Wow, we have a lot to catch up on…

There is SO much that Stephanie and I need to catch all of you up on - this has been quite the eventful vacation and we’ve barely had a minute to rest with all of the running around that we’ve done. Well, most of the holiday madness is over, which means that I can actually get on this laptop and get a little bit of much needed work done. It’s hard work coming back to Indiana to visit, but it has been so refreshing to get to see everyone after being gone for over 9 months. Like I said, a lot to catch up on.

One funny thing that I wanted to let you all know about is that as I sat here preparing myself for several hours on the laptop I opened up Pandora so that I could listen to some Coldplay and what song comes up first? Britney Spears - Toxic.

Either Pandora has a secret crush on Britney Spears that I’m not aware of or it somehow knows how much I’ve been dancing around to Britney’s new song Womanizer. Hmmm….

Will be catching you all up with plenty of pics, videos and stories that may or may not include:

Time to brave the cold in Indiana

I’m sitting here at the San Jose Airport staring out the window at the last warm weather that I’m going to be seeing in quite a while. Today when I talked to Stephanie she said that it was ridiculously cold (30 degrees with frozen rain as I write this) and that the roads are terrible and that I was going to be in for quite a shock when I touch ground in the good ‘ol Hoosier state. I’m just hoping that there are no delays or anything that would make my all day flight even longer. As it is I’m leaving California at 2:30pm, getting to Denver around 5:30pm and will take off from there after an hour layover to Indianapolis, where I should arrive right around midnight.

I guess you see why I’d like to make all of these flights on time, eh?

I’m so excited to get back home to see everyone and of course to see Stephanie (it’s been over a day now!) when she picks me up at the airport. It’s going to be a bit hectic once I get back to Indiana, so if you don’t hear from me have a great holiday and be sure to get drunk with your family members at least once. I know that’s something that I look forward to at every family get together. :)

Homeward Bound!

The moment that I have been eagerly awaiting for almost 4 months now since Ryan and I booked our flights to come home for Christmas has finally arrived. Right now I’m patiently waiting in the San Jose airport, getting ready to board my flight to Denver first before I head on home to Indiana. I’m praying that the weather holds out for me as I trek into the unknown abyss of snowstorms and freezing weather. Ryan is hanging around California for another day and then will fly back home on Tuesday. We’re so excited to see all of our family and friends and spend a lot of quality time catching up and just simply enjoying the holidays.

Since I’m sitting in the airport ( a little bored since I freak out about making my flight in time and end up waiting for hours once I get here) I’ll talk a little bit about how much I LOVE traveling. It’s not just the whole going to a new place part of traveling that I enjoy, I actually really love the traveling part. I’m so intrigued by airports and the fantastic people watching that can occur. I could sit for hours and watch people pass by and try to make up a story in my mind about each person and what their story is and where they’re going and why. It’s really entertaining for me and I feel that I could make a job of it if I could. Maybe one day Ryan and I will find a way to make traveling our job… some day…

I guess for now I’ll just sit and be fulfilled with the extra super great crowd of people traveling during the Christmas season and look forward to freezing temperatures, snow, and ice back in good ol’ Indiana.

My Guy Thigh

In every relationship there are certain things that you tend to bring up more often than not. For me and Stephanie one thing in particular that she seems to always bring up is my super pale ‘guy thigh’. My guy thigh is the bright-white section of my leg that can damn near blind you if you happen to stare at it for any duration of time. I have always been a little on the pale side and even now that I’m out here in California I still have seemed to keep my trademark creamy albino-like skin tone that I have gotten so used to having for a while now.

As I rock out my God-given gift of being as far from tan as humanly possible, Stephanie has actually kept up her color fairly well thanks to some trips to the local tanning salon. As she gets darker, I just seem to get lighter which seems to make my sweet guy thigh stand out even more. Of course, she’s always quick to point out how much more pale I am than her and as she continues to hit the tanning bed, it’s only going to make things worse.

Maybe one day my guy thigh will get a tan of it’s own, but I highly doubt it.


Stephanie’s tropically tan thigh vs. my milky-white guy thigh

All I want for Christmas is a free beer on Caltrain

As I snagged my seat on the train today, two guys named Mike and Jerome hooked me up with a cold, tasty Anchor Steam beer (which is brewed right here in San Francisco). It’s one of my favorite types of bruski here in the Bay Area and it tasted sooooo good as I was cruisin’ back on Caltrain to Palo Alto.

What a way to travel and what a great way to end the week before Christmas. This is going to be a great holiday break, I can already feel it. :)

I bet that homeless people hate the Salvation Army holiday bell ringers

As I was getting off of the train yesterday morning I noticed a Salvation Army holiday bell ringer getting set up shop outside of the station. The area mainly consists of a few benches, trashcans and lots of people who are either arriving or leaving San Fransisco via Caltrain.

For all of these reasons this social space that was initially designed for welcoming and greeting visitors has become more of a gathering place for many of the homeless people in San Francisco. Well, or at least the ones who have figured out that it’s a beggars goldmine with the kind of traffic that it sees on a daily basis. With a popular Safeway grocery store across the street and at&t Park, the home of the SF Giants, only a few blocks away, it really doesn’t get any better than this if you’re looking to hit the masses for some spare change.

As the Salvation Army bell ringer began to get his gear ready an interesting thought crossed my mind. I started thinking that these bell ringers, whose main goal is to ask for donations during the holiday season, are actually taking away from the daily earnings of the homeless people who are normally ‘working’ this particular Caltrain station every single day, day in and day out.

I mean, there’s only so much change to go around, right? By these clean cut, Christmas carol singing, red kettle wielding, violin playing, vest wearing bell ringers invading their turf, these homeless people are basically shit out of luck for the holiday season. How can they possibly be expected to compete with the smiling faces and professional looking setup that the Salvation Army has perfected over the years? There’s just no possible way and I would bet there are some pretty pissed of homeless people out there right now (and there’s more now than ever).

In other words, homeless people hate the Salvation Army bell ringers.

However, as I was riding home on the train last night I found this article that claims the Salvation Army sometimes recruits homeless people to become bell ringers for some cheap, seasonal work. So now you’ve got a situation where temporary, bell ringing homeless people taking money from other homeless people. This is just getting crazy.

p.s. This morning I saw about 4 or 5 people give $1+ to a bell ringer within a matter of a 2-3 minutes.

If any of you would like to knowingly steal money from homeless people this holiday season, check out this training video that teaches you the ins and outs of proper Salvation Army bell ringing.

An appointment at the jewelry store

Me and Stephanie have plans to stop by and see our girl Beverly at Gleim Jewelers tonight.

Can anybody guess why?

OK, I’ll give you a hint (scroll down)….

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[almost there]
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More details coming soon. :)

All Steph wants for Christmas is Frank

As far as relationships go, Stephanie is really low maintenance. Personally, I think that this is a compliment and it says that she is confident with who she is, is comfortable with our relationship and isn’t the slight bit materialistic - unless we’re of course talking about one of the following things:

  1. Cool Whip/Reddi-Whip
  2. Shoes/Purses
  3. Frank

The first two are obviously self-explanatory, she just loves her some Reddi-Whip, shoes and purses (what woman doesn’t?).

The third one is a little more complicated, as it sounds as if she’d like to have a middle-aged man hanging around the place. But, the story behind Frank goes way back to when Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were putting the smack down on some aliens in the Men In Black movies. Frank had a smaller part in the movies, but it was still enough to make Stephanie fall in love with him.

You see, Frank is a fawn-colored (white) pug and Stephanie has been madly in love with him ever since.


The pug that started Steph’s obsession

So, as Christmas gets closer, all Stephanie has talked about is how great me and Frank would look in our matching Christmas sweaters and how much Frank would have loved helping decorate our tree and all of the other things that Frank would be excited about doing around this time of year.

Simply put, Stephanie is obsessed with Frank (pugs).

I mean, I guess they are kinda cute, aren’t they? (don’t tell her I said that)


I guess that I would consider this cute

Late night dinners on Caltrain

As many of you probably already know, I take the Caltrain to and from San Francisco during the week, which is a pretty decent commute from where we live in Palo Alto. In the mornings it’s not too bad - I’ll usually catch the train at some point between 7:05am and 7:36am, which gets me up to San Francisco no later than a little after 8am.

But, the way home is a little different. Normally I’ll work until about 5pm or so, jet to work out a few blocks away at 24 Hour Fitness until 6:30pm, haul ass back to the office so that I can get my stuff together and take off on my bike to catch the train that leaves by 6:56pm. Of course, that’s if all works out perfectly and I don’t need to stay at the office a little later than usual.

Tonight is one of the nights that I actually did end up sticking around a little later - well, actually a lot later. I stayed until the only 2 trains heading back to Palo Alto were at 10:30pm and midnight. As I jetted off into the night of San Francisco toward the train station my goal was to make it to the 10:30 train, which seemed easy enough since it was only right around 10. I made it to the station with about 15 minutes to spare so I decided to head to a nearby Safeway so that I could grab some grub for the ride home. After I quickly picked up some hummus, carrots, pita bread and turkey I headed for the register with over 10 minutes to spare and only 3 people in line.

Of course, the 2nd person in line decided to pay all in small change, which led me to asking the 3rd person if I could cut in front of her so that I wouldn’t miss the train which was going to leave in about 5 minutes whether I was on it or not. She let me jump in front of her and I ended up making it to the train with at least 20 seconds to spare, which in my book isn’t all that bad. :)

At that point there was really only one thing to do now that I was on the train at 10:30pm with an hour ride ahead of me.

It was time to eat me some dinner…doesn’t it look tasty?


a smorgasbord of late night awesomeness

Nothing says happy holidays like office parties with German beer

It’s almost time for Christmas and you know what that means - it’s time for holiday parties! Holiday parties are great for getting everyone that you work with out of the normal office situation that you normally see them, which normally results in you actually talking to them like they’re real people and not just your co-workers. It’s kind of funny how you can literally work with a group of people for an extended period of time and for whatever the reason is, never actually get to know them as real a real person. An office dynamic, even for a company that has less than 20 employees like mine, is something that has always interested me due to the fact that so many awkward situations can be created so naturally on a daily basis. I guess that’s what happens when business gets in the way of acting normal, eh? If you need proof, just look at The Office, which has taken this dynamic and turned it into one of the most popular shows of all time.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true. :)

Anyways, last night Stephanie met me up in San Francisco and we headed over to my office holiday party which was taking place in a reserved party room at Shroeder’s, a German restaurant that’s a short, yet chilly walk away from my office. Of course I wore my Christmas sweater so that I could help get everyone into the Christmas spirit and Stephanie rocked her new North Face jacket that she likes almost as much as she likes Reddi-Whip.

The party ended up being a really great time. It was nice to introduce Stephanie to everyone and to finally meet all of my co-worker’s significant others, kids (they were all so cute!) and family. The food was great, the beer was better and of course any type of event in December that lets me rock out my infamous Christmas sweater is A-OK with me.

One other thing worth mentioning is that I finally had the chance to chat with a guy that I work with named Chris. He works on the 3rd floor and I work of the 4th, which means that we might as well be a world apart and we’ve never really been able to chat. For the last 4 months or so that I’ve worked here I guess that I’ve never really made the effort to get to really get to know him and he hasn’t put in any real effort to me me either. Of course, this isn’t because we don’t like each other or that we don’t like meeting new people. The fact is that we’re both maniacs when it comes to working and neither of us have ever taken the time to grab lunch, a few drinks, coffee or whatever. Well, last night we finally got to talk for a while, which was great, and I even got to meet his girlfriend. He’s a really interesting guy who has a lot going on and it was good to finally pick his brain for a bit and see what his world was like.

I think that this is a situation that most people wouldn’t really pay attention to as they went on with their day-to-day lives, but for me it was something that made the holiday party even that much better. Not to mention that Chris is putting together an office basketball team for a league here in San Francisco that starts here soon. Looks like he just picked up one hell of a free agent, which I guess means that it’s time to dust off the ol’ Hupfer jump shot.

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