Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flashback: Cross-country trip

Now that I'm unemployed I have no excuse to neglect this blog, so I thought I'd fatten it up a little by going down memory lane. Specifically, our cross-country move.
We left San Diego the Monday after the 4th of July, feeling like we'd made it out by the skin of our teeth. The previous two months were primarily spent on family visits and reunions, which was great, but really put us behind in terms of packing. Honestly, I think we'd still be there if it weren't for a group of friends who helped us move boxes, and one particular friend who packed our kitchen. You all know who you are, and Aaron and I are indebted to you for the rest of our lives.However, after much chaos and cleaning, we were ready to hit the road. Here's Taco, planning our route. It didn't do much good because this was his attitude for most of the trip:
Can't you just hear the fury? We did let him out of the car in Nebraska and he climbed all over us, staring out of the windows before deciding it was best to just get back in his cage and go to sleep.
I have extremely fond memories of traveling cross-country with my family when I was 10 and 11, and I've wanted to recreate that trip for a long time now: a leisurely drive scouting out the unusual and uniquely American, collecting stories about small towns and rest stops. Never in this scenario did I imagine gas at $4 a gallon, a shrieking cat in the backseat, or only having about a week to move and get set up because my job was waiting for me. So we avoided most of the sightseeing. However, we saw some incredible scenery from the car. Here I am at Devil's Canyon in Utah.I love desert scenery -- especially from an air-conditioned car.
Nebraska was probably the most eventful part of the trip. We saw a brush fire on the highway median, goats being milked at a rest stop, and part of the Oregon Trail. It was weird to read about pioneers seeking their fortune by heading west when we were doing the same thing, but heading east!
Oh, and if you are trying to work on a laptop while driving through the midwest, be sure to plan your route through Iowa. They have free wireless at nearly every rest stop!
Just when we thought we'd never get there, we made it to Wisconsin. It was too late to move in to our new apartment, but we managed to stay in a motel in our new home state. Here's a picture of our reflections and Taco.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Art of Being Unemployed

Well, I received a surprise phone call last week from my boss's boss. A really nice guy, he went on at length about the great job I've been doing even though I've been working remotely, but how the company needs to do some reorganizing and so ... I've been laid off!
My friends are all being very sweet and sympathetic, but I have to say that I'm not that disappointed. I prefer steady paychecks, but I will receive a bit of severance. And while I love working from home, never being in the office had its drawbacks, as did trying to live in two time zones at once.
My family, however, are pretty excited for me. They know I'm working on my third (unpublished) novel and that this is my chance focus on that and live the writer's life, a lifelong dream of mine. Even if I remain unpublished, at least I'll have had this time.
So when you're wondering what I'm doing, here's a sample. Me at my desk with Pickle, who is a very helpful office-mate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bronz Fonz

When I sent out the email saying that we'd officially moved to Milwaukee, one of my cousins responded to say that they love Milwaukee, and "Say hi to Laverne and Shirley for us!" Well, a few days later we got our chance. The casts of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley (with the exceptions of Ron Howard and Scott Baio) came to Milwaukee to witness the unveiling of the Bronze Fonz:This is one of those odd and quirky things I love about Milwaukee. We now have a life-size statue of Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli on the Riverwalk. The crowd was too large to get a better picture than this, but we will try to get a better picture after the tourists have gone, but but before the pigeons have had their way with the statue.

Brewers vs. the Padres

Thursday was our first night at our new local ballpark. Aaron and I used to go to Petco several times a season -- we'd get standing-room-only tickets ($5 each) and then wander around the park during the game, taking in the view from different angles.
This time I suprised him with good seats (more than $5)! We were so close to the players that we could have caught a foul ball! I purposefully bought tickets for a nice that the Brewers were playing the Padres. Now, we're strictly hometown-team fans, but we were pretty happy when the Padres won. Aaron said, "After all, they've been a part of our hearts and minds for 8 years, we can't just expect that to go away." That's for sure. But we were still plenty happy when the Brewers won on Friday and Saturday. We'll see if they win today's game and take the series.
Link For some reason, all that sitting left us exhausted. I think you can tell how tired we felt in this picture. Next time we'll get cheap seats and wander around the standing-room areas like we used to.
I also finally got to witness the famous Sausage Races. There's nothing much to it -- people dress up in sausage outfits and race. It's not like watching the San Diego Chicken, but it's still pretty cool. Here you can see the Hot Dog is in the lead, with the Italian and Polish sausages behind. Unfortunately, Chorizo and Bratwurst are way back.
The Hot Dog won that night -- you can see he's got pretty good stats!