I've always been incredibly intimidated by having to do any sort of home maintenance. Mostly it's the stuff that involves using tools, touching wires, and other crazy things of that sort. Owning my own home for the past two years has proven that there's no time for intimidation you just have to get off your ass and do it. Every time we think of something to fix or change about the house I jot it down in a to do list especially for house stuff. It's become apparent to me recently that the list was only growing and not getting any smaller. With Sari gone for a bit on Saturday I decided to "get off my ass" and do something about our ever growing list.
This week is my fourth anniversary of working at Amazon. Most years I've forgotten about the date until several weeks later so this year I decided to go on a little adventure. As always there's some sort of necessary background first...
The characters in The Historian are constantly traveling all over Europe; partly for business and partly for the adventure of the book. When I was reading the book the other morning on the bus two of the characters were taking a train into Paris. They arrived at Gare du Nord, the same station that we traveled from when we went to Paris, and had lunch there, enjoying baguette sandwiches before continuing on another train. We had also enjoyed sandwiches which we often purchased from street vendors or small holes in the wall but they were the most delicious sandwiches we had ever eaten. They also, naturally became synonymous with our trip to Paris. While reading this part of the book I could feel my mouth start to salivate. I decided then and there that it was high time we make and enjoy some sandwiches like this so I promised myself that before the week was over I would take a trip to Pike Place Market to get the goods.
Based on a recommendation I got at a party I recently picked up a copy of The Historian at the library. All I really knew about the book going into it was that it was a story about people attempting to ascertain the true origin of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). I've been really into vampire/zombie books lately so I though it might be a good read.
It turns out the book is more historical fiction than science-fiction. The reader is left on many a precipice of unknowns. As one question is answered many more are left unanswered and you are "forced" to venture through more of the book if you want to get at those answers.
Now that the holidays are over (not to mention all the snow having melted) it's now back to the normal day-to-day routine for many, including me. Some would say that with the new year we have an opportunity for a new beginning. There are certainly reasons to celebrate the new year, including a new president being sworn in and the hope for an improved economy, environment, etc. etc. Typically this is the time to profess your dedication to one or more new year's resolutions.
I have in the past participated in this tradition with a reasonable amount of vigor but this year I've decided to do things a little bit differently. I heard somebody (may have been a friend or maybe even Oprah) ask recently why we should need an excuse to better ourselves? Why should we need to wait for the beginning of a new year to start working on our goals? Instead of committing to one or more resolution's, which I would've likely failed, I've decided to start a list of things that I want to accomplish in my life; both long and short term goals. I've done a pretty good job of accomplishing general health-related goals like eating better (NOTE: as I type this I'm eating pizza and drinking a beer) and exercising more (which isn't really saying much given that I hadn't exercised regularly for years after earning my degree) so it's time to move on to other things.
There is so much about my father that I don't know. Over the years I've heard many stories about my dad's experiences growing up, his father, his wishes and much more (sometimes multiple times). Half of the stories I've heard from him first hand and the other half I've heard from friends, my mum or other people I wouldn't expect to hear them from. This is a real problem for me as it's been made abundantly clear that, in general, I didn't have enough interest in my father's stories growing up to really dig deeper and learn about him. Over the weekend Sari worked at the Starbucks in Fremont serving drinks (she usually works at the corporate offices but she was given the opportunity to work in the store for a day). I was there with my book and laptop sipping chai and enjoying my father's company. It was the first time in a long time that we'd been able to sit down and talk together without any distractions (such as broken computers...) and because of that I got another one of his wonderful life stories. It suddenly occurred to me how little I knew about my father.
It's now been almost four months since Sari and I returned from England and my extended family. I realize how much I'm missing them. To live so far away from your family is tragic. Most of my friends growing up didn't realize how well they had it.I hadn't seen my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmother since I was in the eighth grade. The eight grade! For those that don't know me well that was a 16 year wait! We were only in Europe for two weeks, 9 days in England and the rest in Paris. Only part of that was spent with family. I got to see relatives on both my mum's side and my dad's side. Our time was spread very thin. It was a very mean tease.I think next time we go we'll stay a bit longer but the question remains, when can that be? There were so many things that I missed in those 16 years. I don't think I could bare to go that long again. I've been sitting on my journal entries for our trip since we got back and am only now getting organized enough to get them together and post them for the world to read. With the pictures from the trip online I hope to make it an enjoyable read.
After about a week and a half of work cleaning up our photos from our trip to London and Paris they are now online for everyone's viewing pleasure.
I've divided the trip into different Flickr sets based on where we were at the time. Unfortunately at this point there isn't much if any explanation to the photos though the really good ones are self explanatory. While we were in Europe I kept a pretty detailed journal so I'm going to create posts for each of the days we were there. Currently they're a little to detailed so I'll try and tone it down a bit but my hope is that others that there will be a few tips in there for those that plan on going sometime soon. Enjoy!
It's been a while since I've written so figured I'd give an update as to what's going on for the one or two (or fewer) readers that I have.
About two months ago now I was in the shower washing my hair and the muscles in my back suddenly tensed up and I couldn't turn my neck and could hardly move my left arm. The pain slowly subsided over a few days and I thought everything was okay. Unfortunately, the same thing happened again about a month later and rather than ignore it this time I decided to do something about it. One of Sari's coworkers suggested going to a chiropractor in Ballard called Divine Spine. They were very accommodating and were able to see me within about an hour of calling. Several measurements were taken regarding my posture, etc and because of the severity of the problem I was having they also took x-rays. I was also lucky enough to have time for my first adjustment. All the pops and cracks in my neck and back that ensued were intimidating but not painful. Mostly they just caused me to laugh out loud for some reason. Very strange. I went back to the chiropractor a few more times before being presented the results of my x-rays. It turns out I have scoliosis! Who is diagnosed with scoliosis at 29!? According to my doctor this is something that has been going on very gradually for several years. Since then I've been going pretty regularly and have seen quite a bit of improvement. I was also lucky enough to get a massage from our good friend Charity last Sunday. Sari and I were both like jello the rest of the day but also feel much better. Definitely well worth all the effort so we don't have to deal with as much pain when we go to Europe...
I mentioned Tunnels Beach in my posts about Kauai as the best place to snorkel. What I didn't realize is that in 2003 Bethany Hamilton, a young amateur surfer had her arm bitten off at that same spot. Scary stuff! Not that it's going to discourage us from returning. 😉
I've had a change to decompress a bit after our trip so I thought I'd follow up with a list of the best and worst of the trip.