Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Janelle Monae and a Great Weekend!

Thornton Beach Overlook hike
This past weekend was a mix of study and play as I worked on a paper for my "Strategy and War" class but also did several fun things with SMS.

Friday night, we headed out to Antolian Kitchen, a Turkish/Kurdish cuisine restaurant.  I had the broiled whole fish, which was really delicious.  I'm on the tail end of a Whole 30 month so I'm trying to go to places that fit within those strict parameters.  I'm sure I've inadvertently broke the rules with a tiny bit of added sugar, butter and oils but nothing major.  SMS had a baked meat-stuffed tomato eggplant dish that was awesome.  I think we'll be back, even off of a diet!

Saturday was a study/paper-writing day.  SMS and I started the day with the I'm taking my course through the Naval War College Distance Learning program and it's interesting to learn more about military history.  Some of the books are very dry so focusing is tough, but that's what blog entry writing breaks are for!

Hanging out!

The next day was Sunday Fun Day.  SMS and I went up to San Francisco to the Stern Grove Festival.  It was opening day and Janelle Monae was the headliner.  I saw her at Coachella a few years ago and she was fantastic.  We were supposed to go with friends but their son was sick so they bailed.  The show was amazing with a great setlist:
  • Suite IV Electric Overture
  • Dance Apocalyptic
  • Sincerely, Jane.
  • Q.U.E.E.N.
  • Electric Lady
  • One Fine Day
  • I Got You (I Feel Good)
  • I Want You Back
  • Cold War
  • Tightrope
  • Yoga
  • Let's Go Crazy Come Alive (The War of the Roses)

  • Sitting on the stump!
    Our concert seats were...interesting.  The place was packed!  We arrived at 1:15, 45 minutes before the start of the show.  We climbed up the hill and found an awesome tree stump.  We stayed there through the opening act Midtown Social and then headed down the hill for most of Monae's set.  The sound was better and the energy level higher.  It was great!

    Thornton Beach
    Afterwards, we went out for sushi at a place with a TV so we could watch the first half of the Warrior/Cavs game.  It was Game 7 and I think most of the Bay Area was watching!  It was a great game- very competitive.  We didn't want to stay for the whole game so we headed back home and listened to it on the radio.  I even streamed the last few minutes on Periscope with mixed success.

    Thornton Beach
    On the way home, we stopped at Thornton Beach Overlook and hiked down to the beach cliffs.  It was so beautiful and a good impromptu hike along the Pacific.

    Sunday, June 12, 2016

    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.

    Sunday, June 5, 2016

    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.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    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!

    After the graduation, we all split up for the afternoon.  Brady went back to her house to get things in order, Grandpa and Dusty went back to their hotel, Dad/Ed/Meg went to Lexington and Concord and Mom and I went to the Isabella Gardner Museum.  First, we stopped back at the hotel to change.  We also stopped for a glass of prosecco which was comp’d by the bartender since I was still in uniform.  Nice!
    Mom and I at the Gardner
    The Gardner museum was lovely.  We actually started in the café since we were hungry and thirsty but after fortifying ourselves, we strolled through the museum.  We saw several John Singer Sargent paintings including the portrait of Isabella Gardner, El Jaleo and a few on a small living room wall, which was funny since the room guides initially confused us and we though “Veil Fanning Incense” was “Tent in the Rockies” which made no sense but don’t worry, we figured it out!
    Which one would you title "Tent in the Rockies?"
    A knight's sarcophgus on the left.  As Mom said, how do you introduce that piece?  "Oh, look at what I just picked up"
    On the right, Courtyard from the third floor.
    We also went to a special exhibit of some museum works more contemporarily displayed while the second floor undergoes renovation.  It was nice to see the works in that setting and it’s really incredible what they have there- two Rembrandts including his famous self-portrait and an incredibly vivid Bottecheli. 
    Courtyard with amazing mosaic
    After the museum, we all met up for dinner at State St Provisions, which was really good.  I really liked my asparagus salad and burrata appetizer.  So good!  Dinner went for awhile and we stayed even longer to enjoy an after-dinner drink/more socializing.  Then, we went home where Ed and Meg definitely disappointed me.  Instead of going out on a Boston Saturday night, they were tired so they decided to rest in my room while waiting for their super early departure flight home.  Boo!  It was a pretty tight squeeze but we all slept for a few hours before they left at 2:30. 
    Such a delicious beer

    Good thing owls can see in dim light!
    I woke up a few hours later, got ready and hopped on the plane home.  I stopped in the USO for breakfast (yeah!) and then flew to Seattle.  In Seattle, I got to try the Centurion Lounge which is lovely.  Lots of seating, power outlets, snacks and drinks.  I wish there was one in every airport!  I got to SFO around 5 and caught the bus to Redwood City.  SMS met me there and we went out for dinner.  It's great to be home!

    Saturday, May 21, 2016

    Chicago COSM

    Millennium Park, Chicago
    On Thursday, I left Mountain View for the COSM 2016 meeting in Chicago.  I had a research poster selected for display so I got to go to the meeting.  I had never been to COSM before.  It’s smaller than the Academy meeting in the Fall and a little more social.  Overall, I think I like the Academy better because of the lecture courses offered but COSM was a well-run meeting in a great city.

    I arrived Thursday afternoon and my brother picked me up, which was super nice of him since the rush hour traffic was so bad.  He said it was worse than normal but either way, he is a very nice person to pick me up from the airport at that time! 

    Downtown Chicago- the bottom right photo is from the Hancock Ladies' Room!
    We headed downtown and looked into taking an architecture boat tour but there were no twilight tours that night.  We headed over to the John Hancock building and went up to the Lounge for dinner and drinks.  The sunset was incredible and I went into the women’s bathroom with its famed view.  In the women’s room, there are floor to near-ceiling windows overlooking the downtown.  It’s a great view.  In contrast, the men’s room (by report) has no windows.
    My brother by the non-sailing boat :( and his amazing apartment!
    We waited for a window seat and just when I was starting to feel a little sad about our chances for a short wait, we were brought to our seats.  Yay!  I had a prime rib au jus sandwich and it hit the spot.  I was so hungry!  Meg joined us after her class and we went to Eataly, a super-cool Italian market with multiple small restaurants in an open-floor arrangement.  It was awesome and I’m so glad Meg persuaded us to go!  After that, we went to Hop Flower near their house, which is a very cool bar specializing in Belgian brews.  Meg and Ed definitely know the best spots!
    Eataly- I wish there was one near me!
    The next day, they were off to the airport and I headed downtown to the meeting.  I got an early check-in (yay!), dropped off my stuff and went for the afternoon lectures and panel discussions.  I saw a lot of former residency mates, future colleagues and former staff.  It was really great to catch up with everyone and get some good career advice.
    The Purple Pig- amazing!
    Friday morning featured the meeting and then I went to the Chicago Institute of Art after an incredible lunch at the Purple Pig.  This trip was filled with amazing food but I think this was the best.  I went with Colleen and Dan (new acquantaince) and the three of us shared several small plates and feasted.
    Some favorites from the collection
    The Art Institute was great and I saw old favorites (Seurat) and new-to-me finds such as the Winslow Homer non-ocean paintings and Chagall’s America windows.  I had seen the minatures on my last visit and even though they’re amazing, there was no time in this quick museum run through.
    Chagall's Windows
    Then I headed off to the airport.  I was off to Boston to see my favorite sister graduate from medical school!

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Beyonce! Levi Stadium 5/16!


    After such a busy weekend, I was feeling a little peaked.   All I wanted to do was relax but… Beyonce was in town! After getting married, SMS and I walked down the aisle together to “Love on Top” and we have always talked about seeing a concert together.  I missed buying tickets through LiveNation so I sort of wrote it off.  But, a few days prior, I started looking on StubHub and I realized that tickets were being sold below face value.  So I started thinking…



    By mid-Monday afternoon, I was decided.  We were going!  SMS and I met up after work and bought our LightRail VTE tickets.  After dinner at home, we went to the train station and took the packed train to Levi Stadium.  It wasn’t packed to Japanese standards but a couple people really smooshed their way in and would definitely fit in during Tokyo rush hour!

    We got to the stadium and, small annoyance, no bags bigger than 4 x 6 inches are allowed into the venue.   Argh, I really wished I knew that before I left home!  After checking my bag, we went into the arena where DJ Khaled had a good set.  I’m sure it was very cool since I didn’t know any of the songs.


    After his set, we waited.  The show didn’t start until 9, which I somewhat suspected would happen because the focal point of the stage is a 5-storey LED screen.  By waiting until it was dark, the effect was much more dramatic.



    The show was amazing.  Beyonce sang a lot and sounded amazing.  Some songs were arranged differently than the studio version, which always makes a live show a treat.  A few songs were more dance numbers where Beyonce wasn’t singing but instead, the studio track was playing.  There was no attempt at trying to lipsync, which I appreciated.



    Although we had good seats, the highlight of the show was the last four songs.  SMS and I were between the main stage and a smaller stage that was at the end of  a runway.  Every time the group went down the runway and performed on the smaller stage, so many people from our section ran forward like the Running of the Bulls.  Finally, I decided I wanted to join the crowd so I asked SMS if he wanted to go too and off we went.  It was amazing timing because it was near the end of the show and the staging was great.  First, the smaller stage had been transformed into a large, shallow pool that Beyonce and her formation danced and stomped through.  Also, we were so close!    I felt like such a fan girl!  Finally, we were super close for the last song “Halo,” which was absolutely gorgeous.



    After the show, we got home fairly easily.  I left my bag (on purpose) and will pick it up from lost and found this week.  The VTE was crowded but not unmanageable. If Beyonce comes to a city near you, I highly recommend the show!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Bay to Breakers 2016 weekend

    This past weekend was amazing and packed with fun events.  There was even a special bonus on Monday (teaser alert!).
    Pretty Mountain View Garden- not ours though!
    On Friday, we picked up our keys to the new place and did our walk-through.  The house is absolutely lovely.  The property manager spent two weeks between the two tenants fixing up the place- and it had already been quite nice!  There's new paint, completely clean interior, new recessed lighting and a backyard drought-resistant landscaping, aka, mostly gravel.  SMS and I love the place and are so happy!
    SMS moves rocks.  Literally.
    Saturday was a little less glamorous as we rented a truck, bought and picked up a couch on Craigslist and moved SMS' stuff from storage to the his new garage!  We met a neighbor building an electric go-kart and overall, we're looking forward to our new place.  It was really a very lucky find!
    Beautiful SF day!
    After moving, I headed up to the city to pick up my Bay to Breakers bib.  The expo was pretty cool and absolutely mobbed.  Thanks to the power of Facebook, I messaged and met up with two friends from San Diego.  We belonged to the same book club and they are so much fun.  They had originally come to San Francisco for the Spartan Race but when they heard B to B was going on, they signed up for that too.  I was so happy to meet up with CL and Beth!
    This is how I will take my coffee from now on!
    Plus, we met up at The Buena Vista Cafe, famed for its Irish Coffee.  The cafe has been on my "SF List" and through serendipity, I ended up there with two great friends.  The coffee was delicious and I highly recommend.  Well, actually, there's a caveat because we actually went to two places with Irish coffee.   The second was one that Darren, SF native, knew about called the Gold Dust Cafe.  Here, hidden in plain sight among the tourist traps in Fisherman's Wharf, is San Francisco's "best and cheapest" Irish Coffee.   Unlike the Buena Vista with its white-tiled, bright interior, Gold Dust is more lounge-y with lots of crushed red velvet.  Both are awesome and really, can you ever have too many Irish coffees? Yes, I'm sure the answer is actually yes but if you have two spaced out over a few hours, you should be alright.
    Yummy shabu shabu!
    After leaving CL and Beth, SMS and I met up for a late shabu shabu dinner at Shabuway in Mountain View.  It was pretty tasty and brought back good Japan memories!
    The Ladies!

    Costumes from Bay to Breakers
    More Bay to Breakers photos!
    The next day, I met up with CL and Beth for Bay to Breakers.  They were actually fairly hungover thanks to several Irish Coffees (see above) with more drinking after that.  But they rallied like champs!  We jogged/walked the race and had an amazing time.  There were so many people with costumes to see.  It was an incredible event and I'm so glad I did it.  I've been wanting to do it for years and since this is the year I live here, I made it a priority.

    Costumes included: a group of chickens, men in Franzia boxes, a Pintrest-worthy homemade rocket pack, male Disney princesses, oompa-loompas, many Princes with a heavy “Purple Rain” contingent, a few David Bowies, old naked people (not technically a costume) and so many more costumes that it was hard to remember them all.  It was costume overload!


    I wore my Japanese fuzzy monster costume from our Amazing Race days.  I’m glad I had something because I would have felt out of place in normal running clothes although there were many people in just that. 
    Andytown
    After the race, we met up with SMS and headed to Andytown Coffee for a Snowy Plover.  Oh man, that drink is so delicious.  Since it's been awhile on the blog, I'll remind the reader that a Snowy Plover is espresso, Pellegrino and whipped cream.  Delectable!

    Then we headed out to Lale cafe in Inner Sunset.  It was very good and best of all, no line for brunch!  I got an egg scramble with a homemade English muffin, which was delicious.

    After brunch, we dropped CL and Beth off at their house and went to Glass Key Photo where SMS sold a camera.  It was a cute shop with a lot of old cameras.  We headed home and relaxed for the afternoon.
    Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires
    That evening, we went to Mountain Winery for a John Prine concert.  He's an excellent performer with great songs, although I want to listen to some of his older recordings since his voice was a little clearer when he was young.  The opener was Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires.  They were excellent and a new-to-me find.  I also want to seek out some more of their work, which shouldn't be hard since Jason Isbell is a very well-known performer in his own right, even though I hadn't known about him before the show.

    The venue was absolutely gorgeous.  It was also so cold!  There was a mountain breeze and the temps were in the low 50s/possibly high 40s.  Yuck!  We were definitely not dressed for it.