Highlights: October 2019

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Wrapping up October with a quick fly-by!  I have to be done by the New Year- new resolution, more frequent blogging.  This has only been made and broken many times!

So, first things first.  The above picture is from a dresser I have from my parents.  It dates back to childhood and I just recently noticed by sister’s long-ago vandalism.  When I texted her on WhatsApp (would we ever have thought?!) she said, “That’s me!!”

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I finally got my own office and moved out of my temporary digs.  As a present, I left a few Milk Duds in the toilet bowl (see an earlier post entitled, Office Prankster).  I think it’s funny and I’m fairly certain was never seen by anyone other than me and the janitor.

I found Sidecar Doughnuts in Del Mar Heights.  This was a delicious, although unnecessary, discovery.

SMS and I took a hike at Huddart Park after the Wunderlich parking lot was full.  It ended up being a stroke of good luck because now we know of two cool parks to hike in, both with second-growth redwoods.  From the sign, it would be safer to have a child with us that we can hold in front of us should a mountain lion stalk us.

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We also went to the Blue Angels show during Fleet Week, San Francisco.  I tried very hard to picture myself as a sailor.  Hmmmm….  The Blue Angels were pretty spectacular and we had a great spot on a gorgeous day!

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I got tickets to the SLAC Community Open House and surprised SMS with a fun date night.  I feel this date night disappointed my sister-in-law, whom I had told we had a cool date night and the next day, when I told her where it was, I could feel the palpable “You guys are such dorks” waves come through the phone lines.

We managed to get some limited tickets to see the actual linear accelerator.  It was very cool so I took a few photos.  I think I need a klystron, with accompanying warning sign, in my own workspace.

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I found a cool outdoor/indoor coffee bar in Little Italy, Lofty!

Jenny invited me to Lizzo!  It was an excellent concert!

SMS and I had San Diego’s best!breakfast! at Hob Nob Hill restaurant.

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New wall art!

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Pretty flower shop in at the North Park/South Park junction!

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Hanging out in San Diego, not sure where?  Wait!  We are at Cabrillo National Monument.  Looking cute, might delete later!

And finally, Halloween.  The department secretary organized everyone (read: six fools) to buy Waldo costumes, which was a lot of fun.  I made a layered chocolate cake from Martha Stewart, which was delicious.  I did have a Martha fail while making it (see rightmost photo), where I learned that you can over whip Whipped Cream!

Highlights: September 2019

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The biggest highlight of all was my beautiful sister, lovely husband, and cutest baby had their wedding/celebration of love in Minneapolis.  They held it at Summit Manor but the whole weekend was a whirlwind of festivities and family time.  The wedding itself was 1 Sept so here we are with the main event in the proper month highlights (some sort of system is needed for this mega-summary approach to the second half of 2019!).

The wedding was awesome!  Brady and Ricardo have awesome family and friends.  SMS and I had the best time aaannnnnddd…I got to give a MOH speech!  Brady was such an amazing MOH that I wanted to be one to and, at a minimum, I didn’t embarrass myself!  I also did some important MOH duties like booking a group nail appointment (which I missed due to flight delays) and day of make-up and hair for the bride!

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The day after the wedding, we went down to a brewery that SMS had found.  We wanted to ride scooters but thought, no way would four show up all together and…manifesting to the universe worked!  There were four scooters in a row and away we went, me bringing up the rear as a scooter chicken!  SMS and Ed were the bravest, going off-roading down a grassy hill with zero casualties.  Good job!

I got the beer sampler and, as luck would have it, got the confused newbie who gave me medium sized cups instead of the sampler cups.  My sister-in-law was very jealous to which I say…

Here are a few shots of SMS.  On the left is in Minnesota and on the right is somewhere in the Bay Area the next weekend.

Below is a New Yorker cartoon I find very funny.  I think I’m going to order a print of it.

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CREDIT: The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank

Above are a few photos from Coronado.  Left to right, a pretty sunset; my balcony garden; SMS being the consummate law-abiding pedestrian waiting for the walk sign without his renegade wife; the queen-sized Ikea bed I put together myself!

I saw three author talks in San Diego: Colson Whitehead (Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys), Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers), and Bruce Holsinger (The Gifted School).  All three were excellent.  I liked Bruce Holsinger’s talk the most because it focused a lot on the academic practice of writing since both he and the interviewer are Literature professors.

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St. Frank Coffee, Menlo Park.  Take-away or outdoor table only.  A nice find by SMS!
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Applewood Inn, Guerneville

We went up to Sonoma with Rip and Linda for two Harvest Parties: Medlock Ames and Lancaster with a stop at the Hawkes tasting room.  It was an awesome weekend.  I love Medlock Ames wines and they threw a great party!

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SMS at Medlock Ames
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Medlock Ames, SMS and parents

On Sunday, we went to Armstrong Redwoods State National Preserve to walk among the Redwoods, which I think is the thing to do since there aren’t too many old-growth redwood stands around! Logging was so widespread in the 1800s that most redwood forests now are second-growth and while impressive, do not even approach the size of the 1000+ year old trees!

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Chair inspiration

 

Birthday Weekend, Part 3: Napa, Mt Tam, Muir Woods

Cloudy start to our estate tour! The dog is Jasper, annihilator of sticks.

Sunday started off with another round of Bouchon pastries (for the win!), coffee and juice.  We all went out to pick our favorite(s) and then ate back at the house.  We walked around the estate and saw the horse exerciser- a rotating soft gate that apparently makes the horse move along at different paces in the ring.  The horse we saw could pass for a unicorn, sans horn, and didn’t seem to mind nor was it breaking a sweat.

Sunny by noon!

Around 11, Mom’s cousin came over and it was really nice to catch up with him.  The day started off cloudy but by the time we all left at noon, it was another gorgeous sunny day.  I decided to enjoy the beauty of Marin County by going to Mt. Tam and Dad really wanted to see Muir Woods.

Top left is my favorite piece in the Hess, “The Metamorphosis;” Barrel Room and more art.

First, we went to Hess winery to check out the art museum and tasting room.  The tasting room is very cool and we went into their barrel room after the guy noticed us looking through the window and told us we could go in.    The modern art collection is varied and interesting even if some of the works make me feel like I can do it too (I probably can’t.  Probably).

Close up of my birthday flowers 🙂 and Oxbow Market

Afterward, we ate lunch at Oxbow Market.  Dad was craving pizza so we shared three pies from Ca ‘Momi.   It was excellent and such a good call!  Mom and Dad really liked walking around the market as we waited for our pizzas.  We sat outside at a table for four and really had a nice time.  Mom got her glass of wine comped by the guy taking our order inside, which just shows she still has it!

The road to the Mt Tam Peak is long but nice in that it eliminates that long walking part that some people don’t like about hiking.  There’s a 0.7 mile loop trail that gets a person to the summit so we all went on that.  There were some grumblings at the top about why the lookout tower wasn’t open (grumble, grumble) but the views were magnificent and I think overall, we were pretty happy we went for the hike.  Someone did point out that the views from the parking lot were about the same as the ones from the top though (One gues- Dad!).

Then we headed back down the mountain to Muir Woods.  My National Park Pass got us in for free (yay!) and we went on the 1 mile boardwalk loop that took us past three distinct groves and several other Sequoia sempervirens.  It’s pretty amazing and I’m glad we went to Muir Woods on the way back rather than add more time by going to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.  The trees in Armstrong are larger and the area is slightly less tamed (aka, no boardwalk) but sometimes, it’s nice to avoid too much car time.

Mt Tam and the Golden Gate!

Then, it was time to head home.  We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and took the 280 back.  I had plans to make food at home but people were hungry and hungry now so we went to the best taco truck, Super Tacos El Conrro!  It’s a converted ambulance with four people inside making the most delicious tacos.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend.

We were all pretty tired when we got home but we splurged on dessert and shared some Dolce wine before going to bed.  It was the perfect end to a day!

Mini Road Trip: Guerneville and Armstrong Redwoods

Across from our parking space- I can never resist a cut-out photo op!

SMS and I got up and decided that we should hit the road in order to explore Guerneville and Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve during daylight hours.  First, we needed fuel.  We stopped at Nido for scones (not as good as I remembered but still really delicious) and Temple Coffee for a tall French press.

Delicious!

We drove for awhile and SMS mentioned that he was starting to get hungry.  Well, I’m no fool.  I have been in the past but I now know that the slight mention means it’s time to start thinking about a food stop sooner rather than later.  I did a little Internet sleuthing and found Yanni’s Sausage Grill.  It had rave reviews and I know SMS likes his links.

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It was a completely awesome experience.  Yanni and his wife Fran are so sweet and nice.  They gave us their recommendations in addition to a free sample of their “Greek chili.”  We ordered a lamb sausage with onions, Greek sausage with pepperoncinis and Greek fries, covered in dressing and feta.  The food was delicious.  At the owners’ suggestion, we took it next door into the Penngrove pub where there was more seating and it was much warmer.  We sat at the bar with several locals who were quite nice and interesting to talk to.  There was one eagle-eyed woman who spotted the health inspector’s car and told the bar tender to wipe up the water and lose his drink.  The bar passed with flying colors, although I think it would have been fine even without the tip!

After a really nice lunch, we headed to Guerneville where we went into a few shops on the main street.  The old bank has been converted to a few shops within its interior and Big Bottom market also had excellent food for picnics.

Devil chicken at the Boon.
Lovely linens

We decided to check into the Boon Hotel, which was very retro chic.  It reminds me a lot of the Pearl hotel in San Diego.  Our room was great but since the clouds were starting to part, we decided it would be best time-wise if we checked out the Armstrong Redwoods that day.

The forest is known for “tree animals”

Strange wildlife

 We went a little ways up the road and parked near the Reserve entrance.  There was only a charge if a car drove into the reserve and we decided to walk along the trail.  Nothing fancy or long, just enough to see some of the oldest redwoods, 1300-1400 years old!

Pushing the trees apart- so strong!

The park was really special and majestic.  The colors were brilliant thanks to the recent rain and lingering mist.  I loved the green-gray with hints of purple the best that I could see in some of the bark and lichenous material.

We headed back to Boon and warmed up in the hot tub.  We relaxed in the room for a bit and then SMS went out for a quick dinner.  I stayed behind since my stomach was suddenly under duress for a couple of hours, likely due to the crazy spicy green papaya salad that also, weirdly, smelled of hot dogs when we took it in a to-go box (which I threw out, to the annoyance of SMS who wondered why I even took it to go at all!).

When SMS got back, we lit a fire, which was super cozy.  It was a great day and we saw a lot, really making the most out of a day that was mostly gray and drizzle-y.

Local Hiking- Purisima Creek

View on the descent!

SMS and I had a super active and healthy weekend!  What, on Halloween?!?  I know, we are very snooze-worthy in that respect but we really had a great time outside.

On Friday, we had a delicious salmon dinner after we took advantage of a sale on wild salmon at our local market.  I wanted to watch Hocus Pocus but alas, it wasn’t available on Netflix.  Someday, I’ll rewatch it.  I think it’s been so long that when I first watched it, I was still young enough to be scared by it.  Yes, I was a big scaredy cat.  I still remember when I cried during the public library’s showing of The Wizard of Oz and roamed the aisles, sobbing, looking for Mom, who had taken Ed home to change and left me because I was so enthralled with the movie.  Until those horrible roller skating monkeys came along (maybe that’s why I never completely took to derby).  Actually, I was a bit of a wimp on Friday night too since SMS watched a cheesy zombie movie while I assiduously ignored the TV and read a book (or maybe internet gossip, my memory is hazy).

Another pretty, high-contrast view!

On Saturday, we decided to head out and do something fun.  I decided that a hike was in order and we headed out to the Purisima Creek Redwood Preserve.  It’s closer than Muir Woods or Big Basin and I was in the mood to see some Redwoods!  The redwoods are part of second growth forest, replanted about 100 years ago after significant logging of the original forest.  We parked in the North Parking lot off of Skyline Blvd and ended up doing a ~7.5 mile loop down the Harkins Ridge Trail and up the Whittemore Gulch Trail.  There were beautiful views of the mountains, ocean and Half Moon Bay.  There were more open areas in direct sun on the way down but once we hit Purisma Creek, we were in lovely, shaded forest.  The gulch was mostly shaded with only the last mile back in the sun.  It wasn’t too hot but the forest shade was appreciated both for the coolness and the beauty.

We really had a great time on the hike even though my knee was acting up a bit from my prior day’s run.  I think it’s better now but my knee was really achy and inflamed just above my kneecap.  I was worried about insta-PFS (patella-femoral syndrome) but don’t worry, I think I’m going to live!

Daddy-o’s.  This is the unnecessary caption of the post.

After our hike, we were hungry!  We ate some snacks in the parking lot to tide us over.  Then, we collapsed in the car and headed into Half Moon Bay.  We went to Daddy-o’s, a converted railroad caboose on original tracks that now serves a lot of BBQ- brats, sausages, hot dogs and pulled pork.  The clam chowder is reputedly awesome and they have freshly-baked S’mores cookies.

Unfortunately, I have decided to do a stupid month-long diet but the only thing stupider than a diet is owning pants that don’t fit.  I mean, I could just chuck it all and go elastic waist-style all the time but I am vain and that’s not an option.  So, S’mores will have to be another time, but it did sound delicious so if you are not on a dumb diet, I recommend it!

Daddy-o’s also featured a pretty creepy, stare-y kid whom I’m pretty sure was just trying to make misunderstood overtures of friendship to SMS.  I would love to include a picture but that just seems a little too mean.  Picture a tiny tot who stares.  A lot.

I know, I know, what’s an RDER?
In case it’s just killing you, the sign on the left says “Order here.” 
Pomponio Beach.  This is just 12 miles down the coast- crazy weather shift!

After lunch, we headed down the coast to San Gregorio Beach, recommended by SMS’ cousin Jeff.  It was super foggy and the beach had a ton of cool driftwood.  It was really beautiful.  I also wanted to go to the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve but that apparently is North of Half Moon Bay, a fact that eluded Google Maps and I for a little while.  So, along with S’mores cookies, Fitzgerald will have to be saved for another time.  We also went to Pomponio State Beach, which had a very cool cliff and was also shrouded in fog.

No, I will not tell you the name of my stylist!
Pomponio Beach

We took Rte 84 home which would have been a really fun road to drive if we hadn’t been stuck behind a grandma driver who apparently thought she would die if she drove any faster than 10 mph under the speed limit.    She also had never been told what a turnout was for and it was really very aggravating.

Very cool (well, that may be relative) neighbor’s house!

After we got home, we were pretty wiped.  We went out for dinner and walked through the neighborhood on the way, admiring people’s Halloween decorations.  In particular, one Mercy St. house went all out as the “No Mercy Cemetery.”    It was almost Disney Haunted Mansion level.  After dinner, we waited in vain for trick or treaters and then called it a night.  We had to get our beauty rest for the next day’s hike!

Spooky!