent commitment to go to more local events. I know KK will blame me for getting her out of bed at 6:30 in the morning (a brave undertaking in itself). Regardless, we entered a treasure hunt of sorts... and... well... we sorta won. (cough) We sorta won a diamond. (Double cough) We sorta won one of those diamond things placed on top of a ring in a certain way like some people are known to do with such diamond things. (Triple cough) The motivation to do this actually comes from one of the blogs we read (DC365) who introduced us to Urban Dare. It's a scavenger hunt game that tours major cities throughout the year where teams race to answer trivia clues which send you to yet more clues all across the city. Well, we were really excited to try it this year in SF and we missed it! But, as you might know, we're getting pretty good at being SF tour guides and our urban hiking has filled us with plenty of random knowledge. SO, we really wanted to test our city trivia! I repeat, we REALLY just wanted to test our knowledge of the city. Fortunately, a free scavenger hunt just happened to arise this weekend. Who cares if the prize is a diamond ring, we're never going to actually win. So, Saturday, we had to wake up so early because the starting point was way far away from where we live and you know us with the no car thing. There must have been 200 teams there, almost ALL with bikes. I swore we had stumbled on a biking club. I was wrong. We sort of missed the boat on the bike idea, so we pretty much immediately felt out of the running to win. To fill the time and make up for our inadequacy, we decided to mock people. There was plenty of material. There were people stretching and warming up, other teams are all in workout gear with camelbaks on, and one team even had professionally made team t-shirts (the front: Got Diamond? the back: Team Bling). Two of organizers of the event (from the diamond company, who I nicknamed Sleazy 1 and Sleazy 2) were the kind of guys you'd avoid at a bar. They were a little too arrogant, a little too much hair product, etc. They let us know that you can't use any public transportation. Good thing we were depending on that. Cool. (KK: I honestly was ready to go home at this point. I was pissed that we had gotten up, hauled ourselves across the city, and couldn't hop on a bus or anything, even though the website had said we could use public transport) All the clues were delivered over text message. You replied with the correct answer to get your next clue. We missed our first question. Cool. Googling answers and calling Franklin (thanks!) to look up SF photos just wasn't working out. We pretty much gave up on the game and resigned ourselves to just seeing how we would do at a slow pace. Turns out, we did pretty well. The last clue required some word jumbling and code deciphering, which we actually do for fun. Next thing I know, I'm the only one running to the final location - which happened to be the Wave Organ, which we had just visited in our city walk a couple of weeks ago. That walk actually was super helpful. I was pretty much the first one to the end and KK was perhaps the first to text in the final answer, and I was there, searching and searching as the Sleazies arrived and kept asking where KK was (I had run ahead). They started taking pictures of me, and there was a video guy and they just kept asking where KK was. I called and told her to run, especially after Sleazy 1 mentioned that "She'll probably find it when she gets here...." (KK: Dan left ALL of our stuff with me when he took off running, water, backpack, etc. It took me awhile to run bogged down with our stuff, ok?!) They waited and waited and waited until KK showed up to (1) blatantly put down the ring that was never hidden in the first place, and (2) tell me where they had just dropped it. All of this in front of another team who had shown up. Awkward. They had also already asked me "Hey, what are you going to do with that ring once you get it?" Double awkward. And then when KK got there and I "found" the ring, and Sleazy 2 actually began to whisper "Do it" under his breath. Wow. It was the ultimate moment in awkward. So in a gorgeous location, but under scrutiny of sleaziness, cameras in our face, and a circle of onlookers (tourists, other teams, etc) ... we whispered in each other's ears that we'd put on a fake show... and I got down on one knee. (KK: I said NO! jk) Afterwards, the organizers chauffeured us to the after party in the trunk of their SUV. Literally, in the trunk. It was all very romantic. Let's just be clear. We're not engaged. It'll happen one of these days, on our terms, in our way. Until then, we have a funny story to tell and you all have to settle for fake engagement photos.

Some friendly competition.

The view from the start. One of those diamond things.

City Walk: Presidio Wall

6.17.2009 Comments: (2)
Since now there are enough daytime hours on the weekends for Dan and I to sleep in, make breakfast, BART into the city and do a walk without rushing, we've decided to take up the urban hiking again. This walk started at 379 feet above sea level and took us around some enormous homes, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Marina area, and skirted alongside the edge of the Presidio. We also wandered through the Letterman Digital Arts Center, which is the home of Lucas Arts. Yes, that George Lucas. Stairs looking down - the Lyon stairway. And looking back up. The hearts are all over SF, each painted by different artists. Kind of like the donkeys/elephants and pandas in DC. These aren't an exhibit anymore, the ones we run into have been purchased and permanently placed where we find them. Welcome to working where George Lucas has enough money to get you an office with a sweet view (Golden Gate Bridge in the background) and great landscaping. So the Letterman Digital Arts Center was named for the Letterman Army Hospital that used to live on the site where Lucas Arts is now housed. It took 5 years to build, has a gold LEED certification, houses 1300 employees and a Starbucks. And this beautiful fountain. Why yes, that is Yoda on top there. Close-up. I maintain that he looks amazingly realistic - like he could talk to you any second. All the ponds and creeks that you saw in the above picture are manmade. Evidence below. Out on a jetty into the Marina is the Wave Organ. It is a scuplture (of marble and granite, recycled of course) with pipes extending down into the bay. The tubes that are above the surface project the acoustics of the water movements, hitting the pipes below. It's pretty awesome. View of SF from the Wave organ Later on in the walk in Pacific Heights - Imposing entrance to a home Someone's fish tank - outside their house. The faucet that fills the tank, also waters the plants above the tank, which grow on the wall. It was a pretty sweet setup. We tried 6 times to take a picture of ourselves with the bridge behind us, and finally jsut gave up and went with the "pseudo-artsy-but-really-just-can't-take-a-good-picture" style.

Hoping to do another this weekend. Stay tuned.

Letter from the Management

Comments: (3)
So, we've heard from a few people that you can't leave comments on the blog, which we have double-checked and updated in our settings. Everyone can, you just need to make sure to click on one of the last two options -- either "Name/URL" where you can just type in your name, you don't have to leave a URL, or "Anonymous" where you can just leave your name with your comment. In the past, we've been moderating comments - so we have to approve the comment before it posts - but I removed that to instantly reward you for commenting - you get to see it right away! Hopefully, this will all work. If you still have problems, let us know!

Congratulations v.11

6.16.2009 Comments: (1)
Please say hello to Lillian Elizabeth, born on June 13, 2009 weighing 9 lbs 9 ozs and 22 inches long!
Holly, Chris and Lily are all doing well.
Can you believe that hair?!?!

Take 5 Tuesday, KK and Dan edition

6.09.2009 Comments: (0)
Just to get us back into the blogging spirit. Bonus edition, with answers from both of us! 5 of your favorite TV shows K - West Wing K - Queer as Folk K - Jon and Kate Plus 8 (so sad lately) K - Friends (love some syndication!) K - Whale Wars (a new favorite, it is CRAZY) D - Sportsnight D - Simpsons D - Family Guy D - Daily Show D - Fraggle Rock 5 things you did last weekend K - Costco run! K - Baked a pie (strawberry/blueberry) K - Lusted after some handmade purses K - Drank some mimosas K - Cuddled with James D - Went to a new farmer's market D - Baked a massive pork loin D - Watched people at a street festival walk by eating mango with cajun spices, and drooled. D - Bought 9 mangoes due to aforementioned craving D - Went to Whole Foods twice in one day 5 places you’ve been on vacation K - Deutschland K - Aruba (favorite!) K - Denver K - The thriving metropolis of York, PA K - Troy, NY D - Venice, Italy D - Budapest D - Ocean City, Maryland D - New York City D - Cuba 5 places you would like to go K - Ireland K - Machu Picchu, Peru K - Galapagos Islands K - Egypt K - Hawaii D - New Zealand D - Thailand D - Greece D - Brazil D - Spain 5 dream jobs you wanted to have as a kid. K - Supermarket cashier (haha seriously. I have grand aspirations) K - Vet K - Lawyer (for about 10 minutes) K - Teacher K - Crazy cat lady (it's TOTALLY a job) D - Marine biologist D - Archaeologist D - Pilot D - Rock star (lead guitar specifically) D - Jeweler If you made it all the way through that, you should be commended. We are boring. Feel free to mock us.

Hello? (echo, echo)

Comments: (3)
Well, I realize that it's been about a month and a half since we've written here, so who knows if anyone will actually read this. I'm not entirely sure why we haven't been updating, but we do feel pretty bad about it, and the stern talking to we've gotten from some folks has just heaped on the guilt. I doubt we're going to be able to catch up on individual posts from what has been happening in the past 5 or 6 weeks, which totally sucks because I was all ambitious with the East Coast trip series (Follow through needs work me thinks) but I think we'll just start looking forward.
However, here's a short list of what we've been doing since we last wrote:
~Finishing up the school year (Kristin)
~Meeting with potential clients (Dan)
~Traveling to Mendocino, CA and horseback riding on the beach
~Listening to Dave Matthews Band's new album (and loving it)
~Planning our trips this summer
~Going to the Farmer's Market every week and cooking locally based meals (Goal accomplished!)
~Seeing native African animal species in wine country, CA
~Backing up my computer
~Not hating Angels and Demons, surprisingly
~Pretty much avoiding the telephone (you may have noticed?)
~Spending a lot of time in our local sports bar watching the Penguins in the playoffs
~Anxiously awaiting Dana and Larry's visit
~Eating all vegetarian on Wednesdays
~Reading, although not as much as I'd like
~Switching to compostable cat litter (another goal from this post)
~Finishing the Six Feet Under series
~Paying off a loan, woot!
~Wishing we could get another cat
~Building a website (more on that later)
~Heavily sighing over the fact that it is never warm enough in the Bay Area
~Laying around in the park, people watching and drinking wine
And here's a photo from the time a student group from Hong Kong stacked all their luggage on our porch. They had arrived from the airport two hours before they could check into their rooms, so they put their luggage on our porch and just LEFT IT there for anyone to steal.
What have you been doing lately?