Romantical Weekend FAIL

Our second anniversary is on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any time off because my boss decided to go back east (I’ll rant about that in another post).  It ended up working out though, because DH is going to a conference all week, so our plans would have to have been put on hold anyway.

OK.  So I thought that I’d plan us a little romantical staycation.  I’d use one of our Groupons for a restaurant and get a hotel for the night nearby.  Then DH caught a cold.  He’s been sniffling, sneezing and has a sore throat since Thursday.  Poor DH.  But he was game to try for a romantical weekend anyway.

We dawdled our way down to the Ramada on Wildwood in Sunnyvale yesterday.  We went for a jog in the morning, visited a mall, went for lunch at a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, went to the fabric store and stopped at Santana Row.  We looked at the Telsa model they had there, I discovered Anthropologie (such a dangerous store) and bought a really cute dress with DH’s encouragement, we tried (and hated) Pinkberry, ate apple pie flavored gelato… and then drove for 20 more minutes to get to our hotel.

We arrived at a place that looked like the 70s hit the exterior (in a bad way) and never left.  It looked like the kind of place you’d see in those cop dramas where the hookers are found dead and the other residents “didn’t hear a thing.”  With trepidation, we entered the lobby filled with thumping music from the party in the attached ballroom.  The lobby was dark and felt dirty.  It was filled with kids running around and screaming.  Ugh.  Not romantic.

We went to our room.

There was a hillbilly outside his room hollering about some Texas team on the TV with his door wide open and a Styrofoam cooler on the chair nearby.  His room was next to ours.  On the other side of us was another person cleaning out a bedside commode in the landscaping.

We opened our door and immediately felt icky.  The furniture was old and decrepit.  The carpet was pulling away from the floor in many places and looked like it hadn’t been shampooed in recent history.  The walls were stained with who-knows-what. The lights weren’t bright enough to actually light the room.  The mini fridge and all of the drains were covered in rust.  The old-ass urine colored bathroom wall tiles had mold growing in the grout.  The bathroom floor had hair from the previous guest on it. The little binder that all rooms have with “helpful” things for guests inside had many things crossed out.

In short, it was gross.  It wasn’t to Ramada standards.  It wasn’t even to Motel 6 standards.  Ugh.

The restaurant was attached to the hotel and was just as bad.  We didn’t use our Groupon.  I’ll be asking for a refund.

I’ve never actually asked for a refund at a hotel before, but I did yesterday.  Actually, DH did.  I didn’t know how to put my disgust into words without being insulting.  And, you know what? The guy at the desk didn’t even bat an eye.  It was like he already knew how awful the hotel was.  He didn’t offer us an “upgraded” room or any complimentary anything.  He just said “I’m happy to cancel your reservation and ensure that you’re not charged for anything here.  You’ll need to call Expedia to get a full refund, though.”

Back to Santana Row we went.  We stopped for dinner at Hot Tamales, which was pretty good in spite of the waiter spilling my margarita on me and coughing on me.  The music was super loud… but then again we were right next to the band.

And then we came home.

So… our romantical weekend plans kinda failed, but we had fun anyway.  We decided that this was a weekend for new things and adventures.  We tried 2 restaurants we hadn’t been to before.  We played with a car that costs 3 times what I paid for mine when it was new and is meant for “driving around town.”  I found an awesome clothing store that I’m trying to figure out how to afford to shop there more often.  And best of all, I got to spend time with my husband.

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Nervous…

Tomorrow is my first half marathon. It’s the race I was training for when I fell last month. I’m really scared and nervous about this race. The inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland.

I talked about it with my doctor, who also happens to run marathons. She gave me the all clear and told me to have fun with it. So that’s what I’m going to do.

My bib is pinned to my shirt. My clothes are laid out. My belt is ready to go. The race starts at 5:45am tomorrow.

I know I’m under prepared for this.
My husband has been talking me up with it. He says: look at it this way, a month ago you fell really hard and were laid up. You cracked a rib and had a concussion. And yet you’re still getting out there and attempting to do this. That takes guts.

I’m still hella scared.

So here’s to completing a half marathon. Let’s hope and pray that I do. And that I don’t break anything while I’m doing it.

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Quilter’s March Madness Shop Hop

It’s been a few days since I last posted, mostly because I’ve been on the road!  I know I could have scheduled posts to magically show up, and you folks wouldn’t have been the wiser…  but it felt like cheating, ya know?  What was I doing that was so important that I couldn’t blog?  Shop Hopping!

For those of you who aren’t in the know, a shop hop is this thing that crazy people do.  Well not crazy, exactly.  Just people who want an excuse to go to multiple quilt stores over the course of a few days and hang out with fellow quilters.  There are chances to win prizes along the way too!  I love shop hops.  They’re something my sister and I can do together while reinforcing creativity and creation.  But shop hops are not all fun and games.  They require lots of planning, timing, and dedication.  After all, you only have a few days to visit a lot of shops!  This particular shop hop had 22 stores spread across northern California.  We visited Antioch, Brentwood, Ceres, Concord, Danville, Fairfield, Fremont (2 stores), Gilroy, Hollister (my favorite!), Livermore, Manteca, Martinez, Morgan Hill (2 stores), Oakdale, San Carlos, San Mateo, Tracy, Turlock, Vacaville, and Winters.  I’ll write another post later to tell you about the stores individually.

I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I bought.  I’m so excited to show you!

Us Quilt

Us Quilt

The fabric above is for something called an “us quilt.”  A lot of people make quilts that are about a specific person.  They typically include things that the person collects, does for a living, hobbies, etc.  This one is an us quilt, so it includes things that DH and I enjoy, do, work at and value.  They’re along the outside and are full of crazy colors.  For DH there’s rain, Pez, conversation hearts, a computer, coffee and bbq.  For me there’s books, ice cream, sewing, cocktails, pinup girl and family values.  What usually ends up happening is that all the crazy colors/fabrics end up working together to form one cohesive style/color value.  With ours… not so much.  It was actually pretty challenging to find five fabrics that worked with everything (those are in the middle).  I know it looks a bit insane, but it’ll work.  I’ll show you when I’m done!  I didn’t buy any backing because I think I’m going to use Minkee fabric and make it cozy instead.  It would be nice for cuddling under that way.

Superman!

Superman!

I also found some of the most awesome fabric ever – Superman!  I was so excited that I was dancing in the quilt store.  You see: Superman is my boyfriend and has been since I was 5 years old.  DH and I have an understanding 😉

The plan for this fabric is to “fussy cut” squares around the Superman figures on the bottom left fabric, use the logo fabric as a wide border and the comic book fabric as the backing.  The other fabrics will be used as borders around the fussy cut Superman figures.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this quilt!

Oh yeah!  And I also got the backing for my African/giraffe quilt that’s almost done.  All I have to do with that one is piece the backing, make sure I have the right amount of batting, and then get it quilted.  I’m tempted to try the quilting myself, but I’m scared I’ll wreck my awesome quilt top.  What do you think I should do?  Get it quilted or try to machine quilt it myself?  My attention span won’t allow for hand quilting.

The Day After a Vacation

Awhile back I discovered the  joys of taking an extra day off whenever I go on vacation.  Too many times I’d get home from a trip one day and go back to work the next without that feeling of relaxation that should have lingered as a result of my time off.  I’d spend my time at work trying to figure out how I was going to “catch up” on chores, how I was going to fit grocery shopping in and just feeling like I should never have gone away in the first place because there was far too much to do when I came back.  Something had to change.

When we were planning a trip a few years ago we ended up planning to come home in the early morning hours because it was less expensive than flying home mid-afternoon.  It was awesome!  I had time to relax, come back to normal life and get the things done I needed to get done to be in my right mind all week.  The biggest downside to flying home so early was that I had to get up even earlier in the day… and man, do I hate getting up early.

That’s when I came up with the awesome idea to take an extra day off work.  That’s what today is, you know.  My extra day off work.  It’s my chance to relax in the quiet, shop for groceries, run errands, handle general household cleaning stuff, and generally prepare myself for another busy week at work.

The only problem is that I don’t really want to do any of that stuff today.  OK, maybe the laundry will get done.  I might even do some ironing.  I’ll definitely relax.  But the rest usually involves driving and there’s a light on my dashboard that I don’t want to deal with.  *insert wining tone here*

Oh well.  Time to put on my big girl panties and deal with it, right?  I have to deal with it if I want to drive to work tomorrow.  *sigh*  Well, let me put my feet up for 15 more minutes and then I’ll get started.  Dealing with it sooner is better than dealing with it later.

Monterey and Hearst Castle

This weekend my husband and I went on a mini vacation to Monterey and Hearst Castle.  We’ve visited Monterey a few years ago and came back frustrated by the expensive… well, everything.  Food was expensive, drinks were expensive, all the stores had pricey products, and we were budget travelers.  This time around we were better prepared for the prices even though we figured out that the food prices were more than we’d spend at Disneyland!

We stayed at the Clarion on Munras in Monterey because it had an indoor heated pool, claimed to be close to Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row, and had a breakfast buffet every morning.  The door to our room had to be forced open and closed.  The shower head wasn’t attached to the pipe properly, and the bathroom fan was smaller than the hole cut for it in the ceiling.  The front desk staff were nice, the bed was decently comfortable, the water pressure was good and the temperature didn’t fluctuate.  It was an odd experience.  We also learned that “close” is a relative term.  I was looking for walking distance but they meant close as in a short drive.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

Fisherman's Wharf

Me at Fisherman's Wharf

We visited Fisherman’s Wharf our first night there.  It seemed pretty desolate, though.  Very few people were there – and it was a Friday night!  We wandered around to scope out some restaurants for dinner.  We weren’t hungry yet, so we thought we’d go back to the hotel and swim for a bit before coming back and trying out some promising locations.  Unfortunately we got lost on our return trip to Fisherman’s Wharf and ended up at Cannery Row.  There were a lot more people there, but it was still pretty quiet.  DH and I stood on the moonlit beach and watched the waves for a bit before heading back to our hotel to sleep.

Scenic View

On Saturday we drove out to Hearst Castle.  DH was such a trooper!  He drove down those winding roads with a patience I wouldn’t have possessed.  I can handle traffic any day of the week, but winding roads scare the heck out of me!  We stopped at a few places along the way to watch the coast, stretch our legs and get a break from the road.  The scenery was breathtaking!

Elephant Seals Sunning

Just before we hit Hearst Castle we stopped and saw the elephant seals.  I’d heard a lot about them and wanted to check them out.  They were a lot more active than I’d expected.  There were lots of babies.  The adults were bickering and posturing too.  It was fun to watch.

Roman Plunge at the Castle

Then we visited Hearst Castle and went on the “Experience Tour.”  It was interesting to hear about Hearst and his life, and to see all his stuff.  The decor was way to intricate and opulent for my tastes, but it there were a lot of pretty objects to admire.  I liked the pools the best out of the entire tour, and I’d love to come back and do the garden tour some time.  By the time we finished the tour I was “done” though.  I just wanted to be back at our hotel relaxing.  I remember a time when I would have kept going until I dropped, but now I hit a point and I can’t go on.  Does this mean I’m getting old?  Or am I just more in tune with my brain/body/emotions than I was when I was younger?  Either way we headed back to Monterey.

DH was kind enough to drive us back to our hotel too.  I’m so glad he did – I would’ve been a wreck by the time we got back if I’d been driving.  Along the way we discovered a mall so after a break back at the hotel we wandered around their mall for a bit.  When we finally got hungry, we had dinner at PF Chang’s and then went back to our hotel for more relaxation.

This morning was a sad morning – the end of our vacation.  To prolong it just a bit longer, we visited the Gilroy Outlet mall because I’d never been there before, and then went to Valley Faire Mall to use our Cheesecake Factory gift card.  Now we’re finally home, enjoying the quiet and reflecting on the time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

Three Countries

Today’s blog prompt asked me to write about three countries I’d like to visit and why.

This is actually kinda hard for me to narrow down.  I mean, can I count Europe as a country?  No?  Alright then.  Well, in no particular order:

Ireland For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to visit the Emerald Isle.  All the green, all the people, all the history…  I know that part of it has to do with me wanting to be more in touch with my roots.  My mother always told me that her father was half Irish and half English.  I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve always felt closer to that side of the family when I’m wearing my Connemara marble jewelry.

France Again this has to do with history, culture and family roots.  We can trace my maternal grandmother’s family back to France, and both paternal grandparents too.  But it’s not just the roots here.  I want to go to the museums, wander around and see all the architecture, and just have that taste of what it is to live in France.

Australia This just looks like a fun place to visit.  The cities mixed with vast open spaces, the adventures, the wine tasting, and those lovely accents.  It would be the memory of a lifetime.

First week

The first week of the Fall semester is under way.  So far everyone seems to be great.  It was good to see a few familiar names in my classes – it feels less lonely that way, ya know?

Work’s been pretty busy lately.  Our system went down briefly a couple of weeks ago, and then again last week.  We seem to have (mostly) recovered from it.  This is excellent news since we’re in the middle of a giant weeding project with no air conditioning.  It’s working out, though.  We’re also planning a field trip to a couple of different libraries so that we can see their automated check-in systems.  It sounds like fun and a great break from the normal work day.

My hunny, and I just got back from a trip to Vegas with one of our good friends.  It was kind of last minute, though.  We really wanted to visit Quark’s Bar one more time before they closed for good.  For those who don’t know, Quark’s is a Star Trek themed bar and restaurant.  It’ll be closing at the end of this month.  We’re really bummed about it.  We’ve visited Quark’s on every trip to Vegas, so it’s pretty sad to see it go.

Well, I need to get to bed.  After a 10.5 hour day and 30 minutes of studying when I got home, I’m too pooped to party.

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