Thursday, November 12, 2009

Travel Plans

Hi Everyone!

We finally have our finalized holiday travel plans. We're flying into Chicago on the evening of December 17th. We'll be hanging out in the city until December 21st when we're going to take the train to Michigan. Then the Gottwoods will be in East Lansing until December 28th. We'd love to see folks so, if you're going to be in either Chicago or EL when we are, drop us an email so we can coordinate.


We actually have some friends out here in California! Geoff and Kristen, friends of Jeremy's from graduate school, live out in Palo Alto. They also just had a super-cute baby boy named Kestrel. The whole family stopped by to see us a couple of weekends ago and we all went out to Point Lobos State Park for a hike and picnic.

We stopped on the way to the park at the Cheese Shop in Carmel - there will most likely be a whole blog section devoted to the Cheese Shop as it is one of our favorite places out here. They have a great selection of amazing cheeses and they also give out unlimited samples. Then we had a great cheese picnic by the ocean.

After lunch we hiked all over the park. Here is a picture of the five of us taking a break to enjoy the scenery.

We really enjoyed hanging out with Kristen, Geoff and Kestrel. We explained the Kestrel had some pretty big shoes to fill since we really miss our friends' kids from Chicago, but we decided to cut him a break since he was only three weeks old.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Tax Man Commeth

Around here we have to pay a lot of taxes. A certain kitty comes around to collect any time he hears a package crinkle or smells something yummy. One of his favorites is frosting (we often let him lick the beaters when we are done making frosting). Here the kitty demands his offering:

And then he collects his due:

Santa Cruz Day Trip

This Saturday I had to go up to UC Santa Cruz to be a panelist for a discussion on how to get into grad school. Since we hadn't been up there before, Jeremy decided to come with me and we made a day out of it. After the panel, we explored the Santa Cruz boardwalk a little. It was touristy, but a different kind of touristy than downtown Monterey. We definitely felt like Santa Cruz was more our speed. Here is a shot of Jeremy on the pier:

There were also a lot of sea lions on the pier. We still can't get used to the idea that we live somewhere where we can see seals and sea lions on a regular basis. There was a super-cute one that seemed to be posing for the gawkers:

And what is cuter than one sea lion? What about a whole pile of sea lions including a BABY SEA LION! It could only be cuter if there were a few otters thrown in:

After the pier, we walked through downtown Santa Cruz which we both really liked. It reminded me a lot of downtown Ann Arbor: cute shops, independent coffee joints on every corner, hippies playing drums in front of the independent coffee shops ... anyway, we could definitely see ourselves moving to Santa Cruz if we can figure out the commutes.

We topped off the evening by going out for a nice dinner. We found the restaurant online and as soon as we walked in, both Jeremy and I realized that we were definitely not hip enough to eat there. Once we got past that though we actually really enjoyed the food. By the time dessert rolled around the hipsters had filled the place up and they were a little loud for us so we headed for home. Kids these days!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trees: 2, Kate: 0

Many of you have probably heard the story from when we were little and John convinced me to play Marco Polo in the backyard instead of a pool. Basically it involved me running around the backyard with my eyes closed while yelling "Marco". John would yell "Polo" back and I was supposed to catch him. Being the MEANEST little brother ever, John intentionally ran me head-first into a tree. Anyway, the trees won that one, and they took another swipe at me a couple of weeks ago.

My car was parked in the lot by my building during a storm. It wasn't a bad storm by Midwesterner standards, but people here were freaking out. It was some rain and wind, but Jeremy and I didn't think too much of it. Anyway, it was dark when I left work and I was tired, so I came out of my building, got into my car and started to pull out of my parking spot. Just as I was turning to look over my shoulder, I noticed a piece of paper stuck to my windshield. Thinking it was a ticket, I got out of my car in a huff noting that my permit was CLEARLY visible through the windshield.

It turned out that the slip of paper was actually a business card from one of the campus police along with a note saying "A tree hit your car. I filed a report, it is number XXX. Please contact me if you have any questions or need any help". Hmmm. I looked up from the note and noticed that, yes, indeed my car had been smashed by a tree. Here is an overview of the damage to the poor little Vibe:

Passenger mirror detached from car

Big dent in the front panel - there were also giant dents in the roof and hood of the car - the tree clearly meant business.

Windshield smashed. It was actually worse than this picture makes it look. Yes, I looked through this and noticed (a) a piece of paper and (b) my permit, but never noticed THE GIANT SMASHED IN PART.

Side view again.

Anyway, apart from the sadness I felt for the Vibe and the near marital homicide when Jeremy asked "why did you park under a tree in a storm?" things went pretty well with getting the Vibe restored to its old self.

First of all, the campus cops were great! They filled out the report and cleaned the tree off of my car before I even knew anything happened. They were very nice about the whole thing.

Progressive insurance and the mechanic they sent us to were also amazing, but I will let Jeremy tell that part since he dealt with the insurance folks. I just wanted to share my photos of the destruction.

The Vibe is currently back home and actually looks great! The passenger side looks like new, and the shop also detailed the inside of the car which is definitely the cleanest it has been since I got it.  So all-in-all things turned out as well as we could have hoped.  Now I just have to figure out why the trees have it in for me.