Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Are Done

Yes, there is going to be a picture of me for every post from now on. If you look close you can see my fat lip.

When I was nine years old I had a disastrous summer. I don't know if I was going through a growth spurt, and my body and mind couldn't keep up with each other, but it wasn't pretty. First, while driving my cousin's toy car, I panicked and ran straight into a bolder, which caused major damage. Then a week later, while running up to my uncle's sports car to say hello, I burned my skin against the exhaust pipe, that ran along the edge of the car. (In my defense, how was I supposed to know my uncle had purchased a 911 call waiting to happen.) Then, that same day, I decided to play go fetch with my Grandpa's crazy dog, which, by the way, consisted of throwing rocks for him to go get. After a few minutes of this bizarre game, the dog went crazy (and really who wouldn't go crazy playing a game of "almost being pelted with a rock by a nine year old") and jumped up to bite the rock out of my hand. I, of course, panicked again, and launched the rock behind my head. Unfortunately, instead of landing on the ground, my rock found the dead center of my grandma's glass table. Needless to say, my mother announced I was done and for the rest of the summer I wore a helmet, played under heavy supervision and hoped my seasonal stupidity would pass.

It's been 22 years since those touch and go months, and now, like a vicious cycle, I fear I am experiencing another destructive summer. First, while putting away a coffee syrup, I managed to dump about a gallon of it all over the espresso machines, the phone, the fridge, the steamers and the wall. It took me a little over 3 hours to clean and the phone still sticks to its receiver. Next, while changing the menu boards we have in the market, I clocked myself dead in the mouth with one of the bars that holds them together. Not only is my bottom and top lip swollen, but I bled for about an hour. Lastly, while bringing up gallons of milk from the basement storage area, I managed to turn the corner too quick and drop a gallon of milk onto the pavement. Instantly, the milk exploded onto my leg and into my shoes. As I watched the milk spew from the busted container I heard my mom scream, "You are done!"

It's only June...what's next? Am I going to catch on fire?

Monday, June 28, 2010


Me during lunch. I'm about to go suck on my exhaust pipe.

Since I was 18, I've been working lacrosse camps. Camps are interesting places. No matter where I run a camp the scene is always the same. First, you have one optimistic camp director, who has forgotten that by lunch they are going to be ready to slam their head into a car door. (That would be me.) Secondly, you have about four kids, who actually show some promise, and by the second day, you aren't even trying to hide the fact that they are your favorites.

And lastly, no matter what camp I'm at, there's always one kid who stands out so much I am forced to give them the nickname "Superstar." Now, before you think I'm a master motivator, let me explain what is required to receive the title of "Superstar." First, you have to have an incredibly delusional parent, who is dressed in some type of lacrosse gear, for no apparent reason, and who wants to talk to you about the recent National Championship game you never saw. Secondly, you have to be completely "geared out." I mean, you have to have the most expensive stick, the cleats and eye gear have to be top of the line and a freshly molded mouthguard must be already in your mouth. Thirdly, you must, and this is very important, march to your own drum. In other words, no matter what I say, keep throwing like a one-armed shot putter and disregard, under all circumstances, any type of correction. And lastly, you must display, at least once during the camp, a very awkward breakdown of emotion. If you can accomplish these things then you will be named the camp "Superstar."

Last week I coached a camp in La Canada. The Superstar of this camp was a dynamic winner. What pushed her out in front of all the other candidates? Well, she really nailed the #4 criteria. During a water balloon fight (I'll discuss tomorrow how utterly ridiculous this camp was) I saw her carrying a water balloon. I figured she, like everyone else, was holding onto the balloon so she could get me wet, so I exploded the balloon in her hands. As I was doing this she started screaming, "I want to take this home!" (That would be the balloon. The balloon of water.) As I went to apologize for the explosion of water into her stomach, she picked up what was left of her balloon and threw it in my face (yes, it did hit my face) and started to cry. (Over the balloon. The balloon of water.) And that was it. That was when she became...Superstar.

Did I mention I have no idea why I do these camps?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Museums Think We Are Idiots

Yesterday, Ranger Rick (name has been changed to protect the privacy of my husband) and I decided it was time to check off some things we have been wanting to do since coming to LA. (Okay, this is more my list that I have forced upon Ranger Rick, but I think he's really catching the spirit of it...the spirit of coolness. I debated about keeping that in. It might be one of those that sounds cooler in my head.)

Anyway, yesterday we traveled to the La Brea Tar Pits and to the Grove. (I know major sites of LA.) The Grove was basically a crammed version of our 3rd Street Promenade. (Yes, you did read "our." I've been here 3 1/2 years - it's time to start taking some ownership.) The Tar Pits, however, were awesome. What was so awesome? Well, not to spoil the attraction, but let me discuss the following picture:Behind me is a depiction of a mother elephant getting caught in the tar, which will ultimately lead her to an unfortunate death and final resting spot in a museum. On the edge of this death trap is future dumbo crying out for its mother, and a rather uninterested, if I say so myself, mate looking on. (I really think they could have worked on the mate. I sense no remorse in this guy at all. Has he seen this before? Was he a serial killer, who led all his mates to get some fancy "black water" and then watched them die? Where's the creepy guy from Dateline to narrate this unsolved mystery?)

In short, I found all of this disturbing. I mean seriously, I am perfectly capable of reading a sign that says, "During the Ice Age large animals got caught in tar and died." I don't need to see life size re-enactments to drive the point home. What's next, we go to a Civil War Museum and they actually show us a man getting his neck pierced with a bayonet so we understand that a war and some combat took place? Come on museums - we aren't idiots.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm in Love

Today we received a little package in the mail...and I think I'm in love. We actually got this TV a few weeks ago, but when we took it out of the box, we realized the screen was completely cracked. I can't fully describe the sadness that swept over our faces when we saw the gigantic crack. Picture a kid seeing a Christmas tree full of decorations and presents, and then just when they are about to rip off the wrapping paper, some madman comes in and burns the tree and presents. That's just a tenth of how we felt...

But now, we have our TV - and won't be leaving the house until we need more food.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Final Installment

The fifth day of our trip we drove out of Paris and headed across France to Annecy. On the way, we decided to randomly stop in a little town called Beaune. Unbeknownst to Pierre and I, Beaune is apparently famous for its wine and vineyards. (So obviously, we got roaring drunk and headed out of town...oh wait, that didn't happen.) Instead, we enjoyed a small lunch and a fun walk around the old town, that is still encircled by Medieval ramparts, battlements and a MOAT! The pictures you see are typical scenes of our trip. One, me with Rick Steves book, attempting to decipher his handwritten maps of sites and restaurants. And two, Pierre and I making fun of things that are probably deeply important to the city we are in. (Why they made a mural of someone filming a movie - I will never know? Do I want to know? Sort of.)

The first morning we were in Annecy we woke to rain. Attempting to find some alternative activities we walked over to the local tourist information and were told, "It is raining and you really shouldn't do anything." (We found in most cities the people who worked at the tourist information actually hated their jobs and hated tourists. It seemed like every single TI specialist tried to stop us from doing something cool. I don't know who hired these people, but at some point in their training they really should have learned the concept of being happy ambassadors for their cities and towards tourists. Just a thought.) Anyway, fortunately, we stayed at the Alexandra Hotel, which was run by two of the happiest French people we came across the entire time (that picture of the canal is the view from our room) and unlike their TI counterparts, they pointed us to a fun hike and off we went. For almost two hours we hiked through the forest and scored some awesome views of Annecy Lake. That night we went to the old part of town, which resembled Venice with its canals and small winding streets, and as I've mentioned before, experienced our delightful dinner of raclette. (Picture of the restaurant to the left.)

The next day in Annecy, after killing a fantastic buffet, we rented some bikes and headed around the Lake. Without a doubt, this was the best way to experience Annecy. I can't describe how beautiful of a blue the lake was and how glassy it appeared. I love this picture of Pierre cruising through the old streets of Annecy on his bike. After our ride we grabbed some awesome paninis and headed out of town towards Chamonix.

I really think Chamonix was my favorite part of the trip. You could literally see the Alps in every direction. The picture to the left is us in front of our hotel. It wasn't exactly the most amazing room, but outside our window was a beautiful river, that we could hear while we laid in bed. To the right is Pierre "enjoying" a little ice cream. (check out those Alps in the back...)

As we all know, from my entry a few days ago, the next day in Chamonix Pierre and I traveled up Aiguille Du Midi and then hiked down. (scroll down for pictures) Once we recovered from the hike, and watched the US tie Slovania (Did you hear that? That's the sound of a bandwagon going by.) we had delightful dinner at a quaint little restaurant run by a father and son.

Unfortunately, this is our last picture. The last day of our trip we drove from Chamonix to Lyon, and after a complete debacle of returning our rental car (entry coming) we braved the rain and did a quick tour of the city. (Okay we basically sat underneath a tree and read Rick Steves' descriptions of things we should have seen had it not been raining and if we weren't sick of museums. It really sounded like a lovely town.) After walking in the rain for a few hours, we found ourselves in Rue Merciere, which is a four block area of just restaurants, and ate our last French meal. Dinner was great, however, the highlight was, without a doubt, the lemon meringue pie we had for dessert. I'm not a restaurant dessert person, but oh my...

Okay, we're done. Or are we??

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Four Days in France

I know...I want to see my pictures too.After traveling for almost 24 hours we finally arrived in Paris. I choose this picture to start with for two reasons. One because we stayed just a mile away or so from Champ Elysees Avenue at an awesome hotel in Etoile. And two, because try as I might, I was never able to properly say "Champ Elysees."

The first day we decided to "walk off" our jet lag and made it all the way up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The next two days we did the museum circuit. Name a museum - I bet we went to it. I think my favorite was either the Centre Pompidou because of the fantastically bizarre modern art and the Mongolians I met outside, who I spoke broken Spanish/Mongolian to - a blog entry about this meeting will be coming - or the Army Museum/Napoleon's Tomb because this is where Pierre (my husband's European name) declared, while falling to the grass for a nap, "I don't care if I see the inside of another museum for the rest of my life."

The fourth day in France we rented a car and drove to Normandy. I have to first give major props to my husband, who not only got out of some ridiculous roundabouts, but also managed only a few stalls. Normandy was amazing. I can't fully describe how breathtaking it was to see Omaha Beach and think about the sacrifice made by so many young Americans. After we checked out the beach we walked up to the American cemetery. If you haven't done this, I encourage you to see this memorial. It will truly make you proud to be an American. Our last stop to Pointe du Hoc (picture of me standing in a hole made by a bomb) was equally incredible. I couldn't believe the amount of bombing that took place at this site and how the Germans were able to attack the Americans so precisely from this point.

After our tour of Normandy, we stopped in Bayeux and had our first two star dinner. Pierre went with a set menu of duck and I went with some type of white fish with a caramel sauce. To finish the meal, we experienced a French version of our apple pie. Simply put, it was awesome. I would like to say the day was perfect, however, on the way home we experienced some bizarre French highway construction. I say "bizarre" because for no reason they kept closing the highway and directing us through random towns. I never saw one Frenchie working on the freakin' highway!!

Okay, I'm off to work. More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Moment Captured

Picture this...30 people crowded around a very famous painting. Pierre (the husband's European name until I feel like enough time has passed) fights his way through the crowd to get a better look of this masterpiece. After a few seconds of inspection, Pierre decides he's not impressed, and in the sea of flashes, the following picture is captured.Without a doubt my favorite picture of the trip.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meters Are Longer Than Feet

Bonjour from Chamonix, France. Right now, Pierre (my husband's French name that has been decided to protect his privacy while across the Atlantic Ocean) and I are sitting in bed, digesting a dinner of salad, tartiflette (basically a huge pan of potatoes au gratin with ham), a couple loaves of bread (I swear, France is going to have a new Bastille Day where all my waiters are going to celebrate the liberation of me saying, "Um, can I get a little more bread?" - and then followed up with a lame, "merci.") and some delightful crepes. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy crepes? No? Um, zey are fantastic. (Said with a horrible French accent)

So, outside of the exciting game of US vs. Slovenia (okay, I'll admit, I was sort of into the game. We have a foot by foot TV, so I ask you, how could anyone NOT get into a sporting match of any kind with this type of entertainment magnet?) Anyway, like I was saying, outside of the World Cup, today was awesome. We decided to venture up into the mountains and take a gondola up to Aguilli du Midi, which is the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 m to 3,842 m. Yeah, meters. (I thought it was feet at first, so I said to Pierre, "Why is this such a big deal?" - I'm a stupid American.) Anyway, the ride up was incredible. After a few minutes we were above the clouds and could see gorgeous peaks sticking out, like Mont Blanc, the highest peak of the Alps. Again, I can't do justice to what we saw - pictures will be coming.

After an hour of hanging out at the different observation points, the clouds rolled in and we decided to travel down to Plan Aiguille du Midi, which is the first stop the gondola makes from the top (about 2300 meters up) and hike down. Again, very cool - the only drawback was my old woman knees were dying. These "switchbacks" weren't exactly back and forth, but more like straight down. Anyway, it was worth it. Every once in awhile the clouds would pass and we could see the entire town of Chamonix below, or we would see an awesome waterfall flowing from above. Absolutely gorgeous!

Well, it's time for bed. Tomorrow we'll spend the morning eating more croissants and baguettes (because that's what we do) and then head to Lyon. Night.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh Frenchie How You Melt That Cheese

Today I find myself in Chamonix, France, just an hour east of Annecy and nestled in the Alps. I've only been here a few hours, and I already think this is one of the coolest cities I've ever seen. Right outside our hotel room is the river that runs from the mountains into town. It's been raining for the past few days so the river is flowing really hard. Tomorrow I think we are going to venture up to Aiguille du Midi, the highest peak in Chamonix and maybe, if we get lucky, check out Italy and the tip of the Matterhorn. ORRR...we'll continue to feed our faces and take a nap in the town square.

Speaking of food...last night, on the top floor of a snug little restaurant, I experienced another milestone among my culinary experiences. The French and Swiss call it "Raclette." I call it "food from angelic fairies." First, a warm stove is placed on your table. (Which by the way, I am a huge fan of any type of food that consists of having a hot surface placed right next to you. I hate trying to eat and freezing my butt off.) Secondly, you are given a steel skillet and some cheese, which you place inside the stove and melt. (Yep, I'm liking where this is going also.) While the cheese is melting, you place potatoes on top of the stove and get them all nice and roasted. Once the cheese is melted, you take the warm potatoes and cut them up on a slate plate. You then pour the cheese over the potatoes, and along with cured hams and salad, go to town. I can't describe how amazing of a bite it was to take a little cheese, some warm potato, a little ham and some lettuce into my mouth. I've enjoyed some great meals in my life, but this one will not be forgotten.

Well, it's back to watching World Cup. How I love soccer!!

* pictures will be coming once I get back. Because yes, we did take pictures. And yes, the entire restaurant was staring at us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why World Cup?

At this exact moment, I'm sitting in a bizarre little hotel in Annecy, France - which is located in the French Alps. Next to me is Pierre (name has been changed to protect the privacy of my husband). He's asleep because eating ridiculous amounts of croissants and baguettes can cause spontaneous bouts of sleep. On the other side of the wall, is apparently a French man, who either drank a great deal of water or cafes. (The walls are slightly thin...oh, no, I take it back, he is German. Finish man!)

Outside our hotel runs a small canal and an array of shops. At this moment, Switzerland and Spain are playing their first round in the World Cup and I can hear men screaming at the TV in some nearby cafe. I got to admit, I just don't get World Cup. First, it's soccer. Why is this cool to watch for long periods of time? No offense to you soccer lovers, but man, these games are freaking long and MANY end in TIES or DRAWS! No winner? I just watched something for 90 minutes and no one gets to walk away the winner? Can't we at least have a massive knife fight at the end? Last man standing is declared the winner? Now, that is something I think the world would really enjoy watching.

Secondly, what's with the horns? (The plastic long horns people blow at games or to announce royalty.) Apparently, the discussion here in Europe is "Should we get rid of the horns or not?" I think the question to discuss should be, "Why and HOW are these people blowing these for 90 minutes?" I think we should find these people and do studies of their lung capacities. Obviously, these individuals are incredible specimens.

Lastly, what's with grown men laying on the ground, crying out to the heavens in agony and pain, when they are slightly pushed from behind? I think these men are great athletes and then I see them rolling around on the ground behaving like children, and I think, maybe these lads should pursue drama and not soccer. HONESTLY, man up and play some stinkin' soccer.

I know, I just lost all my international readers - all of them in Denmark, you know who you are - but, I'm sorry, after being in France for five days and watching almost every soccer game (it's the only thing that's not French news or badly dubbed American shows) I can't take it anymore. Has the world see UFC? Now, that's a sport.

More to come from France. We are now off to have some raclette...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quite the Sign

This weekend my sister and I traveled up to Lewiston, Utah and rode in the Little Red Riding Hood Bike Race. Don't worry pictures and commentary will be coming. Until then, I thought this sign was really funny. I think it's cool that an entire city, through a sign, has abdicated themselves from any responsibility from all accidents. I like that this sign is also located in some remote park. If you are going to make a ridiculous sign at least put it in the town center.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Baby Showers and Black Holes

Recently, I attended a baby shower. For those of you, like me, who don't have children this can be a very strange experience. First, as you watch gift after gift being opened a strange creaking sound begins in your womb, of course, indicating to yourself that you are getting old and your womanly duties are being grossly neglected. Secondly, and maybe this is just me, but every tiny shirt and shoe sends me into a tailspin and I find myself screaming out loud, "How is this possible that I want to eat a shoe because it looks so freaking cute?!" No, just me? Anyway, outside of my internal biological clock clanging like Big Ben, and the desire to eat tiny Gap clothes, I also find that baby showers can be very revealing in incredibly disturbing ways. What do I mean?
Well, I always heard the "fun stories" of giving birth - Like it's nine months of gaining weight, there's some kicking, you pick out a name, you wait in anticipation for your little angel and you have occasional doctor appointments. Then I went to a baby shower, and my safe world of "birth" came crashing down. First, IT'S NOT NINE MONTHS! Who decided to lie to woman and tell them nine months? I mean even wikipedia is in on the game. I googled "How long are women pregnant" and I got back "nine months" AND then followed up with it saying "40 weeks." Um, that's 10 months. Apparently, someone decided women wouldn't allow procreation if they thought it was longer than 9 months.

Secondly, I learned about contraptions, creams, bizarre after effects, breast pumps and a myriad of other things I'm not even sure I still fully understand. Again, where is the warm and fuzzy story? How come no one ever told me that you would need inserts for your bras so the leaking milk doesn't soak your shirt? Pads for bras? And not something I used in middle school to enhance my chances for a good time at our monthly dances? What is going on?

I still want kids, but I don't know if I'll be attending another shower anytime soon. I feel like next time we should all gather and someone can explain black holes in outer space. I think that would be less overwhelming.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Myth of the Aircraft

On the way to Vegas there are numerous signs that read: "Speed Enforced by Aircraft." Now, I don't know about you, but I always thought these signs were jokes. Honestly, after seeing one, I always expected to see a follow-up sign that read, "Warning Easter Bunny Crossing," or "Warning over the Hill is the end of the Rainbow and a pot of gold." To me, the mysterious "aircraft" was just a myth...AND THEN...Yesterday, I made the delightful drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. About five miles outside of Vegas, I started to get a little drowsy, so to wake myself up, I started to shake my legs. (This always used to work in college, so I figured it would have the same effect.) However, the only thing that happened was my foot pressed down on the accelerator and off I went. After two seconds of going close to 90, I took my foot off the accelerator and hit the brakes. Fast forward five miles and I'm being pulled over. According to the jack ass, who pulled me over, I was clocked by the "aircraft" at 88 miles an hour. Incredulously, I exclaimed, "What? Are you kidding me? The Aircraft got me?" (I had to restrain myself from using quotation marks while using the word aircraft.) To which he replied, "Yes, mama, the aircraft."

Now, I have received a ticket in the past, which to be honest, was completely warranted. (Between you and me, I still have no idea where he was because I was absolutely flying.) BUT, to receive a ticket by some mysterious aircraft just seems wrong. What's next? I actually receive coal for Christmas because of my love for Hellen Keller jokes? Will I receive a dollar if I yank out a tooth and put it under my pillow?!

So, to all of you beware - The aircraft is above us and watching...and so is some fat guy in the North Pole.