Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jen's Lake House Trip Including Visits to Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee

Sunnyvale, CA - The end of October is quickly approaching and I'm just now starting to post pictures from last summer.  Not good.  Maybe I need to take less photos, or maybe do less stuff.  But to be honest, with the baby coming in about 6 weeks, there will no shortage of photos to work on.  My goal however, is to get somewhat caught up before the little nugget show up.  We'll see how that works out.

In any case, lets get going on this post.  For this set of photos, we go back to Memorial Day Weekend and the kick off of our summer.  The story that goes along with the photos, however, goes way back to the late 90's I think.  Sometime around there I was invited on a trip to Pismo Beach, CA for some beach camping and  a little 4x4 fun in the sand dunes.  It was there that my friend Natalie introduced me to her friend from grad school, Jennifer.  I think Natalie's idea was to get two like souls in the same place at the same time and see if any sparks were made.  I'm not sure about the sparks, but after that weekend it was fairly clear to me that if our paths continued to cross, Jen would certainly become a friend for life.

10 years and many a crossed path later, I now consider Jen one of my closest friends.  However, Jen is not the only grad school friend Natalie has introduced me to.  Add to that list Michael (which of course includes Christy) & Stacy, all of whom I also consider essential pieces of my inner sanctum.  And lets not forget Moffat (who unfortunately we only see once every other blue moon) and Sandra (who we just met this year, but will certainly see more of). 

Anyway, to get to the point... Ever since this group of grad school friends went their separate ways, they have been at least attempting to meet up once a year.  The venue has traditionally been Jen's family lake house in Alabama.  Suwei and I have been invited to attend for a number of years, and although we kept hearing great things about the trip, we never seemed to make it out for the party.  That is.. until this year!

Jen's Lake House Trip

Maybe it was due to all the running around we did in the spring or maybe it's the pregnancy that had mellowed us, but a nice relaxing weekend on the lake sounded absolutely perfect this year. Then again it might have been that a good deal of our friends were going to be out there and we hadn't yet booked up our Memorial Day Weekend. In any case the trip seem to be just what the doctor ordered.  So, we booked two tickets to Atlanta.

We still consider Alabama a good distance away.  So, in order to maximize our trip and see as much as possible, we decided to stay for a week.  So, besides visiting the gang at the lake house (which by the way was super perfect.. good friends, great food, beautiful house, incredibly inviting lake.  What more could you ask for?) we were also able to visit Peace Corps friends Deb, Rand and their son Ben in Atlanta, where we learned about geocaching, hiked up Stone Mountain, and celebrated National Doughnut Day.  .  We also visited Jen's home up in Southern Tennessee where we rafted the Ocoee River (same trip I did with the Swedes in '09) and tried to learn to roll a kayak (definitely not as easy as Jen makes it look.)  Add to that a day trip out to Tallulah Gorge State Park and you have a fairly fun filled week.

Playing with Jen and Brian in Southern Tennessee

Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia

Hanging out in Atlanta with Deb, Rand and Ben

Celebrating National Doughnut Day

Hiking with Ben on Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Laser Light Extravaganza

Thank you Jen for the invite I'm sure we'll make it out there again real soon. And thank you to Deb, Rand and Ben for hosting us in Atlanta. Wish we got to see you folks more often.

Here is link to the slide show with lots more photos:

Lake House Trip Including Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bay to Breakers, 2010

 Sunnyvale, CA - It's kind of a gray Sunday morning and Suwei is sleeping in.  Which means, it's the perfect time for another post.  In this post we'll visit another gray Sunday morning, May 16th, 2010 and the running of the San Francisco Bay to Breakers.  Well, ok, this year I didn't run.  Actually, the last couple of times I did the race there was no running involved, mostly just walking and drinking. 

This year Eng-Shien and I set out early with our cameras (ok, not that early, but we did get there before the start of the race... and it felt early) and found a spot near the Moscone Center to watch the leaders speed by.  With the miracle of cell phones, we were actually able to spot our friend, Arturo, who ran by soon after.

Our goal was to find some fucking bananas.  Friends Kelly and Dave were supposedly walking the route with a group calling themselves, "We're Fucking Bananas".  The idea being that you either dress as a banana or as a monkey and basically fuck around.  Pretty simple really.  The problem for us is that they had two meeting points and we only knew of one.  The early meeting point had a few bananas floating around and maybe a gorilla and a chimp or two, but no Kelly and Dave.  Luckily we found them later at the base of the Hayes Street Hill (the "lagger" starting point).  The group had constructed a huge paper-mache banana / beer carrier that was hard to miss.  We followed the fucking bananas up and over the hill until they crashed into an 80's dance party somewhere around mile 4.  At that point the giant banana literally denigrated due to the abuse and eventually turned into pulp.  With the loss of our reference point, Eng-Shien and I decided to head off on our own again.

We're Fucking Bananas

Hungry and a bit drunk, we decided to leave the race before entering Golden Gate Park.  Arturo, Bill, Jeanya, and others were meeting up at Cedric and Mai's place for a very nice and much need lunch.

There are more photos to be found in the slide show, just click the link below.

Bay to Breakers 2010, San Francisco, CA

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day Hiking in Pacifica, CA

San Jose, CA - More photos! Yes, I've managed to work my way through another set of pictures, albeit another small set. However, there may be a bit of a lapse after this post as I am currently on my way to Colorado for a few days in order to move a truck load of stuff out to California. After that I'm fully on "getting ready for baby" mode.

Suwei and I are down to the last 9 weeks and I've still got a full stack of happy, sleepy, make your baby quiet books to read.  Not only that, but I've also got to start stocking the house with all the baby's "must haves".  There seems to be a lot of must haves, and we're trying to purchase as few of them as we can (we're not shy about accepting hand me downs).

Anyway, in the meantime, this set photos come from a day trip out we took to Pacifica, CA last May. Eng-Shien had passed on a email he got from Maria about a group of folks planning an evening hike out to Brooks Falls in San Pedro Valley County Park followed up with a nice sushi dinner at Ocean Fish Sushi. In actuality, I think the hike was probably just an excuse to gather folks together for the sushi (the hike was only 2.2 miles long).

Because the hike was so dang short, Suwei and I decided to head out there a bit early and also take a wander around Mori Point. Mori Point is a lovely jut of land that was just recently saved from development (well, within the last 3 years) and added to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. If you have a really good memory you may just recognize it from the final scene in the movie Harold and Maude.

If you haven't seen the movie... Rent it. If you haven't been out to Mori Point, check it out, especially if you are already in Pacifica to eat sushi.  When we were out there, the place had a lovely coat of wild flowers.  Here are some photos.

Mori Point, Pacifica, CA

By the time we started the Brooks Falls Loop in San Pedro Valley County Park the weather had gone foggy. I must have gone a bit foggy as well, as I neglected to take any group photos or even photos of any of the members of the group (there must have been almost 10 of us out there). Nor did I get a shot of the falls, as it was obscured by fog. I did however, get a few good shots of the fog.

San Pedro Valley County Park

Well, that's it for this entry, I have a plane to catch. Check out the slide show here:

Mori Point & San Pedro Valley County Park, Pacifica, CA