Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 58: February 27, 2011

Today we arrived in Bangkok after a lovely stay in Chiang Mai. Talk about a culture shock! This place is crazy! We’re only in Bangkok for two days, so we have a guide ushering us around to the must-see sights so we’re sure to fit it all in.
I am again thankful for many things, but a part of Chiang Mai is sticking with me, begging me for thanks.
Today I am thankful for the traditional Thai massage. I’m telling you, it’s the gift that just keeps on giving! Three days in Chiang Mai, three massages. And not just any massage, the Thai people take massage very seriously.  My muscles feel like they have been worked hard.
The Thai “Massage” is one part relaxation, one part massage, and a whole lot of body manipulation, popping, and weird positions. The first massage was giggle-inducing because I had no idea what I was getting into. The masseuse was a tiny, elderly Thai woman with the strength of Hulk Hogan. The first giggles came when she sat on me. The second when she pushed her feet into my thigh for leverage. The third when Nick cried out in pain and his masseuse laughed (demonically, I might add!) And the final was at the end of the relaxing (ha!) two hours when our masseuses pulled our spines into alignment in tandem using their super-human strength and making crazy grunting sounds.
It may not be as relaxing and serene as Western massage, but my body feels pretty darn amazing…I’m going to continue to take full advantage of these Thai body masters!

Day 57: February 26, 2011

Today I am thankful for mango sticky rice. In my opinion, it alone is a good reason to make the trip to Thailand. Sticky rice is a common staple in Northern Thailand, but add the sweetest mango I have ever tasted, a drizzle of coconut milk, and a smattering of fried rice bits sprinkled on top, and you have a little slice of heaven!

Day 56: February 25, 2011

Today I am thankful for elephants. References to elephants are everywhere here, in the temples, in the cheap goods at the bazaars, and on the beer labels. Today we visited an elephant sanctuary and the only elephant hospital in Thailand. Pretty awesome. Mosha, a young elephant at the hospital, was the star of my day. After stepping on a landmine on the Thailand Myanmar border when she was six months old, she received a prosthetic leg and will hopefully be released into the jungle soon. Love it!

Day 55: February 24, 2011

Today was our first full day in Chiang Mai, and what a day it was! Chiang Mai is nicknamed “the rose of the North” which turns out to be a fitting way for the Rose Duo to start our Thailand adventure. I’m having an incredibly hard time deciding what I am most thankful for today because the vacation has started out so well, so I’m going to make it quite general.
Today I am thankful for travel.
Maybe I can make it slightly more specific by saying that I am thankful for travel that changes how I think about the world (although I don’t know that there’s any other kind). I am always amazed at how eye-opening and personally enriching experiencing other cultures is.
Today as we walked through a small hill tribe village outside of Chiang Mai, I thought about how the world is both small and incredibly large at the same time.
The village is about as different from my world as it can get; the villagers live in small huts with whole families sharing one sleeping area the size of my bathroom, they cook over an open fire, their days are spent growing their own food and weaving the clothing that they wear. Nothing about their daily life is anything like mine. But yet it is.
We saw several babies in hammock-like apparatuses, kept in constant motion by a string attached to the mothers’ big toe, swinging it back and forth as she worked. When we asked about it she said that if she stopped the baby would wake and she wouldn’t get anything done. We have baby swings and bouncy seats, they have strong toes.
I watched one woman from the Karen long neck tribe work on her weaving. Her neck was easily twice as long as mine because of the brass rings she has been wearing to stretch it since she was five years old. She worked diligently on a skirt that she was weaving that would take her close to six months to complete. It was incredible to watch, but to her it was “just another day at the office”.
We were allowed into one home and were given the grand tour that consisted of: Living area, cooking area (pot placed over small pile of wood), sleeping area (blankets on the floor, separated from living area by mosquito netting). Modest accommodations to say the least, but the family had pride of ownership.
Family is family, work is work, and home is always home, no matter where in the world you’re located. The hill tribes’ daily lives may be drastically different from mine, but the fundamentals remain the same. Oh travel, you never cease to impress me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 54: February 23, 2011

Today almost ceased to exist for me. We crossed the International Date Line and spent the other small part on an airplane, squirming around trying to get comfortable. It was twenty-two hours of travel, but fairly painless. I am thankful for Korean Airline's massive selection of movies that kept me occupied enough to not go completely stir crazy.

Day 53: February 22, 2011

Today I am thankful for people-watching. Always interesting, but today I happened to be in the mecca of people-watching, also known as the airport. The trick is staring without people noticing that you're staring:)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 52: February 21, 2011

Usually I'm thankful for my city. Today I am thankful that tomorrow I am LEAVING my city!!! In twelve hours we will be picked up by limo (thanks to Groupon) and will begin our long journey to Thailand!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 51: February 20, 2011

Today I am thankful for mental health "sick" days. Leading up to our vacation I was scheduled to work sixty-five hours in six days then leave the next morning. I wasn't feeling it. Today was filled with organizing, packing, prepping of toes for the beach (bright, tropical pink), last-minute shopping, and burrito eating. Tomorrow is my last day of work for three weeks! Yippee!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 50: February 19, 2011

Today I'm thankful for my "garbage man". I love many things about city living, but taking out the trash is not one of them. I don't know that anyone actually likes taking out the garbage, but add in a few flights of stairs and I really don't like taking it out. My garbage man does the duty in our house ninety-five percent of the time, and that's enough to win my heart.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 49: February 18, 2011

Today I am thankful to have had a good day at work. Day one of four is done and in a mere three days (and change) I will be boarding a plane to Thailand.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 48: February 17, 2011

Today I'm thankful for puppy smiles. Yes, my dog smiles. The corners of her mouth turn up, her eyes "smile", all while her tail's wagging...and it's the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 46: February 15, 2011

Today I am so very grateful that the Upper Haight has its very own Whole Foods Market.
Reasons why I am thankful:
1. It is one block from my house, so grocery shopping no longer requires a car.
2. Unlike the other local markets (which I love) I can buy just about everything there-meats, toilet paper,    veggies, lotion. et cetera.
3. I don't have to look at the empty parking lot and decrepit building that has been occupying the space for the last five years.
4. They make sandwiches. I love sandwiches, and until now the neighborhood has been lacking a sandwichery.
5. Did I mention that it's ONE block from my house!!!

Day 45: February 14, 2011

Today I'm thankful for Valentine's Day and for my Valentine. Any excuse to celebrate love is awesome in my book!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 44: February 13, 2011

Today I am thankful for work perks. Not mine-the VIP perks as a nurse are slim. We went to the SAP Open Finals today for the fifth year, one of the perks we enjoy because Nick works for a big software company. One of the best parts is the VIP area where the food and drink is unlimited. It just makes you feel important when you can walk up to the counter and grab whatever you want. Silly.
Watching the tournament, every year I realize that I like tennis. Every year I say that I want to take tennis lessons. Every year I fail to pick up a racket. Maybe 2011 is my year. I hope so, tennis outfits are so cute!

Day 43: February 12, 2011

Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Bubbly, or fizzante (as they call it in Italian-my new favorite term), liquid of the Gods...whatever you choose to call it, I'm thankful for it. Champagne is generally considered a special occasion wine, but in our house it's just as appropriate to pop the cork on a random Tuesday night. Tonight, however, was a special occasion. We chilled the bubbles in honor of Valentine's Day (a little early) as we celebrated with some of our best friends.

A whopping ten bottles were corked, all with six half turns of the cage. My Valentine led a champagne tasting complete with "sniff" samples of all the common scents of sparkling wines-so fun! Then we moved to the dining room (otherwise known as our bedroom) to eat and drink the night away.

I can't think of a way I would rather spend my pre-Valentine's Day than with my fabulous friends sipping some fizzante!

The dinner also helped me meet my weekly quota of new recipes: Pears with Brie and Rosemary, Salmon Wellington with Champagne Beurre Blanc, Butter Lettuce Salad with Pancetta and Green Apples, heart-shaped raviolis with pink cream sauce, Green Beans with Brown Butter and Pine nuts, Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce, and White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Citrus Sugar (which I forgot to bring out!)...whew!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 42: February 11, 2011

I had a great dinner at Absinthe for Nick's birthday in December. The star dish for me was the cheese platter that included a blue cheese with honeycomb. Since that dinner I have been on a quest to buy honeycomb so I could recreate the yumminess. Three months I've been looking with no success...until today! Just in time for our pre-Valentine's Day dinner party, I found it (!!!) so today I'm thankful for Bristol Farms.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 41: February 10, 2011

Today I am thankful for musical theater. The husband and I just saw Next To Normal and enjoyed a lovely date night!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 40: February 9, 2011

Today I am thankful for the "penthouse" view. I spent my last three days on the fifteenth floor of UCSF, the penthouse. I would have rather been outside of the building because the days looked picture perfect, but at least I got to enjoy the view! This morning I felt like the view was magnified because it was so clear. I could see every suspension cord on the Golden Gate Bridge and even the rarely seen Farallon Islands. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 39: February 8, 2011

Ok, I know I said I was going to try not to be so darn thankful for food all the time, but...I'm a foodie, so I just don't think I can help it:)

Today I am thankful for sweet and salty. I'm pretty sure there is no better combo. Pretzel and chocolate, salted caramel, yum-o.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 38: February 7, 2011

Today I am grateful for I love that I can find just about everything and have it shipped to my doorstep. Love. It.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 37: February 6, 2011

Today we made our way down to Ocean Beach with Zoe and the chuck-it in tow. The weather in San Francisco does not always lend itself to beach days, but today it cooperated. I spent most of the day with my toes in the waves throwing the tennis ball for my tireless pup, soaking up my dose of Vitamin D.

Today I am thankful for the ocean. I love the sand, the surf, the smell, and the breeze. Somehow it is both soothing and energizing at the same time. I can't get enough of it, and lucky for me, I don't have to go far to enjoy it.

Day 36: February 5, 2011

Today I am thankful for family visits. My Mom and Sister are here for the weekend and we are having a great time enjoying this amazing weather. Speaking of the seventy-five degree weather, I am also thankful that the Bay Area is being spared of the uber-wintry weather that the rest of the country is enduring!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 35: February 4, 2011

I feel like my daily thanks all too often include food-maybe next year my New Year's resolution will be saying thanks for non-edible items. But...I'm still going to say that today I'm thankful for chocolate milk. I bought a Costco size pack of delicious, organic, single serve chocolate milks and they've been the superstar of my work lunches since. It brings me back to my childhood when Mom would pack my lunchbox with a thermos of milk.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 34: February 3, 2011

Oh, city life. Never did I see myself as the "doggy daycare" kind of person. Never did I think that I would pay someone to walk my dog. Never did I imagine that I would take my dog to a groomer like those designer dog owners. And then I moved to a city and got a dog. And I morphed into one of those people.
Yes, it's true, today I am thankful for doggy daycare.
Today was Zoe's first time spending the day with her new dog walker extraordinaire and she's spent. A tired dog is a happy dog (and happy owner). I received an email from the doggy sitter while I was at work today:
"At first Zoe was pretty bummed you'd left and spent the first 15 minutes ignoring me and staring longingly out the front door...I think it's hilarious that she seems to think of herself as a lap dog!  She's sat on my lap today about 6 times now. I guess she hasn't noticed how much she's grown this year..."
Yes, that would be my Zoe! I blame it on the puppy massages. I guess she likes her.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 33: February 2, 2011

Today I'm thankful for hummingbirds. Whenever I see a hummingbird I feel like I'm witnessing something special. I'm not sure if that's because I grew up in a little mountain town with a small population hummingbirds, or if it's because of the way they flit into view and just as quickly hover out leaving you wondering if they were there at all. And when they land? Well, that's just weird :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 32: February 1, 2011

Today I am thankful for leftovers. Delicious dinner after two minutes in the microwave = awesome!