29 July 2008
I've been busy playing SingStar! Consumer and I are officially SingStars 3x over. Booyah! Our amazingness shines through on "Don't Fear the Reaper", "Creep" and "Come As You Are". Soon we will master "Best of You", "Gold Lion" and most importantly "Every Rose Has It's Thorn". Seriously, come over and play. It's Killer!
I've also been busy watching "Felicity". Do you remember how amazing this show is? Ben? Noel? Hot and hot!
Forgive me if I don't come back until I finish watching all 4 seasons of Felicity and get SingStar status on every song on every singstar game ever made.
25 July 2008
17 July 2008
We were so proud of ourselves for planning our time well enough to be able to go out to Versailles. We got up and out early, packed a lovely little lunch then went to catch the train. STRIKE! Shocking that there would be a strike in Paris of all places (this sentence is dripping with sarcasm if you couldn't tell). Not only were there strikes on some of the train lines but at the palace itself. We were so dissappointed!
But... as fate would have it we found ourselves right in front of the Musee D'Orsay. We hadn't planned on touring it because just the day before we'd tired ourselves out at the Louvre. What a mistake it would have been to miss the Orsay! It was chock full of all the impressionism we wish we would have seen at the Louvre. We absolutely LOVED the Orsay! So many beautiful Monets, Pisarros (my new favorite!), Van Goghs, Cezannes... and the list goes on! Seriously loved it.
Probably the best moment of our entire trip was eating our lunch after finishing with the museum. We sat on the steps and savored our baguette, vache qui rit cheese ("Pourquoi le vache qui rit rit?"), fruit and Petit Prince cookies (my faaaaavorite!). It was a happy throw back to all the times I ate that on the mission. Honestly, food has never tasted so good.
Finally we were able to tour Ste Chappelle- our Everest!! However, after having to wait in line for over 1-1/2 hrs it hardly seemed impressive. The stained glass really is amazing as is the sheer age of the building.
We were a little unsure as to what to do with the rest of our last evening in Paris so we wandered over to the Paris Opera but much to our chagrin it was closed. We were able to enter the foyer and peek in a bit. It was stunning and we were so sad we wasted time waiting to see Ste Chappelle instead of touring the opera house. But... water under the bridge.
Our last Paris evening was fantastic! We trekked up to Sacre Coeur (something I always regretted NOT doing on my last trip to Paris) and were totally unprepared for the awesomeness that would ensue. We spent hours sitting on the steps, people watching and enjoying the performers. With all the buzz out on the steps we were shocked that the basillica itself was the most reverent and peaceful of all the churches we'd toured.
We got hit on by drunk guys, watched 2 guys who could do amazing things with a soccer ball, saw fire performers (I have no idea what to call them... but there was fire involved and it was awesome!) and just soaked in the atmosphere. It was the best way to end our stay in Paris.
PS- we won't even mention (ok maybe I will) how our entire stay in Paris was so frustrating, especially our last night, trying to figure out how to buy train tickets to the airport, taking our chances with the train strike the finally deciding to take a taxi. Oh... and I may have snoozed straight through the alarm and woke up exactly 2 minutes before the taxi arrived to pick us up. Sigh... we were so ready to be done with Paris. Beautiful city though!
15 July 2008
It was lovely not having to wake up at the crack of dawn. We started our day at Notre Dame. I love how it is situated right on the Seine. There is so much to look at. Every inch of the building is covered with detail and hours could be spend just studying the facade.
We tried to tour Sainte Chapelle but it was closed for siesta (I love the idea of siesta except when it conflicts with my plans). So, we went to tackle the Louvre. I didn't go to the Louvre on my last tour of Paris because I had absolutely no interest in art. In the 8 yrs that have passed I've learned to appreciate it so I was excited to taste the delights of the infamous museum. So many famous works of art. We straightway went to see Miss Mona Lisa. I've got to be straight up honest here. I only partially understand the hype behind this piece. I mean, she's just not pretty.
I am absolutely amazed at the large format works. How one person is able to paint on such a huge canvas and have it make sense in the process is absolutely baffling. I was impressed by many things at the museum not the least of which was the shear size of the building and it's classic architecture.
We tried for Ste Chapelle once again but didn't make it there before it closed so instead we opted for Les Halles for a little shopping and our first chance to check email. I was kind of having withdrawls after a week without constant internet access but at the same time I loved not being attached to my email and my cell phone.
We found a sweet little creperie and had delicious savory and sweet crepes and of course I had to have my favorite- Fanta! Fanta in Europe is much better than here in the states. The same can be said for the yogurt. I HATE the yogurt here because it tastes like pure sugar. There, loved it.
In the early evening we went to the Eiffel Tower to assure we would have plenty of time to make it to the top. The view from the highest level is fantastic! Definitely a must when in Paris.
The start of our day seemed to foreshadow the next leg of our trip. We planned what time we needed to catch the train to the airport in order to make our flight to Paris but the train was 20mins late so we missed our flight. Luckily we were able to catch the next flight without much trouble.
We arrived in Paris in the early afternoon and took the metro to our hotel. Wow. Disgusting. It was one of those places where I was scared to walk on the floor without shoes on, the light in the bathroom was flickering and it felt like a big risk sleeping in the bedsheets. The only redeeming value of this place was CNN on TV. The great think about Paris is that people stay out so late so we didn't get back to our hotel before midnight. We tried to stay out as late as we could handle just so we didn't have to spend anymore time in our hotel than necessary.
Our first stop was to Les Invalides and Napolean's Tomb. Fascinating. I really need to learn more about him and especially about Josephine.
From there we walked to the Champs Elysees. We did some window shopping and couldn't resist going into the hugest Sephora we'd ever seen where sales people were dancing on the counters. It was fabulous. We went to the Arc de Triomphe, climbed to the top and took in the views of the city. Then ate at McDonalds because we were craving it (I wish I were joking).
We headed over to the Tour Eiffel which is my favorite thing in the entire world. It was too late to go to the very top so we opted to take lots of photos and sit on the grass and watch the sparkly lights. There were so many people out on the grass and I was pretty sure an orgy was going to break out at any moment. Hilarious.
On our way home we stopped for Nutella crepes. Heavenly!
Another early morning. We met up with Dani again for a tour of Vatican City. Loved it. There was so much rich history behind all the artifacts housed in the museum. It was so much more interesting having our guide explaining everything along the way. The marble, the frescoes, the tapestries, the mosaics- all so intricate and beautiful.
I was especially taken with the Sistine Chapel. I wish I could have stayed for hours and studied all the frescoes as they recount the story of the Old Testament. Stunning.
The Vatican took up most of the day. We wandered to Piazza Navona (more great people watching) then back to the Pantheon to sit and rest. We'd planned on going back to Trevi that night in order to keep with tradition but the rain prevented us from one last night of gelato. Instead we stayed in and watched Euro MTV.
14 July 2008
Since Rome is the seat of Christianity we decided we'd better go to church. The branch we attended had about 50 people in attendance- about 15 of those were visitors. We went expecting to only understand the Spirit but they provided us with headphones so we could listen to one of the missionaries translating. Sacrament meeting was fantastic- great talks, strong Spirit. Loved it. We left after Sacrament meeting so that we could do some sight seeing.
This was the day of awesome tour guides. We started out at the Colosseum with a crazy, crazy tour guide that I absolutely loved. All I could think about was wanting to watch "Gladiator" (which I just did the other day and damn that's a great movie).
Then on to Palatine Hill with Dani (our irish, italian, australian tour guide with an Arabic husband and a big fat baby... we loved her). Among the remains was the first home of Julius Ceasar which had amazing, vibrant frescoed walls, a modern building by Mussolini and a view of what was the Circus Maximus.
We then descended to The Forum and got into a free tour with a seriously intense but very knowledgeable Canadian guy. I'd been to the Forum before but knew nothing of the history of the remains. Learning what all the buildings were used for really made the place come alive for me. It was fascinating! It was so hard to believe that I was walking the same paths as so many famous figures from history. You can feel the history there.
We then walked to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier- beautiful yet big and overstated. Then on to the Pantheon- my favorite. The engineering behind this building astounds me- perfect measurements, no internal reinforcement. Wow. It is said that it would be nearly impossible to build such a structure today. We sat and rested our tired, sunburned bodies for a while before we got more gelato. Yes... gelato. Amazing.
We found a great little restaurant for dinner and fell in love with our waiter and the underaged hottie at the table next to us. Consumer had ordered fried cheese but couldn't finish it all. The waiter came up behind her and with his Italian accent said, "You don't like my cheese?" But, what Consumer heard was, "You don't like my shoes?" So, when she answered, "Your shoes? I like your shoes!" we all got a good laugh.
That night took us back to Trevi for more gelato (oh yeah) and the best people watching ever. Here's what we learned- Euros have no clue how to frame a good photo or how to focus. Also, they don't like to smile for the photos. Asians however love photos shoots. We picked up a couple of awesome poses that would follow us throughout the rest of our tour. Thumbs up!
11 July 2008
My eval- I seriously love that this random chick totally captures my personality. I'm drooling a bit at the yumminess shown- creme brulee, brownies, the Rock. Also, are we noticing the overabundance of ocean? I think it's a sign that I need to head to an island quick like! Also the baby theme? Might my bio clock be subconsciously ticking without my permission?
Wanna play? Here's how:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?)
1. christy, 2. Crème Brulée, 3. The View from Round Mountain, 4. wham:a different corner, 5. Dwayne Johnson, 6. Chesil Cove - Night time long exp, 7. Floating in paradise, 8. special brownies, 9. Yes! It's My Birthday! And It's My Footprint :D, 10. Hold me close, under the sunset, 11. do the happy happy dance, 12. Step by step… steadily ♫♫
09 July 2008
The voice was still there, questioning. How am I ever going to be able to run 26 miles at one time if I can't even get past 3 miles. What was I thinking when I decided to run a marathon? It's not too late to quit. Even if I keep training I still have almost 3 months to decide not to do it. It's ok to give up.
I was even more discouraged by the pain in my left knee- most likely my partially torn ACL, an old indoor soccer injury. I went through physical therapy a few years ago and haven't had a single problem with it since. I recognized the pain and decided it wise to resume some of the exercise I did in therapy. Hopefully within a few weeks it'll be strong again.
As I left the gym something occurred to me. Every time I look at how many miles are on the schedule for the day I get scared. Down right scared. Of what? I'm not sure- failing? not finishing? dying? Maybe I'm just scared that even though I know I can do it, it's going to be difficult. And that difficulty in and of itself is scary. But, then I remembered that of all the things I've accomplished in my newborn running career, I haven't yet died. I've never collapsed during a run. I've never come in last at a race. I've never even felt wasted afterwards. Sure it's been hard. Sure it's been hot. Sure every time I run I remember that I hate running. But, never fail, that runner's high comes as soon as I've accomplished what I set out to accomplish- be it 3 miles or 13 (my longest distance to date). So, I'll keep running.
When I got home I had an email update in my inbox from the Spirit of the Marathon. I went to the website, not realizing that the movie preview would automatically start playing. It was a sign from the running gods I'm pretty sure. This is what I want. I want to run those 26.2 miles. I want to quell that voice that says I cannot accomplish this. I will finish! I will keep running!
I'm sure most of you who run have seen this already but here it is again as a reminder of why we do what we do. The movie comes out on DVD this fall. Can't wait. I'm going to watch it over and over and over.
08 July 2008
however, when it gets hot it is HOT! mama pajama! this is the first summer that i am (read: should be) seriously training and the heat has wreaked havoc on my ability to keep to the schedule. i can always find an excuse- in the mornings i can't wake up early enough, in the daytime it's too damn hot, in the evenings it is too dark. i've resorted to doing my short runs (3-4 milers) at the gym in the evenings. 6.25 laps/mile is dizzying but much better than heat stroke. plus sometimes there are hot guys at the gym to look at. i haven't found a solution to beating the heat so i've decided i've just got to suck it up and make it work.
so, today is the day that i get back on track, not only with running but with all the things in life i've slacked on in the last few months. i decided to do my 3 miler in my neighborhood after sunset. i live in a very safe neighborhood with nice wide streets, security patrol and plenty of folks out walking their dogs. so i decided i'd be safe enough, threw on my reflective vest for good measure and headed out. 98 degrees. sad thing is that it didn't feel that hot once i started running. scary right? 98deg not feeling hot? that's just weird. anyway... it was a great run- averaged 10:38 splits. now i feel ok about heading out after dark in order to stick to my training (as long as i offer a little prayer for safety before i go).
while in UT for the holiday weekend i once again participated in the Freedom Festival 10k. i have a special place in my heart for this race as it is really the race that got me addicted to running. last year i got to run it with 2 great friends. this year... just me. just me alone at the start line looking out of place and friendless waiting for the gun to go off. i ran slower than i'd hoped but felt great through the whole race. and my sweet daddy was there waiting for me at the finish line. love him for that.
my only photo from the racenow... elevation. let's chat about it. i've been wondering how much it really affects me or if i'm just always under-trained during my races. i train at around 2000ft but do all my races in UT (why? i dunno...) at around 4000ft. so tonight i've concluded that it does indeed slow me down! the 10k i averaged 12:00 splits. typically in vegas i average 11:00 splits. that's a pretty big difference. can i attribute that soley to elevation? still figuring that one out.
07 July 2008
I hate her. Sorry if you are her or if you are friends with her or if you love her because I'm sure she's a nice gal and all but seriously I cannot stand her stupid face and her stupid voice. Just so... Utah! Blah!
Ok, so I didn't hate her at first. Sure, she annoyed me from the get go but the thing that pushed me over the edge was when she showed us "a really easy way to cut corn off of a cob." Guess how she did it... with a KNIFE! Seriously?! Are there idiots out there who are just pickin' the kernals off the cob one by one with their bare hands? Really, Kelsey?! You showed me how to cut. corn. off. a. cob. with. a. knife... as if no one had ever thought to do that before.
Then I cut my ears and eyeballs off my head just so I wouldn't have to watch her or listen to her anymore.
01 July 2008
We arrived in Rome again late in the evening and upon exiting the metro were shocked at how many people were gathered on the streets. Seemed quite random until we looked to our left and behold: The Spanish Steps. Right there.
We walked to our beautiful little hotel, jumped on the bed and OUCH! Bed was hard as a rock! Seriously, do Europeans not understand the value of a comfortable bed? I do not understand this.
After a quick clothes change and freshen up we headed back out to try and find some food. The surprising thing about Rome is how close everything is. We accidentally found the monument honoring "the unknown soldier" then accidentally ended up at the Trevi Fountain. The thing about them Romans... they GO BIG!
Trevi is fantastic! The fountain itself is beautiful but what is even better about it is the fantastic gelato (seriously! NUTELLA FLAVORED GELATO!! Divine!) and the excellent people watching. We spent a good long while there just sitting and watching. And of course we had to throw our coins into the fountain thus guaranteeing our return to Rome. I was amazed at the amount of water naturally flowing from the fountain. No pumps. Just nature.
Perhaps the greatest thing we saw while in Rome (and forgot to buy dangit!) was a calendar of "hot priests". This is no joke folks. And to be quite honest with you... some of them were actually hot! Update: I just checked and the good news is that you can buy the calendars online. Just search "calendario romano" and you'll find it. You can also see it previewed on YouTube. Hilarious!
We strolled back to the Spanish Steps to get a better look see. This is where we'd learn that Europeans love to sing. You know how at soccer (sorry... football) matches the fans are always singing? They do that on vacation too. Fantastic. There is a small fountain at the foot of the steps that serves as a drinking fountain for many gathering around. My first thought: Sick! We figured there had to be something magic about that water but would later learn that it is just really clean, natural and tasty water.
Finally we went back "home" and roughed a night on the rock hard bed. I'm not even kidding, we had bruises when we woke up.
We left Vegas at the crack of dawn on 5/15. I had pulled an all nighter trying to finish everything at work then packing so I didn't have a hard time sleeping on the plane on the way there. It was a great way to jump right into the time change!
Day 1: We arrived in Rome Friday morning and immediately (after having a hell of a time trying to figure out where to buy train tickets) hopped a train for Venice.
I LOVE VENICE! I love that there are no cars. I love that boats are the main mode of transportation. I love the array of colors of all the buildings. I love the gelato. Fantastic.
We checked into our ittybitty, but clean hotel then took to meandering the streets. Venice is so easy to navigate because, not only is it small, there are directional street signs on every corner. We went straight to St Marks Square and had our first tastes of Gelato, an activity that would reoccur every few hours during our Italian adventures. Every few minutes we had to remind our selves that this was real! We were actually in Venice!
We lost ourselves through the alleys and over the bridges, found a lovely little restaurant (note: it's easier to get into a restaurant through the front door, not the back door), ate amazing fried cheese, tortellini and mousse. After dark we took took a water bus ride around the island, strolled over the Rialto Bridge and ended the evening with Gelato.
Day 2a: More Venice! I started the morning with a nice little 5k to St Marks and back (only finding a handful of deadends). Sadly this would be my only time running while on vacay but it was definitely worth it. I got a lot if funny looks because the only runners in Venice are the tourists. But it was exciting to see the town waking up, adults heading to work and children on their way to school.
We stopped in a little grocery store for breakfast and I was reminded just how much I adore European yougurt! It actually tastes like yougurt and not processed sugar crap like we have here in the states. I was in heaven. We sat on a bench, under a tree in a little square and reminded ourselves again that we were really, truly in Italy.
We toured St Marks Basillica and were amazing by how ornate everything was - the mosaic floors, stained glass windows, bronze horses (which we loved for some inexplicable reason). Our view from the roof was accompanied by the bells of the Campanile Bell Tower and provided a great view of the piazza and out to the water.
The great debate was whether or not to spend the money for a gondola ride. I was hesitant because it is so expensive. But, like Consumer said- Where else in the world are you going to be able to take a real gondola ride (and no... rides at the Venetian do not count)? I couldn't argue with that. So we found a suitable gondolier and set off. Loved it! It was so charming to float through the city and our gondolier was an amazing tour guide. He showed us buildings that housed many famous historical figures- Goethe, Napolean, Vivaldi, Casanova. It was a lovely ride! Well worth the money.
Our last few hours in Venice were appropriately spent - eating pizza and gelato. Then it was time to catch the train back to Rome.