Friday, October 24, 2008

Battleground Count Down

Eleven days left till election day and we've cast our vote. North Carolina has early voting and we made our desicions official last night. It took about fifteen minutes with no lines at a polling place right next to where I (Ryan) work in Raleigh.

North Carolina is one of the contested states for the presidential election and and also has a Senatitorial Election (Elizabeth Dole is the threatened incumbant) getting some attension. You can't turn around without seeing a sign, hearing an advertisement on TV or receiving a lot of junk in your mailbox. NC has historically been a red state but migration and political sentiment have moved this state into the purple territory. Biden was here yesterday, Pallin earlier this week, and the Presidential Canidates were here last week and I'm sure will be back soon. I missed all the Politicans but I did get to go to a free James Taylor Concert/Obama rally on my lunchbreak on Tuesday.

Can you believe all of the election primaries, pagengentry, and political stuff has been going on for at least a year now without resolution? And now its just time to see what happens. I'm just counting down the days till election. I can't wait to watch the news. I can't wait to hit refresh on the internet to see the updated results. For a political junkie, the 4th is like the super bowl. The presidential winner seems pretty clear in my mind, but which states will go which way ? What will the Senate look like? And what color will the Tar Hill state be on the 4th?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Busy Weekdends

We have had a couple of great weekends waiting for us on our return from Europe. We made a trip to ATL for a quick visit with Wendy, Justin and kids. We packed in watching the girls cheerlead (Who's gonna rock the house.. Rock it all the way down) and a carnival where Julie, Trevor and Ruby won a flat screen T.V. It was so great to see family and friends that feel like family. It really makes me want to move there.

Then we were off to Wicked. The musical I have been dying to see for years. We finally got tickets in the nose bleed section so it was almost like watching ants perform. It was still amazing and brought tears to my eyes many times because I was so happy to be watching it. Then we had a great time with my folks, the Russians, soul food, and an intercity church.

Fast forward 4 days and we were on a plane to Dallas/Fort Worth for two reasons.
1. BYU TCU game. Most know how this game ended. 7-32! Wrong game for us to attend. Ryan may or may not want to expound on this.
2. Kari and Shaun- (the main reason for the trip) Best friend for many years. We have shared many adventures, too many to name. We got to go to the temple, Texas State Fair, and shopping for fetus Olivia. We are so grateful to them for their hospitality and letting us crash their first year anniversary!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Computer Down

I just wanted to let all know that we have sent our companion of 5 years to the hospital. He needs a hard drive transplant and is in a coma. In his absence, I have been reintroduced to books and quality time with Ryan. I do feel out of touch with the world, others blogs, and Grey's Anatomy.

So, if you haven't gotten a comment on your blog or a returned email, pray for a quick recovery for our little Toshiba.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love Paris in the Fall

Last trip post! Thanks for enduring.

Unfortunately, I cant post pics from this part of the trip because our computer just died.

I got to go to Paris as a kid with my family and with Krista in 2000. One can never get enough of it. What an enchanting city. My dad recommended for us to stay in the motel we stayed in 18 years ago which ended on being 1 hour outside of the city. You dont go to SLC and stay in Toole (unless you are Kari). You dont go to L.A. and stay in Van Nuys. So, it was nice to see the motel for nostalgic purposes but even nicer to get a hotel 2 blocks away from Notre Dame. Shout out to Justin for letting us use his Rick Steves book from 1999. It saved our lives!

We packed so much in in 3 days. I was most excited to go to Versailles. I have read a biography on Marie Annetoinette and was so excited to get to walk in her footsteps. I have walked her entire life from Holfburg Palace in Vienna, Austria (where she was born) to Versailles, the Petite Trianon, and the Hamlet. The Hamlet was an area she had made to look like a peasants village with gardens, water wheel, swans and circular staircases (?). I could have spent all day there as it was a great getaway. The next day we went to where she was held prisoner in Paris, the Conciergerie, during the revolution and Place de la Concorde where they chopped off her head.

We loved Paris and saved tons of Euros by getting a 2 day museum pass so we could do it all. We even kissed under the Eiffle tower (which helped stop a fight or spat). We loved it and wish we had more time in France.

things we did:
Sacre Cure
Notre Dame with climb to top
Arch de Triumph
Champs Elysee
Eifle Tower
Shakespear's bookstore
Musee Dorsay
Napoleon's tomb
Rodin museum
Seine river tour at sunset!
Yumalicious food with lots of crepes and nutella

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Day in Amsterdam

We were able to lay over for about ten hours in
Amsterdam(The Lonely Planet Travel guides are great) and do a quick run through of some points of interest.
Amsterdam was really cool and I would love to explore this city more one day. It was like heaven coming back to the tasty food and comforts of the west. Everyone was on bikes and they had dedicated bike lanes everywhere. The canals were cool to see, and the public transportation was great. They had a cool flower market that made me wish I had a garden right now.
As far as the seamy side of the city, we didn't make it to the red light district. We didn't quite know where it was, and I'm afraid of places like that so Cheyn had to tell me about how she walked by it before when she was in Amsterdam. We inadvertently walked past an adult bookstore, so, does that count? We also walked past some stores selling marijuana and mushrooms so we got that experience.
We Hit Three Museums:
Anne Frank House Museum

The museum was excellent. It was personal and had just enough info without getting me overwhelmed. It was fascinating to see the annex where the family hid and to see Anne's room where pictures from popular magazines remained on the wall. And then we were off to The Rijksmuseum

We had see the state art museum next. I love Rembrandt's paintings humanness and common dignity. I really love his commoners as biblical characters paintings. At the museum they praised Rembrandt for being one of the first artist to paint subjects as if they were in motion. They had a good collection including a couple giant paintings like Night Watch (pictured above). I guess its such an important painting to them that they made a statue version of it. Can you spot the person not originally in the painting?

The third museum we went to was the Van Gogh. It was impressive with over a hundred of his paintings displayed. I never knew he spent part of his life as an evangelist before he became a painter. I also didn't know Japanese art and color was influential on his style. This was one of my favorite museums as well as Cheyns.After that we headed back to the airport and we were on our way to Paris.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Istanbul was Constantinople

by cheyney

They Might Be Giants put this place on the map for me when I was a kid and I have been interested in going there since. It was so interesting to be in a Muslim country. It was during Ramadan and so there was a party every night. We went to Mosques, Cistern, Sultan's palace and Harem, Spice Street and new city.

One of my favorite experiences was the Turkish Bath. It was not particularly relaxing or even enjoyable. I felt like a little kid getting a scrub down from my mom. First we had to purchase an abrasive wash cloth for them to scrub our dead skin away.
They separated us, men and women (the women were mostly nakey). I was introduced to "my lady" who took me into a big room with lots of sinks, where I was supposed to rinse off with warm water. Then she took me on a stone slab in the middle of the room (with many others) and harshly scrubbed my whole body with the tough wash cloth and showed me all of my dead skin. I guess, this turkish bath was long over due. Then more rinsing and back to the stone slab for a "massage" which was soapy and quick. The stone was slippery but she would push and pull me to where she wanted me. "Sit up, flip over." Really, like a mom cleaning her kid.
Then back to the sinks for a shoulder and face "massage" and hair wash. I sat on the floor in between her legs. My face massage consisted of her rubbing shampoo in my face. I finally realized that this was not supposed to be relaxing just cleansing.

What an experience! The dressing room was nice and I tried my first turkish delight, not so bad covered in coconut. Now my body is totally exfoliated.

On to Ephesus

Another Post on the events of our trip:

After reading guidebooks and talking to a few friends that had already been there, we knew we really wanted to see the remains of Ephesus. We took an early morning ferry from Samos, Greece to South Western Turkey, and spent the day in Ephesus.
My milkshake brings brings all the boys to the yard
The first site we saw when we got to Ephesus was the remains of the Temple of Artemis (AKA the Temple of Diana). In its hey day it was suppose to be a big deal: One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a marble structure three times the size of the Parthenon where a cult worshiped a multi-jugged fertility goddess. Since then they really let the place go and all that was left of it was some stones in the foundation and a reconstructed pillar.
From Ephesus, Turkey

Up next on the list was the excavated remains of Ephesus. Ephesus was the biggest town in "Asia" during the Hellenistic age. During Roman times the town was where one of the first early Christian congregations was located. Paul, John, and Mary supposedly lived in the area at one time. It was eventually totally abandoned and recently excavated. The remains were amazing.

For the Bible fans out there(See Acts 19) this is the theater where Paul was taken to when he got into trouble by some of the citizens. All the silversmiths that made images of the jugged lady above got together and convinced the government to kick Paul out because of the uproar caused by his preaching.

From Ephesus, Turkey

Here are more pictures of the remains. They were breathtaking.
From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey
From Ephesus, Turkey

After that we got Cheyn all Muslimed out and visited a Mosque.
From Ephesus, Turkey

The final place we went was to the Remains of a church, which some traditions believe was built over the grave of John.
From Ephesus, Turkey

The church, built in the sixth century, was in a cruciform shape with a baptismal font in the center of the foundation and Johns grave at the top of the cross:
From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey

Greek Islands

Warning: We are still talking about our trip and giving highlights about each place.

by cheyney

This was my favorite part of the trip. It was the only time we got to slow down our pace and leisurely soak in the atmosphere. We didn't go to the well known touristy island, Santorini featured in many movies like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but we did go to Lipsi, recommended by Rick Steves. Lipsi was small, quaint and beautiful. I loved the bluer than blue water and white washed buildings.

My favorite was renting scooters and riding them up and down the island. Neither of us have driven scooters before. When we went to rent, she wouldn't let us because of our lack of experience. There was only one other place on the island renting them and so we went pretending that we were experts. We figured out how to start it, but Ryan was having trouble getting it to go. Just as the man was about to change his mind, Ryan put it in full throttle, finally lifted his feet off the ground and we were off. We were pretty much the only ones riding around on the island so it was all ours to enjoy.

From Samos Lipsi Patmos
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

From Samos Lipsi Patmos

Our next island was Patmos, where John wrote Revelations. We went to the supposed cave and saw where John prayed and layed his head. I reread Revelations and it still is over my head. It is cool to see where it was written and the view John had while writing, not bad.

From Samos Lipsi Patmos
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

From Samos Lipsi Patmos

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ode to Joni Mitchell

Sittin' in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad...

Met a red neck on a grecian isle
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

He did the goat dance very well
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

He gave me back my smile.
From Samos Lipsi Patmos