Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Boston graduation!

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 cafĂ© 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. 
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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nashville Weekend

View from the Acme Rooftop
Last week, I took business trip to Nashville to attend a two-day course at Vanderbilt.  The course was exceptional- great faculty, excellent temporal bone lab component and a fun evening social event at the end of day one.  If you're ever looking for excellent courses that are very reasonably priced, check out CME offerings from Vanderbilt.
Art museum flowers
And...guess where Vanderbilt is?  Nashville!  Nashville is one of my favorite cities in the US.  A lot of people are moving there.  96 people/day is an often-cited, though oddly specific statistic.  It's an energetic town with a really cool vibe- something cool always seems to be happening but in an effortless rather than trying-to-hard way.

I arrived on Thursday night and stayed at a Marriott very close to the Midtown Hattie B's hot chicken. That wasn't the reason for choosing the hotel (getting the discounted rate on a popular weekend was), but it was a nice bonus.  I went to Hattie B's last time I was in Nashville and went again later in the weekend.

Dark, grainy photo of delicious food!
On Thursday night, I walked downtown to Broadway St.  It was a busy Thursday!  The Nashville Predators were playing in the Stanley Cup play-offs, it was Cinco de Mayo and, in general, I think every night is a weekend night downtown!  I briefly thought about going to the hockey game but it was sold out so I kept walking.  I ended up at Acme Feed & Seed company.  There, I listened to a Santana cover set that switched gears at the end with "Hold the Line," a song by Toto since the lead singer was performing guest vocals with the band.  I ate a late dinner and ordered "The Hatchery," curried chickpeas, coconut rice, cashews, cilantro & fried egg with fry bread.  Oh my goodness.  It was delicious, especially the fry bread.  Fry bread, where have you been all my life?  After that culinary piece of heaven, I went back to the hotel and turned in.

Overlooking The Gulch train tracks
On Friday, the course went from 6:45-17:30, although my dissection group went a half-hour over so we ended at 6.  It was a great education day.  Afterward, we were treated to a BBQ dinner at Peg Leg Porker in the Gulch, a small district I hadn't been to.  It was delicious!  I had pulled pork, bean, cornbread and craft beers. Yum!  It was fun to talk to different classmates in the course and I really had a great time.

Saturday started a little later, 7:30 yay!  We went to about 16:45 and then the course was done.  It was 18 hours of CME and really, an excellent, excellent course.  I'm so happy I went!  Because the last Westward flight left at 1700 from the Nashville airport and I would have missed part of the course if I left, I had to stay the night and leave the next day.  Yay! More time in Nashville!

After the course, I went out and walked to 12 South.  On the way, I grabbed a small cone from Jeni's. This time, I selected Honey Pistachio and Darkest Chocolate.  It was delicious!  In 12 South, there was a small artists' market going on with street closures, which was pretty neat.  I also stopped in Imogene & Willie, a jeans boutique.  The jeans were nice but they only had super skinny-style, which I'm not in the market for.  Too hot for Summer!

Early morning photo, that's why there's no line!
Saturday night, I went out with two people from the course to Hattie B's.  I had the small White Chicken with beans, greens and mac 'n' cheese.  I couldn't finish it but it was so good!  Afterward, I hung out with Amy.  We headed over to 12 South because we thought we'd find a mellow music spot. Wrong.  There were just (very cool) bars and restaurants.  It was a beautiful night and sitting on the patio would have been amazing with a big group, but since it was just the two of us and we were definitely not hungry after HB, we took an Uber over to Downtown.

Tom Childers and the BTA
We went back to the Acme and, after hanging out on the awesome rooftop for a bit, saw an excellent band, Tom Childers and the Black Tie Affair.  They were very talented musicians and had an amazing extended version of "Superstition" that featured long solos from several of the band members.  They also did a great cover of "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse that I'm now obsessed with.    After the band's set was over, we headed up the street,  hung out at Tootsie's for a bit and then headed back.  It was nice to have a new friend to hang out with!
The next day, I slept in a bit, worked out in the hotel gym, showered and checked out.  I left my bag at the hotel and it was time to explore again!  I rented a bike from B Cycles, the company with stands all over town.  I biked down to Pinewood Social, which was a really cool place.  It was, as the PA from work said, Hipster-with-a-capital-H.  It was pretty busy and I was more in the mood for a coffee so I walked over to Crema, a delightful, airy coffee shop.  I ordered the Cuban latte and a coffee soda, just to try the two recommended drinks.  Both were excellent, although I favor the Snowy Plover in Outer Sunset for my sparkling coffee soda of choice!
Downtown Nashville and my new hat!
After coffee, I went downtown and bought a hat, as one does in Nashville.  Then, I walked over the pedestrian bridge from downtown Nashville over towards the football stadium.  I checked out another bike and cycled into East Nashville.  It was cool, but a little busier traffic-wise and a tiny bit more spread-out than I was expecting.  I went into a few boutiques and ended up at Edley's BBQ, which was delicious.   I had the Tuck's Sandwich with egg, brisket, red and white sauce, cheese and pimento spread.  Again, I couldn't finish it but it was off-the-hook delicious!
Much photographed Weenie mobile and sign

A delicious mess!
All good things must end and after my late lunch, it was time to go.  I caught an Uber to the hotel and airport and flew home.  It was a great weekend and again, the course was amazing if not the most interesting for the blog.  Blogging about Nashville is much more fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

San Diego Sunday

Brunch setting...by the end, the sun was out completely!
After Wedding Saturday, we spent an idyllic Sunday in San Diego.  The day started off a little overcast but by 1030, it was gorgeous.  We met up with SMS's sister and brother-in-law for an early Mother's Day brunch.  We went to the anti-sub base at the end of Point Loma.  The location was beautiful!  We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed a delicious brunch.  There were eggs, taco fixings, smoked salmon, seared ahi, sweet potato hash, crepes, waffles and a dessert bar.  I was surprised at how good it was!

Kind of a ridiculous picture that I sent to my sister to make her jealous but it does show off
what a gorgeous day it was!
We sat for awhile, eating and catching up.  We had a really great time and I highly recommend the brunch if you're ever at Ocean View, Ballast Point.  Afterward, we headed back to the house and spent time lounging by the pool.  It was fantastic.  I went in the pool, spa and then took a little nap.
The market was so cool and this is the picture I took?
Unfortunately, the time to go to the airport came to soon.  But before we went, we stopped at the new Liberty Public Market, an excellent collection of food stands and mini-restaurants.  I had baked empanadas, which I hadn't had since enjoying Julia's in Adams-Morgan, DC.  We ate outside and soaked up a little more sunshine before SMS and I were dropped off at the airport.

The flight was uneventful.  We went straight from the airport to meet up with friends for a late dinner at Oren's Hummus.  One of friends is going on a last-minute holiday for a few weeks so it was nice to see him before he took off.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

San Diego Wedding Weekend!

The bride, groom and a photo bomber!
SMS and I are in San Diego for the wedding of SMS' childhood best friend.  They've known each other since first grade!  SMS was the best man and the last two weekends have been wedding-focused.  Last weekend, he came down for the bachelor party where they shot lots of guns, went out to Ironside and then partied late into the night at the Andaz Hotel rooftop.  I stayed home and drank green juice.  Boring!
Academy of Our Lady Peace, San Diego (Wedding Venue)

This weekend, we both came to San Diego for the actual wedding weekend.  After a delay on Southwest, we arrived in San Diego at lunchtime.  Rip and Linda picked us up and we had lunch at El Indio.  Yum!  SMS and I shared several Mexican food items- a tamale, enchilada and California burrito (steak, fries, cheese).  We only ate half of the burrito though but never fear, it was still at least three pounds of food!

After lunch, we headed back to the Homestead where we spent a lazy afternoon.  SMS and I headed out to the rehearsal around 4:30.  The rehearsal started at 5 and I very quickly realized that it was going to be a long one.  So, I texted a residency friend and we met up for Sangria at Cueva- a much better plan!  We caught up on work gossip and talked about our respective new jobs coming up this Summer.  It was so great to see her and I really had a great time.

SMS texted a "SOS" so I headed back to the Church.  The head camp counselor, aka the wedding coordinator, still had about 20 minutes of talking left but finally, we made it out of there.  We went to Kahn's Cave for the rehearsal dinner.  It's an Asian fusion/tapas type place and it was really tasty.  I liked the sesame chicken and the calamari the best.  The beer came in close second.  I had a milk stout and a Belgian gold style- eclectic choices but delicious.

It was great to catch up with the bride and groom, plus his sister who's a really close friend of mine. After dinner, we headed home and went to bed.  I slept well, which was great after a really tiring week.

Caffe Calabria!
The next day was wedding day!  SMS and I did some fun errands after a lazy morning.  We went to North Park and hit up Caffe Calabria *my heart* and Pigment.  Then we went to the Exchange where I stocked up on some makeup.  It was definitely worth the savings!  We headed back home where SMS got ready.  He looked great in his tuxedo!
My wonderful in-laws!
Wedding Party
Rip, Linda and I went to the Church together.  The wedding was nice with a Priest who fancied himself to be quite the comedian.  After the ceremony, we headed over to the Admiral Kidd where they had a beautiful, huge (300 people!) reception.  SMS did a great job with his best man's toast and we had a lot of fun.  We're so happy for John and Grace and wish the very best for them!
Sailboat on San Diego Bay.  And me!
BEST best man!
Best man duties!