Sunday, January 30, 2011

Long Weekend in Southern California

Hi all...Katie here, reporting on a little weekend jaunt we took to LA/Long Beach last week! Get ready for an action-packed blog post! (ok, not really, but hopefully it will at least be slightly more entertaining than the Facebook status updates you may or may not have just been checking out!). Prepare yourself for a lengthy post (as usual when I'm playing the blogger!)

This trip to LA was actually a work-related one for me, as I flew down on Thursday, Jan 20 to spend a couple of days going on sales calls with my Sales Reps, and attending a Chinese New Year party that our NYK LA office hosted for some of it's Chinese clients. I left Boise at the butt-crack of dawn (6:30am), and landed a little after 9am. Keep in mind that it was 25F (-4C) when I left Boise, and it was 72F (22C) when I landed in LA!! Definitely much nicer January weather than I've ever experienced!
One of my Sales Reps (I work with 3 reps) picked me up at the airport & we headed out for our 1 (big) meeting of the day, with Dole (yes, the pineapple & banana people). Their world headquarters are located in Westlake Village, CA (north of LA), on an absolutely beautiful "campus" (their words)...I could definitely work at a place like this:
(yes, the weather was just as beautiful as that picture!)
The inside of Dole's main building was like a fancy spa, with marble floors & fountains & lots of greenery - very relaxing! We met with some of the people I work with, and then went out to lunch at The Landing Grill & Sushi (the building is on the left - we sat on the patio (IN JANUARY, PEOPLE!):
After that lovely meal & discussions about Dole's upcoming Contract Renewal (stressful times for yours truly!), my Sales Rep & I headed back down to Long Beach. She took me on a very scenic route, down part of the Pacific Coast Highway, which takes you right along the water in many sections. We stopped for a drink at a restaurant right on the water...again, it was so surreal to have to ask for seating "in the shade", since the sun was beating down pretty hard! We meandered through parts of Bel Air (no Fresh Prince sightings, unfortunately), and stopped in Hollywood, so that I could check out Graumann's Chinese Theater (with all the stars' footprints & handprints in the sidewalk), the Walk of Stars & the Kodak Theater (where the Oscars are held - I got to walk down the staircase on which they roll out the red carpet!)
Back in Long Beach, we stopped for dinner at Parker's Lighthouse where I had Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya & we enjoyed an amazing view of the Queen Mary, and old passenger steamship that has been turned into a hotel.

On Friday I spent all day visiting clients with my 3 Sales Reps - these clients were smaller-scale than Dole, but it was still very nice to finally put faces to names for so many customers that I've been working with for the past 1.5 years. Friday evening was the main event - a traditional Chinese New Year banquet at NBC Seafood Restaurant in the Monterey Park section of LA! I got to meet even more customers, while enjoying (or at least trying!) lots of different Chinese dishes, many of which I had never tried or even heard of. It was quite an experience, but I'm happy to report that I tried everything (even the bamboo fungus, which was like tiny pieces of bubble wrap popping in my mouth), since I'm probably not going to have the chance in the near future!

Friday night signaled the end of my work duties, and also the start of a great weekend trip with Zach! He flew in Friday night & checked out the Yard House (just a few blocks from our hotel), while I was finishing up at the dinner party. He was in awe of (and in love with!) the beer selection at the Yard House!

On Saturday, we had an awesome breakfast at Egg Heaven in Long Beach, and then meandered around Long Beach - it is truly an awesome area, and we both agreed that we loved it! The beaches are gorgeous, and I would walk on the beach every single day if I lived there! We headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway...I have to mention that we stopped for a potty break at a Starbucks in Rancho Palos Verde - I'm only mentioning it because the patio of the Starbucks had a view similar to this:
Continuing up the PCH, we stopped in Venice Beach to check it out. It was an extremely busy & eclectic area, maybe not our style, but interesting nonetheless! We made it to Malibu (Beautiful beachfront houses & lots of fancy cars), and then headed back down to LA/Long Beach. We ate dinner at a great little Southern restaurant, Johnny Reb's, & called it a night.
Sunday was spent eating crepes, shopping at Trader Joe's (I brought a huge suitcase on purpose!), and checking out the Griffith Observatory, which has been in quite a few movies, including Charlie's Angels & Rebel Without a Cause - there's even a statue of James Dean at the site (although he doesn't have any eyeballs, which was creepy).
The parking lot was full, so we ended up having to walk about 20 minutes there & back...thank goodness for beautiful weather! You can see the Hollywood sign from the Observatory grounds, which was pretty cool!
Before heading to the airport, we drove around Hollywood/Beverly Hills (alas, no 90210-sightings, either.. you know I was looking for Brenda & Brandon Walsh's house!). Plenty of huge mansions were seen, though!
We flew back to Boise on Sunday night, arriving at 11:30pm, and were welcomed home by 30F (-1C) weather & frost. Ick. We definitely appreciated the weather in California, and were shocked at how many people we heard complaining about how hot it was while we were there! If only they knew what 30F felt like.
Overall, it was a great trip, both from a work perspective (for me) and a vacation perspective. We'd definitely love to go back, as there was lots more to do/see/eat, and would recommend the Long Beach area to anyone heading down that way!
Hope you enjoyed the VERY LONG blog post - this is why I don't blog more regularly - it always turns into a huge novel of a post.
If you made it this far, congratulations! We love you all, and miss you!
Katie & Zach

Here are some more pictures, taken on Zach's cell phone camera, since we forgot the real camera :-(

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peak 4460' Hike

Dan suggested a hike in the foothills and we ultimately decided upon Peak 4460'. I was a little hesitant about my still ailing achilles/ankle/heel area but decided to get out anyway. Fortunately it held up pretty well for the hike but it did start barking a little bit in the evening. It seems to be getting better, albeit quite slowly...

We headed up Bogus Basin Rd a little after 7am. Dan also wanted to climb Peak 3793' (which I climbed last November) so we make a quick ascent at dawn before heading to the main objective. Since the ground was frozen and only lightly covered with snow, we didn't even need snowshoes. The hike was quite enjoyable - I personally had never been in the foothills when all of the creeks were iced like they were on this day. Once on top we got some great winter views of the Treasure Valley and the surrounding area. Of course, it is always great to catch up with Dan as well! While a small peak, this is an enjoyable winter objective close to home!

Trip statistics (total): 4 hours, 7.5 miles, 2200' elevation gain

Peak 4460' Pictures!
Dan's Trip Report

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Years Update

It's been a long time since a random update was posted, so why not now?

We hope everyone had a great New Year!! On New Years Eve we opened the presents we didn't take to Vancouver, watched some TV and drank some champagne. It's kind of nice to have two rounds of gift opening!! I had a five day weekend and Katie had a four day weekend, so we did a lot of relaxing and also saw a couple of movies during that time, specifically Black Swan and True Grit. I found True Grit to be the better movie but both were good.

In other news, I'm still recovering from the Achilles tendon ruination I inflicted upon myself on Black Friday. It is mostly recovered now but I still haven't resumed consistent running again. To mitigate cardiovascular atrophy and to contravene holiday weight gain I decided to join a gym for the first time in my life. So far I've been very happy with this arrangement since it has made it much less urgent for me to run and risk aggravating the rather temperamental injury. When I get back to running I feel like I need to work on my stride to prevent a recurrence of this debilitating debacle.

Job-wise, there is no news to report for either of us. Both of our positions seem to be pretty stable and we're both happy to go to work each day!

I think that is about it from here... we wish everyone a great 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas 2010

For the fourth consecutive year, we went to Vancouver for Christmas. We flew into Bellingham on the morning of the 23rd where Dave and Megan were eagerly awaiting us. After they picked us up, we proceeded to visit the various shopping spots in Bellingham - Trader Joe's, the Community Food Co-op, and Target - before grabbing lunch at the Boundary Bay Brewery. The lunch was pretty good and after that we were headed up to Vancouver. The border crossing was quick and we were at the Shepherd house around 2:30pm.

We socialized the afternoon of the 23rd and afterward Katie met a friend for dinner while I went to White Spot with Liz before watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at the Aprim house. On Christmas Eve, Katie and I went with Dave to Shota Sushi where we had a very yummy meal! After eating, the three of us helped Dave complete his cleaning duties at the Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church in advance of the Christmas Eve ceremony, which we all attended that evening. After church, we ended up eating Little Caesar's pizza (it was the only thing open!) before wrapping presents.

Christmas Day consisted of the traditional brunch and present opening following by a turkey dinner. As always, we all had a great time seeing what everyone got and socializing. We love all of our gifts and thank everyone for thinking of us!!

On Boxing Day we slept in before attending another lovely dinner with family and friends. The 27th was a quiet day where Katie met up with one of her friends and I went on a long walk to attempt to burn off some of what I ate!

We departed on the 28th. Liz's cousin Rob arrived at the Shepherd house on the 27th and we went for brunch at IHOP before Megan and Greg drove us down to Bellingham. Since we got there a little early, Greg and I ended up getting dragged around the Bellis Fair Mall while Megan and Katie went shopping. We did the smart thing this year and booked an evening flight rather than an early morning one! The flight home was uneventful and we were home at 11:30pm ready to go to work the next day!

Christmas 2010 Pictures!