Saturday, September 13, 2008

Whew! What a Summer!

Yes, so everyone falls off the included. I never said I was perfect. And even if my New Year's resolution was to "keep in better touch" with everyone, I kept it up for a good 5 months, right?! According to statistics that is 3.5 months longer than most people keep their resolutions. Right? So, here I am trying to get back into it. This is going to be a long, long post--almost 4 months worth of "stuff" coming right at you. Get ready! Might want to get comfy for this one...

June: Boy, I can't remember back that far! Ok, here goes. I was pretty busy at work in June. One of the teams I work with ran a 2-week training in the office. So, I planned the "feeding" schedule for the group...practicing to be a mom (!?). I got to make Trader Joe's runs and get out of the office--yes, anything to get out of the office--it is as exciting as it gets! My second cousin (or second cousin once removed--I can never keep it straight!) Michelle was in SF visiting a friend and called me up for a quick visit; I met her and her friends for dinner. The same thing happened a week or so later when a good friend from Hibbing, Jenny, called me up when she and her husband were in town. Her and I walked around and checked out the graffiti / building murals around my neighborhood. It was so great to see familiar faces! We did not spend a lot of time together, but it was so nice. It really confirmed to me that when I am traveling near friends or relatives I have to make the extra effort to see / contact them--it is just so nice to see familiar faces when you are so far from "home." So, if you are ever in SF...

I am finally a legal CA driver--I passed my written test. I got 1.5 questions wrong--of course, I studied, I would be so embarrassed if I failed! Oh, and to explain the 1.5 I got wrong--one of the multiple choice questions, I marked all three answers as being correct (apparently, only one was right...); it was one of those "pick the best answer" questions. So technically, I was right...anyway, I passed.

I went to DC for a Evaluator Training--a group of us met with a women who works with non-profits to develop / improve their evaluation skills. The evaluations can be done after single events or longterm campaigns. It was really interesting to learn more about how to ask questions, where to really dig in to get answers, and where additional info is really not necessary.

July: Forth of July weekend, I had planned to visit my good friends Jen and Damian in Santa Barbara, but the wild fires were so fierce they were on evacuation-watch. So, I stayed in SF for the weekend and went to see a comedy troupe in the park and relaxed a bit. A few days later my cousin Cassie and her husband Chris were in SF. Chris co-wrote a book, Jesus for President, with a friend and they spoke at the beautiful Grace Cathedral. Their presentation was put together very well--they were serious and humorous and were accompanied by 2 gruff, Tom Waits-sounding musicians. While my views might not mirror theirs, I thought they presented themselves very passionately and professionally. What I took away from it was a simple message of presenting yourself in the world as you want others to act and to follow...which is a universal message anyone / everyone can follow.

One of the teams--Global Warming--I work with has field organizers in 20-or so congressional districts around the US. They are putting pressure--through grassroots organizing--on the congressperson to be a leader on global warming issues and sign onto the best legislation--which is not great, mind you--that is on the table at the moment. So, at the end of June, I was able to join the team in DC for lobby meetings on the Hill with the congress men and women from our target districts. We spent a few days prepping and dusted off our suits for the big day. I attended the meeting of Rep. Gerlach from PA with coworker Gabe and Jillian, who lives in the district. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately, Rep. Gerlach was unable to attend, so we met with one of his aides, but nonetheless, it was a great experience--one I may never have the chance to repeat.

From DC, I traveled to Seattle for a student training called Change It. I went along to help direct the masses, keep things on track, and be an extra hand to help when needed. I had never been to Seattle, and though I did not have much time to explore, I did manage to get a run in past Pikes Public Market and The Olympic Sculpture Gardens. I guess I will have to go back!

August: My brother, Greg, came to out to visit. I love that he comes, but I am feeling a little guilty that he spends his vacations visiting his sister! The weather was much more favorable this trip--no 4-inch rain days! We rented a car and went for a hike near Point Reyes Seashore and drove along the coast. We watched the Giant beat the Dodgers. Greg always wants to go for hill runs when he comes; we found a trail run--"moderate" was the description in my hiking book--but it was anything but! Over the course of 6 miles we covered 1200 feet of elevation change! It totally kicked my butt!

September: I met my mom in Denver over Labor Day weekend. We visited my aunt, cousin and her husband. It was really what I needed! It was so great to sit in the sun and relax, go for hikes, and shop. I got to go for a run with my mom, which I never get to do anymore. I feel I am hurrying around all the time, so it was the regroup I needed.

From Denver, I went straight to DC for planning meetings for next year's campaigns. I really like DC as a city and am finding working from there a little more enjoyable (?) every time I go. A group of us took one of the boats out, which was a blast! We boated near Annapolis and had lunch at a "crab shack." It was nice to be in the sun and on the water; I think I could get used to doing that more often.

This fall, I have several visitors coming to SF. Fun! Hopefully, my next post will be sooner and not as lengthy...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Beatrice Lake, May 2008

Dad, Greg, Mom, and Andrea

Sally, Ryan, Andrea, Greg, Kjersten, Andy, and Ruby

The cure for any ill...Beatrice Lake, MN

Mid-May I took a much-needed vacation and went home to Minnesota.

May 17th was my grandma's and her twin sister's 80th birthday. The gathering of friends and family was held at a cute Bed & Breakfast in Hibbing. Afterward, our family celebrated over Bimbo's wings, pizza and beer. Funny thing, my grandma's mother did not know she was having twins; only the doctor and my grandma's dad knew the secret. They chose not to tell my great-grandma because they did not want to "upset" her!! Alternatively, I think it would be quite upsetting to find out during childbirth. What another?!

When I came to CA, I did not think I would be staying for longer than a month (well...honestly, I secretly hoped I would!). I brought only 2 bags of belongings and left the rest in my apartment in Fargo. Now, the time had come to clean it out! When I went back to Fargo, things seemed the same; it was as though I had not been gone for 5 months. Despite my efforts to donate and throw away, I still have a lot of "stuff!" My dear dad drove to Fargo to help me move (again!). Don't mention to him how many times I have moved in the past 9 years and of those 8 (!) moves, how many times he has been's a sore subject! I shipped a few boxes out to CA and hauled the rest to my parents' house, much to their dismay. No, they will never get rid of me...well, maybe me, but not my stuff!!

It is easy to become acclimated to the rainy, yet very mild "winters" in CA, and it is very easy to forget Minnesota in January, February, March, and even April. However, I know I will miss Minnesota in the summer. I knew this when I decided to stay. I will miss my family's cabin the most. I am so lucky my family has this great retreat. When I was home, my family stayed there for the weekend. My cousins Sally and Andy and their friends Kjersten and Ryan met us and brought their kayaks. My brother has been kayaking a lot this spring with this crew, and he finally bought himself his own. Saturday, my dad and I brought them to Little Fork so they could "yak" or "kak" (as they call it) the St. Louis River. They returned 10 hours later sunburned and exhausted, but exhilarated.

I was able to relax and visit with family and many great friends...and if I can't be on a beach in Hawaii, a hot spring in Reykjavik, or hiking to Machu Piccho...what better place to be than Hibbing???!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Trying to Figure Things Out...

Wednesday, April 9th, I spent most of the day protesting the Chinese rule of the Tibetan people. The Olympic Torch made the only North American stop--amidst controversy, debate, and pain--in San Francisco. The fact that there was protest and conflict over what is supposed to be a worldly event--the Olympics--is disheartening. The Olympics, at the core, are supposed to embody an event in which countries put aside differences, if only for 2 weeks every 2 years, and compete, civilly (though, not always the case, but the point, nonetheless). The reasons behind the protest--the Chinese rule, humiliation, violation--are clearly unthinkable--50 years ago and today.

When I got back to the office, I got a call from my dad informing me of my uncle's death. My uncle was too young; his wife is too young to be a widow; his daughters are too young to be without their father. I know people die; it is natural and a part of life. This does not make it less difficult. I am trying to decide if death ever gets easier to accept. As I get older, I feel death of those close to me spooks my understanding, my humanity, and my mortality. No, it really does not get easier. Maybe I am just supposed to be able to accept it because that is what happens, that is the way it goes. I am concrete, and as creative and flowery and pink and purple and yellow and orange I sometimes like think I am; I am concrete. I like order. I like plans. I like answers, reasons why, an ending to a book. I think this is why I did not like the movie No Country for Old Men. It just ended. Nothing else. No reasons why, no closure.

My uncle was funny, corny, happy, friendly, caring, loving. He was a person, just as we all are. It is hard to accept things we cannot understand and cannot change and cannot see. And maybe trying to find an answer is the hard part about death, because there isn't one. It is hard to accept a reason that does not exist.

These two events, on any given day, would have stuck in my memory. Given they occurred on the same day and the magnitude of the reasons behind the Olympic protests and the magnitude of losing a family member will stay with me forever. I cannot understand the reasons people treat each other the way they do and why humans believe other humans are not equal and must (and can) take what belongs to them. I cannot understand why some people's bodies are able to withstand less and their time is shorter.

Trying to figure things out...maybe I need to try to accept I will not understand why and how and the reasons (if there are any). It is still hard.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Point Reyes National Seashore, March 2008

Visitors from Hibbing

Yeah, so my parents are awesome. They came out to visit this past weekend. I thought I might be able to sneak away from work early, but due to the craziness, my parents came to the office and helped me mail about 1000 letters. There are really better things to see in SF than the Greenpeace office, the Connecticut Yankee bar (though, some may disagree), and me. I wanted them to get out and explore a bit more. But the troopers they are, they stayed until it was done....As a payment for their generosity and help, I took them to Sunflower, a quaint Vietnamese restaurant in the Mission. My dad, however, said it was the worst meal he had ever eaten...Come on, really?! He eats just about anything! Yeah, so I completely struck out that day.

Saturday, though, I think I was able to redeem myself. We rented a car and drove through Golden Gate Park to the beach. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and headed to Muir Woods and kept right on driving because it was too busy! I have filed this note into my tour-guide book...don't go to Muir Woods on the weekend! We stopped at Stinson Beach to walk on the beach and have lunch. Slowly, we made our way up HWY 1, stopping to see seals, walk on the beaches, and let cars pass me...apparently 30 MPH is too slow...I haven't driven in a while!! Really, the roads were just too curvy!

Our destination all along had been Point Reyes National Seashore. I had actually read about it in Real Simple Travel magazine and it is only about 50 miles from SF. It was so beautiful; the waters were blue-green. It was so windy the spray from the waves created a salty mist. This part of the coast--about 7 miles, I think--is known for being really treacherous and windy. In fact, there is no swimming, surfing, wading EVER! And there are sharks, which would be enough to keep me from the water! The area is a crazy combination of pasture lands, sand dunes, and this amazing seashore. We got to the lighthouse after it was closed, but were able to walk out to the point and check out the view. Apparently people go here to whale-watch, the peak season being in January, but we did not see any whales.

We spent the night in Petaluma, a cute, very Californian town. Sunday, when we returned to my apartment, I made them dinner, which they graciously and politely ate. I think I withheld the meat too long because my mom made ribs when they got back to Hibbing! Didn't they always tell me to eat my vegetables? Though, usually they were cold by the time I choked them down with gulps of milk. So things change.
We had a great visit. Through the years they have really turned into my best friends.
I am so lucky.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Girls Rock

Two weeks ago, I went to see the film Girls Rock. It is a documentary about a girls-only, Portland, OR-based, rock and roll camp. It follows the 2005 camp week and specifically, follows 5-6 girls closely. The girls' ages range from 7-17. They are amazingly self-aware. What struck me the most was some of the girls where so uninhabited and just loved what they were doing--they were not afraid to be themselves. Most of them realize they have this talent--music--and are going to do whatever it takes to play, sing and "rock out." FYI: This can mean many things--including screaming into the microphone, playing a guitar across the back of your neck, and drum solos, among other things.

The film is so sweet and heartbreaking at the same time!

It made me remember (as if I could forget) how hard it is to grow up and grow up being a girl. It is so hard to teach girls, especially in this day and age, how to remain true to themselves, not apologize for being who they are, and not to get caught up in the pressures. Actually, I still struggle myself. Anyway, I think it is limited theaters right now, but might expand, with popularity. Definitely check it out at Girls Rock.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Paul & Andrea at Grgich Hills Winery, Rutherford, CA

Sun, Soccer, Wine

Paul came out to SF this past weekend for the long weekend...of course, as always, the time went too quickly! Lucky for me the start of the work-week brought rain, not the bitter cold of MN and ND...

We had a great Valentine dinner at one of my favorite SF restaurants, Herbivore. We walked around so I could show Paul what I had learned about my somewhat-new neighborhood...Dolores Park, Tartine, Delfina, Bi-right, Mission Dolores. Yes, I am still renting out my tour-guide services...

Friday, while I was working, Paul explored and walked around Fisherman's Wharf, the Financial District, Chinatown, and North Beach...needless to say, as he and our friend Jen put it, "his dogs were barking" at the end of the day.

Saturday morning, we went to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Everytime I go, I wish I was going back to my apartment soon afterward, so I could buy everything! It just has a great atmosphere too! The produce is so amazing; there was music, potted herbs, dried fruits, nuts, breakfast stands. Paul and I spent the rest of Saturday walking around the Embarcadero and Union Square. Saturday night, I had gotten tickets to a soccer documentary, Zidane. This film followed French soccer star, Zidane during a 2005 match. Literally, followed him the entire film. There were something like 17 cameras capturing his every move. I know Paul especially enjoyed the film, which I am very glad. I, on the other had, would have been better suited to see Zidane in a matinee...I fell asleep...

Sunday, Paul and I rented a car and drove northward to Napa. We enjoyed a tasting at Sautri Winery, which was a little too busy and crowded for our liking. We especially enjoyed Grgich Hills Winery, a smaller winery, whose wine was organically and biodynamically produced. In addition, we stopped at the Franciscan Winery, which had a more modern and intimate tasting room. We ate at a wonderful place Paul had found called Ubuntu, a hip, vegetarian, yoga restaurant.

The long weekend was refreshing and the weather was amazing!! We had an awesome time!

A Californian?

Yes, that is right, I have decided to take a job with Greenpeace and stay out in San Francisco...

My internship went really well; the staff here at GP is great. It is a very friendly and supportive atmosphere, and I feel like I really fit in. I got involved with the organization at a good time and there are more entry-level jobs now than at most other times. I am very fortunate! So, I do have mixed feelings about taking the job...I keep telling myself this is all a part of the adventure and nothing has to be permanent...I can pack up and leave tomorrow, if I choose, or I can stay for years. This is the sort of work I want to what better organization to do it with/for.

There are 2 campaigns that are run out of the SF Greenpeace office--global warming and forest campaigns. My new job would be Campaigns Assistant, so I will be assisting everyone on both campaigns. I have been learning a lot and trying to quickly become acquainted with the organization and all of the processes/procedures.

I moved to a new apartment the beginning of February. I have one roommate now--instead of 6--her name is Jene and she designs jewelry. She is really great and makes me laugh! She has a great sense of style, is really outgoing, and a little (ok, very) dramatic! I think it is so funny, I called a cab to move! I only have 2 large bags worth of 'stuff,' so moving was easy! It is actually a very freeing feeling to not be bogged down with stuff. I have realized I do not need as much. Before I speak too quickly, though, I must admit, I have acquired a few more things...though, if I stop now, I may still fit into a cab the next time I move!

I have taken a part time job--mostly weekends--at a local sporting goods store. I work in the running shoe and triathlon departments. I think it will be a great way to meet more people and hopefully get together with a training group(s) for upcoming tri or running races.

So, my adventures may decrease or at least the sight-seeing part. But I will keep this posted as to my doings and such. I still have a lot of exploring to do...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

Last night, I went to watch the film Taxi to the Dark Side, a documentary about the US abuse of detainees at war prison camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cuba. It contained absolutely horrific footage--inhuman, sickening! At first, I did not think I would be able to sit through it. I have such mixed feelings about the film. So, the supposed "reason" for the inhuman abuse is to obtain information about terrorists and US-security threats. When really, only about 1% of the people ever held in the camps are dangerous. The techniques used in the camps are not considered war crimes or abuse or murder (in some cases) because the detainees are "terrorists" and "war-criminals" and therefore not covered under the Geneva Convention (according to GB's definition). Bush, by the way, pardoned himself and other senior government officials and military officers from ever being held responsible or tried for war-crimes. Convenient.

And if they were not "terrorists" before they entered the camps, when the detainees are let out, do you suppose they have a good view of Americans? I would be very surprised if many did not join a militant group to get revenge when/if they are let out.

I was absolutely dumbfounded...How can these soldiers treat these people like this? They are people...with families, with so little possessions and money. They live in a war zone in shacks and some spend their days picking rocks to build fences. They have nothing or very little, in our sense, but this is their life, all they know.

But I think, what would I do if I were a soldier, told by my superiors to "get the information" with a little wink and nod and "permission" to do whatever it takes to get that information? Would I be able to stand up to them--in a foreign country, surrounded by other soldiers doing those same crimes, with the US "security" on the line, and say "no?" It is easy to think I know what I would do, sitting here at my computer--safe and warm and not in a war-zone.

I am not trying to bash the government (But I do put the blame on them 100%!). Or bring about a bad light to a great day (it is going to be 60 degrees here today!). Or turn the upbeat nature of this blog into an argumentative- government-hating debate.

I am thankful I am an American and the freedoms I have--I choose to come to SF, so I did and I can...I have that right. However, it is so upsetting to me sometimes as one of the most advanced, most technical, wealthy nations in the world, we are not setting a good example. The US could be so much more...sometimes it is so embarrassing and maddening!

My soapbox (for today): Please vote. Please make informed decisions about who you elect to run our government...or don't vote at all. And in which case, you have no reason to complain.

And recycle too.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Polar Beared...

Yesterday, a Greenpeace employee was a part of this "action" in front of the Department of Interior in DC. Greenpeace is protesting the fact that the government will not add the polar bear to the Endangered Species Act.

Crazy thing is...he is one of the lawyers (1 of 2!) at Greenpeace...He is being held overnight with the possibility of being jailed for 6 months...

The reason for the excessive (possible) jail may be due to the Greenpeace message that was projected onto the Washington Mall on Tuesday before Bush's State of the Union....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Greg at Twin Peaks, Andrea & Greg at Fisherman's Wharf; ; Andrea & Greg at Muir Woods National Monument

Playin' in the Rain

Greg, my brother, came to visit Thursday and stayed through Sunday night. At work on Thursday, I, being semi-OCD (I should not joke, but it is kind of true) that I am, could not concentrate on any work until I had our "itinerary" in place. Meaning, I had to have directions to the major sites--what buses we would take, or our route if we should walk, what other sites were around, and where to go to eat. Once I finished, I felt much better. I could finally work...! I am an intern, it's ok...

Greg and I went to see Spirit of the Marathon, a documentary that follows several runners (some professional, some veterans, some first timers) through their training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. The movie was being played Thursday, one night only, one showing only, across the entire US. The movie was so amazing, inspiring, tear-jerking; people in the theater were clapping by the end. I am a runner is hard to explain to non-runners. I told a few of my coworkers what Greg and I had planned for that evening, and they were like...."Ohhhhh," with that slow head nod, puzzled look, trying to understand, but really did not. It was fantastic. Dick Beardsley was in it...he is one of my favorites...I'd see it again...maybe twice...I might be able to too! I heard there is an oncore showing!!

Friday during the day, it rained...a lot! I mean inches of rain! People who lived here last January say it rained only about 5 days the entire month...since I have been here it has become semi-tropical! I am not complaining...I can't; I can run outside in 2 thin shirts and capris in January...pretty awesome (Just last month, I ran in -17 in Fargo...I did not realize until it was too late...that's another story though). Anyway, I worked part of the day, so Greg explored a bit on his own. When I finally met up with him, he was at the library...tired of being soaked. SF has a beautiful library! The architecture of the entire city, really, is quite stunning.

I usually try to walk everywhere I go in the city...and sometimes it does not work--like when it rains or at night or if it is a long distance I am traveling. Nonetheless, I have gotten really good at navigating/walking by landmarks, and not really very good at catching the buses. I had pre-purchased tickets for the Friday Alcatraz night tour, which is supposed to be really amazing. But Greg and I missed the bus or actually, it never came...we never really figured out why either. Or it could have been my poor bus-catching skills. It was a bummer, but we went to see a movie...inside, dry...instead.

Saturday, Greg and I rented a car and drove to the highest point in SF--Twin Peaks--pretty cool views of the city and surrounding areas! We then drove to Santa Cruz along Highway 1. It is a beautiful drive; the roads follow the ocean and are very curvy, through foothills, or I guess, what I would call foothills...The boardwalk was closed when we got to Santa Cruz. I am not even sure if it is open this time of year. But we walked around along the beach and along a pier.

I guess I have to back up. Saturday morning, Greg and I went for a run, a hill run. He asked for it...he was daring I took him out around my apartment...I just about died...he, on the other hand, seemed to be just doing fine, though. Naturally.

Sunday, we had the car for a few hours in the morning, so we drove to Muir Woods (John Muir--founder of Sierra Club). Again, a winding, curvy road, where 25 MPH felt fast! San Francisco is really amazing in that there are so many different environments, landscapes, elevation-changes in such a small land-area. We had to drive over both bridges--Bay and Golden Gate. Greg, being the engineer that he is, marveled at the construction and magnitude of the bridges--which are absolutely amazing when you think about the materials, the time period when they were built, the fact that they are over an ocean, and miles in length...

Greg took the "red-eye" back to MN on Monday morning, so we had the entire day on Sunday. We also walked through Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, the downtown Mall--several times throughout the weekend, was dry and warm...and I knew what bus to take from there!

We had a really great time. I actually really miss the kid...not that I am surprised...

Andrea & Jen hiking in Santa Barbara, CA

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tour Guide for Rent $150

I must look like I know what I am doing here...hard to think I am that good an actor! Today marked the 3rd time someone has asked me for directions! And I was not even looking at my guidebook...I did not even have it out of my bag! Each time, I can say, I could tell them (ok, somewhat) the right way to go.

I am renting my services out...

Poor Greg...he is coming this next weekend...he will be my first client...stay tuned...


It is so great to have good friends! I feel I have been kind of in a fog since I arrived. Everything has been so new--people, job, apartment, atmosphere, sights. I have to put much more thought into doing the most simple of things... like going to buy groceries--what bus to take, or can I walk, how far will I have to carry my items? So, it seems my mind has been easily preoccupied with such "other" things, I suppose sort of important things, but this weekend, I was able to relax for a bit and catch up with old friends.

On Saturday morning, I rented a car and drove down to Santa Barbara to visit Jen and Damian. It was actually nice to get a way from the city and explore a bit of CA. The scenery along 101 was very beautiful...a lot of farms, vineyards, the ocean at times. I think it is very funny how Californians call San Francisco Northern California; last time I checked, it was near the center of the state...I don't now if this is a bit of sarcasm or arrogance or what...Seems similar to high school sports when Hibbing was considered outstate. Outstate...Like anything out of the Metro is another state? Oh, easily distracted. Sorry. Anyway, back on track...

I stopped along the way, in Los Osos, to visit my mom's cousin Barb and her husband, Joe, whom I have not seen in at least 10 years. It was great to catch up with them...they are shortly moving to San Diego for 6 months to work with Wild Coast, a non-profit that works along the Mexican/US/CA border to protect and clean the water through outreach, education, clean-up, perhaps activism, and more. I think it is a great adventure they are about to embark!

Jen & Damian are great friends from Fargo...they moved to Santa Barbara in July...Damian is working toward a PhD in English at UCSB and Jen teaches 8th grade at a private school. We had such a great time! Jen and I, along with Metta...the wonderdog or really, I think she is part human...went on a long hike. It is incredible, the hiking trails were only about a 10 minute drive from the was great! Jen took me to UCSB and we walked along the would be pretty cool to go to college right on the ocean! The city is very trendy with Spanish-style architecture. I was able to meet several of Jen's friends. Jen and Damian had me laughing, as always. We had a great time, and as always, the time went too quickly. Before I knew it, I was back in the car headed up to SF. It was great to have a 3-day weekend...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Andrea & Veronika in SF & Sausalito

Boots are Made for Walking...and Riding

Saturday morning, I went downtown to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. It was so fun! Twice a week--Saturdays and Tuesdays (I think)--farmers and producers from the area come and set up stands outside the Ferry Building. The building itself is pretty cool, filled with unique shops, cafes, and restaurants. The produce looked and tasted great--there is nothing like local, fresh produce!

I met Veronika, another GP intern who recently graduated from Long Beach State, and we walked along the ocean on Embarcadero and ended at Fisherman's Wharf. Veronika is originally from Vienna and has lived in the US for 6 or 7 years. She is very stylish....well who isn't, compared to me...and she is great...very fun. She is very European...for lack of a better word. I am not trying to offend her (or others) but she is very chill and no-nonsense. Anyway, we then walked through the boutique shops of Pacific Heights. For dinner, we found a great Thai place... we were the only ones because we ate at 4:30PM!

Today, Sunday, Veronika and I met again and rented bikes. We took them along the ocean and rode over the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge is amazing and loud and windy. We stopped half-way across to snap photos and check out the scenery. I think we may have seen dolphins (?). It was hard to tell...I will have to ask someone at work if this is possible. I am not up on my ocean fish/mammals/life. I have not been to the SF aquarium yet...yes, it is on the list!

The ride was a little more strenuous than I expected...not hard, but more than the folks at Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals & Tours let on. I know, I am from a town with no hills, but there are a lot of families with young kids who take this trek. not ride a tandem with a little will do all the work...and there are hills!

Across the bridge is Marin County and we rode to Sausalito, the first town across. It is a very cute, trendy, and probably where people with money have homes or go to stay. There were so many bikers on the bridge (walkers/runners use the other side). Some of the bikers were like us and renting (tourists), but many others were serious bikers and I am sure very irritated with the traffic! I am sure regular riders hate the weekends with the increase in bike-activity! Veronika and I ran out of time to bike to see the redwoods in Muir time. We took the Ferry back to SF.

We worked up an appetite, so we stopped at a sandwich shop suggested to us by Linda at GP. Yummy...or else I was just really hungry!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Work and Play Days

I started work yesterday, so now I finally know what I am doing out here! The day went quickly with introductions of the office, learning about the organization, and learning about my position. I am working with the Grassroots Student Network. Basically, college/university-attending students sign up to work with the Greenpeace Student Network, and through guidance from Greenpeace, they work to organize campaigns at their schools. There are 5 campaigns Greenpeace works on right now....I cannot remember them all...give me a break, I am an intern! Anyway, the campaign I work with is called Kleercut, which is targeting Kimberly-Clark, makers of brands such as Scott, Kleenex, Kotex, Depends, and others. KC is clearing the ancient Boreal Forests in Alaska and Canada, in essence, to "throw" away. KC would not consider incorporating post-consumer recycled product because, they say, their customers do not want it and it would compromise the integrity of their product.

Kleenex has this campaign where a man in a large city, maybe NY, is sitting on a couch and he is talking personally with another indivudual sitting on the couch across from him....that person becomes emotional...and he hands them a Kleenex...Anyway, Greenpeace staged this spoof at a Chicago taping of one of these is pretty funny; check it out on YouTube. There are all these people in bear costumes.

So the work thus far, has been very interesting.

Monday, I did check out Fisherman's Wharf, the seals, and the beautiful ocean. I also walked through Chinatown where there seemed to be hundreds of little trinket shops and dim sum restaurants. I did not see any markets with live chickens or skinned animals hanging from the doorways, thank goodness! There may not have been any either....but I am not about to go back to check it out...

I walked up a huge hill (more about those in a bit) to see the crooked street, Lombard Street. I had to do it, but it was worth the pictures. Back to the hills, when I run (or sometimes walk) up them....I think I have written on my shirt...I am from a city where the largest "hill" is a man-made dike next to the river...yes, I am dying here!!! As soon as I remotely become used to the hills, it will be time for me to go!

I have slept well only one night since I have been here. Probably a little to do with the "new" environment, but also, our doorbell is loose or has a short in it rings from the wind blowing! It rings about 8 times a night!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bumpy Trip

Made it...Of course, it was not without a few bumps. Car trouble on the way to the cities resulted in my truck being hauled on the back of a trailer up to Hibbing and Paul taking the Greyhound back to Fargo. And my flight into CA went right through the aftermath of the storm that hit the West Coast. Early in the flight, I actually wondered if anyone ever really used "barf bags." The turbulance made me rethink. I knew I would not need the "bag," but I did not feel well!

My room is nice...a desk, couch, TV, and XBox. I had to be told this was the system with the paddle/handle...I cannot keep them all straight. I think I would rather explore SF than learn how to play. I went with one of my roommates yesterday to Rainbow Market....absolutely wonderful! This grocery/market has everything--local, organic, and great produce.

Today I walked through Haight/Ashbury area of town...from what I am told, this is where the "Summer of Love" initiated. I walked through Golden Gate Park and also visited the SF Botanic Garden and Arboretum. It is nice the city has included both into the park and do not charge admission. People who might not otherwise make a point to see them can walk around. Everything is green and smells so fresh. It was cool to see the plants we cannot grow in MN/ND like bamboo and redwoods. Although, the storm did cause a lot of damage to the park; there were leaves and sticks scattered everywhere and many trees down. For dinner, I found this great restaurant called Herbivore. Sometimes it is weird to eat alone. I was not near a window, so I felt I had to stare straight forward. I wanted to look over at the guy next to me, to check out what he was eating and how quickly he was eating it, but I felt uncomfortable and that he would think I was rude....I also did not want him to be looking at me...weird...maybe it is a Midwest-thing....or maybe me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolution

This year's resolution (and last year's...I know, I'm still working on it, OK) is to keep in better contact with friends and family. Usually, I am not one to pick up the phone or send an email unless I have something to say, a question to ask, etc.

So, this is one way...I admit, kind of keep in touch. At least for a month. I am going to San Francisco for an internship with Greenpeace. I leave Sat. (1.5.08).

I will be working with the Greenpeace Grassroots campaign while in SF, and not entirely sure what I will be doing. I will keep you updated through my posts. Also, I am looking forward to exploring the city. I have been told it is an amazing city with so many great sights, shops, and restaurants.

There is a reality-travel show on the Travel Channel...the name of it escapes me...where 5 people from around the world together explore a region and several countries. Anyway, I think they receive something like $150 per week from the show. They update their website/blogs with their adventures and people throughout the world write to them and tell them of amazing sights they have to see or people they have to meet. The group actually follows the advice of these people....

So, I am proposing something similar...I cannot do anything illegal, immoral (I guess that is left to the individual!!), too expensive, or dangerous. But please tell me of cool places you have visited, restaurants you have eaten, sights, and adventures....I will try them and update you. Also, remember I will be working during the day, so the majority of my free time will be on the weekends. And I only have 1 month.

Bring it on!!