Sunday, March 26, 2006

I hate taxes

I don't mind paying them

I hate doing them. The most. It frustrates me like no other. I consider myself someone smart and highly capable so I think I should be able to do them myself. But every year nothing frustrates me more than the illogical forms and rules that are our tax system.

Each year I swear it will be easier, but each year I am wrong.

There is nothing so frustrating.

I think that each member of Congress and those at the IRS should be forced to do their own taxes.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

The fun that is the big sales at REI

so the whole gang got up early and headed out to the big REI used gear sale this morning. There is no more fun than this sale. Lots of people in line, lots of stuff you don't need, but the price is right. so you grab all you can and decide if you want to keep it later.

Here is Jake testing out a thermarest


Here is the gang discussing the finer points of thermarests with an REI expert


And then finally we all went to lunch at the Stratford Inn Cafe, which is just simply the best food ever. Heath was so happy he jumped for joy.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

red tape

i get an email about two weeks ago from my professor saying that i need to get my
hep b shot.. which is weird because i have already gotten my hep b shot.. for some reason sdsu doesn't believe me.. that's not a problem.. i just needed to go down to the nursing office, and get a waiver saying that i have certain 'personal beliefs' that prevent me from getting another hep b shot.. so.. i do that.. problem taken care of... or so i thought..
last night i get another email from my professor saying that i still haven't taken care of my hep b problem.. and that i need to take care of it or i will no longer be able to attend class... ok.. now it's a problem.. i then take my little waiver down to sdsu's nursing office, and show it to the person in charge, proving that i am compliant, and there is no need to exclude me from class.. and the person in charge says to me.. that although i do have the right paper, the school of nursing requires another peice of paper.. so.. i have to take my paper (paper a) that i already have and lug it across campus and show it to the health center who will then give me another paper, (paper 'b').. then i have to hike paper 'b' all the way across campus back to the school of nursing.. and then i will be compliant.. i head out on my way..all the way across campus.. and guess what.. health center is closed from 12:30-1:30.. and i got there at 12:35..
so far this is not a good day..

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jury Duty

So I’m finally going to jury duty and I was kind of excited about it. That excitement has faded after 4 hours of waiting here. I’ve checked all the email that I’ve been missing while I was in Germany. I’ve watched two episodes of The West Wing. I’ve played a few games of solitaire. I’ve done all the work I can do without having internet. I’m officially bored now.

Chara said Tuesday was the best day to go. Said I’ll probably get dismissed right away. She lied. Of course being sick and here doesn’t help as well.

They should show Law and Order on the TV while we wait. That would make people excited about being here.


Ammendment: I did not get on jury duty, so Chara says she was right.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Were back... but somehow still flying

After 30 hours of being awake and most of it traveling yesterday, we made it home from Germany, via Switzerland.

But we had so much fun flying for all that time we decided it would be a good idea to get back up in the air today. But not in a plane...


hats right, we rode around high above San Diego today in a blimp.

Big thanks to our friend Jerry for hooking that up


Friday, March 17, 2006

sunny ca here we come..

today was our last day.. we headed out to some beautiful gardens, saw some churches, some super cool houses and a castle.. it's still really cold here, so i cannot wait to go home, where i don't have to wear a minimum of five layers just to go outside..
europe was fun.. but we can't wait to be home.. i smell like an ashtray... so the 14 hour plane ride home should be great.. i can't wait.

last day in germany

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Thursday, March 16, 2006


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another day lost in Amsterdam

ok.. note to anyone who is going to visit the beautiful city of amsterdamn... bring a gps device with you.. this city is super hard to navigate.. we spent hours last night wandering around, somehow one street from where we wanted to be, but never really making it to our destination.. this morning we headed out to see Anne Franks house.. which was very interesting.. and very hard to find..
Anne Franks house is on a street called prisengratch, which has two sides to the street, and is seperated in the middle by a canal. On one side the numbers go down from left to right. On the other side the numbers go up from left to right. the numbers don't correspond on both sides of the street. You are on one side of the street at 400 prisengratch, and on the other side of the street there is 200 prisengratch.. and the best part is, because of that system, all numbers appear twice, once on each side of the same street. There are two diffent buildings for 400 prisengratch, but on different sides of the street.. and you don't know which is which till you get to prisengratch 400, and are told it is the wrong prisengratch, and that you need to go to the other side of the street and walk the other way.. seriously.. there is no prisengratch east or west.. just one street. with very confusing street numbers..
anyways.. considering it took us so long to find our hotel.. we decided to head back to germany, to allow for time to get lost.. armed with map quest directions (surely we can't get lost with map quest by our side) we headed out.. the very first street that we were supposed to follow was blocked off for construction.. only there are no signs saying anything like that until you get right up to the construction.. so.. ben had to drive backward on a one way street.. good times.. right away map quest has failed us.. though i'm not blamming it on map quest.. i'll blame it on crazy amsterdam..
we finally found the freeway.. and we were home free.. the rest of the trip was uneventfull.. we found our way back to our german hotel surprisingly easy, and now we are happy and warm, and trying to figure out what we crazy adventure we will do tomorrow..

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A day around Amsterdam


We spent the day wandering about the city of Amsterdam by foot and by boat. We wandered around until we finally found the Van Gogh museum. Saw a lot of the works and letters of Van Gogh and then back around the city to explore. You'd think walking around you'd be able to see the signs better and find where you were going, but this was not the case at all. Again we spent most of the afternoon walking in circles, but it was fun. We took a quick boat tour of the canals of Amsterdam and then took in some of the other sites of Amsterdam.

Ben... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We made it to Amsterdam... barely

So we found a new fun game to play as we arrived into Amsterdam today. Its called, find the street sign.

Its not bad enought that all the signs are in a foreign language (the nerve of them foreigners), but Amsterdam does this really cute and charming thing of putting the street sign on the far corner of the building on that street. And by far corner, I mean FAR corner. So far in fact that being on that corner at an intersection you can't see the sign, let alone read it. The other wonderful thing is that there is no lighting on these teenie tiny signs.

You too can play along at home in this game. see the picture below and see if you can spot the street sign.


See it? Yeah, fun game huh?

Hint 1. its on the right
Hint 2. its above the window
Hint 3. its directly below the Dikker sign above the drug store window

This was the first part of the fun game. The second part was seeing all the street names that were so alike right next to each other

So Princengracht is right next to Passerdersstr which is right near Prussenstrat.

yeah good times.

but we are here now and never leaving. Only because we probably couldn't find our way out of this wacky town if we wanted to.


Oh yeah and a big thanks to Visa for putting a hold on our card the day we left for Europe. Yeah, that was awesome! thanks so much. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

play your own kind of music

this jet lag thing is no fun..
we had a very full day yesterday.. and i didn't even take the nap i so wanted.. figuring that the more i stayed awake yesterday.. the better the sleep last night.. we went to bed around midnight.. and around 3am i wake up.. i'm wide awake.. i cannot go back to bed.. and i'm bored.. this was not good.. poor ben slept through my many attempts to wake him.. and let me tell you the strangest thing about our hotel room.. the tv shows are all in german.. which sucks when you are up with nothing else to do at three am.. but that's not the weird part.. because of course.. we are in germany.. the tv shows should be in german.. but.. they have some TV stations, playing no shows, but playing music.. american music.. i swear to the good lord.. i got ready this morning listening to the 'eye of the tiger'.. strange..

a visit to downtown Hannover


So we finally got a few minutes to walk around Cebit (big computer nerd show) and a few minutes to stop by downtown Hannover on our way back to the hotel. Most Sundays everything is closed, but during Cebit they are allowed to open for a few hours so we walked around the downtown area and saw a lot of the shops. Didn't go in any, just saw them.

Still very cold here, but supposed to start warming up this week. It may even reach a balmy 35 degrees!

Today is the last day of Cebit for us, then we are off to Amsterdam, and then who knows.

Ben... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 11, 2006

day two

nothing much to report..
ben went to work today.. and i ventured out into the cold all by myself.. it's super cold here.. it's snowing and about 23 degrees outside.. i walked around a bit.. thinking the more i moved, the warmer i'd be.. but i was wrong.. i didn't warm up one bit.. tonight i had my first schnitzel and it was pretty good...and ben had some monk fish.. and that was darn good to.. tomorrow i'm going to go to work with ben, and to venture out so more..

Friday, March 10, 2006

we have arrived...

we made it.. we are here.. after making a couple unscheduled stops.. the trip is over. we are in our hotel room ready for bed..
this post is just to let you all know that we are safe and sound.. and doing well...
love you all..

ps.. special congratulations to ryan and holly sharp who just found out that they are prego.. wow.. congradulations you guys.. we are so happy.. we can't believe that you are the fist of us who is making the giant step toward becoming actual adults.. you guys are going to make great parents as soon as ryan learns how to tolerate children..
congradulations you guys.. i can't wait to babysit..

ok.. bed time now.. more from germnay later..

almost there

We are now in Zurich...

Well we arrived late into LAX after getting stuck in traffic, getting on the wrong freeway etc

but we made it to LAX with an hour till our flight and Chara in the middle of a miocardial infraction (heart attack)

her conditioned worssed when we go to our airlines counter, where there were no airlines personel. Apparently they were closed and went home for the day. Our nice luggage handler/security person found someone for us who informed us that even though we booked the tickets through that airline, they put us on another airline.

fine, whatever

so we made our way over to the other airline where they told us they were running late. perfect, so were we. But thier late was much more than our late.

bottom line, we left several hours later, we already missed our connecting flight in Zurich at that point, so they re-routed us through Munich to Hannover. So one extra flight, and we will be in later than expected, but no big deal.

Ben and Chara...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Today's fortune cookie

"Take a trip with a friend"

And so we shall

we are off to Germany. Check the blog for pictures and such. We'll post when we can and if Chara will remember to actually plug the computer in to charge.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Free Money

Most financial advisors would warn people away from credit cards and thier evils blah blah blah

But let me tell you. Getting a fat check from American Express and another fat check from my REI Visa both in the same week is an awesome thing. Couple that with winning the chili cookoff and subsequently returning the prizes to William Sonoma so Chara could get her red spatulas, we have had quite a fun spending spree...all with free money.


Note: i should warn that having a credit card give you 1-2% back if you carry a 18% interest balance is not smart. Its supid. So only attempt this is if you don't have a balance on your credit cards.

Chara having some fun shopping at the mall


Chara with her new red spatulas

and some guy with obviously too much money.

we saw this guy at the farmers market and watched him try to turn a corner in a normal parking lot. very amusing as people watched and commented on his apparent lack of manhood.