Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween in the Castro

It's 9:20pm, and I'm finishing up some work in my office.

I can hear the helicopters circling above Castro Street.
I can also hear a few loud/drunken people making their way down the street, passing by our house. There are also a lot of loud cars driving up and down. This is usually the loudest night of the year in our neighborhood.

Halloween night in the Castro is SO different from the Saturday night before Halloween.

If you want to see the real Halloween in the Castro, come on the Saturday night before. That's when all of the locals come out. That's when you'll see all the cool costumes, and the real fun crowd. By the time we go around 11:15, the block of Castro Street between Market and 18th Street is still blocked off. There's still plenty of people and fun things to see, but you can actually walk around and See everything.

The last time I went to the Castro on an actual Halloween night was at least 4 years ago, and we went early - probably 7:00ish. It was already plenty packed with people, and honestly, there were more people who weren't wearing costumes, than there were people who dressed for Halloween. The people who come without costume tend to just want to come and gawk, or worse, cause problems. (I'm sounding like an old fogy now, huh?)

For the first time that I can remember, I actually had a few trick-or-treaters knock on the door tonight. Granted, they all came at once (about 5) and they were all older teenagers. I happily gave them candy, as they were all quite friendly, and in the spirit of Halloween! It reminded me that when I was a senior in High School, Kimi, David, Lucian and I went trick-or-treating together! I had almost forgotten! We knew we were "too old", but we also realized it would probably be the last time we'd ever do it! Coincidentally, all 3 of them came to our party this past weekend, all dressed up! I need to find that picture from Halloween, 1986. I'm sure I have it somewhere at my parent's house. (Kimi, do you have one?)

A Halloween Funny

This year was Kimi's first "Creep-o-Rama". I hadn't mentioned to her that we always hire a server for our Halloween parties. Dick and I have found that hiring a server to pour the drinks, replenish the food, and especially help clean up the trash and recyclables is well worth the expense, as it allows us extra time to enjoy the party with our friends.

The server always come wearing a basic "bistro" uniform: white shirt, black pants.

When Kimi saw the server (a very nice guy named Adam) at our party, she naturally assumed his was a party guest wearing a Halloween costume. He was wearing a white shirt, black tie, and black pants.

She said to him, "Hi, are you dressed as a Mormon?"

I love this story.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Xbox Live International!

As I've mentioned before, Dick and I routinely enjoy playing Xbox Live with some of our friends. We play with friends who live in San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. To clarify, these are all friends who are our "real-life" friends - not people who we've met while playing online.

Our friends Reeves and Paula moved to Dublin (Ireland, not the Dublin near Pleasanton) in July. We miss them very much. It took a while for them to get all of the stuff that had been shipped via a slow boat, and then to get things unpacked and organized. A couple of weeks ago, Dick and I played Xbox Live with Reeves for the first time since he's been in Ireland. I have to say: technology is really amazing sometimes. Playing with Reeves in Ireland was no different from playing with him while he was here. For those who aren't hip to Xbox Live, it allows players to play against or with each other, AND you're able to talk to them with a cool headset and mic. It's actually oddly social - we may not be in the same room, but it's a really fun way to spend time with each other - especially when our friends live several miles away (or in another country!)

Last week, I sent an email out to our regular Xbox Live friends saying that Reeves and I had set a date and time for our next game: Sunday, October 29th: 11:00am. (which is 7:00 in Dublin) We had 5 people sign on: Dick, me, Christopher, Mike, and Reeves.

Think about this: the 4 of us were playing in CA while Reeves was in Ireland! It's SO cool.

I asked all the guys to have a photo taken of them while they were playing. I thought it would be fun to illustrate the coolness of the technology.

Xbox Live International!

This shows the 5 players, and our location in the world.

I should mention that:

1) Yes, we do have 3 (count 'em) Xboxes in the house now. Dick really wanted to be able to watch TV in HD in our bedroom, and since the Xbox Live has a built in Media Center Extender, it was the logical solution! We do acknowledge that it's obnoxious for 2 people to have 3 Xboxes.

2) yes, I am wearing my pajamas.
It was early (kind of) and I was still recuperating from the Halloween Party the night before.

3) I don't usually actually play Xbox Live in bed.
Really, I don't. But, I was still wearing my jammies, and it was cold.

4) Christopher intentionally spent the night over here after the Halloween Party so he could be here early to play on Sunday.

5) Christopher forgot to bring his glasses with him. That's why he's sitting so close to the TV. (Kids, don't try this at home)

6) I've never been to Mike's house before, but at least now I know what it looks like! (I tease him about this regularly)

7) Did I mention that Reeves is in IRELAND?! So cool.

8) We played for 3 hours.
Yep, three hours. it's a time suck.
But, it's a social time suck. :)

9) Technology: it's a wonderful thing.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Creep-O-Rama 2006!

Another Halloween, another Creep-o-Rama.

We had our annual Halloween Party last night. Great friends, good food, fun costumes and amazingly warm weather - a great time was had by all!

This year, Dick and I got extra-serious about decorating: we decorated the hallway, the kitchen, and dining rooms as a "dungeon/mid-evil castle". The effect was pretty good - we also dressed as a mid-evil King & Queen (or a knight and maiden).

Dick & Trina in the dungeon

There were some really great costumes this year. Lots of creativity.
Here are the photos from the evening

I think the most creative costume award has to go to Shan, who came as San Francisco's eccentric protester, Frank Chu. The great thing about this costume was that it was so obscure, that people either immediately "got it" or simply had no idea what it was. Shan was a real hit walking around the Castro.

Will the real Frank Chu please stand?

We missed some our regulars who couldn't make it this year because they've moved away, have had kids, or were sick. Although we missed them (too many to name!), we did enjoy introducing a whole new group of "newbies" to Creep-o-Rama!

We're contemplating how long we should keep our new "wallpaper" up.
Barry tried to convince us that we should host a mid-evil dinner for Thanksgiving this year :)

Happy (early) Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Make my Day

I just returned from Costco - stocking up with goodies and booze for our annual Halloween Party!

For the 2nd time in a row that I've bought liquor, I was asked for my ID.

The first time this happened (maybe 6-8 weeks ago) I was caught off-guard, and surprised.

I told the clerk, "I bet you have to ask for ID a lot, huh?"

His reply: "No, I really only ask when it's not obvious if the customer is of legal age to buy alcohol."

I happily pulled out my ID, and told him that he had completely made my day.

When it happened again today, I was once again surprised. (maybe I should buy booze more often!) I showed the clerk my ID, and she said, "Wow. You really look a lot younger!"

There's a compliment that'll stick with me for a while. :)

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the good genes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The night I had a date with my sister's boyfriend...

Not actually as scandalous as it sounds...

Tonight, I had a date with my sister's boyfriend, Graham. Well, kind of...

Dick is out of town tonight on business, and my sister is in New York for a month working on a new show.

My sister was able to score a couple of tickets for us to see "Chicago" starring Huey Lewis.

Yes, you read that right: Huey Lewis.

Yep, that Huey Lewis.

Huey Lewis & the News.

The last time I saw Huey Lewis perform was New Year's Eve, 1995. (or was it 1996? or both?) I remember that they threw a really good concert, and it was a cool way to spend New Year's Eve with my family. They even had Tower of Power!

The show is at The Orpheum Theater on Market. Graham and I met for dinner at The California Pizza Kitchen - it's where we usually go when my sister has a show at The Orpheum. The show started at 8:00. It's only showing in SF for a couple of weeks, and just opened last night, so it seemed to have a full house.

I actually really enjoyed the production. I hadn't seen the stage production in several years - probably 7 years or so. The cast was quite good, especially the woman who plays Roxie.

Graham and I had a really nice time together. We're hoping to see another show or two together in the next couple of months.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Dick just sent me this cool little online Photoshop tutorial that shows how you can take a regular photo, and turn it into a Lichtenstein-inspired Pop portrait.

It looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a go. It only took about 5 minutes or so, and turned out pretty cool so far!

Here's the original photo that I used:

..and here's where we are so far:

Trina: POP! version 1.0

Not bad for playing around for just a few minutes :)

I've only completed page 1 of the tutorial so far. Page 2 adds color, and line art. That could be cool as well. I'll try that later in the week, and will post the results.

That's the great thing about photoshop: no matter how long you've used it, and how many functions you know, there's always something new to play around and experiment with. When I talk to people who are just learning photoshop, they are generally overwhelmed, and feel like there's no way they'll ever understand the program. I tell them that Photoshop is one of the most unintuitive programs out there. It happens to be super powerful, and a very popular tool, but you do not, by any means, need to feel like you need to know everything that it can do. The only way you'd really know Photoshop inside-out would be if you happened to start using it in version 1.0, learned everything there was to know, and continued to learn every new tidbit with each release. I started using Photoshop regularly in 1995, using version 3.0. I certainly feel confident that I know my way around the program, but honestly, I probably use about 10-20% of the program's functions and capabilities.

A few years ago, I created a little piece that I titled, Noe Warhol. I made it using Photoshop, but using very different techniques than I just used it the tutorial above.

Noe Warhol

Bro's new Pad!

Dick and I went to visit Christopher in his new pad on Saturday afternoon (He had just moved in that morning).

I don't mean to take the wind out of Bro's sails, but I have a few really nice photos that I took, so I hope that he doesn't mind that I'm sharing.

His place is really fantastic - great location, great building, great views...
I think he'll be very happy there!

Anyhow, here's a few picts showing off his new home:

Christopher greeting us to his new home!

The view from the bay window

Boys with Boxes (I love this picture)
Dick and I came to visit at the same time that David and Miguel were there!

Congrats, Bro!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

...and when I say "Pizza", what I really mean is "Salad".

Yesterday, Dick and I were out and about, checking out the new Westfield Mall, in the old Emporium Building. It was getting late, and I was getting hungry. I asked Dick what he felt like doing for dinner, and he suggested, "How about pizza?".

Here's the thing.

When we order "pizza" for delivery, we order from our favorite pizza restaurant, Amici's. But we really don't order much pizza.

We always order the same thing:

(2) Chilled Broccoli Salads (one for Dick's dinner, one for Trina's lunch the next day) yum.

(1/2 order) Antipasta Salad (Trina's dinner): Romaine, Tomato, Red Onion, Green Pepper, Italian Salami, Pepperoncinis, Kalamata Olives and Mozzarella. (yum-yum)

(1) Small Pepperoni Pizza. (of which we each have one slice, maybe two)

So, it cracks me up to think that when we say "Let's order in pizza", what we really mean is "Let's get Salad!".

The thing is, this is really one of our favorite meals! We both LOVE the chilled broccoli from Amici's, and their antipasta salad is one of my favorites. The pizza? Just a little something to have on the side :)

Isn't this the direct opposite of what you'd expect when ordering pizza?

we're so wierd.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Things that happened before Noon on a Saturday

It IS Saturday, right?

1. Woke up at 7:00am on my own accord.

2. Blogged.

3. Walked down to Spikes with Christopher to get a coffee (for him) and a hot chocolate (for me).

4. Met Christopher's movers at 8:15.

5. Talked with my neighbor, Carol, about her walk across Spain.

6. Helped Bro move the last of his stuff downstairs.

7. Tried to move Dick's car, but the engine wouldn't turn over (what?!)

8. Drove Bro to his new home!

9. Came back home.

10. Talked with another neighbor about the new Neighborhood Watch Program.

11. Talked with another neighbor about their gardeners, thinking we may hire them eventually.

12. Bid on, and won, a cool First Edition 1922 Book off of Ebay (Grimm's Fairy Stories, Illustrated by Johnny Gruelle).

13. Help Dick make Breakfast (Bacon, Eggs & Grits)

14. Watched the Daily Show while eating breakfast.

15. Roto Rooter came to fix our clogged bathroom sink (more on that later).

16. Cleared out and aired out Uncle Christopher's old room (*sigh*).

17. A client came over to drop off a CD of photos.

18. The old owner of the downstairs condo called to pick up some important mail.

19. Rearranged the furniture in the front-room upstairs.

20. Blogged.

All this before Noon!

On any given Saturday, the list is usually more like:

1. Wake up
2. Check email
3. Blog
4. Eat Breakfast.

The End of an Era : Bro flies the coop!

The time has come:

After 15 months of happy co-habitation in "His 'n Her Condos", Bro has decided that it's time for him to stretch his wings, and move out into his own nest.

That's right: Christopher is leaving the building.

Crazy, man.

As he likes to point out, He's lived here with Dick and me during our entire married life together. Ha!

But do not fret: he's not moving too far away. Remember, before living with us, he was in Australia, and in Marin before that :)

Bro is moving to a lovely pad downtown. A short Muni ride away.

The movers are scheduled to come at 8:00 this morning to pick up all of his stuff. (Which included several boxes that he's had in our basement for the past 5+ years!)

I woke up yesterday morning, realizing that he was moving out today. It's pretty surreal.

The funny thing is, originally, when he came home from Australia, he was only planning on staying with us for 1 week! After the first week, Dick and I realized that we actually really enjoyed having him here, and offered that he could stay here indefinitely. And, even then, who knew we'd have so much fun?

I'll be the first to admit that it's going to be a bit wierd not to have him here on a daily basis. Never fear, though. We've already planned to have him come back to visit often!

Bye, Bro!

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Battlestar Gallactica

We just finished watching tonight's episode of Battlestar Gallactica.

Have you seen it yet?
It was GREAT!

In my opinion, the best episode of the series so far!

What'd you think?

One Grumpy Dick (The saga continues)

This is frickin' hysterical.

The latest installation of "One Grumpy Dick".

Bonus: Dick updated his blog!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fog Horns

One of my favorite things about living in my first SF apartment (on Leavenworth St in Nob Hill) was listening to the fog horns while falling asleep at night.

When I moved into Eureka Valley, and later to the Mission, I was surprised that I could still hear them on occassion. I mentioned this to my sister a few weeks ago when we were down by the water. She was really surprised, and asked if I was sure that it was actually fog horns that I was hearing. I thought, "They sounds like fog horns. What else would they be?"

Well, here I am sitting in my office in my Eureka Valley home on a clear and sunny day.

...and I can hear fog horns out in the distance.


what else would it be?

is there such a thing as "generic boat horns"?

The End of an Era - Goodbye Tower Records

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an avid buyer of music. But like most average Americans teens in the 80s, I bought my fair share of records/cassettes from the local store - usually Wherehouse Records in Milpitas. Every once in a while, I signed up for membership for BMG or Columbia House - you know the ones: pay $.01 for 10 albums (and I mean albums) and you only have to buy 5 at the regular price within the next two years.

But every once in a while, that obscure song/record would come along that you simply couldn't find at your local music store. Obscure songs like "Oh, Yeah" by Yello, or "Din Da Da". (I would like to thank my years of color guard for introducing me to non-mainstream music - brownie points for "Name that Color Guard!").

When it came to music of obscurity, there was only one store to go to: Tower Records. If they didn't have it, no one would. We would make the drive from Milpitas to Campbell on the hunt to find the elusive albums. (and again, I do mean album)

When I moved to San Francisco in 1995, my school was a mere block away from the Tower Records store located on Columbus and Bay. It wasn't until I read this article in SFgate.com that I learned that this was the first Tower Records store in San Francisco (only the second in the chain, after the first store in Sacramento).

When we came home from vacation last week, I noticed signs posted on windows of the Tower Records on Market @ Noe Street: "Going out of Business", "Everything on Sale", etc., Dick and I like to go into the store everyone's in a while to browse, and maybe buy an occasional CD, although we never made a habit out of it. Although we didn't shop there very often, it was always nice to know that "it was there".

In the days of Amazon.com, and the internet in general, it was just a matter of time before the brick and mortar businesses like Tower would be forced out of business. It's a shame, really. From my experience, Tower Records were always alive with people: shoppers and employees, and it always seemed like the employees really knew their stuff.

Farewell, Tower Records.
It's like saying goodbye to an old friend.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Madrid Airport

After Dick and I flew into Madrid's Barajas International Airport a couple of weeks ago, I posted in my blog that it was architecturally the most beautiful and interesting airport that we've ever seen.

We were interested in learning more about the airport, but our guidebook didn't have any info at all.

This morning, I read a news report stating that the airport had just won the award of the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize - Britain's most prestigious architecture award.

Apparently, the international terminal had only opened in February of this year.

It's no wonder that we were so taken by it!

Here are a couple of photos that I took of the airport:

the terminal that we arrived in

The Baggage Claim area

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Believe it or Not...

Our friend, Martin, is visiting us from Seattle this weekend.

This morning, I heard him whistling a song that I thought I recognized as the theme to "The Greatest American Hero". Then I thought, "No, that can't be it. Why would he be whistling that song?"

Next thing I know, Dick is asking him, "Dude. Are you whistling the song from "The Greatest American Hero"?"

Martin (who is from Denmark) has never heard of the old television show from the early 80s, but said he knows it from an episode of Seinfeld. Apparently, there's an episode where George sets his answering machine to a song that he sings to the same tune.

from wikipedia.com:
In the episode "The Susie", of the popular sitcom Seinfeld, George Costanza sets his answering machine message to the tune he himself made that parodies "Believe It or Not".

Anyhow, Dick and I both thought it was very funny that Martin was whistling the tune, and we both started to sing the song. Somehow, both of us knew all of the lyrics. Martin sat in utter amazement, staring at us.

Early this afternoon, we made a trip out to Best Buy, and started to scan the CD section for a "TVs Greatest Theme Songs" CD, and sure enough, found this CD called All-Time Top 100 TV Themes. The song Believe it or Not (The theme song to The Greatest American Hero is track 31 on Disc 1. We couldn't resist. We bought it, and immediately started to listen to it in the car.

Martin was quite amazed to learn that both Dick and I knew the songs and the lyrics to most of the songs. Random trivial knowledge, at it's best :) Actually, Dick knew more than I did - he was really belting out the songs from the programs from the 60s and early 70s. I did well with mid-70s through the 80s.

I think this will be a fun CD to pop in every once in a while. Believe me, you have no idea how many TV theme songs you have stored up in your head!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Photos are up!

In a moment of rare efficiency, I've uploaded all 400 photos to my smugmug account, and have posted photos corresponding to my blog posts from our trip! The travelouge feels more complete now. I've also put in a couple of other little ditties that I forgot about before, so it might be worth re-reading the blog posts from the trip. (Sept 30th - Oct 11)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We're Home

We got home about 45 minutes ago. The kitties were both very happy to see us.

The flight from Heathrow to LAX went really well, and took about 10 hours. We watched a couple of movies, ate some food, and actually managed to get a few hours of sleep.

We had a 2-hour layover at LAX, which was fine, followed by a very quick flight from LAX to SFO.

The weather in SF was really nice when we landed - warm/mild, and clear, clean skies.

I just got through sorting through the US Postal mail, and now I'm downloading 3500+ emails to my computer. ugh.

Soon, we'll have a little dinner, play a little Xbox, and watch a little TV.

As always, it's good to be home :)

Happy Kitties :)

At the Airport

When Dick and I travel on long trips, we use our frequent flyer miles to upgrade our tickets to Business Class. (makes a huge difference!) This allows us to hang out at the Red Carpet Club Lounge before flights - also very nice. We're at Heathrow Airport now, at the lounge, and Dick just noticed that they have computer terminals here with free internet access - Yee Haw! :)

So, of course, I had to touch base one more time.

We have a flight that goes to LAX, which I believe is about 11 hours, then a quick layover before flying from LAX to SFO. Not bad.

Hopefully, the flight will go well, and will be uneventful. I'll touch base again once we're back home tonight.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This train is for Cockfosters...

oh, my...

This is what the sign in our tube train on the Piccadilly Line read as we left from Heathrow Airport into London. Dick and I both noticed it, and tried to surpress a little giggle....

The next day, we boarded a train on the Central Line, and they had a sign that displayed the message:

This train is for Barking...

I know, it's all very silly, but we find these things to be amusing :)

We're having a FANTASTIC time in London!

We arrived late Sunday evening, took the Tube into the City, and walked a few blocks to our fabulous hotel, The Cranley. As soon as we got settled into our room, we quickly walked about 1/4 block away to have dinner at an amazing Indian Restaurant that we found when we stayed here for one night two years ago: Noor Jahan. It's seriously the best Indian Food I've ever had.

Monday morning, we woke up early (for us) at 8:00, ate breakfast, and made our way out. We walked through Kensington Gardens, then took a tour through Kensington Palace. They had some really nice exhibits that we both enjoyed: The State Apartments, The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, and a new exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses and photos. We had a really nice lunch nearby at the Orangery, where I had a yummy fruit scone :)

Kensington Palace

After walking through a bit more of Kensington Park, we decided to head over to Nottinghill to walk down Portabello Road to browse among the cool stores and pubs. We hopped onto the Tube, and made our way to Baker Street. By recommendation of my friend, Andrew, we made our way to 221b Baker Street - yes, the ficticious home of the ficticious Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson. This was our kitchy activity of the day, but we found that it was really fun, and kind of cool! After having our picture taken in costume infront of the fireplace, we took the train over to Bond Street to window shop in all of the high-end fashion stores.

Mr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, I presume?

After a quick stop back at our hotel, we met our friend, Rob, at "Rules", a restaurant which is The oldest in England. (eating at "the oldest restaurant of..." seems to be a theme in this vacation) After dinner, we made our way to the Noel Coward Theater to see "Avenue Q"! I've been wanting to see this production for such a long time, and I was happy that it did not disappoint. We both LOVED the show. It had us laughing the entire time.

By the way, yesterday (October 9th) was our first wedding anniversary! What a very nice way to spend our day :)

Today (Tuesday) we got out of the hotel by 10:00, and headed over to St Paul's Cathedral. I think that this may be my favorite Cathedral that I've ever seen. It's just beautiful. We climbed the stairs up to the Whispering Gallery in the Dome. We also climbed an additional staircase up to the middle of the dome to check out the view outside. Unfortunately, we got caught in the rain, so we weren't able to enjoy the view much.

St. Paul's Cathedral

We ate a quick lunch at the cafe downstairs on the same level as the crypts. It was called The Crypt Cafe. I'm not kidding. I totally thought that Dick was pulling my leg.

After lunch, we walked across The Millennium Bridge actoss the river. On Philips suggestion, we took the tour of Shakespear's Globe Theater, which was fantastic. We both really loved it. Unfortunately, their last show of the season was last Sunday, so we weren't able to see a performance, but we really enjoyed the tour.

Shakespear's Globe Theater

We walked back across the river, and took the tube to Trafalgar Square, where we posed with the big Lion statues, and drank hot chocolate. We walked through St. James Park, along The Mall,all the way to Buckingham Palace. Then, we walked along the other side of the park towards West Minister. We admired Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament from the outside, then stumpled upon the Cabinet War Rooms. We took the audio tour of this historic place where Winston Churchhill met with military leaders and ministers as war bombs fell overhead.

The Cabinet War Rooms

"Hi, Ben!"

We were pretty exhasted by this point (around 6:00) and decided to head back to our room to relax, have a little dinner, then pack before we head home tomorrow morning.

We just returned from having dinner (again) at our favorite Indian Restaurant. We actually rented this laptop from the hotel, so we could enjoy having the internet in our room. That would explain the length of this blog post compared to the others!

Our lovely hotel

I have plenty of photos to share, which I plan to post to their corresponding posts when we return home. If I'm able, I'll also ellaborate on some of the earlier, shorter posts.

We've had a great time in London, and a really wonderful vacation. The good news is, we get to return to San Francisco, which we always love to come home to.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Adios, Madrid... Hello, London!

We're at the Madrid Airport, with 10 minutes left on our account at the Internet Cafe.

We had a really great time in Madrid over the past 3 days. We went to the three major museums: The Prado, The Reina Sofia, and the Tyssen. We also walked through the Retiro Park, The Plaza Mayor and the Plaza Del Sol, and a zillion other plazas, too numerous to mention :)

Retiro Park

Plaza Mayor

We had a late check-out at 2:00 this afternoon, then went down to the lobby to meet up with Barb, Henry, Kathy and Adrianne, who took the train from Granada to Madrid this morning. We had a nice time catching up with them before we had to take a cab to the airport. It sounds like they all had a really nice time in Granada.

More Trina!

We really loved Madrid. The weather was perfect, and the city was beautiful.

Onward to London! (and rain....) :(

I've been taking loads of photos (perhaps about 400 so far) which is nothing compared to my Dad, who apparently took more than 350 photos in the Alhambra alone!) Bet you all can't wait until that slideshow!

Hope everyone is doing well, and we'll touch base again in London, Baby.

oops - almost forgot a really funny story:

On our way to breakfast, we walked past a group of ladies wearing matching shirts. The shirts all said, "No Dick is as hard as my life!" on the back. They were in town to celebrate one of the ladies' 50th birthday. I couldn't resist, and asked them to take a picture with "my Dick".

"No Dick is as hard as my life!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Day Dick ate Suckling Pig at the World´s Oldest Restaurant

You read it right. We all ate at Botin, the worlds oldest restaurant, established 1725, and Dick ordered Papa Hemingway´s favorite dish, Suckling Pig. Sweet.

Yesterday, we arrived in Madrid, having travelled on the AVE from Seville. We checked into our lovely hotel, had a bit of a siesta, then walked about the Plaza del Sol and the Plaza Mayor before dining at Botin.

Enjoying roasted chicken, and suckling pig at Botin

Today, we toured the Palacio Real (the Royal Palace) which was spectacular.

The Royal Palace in Madrid

Editors Note:
Dick wrote this post while we were at the Internet Cafe. Can you tell? Had you already guessed?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Last day in Seville

Today is our last full day in the lovely Seville.

This morning, we ate breakfast (toast and churros y chocolate) then bid a fond farewell to Kathy, Adrianne, Mom & Dad as they left for the train station, bound for Granada.

Dick, Richard and I walked through barrio Santa Cruz to the casa de Pilatos. We spent our entire visit trying to locate the bust of the young male lover of Emperor Hadrian, (it was described in our tour book), but alas, we never found it.

Casa de Pilatos

We had a nice, and small (for Spanish standards) lunch consisting of paella, sauteed mushrooms and boquerones (small, fried fish).

After lunch, we walked around a bit more, waiting for the things to open after siesta. We made our way to the Hospital de Venerables. (it used to be a home for old priests, but is now used as a cultural center).

The weather has cooled off considerably since we first arrived on Sunday. We believe that it was in the high 90s on Sunday and Monday, but yesterday and especially today have probably been in the upper 70s, which is just perfect.

Tomorrow, we take the AVE back to Madrid :)

Almost forgot!! Yesterday, on the way back from the Internet cafe, where we had just posted yesterday´s blog entry, we saw a group of archeologists unearthing a HUMAN SKELETON!!! In the MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!! They are constructing an underground metro, and, apparently, they keep finding stuff, like pottery and human remains.

Unearthing a human skeleton!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

¡hola from Sevilla!

Here we are on day 2.5 of our trip to Seville. (I ♥ internet cafes!)

We successfully met the rest of the Craddock/Chow/Patnaude clan at the Atocha Train Station at 11:00am on Sunday morning. We picked up our tickets and rested in the lounge until our train was ready to depart.

Lounging in the lounge.

The train ride was really beautiful and comfortable. We were in the first class cars, and were served a nice meal consisting of gazpacho, and tea sandwiches. The views from the car were lovely - lots of mountains and olive trees.


2.5 hours later, we arrived at the station in Seville. We took 3 taxis to our hotel, which, by the way, is incredible. The hotel is made of buildings which were previously used for family and guests of the royal family. The rooms are very cool, and each one is unique. One of my favorite parts of our room is that it has a small piece of furniture which has books in both English and Spanish. To my surprise and delight, we found that our book shelf had a copy of "Tales of the City"! I felt right at home, and am enjoying rereading it :)

Tales of the City! The best way to make me feel right at home!

Another great surprise is that hotel has a rooftop pool which was the perfect way for us to spend our first afternoon here in Seville. It was a great way for all of us to enjoy the hot sun, and refresh ourselves from a long journey.

the rooftop pool

Yesterday, (Monday) we had a quick breakfast of churros y chocolate, then started out at the Cathedral and the Giralda, a bell tower which we climbed up 34 floors to the top. There were windows overlooking the city on each level.

Churros y chocolate

The Giralda

After lunch and a short siesta, we walked to the Plaza de España, which was originally built for the 1929 World Expo, and was initially built to be temporary. They've refurbished it over the years.

The Plaza de España

We then took a sunset boat tour along the river, then back to our barrio for a wonderful dinner, including gazpacho, paella, gambas ajillo and a nice fried cod.

So far, today (Tuesday), we ate breakfast, then went straight to the Alcazar - the Royal palace. It was fantastico and reminded us of the Alhambra in Granada. We ate a bit of lunch then went to La Maestranza - the bullring - for a tour.

The Alcazar

La Maestranza - The Bullring

Which brings us to this very minute :)

We were walking back to our hotel to enjoy a quick siesta, and walked by this very nice (and air-conditioned) internet cafe.

We're really enjoying spending time with both families, and are very thankful for Adrianne's expertise of Seville and the Spanish language.

Tomorrow, we split up the group. Henry & Barb, and Kathy & Adrianne will leave for Granada, while Richard, Dick and Trina stay in Seville for one more day before leaving for Madrid on Thursday afternoon.

I'll try to post some pictures once we get home again, but we wanted to get some of the details down before we forget!

hasta luego.