Monday, January 12, 2009

California knows how to party!

In honor of our one year anniversary, Adam and I took the week to go visit my grandpa in (slightly) sunny California!  It. Was. Amazing.  My grandpa loves young love, so he worked really hard to make this a special trip for us.  We took lots of pictures, so I'll start posting them and narrate as I go!

After our close call with getting to the airport for our trip to Utah, we decided to play it safe and give ourselves plenty of time to make our flight.  It worked!  Unfortunately, the plane was almost full by the time it landed in Kansas City that Adam and I got split up and both had a miserable four hour trip trapped by the people next to us.  With that out of the way, we made it safely to the Oakland airport and were soon greeted by Grandpa, who after dropping off our luggage, took us to lunch at the Hickory Pit (where his breakfast club meets).  After a nap and catching up with Grandpa, he heard about Adam's love of seafood and took us to the swankiest place in town.  Adam and G-Pa got some kind of West Coast fish that was apparently really good while I walked on the wild side (for this Kansas girl) and ordered Alaskan halibut.  Not too bad!

My grandpa gave us his condo for the week while he stayed with his lady friend Jackie (no scandals...he slept downstairs, she slept upstairs...he made sure to make that clear!).  I love my grandpa for so many reasons, but especially his sense of humor.  This post-it note above the scale in the bathroom is just one example of it.

The next morning, he dropped us off at the BART station and gave us a map of San Francisco.  We tried not to look like tourists, which meant that we walked a lot in the wrong direction for 20 minutes before stepping into a Starbucks to memorize the map.  Our first stop was Chinatown.  Pretty cool, but it definitely had some interesting smells...I wasn't really excited to go back there for lunch, but Adam got some cool pictures.

While looking over the map, we noticed a few locations we wanted to check out: the "steepest street" and the "crookedest street."  They seemed to be fairly close by, so we began our journey.  And continued our journey.  I definitely was feeling the burn after 10 blocks of straight incline!

However, our detour was definitely a pleasant surprise.  We walked along Hyde Street (pictured below) for another 10 blocks, which was the most picturesque street ever.  We loved the trees lining the street, gorgeous homes, and cable cars still running.

After visiting the steepest street (which was very steep), we visited Lombard Street, the crookedest street.  It was beautiful!  We loved the brick road and gorgeous landscaping....we're just glad we didn't have to drive down it!

After our long walk/hike, we were definitely starving and somehow found ourselves in Little Italy (no complaints there!).  We found a cafe and ordered excellent panini sandwiches, then finished our meal with gelato.  Adam definitely picked the best flavors - fresh pear, guava, and pomegranate.  We then took BART back to Walnut Creek (just about three hours before the BART riots took about timing!).

When we got back, we shared our pictures with G-pa and had time to visit and relax, then back to eating - soup and salad this time...we had been eating a lot of food!  The next morning, Adam and I drove to Oakland and were able to go to the LDS temple there...the same one in which my parents got married!  It was really beautiful and a good reminder of the importance of families.  I love mine!

When we got back, G-pa's friend Jackie made us lunch - clam chowder and tuna/avocado sandwiches on Jewish rye (I'm telling you....this vacation really seemed revolve around food).  Adam definitely enjoyed the chowder while I really loved my sandwich!  Adam, G-pa, and I then took off on a scenic drive to get to an old auto museum.  I tell you what, those two boys went crazy in there!  I have to admit, there were some pretty nice looking cars.  We had just taught Grandpa how to use his new digital camera and he was just snapping away!

That night, we met up at a little Italian place with my uncle and aunt.  Adam had never met my mom's brother, so it was fun for everyone to get to know each other.  My grandpa introduced Adam as "Shorty Buhler" the entire was great.  We had a good time and good food.

The next morning, my grandpa had arranged for his buddy Skip to give us a limo tour of San Francisco.  What was supposed to be two hours turned into four - but it was great.

Adam and I fell more and more in love with San Francisco as we drove around its neighborhoods, parks, and sites.  There is so much to do and see!  We got some great pictures and did lots of brainstorming on how we could eventually move out here (you know...setting goals and making plans!).  We love it.

That night, my grandpa had made reservations for us at the Hilton right by the airport since we had an early flight.  We had some high hopes for the hotel, but were pretty disappointed when a day's worth of internet cost more than our monthly service at home.  Good thing we were close enough to get some from the unsuspecting Econolodge across the street!  We arrived the next morning safely in Kansas City, but were a little bummed our vacation is over.  Only three degrees, five years, and a whole lot of money to be saved until we can move there permanently!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Long Overdue

So this is a long overdue blog post.  It has been my turn for quite some time now and I used to think there wasn't that much to write about but the more I think about what has happened since December 1st, the more comfortable you should find your seating arrangement because this is going to be a long one.

First off, School happily ended for both of us.  I love long breaks from school!  For most of our break we have watched movies/seasons of TV shows and we love it.  We watched Seasons 4 and 5 of Alias and were still convinced that the first two seasons were the best.  The show recycled too many story lines and it wasn't even interesting anymore.  We also watched Season 1 of Chuck.  It was a gift from our totally cool and awesome Sister Amelia and Brother-In-Law Joel.  Thanks guys!  We love it.  It's a perfect mix of the "24" excitement with the "Get Smart" humor.  Two thumbs way up!

In celebration of school being out and to get us in the Christmas spirit we went to Kansas City and saw "The Nutcracker" ballet.  It was very nice.  We really liked the music and the adult dancers but could have done without the little kids.  They weren't as fun to watch.  For several days afterward, Karen could be seen ballet dancing just about everywhere.

Christmas finally came.  We spent Christmas Eve with the Buhlers and started the evening with dinner at my Grandmothers and invited Lance One Horn along too.  We then followed tradition and went to the Plymouth Congregational Church's Christmas Eve program.  Afterwards we opened presents at my parents' house and enjoyed reminiscing about our favorite Christmas memories.  Christmas morning was all to ourselves.  I was awakened by a giddy wife around 9am and was told that Santa had come and left us presents.  We each opened our presents and stockings and had a good laugh.  We kept things very low budget and decided on $10 for the main gift and $5 for stocking stuffers purchased at The Dollar Tree.  I received, among other things, a 30in "chain" with a "Bling Bling" medallion on it while Karen was flipping out over the High School Musical wall decals with none other than Troy Bolton and the quote "Getcha Head In The Game!".  We then packed up and went over to the Christensens in Topeka for the rest of the day.  We watched "Elf" with them and I was reminded of how much I love that movie.  We also played two very heated games of ERS (Karen refers to it as Egyptian Rat Killer but still uses the acronym ERS.  Hmmm...) with the remaining members of the family.  The other half of the family members were in either Utah or Texas visiting other members of extended family.

The following Sunday we went to the annual Buhler Family Reunion.  It's a wonderful tradition in my family where all of my Granddad's siblings and their families gather every year to give reports of where everyone is and what everyone is doing.  I love our family!

The next week both Karen and I came down with a fierce cold that we couldn't shake.  We were bed ridden for almost the entire week.  The two of us have gone through 5 Kleenex boxes and counting.  We're hopeful that all of the congestion will be gone in time for our flight to California next week.  My Mom gave Karen the fear that our ear drums will burst because of the airplane cabin pressure while flying.  I hope nothing of the sort happens.

New Years day we had the missionaries over for dinner and Karen went all out with our fine china and actual silver silverware.  We even had some sparkling grape juice to top things off.  That sparkling grape juice inspired me to make a picture with a creative light setup I've seen some other photographers do on Flickr.


Today, January 4th, 2009 marks our one year anniversary!  To celebrate the occasion we went out to dinner last night and went to see the movie "Valkyrie" which was a very good history lesson.  Then today we exchanged gifts.  Supposedly, someone has written the rules for the themes of nearly every anniversary you can have and the first anniversary has to do with paper.  Karen decided to buy me a set of small look books that I can leave with people to advertise my wedding photography.  After some of my suggestions they will make a fine gift.  My gift to Karen was clever in nature.  I will admit my guilt in not remembering to purchase the anniversary gift until the last minute.  This last week really threw me a loop because we were both sick and neither of us really left the house.  So, with very little time and a budget of $15 out of pocket, I had very limited time, money, and resources.  I ended up sending her a gift through iTunes for Season 4 of The Office.  The standard definition season costs $27.86 but I still had $20 left on my $25 gift card I'd gotten for Christmas so all was well.  It's not directly a paper product but I figured a mocumentary based on Dunder Mifflin, a paper company, was appropriate.  She gave me points for creativity.  Then, tonight we ate our year old cake with my parents.  The white frosting was still good but the cake was very dry.  We didn't eat more than a few bites.  So, now that we have a year under our belt, it's all a cake walk from here.  Right?

P.S. Karen here.  Adam and I couldn't decide whether to add this in this post or not, but we figured the public can't be kept from this forever.  Even on our deathbeds, we spent four hours outside on a cold winter day to make the following music video with our friends.  It was part of a contest put on by the Flight of the Conchords - remake their video of the Hiphoppopotamus vs. Ryhmnoceras for a chance to appear on HBO!  Who could resist?!  We couldn't.