Boston graduation!

Sisters!

I arrived in Boston and after quickly seeing Ed and Meg, I went to sleep.  Ok, ok, first I ate the cannoli they brought for me as a consolation prize for missing dinner.

The next day, I woke up early and headed out for Brady’s commissioning ceremony.  It was such an honor to commission her and I was/am so happy and proud of her!  After the ceremony, we went out to a diner for brunch which was perfect since there was a table for 6 available without a wait.  Yay!  I had lobster egg benedict which was pretty good.
The graduate!

After breakfast, I took an Uber with Mom to the ceremony.  Normally I’m all about walking but I was in heels and my feet, especially the right, has hurt a lot since running for the train after the Beyonce concert in new boots.  We got to the ceremony and it was so great to be there for Brady’s graduation with the hooding and the diploma presentation.  The ceremony was very long since there were two schools graduating (medical and Sackler) but it’s ok, it was worth it to be there!

Continue reading “Boston graduation!”

Quality Time Weekend!

The past weekend was awesome!  On Saturday, SMS and I headed to San Jose after a delicious ramen lunch at Orenchi ramen.  SMS had gotten recommendations from two separate people so Saturday was the day to check it out.  It was delicious!  We both got the house special, which is a tonkotsu-broth ramen with slightly thicker, curly noodles.  My favorite part was the depth of flavor in the broth and the perfectly soft-boiled egg.  I’ve had a few better bowls in Japan but this place really held up against our previous ramen experiences.  SMS was also a fan.

Robot-san, v. 2

 After feeling slightly swollen after so much salty broth goodness, we hopped into the car for downtown San Jose.  We went to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Diego where our admission + IMAX movie was free with active duty id.  Yeah!  The museum was cute but definitely geared towards kids and exposing them to mini-projects and experiments in the STEM fields.  That didn’t stop us from trying out the robot station though!  After SMS’ adventures in robot building at home, we wanted to check out how the museum curated the experience.

Going to the museum was also nice because SMS thought we were going to the art museum, which is usually more my speed.  So I got to accumulate awesome wife karma for thinking of a fun destination.  After the museum, we went to the San Pedro Market Square.  We decided to walk since the day was gorgeous and I decided to get lost and over-extend our walk by quite a bit.  Oops.

Part of San Pedro Market Square

Once we finally arrived, I loved the place! It’s two large buildings with multiple sections with many different restaurant/stationary food trucks/food court-type options.  We got coffees and dessert and it was really a treat.  There’s a huge picnic table area between the two buildings and the whole place and vibe were just delightful.

We love brunch!
Beautiful friends!

On Sunday, SMS had a conference to go to while I went into the city to have brunch with Brady and Rosa.  We went to the Mission Beach Cafe at Rosa’s friend’s suggestion and it was wonderful.  Brady got the French Toast for us all to share, I got the egg sandwich and Rosa got the winner dish of classic Egg Benedict.  There are several Bennies on the menu and I will definitely go with one next time I go.  The egg sandwich was good but messy, plus it was on a biscuit which made it slightly too heavy for my tastes.  I still ate it though!  The French Toast was also good, but it’s hard to beat my Mom’s so that’s that.

“A Sunday Afternoon in Dolores Park” by Daniel Doherty ’09

The Women’s Center

 Afterwards, we walked around the Mission District.  We went to Delores Mission Park and then went to look at a few murals.  First, we walked to the Women’s Center on 18th St and then we walked through Clarion Alley.  The last time I had been was in 2010-ish and it’s amazing how the murals have changed to reflect activism against rent increase and the “Evils of Tech.”  It’s awesome to see how dynamic art can be and reflect current issues and controversies.

Clarion Alley

Then we dropped Rosa off and went to the de Young Museum.  We really wanted to see the Turner exhibit and it was really awesome.  I was worried it would be crowded and while it was, I was still able to feel like I saw the paintings in an intentional, measured way rather than feel jostled and rushed.

Brady in front of one of my faves

My favorites were the two Roman paintings of ancient Rome and modern Rome that are paired paintings but currently held by two different institutions so often not displayed together; the “Blue Rigi, Sunrise” which is a watercolor with razor-sharp lines, an amazing technical feat; the “Snow Storm- Steam-Boat Off a Harbor’s Mouth” a action-filled swirl of stormy sea; and “Peace- Burial at Sea” which has amazing reflections off the water’s surface.

After the museum, we headed home where Brady packed up and the three of us went out to dinner. We went back to San Pedro Market Square (yeah!) where we had Mexican food to mark Brady’s last dinner in California, at least for a little while.  We dropped her off at the airport and while it was sad, it was such an awesome visit and she’s off to do such great things that I felt really lucky to have had this time with my favorite sister!

[Edited to add: The weekend was a three day fest thanks to Labor Day!  SMS and I headed out to Castle Rock Park and did a lot of climbing.  Well, SMS climbed a lot and I belayed quite a bit- the routes were hard!  Afterwards, we went for a hike which was really beautiful.  Then we went to a local deli for lunch.  It was a great day!]

So…you have a sister?

Has anyone noticed the insane amount of marketing/merchandise recently released for the upcoming Star Wars film?  It’s pretty nuts although Christmas shopping will be easy for any Star Wars fans in your life.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I saw the Lucas films sponsored extravagant Star Wars tableau ice sculpture in Sapporo last Winter.  Anyway, just something I noticed.

So, yes!  I have a sister!  Ha, ha.  We had a lot of fun this week going out after work, especially when I left work early.  On Monday, we went to Palo Alto where we had oysters for Happy Hour at Gravity Bistro and Wine Bar.  It was pretty good but no Shell Shock.  We had the oysters, calamari and eggplant bruschetta.  It was tasty and we had fun but it’s not my favorite restaurant.  We decided to move on and try to find outdoor seating somewhere.  We ended up at Local Union 271 where we almost missed out on an outdoor table after we were waiting for it to be cleared and someone almost swooped in even though we were first.  That would have been a bummer but SMS saw what was happening and secured our table.  Hooray!  B and I shared a beet salad and chicken tacos.  It was all very delicious.  We then took a long-ish walk to the Stanford campus and went to the main courtyard, saw the Burghers of Calais installation and strolled through the Rodin garden.  It was really nice.  To make sure we didn’t incur a calorie deficit, we bought ice cream at the Scoop “microcreamery.”  The flavors there are subtle- not overwhelming sweet but really delicious.

Half Moon Bay

On Tuesday, we hopped in the car and drove out to Half Moon Bay.  We saw sandpipers and took a long walk on the beach.  This walk was made slightly longer by a closed trail and my erroneous map reading.  But, it was beautiful and we made it back!

Half Moon Bay

We went to the Half Moon Bay Brewing company for dinner, which was a cute place near the point where people watch the Mavericks surf competition.  We ate outside which was a little chilly but it’s so hard to choose indoor seating on a Summer’s evening, even if it is becoming a little more Fall-like.  We drove home and were stuck in a massive traffic jam from an accident ahead of us but we didn’t mind too much.  It was an opportunity to rest and digest!

Hopscotch

Wednesday, we went into Oakland for dinner and a concert.  Dinner was absolutely heavenly.  B read up on the area we were going to and there are a lot of awesome restaurants, bars and clubs.  It’s the Uptown section of Oakland and really cool.  We ended up going to Hopscotch, an awesome restaurant with a farm-to-table, American cuisine with distinct Japanese fusion elements- miso sauces, yuzu flavoring, etc.  The restaurant bills itself as an “upscale diner.”  I’d argue that it’s more upscale than diner other than the one of the seating areas which does look like a nice, old-fashioned diner or ice cream parlor.  We sat in the other dining area two doors over and it was exquisitely decorated with several tables set against a comfortable tufted, pale yellow leather bench.  I loved it.

Dinner was pretty epic.  We ordered a lot of dishes and ate everything. The portions were moderate and we were hungry.  SMS and I each had a Yonsai oyster, an oyster with urchin, roe and citrus soy. It was delicious!  The three of us shared the Kakiage appetizer and the Greens and Shrooms (broccolini, king trumpet, shimeji and mung sprouts).  The Kakiage was fried goodness but the greens dish was amazing with a really good miso sauce binding all the veggies.  Plus, I love king trumpet mushrooms.

For mains, we shared again.  SMS ordered the black garlic gnocchi, I ordered the salmon and B got the mussels.  I loved the first two and didn’t quite care for the combo of mussels and miso broth. Brady and SMS did so it was just a personal preference issue.

As good as dinner was, could things get better?  Yes.  We had desserts that were so awesome.  We had homemade donuts with an amazing butterscotch custard and an almond mud pie.  There was also a dessert drink menu and we ordered a Uptown Egg Cream, which was outstanding!  The drinks at the restaurant are really on point.  I had ordered a maple old-fashioned and Brady had an incredible Kentucky daiquiri with bourbon, strawberry, lemon and ginger beer.  I was leary of it initially because I thought the strawberry would be fake and cloying but it was real and awesome!

Set-up at the Fox Theatre

So yes, I highly recommend Hopscotch!  Afterwards, we went to the Brandon Flowers concert.  He was really good and I recommend any BF or Killers show.  I’m a little bit of a fangirl.

BF in action

Thursday and Friday were a little light on Brady QT since she went to Monterey on Thursday and into the city on Friday afternoon.  We’re going to meet up for brunch on Sunday and hang out until her flight Sunday evening.  *Sniff!*

Take a Walk!

I’m so excited because my sister is here!  Hooray!  After finishing a tough clinical rotation, she came up to visit me, her coolest (ok, only) sister and SMS!

SMS and I went to pick her up at the San Jose Airport, which was a ghost town.  We headed home and relaxed, ready for a fun adventure the next day.  I just found an awesome San Francisco blog, 7×7 and I was inspired by their Ocean Beach to Presidio hike article. So Sunday morning, off we went!

The Bakery Walk added another mile, I think

We followed the article pretty much to a T, but I mapped out the hike on Google maps before going. I’m glad I did b/c the article describes landmarks more than distances and it’s nice to know that I wasn’t adding extra to an already slightly lengthy hike (until we got to the Presidio, ooops!).

General Store Patio with hilarious (to me) painted cat rock

First, we went to Outerlands for a delicious brunch.  This did not happen b/c the wait was 1 hour, 45 minutes.  Nope, nope, nope!  We had places to be and we were hungry.  First, we went to Trouble coffee shop and had delicious coffees, a slice of the deliciously buttery, thick-slabbed cinnamon toast and a slice of coffee cake.  We looked around the General Store, which was a really cute shop but Sunday was a window-shopping only kind of day.  The store also has a gorgeous courtyard in the back with the most beautiful succulents and drought-resistant plants.  I could have hung out there for awhile but again, there were places to go!  Like…

The Bakery!  We went to Devil’s Teeth Bakery, where there was quite a line.  The breakfast sandwiches sounded great but there was a 45-50 minute wait so we went for the baked goods.  I ordered a kale and cheese scone (good, but that savory scone I had in Sacramento was so good, all others have paled in comparison), a cinnamon bun (eaten the next day but still good), a peanut butter cookie and a doughnut muffin.  We also got some beignets which were ok, but I’d pass in the future.  I know, I know, this list makes us (me) sound like a bunch of pigglie wigglies.  In my defense, most of the pastries served as mid-trail snacks.  *oinkles*

The happiest dog in the world!

So, SMS wasn’t sure if we were ever going to start hiking and that’s when we were off!  We walked down to Ocean Beach and headed for the Cliff House.  Along the way, we saw a lot of people and the world’s happiest dog.  It was a cute Pomeranian with long hair being blown straight back in the wind. It was a little camera-shy so he kept tottering away which was even funnier to see.

CW from top left: From a distance; near the entrance; inside looking at the projection dish; a schematic

After reaching the Cliff House, we went behind to the Camera Obscura.  It’s based on the world’s oldest camera, described by da Vinci but apparently around in even earlier writings.  There’s a open aperture that rotates 360 and the light that comes through projects on a surface inside a dark room. The picture is everted but otherwise a faithful reproduction.  The $3 admission granted us access to the room which featured the image and several holograms (?).  It felt slightly old-school and carnival-like and we were glad we stopped.

After the Camera, we went inside the Cliff House to use the bathroom and then we were off to the Sutro Baths, a former indoor pool center now in ruins.  It looked like it would have been a spectacular place to swim.  The ruins were cool and we headed to the Sutros Bath Upper Trail which led to the Land’s End trail.  We missed the turnoff for the Eagle Point Labarynth, but apparently it was recently vandalized so we didn’t miss too much.  The viewpoints were pretty amazing though with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge.   Although the day had started out with some high clouds, it cleared up at the start of our hike and we had fantastic weather the whole day.

Views along the hike.  On the right, the Sand Ladder with a nudist just off-camera to the right.  You’re welcome?

After the Land’s End trail ended, we were in the Sea Cliff neighborhood itself which is super-swanky with amazing house.  We turned onto 25th Ave to access Baker’s Beach and we walked down to the Sand Ladder.  This was where I was glad I had checked the map prior to setting off because the ladder was pretty far down the beach where there were several nudists sunning and it would have been awkward to keep walking back and forth (“What are you looking at?!?!”).

Sights along the way.

We walked along some more trails past a few old gun batteries before heading into the Presidio.   The Presidio was cool but there’s a lot of construction so beware, if you walk by the water, you’re not going to reach the main lawn without back-tracking or walking to the Palace of Fine Arts.  We did walk by a pet cemetery though so that was pretty cool!

We walked along Chrissy Field and took some more pictures.  At this point, I realized that we weren’t going to make it to the main lawn since by this point, we were kind of done with walking.  We decided to call Uber from Chrissy Field.  It was our first time using Uber (B thought we were kidding) and it was great.  Our $20 credit meant our long (time-wise, not distance) trip back to our car was pretty cheap.

We decided to eat dinner in the city so we headed to the Mission District after realizing that the Anchor Steam brewery closed at 4, much to the disappointment of SMS who had wanted to add a stop there to our day’s activities.  We went to West of Pecos which was a great Tex-Mex sit-down place with a small front patio with a table open!  Score!  We got drinks and snack while waiting for Brady’s friend Rosa since we weren’t sure if we were going to restaurant hop for dinner.  As it turned out, Rosa had been wanting to eat there for awhile so we had a delicious dinner there.

Twin Peaks Sunset

After dinner and feeling a little stuffed, we decided to race up to Twin Peaks to view the sunset.  It was absolutely beautiful, as well as chilly and windy.  It felt very magical to see all the different parts of the city and the entire bay but we only stayed for a bit before piling into the car to drop Rosa off and then heading home to Mountain View.  It was an incredible day and I was so happy to explore new parts of the city with SMS and my amazing sister!

Week 9 & 10


So, last weekend was the inservice. I’m so glad that’s over! What was weird, though, is that I was so stressed out this past week. It’s like I couldn’t let it go. I’m gradually moving on because there’s nothing I can do and I can’t worry about it until May. I just HATE that test. It means nothing yet so much weight is put on the scores. Hopefully, I did well enough and can just move on. I think I answered enough questions correctly since I talked to other people informally afterwards.

The next day, Mechen and I were going to bike to Carlsbad. Then it got downgraded to Solana Beach. Then I got a text from Brooke at Wine Steals so our epic bike ride was downgraded to two blocks. It was so much fun to go to Wine Steals though! Their deck is huge and beautiful. The day was gorgeous and we had a great flight- 6 generous pours for $10! Wheee! Then we went to Union followed by Blue Ribbon Pizzeria for Brady and I.
Speaking of “Wheee!” Brady and I decided that “‘Wheees’ are better than ‘Auuughss’!” on our car ride to Big Bear. Yes, after this past week which had a few long days, we headed up to Big Bear for a Saturday of skiing. It was such a fun Spring Ski day! We spent the night on Friday and had a great time Saturday. It was definitely nice to divide the drive between two days as well.
The slope conditions were pretty nice, all things considered. No bare patches and the hard granular at the beginning of the day is definitely what I’m used to. It got pretty soft and sticky with the warmer afternoon, but at least it didn’t ice up again later.
We also had a great lunch break with DELICIOUS Bloody Marys. I was surprised but they make a mean Bloody there- Worcestershire, horseradish, olives, clam juice, mini-peppers, vodka and Ocean Spray Bloody Mary mix. They were awesome!

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

I love Brandon Flowers and I love Las Vegas! Brady and I arrived last night on a 7 o’clock flight from SD. We took a shuttle, aka mini-Strip tour, to the Bellagio which is pretty awesome! We checked in and headed out for dinner because we were hungry!

We headed over to the Cosmopolitan b/c while the Bellagio is beautiful and pretty awesome, it’s a little old with regards to the vibes we were getting from the restaurants. We went to The China Poblano, a restaurant by Jose Andres. I had two delicious margaritas and we split some awesome dim sum and a DELICIOUS queso fundido. Then we walked around, tried to see the fountains (which were off for the night) and met two guys from Sweden that we hung out for a bit before turning in at 2 a.m! Sagoy!
I’m happy we stayed up so late b/c I want to be on Las Vegas time for tonight. We are going to see O, have dinner and then head out to a nightclub- maybe Marquee at the Cosmopolitan?
Today is already off to a great start since we worked out at the hotel gym. I’m so happy that I did b/c I hadn’t run all week so it was nice to keep up my conditioning although I felt a little on the dehydrated/sweating alcohol side of the things. But I got some good intervals in at 8.5/9.5 every 3 minutes for 24 minutes. This week was light on the workouts- I had a SPX/4 mile run double workout on Sunday then nothing until SPX Friday morning.
Now, we’re showering up to head out to buffet land. It’s amazing how Las Vegas feels like a cruise ship- shows, food everywhere and casinos randomly in the middle of things so you have to walk through.