On Saturday, we went to our first BioBlitz, hosted by Grassroots Ecology. I found it by looking up native plants in an effort to speak SMS’ love language. Although it was “sold out” on EventBrite, we went anyway. I planned a casual walk-by that, if things looked lame, we could just pretend that we were randomly out and about. But instead, things looked awesome! We talked to one of the staff to get signed in and we were set!
There were several stations we could stop at, while also looking for cool organisms to log into iNaturalist. We saw mushrooms, California cucumber, soap plants, and little bugs. We also saw the Bol Park (mini) donkeys that were very cute. But don’t log them into iNaturalist! They are cultivated, not wild.
We had a really nice time. We also saw some hawks from the Strawberry Hill vantage point. Afterward, we went to Esther’s German Bakery where we had a delicious lunch and German beer, sadly not on tap at the present time. Don’t worry, I got over it pretty quickly!
The next day, we went to San Bruno mountain which had been recommended by the birder guide from the previous day. We took a less traveled trail that starts next to the Montessori school on Hillside Blvd. I think most hikers start on the other side of the mountain at the Crocker Gate trailhead.
It was super-pretty. No joke- the fields and wildflowers looked like the Swiss Alps! Well, at least until we looked down to the super-developed valley. The flowers were such a bright yellow that they had a neon-like coloring to the them. It wasn’t a super intense hike (<4 miles), but I’m really glad we had been given the recommendation to check it out!
End of Year Wrap-Up, incoming! I wasn’t the best at keeping up-to-date on the blog this year. Understatement! I am going to blame COVID-fatigue. I couldn’t plan or enjoy a significant amount of “real” travel. Also, I am looking forward to when SMS and I don’t have to travel for our commuter marriage, which will be ending June 2022. Don’t worry! Only the commuter part is ending! More details in the September photo dump, coming soon!
After four weekends in a row away from Menlo Park, SMS finally got a break and I travelled North. I took Valentine’s Day off not because it’s a holiday we go all out for (honestly, it feels like Christmas just happened and who wants back-to-back gift buying pressure?), but because Lucid was having a special reveal party for reservation holders. That’s us!
The event was called, “Love is in the AIR.” The attire was evening smart and it was an incredible party. I would have loved to be there from the start, but I arrived 45 minutes into the party due to insane (but typical) traffic from the airport. The showroom was open for the first time and the interior was exquisitely luxurious. There was a craft cocktail bar, which was for the party only. Lucid will not promote a drinking driving culture in everyday operations. There were special cocktails named after the different interiors. I ordered a drink with whiskey, fig, and a sprig of burnt rosemary that they flamed then and there. Impressive!
There were a lot of delicious hors d’oeuvres that were passed. I tried most of them, but didn’t act disgracefully. I always remember a party I went to where the poor server carrying the shrimp got mobbed by people who acted like they hadn’t eaten in days. Who knows, maybe they hadn’t. But it looked like a shark thrash zone with chum in the water. So, yes, I had some food as it showed up in front of me but afterwards, SMS and I realized we hadn’t really had dinner so we split a kabab plate at Oren’s Hummus.
The car reveal was preceded by a 20 minute-ish talk by the CEO/CTO highlighting some specific advances/innovations/exclusives of the car. Then, the garage door opened in a haze of fog-machine produced atmosphere and the car rolled in. It is a beautiful car and everyone was very impressed.
We spent the rest of the party trying the VR car viewer followed by talking to several Lucid employees. It was a great time and I’m so glad we went.
The next day, SMS had to work and I hung out in Palo Alto. I went to Rumble Boxing, Blue Bottle (twice!), the mall, and the grocery store. I also did some laundry and cooked dinner for Valentine’s Day. Forget “Engagement Chicken,” I made SMS some biscuits and gravy! It turned out pretty well although I think the sausage we used the first time was better. Then we had molten lava cakes for dessert, which were very tasty. I know the menu is not pleasingly cohesive but, hey, it worked for us!
On Saturday, we had a Blue Bottle breakfast and shopped for veggies at the small farmer’s market. Then we headed up to Lafayette to hang out with Jyotsna and Akshay. It was a fun afternoon of eating, drinking, and socializing. We went to their friends’ house in Orinda for a bit. It was nice to talk to them. We had met once before and got along well. We headed home for dinner. I made a Zuppa Tuscana that was pretty tasty and a dupe for the Olive Garden soup for those in the know.
Sunday was our more active day. We ate breakfast at home and then went for a hike on Windy Hill. It was a gorgeous day. I feel so lucky to be able to go on such great hikes! I also made a veggie lasagna that was pretty good. Thanks Smitten Kitchen!
Monday was another work day for SMS/holiday for me. I went to Rumble and Blue Bottle. I was going to go to the museum but Jyotsna invited me to a farm tour!
We went to the Nest Box farm and it was a delight! We fed cows, chickens, goats, and sheep. We collected eggs. There was a small picnic that we supplemented with more food and (surprise!) wine. We looked at the barn, garden areas, and pet rescue rabbit area. It was a beautiful day to be outside and a really cool experience. I want to go back with SMS and stay overnight, which will allow us to do more on the farm like milk a cow!
SMS came home a little after 6. We had some dinner and after that, it was time to go to the airport since I needed to head back so I could be on time for my Tuesday clinic. It was such a great weekend!
I blogged about it “December 7” thanks to back-dating, but SMS and I went to December Lights and recreated our meeting 7 years ago! We went during the day because we went to his sister and husband’s Christmas party that evening.
The next week, I travelled back to Virginia to do three cochlear implants. It was supposed to be four but my last patient had uncontrolled hypertension with a headache. So, elective surgery was deemed too risky. In addition to resident lectures and operating, I had a very full social calendar! On the Wednesday, I got my haircut by MonaLisa. If you are ever in Norfolk, she has my highest recommendation! She also cuts the most stylish couple in Norfolk’s hair so if my hair looks like a rat’s nest, it’s my fault, not MonaLisa! That evening, I went to Codex for a solo dinner. The next night, I went to Codex with my two friends from the Norfolk bookclub I started and is still going strong. On Friday, I went to SantaLand Diaries at the Well theater with my friend and several of her neighborhood women friends. It was a great group, the play was awesome, and we went out to St. Germaine’s for drinks afterwards.
On Saturday, I got up at 4:15 (ugh!) to catch a flight back to the West Coast for SMS’ company party, a huge bash with 700+ guests in a transformed space at the company’s headquarters. It was a really well done, festive affair!
The next week, back in San Diego, I went to a very cute and mercifully short school holiday concert that Rip and Linda’s neighbor’s children participated in. It definitely put us in the Christmas spirit!
Christmas cards started trickling in and I was delighted to receive a card from my friend’s nom de plume persona, who is a successful writer of motorcycle club romance novels. Did you know that romance novels have lots of sub-genres? Since I don’t really read them (except some of my friend’s books), it was news to me.
SMS and I went to the Crack Shack when he arrived for the Christmas holiday week. It was very delicious. I got the matzo ball pozole and can definitely recommend. Not so sure about the bathrobe sweater look on anyone under 6 feet tall but, hey, I’m trying to stay up with the trends! Tag did not specify height requirement!
We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas in Newport Beach. We had family quality time with SMS’ Mom and Dad, and his two grandfathers at two different family dinners.
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!!”
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.
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!
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.
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.
New wall art!
Pretty flower shop in at the North Park/South Park junction!
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!
So, after an amazing Napa trip with my professional wine-tasting in-laws, I took the week off and did my best impression of a Real Housewife of Silicon Valley. Mainly, this meant that I went to expensive boutique exercise classes. I went to my favorite SPX pilates class and realized that my core has no strength. I also tried out Soul Cycle for the first time, which was interesting. It’s basically a very fancy spin class that charges a LOT of money to pedal furiously in the dark led by enthusiastic instructors with excellent playlists. I enjoyed it but was worried that I would fall off my bike during the arms section where a rider bounces up and down the handlebars in a sort-of pushup motion while standing up and pedaling very fast. I felt that this was either going to lead to my face being bashed in or falling over. Falling over would be bad because the bikes are very close together and I would have fallen on someone. Fortunately, neither happened. Hooray!
Soul Cycle has a lot of aficionados who like both the workout and the positive vibes that are preached along the way. I enjoyed myself and would definitely go if it was less expensive but since it’s not, trial membership only for me!
I also ate delicious food! I’d grab an Americano at Alexander’s and one day, I treated myself to a shave ice at Teaspoon on Castro St. It was delicious!
SMS and I also went to an Indian restaurant for dinner that featured seating inside of rickshaws and buses. It was so cool! We went after climbing at Planet Granite one night and I couldn’t believe we had never gone together before. I loved it!
After a week of leisure, we flew down to San Diego for my cousin Jim’s wedding. I had an awesome time hanging out with SMS, my brothers, my cousins, and my aunts & uncles. SMS and I also tried scooters for the first time, which were a lot of fun. I had seen my cousin on InstaStory and I knew I wanted to try. I was definitely the slowest in the group but it was a great way to get to brunch. My brothers, SMS and I went to brunch the Sunday after the wedding, which was a lot of fun. One of my brothers barely had any time between brunch and his flight but he made it. Hooray!
SMS and I had another amazing California weekend! The weather was gorgeous and we spent a lot of time outside. On Saturday, we started off in San Francisco at the Wooden Spoon. It’s located next to the Swedish-American Hall and has some Swedish-inspired dishes for breakfast/lunch/brunch. I got the most Swedish dish of Swedish pancakes with lemon curd and lingonberry preserves. It was delicious! After breakfast, SMS and I took a walk to nearby Corona Heights Park and took in some pretty spectacular city views. I went without my phone so no pictures for the blog but if you’re looking for a short urban hike, this place fits the bill.
After brunch, we headed back down the Peninsula. We went to Thomas Fogarty Winery, where we sat outside with a glass of wine. The wines were good and the patio was nice, but that was the only place that drinking outside was allowed for tasting room visitors. The patio doesn’t overlook the Valley so SMS thought that it wasn’t well planned, which I agree. We walked around the grounds and it does have a spectacular view. A wedding was about to start and the private event spaces were gorgeous with a covered eating area that did have a view and was beautifully decorated.
The next morning, SMS made me breakfast. We had bacon and eggs with two 2-yolk eggs- so much luck in that meal! We had climbing plans for later that afternoon so we decided to go on a hike to Windy Hill. We’ve been meaning to do it for awhile but other plans kept getting in the way.
Windy Hill was beautiful! We parked on a nearby street and started our hike by following the signs to Spring Meadow trail to Spring Ridge Trail. The trail was mostly a packed road up the golden grassed hill. There was no shade along this portion. Then we walked along the top of the hill, following Anniversary Trail to Lost Trail. Then, we descended down Hamms Gulch trail, which was beautiful and shaded. If (when!) we go again, SMS and I agreed that reversing the loop would be better since there would be shade during the strenuous uphill climb. Downhill would be in the Sun and walking towards the Valley view, which is quite spectacular.
After our hike, which was seven miles instead of my predicted five, we grabbed a quick lunch at Annachikadai where I ordered delicious pakora bread with mutton curry. Then we went to Planet Granite and had an awesome climbing session. I felt very strong for not having climbed recently so it gives me hope that I can get better once I’m able to train consistently.
Then we went to The Halford, a gastropub with lots of beer options. SMS’ climbing friends are really nice and it was a great dinner. Afterwards, we went into the Baker’s Village bakery that had a lot of Japanese-style sweets. I was in heaven! Looking the place up, it actually is a Korean bakery but reminds me of the not-too-sweet treats in Japan that also featured toasted sesame seeds.
The next day, we took the morning off from work and grabbed breakfast followed by a walk through San Jose’s Rose Garden. There was a sign saying that it was voted the best rose garden in the US. It surprises me that Portland’s rose garden was beat but regardless, this is a very pretty place. I don’t think we were there during peak rose season but it really is amazing how many there are.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.