allyson and bryan
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Okay, I'm calling it. It's well past time to start posting to my own blog again. Bryan and I hope you've enjoyed this tale of departure, travel and return. We'd like to try it again sometime.
Here's what's next. ..........
Friday, June 08, 2007
"Guess how much the stuff we moved to New York weighed?" I asked Mike in the car as we made our way back to the airport on Wednesday. "1,200 pounds?" he, who has seen the 16x9 storage space our stuff occupied for all of 2006, said. "Nope!" I proclaimed proudly. "2,450 pounds!"
"Wow," Mike answered. "You literally have a ton of crap."
Which is honestly pretty crazy when you take into consideration that after the movers came to pile our stuff onto a cross-country truck this past Sunday, we gave the following to The Salvation Army: our couch, a full-size bed, a file cabinet, a desk, rugs, end tables, and a framed Chagall print. (Oddly they wouldn't take the life-size Buffy cut-out we inherited from Sue and Mike many moons ago.) On top of that, Bryan and I made two Civic-sized dump runs prior to the Army arrival to put, among other things, our 1993 Ikea Ivar wall unit out to pasture. We bought that wall unit -- the cheapest Ikea had at the time -- right after college graduation and finished it ourselves, brought it to California and happily housed our TV and books inside it for 13 years. Dropping the various parts and pieces into a foul-smelling junk pile in South San Francisco felt like the end of something, for sure.
So yeah, we had a lot of crap. I guess that's what happens when you live together for 13 years without the space censorship of a 625-square-foot NYC loft.
Before the dump and the Army part of the story, we missed our connection from Logan to SFO by hours and ended up spending the first night of the trip in a Hyatt looking longingly across the harbor. Luckily American Airlines provided us with a luxe $10 per person meal voucher to compensate for our troubles. Once arriving (nearly a day late) in San Francisco, Bryan and I immediately set to work on the various moving-related tasks at hand. In four days we tipped the movers and the Salvation Army generously, closed our account with Self Storage 1, saw nearly all our friends and/or our friends' babies, celebrated one one-year birthday, went to our old neighborhood yoga studio, jumped John's car after killing its battery, ate at In-and-Out, got my hair cut for the low low price of $35, and managed to do a little bit of sleep repair on our under-eye circles. Oh I also found my Very First Gray Hair, for which I believe American Airlines and an exhausting past six months share the blame.
Now our 1.25 tons of crap is somewhere in motion across the country, scheduled to arrive between 3 and 14 days after June 3. We'll then turn our attention to the challenge of finding a place for everything that comes off that truck. We'll also throw ourselves into making our first independently owned and operated apartment a cool and comfortable place to live, with projects like built-in shelving and a new toilet on the horizon. We'll focus on falling in love with Manhattan the way we did San Francisco, and we'll figure out how to become New Yorkers.
And, clearly, I'll be dyeing my hair.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
On May 3, 1992, a mutual friend at UMASS pulled a smooth maneuver and sent me and cute Bryan Campbell on an unexpected first date. That date was, oddly, at the Hinsdale New Hampshire racetrack -- and though it wasn't meant to be a date, it set off a chain of sometimes dramatic, sometimes dull but nearly always serendipitous events that brings us to where we are now: Married, moving back east, and eternally grateful to that special friend.
In the years since we flirted and giggled over trifectas and quinelas and really bad hot dogs, Bryan and I graduated college, carved our career paths, moved to Boston and then San Francisco, got engaged, got married, made some truly amazing friends, adopted cats, got skinny, got fat, took pictures, traveled around the world, and bought an apartment in New York City.
It's been an amazing decade-and-a-half and I can't wait to see what's next.
Happy anniversary Bryan, and rest in peace Jeff Burrell.
Friday, February 02, 2007
100 Best and Worst Around-the-World /
As we came to the end of our life-changing journey, Bryan and I spent endless hours on trains and planes recapping in typical fashion -- discussing our favorite this-and-that, putting superlatives on an experience that can't really be quantified. The result is this list: 100 strong of what we loved and hated in 237 days of travel. If we agreed on a category, you'll see only one winner; if we had separate answers and felt the category was worth including, you'll see both an "A" and a "B" selection. Let us know if you have any questions.
- Most Breathtaking Natural Wonder:
Sunriseover Africafrom 19,000 feet
- Most Breathtaking Man-Made Wonder (A): The
Petronas Towers, Malaysia
- Most Breathtaking Man-Made Wonder (B): Angkor
- Best Pizza (A): Luno Autumno, Mui
- Best Pizza (B):
GPK Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand
- Best Burger (A): Café Royale,
(straight up with cheese, lettuce and tomato) Cape Town, South Africa
- Best Burger (B): Café Mohito,
(fancy style with baked brie, sweet chili sauce and arugula) Cape Town, South Africa
- Best Coffee: Any small cafe, Auckland, New Zealand
- Best Mexican: Enchilada’s Restaurant,
- Favorite Beer: Montieth’s Golden
Lager, New Zealand
- Favorite Wine: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (various labels)
- Favorite Meal, Overall (A): Fresh pasta with pesto and baked goat cheese, Comme a la Maison,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Favorite Meal, Overall (B): Sausage and beer, Braueri Mittenwald,
- Scariest Snack: Roasted spiders, Cambodia
- Scariest Beverage: Snake wine, Vietnam
- Easiest City to Navigate:
- Most Difficult City to Navigate:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Friendliest People:
- Rudest Waiters:
- Smallest Shower in the World: Kurpfalz Hotel,
- Fastest Internet Connection: Kurpfalz Hotel,
- Slowest Internet Connection: The Beach
- Best Beach, Snorkeling:
- Best Beach, Sand:
Zanzibar, Africa Best Beach, Overall: Octopus Resort, Fiji
- Most Creative Advertising: Tuk-Tuk drivers,
Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Best country for Contact Lens Wearers:
- Best Market for Bargains: Greenpoint Market,
- Worst Market for Weak Stomachs:
Phnom Pehn, Cambodia
- Best Market for Art:
Christchurch, New Zealand
- Funkiest Fashion:
Cape Town, South Africa
- Best Massage: In Style Spa,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Worst Massage: Massage/Karaoke combo, Mui
- Cheapest Spa Treatments: In Style Spa,
Phonm Penh, Cambodia ($120 for 9 treatments each, overnight accommodations and 3 meals)
- Most Relaxing Vacation from our Vacation: The Spa at
Koh Samui, Thailand
- Most Entertaining Yoga: Moksha,
Cape Town, South Africa
- Favorite Musical Experience: Maasi traditional performance,
Kikoti Camp, Tanzania
- Favorite Dance Experience (A): 80s music at the Rock Club in
Nelson, New Zealand
- Favorite Dance Experience (B): The African booty shake, of course
- Best Bargain Tour: Mui Ne Jeep Ride, $25 for three
- Freakiest Performer: Frodo the Contortionist, Melbourne, Australia
- Biggest Physical Accomplishment: Summitting
- Biggest Emotional Accomplishment: Volunteering at -- and saying goodbye to -- Baphumelele Children's Home
- Biggest Mental Accomplishment: Training llamas for the annual Malvern Agricultural Show in Sheffield, New Zealand
- Best Single Location for Photography: Mui
- Best Packing Decision: Lappy
- Favorite Foreign Phrase: Gool asseblief saneteriedokies in hierdie houer
Coolest Museum: Singapore Art Museum
- Best Use of $2.50: Dropping in for the finale at
's Opera House Vienna
- Hottest Location: Mekong
- Coldest Location:
, New Zeland Christchurch
- Best Weather, Overall:
- Top Amazing Race Moment: Arriving at
Bangkok International Airportto find we’d been dropped from our flights to Africa
- Scariest Activity: Climbing the Fox Glacier in New Zealand
- Favorite Guide Book Series: Rough Guides
- Best Tourist Attraction, Historical: Cu Chi Tunnels,
- Best Tourist Attraction, Non-Historical: Korean dancing waitresses, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Most Ubiquitous Fast Food Chain: KFC
- Longest Immigration Line:
- City In Which We Wish We'd Stayed Longer:
- Country In Which We Wish We'd Stayed Longer:
- Favorite Karaoke Experience: Parap Tavern in
- Biggest Unscripted Adventure: Getting stranded in a Fijian shantytown when a storm washed out the roads
- Best Hostel: YHA Eco Beach,
- Worst Hostel:
Catholic Welfare Center, Singapore
- Favorite Splurge Accommodation:
Kikoti Camp, Tanzania
- Friendliest Celebrity Sighted: Jim Gray
- Least Friendly Celebrity Sighted: Shania Twain
- Worst Dressed Celebrity Sighted: Ashlee Simpson
- Poshest Movie Theater: Dorothy Brown Theater,
Arrowtown, New Zealand
- Most Viewed Photograph: 'Wedding Photographer,' 1,082 views
- Most Viewed Video: 'Bryan's Big Bad Booty Dance,' 11,326 and counting
- Most Commented Blog Post: 'See Russell Crowe Dis Us,' 17 comments
- Best Random Itinerary Decision: A two-night detour to Mui Ne,
- Worst Random Itinerary Decision: Adding a whole week in Kulala Lumpur
- Buffest Personal Trainer: Steve at Equilibrium Gym,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Favorite Character: Francois Van Binsbergen
- Best Wardrobe Acquisition (A): Purple fingerless gloves, since lost
- Best Wardrobe Acquisition (B): Brown Africa t-shirt
- Most WWE Coverage:
- Most Fun Game Night: James and Annie’s,
- Most Fun Boat Ride: Ferry from North to
South Island, New Zealand
- Best Off-the-Beaten Path Attraction:
Black Lady Mountain, Vietnam
- Cheapest Cross-Country Ride in a Mercedes Minivan:
Phnom Penhto Siem Reap, Cambodia ($60pp)
- Greatest Concentration of Monkeys:
Batu Caves, Malaysia
- Best Tour Guide: Mr.
- Dirtiest Pants: Mine, after seven days of consecutive wear atop
- Longest Flight: LAX-Fiji (12 hours)
- Shortest Flight: Zanzibar-Dar Es Salaam (15 minutes)
- Worst Single Day: February 15, 2006
- Wackiest Hosts: Robyn and Mike Robinson, Llama
Lookout, New Zealand
- Scariest Animal: Elephants -- when they roar
- Prettiest Animal: My lovely Shirley Anne
- Future Second Honeymoon Spot:
Split, Croatia Favorite Town: Queenstown, New Zealand Favorite Small City: Salzburg, Austria
- Favorite Large City:
- Favorite Country, overall,
3nd Place: Austria
- Favorite Country, overall,
2nd Place: Vietnam
- Favorite Country, overall,
1st Place: New Zealand
Monday, January 29, 2007
It was December of 2005, and something miraculous happened. In an unforeseen and glorious twist of fate, I pitched an idea and was sent to New York by Yahoo! to spend my final days of employment stalking Howard Stern, meeting the show cast, and blogging about it as I went. The week culminated in a huge party thrown by Howard's new employer, Sirius Satellite Radio, where I got to meet the man himself. It was a manic and thrilling experience and one that, as a longtime Howard fan, I'd never forget.
It was December of 2006, and something else miraculous happened. A job posting appeared for a Managing Editor at Sirius, and the description read most literally like I'd written it myself. I immediately applied and within three hours had an interview scheduled in New York City. Last week I was offered and accepted the role. I start next Monday, February 5, 2007. To put things in perspective -- February 5, 2006 was the day Bryan and I lost, crossing the date line as we flew from LA to our first international destination: Fiji. What a difference a year makes.
I'm incredibly excited to start my new job at Sirius and to officially begin my working life here in NYC. In the meantime, I will savor my final days of unemployment; my to-do list looms large for next seven as I hope to find an apartment, purchase a makeshift work wardrobe (until we can ship our clothes from San Francisco), finish up a few projects, lunch with friends and family, and check out the remaining Best Picture nominees.
See you soon, Howard! ..........
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
New York City is a menu addict's nirvana. On every block, tiny eatery storefronts entice, silently beckoning with their folded paper food lists dangling suggestively from handy lucite bins. One need not speak to a waiter or fear a maitre d's hard sell; picking up a delivery menu for future reference is par for the course in this restaurant-ridden metropolis. Once collected, the newcomer is integrated into a tactile ritual of retrieving the pile from the kitchen and sorting through endless choices while the stomach patiently stands by.
My personal inability to stoically pass by an outdoor menu display is surely tied to my equally ardent loves for home delivery and interesting food. Who wouldn't be wooed by the ability to have a cobb salad, chicken tikki masala, or bagel-egg-and-cheese brought directly to their door? Especially when that door is predicated by sixty-four steep marble steps?
New York only furthers what initially started as merely a casual interest in menu-reviewing: while traveling around the world I often heard Bryan sigh as I stopped at each potential lunch or dinner spot to peruse the dishes. I like to see the way chefs describe their dishes; I like to compare prices; I even like the visual selections of paper and font.
I'm certainly not the first to ponder their menu collection habit. Like-minded folks have devised filing systems like this and this; even large Internet companies have noted the trend and commented. I've also learned that menuism runs in the family and that my dad, a frequenter of this fair city, also troubles his spouse with spasmodic stops along the streets to peer at written offerings in a window or to pick up yet another to-go tome.
Me, I'm thinking of laminating my growing collection and wallpapering the kitchen with the results. Or learning origami. Or eating really, really well for the next 365 days.
Stand by to place your order. ..........
Friday, January 05, 2007
For Bryan, that is. Me, I'm still living the life of a loafer. My husband, however, is suddenly and delightfully employed in what appears to be our new place of residence: New York City. On Monday (Monday!) he starts his new gig at a financial-industry start-up based right in the heart of the monster. It's a slight fork in the career path and one we expect to be both challenging and fulfilling. Congratulations Bryan!
In other news, we celebrated New Year's Eve on the Upper West Side with Jen, Sly, and a bevy of their city pals. Discoveries included a new game called "Shut the Box" and the fact that NYC game-players are pretty much just like SF game-players, except maybe dressed a bit more fancy. We also celebrated the holidays with Drake and her man, went back to CT for Christmas, and hung out with highly artistic family members.
Today promises to be a record-breaking 72 degrees, which is both pleasant and horrifying. Tomorrow we'll watch the Jets in the playoffs, almost equally as surprising. New York is full of the unexpected, wouldn't you say? ..........