Monday, July 23, 2007

Grant's Pass and Brent and Rose's wedding

After leaving Crater Lake, we stopped by the mall in Medford to buy Daniel some hiking boots for his trip to Turkey. Then we checked into our hotel, the Lodge at Riverside in Grant's Pass and had mexican food for dinner.

Friday we went over to Brent's parents where preparations for the wedding were in full swing. Daniel was drafted to help with the goat curry (they made ALL the food for 100 guests themselves!) and I uploaded CDs to Rose's laptop. Many of Rose's 14 siblings and her parents were there as well and Brent's parents of course, so it was nice to get to talk with them a bit.

We then went on the Hellgate jetboat excursion on the Rogue river (setting of "The River Wild" and other Hollywood movies) with most of the group and had dinner.
Saturday, Daniel and I walked around the cute downtown area in Grant's Pass and then went to the wedding. They did it Quaker style so it was a VERY simple ceremony on the banks of the river. Some of the family played a piece on violin and then they just got up and said their vows to each other and were married. They were a bit choked up at the beginning, but after a jet boat went past and someone yelled out "DON'T DO IT", they relaxed considerably.
Here is a picture of the happy couple:

And here is a pic of Daniel and me:

And here is a picture of Dave Latta wearing my jacket (he's a wild one!):

We had a really great time and met a lot of fun people including Rose's family (Lars made a special impression by calling Daniel "Helmut" and Josh by regaling us with stories about Austria), Brent's family, and then the other 20 guests who weren't related who were mostly classmates of Brent and Rose at Yale (Pierce - who is going to Istabul at the same time as Daniel, Tom - whose car broke down in Nevada necessitating a Greyhound bus ride, Clarice - who grew up in Paris, John - from Turkey, etc.) or old friends of Rose or Brent (where Daniel comes in since he was at Art Center with Brent) such as Erika, Dave (see above picture) and Savannah.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Klamath Falls and Crater Lake Oregon

We arrived Tuesday evening in Klamath Falls, checked in, had dinner and checked out Borders, the only big name chain store in town besides Safeway. Wednesday was rainy and overcast so Crater Lake was out of the question. We relaxed, saw the movie Ratatouille, shopped at Safeway for 3 hours and read.
So Thursday was Crater Lake day. We drove up early to beat the crowds and drove the east rim drive first stopping at the Cleetwood Cove trailhead to see if we could do a boat tour. Sadly, boat tours had been cancelled due to mechanical problems, but we walked down the trail anyway and saw tons of chimpmunks. People feed them even though they aren't supposed to so they'll just come right up to you (one even tugged at my pantleg!).

After that, we hiked the Watchman's Peak trail and got some great views of the lake.

It's a beautiful deep blue that pictures just can't seem to capture. And the weather is COLD! They told me in the giftshop that they continually sell out of sweatshirts because people come in shorts and t-shirts and freeze. Even I was cold with my long-sleeve shirt and jacket.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

San Francisco Day 1 and 2

I am taking advantage of the free Internet connection here in the business center of the Twin Oaks Best Western Novato. Great hotel. We are really happy with our room and the hotel services.

Anyway, Saturday was our travel day - basically just LONG and tiring, though I did get upgraded on the domestic portion of my flight. But I let Daniel take my seat in business and I sat in coach. He got free movies and a meal. I got movies that cost $5 each and a snack box with Oreos.

Sunday we got up really early thanks to jet lag. But after eating breakfast, we took a nap. Then we took the ferry into San Francisco and took the cable car up to Chinatown and beyond. We encountered a seriously rude cable car employee who refused to answer any of our questions with any useful information. Sample question: "If we rode the cable car all the way up, how long might it take to walk back down?" Sample answer: "I don't know, I guess it might depend on how much Red Bull you drink." Gee thanks! If you hate tourists so much, why do you work on a tourist attraction?! So we discovered for ourselves that you can actually walk down faster than the cable car. In case anyone was wondering.

Here we are on the cable car (pre-annoyance):

Once back in Marin County, we headed over to my brother Eric's house for his birthday bbq. We met his friends, many of whom had tattoos done by Eric.

Here is one (not done yet obviously):

Today we went with Eric, Heather, and Isobel to In-n-out Burger (my first time - and the way Daniel always hyped it, I honestly expected angels to serve us...) and for a hike in Muir Woods.

Then we checked out the video store where Eric is manager and went to dinner at the place near our hotel, The Wild Fox, which was delicious. Now I am looking forward to getting to bed early in preparation for our drive to Oregon tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2007

USA here we come

Tomorrow Daniel and I are flying to San Francisco where we will visit my brother Eric, Heather and my niece Isobel.
On Tuesday we are driving up to Crater Lake NP in Oregon and by Thursday we'll be in Grant's Pass for Brent and Rose's wedding.
The week after, Daniel flies back to Germany and then on to Istanbul, Turkey while I am off to Wichita.
If I don't manage to blog from the west coast, you will hear from me when I land in the midwest for sure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Virtual apt. tour, Part 3

So here we have my home office. You can see my desk, my work table and a rug that Weina designed (covered with robots - very original). The hat hanging from the window is from my brother Nick. He brought it back from his exchange year in New Zealand.
The second view is of our bookshelf. You can see Count Olaf (from Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events) peeking out between the shelf and the chair. We got that at the Frankfurt Book Fair a few years ago.
And finally, here's a close up view of some of our design books. Books are obviously a passion of ours - maybe someday we'll have as many as my dad :)

Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour. I am still debating whether I should post a view of our bedroom and our tiny bathroom. What does my readership opine?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Main Tower and farewell to Kelly

Last night, we went with Steve and Kelly to the observation deck and bar in the Main Tower in downtown Frankfurt. It was the one place Kelly still had on her list to visit before she leaves. You get great views over the city even though the drinks are pretty pricey.

Daniel and me with a view of the Main River

Kelly and Steve do a "prom picture pose"

Afterwards we went to a restaurant that they know under the T-mobile tower and ate schnitzel. Here's a great picture of Kelly and I having a "leftover schnitzel fight" with Steve trying to get in on the action.

Kelly's FSO tour in Frankfurt is up and she's going back to Washington on Tuesday. Steve will join her in mid-Sept (so we can still hang out with him for a few weeks after we come back from our vacation). I will see them at their wedding in August in Birmingham and will def. visit DC and wherever they are posted in the future, but it won't be the same without them here. We're going to miss you guys.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Wagner's and wrestling

Last night we met Tracy and Marshall at Wagner's in Sachsenhausen. Marshall's brother Murray is visiting and this is the restaurant we always take guests to. It's a traditional apple wine pub with good German grub :)

Here is a pic of Tracy and me after enjoying our food

After Wagner's we decided to get some drinks at NYC and on the way, Murray, who wrestles (you can read his biography under Murray Happer on wikipedia), gave onlookers a show in front of a giant Bembel (jug of apple wine) by lifting Daniel up in the air like a rag doll.

Here's a pic of Daniel at NYC between the Happer brothers

It was a fun night in Frankfurt!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tommy Hilfiger

Last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I was in Amsterdam for the Tommy SS 08 line opening. That means they were presenting the collection that is going to be in stores next February. Sunday was the marketing presentation and a fashion show of all the collections. Obviously I am not allowed to say anything specific about it (hence the blurry runway photo above), but I was really impressed with the clothes! They had some really fashion-forward yet totally wearable stuff. Then on Monday and Tuesday, I attended the denim and sport collection workshops and there were several pieces I would love to get my hands on come spring.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July

So I will post about my experience in Amsterdam at the Tommy Hilfiger line opening a bit later, but I just wanted to post these funny 4th of July pictures of Daniel and I and Kelly and Steve taken at the consulate housing complex Independence Day party.

Daniel and me

Steve and Kelly

Don't we look patriotic?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tori Amos at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt: ADP Tour

So, Saturday night, June 30th, Charlotte and I went to see Tori Amos in concert. We had 12th row seats (pretty close) on the left side. The opera house was very full, but there were a couple of empty seats here and there (one right next to me in fact).
The opening act was Josh Radin who was ok. He did a couple of duets with Schuyler Fisk (the daughter of Sissy Spacek!!) that were much better than his stuff by himself.
Anyway, this was Tori's 23rd show on the American Doll Posse Tour and her 5th appearance as Isabel, the "political" doll in her posse. The idea is that she opens each show with a set from one of the 4 dolls: Isabel, Pip, Clyde and Santa (each with her own personality and different wig). Isabel songs on the album are not my favorites, so I wasn't thrilled about getting her (I wanted Clyde or Pip), but Tori is such a great performer, I still (with one exception) enjoyed the set. (The above picture was taken during Isabel's set by the way).

Isobel's set:
Yo George
Sweet Dreams
Tubular Bells (theme from the Exorcist)
Devils and Gods
Almost Rosey
In the Springtime of His Voodoo

Yo George, Devils and Gods, and Almost Rosey are ok songs from the new album, and the only Isabel song I really like from it (Mr. Bad Man), she left out this show, though she did play it at her other appearances. I did like Sweet Dreams (a Little Earthquakes B-side which I had only heard 1 other time in concert) and Tubular Bells which was really wild and cool. In the Springtime... is a track from Boys for Pele which I never had (and never liked so did not miss) because I had the import version (bought in Japan) of that album.

Then there was a costume change and Tori came out as herself. The next songs (with the band) were:

Big Wheel
Spring Haze
Cornflake Girl
Bells for Her
Glory of the 80's

In general, I prefer Tori without the band, because the band can be overpowering and distract from Tori's piano and voice. Big Wheel is her first single off the new album, and though I am not crazy about it on the album, it was great live, performed with a lot of energy and audience interaction. Spring Haze (from To Venus and Back) is one of my favorite songs and this was my second time seeing it live. Parasol is a good one from her last album (The Beekeeper) but I did see it last tour and wouldn't have minded something I haven't heard yet instead. Cornflake Girl is of course one of her most recognizable songs (from Under the Pink way back in 1994) and though I have seen it live 3 times before, I was more than happy to have it again. Bells for Her is also an Under the Pink track which she plays on harpsichord as is very pretty but I've seen it twice before live. Glory of the 80's is a To Venus and Back song that I hadn't seen live before and really like and enjoyed.

Next was a solo set with just Tori and the piano:
Silent all These Years
The Wrong Band

Silent all These Years is a classic track from her first album Little Earthquakes which I have already seen live twice. But The Wrong Band is a super rare song from Under the Pink which Tori has only played in concert a total of 8 times (out of nearly 1000 concerts) so it was a real treat. She said she would probably mess it up, and she did stop in the middle and say "scheisse", but loved it! Marianne is a beautiful Boys for Pele song that I had only seen once before live.

Then there was another short set with the band and 2 encores:

Putting the Damage On
Code Red
Precious Things
Bouncing Off Clouds
Hey Jupiter

Out of this group, all the songs were great. Code Red and Bouncing off Clouds are two of my favorites from the new album. God, Precious Things, Putting the Damage On and Hey Jupiter are favorites from early albums that I have seen many times live but never get old. And Tombigbee is a Scarlet's Walk B-Side that I had never even listened to before, but really enjoyed - plus it was a debut for this tour.

All in all, it wasn't my dream set list, but it was a solid one. I would've loved to have seen Digital Ghost, Secret Spell, Beauty of Speed or Velvet Revolution from the new album or Northern Lad, Mother, Sugar, 1000 Oceans, Strange or Gold Dust, favorites from previous albums that I have NEVER seen live. Or even songs like Winter, Siren, Bachlorette, Raspberry Swirl, A Sorta Fairytale, Black Dove, Blood Roses, Cooling, Josephine, Taxi Ride or Tear in your Hand which I have seen live before but LOVE. Well --- there's always next time.

More Tori stats anyone? Like that I have seen her perform 97 different songs out of 311 that she has done live (130 of those are covers, most performed during her "Piano Bar" segment on the last tour)? Ok, ok, I will stop. :)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Virtual apt. tour, Part 2

There are three connected rooms on the street facing side of the apartment. The first one we use as a den/guest room. We love the wood floor, high ceiling and balcony.

The second room we use as a living room. It also has a door with access to the front facing balcony. This sofa and chair set is from Daniel's great aunt Herta and looks a lot better in this apartment than in our old one. I got the coffee table at the Frankfurt US Consulate auction for 21 Euro (my lot included a chair which I gave to Steve and Kelly and a lamp). What a deal!

The third and last room is my office. I will post a picture in the next edition of the virtual apt. tour series.