Friday, February 29, 2008

Artistic Bartender

Matt and I went for a drink last night at our neighborhood Irish bar. The talented Irish bartender drew a shamrock in each pint of Guinness he poured. It's hard to see but it is there in the foam. I was very impressed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I love technology

While taking a break from working hard, I read about blogging via cell phone. So this is my test blog post, featuring my desk.

Technology is fun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Truckee & the Snowhawk

About 22 miles and 2+ hours after leaving the cabin, we stopped in Truckee, CA for a pit stop. Outside one shop in Historic Truckee were these three snow creatures. I guess when you get this much snow all winter, every winter, you get pretty creative and move beyond snow people.

We certainly never went fast enough for the "snowhawk" to blow off the car.

Luckily we didn't stay too long in Truckee, or we too would have been stuck on I-80 when it closed.

Dr. Seuss Hat

This is my preferred winter hat. There are people who look good in hats and the rest. I am part of the latter, so my strategy now is to just have fun with it. Here is our friend Chuck modeling the hat before he skied Saturday. Heather dubbed it the "Dr. Seuss Hat."

On the plus side, it's easy to find me in this hat and the hanging pom pons fly behind me in the wind. The downside? It's really not that warm.


This time we made it an actual ski weekend - well, ski day might be more accurate. Matt, Brian, Kevin and I headed up to Mt. Rose and spent the afternoon "carving the slopes". It's quite different than skiing on the east coast. I had honed my skills sliding down the ice and plowing through massive piles of powder is a whole new challenge. After a few good runs (more for some, fewer for me), we opted to rest our knees and enjoy a beer. I'm pleased to say I only headed down the hill on my back, head first twice. This is an actual improvement over two years ago where I had a yard sale and had to scavenge for all my gear.

Tahoe Weekend

We spent this past weekend in the Lake Tahoe region. It was a snowy month for us; Matt spent three weekends in the mountains; I spent two. It seems every time I head out there (make that 3 times ever), it snows almost the whole time - from the minute we hit the snow line on the way there to the minute we descend past the snow line on the way out.

This is the (amazing) view we had from the house our friends had rented. It overlooked some of the trails of Diamond Peak, right down the hill. The banister of this balcony had been cleared off right before we arrived. About 6-7" fell as we arrived and over Thursday night.

By Sunday morning, the snow had accelerated a bit. Reports said the area received about 30" over the weekend. The thing is, it's not that unusual around there. The "chains required" signs are everywhere and the requirement seems to be in effect all winter. We were just glad we decided to buy a Subaru instead of anything else - AWD vehicles are exempt from the chain requirement (which is in fact enforced via checkpoints).

It certainly made for a challenging drive home. What I hear is a 3-4 hour drive took 8, 4-5 of which was in whiteout conditions and after a few u-turns for a closed-then-opened road. We were the lucky ones; our friends left 30 minutes after us and when we arrived home, they were idling with hundreds of other cars on a closed interstate, near the top of Donner Pass. They arrived home 5 hours after us.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Land's End Again

To wrap up the Fujinagas' visit to San Francisco, we went for a walk at Land's End while Matt ran the same. It is by far my new favorite place to walk or run. It was a great day and a good way for Betsy & Evan to prepare for a flight (short tho it is to LA).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Presidents Day Weekend Visitors

Betsy and Evan visited us for the long weekend. We hadn't seen them since our wedding and of course they hadn't seen the new condo in person. We had some fun city adventures but also stayed in and low key quite a bit to keep our budgets. Here you see our Sunday night which consisted of take-out, an Apples To Apples game, a fire, and a friendly wager on USC/UCLA (won by UCLA and Evan).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lisa & Olivia

I joined Matt for another exciting Stuart Hall basketball game. Also cheering on The Hall were Spanish teacher and friend Lisa with 4-month old Olivia. With help from Matt, they had taped "Go Knights!" to her Baby Bjorn but "Knights!" quickly fell off. Either way, it worked.

We hope to see this pair more often! In fact, I passed Lisa's husband on the street last week. Love this city!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Baby Jack

John was kind enough to send some great photos of baby boy Jack. He reports that Simone and baby are doing great and he is himself a wreck!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Exploding Stove

So, the stove exploded tonight. I was in the middle of making one of my favorite chicken & pasta dishes when I turned around to go to the sink and saw the brightest flash of light and an incredibly loud popping noise. This noise was immediately followed by what I imagine was a blood-curdling scream as I spun around to see some flames on the stove. Matt comes running, thinking I was electrocuted, yelling "SUSAN!" until I came to my senses and realized I should notify him of my safety.

So, in addition to the other noises, the smoke alarm of course starts beeping as Matt & I assess the situation. The flames went out pretty much on their own and eventually my heart beat slowed.

If only we had a landlord to call to get it fixed! Definitely a downside to buying a home.

The real issue was, what will I eat for dinner? What will we eat from now until the new kitchen? Basically, for the forseeable future, we'll enjoy salads and/or microwavable meals. On the other hand, isn't this why we have a slow cooker?

Voting, SF Style

I think this is the first time I voted in a Primary. This year, it could not have been more convenient. I walked out my front door (the gate on the left in the photo below) and walked two doors down to the polling location (the garage of the brown house). Yes, I voted in someone's garage. Does this not seem peculiar to anyone else? I've always voted (when not in college, traveling, etc) in a city hall, fire station or the like. A private garage just seems odd. Oh, well, no one ever said California was normal.

It wasn't the easiest action, however, as I guess the DMV's portal into the registry of voters is not all that seamless. My change of address via CA's DMV website in November did not translate into an update of the registry of voters. Hopefully my pink envelope of address change will get counted.


We have a nephew! John Stephen "Jack" Monahan was born at 9:36 ET this morning to a very happy Simone & John.

Cat on the Move

Franklin likes any opportunity to climb in a suitcase. In this scenario, he liked my weekend bag. I wonder if he just wants a vacation from sleeping all day?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Madness

The weekend stayed busy as we hosted friends for the game. To enhance everyone's comfort and viewing ability, Matt, Brian and Ambi moved the TV and couch from the den into the dining room. Brian again provided the grub - oxtail chili, ribs and coleslaw, all of which was a huge hit.

Snowy Weekend

We took off for the weekend and headed to Bear Valley, CA. It has been a super snowy winter for those parts of California and it kept on snowing. We arrived around 10:30 pm and immediately commenced the requisite first night drinking - celebrating the survival of the long drive.

The men went with the old fashioned game of bottle cap toss.

The gals opted for wine (and a nap) by the fire. Notice the existing snow drifts.

Saturday it snowed all day. The road is its own manmade valley.

As this is not our only ski trip this month, Matt & I opted to go snowshoeing. Bear Valley Cross Country has an amazing cluster of trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as a sledding hill and a tubing hill. We were thinking about tubing until we saw that the hill was probably smaller than what we sledded as kids.

The trails were pretty busy - Team In Training had an event going on and there were very skilled XC skiers out and about. I didn't actually see anyone else on snowshoes, but we were tolerated as long as we didn't mess up the tracks.


The snow continued to fall the rest of the day, into the night and the next morning. When we got up to leave (had to get home in time for our Super Bowl party), we had to free the car from 2 feet of fresh snow. Walking to the car, I sank to my hips in the stuff. To imagine the first 2 hours of our drive home, stare at a white piece of paper. That's all we could see.