Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goodness, gracious, great HALLS of fire!

Chris Farley would have said, "Holy schnike!".
Liz Lemon would have yelled, "What the what?!".
Joey Lawrence would have shrieked, "Whoa".
Stewie would have muttered, "What the deuce?!".
God would have gasped, "Oh my me".
I think my reaction encompassed a little bit of each of these, with a few, "English!  English!" "Wait, what?!" "Get me the hell out of here!" and "Move it or lose it!"s thrown in.

Perhaps I should start from the beginning...

Here is the scene: T minus 5 hours ago
Me, asleep, our top floor apartment (I would say penthouse but I don't want to sound like a snob).  It's probably 10 am.  Before you judge me for hitting the snooze, I didn't fall asleep until somewhere around 4:30 am.  I'm still a little afraid of being alone at night and have a tough time sleeping soundly.

I awake to pounding at the front door.  Typically I would ignore it, but it continued for a solid 30 seconds and it sounded like somebody was trying to get in - so I threw on some pants and ran downstairs.  As I'm unlocking the deadbolt, I see smoke billowing in from under the door.  I open the door to find a frantic Polish man yelling and waving his arms around.  There is smoke everywhere.  I immediately start coughing.  He's shouting words I don't understand and I'm shouting, "English!  English!".  Then a crystal clear word leaves his lips, "FIRE!".

I run to our closet, throw on a jacket and shoes and head for the hallway.  The experienced traveler mixed with the semi-paranoid adult in me told me to go back and gather our valuables.  There was heaps of smoke, but no actual flames, so I took the extra 15 seconds to round up passports/money, wedding rings and our computer.

As I head for the stairway the dude tries to stop me and motions that I go back into my apartment.  "What?!" I scream.  "Stay?!".  "Tak, tak!" (yes, yes) he responds. 

Well it took me about 2 and a half seconds to decide I wasn't about to stay put on the top floor of a building that was on fire, so I busted through his weak barricade and bolted down the stairs.  All 300 of them. 

There was a ton of smoke, a zillion firemen and all I knew was that I wasn't about to kick the bucket without seeing the finale of this season's Dexter.  (note to self, perhaps you're not sleeping well because you're obsessed with a TV show based on people slicing each other up with hand saws)

Long story short, they were able to extinguish the flames after an hour or so.  Apparently somebody on the 4th floor lit their apartment on fire - get this, on purpose.  They said that everyone was allowed to go back in but being that smoke rises, our apartment is inhabitable at the moment.  I rode down the elevator with a CSI team.  No joke, they were actual crime scene investigators.  I wished them luck in getting to the bottom of it all and am now killing time at Starbucks.

I'm left feeling a little bit sketched about 2 things.  First, why did the dude want me to stay in my apartment?  Was he under the impression I owned a parachute or had strategically placed a trampoline under our balcony?  Second, why would somebody intentionally start a fire in their own apartment?  And if they did truly do it on purpose, can we agree an eviction notice is in order? 

At least I'll sleep soundly tonight, knowing a pyromaniac lives just 7 floors below me...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wait, what?! Wednesday

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  Wait, what?!?  This is really all I can come up with at the moment.  That...and...


Michael just got the OFFICIAL good word!  This is nuts.  Like Nutcracker nuts!  We're used to practice on Christmas Eve, for crying out loud!  But not this year, my friends!! 

I packed my bags 7 weeks ago thinking I wouldn't get to play ball with my pups, have beers with my friends or drive my silky girl, Sadie (obviously, not in that order) for a solid 8 months!  Polish teams rarely get the holidays off and I had no intention of coming back to the States without Michael.  I knew my family had plans to visit in the spring, but still!  I left thinking that he would be the only slice of "home" I'd get to savor for quite some time.

But oh boy, was I mistaken!  In T minus 8 days, we should be taking in our first deep breath of Northwest air in months (dang, 4 whole months for Michael).  Though our time will be limited for sure, we plan to make the most of every second.  I am contemplating extending my trip by a week or so, as Mike has 2 away games scheduled  the week that we'd return.  Choosing between sitting by myself in Poland or spending New Years with my favorite Oregonians doesn't seem like a tough one, does it?  I don't like the thought of ringing in the New Year without him, but I'm leaning towards taking one for the team (wink) and staying a tad bit longer.

Anyway, that's my Wait, what?! Wednesday for you.  Life is full of surprises.  Shoot, this is just shy of a Christmas miracle!

In honor of this news, I planned on posting a corny video of my nearly-least-favorite holiday tune, "Christmas in the Northwest" ("I Want a Hippopotamus" takes gold in this category) but in the process of scouring YouTube, I came across this gem.  I'd like to confuse you all with this fitting, yet uncomfortable video of Sanjaya and some blonde kid, singing about Christmas...and being Sanjaya.  WHAT the heck is going on here???  Also, check in at the 1 minute 14 second mark...pretty, pretty, pretty sure he calls him Sangina.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music Monday, part II

Sorry, I just had to add this!

Edward Sharpe and those very magnetic zeros have basically been my travel buddies the past couple of years.  They've been with me on every flight, most long car rides and certainly on my afternoon yogs (not a typo - I prefer to say yogging instead of jogging - super adorable, I know).

If you haven't gotten to know Ed yet, don't waste another second!!  Talk about clean energy, their music is %100 sustainable - it refuses to get old, instead only becoming more powerful with each play.

Check out this mini-documentary made based on a week of performances at The Old Vic Tunnels in London last year.  Very, very cool stuff...

Music Monday

Is it already Music Monday again?  Sheesh, I feel like I just uploaded last week's post!

Hope everyone had a nice, little weekend.  Ours was pretty fantastic.  Michael's team won their game on Saturday (in 1 point, I should add), so the coach rewarded them with 2 whole days off!  This, my friends, is practically unheard of.  I'm not sure that Mike managed to get a single day off more than just a couple of times last season.  Trust that we broke a new world record in laziness and enjoyed not having anything to do for 48 hours.

I decided to spend the last $5 of my iTunes credit today (thanks again, Julie!!).  It's a pretty random pairing but all 5 songs were immediately added to my ipod and will be sure to get some play on my long run tomorrow.

Shake it Out - Florence + The Machine
Boy - Ra Ra Riot
Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire
Ni**as in Paris - Kanye West & JAY Z
It Is Well With My Soul - Daniel Martin Moore

The last song is particularly special to me.  This guy's version of a (some might say) boring hymn is incredible.  I was watching an episode of Parenthood last week (who else is watching this show??  I don't know what it adoration for Lauren Graham, my fondness of Dax Shephard or perhaps my obsession with Craig T. Nelson...whatever it may be, this show is legit) and this song came on during a fairly touching scene.  I mean, the scene was good, but it was certainly not worthy of the tears that rolled down my face - the music was what got to me.  Isn't it crazy when that happens?  Anyway, it's one of my mom's favorite songs and we decided to play it at my grandpa's funeral last fall.

If you've got a few minutes to spare, you really should listen to it (below).

While I could focus on the association it has with a sad and difficult week from last October, I'm somehow comforted and inspired by it instead.  I'm not sure exactly what it is about it.  Maybe it's that listening to it makes me feel close to my mom.  Maybe it's because at 28 I feel like I've finally hit my stride and the great days far outnumber the shitty ones.  Somehow, despite being separated from anyone/everyone that truly matters to us, existing in a world that's a huge, sloppy mess, where nothing is guaranteed and most everything is temporary, I got to wake up next to the love of my life again this morning.  I have my health.  I have a passion for this here life of mine.  It is well with my soul.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

R.I.P. City?

Ok, I realize this is a terribly morbid and more importantly, inaccurate title.  I remain a Blazer believer and "Bible" as a Kardashian might say, THAT will never change!

But COME ON!  Bad news related to B-Roy, Groden (as I've started unfondly calling him - has that been tossed out there before? I think it may stick) and Aldridge all within a 24 hour stint??

I posted on facebook earlier today that "The Blazers should just give Oden $30 million to leave. It would save them money in the long run and allow them to make use of his roster spot in the mean time."

It didn't exactly catch like wild fire, but I think that's a good thing!  It means that the majority of my friends plan to keep on keepin' on and aren't yet discouraged by the news of late.  Either that, or they were out enjoying their Saturdays and simply don't care about my fb update.

Allow me to leave you with an image from the "good ol' days"...I still love you, Terry.

PS - Michael thought this news was blog-worthy.  New studies report that eating directly from the "prepackaged, processed cookie dough " packages sold at Safeway, Wal-Mart, etc. is basically promising a healthy dose of ecoli.  Needless to say,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Missing Maggie

I think most folks living abroad would agree that spending the holidays on the other side of the globe make us miss our friends and family back home more than ever!  The fact that our loved ones will soon be gathering for a white elephant exchange and I'm not there to wrap up a pair of Ken Pfau's Big Dog hammer pants as a "gift" saddens me to no end.

big dogs lounge pants
"Shhh.  That's the sound of nobody caring what you think!"  Read it and literally, weep.

Knowing I have the hands down BEST ugly Christmas sweater and not being able to wear it amongst friends is painful.  Hearing stories about coworkers having one too many at the company party and not being able to witness said sh*t show with my own eyes is disappointing, to say the least.

Though, despite seeing pictures of festivities from the States causes an initial gouge to the heart, it is quickly transformed into a lovely feeling of "home".  Long story short, keep posting to facebook, friends!  It keeps me in prime Buddy form and helps deter the Grinch mood from creepin' in.

Today my mom emailed me a picture of our dog Maggie (AKA Mag, Mag-pie, Magnadoodle, Jennifer Magniston, Trags) lounging by the tree.  Are you kidding me?  Is there a more adorable K9 on this entire planet???

I was quickly whisked away to the great town of Salem, Oregon.  My soul sitting right next to our fluffy golden retriever, staring up at the lights and asking my mom if she felt like making me a sandwich.

While I still have every intention of dedicating future posts to more "human" favorites of mine, I think I'll reserve the next 12 inches of screen for the galaxy's most amazing pet, Maggie.  Dearest pups, while I realize you A) don't speak English, so you certainly can't read English and 2) have taken a stern stance against blogging, hopefully you'll find a way to enjoy your "Ode to Maggie" post and know how much I miss you!

Little Maggie-girl, just a couple of months old.

Helping sister open up her first salon!

Hangin out with Dad.  Trust me, he enjoys this even more than she does.

Trying her hardest to guard Michael.  

Her best attempt at a Santa beard.

Christmas 2010.  I think she sensed we'd be leaving the next day.

There's no time for pictures, can't you see I'm ready to play ball?!?

Mag and her girlfriend, Ellen.

Mag, going casual on our wedding day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

First Weekly Wait, What?! Wednesday

My initial concept for Wait, What?! Wednesdays involved taking down notes throughout the week...things that surprised me, things that weirded me out...mostly just the usual unfamiliar stuff that comes with living in a foreign country.  Sort of a nod to Seth and Amy's SNL Really!?! segments.

I started a list over the looked like this...

Wait, what?!
- you have 6 treadmills but only 2 are plugged in?
- you can show full-fledged porn on basic cable, as long as it's after 11pm?
- NONE of your eggs are refrigerated...that is either a really good thing or a really bad thing
- ice water with dinner is more expensive than a Coke?
- Keds qualify as running shoes?  I didn't even know they still made Keds...

- washing your hands after using the restroom in public is optional?  Ok, your lead!  I've been secretly doing this at home for years...thanks for taking the pressure off.

Sure, a list like this gives a decent insight into what living outside of the States might be like.  Sure, some of the items on said list might be interesting to a few.  But what I discovered was that if I went into the week looking for things that were "random" and new to me, with the sole intention of making a joke out of them, I'd surely be missing out on everything that is new, foreign...and shoot, down right wonderful.

So instead of solely putting a negative, laughable tone on things that are weird to me as a non-Polish citizen residing in Poland, I'm going to try to highlight the shockingly GREAT things living here has to offer me. And on top of that, I'm going to Wait, what?! some not so fabulous things that I read about occurring back in the grand US of A.

How 'bout THAT for being unbiased?!  So here goes...

Wait, what?!
- your market has 2 FULL isles of nothing but juice?!  No joke, there must be at least 97 different kinds of juice, apple, cranberry juice got nothin on their strawberry, blueberry, banana, acai, pear and sweet carrot juice.  Amazing!

This stretches for just over 5 kilometers

- people only use the fast lane for passing and then immediately get back over to the right?
- boots (and cute boots, at that!) for $25?!  I must have died and gone to boot heaven.
- almost every single shopper brings their own reusable bags to the market?  So great!
- Smart Cars outnumber SUVS on the road?!  By the way, we're now officially Smart Car people - and loving it!

And, as promised, a couple Wait, what?!s from back home...

Wait, what?!
- firefighters watched yet another house burn to the ground in Tennessee, over a mere $75 delinquent fee?  See How COULD you, Tennessee???
- states are actually fighting over which looks more like a mitten?!  See First World Problems.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Weekly Music Monday

Adam Carolla used to do Music Mondays from time to time on 101.1 a few years back.  I always enjoyed it.  I also love nothing more than sharing music amongst my friends.  Usually I'm on the receiving end of new music but with nothing but time on my hands, I thought I'd start giving just a little bit more.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to provide any actual music files, but I will (hopefully) be writing about what's coming through my Beats (by Dre, of course...yeah, I'm THAT cool) and maybe you'll find a new favorite song or two.

Not all of this music will be "brand spankin' new" nor will I ever claim to be the first to have "discovered" any of these tunes.  It will just be what I'm liking - sometimes even loving.

One more quick thing to mention...being that we're not always within close proximity of a record store, I've been purchasing a lot of music through iTunes.  It's convenient and provides instant musical gratification (i.e. click, give it a 2 Mississippi - enjoy!).  However, nothing (besides maybe picking up an album at the band's actual show) beats venturing into an old-fashioned record shop (no, I'm not talking about Sam and Goody) and flipping through hard copies in person.  Some great friends of ours own Ranch Records (Salem, McMinville, Bend) and I have to say, if you haven't taken the time to check them out in recent years, do it!  I popped into the downtown Salem location before heading over here last month.  The sense of nostalgia you get from seeing the album covers all lined up...I remember spending many 'o Walker Middle School half-days at Ranch.  I'm serious, if it's been that long since you've stopped by, go there!  And potentially pick up one of these great records...


She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas

It truly is the most wonderful tiiiiiiime of the year!  These guys can't help but ensure that.  Zooey Dechanel (I first met her in Elf) and M. Ward (a Portland legend) put such a unique twist on classic Christmas tunes.  Buy it for your next holiday party.  You won't be disappointed.  While you're at it, make it a perfect trilogy and purchase She & Him Volume One and Volume Two.  You're just going to love this band's sound, I'm telling you!

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

Yeah, it's Coldplay.  This album sounds  I almost didn't buy it, thinking to myself do I really need ANOTHER Coldplay record?  The answer was yes, yes you do, Chelsie.  Go get it.  Don't wait till you get back to your house to play it either.  Pop it immediately in your CD player and jam out as you drive home in the rain.

Blitzen Trapper - Furr

Aaron Jones introduced me to these guys a couple of years ago.  One of the many reasons I love that man.  This seems like the optimal season to bust out this record.  Press play and grab a seat by the fire after hot toddy or two...hopefully your extended family will have already left so as not to harsh your mellow...


Mark Erelli - Delivered
I'm going to start teaching yoga again was on the hunt for relaxing savasana-worthy tunes.  This one certainly made the cut. (the song starts at 3 minutes, 10 seconds in)

Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue
I don't even remember where I heard this for the first time...that's a lie...I was totally cyber-stalking this chick who made a dumb video I had heard about...the quality of the documentary fell somewhere between "lame" and "oh, no she di'nt" but that is neither here nor there.  Anyway, it's got a catchy sound.  Clapping in songs always gets me.  I like to listen to it on the stairstepper.  Don't judge!

Kelly Rowland - Motivation
Another gym song.  When the first words sung are "Go, go go, go..." you know you have a song you can sweat to.  I've loved Kelly since back in her D Child days.  This collaboration with Lil Wayne gives me (don't say it, Chels! you're better than that!)...motivation.  "Rain on my head, call it brainstormin."  I mean, come on!  The man is talented beyond belief.  But this video, I should warn you, aint one for the kiddies.  Birky, tell Pearson to close her little eyes for the next 4 minutes and 22 seconds.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Weekend Update, with Chelsie Kuebler

Having said that, how long did it take for most of you married ladies to get used to your new last name?  I am going on 2 years, 5 months and it still feels suuuuuper weird.

So let's catch up real quick - lots to touch base about!

Firstly, Ken Pfau continues to influence the masses back home...

High School Chelsie would have been embarrassed by this...late twenties Chelsie thinks it's kind of cool...though I don't agree with the man when it comes to most political issues, I'm somehow proud that he has the balls to consistently takes a stand...gross, I just referenced my dad's balls.

Second update, I had a delicious and dare I say, fancy glass of red wine pre-game last Thursday.  With an hour and a half to kill in between dropping Michael off and tip-off, I drove around and ran into a fantastic little Italian joint.  

There was a Christmas tree, an abundant wine list and a lovely ambiance, complete with Frank Sinatra's jazzy pipes in the background.  What more could a girl ask for? 

And how rad is this?  They bring you your bill in a treasure chest?

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, in terms of pageantry and finishing touches...look what I found in the bathroom!

Disposable tooth-brushes to help you with the ever popular, red wine teeth stain.  At only 2 zloty (about 40 cents) I considered this to be the icing on the cake.  Not to mention, my wine buzz carried me through the second quarter, with the folks sitting next to me, none the wiser.

Thirdly (but should probably be bumped to the top of my list) it is YET AGAIN another FINE DAY to be A DUCK!  Pack 12 Champions and Rose Bowl bound.  It's's good...

Let's see, what else?  There was a gorgeous sunset the other night...

We finished decorating our apartment for Christmas.  I kind of hate to admit it, but this year we are totally plastic tree people.  I wouldn't DARE use the word "fake" because it is 100% real in terms of hosting Christmas cheer.  But it indeed smells more like packaging peanuts than a Douglas Fir.

Oooh, also, I made stockings.  I was two seconds away from purchasing a couple lame, generic stockings when my pinterest inspired brain reminded me that I could create a pair on my own.  Did it.  Boom.  You're welcome, Michael.  I know how much having a homemade stocking meant to you.

That's really all I've got.  Mike is in the Czech for a couple of days.  I've got some solid runs planned as well as a couple DIY Christmas crafts to hand out to the neighbors.  Wow, slow down Martha!

One last thing worth mentioning, while brain storming with Frank and Merlot the other night (Sinatra and my glass of red at the restaurant) I decided I would include a couple reoccurring posts each week...

Music Mondays and Wait, What?! Wednesdays.  You'll get to read about what I'm listening to each week as well as what is confusing/shocking me, nearly to death.  Should be fun...for me at least.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You win some, you lose some...

And tonight, we lost some.  Just a brutal loss - at home, I might add.  This makes the team's 5th straight L in the books, I believe.  The only way I'm going to be a cheery, supportive gal to my man is if I can find a way to lift my own spirits.  Gosh, if only I knew how to instantly improve my mood...

How about, pictures of me and my friends rollerblading and doing other crazy stuff on wheels?!?!  Shit, it can't hurt!

Lace those blades up, guys!

Sweet move, PJ!
Bunny ears are hilarious!  Also, cool move, Elle.
Holy muscles, Cam.  Yikes.  Also, sweet vest.
This was an epic trip.  2.7 miles...on blades...2 cases in hand...she's amazing folks! tasting...enough said.
Gosh, he's such a good sport.  And this was for HIS birthday.  Surrrpriiiiiise!

Maybe my favorite.  The first ever Bar Blade. 

This last one shouldn't really count, but if you take into consideration that the car has wheels...mostly, I just wanted to add it in.  Such great memories.  Dang, I feel better already!

G'day, bidet!

Unless you instantly recognize the second word, this title doesn't read well at all.  Phonetically it reads, "guh-day, buh-dey".  Alright, in my head this clever pairing of words was a great jumping off point for today's blog, but now I've just gone and overcomplicated things.  

Anyway, is it usually the first thing I say each morning as I walk into my bathroom.  Before any of you reading this start to freak-out, let me give you a heads up. While this blog will contain some toilet humor, I'll try to keep it somewhat clean as to not ruin your cinnamon scone.  Check out the toilet/sink portion of my pretty little bathroom, below!

So there it is...right there in the middle.  

Can I just get right to it?  How the heck does one operate this thing?  Since 1906 has somebody actually used one of these?  My uncle has a version of a bidet over at the Pfau Lighthouse in Lincoln City.  Don't get me wrong, it's downright SHOCKING at first...but really, it's basically a normal toilet with a little squirt gun that pops out before you flush to give you a quick rinse.  We're not talking Supersoaker-like jet stream here, just a gentle splash to aid in the cleaning process.  This, to me, is unnecessary.  I tend to pride myself on being an above average wiper.  Some say I'm even anal about it (bada bing!).  Oh my gosh, I've been trying to work that joke into a conversation for YEARS!

Jokes aside, the 6 inches off the ground, oblong, Grand Canyon-style basin that we're working with is something entirely different.  You can clearly see in the picture above, that the radius of the bidet is MUCH larger than that of the standard toilet.  Are you supposed to use one of those kiddie booster seats to keep  from falling in?!

I read online that it can also be used for washing your feet?  Uhhh...who really wants to give themselves a pedicure in the same tub they waterpik their bum with?

Ok, I realize that this is getting grody.  I'll knock it off.  But first, here are a couple other alternative uses I came up with for the lovely bidet...

 Dog bowl?

 Miniature Koi pond?

Bulk contact lens holder?

And, of course, my favorite alternative use...

 Barf bin

It seems that (if kept clean) it would make for a great double-puke option.  Say Michael and I were to pop open one too many bottles of champagne on New Years of us wouldn't end up puking on the others' back...not that that has happened before. (real fast, can you believe that all I had to do to find that image was google "double puke"? just awesome)

While we're on the topics of bathrooms and since I've likely destroyed your breakfast, below is a picture of our second loo.

I apologize if this leaves you with an unappetising visual, but holy bulk-head seating!  Can we get a little leg room, for crying out loud?!?  Then again, we have 2, count'em, 2 bathrooms!  This is big time for us.  It's been said that the secret to a long-lasting marriage is having separate bathrooms.  There might be something to this, I'm beginning to learn...