Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let's Talk About Hawaii!

Well, the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 started the countdown to Miguel finding a real job. Unfortunately, as with many industries, the job market is slow and we were starting to get a little concerned. I don't know if it is so much that there weren't any available jobs, it's just that Miguel and I had some pretty strict policies on where we would live - no more snow or ice, only coastal living, hopefully warm weather most of the year and good surf for Miguel. The search found us jobs in Florida, Southern California and Hawaii. I gotta tell you, Hawaii was NOT my first choice. I was pretty hesitant about it - it's so far and I am still really not big on flying even though I go back and forth to Cali twice a month. However, that being said, the other jobs were in less than desirable areas of Florida and So Cal. We decided to go to Hawaii for the interview. I was sold the minute I walked out of the airport - WOW! How can you pass up the opportunity to live on a tropical island where the weather is never less than 65 degrees and rarely over 85? Geez people - this is a no brainer!

Anyhow, the interview went well, Miguel liked them and they liked him and so - we are off to Hawaii in August. We'll be living on Oahu - not sure what area yet - that is to be decided hopefully closer to July. Here are some pics from our trip to Hawaii:

This is along the main drag in Waikiki. On the opposite side of the street are shops and restaurants.
This is me stopping to enjoy a little waterfall along the main drag in Waikiki.

Here's Miguel - we were looking to see if there were any surfable waves for him in Waikiki.

I went on a one day bus tour while Miguel was at his interviews - here is Hanauma Bay - on the beach below is where Elvis's movie Blue Hawaii was filmed.

This is the view leaving the entrance to Diamond Head.

It's been a LONG TIME! Here's the recap of January

Hi Everyone! Well, I realize it's been 5 months since I posted anything and I apologize but I have been traveling so much it's hard to find time to update the blog. Most of you know I'll be moving to Hawaii in August so I'll probably start a new Hawaii blog when I get there so if anyone has any ideas for a great website name, let me know.

Now let's get down to the haps in the Pitts:

January was pretty exciting (if you are a burgher!) as the Steelers won the Super Bowl - I was thankful to actually not be in town that week. I called Miguel that night and I could hear people yelling from the street after they won - yikes! Miguel did get to go to 2 playoff games and here's a pic from the field of the game:

Okay so that was January - I know not all that much to tell unfortunately I can't remember back that far (does that mean I'm getting old?). We did actually find though a place that serves pretty decent Mexican Food in Pittsburgh - it's called Mexico City Tacos and Burritos. Here's some pics of us enjoying our first trip there:

And lastly for January, I have to include the picture of my girlfriends in Pittsburgh - we formed a knitting club - it's been a lot of fun, we only wish we could get together more often. I think this picture might have actually been taken before January - can't remember when our first meeting was.

There is a funny story that goes along with this though and I guess now would be as good a time as any to share it. The night we planned to mee for knitting club it was COLD! I'm talking lots of snow and icy roads. I don't know if I mentioned this before but I live on a little hill and most of the surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods are up and down hills. We had our meeting at Julie's house - where I had been before but not in the ice. She lives in a neighborhood that has some VERY steep hills and narrow streets made from cobblestone. I didn't have any other option than to drive there so I decided "geez, if all these other people can do it, so can I!".

I got in my car, drove very slowly and when I got to the bottom of the first steep hill, I was terrified - I looked up and saw there was a stop sign at the top of the hill and I honestly wasn't sure if I had to stop, I'd be able to get my car to keep going without sliding backward. Not only that, another car was heading down just as I was heading up and the streets are not wide enough for 2 cars at once. Luckily, he must have seen either the terror in my eyes or my California license plates and he let me take the right of way. I headed up the hill, eyed the cross street, made just the slightest stop at the sign but kept going up the hill. I made it! Believe me, I was relieved to not have to make a complete stop.

So, you're probably all thinking - great so that's it right? NOPE! I got to the top of the hill and as they say, what goes up, must come down. I now had to head down a steep hill, cobblestone, that had not been well maintained. I literally called Miguel on my cell phone at the top of the hill to find out how I was going to do this, because the street ended at the bottom of the hill and I was going to have to either turn left or right or end up with my front end in someone's living room. He gave me the best advice he could and when I hung up I figured, I have to just go for it. I put the car in first gear and headed down. And SUCCESS! I made it down the hill and safely to Julie's house. Luckily we mapped out a less treacherous route home after knitting club. Anyhow, here is a pic of the group:

Here's the rundown - from left to right: Clarinda, Ami and Julie. Julie is our knitting "guru" and we were at her house enjoying our first lesson.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let's Go Steelers!

Well, those of you that are football fans know that the playoff game was yesterday between the Ravens and the Steelers. Let's just say, this is town loves them some Steelers! Miguel was "lucky" enough to go to the game. I decided that taking pictures of the process of getting ready for the game would be fun - Enjoy!

Step One - out of the shower - on go the under armour pants and wool socks.

Step Two - Add the under armour shirt

Step Three - Yep - you guessed it - Snowboarding pants on top of the under armour - let me just tell you, this California Surfer boy can't take the cold!

Step Four - Top layer number two - the Official UPMC required shirt.
Step Five - third top layer - a North Face vest.

Step 6 - the last top layer - a ski jacket!

And finally - ski gloves! Let me just add that when he got to the game he added a ski cap and a scarf along with multiple hand and foot warmers provided by the team.

If you watched the game and were watching closely, you may have caught a glimpse of my hubby on the sidelines. It was when the clock was at 1:20 left in the fourth quarter - he was all bundled up in the orange jacket, a black scarf around his next and part of his face and his ski cap. We tivo'd it so we got to see it in slo-mo, pretty cool, huh?
He took some pics at the game also - I'll post those in another post.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's COLD!

Well, I don't have any pictures to post for November/December because my digital cam wasn't working. BUT, I will try to be better about pics for the rest of our stay in Pitt. I was in Los Angeles last week and it was 82 degrees. I flew into Pitt on Friday - landing in the evening at a chilly 1 degree - yep you read that right - IT WAS ONE DEGREE! I parked at the airport when I left (one week ago) and found that my car was not only covered in snow but that an enormous CHUNK of ice was stuck to my windshield. It took me a good 20 minutes to warm up the car and scrape away at the chunk! I was in tears literally because my fingers were FROZEN! Yes I had gloves (I do live in Pittsburgh - I am a little prepared), however, leather doesn't really cut it in ONE DEGREE WEATHER!

Today it is a little warmer - I think it's about 20 degrees today. The city is gearing up for the Steelers vs Ravens game today. A number of the businesses are closing early today so that everyone can watch - all I have to say is: "What the F is that all about????" Those of us that couldn't care less about Football are gonna be bored! I'm just hopeful that Costco is still going to be open and I'll have my run of the store because all the Pittsburghers will be at home watching football, drinking too much beer and eating WAY TOO MANY NACHOS!

Miguel will be at the game today with the medical team. He was there last weekend as well and although it's super exciting - he's gonna freeze!

Here are some pics of the snow today:

This is the view from the side of the driveway down the hill. I'm not sure how many inches we got overnight but it let up this morning a bit. Miguel was outside shoveling snow for over an hour! I was wondering what he was doing cause the weather didn't seem like it was going to get better but he said it wasn't going to snow anymore. My reply was: "OK weatherman!" Needless to say, an hour later it was snowing again and it really hasn't let up yet! It's not really sticking though so all his efforts were not in vain.

This is how our kitties stay warm in the house. There is a heating vent right underneath this cabinet. They used to wedge themselves under the cabinet to stay warm, when they first started doing this, we couldn't find them then we saw their little legs sticking out from underneath. Miguel had the great idea to empty out the bottom cabinet and put their beds in them - now they stay warm and comfy!

Miguel in Action

One Sunday afternoon, Miguel had to cover the Carnegie Mellon Football game that was being televised on ESPN. I was able to go with him and it was a gorgeous day outside (still in the Fall). I got some great pictures of the fall colors:

Here are some pictures of the game - Miguel is on the sidelines in the red shirt:

There was an injury so Miguel had to go onto the field and assess the situation. The player ended up being fine.

Fall in Pittsburgh

Okay, so Fall was something I was really looking forward to - partially because the hot, humid weather in the summer was unbearable and partially because I love the fall colors and seeing the beautiful trees, of which Pittsburgh has many. I signed Miguel and I up for what was called a "Fall Foliage Cruise". It was about a 6 hour cruise along the Monongaheela and Ohio Rivers where the foliage is supposed to be really amazing. The first problem was, it was super cold the morning we left and we couldn't even go out of the deck to see most of the foliage but luckily it warmed up a little later and we did get some good pics. The second problem was - we were stuck on this cruise ship for 6 hours with nothing to do but watch really bad entertainment and play bingo - yikes it was torturous! Anyhow, I learned my lesson - better to either have your own boat to enjoy the sites or just go on a driving tour.

Despite the not-so-fun cruise, the foliage was very amazing - here are some pics:

This is the top of the boat - there was plenty of space on the top deck to sit and enjoy the scenery but as you can see, not too many people wanted to brave the cold!
A marina along the Ohio River.
Some of the trees along the riverside.
More riverside views.

Panthers Football Game (Pitt vs Rutgers)

Well, one of the "perks" of Miguel's program is we get to go to sporting event occasionally. The best so far has been the Panther's football games - we get to sit in a box which is quite luxurious so if you are not a full on football fan (like me), you at least are comfy, warm or cool depending on outdoor conditions and have a fully stocked fridge with sodas, beer and water.

I am the first to admit I know nothing about football and generally am not interested in the sport but seeing this game was the first time I had ever been on the verge of tears at a sporting event. Basically this is how it went down - in the middle of the game (I can't remember the exact period/quarter/whatever) but the quarterback was injured pretty seriously. We saw him go down and expected in no time he'd be back up. Well, that wasn't the case, the trainers went out to the field to see what was going on and when they realized it was more serious, they called the MD's on the field. When a few minutes had passed, the entire U Pitt football team came together, knelt down on one knee and faced the injured player. It was unbelievable! A few more minutes passed and then the Rutgers team followed suit. I seriously thought I was going to break out sobbing but I had to compose myself in front of Miguel's coworkers. Eventually, they brought out a stretcher to remove the player from the field but not one of the other players got up off their knee:
After the player was put on the stretcher, and being wheeled off the field, the entire stadium went crazy, clapping and "cheering". This was an incredible experience that I will never forget.