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Saturday, August 30, 2008

PART TWO (Part One found below)

After our near half marathon, the previous day, we were a little pooped Friday morning. We slept in a bit, had breakfast at the hotel, then again, forced our cranky feet into shoes and headed out. This time we walked to Alamo Square – a park with great city views located across from “The Painted Ladies” – a row of pastel-painted Victorian homes. It’s also where the opening credits for Full House were shot. (You know, the 1980’s sitcom that featured the Olsen twins when they were still cute and innocent).
Now, for the record, everyone says that the Full House house is one of the Painted Ladies. I would like to put the truth out there for those many who are confused. While, yes, the opening credits were filmed at the park and showed the Painted Ladies, the actual Full House house is located on Broderick St. – a full 1.1 miles away from Alamo Square. (I did some research on this fact). Unfortunately, my research didn’t happen until this morning (a full week after our trip), so I will admit that just like all tourists I looked at the Painted Ladies and thought, “hmmm, it looks familiar, but is it REALLY the Full House house?” I wasn’t totally duped though. Mike can tell you I spent most of that morning puzzling over the location of the REAL Full House house. Guess we’ll just have to plan another trip to see the real thing.
OK, so we saw the non-Full House house, walked through town, back to our hotel, checked out and then had lunch at a French bakery/creperie. After lunch, Mike went back to the hotel lobby to chillax and do stuff on his laptop. Meanwhile, I set out for some quality shopping in Chinatown. We were both happy campers. I bought two silk Pashmina scarves and a silk bag for freakishly inexpensive. Once I returned, it was time to pick up our rental car and head out of town to Napa Valley. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge (which had obviously been returned from its’ cleaning that took place the previous day). I got a cool picture of the top of the bridge disappearing into the fog.
Traffic was a little rough from San Fran to Napa, so we arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes before the start of the wedding rehearsal. We rushed to get cleaned up and changed. We were in a major frenzy but then saw Father Rob in the parking lot…this was about 8 minutes before the rehearsal should have begun. He said, “Um, yeah, no rush. Mo and Nathan aren’t even here yet.” That’s right, this was a Goddard wedding. The Goddard clan has taught me (or forced me) to be a little more laid back about things. And obviously, the wedding rehearsal can’t do much without the bride and groom.
The wedding was held in a cute little mission church . I fluted at the wedding, so we watched the rehearsal (everyone crying already), and then I played through a verse and refrain of my piece (On Eagle’s Wings). It was then time for the rehearsal dinner which was held at a gorgeous Italian restaurant in the area. I got to meet Mo’s best friends from college – Keith and Kristen. Mike and I enjoyed hanging out with them for much of the weekend. At 10, we were kicked out of the restaurant, so everyone headed back to the hotel (where pretty much all of the guests were staying) with the leftover wine. When we headed to our room at 1am, the post-party was still well under way at the pool. “Huh,” I wondered, “I’m surprised no one has called to complain. The pool closed two hours ago.” Oh, right. The hotel guests were pretty much ALL Mo-Nathan-Wedding Peoples.
Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 started a little cool and cloudy but by 11am the gray had burned off to a sunny, clear 75 degrees. We hung out by the pool, Keith went and picked up lunch for us, and then Kristen and I went back to our rooms to get ready. She and I had been invited to go hang out with Mo and the fam as she got ready. In true Goddard fashion, we beat the bride to the bridal suite! (They were still at the salon when we arrived.) We helped Joy – the photographer – set up some still shots of the wedding dress. I could go on and on about helping Mo get ready and how she was stunning, blahblahblah. Seriously, like a 1940’s movie star,
As Joy and I followed Kristen to the church (with the videographers following us), she suddenly turned off the highway. At this point it was already 3:30, the wedding was to start at 4, and I still needed to warm up my flute (which I realized I’d have to do in the car since the chapel would already be full). I thought maybe Kristen was lost, but when we pulled up to her car, she said frantically, “They forgot the veil! I’m turning around to go back for the veil! Keep going on…” Seriously, if I hadn’t been a little stressed out (and worried about sweating in my dress due to the stress AND heat) I would have found the humor in how similar this was to a: I’ve been shot. Go on without me…kind of dialogue.
Joy and I made it to the church about 5 minutes before the wedding was due to begin. Knowing that it wouldn’t start without a veiled-clad bride, I played my flute in the car for a couple of minutes. The wedding began about 25 minutes late. Not too bad. My guess is that Kristen hauled booty on the highway.
The ceremony was short and sweet and beautiful. I must say, I was a tad nervous for fluting as it’s been a while since I played for others – especially at a wedding! I was actually most nervous about my first note. Whenever I had practiced, the first note never came out well unless I’d been warmed up and playing for a while. Obviously this wasn’t an option on Wedding Day. I played in the car for maybe three minutes and then my flute just sat there in the front of the church for another 30. My only goal, my only thought was “Nail that first note. If I nail that first note, then I am SO sticking the landing, SO pulling a Michael Phelps, major gold medal big finish, baby!” (And all sorts of other Olympics-appropriate analogies). I’m totally pumped to say that I kicked that piece’s butt so hard there was nothing left of it when I was done. I ripped it. (i.e. I was quite pleased with my performance). I had a couple of people tell me after – including Nathan’s mom that it was the part that “pushed them over the edge.” (In a good way). Lorna – mom ‘o the groom, said, “Jenny, I held it together until you played and then I just totally fell apart.” Look, normally, I wouldn’t want to make people cry but in this case, it’s a VERY good thing.
At the end of the wedding, Father Rob had all of Mo’s adorable nieces and nephews stand in the center aisle to help with the final blessing of the couple. When the were just about to kiss all of the kids and Mike – yes, my 6 foot 5 Mike, were to run down the aisle, out the church doors to the big bell and ring it whilst Mo and Nate kissed. To those not knowing what was up, it must’ve looked pretty funny to see all these kids – and Mike – go running out of the church. (Mike’s job, by the way, was to help with the ringing of the large bell). I’m very proud of him. He did an exceptional job.
The reception was AMAZING. It took place at V. Sattui Winery – pretty much an ivy-covered chateau/villa. Beautiful. The whole event was fairy-talesque. Two long tables stretched out under the stars with twinkly lights and candles lighting the whole way. We had a two hour long, multiple course, wine-a-flowin’ meal that was accompanied by numerous toasts and speeches – all moving, all emotional, all eloquent. There were a few of us girls at the table who had to resort to using the linen napkins for face-wiping ‘cuz we ran out of Kleenex.
Before dinner, we were standing in the courtyard visiting and drinking (a lot of that was done), when who should start to descend the stairs but none other than Jen Schefft – the former Bachelorette and fiancĂ©e to tire fortune heir, Andrew Firestone. If you’re up on reality TV at all, you’ll know that after being picked by Andrew and getting engaged in “the most romantic rose ceremony ever” [just how many most romantic rose ceremonies ever can you have?!], she eventually called off the engagement. A while later, ABC picked her to be the Bachelorette, where she got to choose from a buffet of 25 eligible and inhumanly attractive men. The final two dudes BOTH proposed to her and she turned BOTH down. To the first dude she said, “Yeah, you’re great but there’s just something missing.” And to the “final” guy, the guy she picked, she said, “Keep the ring. I want to do this the right way. I don’t want to rush into things. Let’s see how things go, and if you feel the same way in a few months, ask me again.” They were broken up by the follow up show, three months later.
Now, Jen got a lot of flack for that. She was called “high maintenance” and “too hard to please” and “too picky.” I, on the other hand, always thought it was impressive. Why should she pick a guy when she knows that he’s not The One? Why settle? Maybe he’s great but you gotta listen to your gut. So, I see Jen-the-Bachelorette and ask Mo’s sister-in-law Jen (this could get confusing) why the heck Jen-the-Bachelorette is at Mo’s wedding. Apparently, Jen tells me, the dude who Jen-the-Bachelorette is with and nearly engaged to, I might add, is a co-worker to Pete (Mo’s bro) and formerly to Nate. (He no longer works there). So Jen and I are being total celebrity stalker-types whispering and watching Jen-the-Bachelorette just as Jen-the-Bachelorette walks by. I was like, OK, this is lame and dumb. And I’m sure Jen-the-Bachelorette is totally on to us.
So, I approach Jen-the-Bachelorette, stick out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Jenny. Let’s face it: I totally know who you are and think you’re great but not at all in a stalker sort of way.” She laughed and said something. I have no recollection of what. Oh, I think she introduced me to her dude and I introduced her to mine. But whatever. It was all about me and her and this amazing connection that we had. I went on to say that I was impressed that she hadn’t rushed into things, and I know she got some flack, and I think that’s totally lame, and it was great that she waited ‘cuz she’s got this great dude now – even though I don’t actually know if he’s great or if he’s her The One, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. And she did respond with something all coy about “Yeah, I’m glad I waited…” etc. Eventually I took a breath and allowed others (the dudes) to contribute to the conversation. We were having a great conversation actually. Like, hello, forget Mo, here’s my new BFF. So, it’s all going swimmingly and then Father Rob comes up.
“So,” he says to Jen-the-Bachelorette and Dude, “Do you guys know Mike and Jenny from Engaged Encounter? They’re practically celebrities.” Oh. My. Gosh. We’re talking to a “practically” celebrity. AWKWARD. In response Dude mumbles something like, “no, we just met.” Then Father Rob continues, “Well, aren’t you guys all around the same age?” hmmm. AWKWARD. No one really says anything. So, Father Rob addresses a question to Dude since he’s the only one talking apparently. “How old are you?” AWKWARD. Dude says, “Um, 35.” Fr. Rob says something like “Oh, right, so you’re about the same age as Mike & Jenny. Mike how old are you?” “29,” Mike responds. AWKWARD. Jen-the-Bachelorette shifts around nervously. Then to me, “You?” “I’m 28,” I say sheepishly. Poor Jen-the-Bachelorette, knows she needs to respond next. “32.”
I don’t think 32 is old, for the record. I think the whole thing was just a bit painful and awkward. So, here our new friendship was thrown down the crapper. Once Father Rob started asking what belief system they come from, you could tell they wanted desperately to make an escape. Eventually, Jen-the-Bachelorette found a pause in the conversation, and said, “Have you had a chance to explore the winery yet? We haven’t so we’re going to go do that right now.” The end. The end of our potential lifelong friendship with Jen-the-Bachelorette and Dude. I guess I’ll just have to stick with my NONcelebrity-type friends. (Just kidding, guys. Love ya all. You’re ALL celebrities in my heart).
Somehow, despite the fact that we were up partying VERY late – for the second night in a row – we’d been roped into going to EARLY Sunday morning Mass with Father Rob. As Mo’s brother John said, “Woah. You definitely can’t play hookie when you’re the priest’s ride to church. Oh, and better not nod off either! Do you know all the words? He’ll totally be listening to see if you know all the words.” Anyway, as we were pulling up towards the church, I saw a big sign that said, “Episcopalian Chapel.” I said, “Father Rob, you’re going to be in BIG trouble with my parents if you take us to an Episcopalian church!” He thought it was funny.
Mo’s parents were at Mass as well, and the five of us went out to breakfast afterwards. It was a nice way to wrap up the whole wedding weekend. Discussing and reliving the evening with John and Sandy was great. It really was the most beautiful wedding we’ve ever attended. And I’m sure they went above and beyond to impress the celebrities and “practically celebrities” as well.

While we didn't get a picture of me and my new BFF, Jen-the-Bachelorette DID take this excellent picture for us:

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Even though I love writing my Blog – it’s total “me” time – I still had to bribe myself to get here. (Diet Pepsi and some ridiculously bad for you sugar-coated-in-amazingness almonds). The issue is that my brain is still stuck in Vacation Mode. It’s taking me a while to get back to Normal Mode – which isn’t the same as everyone else’s Normal Mode, mind you; it’s the more spacey-mom version of Normal. Anywhoo, I’m here now, so let me make the most of my time (and my combined highs from the sugar almonds and caffeinated Diet Pepsi).
A week ago, Mike and I departed (at the butt crack ‘o dawn, remember) for two days in San Francisco and two days in Napa Valley for Mo’s wedding. As you may well know, I ADORE the airport and was quite disappointed that despite my constant vigilance to discover some airport wackos (aka: blog material), people were just kinda normal-to-boring. They gave me very little to work with, therefore I will move on.
We arrived in San Fran at 8:30 in the morning. We caught the BART to our hotel where we checked our baggage. Equipped with running shoes, city map, camera and purse we headed out like the prepared tourists that we were. Mike had mapped out a route for us, and for the most part we stuck to it. Our hotel was in a great location – right near Union Square, the shopping and theater districts and not far from Chinatown. We went past Chinatown, towards North Beach or “Little Italy.” We made brief stops in a little used bookstore – my favorite kind (and no, they didn’t have my bookclub book!) – and then in the first church we came to. For some reason, every time we saw a church, we would assume, “Ooh! That must be the Cathedral.” And we’d pop in, soon realizing that yes, while it was beautiful, it ain’t no cathedral. We stopped in three churches, each progressively larger than the last. By the end of the day, we saw the ACTUAL cathedral from the outside but were too tired to go inside!
After the first church stop, we started our first ascent of San Fran hilliness. Holy Ma-Joly. I forgot how hilly that city is. And for some reason, I decided that because I would be missing one of my run mornings, I would run EVERY hill. What the?! So, Hill One (which included stairs for an added workout), took us up to Coit Tower. We would’ve had an amazing view of the city, if it weren’t so foggy!
A bike policeman was taking a breather along the railing. A tourist – I believe Italian – approached him and said, “Excuse me, but where is Golden Gate Bridge?” In total seriousness, the officer replied, “Oh, it’s gone. They took it away for cleaning. I believe it should be back late tomorrow.” I started chuckling as the poor tourist man looked bewildered and confused…and then finally got it.
From Coit Tower, it was a brief downhill jog to Fisherman’s Wharf. We watched the sea lions for a while – who fascinate and amuse me to no end. I kind of wonder if they aren’t paid performers who are bused in early every morning. We lunched at a place claiming to be the “home of the sourdough bread bowl” or the “best sourdough bread bowls in the world” or “our sourdough bread bowls rule” or “your bread bowls are crumbs compared to ours.” I don’t remember. One of those. So, we had, you guessed it! Sourdough bread bowls with clam chowder which we insisted on calling “chow-dah” even though we were no where near the East Coast…quite frankly; I think we were like the opposite of the East Coast.
From Fisherman’s Wharf, we walked along the waterfront heading towards Ghiradelli Square. The best attraction we saw was the most off-the-wall. A homeless man, on the opposite side of the street, was sitting on an overturned bucket. In his hands he held this ‘thing’ that to approaching tourists looked like a bush. Really, it was a bunch of branches and leaves woven together to make a little wall for him to hide behind. He’d even built in handles for ease of use. Mike and I were like, “what are all these people looking at?” The sidewalk was lined with people just stopped, watching him. Then, I understood. As three women approached, completely unawares, he suddenly popped out from behind the “bush” yelling “ARRRGHHHHHHHHHHH!” which was met with an “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” scream from the ladies. It was the most bizarre thing. But instead of sitting and asking for money, he was spending his time entertaining and making people laugh.
OK, fast forward a bit…we went to Ghiradelli Square where we HAD to buy something delicious. We opted for a mint chocolate chip with dark chocolate hot fudge sundae. It pretty much rocked my world. After sufficient face-stuffing, we again began a long hilled ascent, this time to Lombard Street – the twistiest, curviest (and quite short) street in the world (or at least that claims to be all of that). By this point, it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the clouds had lifted, the sun had burst through and it started to get pretty warm. We’d been up for 12 hours and had already walked several miles. Unfortunately, to get back to our hotel, it was uphill THE WHOLE WAY. After jogging up each hill, I’d stop at the flattened out intersection, wait for Mike and say, “Ooh! Look at Alcatraz!” or “Ooh! Look at Coit Tower!” or “Ooh! Look at the bridge!” and take a picture. However, with every block, we climbed higher, so every single intersection provided a better panoramic view. In the end, I think I had about 6 different versions of the same picture, each one taken from a higher elevation.
We stumbled back to our hotel to check in and were informed that we’d been upgraded – for free – to a suite. Sweet! We explored the room on sore feet and then crashed for a cat nap while Oprah played in the background. AT 5:30, we forced our angry feet back into our sneakers and walked a mile to a movie theater to see Batman. It would have been a great experience – sitting in the AC’ed, cushy seats if it weren’t for one fact. At this theater, when you purchased your tickets, they showed you a diagram and you picked/reserved the seats you wanted. The map showed that all but a handful of seats in the ginormous theater were still available. Mike picked the front row of the second section (behind the aisle). His usual. More leg room, you see.
We located our seats and hunkered down. Two seconds later a group of three women start walking towards us – with nearly an ENTIRE EMPTY theater to choose from, they picked the seats RIGHT NEXT TO OURS. And to make matters worse, the woman sitting next to me was the JUMPIEST movie-goer I’ve ever experienced. Any little excitement in the film caused her to flinch or jump or gasp or stifle a shout OR a combination of all of the above.
After our movie, we headed back towards Chinatown for a late supper. We walked PAST our hotel and a gajillion dining options to the Chinese restaurant that had been very highly recommended somewhere (I think on-line). Sure enough, there was a line wrapping around the sidewalk. But we’d walked that far, of course we would stand in line for 45 minutes for food on our tired feet even though there was a nearly empty Chinese restaurant right next door and right across the street and right around the corner. The food WAS good though. I’d say it was worth the wait.
Arriving back to our hotel around 11:30pm, we calculated that we’d walked a total of 10 miles that day. I don’t know why we didn’t just tack on a few more and make it a full half-marathon!

Part Two of our California Adventure to come…

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sheesh! I hardly have a chance to finish writing about our last vacation before our next one! Oh, woe is me. Too many vacations. Yeah right. Vacations are fairly rare for us Martinoids, and yet, here we are – two in three weeks!
So, let’s wrap up the last one, before I commence on explaining the next one. Chelan was amazing and wonderful and insanely fun. On Wednesday, we went to the Waterslide Park. It was so cute to see Matthew, with buddy Joshua (both clad in puffy life jackets) walk together, holding hands and take turns coming down the twisty (“beginner”) water slides. (I stayed in the pool, to catch them at the bottom, or I’d come down first with Zach on my lap). They did awesome and had so much fun! Mike convinced me that I needed to go on at least one “Advanced” (i.e. grown-up) slide. We took a double tube down some sort of twisty, bumpy slide of torture. No, I’ll stick to the Beginner and Intermediate slides, thank you.
Thursday, the guys (Mike & Jason) went and rented a wave runner. Rebecca and I hoofed over to the beach with all the gear and kidlets and we all took turns have rides on the wave runner. It was so big the entire Martin family could sit on it: Matthew in the front – “steering”, then Mike, Zach (Mike blocked the wind and spray), and then I brought up the rear. The boys loved it! Matthew turned around and yelled, “This is awesome!” Mike and I got to go out later, just the two of us, and I got to drive for the first time. Mike gave me a hard time that I really didn’t take us that much faster than when we’d had the kids with us. So?!
Friday afternoon, when the kids were all napping/doing quiet time, Rebecca and I ditched the crew and went out wine-tasting. We hit up three different wineries and had some serious girl talk! That night we grilled steaks for the last supper and enjoyed a bottle that Rebecca and I had picked up on our tasting tour.
Saturday morning, we packed up, checked out of the townhouse and went out of town to a big blueberry farm-turned restaurant for one last meal together. It’s hard to believe that that was a week ago already! And yet, in some ways, it seems eons ago that we were lounging around on vacation!
In one week from today, Mike and I will be in another fun place – Napa Valley – for the wedding of Mo (one of my best friends from high school). We leave at the butt crack ‘o dawn on Thursday for San Fran. We’ll explore the city Thursday and Friday morning, pick up our rental car and then head to the Valley. Friday afternoon is the rehearsal and dinner (I’m playing my flute at her wedding), and then Saturday the wedding is at 4pm. I’m so excited for the wedding – it’s at a little Mission Church followed by the reception at a winery. This seems to be the summer of wine-themed vacationing, and I’m a fan! We fly home Sunday at the butt crack ‘o night. The boys will be with my parental at Port Ludlow from Wednesday night-Sunday. What with the pool and beach, etc. I bet they won’t even know we’re gone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WRITTEN last Tuesday (Aug. 4, 2008)....

Vacation. Sweet vacation. We’re on it, baby! And it is a-mazing! I don’t remember the last time I had a vacation (or if I ever?!) that didn’t have a “plan.” The “plan” for this vacation was seriously: relax, have fun. It’s not a novel concept to many, but it is to me. I’m a total rookie at this. Every single vacation that Mike and I have taken in our seven-years-in-one-week marriage has had an agenda, an ulterior motive if you will. We’ve always gone somewhere – often an Engaged Encounter Convention dictating the location – and have had a plan – every single day mapped out with places to go and things to do. Even Disneyland, while marvelous, wonderful and the happiest (and crankiest) place on Earth is a vacation of plans and goals…get to that ride, beat the crowd, find a good spot to watch the parade, etc. Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth but I think we may have found heaven on Earth.
We are spending the week in Lake Chelan, WA in a beautiful townhouse with our great friends from EE – Jason and Rebecca and their kiddos who include Joshua (3) and Noah (1)….that means we’ve got FOUR boys under the age of five under one roof. So far, the roof has not caved in. Granted, it’s only been a couple of days, but still. That’s an accomplishment. While their have definitely been meltdowns and tears and unfortunately, there is snot a-running (our boys arrived with colds, in true Martin style), we have had a MARVELOUS time. I’m actually quite good at this vacation thing. I thought I would struggle with my whole need-of-a-plan-slash-analness, yet I have thrived at relaxing! I’ve managed to eat, read, sleep, write, run, swim, lounge, drink, and play games with the utmost of ease. I’m a vacationing genius.