California Birthday Weekend!

SMS planned an amazing birthday weekend for me!  We celebrated the weekend before since I was going to North Carolina the next weekend.  Although I love celebrating on my birthday day, it is also a lot of fun to extend the celebration!

I took the day off on Friday and walked into the best birthday card in the world, combining my two favorite C’s- California and Coffee!  SMS free-cut the California outline and then put three bags of coffee from our commonly visited spots.  Love Potion #9 from Cafe Calabria in San Diego, Portola from Alchemistic in Orange County, and Gamut from Chromatic Coffee in Santa Clara.

Since SMS was working that afternoon, I decided to treat myself.  First, I got a gel manicure and pedicure at Top Over Base in Mountain view.  My nails looked great although I peeled the gel off two weeks later, which completely trashed my nails.  My fault, yipes!  But that weekend and the week after, they looked great.

Then I went to Stanford Shopping Center to check out one of the largest Anthropologie stores.  It was huge!  I loved the beauty supply section.  The clothes are cute, but I never feel amazing in them and considering the price tag, I would want to feel amazing before spending that kind of money!  Also, some of the trends this year are not cute.  I think culotte pants are some of the ugliest around.  Who looks good with wide leg pants that cut off at the widest part of the thigh?  No one.  Not even models.  If you need any more strong opinions, you know where to find me.  But.  The store was absolutely beautiful.

That evening, I made a lamb ragu on top of mascarpone polenta.  It was pretty tasty.  Next time, I’d buy a more shreddable cut of lamb as I bought a sirloin so it was cubed rather than fall-apart meat.  But the sauce was tasty so the recipe just needed a little tweak.

Beautiful blooming trees seen during my run

The next day, I went out for my 20 mile long run.  I ended up running at an average 8:49/mile pace.  It didn’t feel hard but I’m not sure if I will be able to run that much faster in the upcoming marathon.  I’m really looking forward to the Boston marathon.  My training motivation was nothing like last year but I’d like to run, do my best and then probably transition to other workouts with some running during the Summer. Continue reading “California Birthday Weekend!”

Mozart Foundation Museum Tour

Oh my goodness!  SMS and I had the best luck on Saturday.  Due to serendipity and SMS’ love of racing cars, we were able to take a tour of a private car museum owned by a local developer (who clearly has done very poorly for himself)!

Let me back up.  On Saturday, I got up early and went to the old apartment to straighten up before the movers came later in the day.  I headed back to the new place to pick SMS up for our Saturday morning run club.  We semi-regularly attend the Mountain View Runner’s Club Saturday morning session, which is a 3.5 mile loop on Steven’s Creek trail.  It’s a really nice group of people and afterward, we hang out at the Starbucks for a little coffee-fueled socializing.

Not too different from some parking lots in Silicon Valley…

 

As SMS and I were getting ready to leave, he said he wanted to check out the Corvettes down the street.  I hadn’t noticed but apparently, a lot of Corvettes had been driving by including two with racing modifications and vinyl appliques.  We said goodbye to everyone and walked down the street.  Inside an open gate, there was a mini-auto show in the parking lot that was filled with Corvettes!  I estimate there were about 30-40, which was very cool.  We wandered around and talked to a few people.  We didn’t really know what was going on but then I started talking to a woman who had just pulled up in a more classic car with her husband.  I complimented her on her shirt, which was a gray t-shirt with a silver and light blue rhinestone Corvette.  She invited us to join them on their group tour of the Auto Museum.  I initially declined (what a moron!) because the movers were supposed to come between 11-1, but I fortunately came to my senses.  SMS and I each paid our $20 to the Corvette Club of Santa Clara President and with that, we were on the list!

Anteros also avenges unrequited love so maybe he’ll help me get this car?!?!

While we were waiting to get in, we talked to a guy who had extensively modified two Corvettes about 10 years ago as a side project.  He had majored in auto design in college but spent his working years designing video games in Silicon Valley.  [Aside: We never exchanged names and I suspect that he is really well-known in certain circles but hey, we were there to talk about the cars.  Plus, SMS and I are just not super-in-the-know about that industry.  But he did mention that he was good friends with the guy who programmed Pong and the guy who hired Steve Jobs at Atari.]  Anyway, he had added a Super Charger to the engine to bring it up to 550 hP.  He had also taken off most of the panels and replaced them with carbon fiber elements so the car was about 100 pounds lighter than a normal Corvette.   He had the tooling done and panels made in a factory in San Diego.  He had 14 orders for the car but the factory went out of business so only two were made.  What was incredible to me was that the two cars were already committed so he had to deliver both of them; aka, he couldn’t even keep the car he made!!  But, alls well that ends well.  He bought the car back from one of the purchasers about 7 years later so he now has Production #0001 in his possession now.  Incredible.  What a feat of design and a display of integrity to keep your word on delivering a product you promise! The car is called Anteros, after the Greek god of requited love I’m guessing.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Amazing supercharged engine!

At 1000, it was time for the tour!  We went inside the understated, but beautiful building.  The outside landscaping was very zen.  Inside, the docent gave a brief introduction.  They asked for no photography and everyone was very respectful of that request.  I did take one picture by accident as I silenced my phone, but it was of the floor so I think it’s ok to display my masterpiece.

I am so funny and bad with my phone!  Photo taken accidentally while silencing my phone.

The cars on display were incredible.  There were many early cars, like three 1910-1913 Simplexes.  There were several Pullmans, Ferraris and Porsches.  Most of the cars were one of two/three known to be in existence.  My favorite car was a 1934 Bugatti with a deep mustard yellow alligator interior.  It was a breathtakingly beautiful car…the informational sign near it said that it drew such crowds, it was once hard for the then-owner to approach it and drive it away at the end of a car show!

Very few pictures can be found on the internet but here’s one from the kitchen cabinet designers.  The gray Cadillac
in the middle/left center was in the museum and is a beautiful focal point with the interior design. Credit

Alas, all dreams must end and ours ended abruptly with a call from our neighbor that the movers there a few minutes before 11.  Argh!  When are movers ever early!?!?  Anyway, we rushed off and left, but felt incredibly lucky to have experience such an amazing museum.

Summer Begins!

Our second moving truck!

Phew!  At first glance, June seems like it will be more mellow than May, which was filled with lots of great trips.  I think, though, that finishing up fellowship and moving will bring its own version of excitement to the month.

SMS and I got a lot done over Memorial Day weekend.  His parents had cancelled a trip to visit us so we decided to move instead.  Bad tradeoff!  But it was nice to get the moving done.  We rented a truck and moved the furniture that he’s keeping.  Some of the smaller items were moved via a few car loads.  The process was fairly painless and our new place is shaping up really nicely.

Main course at Madera

We also went out for a great dinner on Friday night.  SMS had a great week at work so we decided to celebrate by going to Madera.  It’s at a very fancypants hotel in Silicon Valley and since he’s been doing so well here, we decided to dine among the high-rollers!  The food was really good.  One of the highlights was the pre-dinner bread basket- great focaccia and light scones.  I got a lamb dish that was quite tasty and SMS had a halibut carpaccio that was awesome.  Our dessert was pretty amazing and the plating was very artistic. The service was a little on the hands-off side but I think they’re used to people wanting to be left alone.  Maybe it’s kinder to say the service was inconspicuous.

Dessert- very impressive!

The short workweek was pretty uneventful.  We met up with friends on Thursday night and had dinner by the pool.  It was a lot of fun.  It’s pretty funny how fearless kids are.  Their kid can’t swim but that didn’t stop him from sprinting repeatedly to the pool to jump back in.  Self-preservation does not necessarily seem like the greatest strength of the 0-5 years old set.

Pastry Counter

This weekend, we headed down to Newport Beach for some family time.  We stayed at the condo with Linda and Rip and hung out with both of SMS’ grandfathers.  The weather was in June Gloom-mode but we had a great time.  We hung out with family, walked on the beach and had a really nice dinner at home.  Yesterday, we had a great lunch at Xanadu Cafe, a newly opened cafe about two miles from the house.

More desserts

I’m about to go for a run and then I think we’re going jeans shopping later.  We’re leaving tonight but stopping at the Blue Water Grill first on our way to the airport with Pam and Marty.

Weekend Updates and Sonoma!

Kettle is a gift from Mom!

Hello!  SMS and I have taken a little breather from our weekend road trips and enjoying Mountain View.  It’s nice to enjoy our place and each other!  Two weekends ago was a little cloudy/rainy so we were pretty low-key.  Saturday, SMS joined me at running club, which was a lot of fun.  I’m not sure if SMS would describe it as “fun,” but he’s trying to work out a little more consistently and it’s fun to do together.

AWESOME breakfast!

Hmm, what else?  SMS made me a fantastic breakfast on Sunday morning before we went to the Farmer’s Market.  The produce we bought was fantastic. Before going to the market, we stopped at the Tesla statue where it looked like SMS was getting anointed as a knight.  We also went shopping for work shirts and stopped by the Tesla store.  We finished up our afternoon with a climbing session at Belmont Gym, which was a nice change of scenery.
Continue reading “Weekend Updates and Sonoma!”

Updates

Screenshots from Neko Atsume.  Even in my brief time, I collected several “Rare Cats:”
Peaches, Joe DiMeowgio, and Senor Don Gato.  And a rude butt cat, but that wasn’t rare.

Since the marathon, SMS and I have been staying more local which is fun and restful but not very exciting for the blog.  Since I usually write about our travels, I sort of fall off the map when things aren’t as “eventful.”  But here are some updates, bullet-style…

* I’ve run three times since the marathon: a tempo run (excellent), 3.5 miles with the Mountain View Running Club (MVRC- fun!), 14.5 miles (ok).  I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach post-marathon running and there seem to be many opinions on the best post-race plan.  I ended up going with the “Run when I feel like running” plan.  I kept Jyots company on two runs and we both went to the MVRC two weeks in a row.  I really like the social aspect of the MVRC run so I will keep that up.  I’m not sure where I want to keep my long run mileage.   Anyway, zzzzzz….  Boring!  I have almost fallen asleep typing this so I’m going to move on.  Here’s a funny article about hating on marathon runners before you go.

Faceplant.  This is how Snowball feels about having
5 pages of a dedicated photo album to her.

*I have had the rise and fall of Neko Atsume on my phone.  I read about it in the NYTimes, which definitely means I’ve already missed the trend by at least six months.  Nevertheless, I downloaded it on my phone and became weirdly obsessed with gold fish, silver fish, and that chubby chubster Tubbs who kept eating all the food.  In fairness to Tubbs, he usually left more fish than the food cost but the times he didn’t- infuriating.  Tubbs, you did not just leave 20 silver fish for a 3 gold fish can of Ritzy Bitz!!!! And that was when I realized that I was becoming a little weird about the game and spending way to much time tapping on my screen like a little lab animal.  So, away it went.  But not before I bought the room expansion (proud moment!).

Tubbs, oh tubby tub Tubbs.  Other rare cats include Ms. Fortune, Guy Furry and Ramses the Great.
*Our Chinese class is over!  Yay!  SMS and I saw our commitment through and had perfect attendance (Mom and Dad, you raised me well!).  Chinese is very difficult and the pronunciation, combined with the tones, really takes a lot of dedicated practice and perseverance.  We’ve decided we’re not super-interested in pursuing it so for now, my mastery of the Chinese language is decidedly on hold.
Beginning of the party, clearly.

 *We had a really nice dinner with friends last night where we drank fancy California wine and ate Buddha bowls with veg and paleo options.  The base is rice (real or fake no-carb “rice), lots of veggies (carrots, red cabbage, beets, sweet potatoes) and a protein (peanut sauce tofu or coconut amino-flavored chicken).  It was all delicious and we got to use SMS’ new decanter while he looked on, barely partaking since he sort of wrecked himself climbing like a maniac earlier in the day and was completely wiped out.

*Silicon Valley is crazy.  We were talking about a package offered by a local hotel for $9,995 that is completely insane since it mostly features things that are free.  I want to do most of the activities but I’ll do it on my own rather than place my money carefully on their concierge’s counter and then set it on fire.  I have figured out a way to make money though- we are going to rent our little cardboard home on AirBnB.  The listing is almost complete.  I just need to get better pictures!

It has a certain j’ne sais quoi, non?

Weekend, weekend!

This weekend was pretty nice.  SMS and I did a lot, but at the same time, it was all local and didn’t feel particularly rushed.  It was just a really pleasant, overall relaxing weekend.

R&W Estate Vineyard

 On Friday, I went to my book club meeting.  We had read Pretty Girls, which I do not recommend at all.  The only reason why I even read it at all is this is the first book club I’ve belonged to where people actually read the book.  Pretty Girls is in the genre of sex crimes mystery/thriller and I just think it’s kind of a gross genre.  I don’t watch those types of TV shows either.  I know there are horrible things in the world, but I don’t find them as a source of fictional entertainment.  I’m not trying to sound holier-than-thou (and I did read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, that was a huge trend a few years back), but it’s just a genre I don’t like.

Anyway, book feelings aside, it was a great club meeting.  We each write two questions- one book related and one not- and then put them in a bucket and draw them out.  On Friday, we also had a White Elephant gift exchange, which focused on nicer gifts rather than sad-sack gifts that no one really likes (which I think is what a White Elephant is about).  Anyway, I brought an awesomely funny mug that got stolen once, a key sign that the gift is awesome.  I had a wine glass stolen from me that said “Treat Yo’ Self” and I ended up picking the last present.  Karma has rewarded me for all the bad presents I’ve brought in the past because it wasn’t that great- a bunch of samples from The Face Shop in a cute tin.  However, the samples are still cool and I will use the tin for my work’s upcoming cookie exchange so still, winner!
UC Berkeley’s Sather Tower, too early on a Saturday morning
On Saturday, SMS was going to meet up with a “friend” to go rock climbing but the guy is turning out to be an A+ flaker.  Hopefully, SMS will meet other climbing partners soon.  I had to head up to Berkeley for a 7 am (ugh!) meeting and PRT with the NROTC unit.  I like the staff up there and I had a great run.  It’s fun being the old lady and still beating a fairly sizable portion of the other, younger runners.  Comparatively, I didn’t do as well as other PRTs that I’ve run b/c this one had several recent USNA male grads who are in very good shape and take the run seriously.  One guy even had his Theristick out, rolling out his muscles before the run.  Keep in mind, the run is 1.5 miles.  I ran it in 10:15 and the fastest guy ran it in about 8 minutes, I would guess.  
After the run, I headed into work and drilled some temporal bones in the lab for awhile. It’s nice to practice and reinforce some anatomy lessons and relationships.  I got a text from SMS and we were invited to a party by the neighbor.  I stopped at the store to buy crescent roll dough and hotdogs for excellent pigs-in-a-blanket.  Not super elegant but definitely super delicious!
The party was a lot of fun.  Most people were from an electric car start-up so there stories were interesting, especially since a lot of them knew each other from the UK and working on Lotuses.  There were also some other start-up people and it was just really a lot of fun to talk to such a different crowd.  Everyone was super nice and mingle-y and it was a great party.  The food highlight for me, apart from my own, was homemade pork-and-cabbage dumplings with homemade dough.  Sagoy!  They were so good!
Mile 11 was our last RP mile, which was 7:57.
Yesterday, I went for my weekly long run with Jyotsna, my excellent training partner.  We went for 16 miles with 6 miles at race pace in the middle, which we ran even faster than race pace.  Our 6 miles ranged from 7:54-8:16.  We were very happy with ourselves and how we felt.  I felt like I was pushing myself but not hurting myself so that’s good!
I like to pretend this is my home 😉
After the run, I felt a little wiped but SMS and I decided to head up to R&W’s holiday party.  We sampled some wine, listened to bluegrass and took in the incredible view.  Afterwards, we went to San Pedro Market and had some tacos as we watched the nail biter end to the Panthers-Saints game.
Merry Christmas!  Maybe not Christmas Card worthy with the lighting, but still festive!
So, it was a pretty great weekend and with a few parties thrown in, it feels like the holidays.  I tried to decorate last night but I fear I pulled a Clark Griswold and ended up shorting out several strings of lights.  Hmmm, will have to try again (putting up lights, that is, not shorting them!).

Even dogs in Silicon Valley are smarter than you

San Jose Veteran’s Run Half Marathon and Spectre

On Sunday, I ran in the San Jose National Veterans Day Run.  I signed up for the half marathon because I wanted to get a baseline before my marathon training kicks into high intensity.  Oh, wait, I’m doing a marathon?  Yes!  In the Spring, I signed up a marathon with my new training partner J.  I’m really excited b/c we have a great training plan and it’s going to be fun to see how well we can do.

Anyway, back to Sunday.  It was a chilly morning and the race started out well.  Honestly, maybe a little too well.  I felt like I was going out a little too fast and I felt a significant slowdown around the 3 mile mark.  Um, that’s a little early for a half marathon!  It ended up being a slight slog of a long run- I almost refuse to call it a race based on my personal results.  But it was useful to learn a few long-forgotten lessons about race nutrition and hydration.  I’ve been doing a Whole 30 this month and I had inadvertently eaten really low-carb the day before so that was unhelpful.  I also was dehydrated from the start which again, not ideal.  I’m happy I learned these lessons in a low-key, pretty inexpensive race and now it’s time to start figuring out what works for me during longer training runs so that I’m good to go next year.

Participation Medal!

I hung out at the finish for a bit with J&A, then we decided to head to Chromatic Coffee.  I got a cup of Keynote, which was pretty acidic and I couldn’t finish it although part of that was due to post-race stomach, I think.  Unfortunately, J had a vasovagal event away from A and I so we had no idea that she was feeling poorly until the paramedics arrived!  Someone in the bathroom line had called 911 for J.  I had no idea since I was playing with their son outside- we were actually admiring the ambulance and fire truck.  It was slightly frustrating for me since I feel I could have done something if I had known what was going on.  The important thing though was that J was ok and she got excellent care.

After the excitement at the coffee shop, I headed home and had a really mellow afternoon.  That evening, SMS and I headed to the comfy seats of the Shoreline Theater and watched Spectre.  It was pretty entertaining.  My favorite part was the helicopter acrobatic flying.  It seemed to defy physics at times!  I also really like Christoph Waltz.  I do feel badly though that I only know him as a bad guy character, both in this movie and Inglorious Bastards.  I will try to watch him in a good guy role although after quickly reading through his Wikipedia profile, it may be hard to find one!