Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Orleans Trip: Food

The Hubs and I went to New Orleans for the long weekend. We had a great time walking around the French Quarter and Garden District, eating good food and listening to great music, and going on a swamp tour and to the WWII museum.

If you ever have the chance to go to Nola, I would highly recommend going to Cafe Du Monde immediately :)
The Cafe au Lait was out of this world - I've had quite a few coffee drinks from a number of different cafes, but Cafe Du Monde had them all beat by a mile. The beignets were amazing too!

On Saturday we made the trek to Poland St. to taste some of the famous ribs at The Joint. It was sooo worth it! For about $20 we ate a whole rack of ribs, the best beans I've ever tasted and coleslaw with toast. The ribs are vinegar based, which isn't our personal favorite, but it was still incredibly delicious, especially after such a long and hot hike to get there (note to future visitors: take a cab from the French Quarter - it's worth the $9 to have an air conditioned ride over!).

Over the weekend we ate Jambalaya at The Gumbo Pot, and fried alligator at The Gazebo. The jambalaya was a big hit, the fried alligator less so - alligator jerky is highly recommended though :)

We also tasted Abita beer for the first time. It's a delicious local beer which we both thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the amber brew, while the hubs preferred the golden. You can find it everywhere, but we recommend going to the House of Blues during happy hour. You can get Abita for $3.50 there and sit on the shaded patio. Bonus: there is no charge to listen to the bands playing there during happy hour - any other time you have to pay an additional fee. The band we heard was phenomenal!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: My Grandfather's story

My Grandfather fought in the Korean War, serving as a navigator on a bomber. He received a number of medals for heroic deeds which I hope to write about in future posts. But to this day he suffers from survivors guilt. I recently visited him, and for the first time he told me the story about the day his plane went down.

First, a bit of history. During WWII the Britain's Royal Air Force flew missions of opportunity into France. During these missions the bombers had 15 minutes to search, find and destroy whatever targets they found - trains or convoys that happened to be passing beneath them, etc. One hot shot pilot would always begin his foray into France by flying in over the same port and same pier in that port each time. He would then use those landmarks to get his bearings before beginning his run. It doesn't take a military historian to figure out that as soon as they realized this bomber had a pattern, an anti-aircraft gun was conveniently placed at his favorite spot, and he was shot down. The lesson learned from this tale is to never approach your enemy the same way multiple times, and also never to underestimate their powers of observation.

My Grandfather's pilot was a Major who was a drunk. He was put in charge of flying my Grandfather's crew for awhile until the Air Force could quietly retire him. This pilot had a buddy, who in civilian life was a pilot for one of the major airlines. The two of them came up with a very affective bombing method. One pilot would fly his plane high overhead to attract the anti-aircraft missiles, while the other would sneak in at 300 feet, trace the missiles and bomb the you-know-what out of them. Shortly after this, my Grandfather came down with an inner ear infection. Because they would dive bomb from thousands of feet, pulling up only hundreds of feet before the ground, he was grounded until the infection healed and his ears could pop again. While he was in the hospital, his crew went on another mission. The two pilots tried their bombing technique again. In the exact same location as before. But this time the enemy was ready for them, and no one survived.

My Grandfather blames himself for his buddies dying that day. He feels that given his knowledge of military tactics and historic examples like the one he told me from WWII, he would have insisted they approach the enemy differently. As the navigator, he feels that if he put up enough of a fight they would have been forced to alter their plans - even if that meant he was grounded for disobeying a superior officer.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose your closest friends due to the ineptitude of your commanding officer. I also cannot imagine the hurt and guilt he has felt for all these years. To lose all your friends in one fell swoop, and to have been helpless to protect them due to circumstances beyond your control, would be a horrible trial to go through.

My Grandfather was and is a brave man. And as we celebrate Memorial Day, I hope we all say a special thank you to the veterans who gave and lost more than we may ever know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Book by Emily Dickinson

He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation & Summer Plans

I graduated from college last weekend! And it would feel a lot better if I weren't going to grad school in the fall. Nevertheless, I'm glad to at least have one degree out of the way. Now that summer's started, I plan on having a lot of fun.

I'll be working full-time at my current job but I plan to take off a day here and there in order to go on some short trips and day hikes. Here are some of the things I'll be doing this summer:

1. In about three weeks, two of my friends and I will be going to Las Vegas for 2 days packed full of fun! We'll drive down on a Thursday after work and use all day Friday and Saturday to explore the Strip, then drive back Sunday.

2. Another friend and I are thinking about organizing a small roadtrip to the Grand Canyon on June 21st - one of several national park "fee free" days this year!

3. My brother Nano and I plan to go to Bend, OR at some point this summer, most likely in July, possibly for the Cascade Cycling Classic. He's still deciding if he's going to race it or not.

4. I'm open to suggestions for a fourth short trip in August. One friend suggested going to Yellowstone but I think that would require too many days off due to drive time.

5. And of course, I definitely plan to do some fun day trips with my family, including going on a day hike in the Sierras with my family, taking some trips to the beach and hopefully attending at least one Giants game.

So I think that between my travels, mid-week Bible studies, open mic nights at local pubs, farmers' markets, bike rides, and Zeal (the exercise program at my church), I'll have an enjoyable & relaxing summer so I can hit the books come the end of August with renewed energy & determination. Here's hoping!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo of the Week

photo from here

This gorgeous time lapse photo of the Golden Gate Bridge is making me want to visit the city again soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekly Round Up #12

This weekend is going to be a blast! Adri is graduating with her undergraduate degree, and Adri and Rebekah's younger brother Joe is graduating from High School. They are looking forward to celebrating with a big party on Sunday :)

Rebekah has been enjoying looking at these pictures of Tomboy style icons. Such easy laidback style!

Have you ever left a note for a roomie or coworker about something that was driving you crazy?
This website has made me laugh so much this week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Murder Mystery

image found here

Friday night the Hubs and I attended a Murder Mystery dinner hosted by some of our church friends. The story was set in the 1930s, so a few of the girls dressed to the nines in period costume. It was so much fun! There were 8 of us all together, which made for a nice sized group. We each contributed something to the meal (drinks, appetizers, main course, dessert) and enjoyed each of these in turn as we played the four rounds of the game. Everyone was assigned a part in advance, so we knew coming in a few key points about our character. I was an author, renowned for her thrilling and life like murder mysteries. The Hubs was the bastard mountaineering son of the man who was murdered. Once we arrived we received a booklet with more information about our character. Some things we had to share with the group, other things we were to conceal unless asked a direct question pertaining to those matters. As soon as I opened my booklet I saw that I was to conceal that my character's books were all based on murders she had committed! This made me worried that I would end up being the guilty party, but in the end it was the bastard son.

I would highly recommend this type of evening to anyone who would like to host an intimate themed party. It was a fun and fast paced evening :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AMGEN Tour of California Stage Two Finish

Early yesterday afternoon, one of my coworkers and I left work to pick up a snack at a store a few blocks from our office building. While walking there, we noticed a lot of police cars and a blow-up arch and other things that seemed strange. Then I remembered that the AMGEN Tour of California was happening this week and I realized that they were preparing for the cyclists to roll into Sacramento for the Stage Two finish of the race!

As soon as we got back to the office I searched on the internet and found out that the riders would be arriving in Sacramento between 2:40 and 3:15PM. When it got close to that time, I grabbed my camera and headed out to watch the race. Unfortunately, my camera batteries were low and so I wasn't able to get very many good pictures. To make matters worse, my knowledge of the course was not only insufficient, it was also incorrect, so while I thought I was close to the finish I was actually about 3 blocks away from it. I realized this soon enough that I was able to be pretty close to the finish in time to watch it, but I wasn't able to get any decent pictures due to the crowds.

Anyways, here are some of the pictures from yesterday, unedited because I am too busy with finals to worry about making the pictures look better, haha.

The crowds start to gather to watch the riders enter the last circuit
portion of the race. (The course was set up so that after the cyclists went
under the arch, they would do a few laps around several city
blocks before the actual finish.)

The peloton enters the lap portion. Note that the blow-up arch is no longer
there. The wind had blown it over about 2 minutes before the riders arrived
and volunteers had to work quickly to remove it from the roadway.

The crowds watch the live video coverage of the race and wait for the
cyclists to come flying past.

Here is the arch from the first picture, all collapsed on the sidewalk.

The cyclists zoom past the crowds about 1 block past the finish line.

Ben Swift receives the leader's jersey.

Stage Two Podium

Pro cyclist signs a fan's page. Not sure who this is, but I think he was
important. Also note the Chico Wildflower t-shirt that the fan is
sporting. I have the same one!

Google phone Books app

image found here

Last week as I was about to fall asleep the Hubs came in to tell me he was going to update the OS on my Nexus S. I sleepily thanked him. On Saturday I was looking through my apps and discovered that an app entitled Books had appeared next to Angry Birds Rio (my occasional guilty pleasure). The Hubs informed me that it had automatically loaded when he updated my system. I have to say it has made me fall even more in love with my Droid! There are sooo many free books, it's like a candy store for the literary like me :) So far I have downloaded (all for free) A Tale of Two Cities (my all-time favorite Dickens novel), The Scarlet Pimpernel (a beloved action adventure tale), assorted poems by authors such as Frost and Hawthorne and some short stories by Mark Twain. I also downloaded Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. I am finding it to be even more entertaining than I originally expected. A favorite quote so far:

"I shall yield to the inclination, so natural to old men, of talking of themselves and their own actions and I shall indulge it without being tiresome to those who, from respect of my age, might conceive themselves obliged to listen to me, since they will be always free to read me or not."

I for one am reading with great pleasure :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Finals Are Taking Their Toll

It's been unusually quiet around here for the past few days. And if you're wondering why, it's because I (Adri) am in the midst of studying for finals. So far I've taken two of my four final exams, but the most difficult ones are still ahead. Tomorrow I take my French exam and Wednesday night, I take my final exam in Recreation & Leisure. So expect content to continue to be sparse until then :).

Speaking of Wednesday night, in case you hadn't heard, the National Ride of Silence is taking place at 7:00PM in cities all across the nation. Even if you're not a cyclist, chances are you at least know one, so I encourage you to participate. I, unfortunately, will not be able to participate thanks to that blasted final.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Genius storage solutions

I love this cabinet for displaying pretty shoes. It would feel so luxe to pick out a pair to wear :)

I also love this idea for storing shoes that aren't eye candy - I plan to find a storage ottoman and add pockets around the edge to duplicate this. Let the search begin!

pictures found on pinterest, my new addiction :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing it's best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.
- E. E. Cummings

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #11

Things we found on the internet over the past two weeks:

It is a dream of Adrielle's to go to the Kentucky Derby and wear a nice dress and a large hat. In the meantime, however, perhaps she'll be able to throw a few Kentucky Derby parties? These 16 tips from Dappered.com should make it a snap!

Adrielle came across these fuel-economy tips from Click and Clack, the guys from CarTalk. Good reminder that she needs to get her tires rotated and inflated...

Centsational Girl wrote a tutorial about the amazing dye job she did on a pair of old jeans. Took them from old and faded to refreshed and dark.

Adrielle finally received an invitation to Pinterest. See what she's been pinning here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lilacs, Lilacs in My Apartment!

When I went home a few weekends ago, my mom made sure she sent me back to my apartment with a bunch of my favorite flowers, lilacs. I think they look particularly charming in one of the wine bottles I got for free, along with a frame my roommate, Lori, purchased from an antique store earlier this semester.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hit the Brakes: Deactivate Facebook

It was eating up too much of my time. I would sit down to respond to emails or complete homework assignments and after a little while I would look at the clock in the corner of my screen and it would be two hours later - and I would have very little to show for it. Where was all my time going?

One Sunday afternoon in the middle of March, I was sitting on our couch, "doing homework." One of my roommates was also sitting on the couch, IMing with some friends. She glanced over at my screen and casually said, "On Facebook again?"

I jerked my head away from my screen and told her that I hadn't even realized I was back on Facebook! Here I was, ostensibly doing homework, when in fact I was frittering away the minutes on Facebook. Enough! I thought to myself. And right then and there, I decided to deactivate Facebook for an undetermined amount of time.

Since I was in the middle of some conversations via Facebook's message feature, I decided to delay my deactivation for 24-hours. I posted a status letting people know that I would be deactivating and then, for a little over two weeks, I went without Facebook.

And it was glorious! Suddenly, I had more time to work on assignments and I was forced to actually text or call my friends if I wanted to know how they were doing. My family wasn't too pleased, though - I repeatedly got calls from my mom and my older sister asking me to get back on Facebook.

I finally decided to get back on Facebook for a variety of reasons; one being that it is a convenient way to stay up-to-date on some of the details of my family's life that wouldn't be mentioned during a phone call. Another reason is that I enjoy seeing others' pictures and posting my own. But I do plan to go on another Facebook "fast" soon. Being without Facebook was actually a much nicer experience than I expected it to be. Rather than feel that I was missing something from my life, I felt that I had gained something. What that something was, I don't exactly know, but I suspect it was something along the lines of more time, less stress, and increased serenity.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Satchels from Urban Outfitters

As a piano teacher, I often find myself hauling quite a bit of material with me from lesson to lesson. I decided to use some of my birthday money to find a stylish bag that could easily fit several binders and music books along with plenty of pockets for pens, theory games and other assorted tools of the trade.

These were a few of the bags I was deciding between:

This is the Colorblock Satchel from Urban Outfitters.
Pros: Roomy pockets, faux leather bottom and sides
Cons: Over $70 with tax, and a little smaller than I would like.

This is the Cooperative Linen Carry-All satchel from Urban Outfitters.
Pros: roomy with lots of pockets.
Cons: over $60 with tax.
This is the Canvas Bucket Bag from Urban Outfitters.
Pros: Sleek, plenty of pockets, and a sturdy faux leather bottom. Also less expensive than the other two bags.
Cons: Material could stain easily.

In the end I decided to go with the Canvas Bucket Bag :)
I've been so happy with it so far! I think it looks much more stylish than the free (and quickly falling apart) totebag I was using.

All the pockets have helped me become much more organized as well.