Late Night Laughs...

posted on: Saturday, November 15, 2008

Totally random but too funny to not be shared...My bedroom wall just happens to be my neighbor's bathroom wall. Since our walls are paper-thin and our neighbors are from Texas - the fun-loving, loud, rambunctious kind - Mackenzie and I generally know pretty much everything about their lives without ever setting foot in their apartment.

The bathroom wall must be slightly reinforced compared to the other walls (thank goodness) so you hear the usual shower turned on, etc. Occasionally, you would hear singing - at the top of their voices - in the bathroom.

Well, it is 1:00 AM and I just heard my neighbor walk into his bathroom and sing: " I have to urinate, urinate, urinate...I have to urinate, urinate, urinate..." at the top of his lungs, thereby clarifying the use of the bathroom for those who have any doubts of the usage of the facility and showcasing his vocal abilities which always seem to emanate upon entrance to the "portals of Poseidon" i.e. their bathroom.

Veteran's Day - Napa

The title in no way, shape or form indicates that Veterans take naps or that I took a nap on that day...I didn't take a nap-a, instead I went to Napa - Napa Valley that is.

Aaron and I figured we had a day off and instead of complaining during the week that we don't get to go out and play, (although you will notice how much we really do play), we searched on the trusty internet for some day trips that we could take and explore the sights... Napa Valley was close enough and neither of us had been there before. So, off we went.

The drive was alive as we jammed to ABBA tunes (oldies and goldies) and chatted away. After about an hour or so, we arrived in Napa and it seemed like a cute little place - downtown Napa. We went to the visitors center and got a map of all the wineries in the area - 400 of them - and mapped out a route that we wanted to see. Since we were starving by the time we got there, we walked into the restaurant so conveniently located across from the center and bought two really yummy sandwiches to take with us while we drove around.

As we walked around downtown Napa, completely grateful and a bit surprised at how empty the town was due to the holiday, we kept getting sidetracked by the number of stores - window shopping. We did however find ourselves in a chocolate shop with hundreds of bite-size chocolates and you could try a few complimentary the bargain, the lady that worked there, offered us free peanut brittle - 3 kinds. Unable to resist and really being too enthusiastically filled with sugar (this is their ploy), we bought a bag of peanut brittle. I know.

Finally, we made it to the car and got on the road. Back to ABBA who I am sure missed us lipsynching the wrong words to some of their tunes, we got out our map and away we went. Thinking that it would be best to get the food into our stomachs and out of the way, so we would have free hands to drive and take pics, we opened our sandwiches and without any ceremony, devoured them. We were immediately proven wrong as the vineyards started appearing almost instantaneously as we hit the route we were supposed to take. And between bouts of gluttony and some shaky photography, we finished our meal and took a left on a road that seemed to lead to nowhere. We pulled off to the side of this almost dirt road and looked out at this gorgeous vineyard. It was exactly like we see in the pictures of Napa (since the sun was setting and the pics on the internet are much better that the ones I took, go look at those) - green and all shades of the fall with translucent leaves almost and neat rows of vines...beautiful sunset and rolling hills of after another...we had our own private Discovery Channel moment. We were parked under a tree and looking out at the vineyard, we relaxed and shared our thoughts and watched the sun set. Peaceful and beautiful.

It was now dark and therefore the lure of the vineyards had worn off, besides we were filled with food and brittle and were content to get back on the road and head home. Traffic was a bit crazy but we returned home and were just the right kind of exhausted to have a good night's sleep. It was fantastic to go and explore for a trips are AWESOME!!!

A Wicked Weekend!!!

posted on: Thursday, November 13, 2008

As in "wicked-cool"... For some reason, the unplanned moments of life linger longer than some of the planned ones. This happened to be one such weekend and it was loads of fun.


After being lazy and not replying immediately to an invitation message from a friend to go Salsa dancing, I decided that I was going to go and then did my part in spreading the word. This was last minute but fruitful nonetheless. I met a really great girl named Amy who lived in Danville, who then graciously drove to Berkeley, picked me up and we went to the city. Another girl who lived in Concord emailed me and asked if she could meet us there at the place. Of course! Amy and I showed up and were the first ones there. She was a willing participant in the instructions and I always avoid them like the plague = not because I don't like lessons but because I had been to this club once before and the instructions were the exact same. So I sat it out for an hour, filling my time with people-watching and that is always fun!

While I had saved some seats for the yet to arrive party, another girl, who looked very much like she was LDS - sometimes, you can really pick us out in a crowd :)..also seemed to be waiting for people. So we started talking and apparently, there was another group of friends who had decided to come dancing as well. This was awesome! So Andrea, Lisa, Clay, Emron (national Champion Ballroom dancer), Jared Wood, Kim from Concord, Amy from Danville, and Vicky, Rob, Claudia and her brother Oliver combined together to make it a very enjoyable evening indeed!!! We danced till we dropped dead - actually in Emron's case that was almost reality since he did not eat anything and was super hungry. So he ordered some food - a large plate of Mexican food - and after consuming said food, seemed energized but was limited in his movements on the dance floor as a full belly did not aid a hip-shaking, salsa workout! But we are talking about Emron here, so he always makes it look so easy to be so good on the dance floor! A fun time was had by all.

Saturday: - Fashion Extravaganza/Hide and Go Seek/ Sardines/Madagascar2/ Fireside at the ISC

What did I tell ya?? Only one of these events was planned - the first one was a Relief Society Enrichment Activity - and although planned and very well promoted, the turnout was dismal in the beginning. Slowly a few other girls joined in and it was the most fun I had had in a long time with a bunch of girls. Although it wasn't just a bunch of girls for long. The Elders Quorum had planned a football fantastico activity as well and after they were done, ended up at the Institute where the girls were about to start their own activity. This was fun since it was a clothing swap...all girls bring clothes that they do not wear and want to give away - ok, I admit that girls dont usually WANT to give away anything, especially clothes or shoes :) - but we had a considerably large pile of clothes. We also had some great enrichment foods that the boys coveted but were unable to even breathe on :) (We shared with them later.)

The girls sent the boys into the other room and while they awaited their pizza, we began what can only be termed - the Fierce Fashion event. We started trying on clothes that we really liked and created our own individual piles of what we wanted to take back with us. When this was done, we automatically started to try on the other odd, quirky, weird pieces of clothing and wanted to see how many of these mismatched clothes we could wear and added some questionable accessories as well to complete the look. Now this could not be Fierce Fashion if we did not get to model the ensemble. So we of course invited the boys to be the judges of this fashion show - the strangest yet funniest show I have ever seen or been a part of! Ben Joyce reprised his role as Fashion Police and we lined up for a very entertaining catwalk presentation...Erica Tanner rocked the blue backpack; and Tiffany was fierce in a very hippy-looking top. After the show, some of the boys decided to get into some of the clothes, namely, Emron - coz he is cool like that - and we had a rollicking good time!

When this was done and the food was gone, we were left with a large group of us just milling around the building, so we came up with the idea to play hide and go seek and sardines!!! Of course these games can be played at any age - we ranged from 18 - 30. And the Hearst Mansion which also happens to be our Institute Bldg and Chapel, is one of the best places for these games!!! This was a very creative game and kept us entertained for hours. At one point, Aaron and I were exploring the attic of the mansion, while one game had ended and another had begun. So we decided to just hide where we were, in the closet of one of the rooms in the attic. We were the last to be found and hence deemed the winners of that game. It was "all kinds of fun" to see a group of single adults, running all over this place trying to hide and catch others who were hiding. We were reliving our childhood memories, at least some of us were :)

After all the sardines we could handle, we decided to call it a day, and Aaron and I spontaneously (since it seemed to be the theme of the day), caught the matinee show for Madagascar 2...funny show. Aaron and I had a good laugh and then hurried to make it to the Interstake Center for a fireside with Angela Johnson - a sculptor and an opera singer. The fireside was interesting. We got to visit with her later since she was wearing a sari and I couldn't pass up the chance to ask why ;). We also had the chance to visit with Aaron's brother and that was special.

Sunday - Church and UNBELIEVABLE GAME NIGHT!!!

So church was as usual - I wore a brown silky skirt that I had picked up in the fashion swap and it fit like a glove. Right after Sacrament meeting, Mackenzie, my roommate decides to have game night and walks over to me and says, "Game night at our house, 7 pm, I am making Pumpkin Cranberry cookies (to die for). Invite people." OK. So shamelessly peddling Mackenzie's baking skills, I invited everyone I walked past. So, between Aaron, Mack and I we had invited the entire ward.

Well, usually you get a few people that show up and we had no idea how many to expect. At 7 pm we had 4 people and at 7:10 we had 10 less than half and hour, we had about 20 people and they kept coming!!! We would all yell out - 25 or the following numbers each time we were joined by someone else...By the end of about an hour and a half, we had 31 people in our tiny apartment!!! 31 people!!! It was crazy - we had cookies and others brought some snacks too - we played a fun celebrity game and the group was too large to play the whole thing. So Mark Pahnke came up with a brilliant idea to split up the group in two and play Charades..only this one had a twist. The group that was in the other room waiting their turn to guess the theme or idea, waltzed out of the Mackenzie's room wearing her clothes!!!Not to be outdone, the second group piles into the room when it was their turn, and decided to swap each other's clothing and the girls were wearing the guys clothes and surprisingly, Matt fit quite nicely in Hannah's blue pants and really liked them that he did not remove them till much later. He also added to the entertainment by forgetting to zip them up~!

Aaron and Marcus had the most entertaining charades ever - it was so funny that Aaron repeated his charade three times!! Too funny! Mack and I were entirely surprised and loved that so many people showed up to our Spontaneous party.

It was the perfect ending to a perfectly Spontaneous weekend - hence, Wicked Weekend.

The Phantom of the Opera - A Night to Remember

posted on: Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween - I am not really a big fan of it but I really enjoy seeing others dress up and play their characters - some well and some not so well. This Halloween was special for one reason - Aaron. No - it is not some sappy, romantic thing - okay, maybe just a teeny tiny bit romantic...nevertheless...IT ROCKED!!!

We decided that we wanted to do something fun - yes, more fun than dressing up - and we stumbled upon this jewel of an idea (thanks mostly to the internet and some persistent searching on our part.) We found out that the Paramount Theater in Oakland was showing The Phantom of the Opera. Nothing special, you say. Wrong. This movie was the 1925 - Silent Version- with Lon Chaney.

If that was not cool enough, the entire score of the movie was played live by Jim Riggs on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ with no sheet music. He played the entire movie by memory!!! This was all played in the most mind-blowing acoustically-thrilling movie palace of all time in Oakland - The Paramount Theater. And to top it all off - it only cost us $5.00 per person.

This experience was one that I will never forget. The organ resounded from the ornate walls and the majesty of the place just drew you in and you are immediately awestruck!

"Located on Broadway in downtown Oakland, Calif., the Paramount Theatre is a slice of living history that also embodies the end of an era. Back in the "golden age" of film, when Hollywood studios owned every major theatre and completely controlled film distribution, ornate, impressive theatres like the Paramount were the order of the day. ",_California)

It is really a diamond in the rough. The moment you walk in you feel like you are in Golden Hollywood and immediately feel like dressing up in those regal cocktail dresses with white gloves and glittering diamonds and float up the hallways to the movie palace. Amazing!!! I am sure I am not doing this place any justice by my description...but if you are in the area or live here and are in the mood for some vintage movie-viewing experience that will transport you to a whole new "old" world, this is the place to go!!!

After this feast for the eyes and ears, Aaron and I decided to stop by the Institute for the spectacular Halloween Party. It was really fun and packed to the hilt! We boogied the night away to some crazy tunes surrounded by crazy costumes and it was A BLAST!!! Pixar's "pixies" were highly energetic and entertaining! Great Halloween - a night to remember.
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