Thursday, December 24, 2009

Europe Photo Entry #16: Bath

Merry Christmas everyone. I'm just killing time while Michelle shops for some Christmas dinner ingredients.
Here are some pictures of Bath, the English city which is the site of some ancient Roman baths, located over natural hot springs. It was a nice, calm little day trip.

The Roman baths. I am such a sucker for anything having to do with Roman history.

A couple pictures of Bath Abbey:
Michelle liked this bridge a lot:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Europe Photo Entry #15: London

Ha! You thought there was no way we had any more photos from Europe up our sleeve! It's been 1 1/2 years since we got back, but no, we haven't finished blogging about it.
I have no real regrets about the way we did our trip to Europe, but I have to say that seeing England last was very odd. If we had gone to England first, then I'm sure it would have seemed very foreign to me, but having visited six other countries first, it was almost like visiting New York or Philadelphia. Just not nearly so foreign an experience as, say, Hungary or Italy.

Of course, we loved it just the same.
Well, we had to put at least one picture of Big Ben up. The is the British parliament building at Westminster. Visiting the House of Commons and the House of Lords was my idea. And while no one debated about whether Oasis is the best band to come out of Britain since the Beatles (see here: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/96/96pmajor.phtml),
the Commons were definitely more lively than the Lords.
Michelle in front of Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey doesn't tilt like that in real life. Neither do I. No cameras were allowed inside, so I can't show you the graves of any legendary Britons, although there were many. You can see a list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Burials_at_Westminster_Abbey. This place had the most knowledgeable tour guide in history. I thought T.E. Lawrence was buried here, so I asked the aged guide where his grave marker was. He told me that he's not buried in Westminster, but then he told me where he was buried (it's some little English village, although apparently there's a bust of him at St. Paul's cathedral, which we saw but didn't have time to visit). Then I asked about a couple of other people I didn't see buried there, and he told me their burial sites. Now that's a tour guide who deserves a raise.


Piccadilly Circus (I think the "circus" part refers to the shape of the plaza, but the behavior of the people there lends a double meaning to it).

After the debacle at the Frankfurt Temple, the London Temple was a nice respite from the frenetic pace of our trip.

Self-explanatory. The Tower of London. I learned a lot about English history here, more than is worth mentioning in this short space. I should mention that due to Michelle's careful planning, we made it into the exclusive "Ceremony of the Keys", which is the symbolic locking of the Tower at night. It was very neat, although the redcoats who performed the ceremony took their duties waaaaaaaaaaay less seriously than any U.S. military drill team would have (they were not actors). Their comportment was a bit of a joke, and the trumpeter sounded like he hadn't picked up an instrument since sixth grade. Let's hope that the best and brightest of the British Army are in Afghanistan. If you were to compare that ceremony to what you see at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, it's not hard to summon some chest-thumping pride in the American soldier.

What's six months between friends?

Hello? Anyone there?

Soooooo....I haven't written anything on this blog since March. A couple reasons:

1) I have a full-time job. I'm starting to realize why most of my friends with full-time jobs don't blog with any regularity. Please don't interpret this as a knock on the moms out there. I wouldn't trade my job for yours. I just don't have lots of opportunities to write. (This is even more true since I was called as EQ pres. in August)

2) Ever since Michelle started her blog, there hasn't been much urgency on my part to let you know what's going on with us. She's been doing an admirable job at that. You have been checking her blog, right? She reopened it to the public, so if you stopped reading it because you were blocked and didn't want to bother asking for an invitation, it's no longer a problem. And by the way, to the creepy middle-aged guys who continually comment on it, seriously get a #*&$*& life.

That said, I enjoy posting stuff every so often, and I enjoy the interaction with you guys. The Denny's saga was probably the high point. So I've been on the fence about whether to continue this at all. I've got some old photos that I've been meaning to put up for the better part of a year. After I'm through with those, I'll put up a poll to see just how many of you are interested in seeing this blog in the future, and in what form.

Meanwhile, enjoy this delightful youtube video. If you've ever wondered, "Why aren't there more videos of polar bears from outer space destroying Anchorage with a hockey stick while the theme music from Top Gun plays in the background?", then this video is for you:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alaskan Blog

We are eventually going to post on this blog again, but I (Michelle) have been actively blogging on my picture-a-day Alaska blog so it's kind of been taking over our blog life. Matthias has had an intermission in his blogging life but we both have great plans of putting up more things on this one. So here's the link to the other blog, and I'm going to add it to the side bar for future use.

http://michellesyearinalaska.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ahhhh...Tennis

When I was younger, I had one of those cheesy T-shirts that said "Tennis is Life". I remember from a young age watching the pros on TV and even having a higher heart rate on the bigger points. I was a bit obsessed with Pete Sampras in high school and carried the Tennis magazine around from class to class, pulling it out on any occasion. One of Matthias's earliest tactics to date me was to pretend like he wanted to learn how to play tennis...funny enough, I actually believed that he did but I know better now. One night he was walking by my apartment and the door was open. I was sitting on the carpet right in front of the TV watching a US Open match. He invited himself in (or maybe I did, but whatever) and I remember being a bit annoyed at the distraction he was to the focus I had had on the match before he came. (Before you think I'm a rude, selfish jerk, please note that Matthias was "the guy who lives behind us that I barely know" at this point.)

Anyway, the French Open is in it's second and final week and I shamefully have watched nearly every single point of every match that has been televised. But tragically, I missed recording the one match I would have paid money not to miss. I had previously scanned through the guide on our TV to make sure I had recorded any matches that would be shown. I didn't know to check a different channel on this particular day and therefore, thought nothing was being shown. What do I find out?

NADAL LOST TO A NO-NAMER IN THE THIRD ROUND!!!!

He lost to this guy:


I didn't even know this guy's name until a few days ago. You should know that Nadal has been the first person I've felt attached to since Sampras left the game, so you can imagine my disappointment. Nadal was supposed to make history in Paris this year by winning 5 consecutive French Open Titles. And now it's free for the taking, apparently. I guess you have to hand it to Soderling for pulling what's been speculated to be the biggest upset in tennis history. (The last time someone beat Nadal on clay during a major was in April 2005...this is a big deal, ok?)

Well, on to some random pictures. This one is of my hot husband at the top of a mountain right outside Anchorage. I miss him right now, because he's out of town for work. I'm trying to be brave. It's a bit like when I was little and my mom went to the store without me. An hour seemed like 5 years. These 4 days have been a century. I miss you, Thy.
I made a gigantic cupcake for my first client ever! I also made a bunch of smaller cupcakes to go with it. White chocolate cake with a strawberry cream cheese filling and vanilla buttercream on top. Yummmm. Unfortunately, I broke down and sampled a bit. I had to make sure it wasn't poisonous.
And finally, a picture I meant to put up awhile ago. I had to show what one of the trees outside our house looked like when everything was starting to sprout. You can still see some of the fall leaves that never made it to the ground. That's because fall lasts about 2 days here. A lot of the leaves freeze on the trees and stick around all winter long.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

World Beard and Moustache Competition


Every two years, there is a international competition that is held at a different location each time. It's been held in places like Berlin and the like. Yesterday it happened to be Anchorage, Alaska's turn. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the parade the night before. We read that there was a band playing music for the event with "songs about beards for people with beards". Don't worry, we heard some of that music during the approx. 90 minutes of wait time from the time we were seated to the time the first round of judging began. We only stayed for the moustache part due to time, but there were also part-beard and full-beard competitions as well. There were many moustache divisions like, "natural moustache", "dahli", "hungarian wild west", and such. The competitors were all about having their picture taken so many of these were from a quick tap on their shoulder and a snap as they smiled or posed. It's pretty safe to say we weren't expecting all of the costumes.

Pretty crazy stuff. We found out that these guys have been working on their "do" for 1-2 years. So I figure that if Matthias starts on one now, he may be ready for the next one...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slackers...

We know, we know. We haven't blogged in awhile. We have great intentions to finally put up pics and video from the Iditarod along with other fun things from the past couple months. With all of this sunlight and warm weather, we are coming up with any excuse possible to not be inside. We haven't given up on blogging, so don't give up on checking. As my mom used to say, patience is a virtue.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crazy Cool Alaska Pictures

So, here is a collection of pictures from the last 3 months that highlight life in Alaska.

First, a few weeks ago, we came across a religious moose after choir practice outside our church. Don't worry mom, these were taken from the safety of our car.
Can you believe what they'll do for food? Awkward.
One afternoon we went exploring around the coast and found this park with ice blocks surrounding picnic tables. I'm not sure who actually takes advantage of them, but there is a great view of the sea ice and distant mountains on the other side of the inlet.
The following are pictures taken from the school I teach at (the trailer you see in the bottom photo is the one I teach in). The first two are icicles that blew my mind...how did they freeze sideways? The next ones are during a "cold snap" during January when it was so cold the kids couldn't even go outside to play. It was around -20 to -25 for a little over a week straight. The thing I loved about it was the way it made the trees look. The whole world was literally white from the ground to the trees to the telephone poles. It was beautiful.
We saw a moose in our front yard!! We were coming home from church, and I was talking to Matthias as I was getting out of the car and all of a sudden he said, "Watch out! There's a moose right behind you!" Sure enough, I turned around and there it was about 10 feet away. I jumped back in the car and spent about a 1/2 hour staring at it as it munched on some dead leaves in our yard. Matthias got bored (or hungry--probably both) so he went inside but I was too scared. I've been told by a reliable source that moose are more dangerous than bears. I tried about three times to get out of the car and jumped right back in because I felt so vulnerable. Finally, I was so cold I bolted up the stairs and into the house. I managed to get the camera in time to snap a few pictures from our porch.
Conclusion: Alaska provides plenty of adventure. Stay tuned for pictures of the Iditarod, world-class ice sculptures, and a real, live ice hotel.