Archive | September, 2010

I am absolutely exhausted. It’s 10:40 at night as I type this, and I’m on the verge of sleep.

And yet, for reasons I can’t exactly explain, I figured now was a good time to tell you about my accidental trip to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. I’ve embarked on this post, knowing that I’ve been putting it off for weeks, and that writing it will take me forever. What can I say? I make bad decisions.

And bad decisions are largely to blame for how I ended up there in the first place. You might remember my ill-fated attempts to get to the Presidio. On my second attempt, I ended up near Ghirardelli Square, and, high on chocolate fumes, stumbled over to Maritime National Park. At the time, I didn’t even know what it was.

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The park includes a fleet of six boats, moored at the Hyde Street Pier. On the day that I went, some of the boats were closed due to strong winds and choppy waves. I have concluded that these boats must have been boring, and that I missed nothing. If you attended the park and know this to be otherwise, please do not tell me.

Past this sign? Pure lameness.

Past this sign? Pure lameness. Or so I hope.

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Folks, I have much to tell you. But right now, since I missed my weekly round-up on Friday, and nearly missed posting today, I thought it best to delay all my crazy tales of woe to simply inform you that I am alive, and haven’t given up entirely on travel, writing, and the human race in general.

And why would I? Why throw in the towel just because not everything has gone my way? Even though the last few weeks have been insane and frustrating, I have it easy. And I need to remember that. My racing heart and shortness of breath are due to the fact that my life is exciting and interesting, right? As is the tingling in my left arm, I’m sure.

Plus, bruises heel, don’t they? As do welts. Even if they’re smack dab in the  middle of your forehead.

But the emotional scars of bad customer service take a bit longer to fade. Fortunately, we have online reviews to write, that act as a balm to our hurt feelings. And sternly worded letters to send to supervisors and managers. And Twitter rants to share. Justice will be had, 140 characters at a time.

Because while I am acutely aware of what a lucky gal I am, gallivanting around the world with the love of my life, I am nevertheless convinced the hotels are messing with me. And not just the Plaza Inn and Suites (which I’ve alluded to, and which I promise I will tell you about once I have a few more drinks in me), but other hotels which I know and love. Some of them have tried to do nice things for us, like upgrades and moves. The results of which have been dangerous and not at all fun. Clearly, the road to customer service hell is paved with good intentions. (more…)

When I woke up this morning, my husband was curled up next to me. He even had even moved his head over so that we were sharing a pillow. This is no small thing, since we have a king-size bed.

It reminded me that even when things are crazy, we occasionally have 6 or 7 hours that we get to spend together. They aren’t conscious, but still: they’re there. And it’s a funny and sweet realization to know that someone loves you, even in their sleep. That they move towards you, hug you, share your pillow, despite the expanse of valuable mattress real estate left empty behind them.

I wish I saw more of my husband. Sometimes, I sit in the floor of his office reading a book while he works. It’s not quite spending time together, but it’s spending time near each other. And sometimes that has to be enough. And it is.

But every now and then, Rand has time to explore a city with me. It’s rare – and that’s probably what makes it so damn special. On the days when he plays hooky, I move between feeling absolutely guilt-ridden for infringing on his work and giggling like a schoolgirl.

There are plenty of joys to seeing a city on your own (just ask Gray from SoloFriendly) – seeing exactly what you want, when you want to. Eating snacks every 10 minutes. Shopping. More shopping.

And yet, and yet, and yet … there is something wonderful about traveling with someone who knows you better that anyone else. Someone who you may see all the time, but rarely get to see.

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Note: While this was written on Monday night, I only just posted it now. Fear not – Rand and I are safely home and out of our terrible hotel.

Folks, I am currently in hotel hell. I will elaborate more on it when I get home – right now I am toiling away one last night in a room the size of a hatbox with my husband. There is only room for one of us to sit at the desk they’ve provided us at a time (and only one chair) so I’ll try and get this post out in the time that he’s done brushing his teeth.

Why do I suspect this photo, taken a few months ago, will get a LOT of use on my site?

Why do I suspect this photo, taken a few months ago, will get a LOT of use on my site?

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Did I mention that the Plaza Inn and Suites in Ashland, Oregon, is horrible? NEVER STAY HERE. But, again, that’s for next week. In the meantime, I’m thinking about how lucky I am to have the support of my awesome friends like Christine, who tore the manager here a new a-hole on my behalf. Thanks, Christine! You’ll be happy to know that they sent us a cheap bottle of wine as an apology. Rand and I are at the point that we’re laughing our asses off about the whole thing: we joked that they were next going to move us into a janitorial closet (but the good news is that they’ll be giving us another bottle of shitty wine we won’t drink). (more…)

Dear Rand,

I just wanted to say thanks.

For waiting until I’ve photographed your food before you start eating (even when you’re starving).

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For getting us to the airport waaay too early, even if it means that we’ll be sitting around for the better part of an hour, because you know I freak if I think we’re running late.

For teaching me to appreciate things.

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Rand and I are lucky: we have awesome friends. And while that statement should be a given from nearly every single person on the planet (I mean, why be friends with people who you don’t think are awesome?) it often times isn’t the case. I’ve talked to my fair share of people with the occasional friend who’s nasty. Or critical. Or just plain lame.

Laura and Chris are not any of these things. And so when the opportunity arose to visit their house outside of San Francisco, we took it. Because, we assumed, they lived in a magical wonderland full of toys and fun.

And, holy cats, they do.

Their home is about 45 minutes outside of the city by train. I will discuss this no further, since, like all hip and intelligent people who are forced to buy homes outside of the city (because they don’t want their future children selling crack by the age of 8), they are sensitive to this point. Let me simply say that Rand and I hopped on a train, and spent a few sunlight days and nights in a BART compartment that smelled of urine, and it was all worth it.

The name of their neighborhood escapes me. The majority of the houses there are designed by Joseph Eichler, a developer who was active from the 50s to the mid-70s, and maintained an aesthetic not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright’s (at least, as far as I understand). People who understand things like interior design and home decor go absolutely crazy about this sort of thing. Sadly, like physics and mixing prints within the same outfit, it is something that I appreciate, but don’t fully comprehend. (more…)

It’s my first Friday after turning 30, and you know what?

30 is friggin awesome. I am absolutely loving every single damn second of it. Are there downsides? Well, I’m sure there must be … I mean, I haven’t personally encountered too many yet (except that I’m now in my 30s, and for some reason my breaking out like a teenager. WHAT THE HELL?)

But the point is? You take the good with the bad. Just like in this week’s round-up.

Let’s start with the bad. And the weird. And the harbingers of what’s wrong with our society …

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Just one more reason why I’m not moving to Russia (and no, I hadn’t actually been considering it): Russian judge rules sexual harassment okay, as it ensures humans breed.

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Remember, folks: violence is not the answer. But if it were, then you’d assume Jack Bauer had been asked a lot of questions. Check out Bauer’s kill count from every single episode of 24. It’s absurd. (via @raisingdad, who, by the way, is HILARIOUS). (more…)

I know, I know- you’ve heard enough about my crazy adventures getting to the Golden Gate Bridge, right? But while I thoroughly explained how I arrived at the bridge (you can read all about my attempts to get there here, here, and here), my dear husband was pretty peeved that I didn’t write more about the actual visit to the bridge.

And perhaps my hesitation to write about the Golden Gate Bridge was that my visit was entirely nerve-wracking.

While I had not initially planned to walk over the bridge, once I was actually there, I figured I sort of had to. For the record, it is a long way across. A round trip is nearly 3.5 miles, and took me about an hour (I walked quickly, but stopped constantly for photos).

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I highly recommend it, unless you are easily rattled. Which apparently, I am. (more…)