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!!