Tuesday, December 26, 2006


On December 24th, 2006 Erik and I attended a game at Monster Stadium with Lori and Shayne.

I (Natalie) was the only one amongst the 4 of us who had never been to an NFL game. I've seen the Hollywood movies and I've had many male friends. I've been told many times that a great NFL game can sometimes be a thing of legend, can sometimes bring brothers, families and friends together. Funny enough, I also thought that these things could also tear these same people apart....(maybe that's just Hollywood speaking).

I was lucky to be seeing this particular NFL game through the lense of a lifelong 49ers fan. It was kinda like bringing a 5-year old to Santa's village. Everything about the game was like a trip to Germany for me. Everything about the game was like a trip to Mecca for him.

We walked through the expansive parking lot which was filled with entire families barbecuing, playing cards and throwing around a football. You could hear laughter, music and fun. Some came equipped with stereos, barbecues, TVs and I even saw a generator. These people are serious about their football....but they are JUST as serious about their tailgating. There was no lack of comfort.

Walking into an NFL stadium for the first time is something of a religious experience even for a football neophyte like me. The size of the crowd, the size of the stadium, the size of the field...none of which even compares to the size of the hearts on display....which are all hoping, wishing, praying that the 49ers would lead them to victory on the homefield. The cheers, the boos, the smell of hotdogs and most of all the laughter. There is no other way to describe these fans...but as a family.

Throughout the game complete strangers came together believing in one single thing...that the 49ers should WIN this game. I saw 60 year old men dancing and 3 year old girls waving and cheering. But on Christmas Eve, it was not to be.

As the game wound down, 49ers down by 7, dozens started to make their way down the aisles, back to their cars. The final game of the year would not be one of legend.

Others straggled in the aisles, exchanging Christmas wishes, hugging fellow fans and extending warm handshakes "See you after Christmas" was heard all around me.

I didn't learn much about football on December 24th, 2006, but I learnt a lot about football fans. In a word they are Faithful....faithful to their team, faithful to their sport and most surprisingly.... faithful to one another. It was a good day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone

May you all have a wonderful day filled with love, tenderness and
lots of the good things in life.

Natalie & Erik

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Out of Africa.....

Fresh off a pretty interesting tour of Alcatraz, all hungry and tired, we set out for our hotel. We waited in vain for a cable car (too full). We ambled through the streets laughing (men are bad at not knowing proper directions) and ended up walking up Battery Street from the Pier.

I (Natalie) casually remarked that a friend of ours had told me about the great comedy clubs in San Fran when not a full block later, we stumbled on the awning for the Punchline Comedy Club.

We decided, on a lark, to check out the billboard and quickly saw that for the dates of December 22nd and 23rd ....right beside the words "SOLD OUT"...was written DAVE CHAPPELLE!


Again, on another whim, we climbed the stairs to the door, saw a last minute lineup and were informed that stand-by seats might be available, but only for the 10pm or midnight show. We collectively laughed at our "good try" and went about our way walking back to our respective hotels.

After eating and sleeping, some texting took place and despite my protests (haha) we decided (again, on a whim) that we'd be stupid to NOT try to get into the midnight show. What IF? So we set out to walk to the club again, leaving at midnight with Red Bulls in hand.

We waited in line for a little over two hours (still not thinking that it would be possible, to see Dave Chappelle LIVE ....at such a late hour)....and the stars aligned....WE GOT IN.

After two opening acts, Dave took the stage at about 3am...and played for over 3 HOURS!....when he started he was stoned out of his mind...then he sobered up....then he got delirious with fatigue....but the WHOLE time....he brought funny to a WHOLE new level. Man, he is one seriously funny (and deranged) guy.

Thanks for the awesome Christmas present San Fran. We might have to leave our hearts here for good.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

San Francisco here we come (sung to the tune of the OC) UPDATED WITH PICTURES

Why the title? Wanna guess? It's not really because we are still "on our way" .....but it MIGHT have something to do with the fact that Erik sang that damn song intermitently for about 10 hours on Thursday, it has stuck....and it's stuck good. I was working on the "flowers in my hair" thing....his song is however much more annoying....therefore much stickier to get rid of in the brain!

We got here late on Thursday night after a very painful flight (babies crying, hotter than hell and turbulence that kept Erik saying "remember that scene in Lost"....thanks hon!) We are staying in this funky little hotel called Hotel des Arts, which is a neat, if not a little too beatnick...but so cheap that we really can't complain. Our room is small but brightly furnished and we have a perfect window view into the next building (which is located about12 feet from our window at the same level....ahhh...the joys of staying in a downtown hotel!). I hope to make a new friend!

We got alot done on our first day in the SF. We walked through the Castro, the Mission, the Shopping District and also wandered into Chinatown (which is about 2 blocks from our hotel). We had a fabulous lunch in the heart of the Latin Quarter at the Rosevelt Tamale Parlor.
At the end of the day, we climbed Hayes Street to see the much anticipated Painted Ladies....funny, I didn't see Uncle Jessie anywhere...we did step in lots of dog crap and Erik managed to slide (baseball style) down a grassy hill getting mud all the way up to his elbows.....(you can't take us anywhere)

We capped off the the night meeting up with Shayne and Lori for dinner at Brindisi, drinks at Voda (a vodka bar, as it were!) and then more drinks at the Irish Bank where an Irishman rather aggressively tried to take Lori home with him....in front of Shayne.

Today has started with a hangover.....but not of the monumental St. Petersburg kind. Will post more pictures later.

Natalie (& Erik)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

San Francisco: Waits with charms unfoldin'

Source: http://bergoiata.org/fe/californie-paysages/25.htm

In a short couple of days, Erik and I are lucky enough to find ourselves traveling to the city by the Bay for the Christmas holidays. We'll arrive in San Francisco on Thursday evening and will stay for approximately one week and then we'll be off to Vancouver for the remainder of the trip to spend some time with the brother in law (Hi Serge) and spend some more time exploring another cool city. We'll be accompanied by two good friends who will ensure trouble, laughter and great memories.

We're not really sure what SF has to offer (aside from Trolleys, Bridges, Wharves and Burlesque) but we're keen to find out and anxious to go exploring. We do have a few things figured out though....we know we're staying here (which we are super psyched about) and we've officially planned a trip to here. We've also bought tickets to see these guys on Christmas Eve (Yes, you can all say it now, I am the best wife EVER, period). The rest is up in the air...I love these kinds of trips.

Anyone reading ever been there? Any suggestions?