Sunday, August 22, 2010

I've got a golden ticket....

A few weeks ago I sent out customized versions of these:To celebrate both my graduation Aug 13th and my 29th birthday Aug 25th, I threw myself a Wonka party. It was fun to plan, and if I do say so myself, the party was a total success.

There was, of course, lots of candy.
From every angle. :-)
The meal part of the party was my tribute to Violet Beauregard and the gum that turned her into a blueberry. I made tomato-basil soup ("It's hot and creamy! I can actually feel it running down my throat!"), and roast beef (well, slow-cooker brisket) and baked potatoes with sour cream.
Like this balloon Tom made me:
Too cute!

There was fizzy lifting drink punch, Wonka cake:
And a chocolate "waterfall":

And for one last treat, the guests got to sample lick-able wallpaper:
Christy tries the lickable wallpaper
Linnae sampling a plum.
Kristin tries a lemon.
Travis goes an alternative route.

All brought to you by Veruca Salt. ;-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some random shots from Paris

"It's big!"-Casey. Notre Dame, up close.
At Shakespeake and Co, an English-language bookstore in Paris. A very cool hangout. Upstairs are books only to be read on site, not for sale, and a piano to play. Two French kids were playing and singing. It was great. This picture is in imitation of one taken by my friend Bronwen, 10 years ago. How things change, but stay the same!
Mmm...roasting chickens with potatoes cooking in all those dripping. French food is good!
I love that one's called "WHY NOT." Hysterical.
Macabre, perhaps, but she's one of my favorite French authors. She wrote "Gigi."
Pere Lachaise cemetery, both beautiful and creepy.
Casey, taking a break at the Perducet tomb.
Coffee in France. So much better.
Pastries! And I was I good girl and didn't get one of each...just a couple!
Balzac is not my favorite of Rodin's works. You'd feel the same way if you had to read two of his novels and do two oral presentations in two weeks.
Mummified cats at the Louvre. For you, Aubrey. ;-)
Trekking up the stairs to the Sacre Coeur for one of the best free views in Paris.
A fantasy of a confectionery at Montmartre.
Our uber-compact apartment. We bumped our heads a fair amount.
We spent a lot of time in the metro. Not the prettiest part of the city, but useful.
The last night, we staying at a hotel walking distance from the Eiffel Tower.
By the end of our stay in Paris, it was so familiar, I felt like I could easily live there and blend in, becoming a seamless part of busy Paris life. But we were ready to go home, where there's room! Our house feels so spacious. And our puppies are here. They were so happy when we got home. Good puppies. =)

Some random shots from Germany

These were waiting on our pillows at the hotel in Immenstadt. Sleepy sheep, gummy...sheep!
We made friends with some bronze livestock in town, too.
These cows were grazing along what was to be the bike course. Happy cows.
No animals here, but I ran by this spot twice. There were unlimited amounts of great trails through the countryside. It was the best running place ever. Mountain biking was more popular, though.
It did rain some, though. I apparently was tired of pictures at this point.
If you can see my facial expression...I was trying to be a good girl and eat my dinner....but it was crazy greasy. Bacon, melted cheese, hash brown and brown gravy. Who thought of that combination? The cucumber on top was just a tease.
Casey did not have the house beverage at the Hofbrauhaus, despite its being cheaper than soda.
He did have the sausage platter. And I got spaetzle. I like spaetzle.
We, of course, made the obligatory pilgrimage to the Glockenspiel in Munich. Casey didn't get it, and I think he's right.
But overall, Germany was really fun. Despite not knowing the language, we got around and had a relaxing time.

The ITU Long Course World Championships

The official Team USA photo. Casey's the 4th from the left. The guys in blue are the team doctor and chiropractor.
Part of the Parade of Nations. 30 countries were represented.
Pre-race. Casey later said he was really nervous then.
The swim start. 4 km, or 2.4 miles. That 1-2 hours of constant swimming in deep water.
Casey out of the water and looking happy.
I didn't get any pictures of him of the bike, since it was away from town, but I got him on the run. Here, he just started the run.
And then, here with only 10k or 6 miles to go.
At the end, he was really tired, but in better shape than some, and really glad that he could finish, despite a devastatingly difficult bike, and finish well. Being there and seeing first hand, I could see how long and hard it was, and how serious and committed these athletes are. I was really proud to see my own Casey out there with the best of them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 3 in Paris - Friday (Versailles)

It took three trains and almost two hours to get to the palace of Versailles. This is the elaborate, gold gate. Louis XIV thought highly of himself. Then, we waited an hour in line to get tickets, and then a crowded, crowded walk through the palace with an insanely tired Casey. That's all the smile he could muster. But despite fatigue, it was beautiful.

We took the little tram around the estate, but only got off at the end to walk through the enormous gardens and then back to the train station. Casey slept on the train. He felt better after that.

Got some food, went back to relax. I turned around and the last half of my Paris-Brest pastry was gone.

And then, miraculously, I was finally able to get onto the internet at our apartment, after countless attempts the last few days. We're tried to get wifi on our iphones several places that said it was freely available. We've been on the constant search for internet cafes as we walked around. No luck. The WWW was denied to us, until now. Wee!

Day 2 in Paris - Thursday (Cathedral Day)

More pastries this morning, but we were very sad that they had no apple turnovers this morning. I figured out how to make coffee in dinky espresso percolator that the kitchen was equipped with. Excellent coffee.

We took the Metro to Montmartre. Trekked way upstairs to church, walked around, looking in souvenir shops and bakeries. Trekked down and back up to Place du Tetre, an artist square.We took the Metro to Arc de Triumph, walked under and around it. I'm huge! Then, we walked down Champs Elysee. Hungry and getting foot sore.

We took the Metro to St Michel. Had delicious shwarma pita sandwiches stuffed with roasted meat and french fries. Casey said this was the best meal in France so far. We walked down avenue St. Andre des Arts, walked through Notre Dame--Casey criticizing the sale of candles in the church itself the whole time, and then up to rue Rivoli, browsed at H&M, walked past the apt I lived in back in 2000.

Took metro back home, me nearly giving us both a heart attack b/c I thought my wallet was stolen, but I had just put it in a different pocket! You did silly things when you're tired. We snagged some pastries on the way. Rested. Very footsore, knee sore, Paris sore. Plan to take it easy this evening.

Had a lovely supper of bread, cheese, arugula tomato and olive salad, smoked salmon and charcuterie.

We went to a cafe in the evening, people watched and read. It was relaxing, except for the 2nd hand smoke from the chain-smokers on the terrace. Seriously, the smoking is out of hand. At night, smoke from the apt next door filters through the wall.

But in the morning, you can smell bread from the bakery. It's wonderful.