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Archive for the ‘Happenings’ Category

I went to Los Angeles to celebrate the 4th of July with my husband…and to see Death Cab for Cutie play the Hollywood Bowl on July 5th.  I first heard about the show just as I was missing them play the Fox in Atlanta and I was determined not to miss them again, so I booked my flight and counted down the days until the tickets went on sale.

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Before I continue, I should preface this post with some background (that I’m completely biased).  I love Ben Gibbard (the lead singer).  One of my very first blog ideas was (and I quote) titled, “Ben Gibbard Rocks.”  It’s not that he is particularly sexy so it’s not that kind of love, but there is something about his voice and his words that just get me.  I also find it interesting that he studied engineering, yet he can have such a poetic, artistic side.  Maybe it’s not so unusual for engineers to have this duality…

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Mmm...WINE

We got to the Hollywood Bowl early.  We had parked at the Kodak Theater parking and walked the 0.75 miles to the venue.  (As advice to future Bowl patrons, this worked out really nicely.  It was $10 to park, a short walk, and we avoided the nightmare parking that was at the venue itself.  They do stacked parking at the Bowl, so you can’t leave until the guy in front of you returns to his car.  It looked incredibly frustrating and like an accident waiting to happen. Just my 2 cents…)  Part of neat thing about the Hollywood Bowl is the atmosphere.  You bring a picnic, some wine, sit and relax with friends outdoors and wait for the show to start.  Joe and I brought some snack foods (peaches and sun chips) and some wine, but quickly got food envy of those around us.  These people went WAY beyond the regular cheese, meat and crackers.  We saw salads, tortellini, homemade salsas, …everything looked so good!  (Second piece of advice:  BRING WINE!!  If you don’t and decide you want some during the performance, its like $40.  Plan ahead and buy 4 bottles instead and make it a REALLY good night.)  Our seats were decent.  We were about probably half-way up (or down), so far enough away that the people on stage looked quite small, but the could have been a LOT smaller if we were at the top.  We had binoculars which came in handy for assisted viewing.

At 7pm, the first to perform was The New Pornographers.  I had heard some of their music before (primarily on SomaFM) and they put on a decent performance.  I particularly enjoyed hearing “Sing me Spanish Techno.”  They also addressed their band name by saying “…We’ve heard that some of you find our name offensive.  But you are okay with Cutie getting killed in a Death Cab.  That hardly seems fair!!”  🙂  They played for ~30 minutes and were followed by Teagan & Sara.  The banter between the two sisters was quite enjoyable.  They made it clear how nervous they felt playing to such a large crowd (the Bowl seats ~17,000 people) when she said, “….I’m sorry I can’t say anything witty right now.  There’s so many of you staring at me and you’re making me nauseous….but in a good way.”  (…I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)  That is something I appreciate in a concert.  I want to hear the artist speak.  There is something amazing about hearing the music live, but I always appreciate the small dialog that give the audience a glimpse at what kind of people are up there behind the microphone.

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Tegan & Sara

Joe and I both liked Tegan & Sara’s performance, with the small exception of some noisy patrons right next to us!  Anyway, I was so paranoid about having to go to the restroom mid-performance that I scurried to the ladies room right as Tegan & Sara’s last song was ending.  I got there and thought the line was long already, but when I got out…it was the longest line I’ve ever seen.  It just kept going & going…so thankfully, we got back to our seats with plenty of time!sign

The lights went out and Death Cab for Cutie took the stage.  I started to cry a little.  Out section was pretty mellow so as they were walking out, I started to muffle my shouts of joy.  Then Joe whispered to me…”Its okay to yell, Sara.”….so ater that, I certainly did.  Oh, it was beautiful.  Song after song, I was so happy when each started as I thought to myself, “Oooo, I love this one!!”  It’s such a wonderful concert experience when you truly enjoy all of a group’s music…then you aren’t waiting through the entire concert for that one song to come on.  I thought it would have been funny had they played “Why’d You Want to Live Here” a song that details his LA experience, stating that the city smells like an airport runway and discusses people having trouble breathing.  I wonder if that would’ve gone over well with the crowd…

I was unsure how the concert was going to happen as they were scheduled to play with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra.  I really wanted to hear them play some of their normal stuff with their typical sound, as that is what I fell in love with, but I was excited to hear this unique performance with an orchestra as well.  The broke it up into 2 main sections:  11 songs with just Death Cab, the closing out with the Philharmonic playing behind them.  It seemed that sometimes the orchestra with the band didn’t mix perfectly, but overall I found it to be very enjoyable.  The set list is below…

Death Cab for Cutie set list:
“Marching Bands of Manhattan”
“Your Heart is an Empty Room”
“The New Year”
“Crooked Teeth”
“President of What?”
“No Sunlight”
“Photobooth”
“Summer Skin”
“I Will Possess Your Heart”
“Little Bribes”
“Cath…”
“The Sound of Settling”

With the Los Angeles Philharmonic:
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark”
“You Can Do Better Than Me”
“Grapevine Fires”
“Title and Registration”
“A Movie Script Ending”
“Soul Meets Body”
“Transatlanticism”

I particularly enjoyed “The New Year”, “I Will Possess Your Heart”, “Grapevine Fires”, and “Transatlanticism”.  The finale, “Transatlanticism” was breath-taking.  There were fireworks going off behind the stage, timed perfectly to the music.  I watched a youtube video that someone had made of the finale, and the best thing it does is remind me of the amazing feeling I had while I was there.  It doesn’t even come close to portraying how fabulous it was.

We finally made it home around 12:30AM, and I had to catch a 7:50AM flight that morning.  I was so tired the next day, but it was more than worth it.  So from that night,  I have a DCFC tshirt (that reminds me of Santa Monica as it has a big ferris wheel on it), a ticket stub, crappy, blurry photos from the concert, and some amazing memories….I just can’t wait to see them again.

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So, Joe is in California for the summer.  We have done the long distance thing before, and knowing that he is your husband and is only going to be gone for 12 weeks is mighty reassuring.  That said, the telephone becomes a vital instrument for keeping a relationship happy.  So when my phone decided to konk out on me at the end of May, it has made life a little hard.

Joe + Sara: Summer 2009 (haha!)

Joe + Sara: Summer 2009 (haha!)

Granted, the phone still would receive calls and whatnot, I just could not hear the person on the other end unless the speakerphone was on.  With all the traveling that I have been doing, it has gotten a bit awkward.   Sometimes it was okay sharing my entire conversation with strangers in the terminal.  On the way to San Francisco (on my birthday) as several people overheard my conversation and wished me a happy birthday as a result.  But the other day, coming back from LA, the plane had landed…my phone beeps indicating that I have a new voicemail.  Typically I wouldn’t listen right then, but I was trying to coordinate plans for a airport pickup.  So, I dial my voicemail, and put it on speakerphone to hear my messages…

Message 1 was from Emma and was completely normal.

Message 2….

Hello.  This is… (self thinking, “Oh great.  Automated message from a telemarketer or something.”)

your Atlanta OB/GYN…  (“OB/GYN??  Oh GOD!  Hang up, Sara!  HANG UP!!’)

calling to confirm your appointment for…. (“WHERE  THE *$%# IS THE END BUTTON????”)

I finally got over the flusteredness, hung up, and shared with the entire plane my womanly medical appointments.  (I guess I just shared it with the internet world too, but at least that was willingly.)  Anyway, as everyone was staring at me as I tried to blend into the wall, I was laughing and cursing at my phone simultaneously.  After a month and a half of speaker phone usage, I needed a new phone.

I did a lot of searching around and realized that getting a phone without signing a new contract is a huge pain.  I went to the AT&T store to play around with some options that are out right now, but even the low-end phones (read: crappiest one available) were so expensive w/out a contract.  So I looked on ebay…I looked everywhere.  From my expeditions to the AT&T store, I found I really liked the LG Vu so  I ended up getting it in wine color, & ‘pre-loved’ as it saved me ~ half the cost of the phone.

Introducing my new phone…Viola.LG-vu-wine

So far, I really like it.  I’m honestly waiting for the bottom to fall out as that is typically what happens with technological devices that I like.  I have 30 days to try it out so hopefully, if something breaks, its in the next month.  It is pretty responsive & easy to use.  It allows you little customization of buttons, but there is little need for many shortcuts as most applications are a few taps away.  It has the silly, “watch tv on your phone” feature, and I just avoid that button like the plague.  It also has a few fun tools standard:  tip calculator, world clock, and (my favorite) unit conversion calculator.  I sent Joe a test text message and the full screen keyboard is very easy to type on.  No word on battery life yet, but I’d imagine that its not that great.  I also liked it because of the color!  (Note:  Please ignore my smudges.  That’s one of the negatives.  It smears up w/fingerprints constantly!)

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It’s not the typical boring black, but it’s also not so flashy (bright pink or red…) that I would feel unprofessional using it at a meeting or conference.  It also has some fun voice commands like it will read me my missed calls.  (You should hear it (try to) pronounce Joe’s last name. )

Perhaps, I’m amazed by this because my phone was pretty simple before.  Even with no internet flashy-ness, it still has a lot of stuff to play with.  Perhaps, I’m happy just because I can actually hear people.  That is itself makes it an amazing phone to me.

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I have been traveling a LOT lately.  My most recent work trip took me to Dayton, Ohio.  I went up for the weekend before the meeting to spend some time with my friend from college, Lauren.  We took a short drive down to Cincinnati/Newport area to visit the Newport Aquarium.  Really, its a decent aquarium – lots of differnt exibits, but much like the Georgia Aquarium…way too many people for my comfort!

The highlight (and the reason for going) was the behind the scenes tour where we were able to interact with the penguins.  It may sound silly, but one of my life goals was to pet a penguin.  I just have been so curious what they feel like.

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My very first penguin petting experience

It was pretty cool to have 6 little African penguins waddling around you.   The aquarium staff were nice and informative, but you could tell that the majority of the time, they were interacting with 4 year olds.  (You’ll notice in the videos below.)   There was a lot of talk about penguin poop.  The first video caught one little guy (actually girl —they were all girls) shaking her tailfeathers.  It was pretty cute until you realize its what they do right before the pooping commences.  Also, we felt so bad for the little outcast penguin the corner.  She apparently gets picked on, so she hangs out all by herself.  I bet I could write a childrens book with that theme.  Hmmm…

Here is a little video of me being completely giddy about my up-close encounter with the penguins.  You can also hear Lauren say in reference to their feathers, “It looks like carbon fiber.”  Yeah, we are totally nerdy.

They were also funny just to watch.  They were surprisingly catlike, without the catlike reflexes.  They would become transfixed by a fruit fly, only to scurry across the floor in a mad attempt to catch it.  It seemed like they really liked to play.

Some more photos from the day…

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And of course, no trip to an aquarium is complete without comparing your height to that of a shark.

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Overall, a very fun day.  If you are ever in the area and like penguins, you definitely should check it out!  Now, to the next item on the life-goal list…haha! 🙂

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Today is my 26th birthday! Wooo!!  As you, dear reader, are well aware, I have been struggling with the mid-mid life crisis and the aging process.  (read – gray hair post.)  But today, is a welcomed and joyous day…how often do you turn 26?

birthdaycake

I must admit I am actually writing this on June 4th.  I will be traveling tomorrow to San Francisco where I get to spend the weekend with Joe and friends.  I couldn’t think of any way I’d rather spend my birthday.  Well, maybe swimming in a pool of money like Scrooge McDuck with Joe and friends…but I’ll save that’s for another day.

scrooge-mcduck

My random birthday thoughts:

  1. I hope that I never get to the age of dreading my birthday.  I realize that time sneaks up on you these days.  Being 5 took forever…but being 25 seemed like a quick walk around the block.  I think that as long as you are happy with the progress you have made in the last year, a birthday is always welcome and to be celebrated.
  2. That being said…I just pictured Joe and I celebrating my 70th birthday and its pretty cool.  Maybe I’ll get a bright pink cake topped with a bonfire of 70 candles just for the fun of it.
  3. My parents always said I was a great child…until it was my birthday, and then the terror was released.  (I believe the word my mom used was “brat”.)
  4. My family celebrated half-birthdays.  We would get a cake with 5 1/2 candles on top (for example) while being sung to…”Happy half-birthday to you!…”  No wonder my full birthday expectations were so high! haha
  5. One of my favorite birthday memories was a surprise party I had when I turned 16.  (I think.)  Joy, Darcy, and I were at the fair when one of them decided to go for a walk around the park.  I look up the hill at this pavilion area and see all my friends…and my mom….and I was so confused.  “I wonder what’s going on??”, I asked.  “OH!  I think its something with Young life, ” Joy quickly replied.  I had never been so surprised nor flattered that it was a party just for me.
  6. I’m hard to surprise.  My parents tried a first surprise party when I was younger.  (5-7ish?)  We were carpooling to dance lessons with my friends Darcy and Sarah.  When we got to my house and I normally am just let out of the car, Darcy and Sarah jumped out of the vehicle before I could get out, but not before turning and looking at me and giggling.  The giggling gave it away.  I knew right then something was up…but it was good time none the less.
  7. Summer birthday’s are awesome.
  8. One of the worst birthday memories I have was from a few years ago.  I received a carefully wrapped package from my sister.  I was by myself for some reason that year and had this one, perfect box to open.  I sat down alone to open it…and within the box were smaller items.  As I went to unwrap them, I noticed something was off.   Item 1 was a little plate that had broken in transit.  I was pretty disappointed, but moved on.  Item 2 was a little cup….that had broken.   Moved on.  Item 3 – dish.  Broken.  I too, then broke down into tears.  It was so sad.  I have all 3 pieces still.  I fixed them with some industrial strength glue, and for some reason, they make me smile about that day when I see them around the house.
  9. My parents were born on the same day.  For the longest time, I thought that’s how you knew you’d found true love…if your birthdays were the same.  Maybe Mark Wahlberg doesn’t know that we are soulmates yet…mark-wahlberg

26 has a good ring to it.  Nice, even numbers.  And, being 25 was great.  I traveled to cool places, married my wonderful husband, and made memories along the way.  Who knows.  Maybe at 26, you are past the quarter-life crisis and just live.  That would be pretty sweet.

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Wow!  Congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers for making it to the Super Bowl!!

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My family comes from a long line of Steelers fans.  My Grandma, my dad, and now my sister is probably the biggest fanatic of them all…bless her little “Terrible Towel” carrying heart.  Granted, I’m not quite so devoted, but I know I had a great time watching the game at Andy and Emma’s.  (Thanks for having us over!)  My favorite part was that awesome interception and run back for a touchdown by Troy Polamalu.  I was jumping up and down and screaming…trying not to wake up Emma in the next room.

That is why I love football.  Ahhhh…………

Now, to wait for February 1st.

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Well, there have been some interesting developments at my apartment complex.  It has become quite a common occurrence to see the police outside asking questions and filling out investigative reports.  The residents were informed that there was ONE attempted/forced entry break-in last week… which made me feel a little uneasy, but then Joe and I learned about 2 more in our cul-d-sac within the last week.  After talking with our neighbor extensively last night, it’s clear that I have reason to feel a little more than uneasy. With this new management company (our complex was sold recently), they have introduced some doubt as to their professionalism and their concern for our well-being.

The complex is supposed to report all incidents to its residents, but that clearly has not been happening so, I wanted to know what was truly going on.  I went to the Atlanta police website, crime stats mapping page and did some research.

So, what this shows me is:

  1. Yes – There has been an increase in incidents over the last few months.
  2. Our apartment complex is not isolated in its events.  The neighbors behind us (townhome owners/private golf facility) is also having issues if not more.
  3. Not everything is reported on this site so the numbers could actually be low.  (i.e.: I know that Joe’s moped was stolen and reported.  I could not find any record of such incident.  I also know that some kids were robbed while swimming late at night, which there was also no record of…)

I think the numbers will be going up for this last week as soon as the website makes those available.  So, we are presented with some difficulties…

The residents are uneasy.  I have heard several talking about how they don’t want to have to defend their property and home with force, but will pull out their gun with no hesitation is someone is attempting to break-in.  We are talking about creating a ‘crime-watch’ and wanting to petition to get a security personnel on site to patrol the neighborhood.  I think a little deterrence is all it would require.

Part of me just wants to break the lease and move.  There are more contributing factors to that sentiment too…the new owners are trying to bill us each for $85 for unknown water usage.  It’s not our bill because that comes from the city.  There is speculation that they are trying to pass off a $45,000 bill onto its residents.  Whatever the case, it’s shifty and its a lot of money.  I’m tired of not having a place to park.  I’m tired of having to share walls and know when my neighbors are smoking.  I want some outside space to plant stuff and have a porch swing….But I like my house.  It’s personalized.  It’s fairly convenient for Joe and my needs for work/school.  It’s spacious and affordable for now…

I’m sure if we stay, things will blow over.  It’s just a little unsettling sitting at work, worrying about your house being broken into…and what’s most silly, is that I don’t worry much about the stuff.  Sure, I don’t want to be violated, but I worry most about Koda.  If someone kicks in a door during the day, steals stuff, leaves….will my favorite little kitty know not to wander away??

Data for figure includes:

CR apts:  3 vehicular larceny, 3 vehicular theft, 5 residential burglary, 1 robbery, 1 larceny

CC apts: 11 vehicular larceny, 2 vehicular theft, 3 residential burglary, 1 non-residential burglary, 1 larceny

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You snooze you lose.

So…I’m sad, and some of you will share in this sadness as our potential business dreams have been dashed.

Last summer, while the family was vacationing in Tennessee, enjoying a hot breakfast with bacon…the idea came to us…we could put this wondrous scent in a jar…no! …in a candle. And they shall be called ‘man’dles. (Duh – du – DUM!!!!) 🙂

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Sadly, we are too late with our genius idea. Some dude in Montana is already making our mandles. Grumble grumble.

“Oh yes Mr. Montana! You’re soooo creaative!! We thought of it too….jerk.”

…and somehow I doubt they’ve been making these products since 1907. Just a hunch.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board…

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