11 December 2014

Crown Princess

 So, I made it back home safe from my cruise.  I have mixed feelings about the cruise; rather I have mixed feelings about cruising specifically.  I enjoyed my shore excursions.  So here are a few pictures from/of the boat and I will detail the good, the bad and the ugly for you.  My cruise was a 7 day cruise down to the Mexican Riviera (I didn't know there was a Mexican Riviera).  We had three ports that we stopped in not counting the one we departed from; San Pedro.  Our first stop was all the way down in Puerto Vallarta, followed by Mazatlan, finally a short stop in Cabo San Lucas.  So that was three full days out at sea, on a boat with a few thousand other humans.

21 November 2014

The Cruise

It has yet to happen but I am feeling a tad uneasy about it right now.  I got an e-mail yesterday afternoon from the cruise line regarding a delay in departure.


06 November 2014

North Pole

No, not THE North Pole!  I mean North Pole, Alaska.  We had to be typical tourists and visit the Santa Claus House.  Though Santa was not seated at his chair the day we went, we were able to see some resting reindeer.  We took some pictures outside of the house, which is really a store filled with Christmas-y stuff: ornaments, gifts, snacks, souvenirs and all other manner of Alaska related goodies.

29 October 2014

Nasal Assault

I was going to ramble on about sun worship and the like.  But I happened to sit down in a foul place and it has overshadowed my original blog thought.  Maybe later I will go on about sun worship.

Right now my complaint is about high school children; again!  Yes, I know.

21 October 2014

Return of the Wrath

About a month ago, I posted about my shoes being stolen from the gym.  I have since calmed down.  In retrospect I brought it on myself.  I left my shoes unsecured, I am lucky that was all that was stolen.  Still doesn't excuse the person that stole from me for their actions.  But had I locked my stuff up during my short shower, I would not have had to leave the gym barefoot.

Let me give a little back story into my latest fire fueled rant.  I am sure some of you have gathered that I have been taking a pottery wheel class(es).  If not, I am telling you now.  This is my second semester working the pottery wheel and have also signed up to take a Raku firing class as well.  Fridays are better than Christmas.  Friday is the day the glaze kiln is emptied, so all of your hard work finally comes out as a finished piece.  

24 September 2014

Empty Bowls Part 1

Way back in January I had mentioned that I took a ceramics class with my little sister.  Little did I know that the pottery wheel and I would become the best of friends.  After the city class I took, I enrolled in a community college class with my little sister and I became a fiend, more on that later.  I promise to post about my first semester after this post.  Promise!  

Anyhow, I was introduced to a charity called Empty Bowls.  Pretty much the way it works is you buy your ticket, choose a bowl donated by a local artisan and then have soup in it.  You get to keep the bowl when all is said and done.  I donated a few bowls that I made last month to 5 Cities Homeless Coalition.

15 September 2014

Friday Fuckin' Sucks

Today started off on the wrong foot.  Or rather it started off without footwear.  My shoes were stolen while I showered at the gym.  I was getting dressed after my workout when I noticed my shoes were missing.

These were a pair of shoes my pop-in-law got me for X-Mas.  Gone.  At 4:30 am, there were only 5 older ladies at the gym.  Klepto grandma strikes again?  I dunno, I had to walk out of the joint barefoot, drive home and call the mister to bring me out a pair to wear to work.  I should have taken this as a sign of the type of day I was to have.

20 August 2014

You suck, you can't play with us.

Tuesday was another typical day for me.  Well typical in that since my last blog post I have been working 13 hour days, including weekends.  How does that saying go?

I digress, as usual.  So Tuesday shortly after the mister takes Andy to crappyassfootball practice, I get a text about the coaches acting like idiots.  Here is the scenario:

The practice field that SMYFL uses belongs to a junior high school.  During regular school hours, which last Tuesday ran business as usual since it was the first day of school.  All campuses in this city are closed campuses, meaning all perimeter gates are locked, for the kids' safe keeping I suppose.  I don't see how a perimeter gate will keep the crazies out if all they need to do is hop over or climb under a fence.  Which brings me to what happened next.  

28 July 2014

Football (American Football) is stupid.

I really don't understand the fascination with the sport.  And my husband can do without it too, so un-American of us.  But our son just started football today.  What?!  Yeah, I know sounds like counter-intuitive to put him in a sport we both hate.  Guess who else hates it, or so he said up until the very second we walked onto the field: Andy.

25 July 2014

My dog is a traitor.

I have had the pleasure of owning Snarky since he was born; in my car.  It was a gross mess, but I digress.  My husband came into Snarky's life when he was still small enough to crawl into the sleeves of his hoodie.  When Snarky was teething and my husband would let him tear his sleeves into tatters against my wishes.  He was has known Snarky long enough for Snarky to be "our" dog not "my" dog.  Yea,  yea, I know.... what's his is yours and what's yours is his.  Phooey!  To me Snarky has been and will always be "MY" baby, my dog.  Until Joey decided to leave for Japan, I was convinced Snarky liked me better.  He even lets me cradle him like a baby and rub his tummy.  When I am not feeling well he rushes to my side to comfort me.

17 July 2014

Arctic Road Trip

I crossed the Arctic Circle by air and by road.  One of the things I really wanted to do while in Alaska was to cross the Arctic Circle, it would be stupid not to.  I was so close, I just had to!  There were 2 options for crossing the Arctic Circle one involved a very LONG, day car ride.  The other involved a long car ride with a stop to see the Northern Lights AND a short flight.  Any chance to see the lights as many times as possible was our aim for the trip.  So we chose the flight up to the Arctic Circle and then a nice coach ride down the Dalton Highway to watch the Northern Lights in Joy, Alaska and then 'home' to Fairbanks.  It was a LONG day but so worth the beautiful scenery and clean air.  You know you have found an amazing travel companion when you can be up at the butt crack of dawn, return home at the butt crack of dawn the next day and still be smiling ear to ear.  Thanks Sylv, glad to have shared an awesome day with you!

10 July 2014

Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs

 Fair warning this is an image heavy post.  But the images are really pretty if you fancy a colorfully lit, winter wonderland.  Back to my Alaska posts that I seem to be taking my sweet time with!  The Ice Museum at the Chena Hot Springs was fun, we booked a tour through Alaska Tours after doing some price shopping.  We got to enjoy a tour of the ice museum which is kept nice and chilly year-round using geothermal energy.  How do you like that, it keeps cool with warmth!  While taking the tour you can, for an extra charge, enjoy an appletini out of an ice martini glass.

01 July 2014

So rude!

Saturday morning I went out to run some errands.  I have a foreign exchange student staying with us from Indonesia and he requested a few snacks.  The guy in the above picture is not the exchange student.  He is a bad apple.  He is one of those older folks that think the world owes them something.  I can't stand people like that!

He had been standing in a check out line when he decided to change lanes.  In the process of changing into the lane I was queued up for, he slammed his cart into my arm in an effort to cut me off.  I exclaimed, in pain, "Ouch."  He then gave me the nastiest look and in a very rude tone said, "Excuse you."

No, excuse you.  You hurt me.
EXCUSE YOU, for being in my way.
An apology would be nice.
I am not going to apologize for hitting you.  I got in this lane first.
I don't care which lane you want to be in, I don't mind waiting.  What I do mind is getting hit and not getting a simple apology.
I won't apologize for hitting you.  I would do it again too.
For an older gentleman you are setting a very poor example for us younger people.

He turned away and didn't utter another word.  I so wanted to just pop off at the mouth and give him an ear full.  But he already was making himself look like a jackass... and getting called out for being a bad person was the icing on the cake.  People were looking at our exchange.  He was acting immature and someone young enough to be his daughter called him out.  I think he was a bit embarrassed.  I took out my cell phone and took a picture of the back of his head just so I could post it on my blog.  I was shocked that he was unapologetic no matter what his age.  I was so glad I didn't let my temper get the best of me but I was pretty hot under the collar.  Since when is it okay to mow someone down and feel good about it?  I seriously hate people some days.  I told the mister about it and he told me I should have hit him with my car.  Violence is not the answer but I hope that old man went home stewing because a youngster had to remind him about his manners. 

In all honesty I probably would not have said a word to him had he not hit my arm that is currently in a splint.  So yea, I was already a bit hurt in the arm that got plowed into.  I didn't need to be in more pain, I thought evil little thoughts in my head stabbing tiny daggers in his eyes.  It must be exhausting to be such a nasty mean person all the time... because that little exchange I had with the man was enough to tucker me out and it was only 9am!!!

14 June 2014

2 Qualms

These should probably be thrown under the pet peeve category....(three if you count the fact that I think I honestly am losing my memory.)

1.)  First and foremost.... I am NOT a prude but god damn it if every stupid movie I want to watch these days has to be sprinkled with several sex scenes.  I DO NOT want 5, 2 minute segments in every movie involving sweaty backs, nail clawing and thrusting with inaccurate moaning.  That is 10 minutes a movie of sex that I am not having.... why would you want me to watch that Hollywood???  Also, what's up with the recent gratuitous penis/ball shots these days???

Some of my favorite movies have sex scenes but not every god damn scene change.  What ever happened to the movie montage?  Seriously!  I end up grabbing the remote to fast forward through the poorly done sex scenes.  Look, I KNOW sex sells.  So either make a damn porn or get the fuck out of my story line!  I have found myself watching K-dramas/K-Movies because even a kiss scene is over the top.  -_-  I can't even watch certain shit in my own house cause I don't need Andy watching crotch/tit shots.  Don't get me wrong, I saw that shit as a kid but seriously it was a brief blink not 2 minutes of grunt-tastic action.  I fucking hate watching fucking sex scenes in my plot related movies.  You either get a movie or you get porn.... why does it have to be both?!?!?!  Was Boogie Nights not enough?????

03 June 2014

World Ice Art Championship 2014

The day my sister and I landed in Alaska we planned on visiting the World Ice Art Championship exhibit.  What we failed to plan for was public transportation, the buses do not start running until 9.  So my sister and I decided to walk to the exhibit.  It seems a short 2 mile walk is just not something that is done in Alaska, we got odd stares.  And when people asked how far we had walked to the exhibit they were shocked because it was SO far.  It was a nice, brisk, walk first thing in the morning, by the time we got to the exhibit our faces were very red.  I guess it was a little cold but not so cold we didn't have a blast looking at ice sculptures.
Note to self: Ice is sharp.
 I managed to slice my finger open sliding down this teeny ice slide.  2014 started to warm up sooner than usual in Alaska, so we ended up catching the tail end of the displays.  Several areas were cordoned off or had just melted into strange unrecognizable blobs.  I actually cheated and peeked at the sculptures before going to Alaska so I knew what they were supposed to look like.  The link up top will take you to this year's sculptures.

28 May 2014

Day 6 - West Maui

Punalau Beach
This was our final day of adventuring.  So we decided to go as far into West Maui as possible without breaking our car rental contract.  The picture above was a little turn off that we were able to stop at before turning around to avoid the 'danger' zone of driving. 

21 May 2014

Day 5 - Road to Hana (Part 2)

Obligatory photo of mile marker 0

We had so much fun on our way to Hana the first day that we didn't quite make it there.  So for Thanksgiving Day, we spent driving the Road to Hana again!  Much less traffic and tourists, I guess most folks spend their day gorging themselves on food.  We spent our day enjoying the lovely drive and frolicking on trails and several different beaches.

16 May 2014

AMGEN Tour of California

Yesterday we had record breaking heat and stage 5 of the AMGEN Tour of California go through our small community.  Right out front of the high school I happen to be working at these days.  The street was closed off and teachers were allowed to bring their students out of class to cheer on the riders.  These guys whizzed by pretty quickly but not as fast as they barreled down San Marcos Pass later that day.  70 plus miles per hour is pretty darn fast for a cyclist to be going down that mountain pass.  If I am not mistaken I believe 55 mph is the top speed for vehicles on that pass.  Watching these guys on the live news feed made my palms sweaty knowing how fast they were going down that dangerous road.  Cycling takes some balls!

14 May 2014

I hate high school.

These "students" are a lie.

Okay so maybe not high school the place, or high school the curriculum (which incidentally sucks right now), mostly I hate the high schoolers.  This isn't a reflective post about how I was bullied in high school and how now I have low self esteem.  No, I think it has more to do with the maturity level (which for some, will always remain the same). 

Since my promotion, I have been on-site at various high schools 100% of the time.  Where as before I was only let out of my little cage during non-school time (summer break, spring break, winter break).  That being said I am reminded of the stupidity of high school children.  I avoid them at all costs, I do not speak to them aside from telling them to leave a class I am working in if a teacher or other staff is not in the room.  Why?  Because they annoy me and I was not hired to deal with children.  I was hired to deal with computers, the network and other related duties.

***Warning I in no way condone inappropriate relationships between staff and students.  I also encourage people to report improper conduct if it is indeed occurring.  No one should have to feel ashamed to come forward.***

01 May 2014

A to Z Challenge: Reflections Post

Yay, I did it!! 
I (barely) reached the end of the Challenge. 
I'm not gonna lie it was a bit hard restricting myself to travel. What was I thinking?

So here are some of the questions that I am going to answer. 
Did you accomplish your goals? My goal was to post for each letter of the alphabet, so yes I met my goal.
Did you post every day? Yes and no. Some days I am busier than others so I scheduled posts. During my busy days I didn't check to see if my posts actually posted when they were supposed to. So I had a few times that my posts 'appeared' all on one day, that would be the day I realized my stuff wasn't posting. Stupid blogger messing with my junk. 
Did you make new friends? I wouldn't say I necessarily made new friends. But I did gain a few more page hits. There are a few folks that have returned to visit my blog that I intend on adding to my blog roll. Maybe as time goes they will become my interwebz friend? 
Did you enjoy the Challenge? I did enjoy the challenge and maybe next time I do it I will maybe change it to a photo a day of the given letter? I don't know, not sure if I like giving up a whole month of normal blogging for an a A-Z challenge.  I have gotten back tracked on stuff like my Hawaii posts and I still have to share my Alaskan adventures.  Not to mention an update on how I did with my pottery wheel class.  And further complains about reluctant step-parenting misadventures.

So I hope to continue full force blogging about life and such.  If there is one thing this challenge did teach me is that I do have time to blog more often than I had been.  It was just a matter of motivation, if I can just stay motivated to post at least 2-3 times a week I will be satisfied.  I have so much to share it's a shame so many would be posts just fizzle away in my brain instead of making it to posts or even drafts.

30 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzyzx

This is one of those places I have driven by many times but never took the turn off to actually take Zzyzx Road.  It's out in the middle of nowhere.  Anyone who has driven to or from Las Vegas and California will have passed the sign.  Maybe even stopped the car to take a picture with the sign.  It's a quirky name for a road.  

Honestly, the thought of stopping in the middle of the desert to go to an unknown place kinda gives me the willies.  I've seen 'The Hills Have Eyes' and I would rather avoid the stop.  But I looked up the place and it's rather anti-climactic.  It's a research center and there is a natural hot spring there, aside from that.... not much else.

The main reason I remember the word is because there was a retired staff member who continually would request his password reset.  Somehow the summer break would cause him to forget his password every year.  And every year he would call in stating he forgot his password and if I would be so kind as to set it to Zzyzx.  I never did ask him if he had tried the password because had he tried, he wouldn't have called.  Job security right?

29 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yukon River

 The Yukon River was frozen when I went to Alaska a few weeks ago.  So frozen I actually went out for a walk with my sister onto the river and had a nice cold beer.  We watched the sun setting together and marveled at the crisp, cold, beauty of the river.

And the Yukon River Bridge, that carries (holds?) part of the Alaskan Pipeline on it is also a part of the Dalton Highway.  More on my Alaskan adventures after this blog challenge is over.

28 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xanax

The first time I was going on a trip that included a plane ride I was so worried about the flight that I asked my doctor to give me a prescription for Xanax.  I have had to take it before for anxiety and before dentist visits.  I know flying stresses out many folks so that's why X gets Xanax for my A-to-Z Challenge.  Anyone who has suffered panic attacks can attest to the helpfulness of Xanax.  When I first started getting panic attacks I thought I was having a heart attack!  I literally would have to pull over, stop the car and hope I wasn't dying.  It was stress, I have since learned ways to avoid getting so bent out of shape.  But I digress, back to getting a prescription for flight jitters.

Oddly enough I didn't need to take the pills.  I was more excited than anything else to go on my first international trip that I didn't feel nervous at all.  I actually have come to enjoy flying.  The last flight I was on I did feel slightly nervous only because, like an idiot, I decided to read up on that missing plane that was all over the news.  Maybe not the smartest reading material pre-flight, I guess I am a glutton for punishment.  I just had to remember the odds are much better for flying than driving.

26 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: W is for Wiesbaden

I am totally cheating and linking this post to my original post regarding Wiesbaden.  Since then, our friend who lived there has moved to Texas.  What a change!  Wiesbaden is a beautiful place but a bit too rich for my blood.  I could not afford to live there, much less shop there. 

I wouldn't mind going back to check it out when it is actually alive.  I was there during Easter and the streets were desolate.

25 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: V is for Valencia

There is only one reason I have gone or will go to Valencia....  Just one.
I love Magic Mountain!  I have so many fond memories of going with my roomie and taking exchange students who are thrill seekers.  I really want to go soon but the mister is anti-coasters.  I think they make him sick or give him migraines or something.  I am hoping once Andy hits 58 inches (if he hasn't already, somehow the kid suddenly got taller) I can coax him into riding some awesome coasters.  I have a sinking suspicion that he may be a pansy about coasters though.

I was there for the opening of Goliath, which was so intense it broke the spaghetti strap right off of my roomie's tank-top.  That was fun, good thing the girls weren't over exposed and the park offers a variety of shirts and tanks for sale.  I almost snapped my neck off riding Superman because the 'keep head back' signs were oddly enough placed to the side instead of in front of me.  Never made that mistake again, without a warning ZOOM!!!! off into the air.  I rode the predecessor to X2, the X1 and it seriously made tears come out of my eyes.  It was like nothing I had ever ridden before and I actually ran out of scream, I had to gasp for air to scream more.  I was seated next to a strange little Asian boy who just looked over and laughed at my tear-streaked, breathless face; it was magical.  The guy I went with the time refused to go on again because he insisted it would give him a stroke or heart attack.

24 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: U is for Underwater

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows about my fear of the ocean.  I started taking baby-steps and learned to swim.  While in Hawaii, I did the unthinkable and went snorkeling.  I actually swam out, away from the boat, on my own and looked into the ocean.  I got to see the wonder and beauty that I was only able to see through fish tanks before.  I got to swim through a bunch of little fish and I loved it.  I was scared to death when I got in the water but after my panic subsided and by breathing returned to normal I was off exploring INSIDE the ocean.

I am hoping to continue snorkeling when I go on other adventures.  Being able to see life underwater was life changing and inspired me to face my fears more often.  I hope to have the opportunity to go underwater again in the future.  Maybe on my next vacation!

More on facing my fears in Hawaii will be coming up soon as soon as this blog challenge is over.  I plan to upload some video I was able to take while snorkeling too.

23 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: T is for Tehachapi

Tehachapi has been something of a recurring place for me since about the time I was 16.  I remember my friend Jeff talking about Tehachapi, A LOT!  He wanted to visit Tehachapi for one reason, the train.  You can look up lots of news related articles regarding the Tehachapi Loop.  He was a train buff and envied that I lived so close to the train tracks and could stand so close to them as they whizzed by.  I still haven't had the chance to see a train descend or ascend the Tehachapi Loop.  I wonder if Jeff ever got to see a train on the loop.

Later in life, on my first road trip to Las Vegas, we passed Tehachapi.  I had never witnessed windmills like the ones in Tehachapi or so many!  I think in retrospect I would have preferred a nature walk in the area surrounding Tehachapi than having gone to Vegas.  

A few years after that I met a gal online through a message board, we exchanged addresses and she lived in Tehachapi!  I sent her a few of my t-shirts for her to tye-dye and I knitted her light green toque.  I wish I had gone to visit her while she still lived in Tehachapi.  I still intend on stopping there one day to see the loop and spend some time there outdoors.

22 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: S is for San Francisco

I really enjoy San Francisco, I don't know if it's the impossible hills, the crisp wind or the late foggy mornings.  I do know, the food is great and I have never been lacking for anything to do any time I have ever been there.  The last time I went was wonderful, it was my mom's first time and it was my first time to actually walk the Golden Gate Bridge.  It's one of those things I always meant to do but never got around to it.  It was just our luck that we have a semi-clear day to walk the bridge and take pretty pictures.  That's me, my mom and my sis.

21 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: R is for Residenz München

Or Munich Residenz if you don't speak German.  

It's beautiful, big and makes you feel like a tiny dwarf in some of the grand palace rooms.  I especially loved the huge mirrors and doors.

Oh and I can't forget the amazing collection of bones.  Yes, bones!

For more pictures from my trip to the Munich Residenz click here.

19 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: Q is for Queensland

One of these days when I make it to Australia, I plan on stopping in Queensland; specifically Brisbane and Ipswich.  If I haven't mentioned it before I have hosted several exchange students.  Most of the students I have hosted range from a 2 week stay all the way to a 5 month stay.  The shortest kids I hosted were a group of four boys from Ipswich Grammar School that stayed with us for four days.

The four boys were traveling with their teammates through the US playing in basketball tournaments against other high schools.  These boys were nothing like any of the other students I had previously hosted.  Most of the students I had hosted were mousey, shy and Asian.  These boys were rambunctious, outgoing and very friendly; they were also ravenous eaters!  They encouraged us to come visit sometime in the future.  Some of the boys that stayed with us still remain contact online.  I hope one day to be able to visit where they came from.

18 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: P is for Pismo Beach

I bet you thought you were going to see the stereotypical, Baywatch-esque, California beach, huh?  Or you were expecting to see this Pismo Beach:
That is the Pismo I avoid, it's getting to be that time of year.  That time of year when folk from Bakersfield and the surrounding areas flood the central coast looking to escape the oppressive heat of in-land California.  They show up in droves, three day weekends are the worst.  I wouldn't get so upset about it but for the most part they show up acting like entitled jerks that litter the beaches with cigarette butts, Coors Light containers and fast-food wrappers.  This time of year I usually run the hills to hide.  Reminds me of an episode of Family Guy, the one about the Leafers.  Except we don't get Leafers, we get Bake-O's (as it people from Bakersfield).
Forget it!  I prefer it much more when the weather is overcast and not a soul want's to enjoy natures beauty.  The best time to enjoy it is when you can actually enjoy it instead of wading through an ocean of sweaty, gross, litter bugs.  Maybe I'm anti-social but I have my reasons for preferring a quiet walk on a gloomy beach over a crowded, sunny day.

17 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: O is for Oso Flaco

 So it says it's a lake. And growing up out in Guadalupe, I assumed it was a huge beautiful lake but much to my surprise it was an odd kinda pretty and more of a multi-habitat.  As you can see above the entrance is alongside agricultural fields.  Fields as far as the eye can see but then you take a short walk in the direction of the beach and you find beauty.  I know it looks gloomy and that's how most of my childhood mornings appeared.  Gloom and doom until about 2pm!

 A few hundred feet and a sharp right brings you to the actual lake.  There is a bridge that was constructed by volunteers and children (my brother was among them) to help you traverse the lake.  The lake is home to several endangered species in the Central Coast.... snowy plover is among my favorite.  At the end of the trail you can meet the violent ocean that is the Pacific.

16 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: N is for Netherlands

And annoyed that my post failed again.  Even after I check the time/date/zone.  Blogger I officially hate you and will be looking for a suitable replacement.  But before that let's get back to my day, just ONE, in the Netherlands.  Specifically Amsterdam for a 20 some odd hour layover.

Okay I lie, the layover was cut short by bone chilling winds, travel exhaustion and just plain exhaustion.  In the first picture I posted you can see I have a foot bandaged up.  That foot had walked for 2 weeks all over Germany and I think my poor hurt ankle was done for.  And I was done for.  But while in Amsterdam I did get to visit the Anne Frank House, Homomonument, Vondelpark, the giant I amsterdam sign, took a canal tour and had the best cup of coffee I think I have ever tasted in my life.  I did not visit a Coffee Shop, though I probably should have since they are now verboden to foreigners.  Ah such is life, being from California a smoke shop really wasn't of much interest to me, every corner street of a large city has a dispensary here.  Oh, we also got to stay in the airports capsule hotel which was expensive and kinda creepy.

15 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: M is for Munich

Another pilfered photo
I already have an image heavy post about Munich here.  I just have two things to say about Munich beer and food.  Okay, the buildings are pretty cool and the people seem way laid back too which was nice.  For my first German city, I really liked it.  The public transportation was impecable!

So back to the food.  I got to try weisswurst for the first time in Munich, oh man that is some GOOD sausage!  My sister and I enjoyed it so much we had to go for round two the next day.  We crave it from time to time and the only place we can get it is from German Deli.  If you live in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada or have an APO/FPO; they ship to you.  So if you are in the mood for some German goodies, they are good.  I have ordered from them twice and have no complaints.

As a side note blogger seems to be failing at posting my scheduled posts.  Sorry thins one posted a day late but it was intended for yesterday.  Guess I will have to find time to clock the Publish button.

14 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: L is for Lava Beds

Lava Beds National Monument is out in the sticks! I didn't even know they existed but I am glad I learned of their existence.  I remember it was in August, it was hot and the air felt quite oppressive.  I grew up at sea level so the elevation was causing me to feel fatigued.  10 feet into any cave the air temperature dropped quickly, more so in the ice caves.  I almost wish I had been better prepared for the lava beds.  Unfortunately, much like my random stop at Klamath, the lava tubes were an afterthought that was squeezed into my road trip. 

I was just talking to the mister and he thinks it would be a great idea to go there.  Maybe on the way up to Grant's Pass we can take a day or two to camp at this lovely high desert.  A quiet, dark, natural place to stargaze at night.... and a spelunkers paradise during the day.

*Photos pilfered from the government.  Back when I road-tripped, I didn't have a camera because it was a million years ago and capturing moments in time was low on my list of priorities.

13 April 2014

Guest Blog Post: Running For Fitness

No one looks sexy running; but damn if you don't feel it!
So I started running because my sister wanted a running partner for a 10k in San Fran.  I figured, "Ugh I don't run!  Why?!  Ugh, ok, I will do it!"  For my sister you know... and then a funny thing happened, I liked it.  No, no, I found a new drug!  Running can be so great for health; both mental and physical.  And magically I fell in love with it and as Forrest says, "For no particular reason I just kept on goin'."  So, Healthline wanted to do a guest post and I figured why not if the subject matter was of interest to me.  Running is, so for anyone who is thinking, not thinking or even uttered the word running.  Here is to you and I hope you can join in the good fun that is running.

Beginners Guide to Running for Fitness
Setting fitness goals is one of the most common new year’s resolutions around. Unfortunately for many, this desire to get in shape and turn over a new fitness leaf soon fizzles out in a week or two because of lack of planning and setting unrealistic goals. Some tend to choose fitness activities that require a lot of time and planning, while others choose those that don’t need a lot of preparation, such as running and jogging. Running is probably one of the best forms of exercise anyone can do; however, proper technique is important. Here are several running tips for beginners:
Plan your Schedule
Like any other exercise routine, setting a specific schedule for running is important. For beginners, most fitness experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week. Running too far and too fast is the number one cause of injury among runners, so it is best to start easy, and increase the pace and distance gradually for a more positive result. Keeping a running journal or log is also a great way to track your progress. It also allows you to tune up your running routine if necessary.
Set a goal
Setting a goal is important when starting a fitness routine. It helps you to stay focused and motivates you throughout your exercise. Writing it down and posting it to an area where you can see it every day is also a good idea. Make sure that your goals are specific, attainable, measurable, timely and realistic to help you progress consistently, while avoiding the possibility of lapses. It is also recommended to categorize goals as short-term or long-term so that you are able to focus on one goal at a time. It also allows you to adjust physically and mentally to the changes brought by the new fitness program.
Clothing and Equipment
Running is an easy and cheap alternative to other exercise routines because it can be done almost everywhere, and requires very little equipment. A good pair of running shoes is the most important investment runners should make since this ensures the safety of the runner against injuries incurred with the use of improper shoes. It is best to purchase running shoes in specialty shops because they are more knowledgeable about what kind of shoe will complement your physique, goals, running style and ability. The late afternoon is the best time to shop for running shoes since feet swell slightly during the day.
Learn running techniques
Make sure you know all the basics before starting a running program. It is important to consult your physician to know your health limitations, especially for men 45 years and older or women who are 50 years and older. Start each run with a warm-up for at least 5 minutes. This can include quick walking, knee lifts and climbing stairs. Start running slowly with walking intervals to avoid straining. As time goes by, you can increase your pace and running time up to a speed and duration you’re comfortable with. Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and gently stretching your legs afterwards. It is best to run at least twice a week, consistently every week. Make sure that even if you’re running, you’ll still be able to carry a conversation. Running at the right intensity will keep you from burning out too quickly.
Mix up your routine
Mixing up other exercises or activities and adding variations can keep your fitness regimen more interesting. Running the same route over and over again can be boring, so it’s best to try different routes as you progress. Trails in woods, hills and beaches are also great places to run, since they allow you to enjoy your surroundings even while working out. You can also add variation by doing other activities such as cycling and aerobics. Try to add at least 20 minutes of strength workout in your routine twice a week as well. This will help you to build muscle and bone density, which can protect you against injuries.
Track what you eat
Exercise is not the only solution when trying to lose weight or keeping yourself healthy. Your eating habits play a big role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Make sure to keep an eye on everything you eat. Try to avoid colas, candies and foods that are high in salt and sugar. Fruits and vegetables should comprise most of your diet since they contain fewer calories and significantly more nutrition.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader's Digest and GQ Magazine, among others. David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in healthline.com. For more of his Healthline articles, visit http://www.healthline.com/ .

12 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: K is for Klamath Falls

Pilfered photo.
Klamath Falls was an unplanned stop that I am thankful for stopping at.  I was on a roadtrip way back when and just north of the California border is Klamath Falls.  It was beautiful!  Green as far as the eye could see, a pretty lake that made all other lakes I had seen look like dirty mud puddles.  And the smell was amazing, the air was crisp and clean.  I am hoping when the mister's family decides on roadtripping up to Bend that I can stop at Klamath Falls again.

11 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: J is for Japan

So, I haven't been to Japan. But I want to go and I always thought I would go first.  Alas, it seems like the mister will go first.  He has family in Hokkaido, family he hasn't seen in some where about a decade?  So it seems my plans for Japan shall be put on hold for a tad bit longer.

Thought at some point I would like to spend some time in Hokkaido, possibly meeting the mister's family.  Possibly snowboarding?  There are other places of interest, as a tourist of course, that I would love to visit. 

As a future tourist are there any must see places I have to stop at?  Is there anything to see that is off the tourist beaten path?  Any suggestions are welcome... also, I think I am jealous and nervous.

So I kinda sorta failed on this post because it's not about where I have been but where I will go.  But still, it's related to travel.

10 April 2014

A to Z Challenge: I is for Ice

Or igloo!  Really thought, it's for ice, as in the Ice Museum at the Chena Hot Springs.  I have much more to talk about regarding the Ice Museum but that's for a more in depth post at a later time.  With way more pictures.  
See the Beauty and the Beast rose?
 But, I do have to share that the Ice Museum has an ice bar, which serves cocktails in ice martini glasses.  There are several ice sculptures and four bedrooms all designed out of ice.  The lighting gave it all a very magical feel.
All of the sculptures in the museum are hand-made by Steven and Heather Brice.  If you are ever near Fairbanks, it's worth it to take a very scenic drive to the Chena Hot Springs.  Check out the amazing ice scupltures, have nice dip in the hot springs and have a dinner afterwards; depending on the time of year maybe even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.