My Happening Blog

It's my happening, baby, and it freaks me out!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Procrastination doesn't work

I mean, procrastination does work, for a little while, but then suddenly, it is mid-April, and I've done nothing on this blog, and this entry takes ten times longer than it should because I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, not to mention what we did back in January, though I know we had a new year's party because I swore I'd never do that again. By the time the celebration started, I was too worn out to take photos, so you'll just have to take my word that some lovely people showed up to celebrate the arrival of 2015 with us and that I made enough borsch to feed an island nation. As of now, April 8, I still have about ten servings of the stuff in the freezer. I also know that we spent new year's day with old friends at the traditional hangover brunch where the kids spent hours playing pinball and we learned about the latest in beer making technology, the automatic beer-making machine.

Photographic records reveal that we also spent a day at one of my favorite places in the universe, the Exploratorium. Much fun was had upside-down. In addition, we harvested our artichoke flower, and beat cago tio, who pooped candy, as usual. We also had a number of good friends over for dinner. My new years resolution, which was to see friends in person more often, was in full force throughout January. Every Saturday night, we had people over, and we truly had some wonderful nights catching up and hanging out with people we like and admire. Otherwise, only a few other events of note: the Keith Haring exhibit at the De Young, 200,000 miles, pop-up erasers, wild spins, and explorations.

  And that brings me to February, when we said goodbye to Doppler the cat, who is, according to the literature we received from the pet crematorium, now 'beyond the rainbow bridge' where she will, someday, when she sees that special someone, 'run up to greet them', or something like that. We made a trip to the garden store and chose a special plant (a California-native, redwood-loving, drought-resistant shrub of some sort;  in other words, about the only thing that might survive in our backyard) that we planted in her honorDoppler, we miss you.

Over 'moon day', the holiday the public school kids get and parents do not, we decided to drive down to visit my sister, just to see how time flies. Well, not really, but I had to put those two photos next to each other. We broke up the drive down with a night in San Louis Obispo, and then continued on to Len's, where my mom was staying as well. We had a fabulous time at Lego Land, and enjoyed dinner time , bedtime, rocket time, mentos time and then, sadly, we had to drive home. But, Highway 5 has never looked so beautiful. In other exciting news, Asher started gymnastics class. He has been bouncing around ever since.

February also brought the 21st birthday of Bianca, which we celebrated at our place with a bunch of fearless biancanauts, who traveled from far and near to celebrate the occasion. Much grilled cheese, sangria, and fun was had, along with puppet shows, live music, and frolicking. Otherwise, February was mostly about flying drones, eating al fresco,  walking to the library, wearing sunglasses, and getting ready for Easter. Workwise, Dave has been busy with his 'Technology for Good' class at Mills (in addition to his usual responsibilities at Google), and I've continued my contract work with the Wikimedia Foundation and am, as always, working on my novel.

And that brings us to March, which began with a family day trip out to Alcatraz for the Ai Weiwei show. Kite dragons, lego portraits, cells where Asher spun round and round to Pussy Riot. The show was amazing, particularly in the juxtapositions of environment and content. We had to wake up at the crack of butt to catch the early ferry out to Alcatraz, but it was well worth it. The other big event of the first part of the month was Ada's school auction, for which Dave and I were the leads of one of the many class projects. We got there on the early side this year and caught the Taiko drumming before bidding on a bunch of stuff we didn't need, but that doesn't matter, as the proceeds all go to support the public school.

Mostly, March is about birthdays, and this March was bursting with celebrations, a birthday breakfasts, birthday cooking classes, birthday first bikes, birthday sushi, birthday cake, and a birthday blowout at MyGym, where everyone celebrated until they dropped. Dave and I also took advantage of grandma's gift of babysitting and brunch at Top of the Mark to enjoy some great views and food. We also tried the pig ear and some other fine dishes at Spices, and enjoyed a few fancy cocktails at Rye Bar.  And then we were visited by my dad and Myrna! dim sum, golden gate park, and other fun things were enjoyed by all. Whew. Dave's Mill's break and the public school break did not align, but we did manage to head out of town for a very beautiful weekend in...

... Big Sur. We had a wonderful time at the Fernwood Resort doing yoga on the sun deck, admiring redwoods, braving frigid waters, hanging out in our awesome cabin, by the fire, hunting eggs, hiking, and being silly. On the way back, we made stops at some favorite spots, pescadero and moss beach distillery. Other than a few pics of Ada and Asher, that's it for now!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fín 2014!

Welcome all to the end of 2014!  Welcome also to the first relatively timely blog in eons.  Only two months to cover.  Lucky me!

The last two months in 2014 were all about holidays and travel.  It started with a trip for me to Sydney, Australia and the IUCN World Parks Congress which is held but once a decade.  There I gave a few presentations and helped host esteemed researchers, such as Matt Hansen discussing deforestatation and Sylvia Earle talking about the state of the world's oceans.  I even got to hangout next to Sir Richard Branson... sort of.  I didn't get much time to visit Sydney, but whenever I did, I was beset by the ubiquitous ibis, the pure, and the cyber.

Meanwhile, the kids were flipping out at home.  Upon my return, we had some quiet time before our next trip, which we filled with meatloaf ala Ada and chef Suzanne.  And then to Thousand Oaks where we celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukah with the Thau family, lit candles, made candy necklaces, visited a Chumash museum, learned the rules of four square and watched hours upon hours of the Macy's parade.

Then back home to kick off December where the celebrations did not cease.  There was Ada's graduation to the next level of gymnastics,  Kirsten's birthday celebration at Castello di Amoroso, mud bath at Spa Solage, and dinner at Commonwealth,  and Asher's escape from Mr. Lunch's jail cell.  Christmas started a bit early with a visit from Grandma Eve who gave the kids some plastic clothes that had surprising qualities that played especially well at our nearby swinging  skateboard park.

Then we packed in many visits and much merriment, including ice skating and dinner with Kiara, Emily, and Siobhan, a bathroom break with Al and a gentleman with his objects, latke celebrations with Karen, Matthew, Emmet, and Desmond, a visit with Grandpa Roger and Grandma Myrna,  and some Hanukah celebrations of our own.

Finally, a quick trip to the Tenaya Lodge for Christmas, where we hiked (a little),  tubed (a little), and froze a (a little).  And that's it!  Goodbye to 2014 (and Kirsten's grotto office)!  We're going to have a New Year's party at our place, which will fall upon Kirsten to chronicle in 2015.  We'll see you then!  And yes, here are some more pictures of Ada and Asher.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The days are short, the nights are long, and we have much to report...

... which is what happens, of course, when you don't blog for four months. I'll pick up in July, when we took advantage of some of San Francisco's fun events: the JPOP festival in Japantown, where we saw some great costumes, survived some insane crowds, and did some amazing jumping; and a free concert in Stern Grove, where we heard Pupy Y Los Que Son Son and Vieux Farka Toure, though I only know this because I looked  it up on the schedule. We brought a picnic lunch and spread our blanket out up beneath the surrounding trees. Note: to be close to the stage, arrive EARLY.

We framed Asher's master work, "Herrarasaurus," which now hangs in the kitchen, and  headed down to Santa Cruz to see Grandpa Roger and Grandma Myrna, who introduced the kids to Thomas the Train in the redwoods. Thomas tugged us through the forest and then we returned to the olde fashioned station for ice cream. A good time was had by all! Plus, Ada had some time to teach grandpa some computer programming. The month also featured lots of lego building, a quick work trip to DC for Dave, and some really great kite flying and beach time.

August began with a visit from Grandma Vera and Grandpa Bob, Julie and Donovan, and then we headed off to the Lair of the Bear, where we spent a fun-filled week in a tent cabin. We rented paddle boats, enjoyed the camp, did some walking, relaxing, running, and playing in the trees. I took advantage of the pottery wheel (unfortunately, all but one of my pots exploded in the kiln. Maybe next year I'll have more luck?) and Dave took an archery lesson. The nights were filled with disco bingo, live shows, and relaxing at our site. Everyone had a great time and we hope to go back next summer.

Our new artichoke plant in the front garden produced its first artichoke and then public school started up again. Ada started third grade, and Asher started at a new preschool, which he is really liking. We had friends over, we went to the Boardwalk,  I made a shirt. We saw the SF Shakespeare production of Taming of the Shrew, which Ada performed with her camp earlier in the summer. It was fun to watch the show outside in the park.

And that brings us to the end of August and the beginning of September, when we went KAMPING. That's right. KOA Cloverdale, where "cricket concerts, bullfrog symphonies and the sound of ducks and geese welcome campers." In addition, we were greeting by this cheerful sign, which set the tone for the entire weekend. We were joined by Grandma and cousin Cyrus, who stayed in an appropriately named cabin right next to our tents. We saw a bunch of deer, a bunch of bees, a bunch of crazy runners and swingers. The bees made eating outside a bit challenging at times, but we still managed to enjoy some great meals, and an awesome pool with a view. I would definitely return. Maybe next time, we'll have time to take advantage of the putt putt golf...

With September came the beginning of Hebrew school for the kids on Sunday mornings, and our discovery of the Clement Street farmers' market, which happens at the same time just a few blocks away. So, while the kids are in class, Dave and I get a coffee, buy local organic stuff, and admire various baked goods and cheeses. Other highlights included seeing our friend Mike's band play at The Chapel, Back to School night, Al's birthday dinner, a reading by the very talented Laila Lalami, a gaggle of kid birthday parties, and our foray into the world of food service: The Halloween Carnival, for which Dave and I volunteered our time and talents. Our job: to supply food for an unspecified number of people, maybe 300? The records were hard to decipher, but we spent a good chunk of time planning and pricing a menu and figuring out how to get all the supplies we needed.

And then October arrived! And with it came an exciting trip to NYC, just me and Ada, to celebrate my good friend Meredith's son's bar mitzvah. Ada and I stayed in a flat in the West Village, were awed by the gorgeous synagogue, and the Essa bagels (my old favorites), and the MOMA, where we took turns posing with one of my favorite statues. Ada spent some time climbing rocks in Central Park and snuggling with weird creatures. We had a great time and arrived back in SF just in time to see Lenore, who was up visiting for the long weekend. The day after Lenore left, the tree in front of our house fell down for no apparent reason. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but we miss the tree very much. Ada had her birthday--a slumber party at our house with a few good friends. We ate sushi and made mosaic boxes and much fun was had. Asher had a friend over, too. While the girls were making mosaics, they were making swords out of paper... We all went out to Ada's school's big fundraiser, the walk-a-thon. Even Dave did some laps for the cause, though we could have used all that energy the following weekend when we were on duty for the Halloween Carnival food. We learned, um, a lot, and next year? We'll totally rock it. Ada and Asher had a great time hanging out at the fair as well, bouncing in the bouncy houses, winning prizes, and hanging out with friends. For Halloween itself, Ada dressed up as a pizza, Asher as Darth Maul, Dave as an olive. I myself managed to get Ada off to school with the pizza glue mostly dry... We trick-or-treated with the traditional crowd, but instead of relaxing the next day, we had friends and family over for a mega-birthday dinner party. The final excitement of October was that Ada finished Level Two swim and got to jump into the pool with all her clothing... And that brings us to November, which is just starting out. I'll leave you with some Ada and Asher pics, and the promise that Dave will be back to wrap up the year in the next blog entry.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spring and Summer 2014

Time for the Summer Blog Post!  As Kirsten mentioned at the end of the last post, we were about to celebrate Easter and the Cherry Blossom festival.  But before that, did we mention Frozenmania?  April was all about the Disney movie Frozen.  We saw it three times, including a sing-a-long at the Castro theater, complete with a hosted parade of princesses and queens.  Ok, then there was Easter, with Easter breakfast and much hunting.  And did I mention princesses?  Yes, it was the Cherry Blossom parade.  Ada marched with all her friends, and Asher had a good time as well.  

Speaking of good times, I’ve been traveling a good deal less these days; a very good thing.  Among other things, it gives me time to do things like take Ada to ‘bring your kid to work day’ where Ada learned to love Scratch.

I’m not completely travel-free, however.  Right after the aforementioned adventures, I was sent to Vienna to run two workshops and man the booth with my cronies at the European Geosciences Union meeting which was held at the Austria Center Vienna.  My free day was spent doing research for Kirsten’s latest book, much of which happens in Vienna.  This cavorting brought me to such hallowed places as the University of Vienna department of physics and math and the Josephinium, which houses the Kurt Godel Center for Mathematical Logic (Bach wasn’t playing, but they did have Escher’s on the wall), and the amazing surprise of the trip, the Josephinium Medical Museum.  From there, my colleague Eric and I went through Sigmund Freud park to the main campus of the University where the Aula held busts of luminaries who taugh there like Doppler, Shrodinger,  Boltzmann (is it respect that put him behind the soft-drink counter?), and a Menger or two.  And speaking of respect, was this street named after Kirsten’s relative?  Vienna held many other pleasures, including a Hundertwasser power plant, frogs and pigs.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our sidewalk was being destroyed.  Solution?  Go to a nursery and plant a garden.  Somehow that’s a segue (through tea at Mother’s day and Challah at Ada’s chef of the week) to the Maker Faire, which we attended with Gus, Cyrus, Ali, and Lenore who, among other things, entered a battlebots contest and observed much Game of Drones.  We also spent some quality time at the local Rainforest Cafe.

After this, there was a series of endings and beginnings.  The endings were Ada’s last day as a second grader, and Asher’s last day with Cruz at Warm House.  The beginning was a kickoff fund raiser to rename part of the Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton which, sensibly, was held at Emperor Norton’s Boozeland.

Are we done with May yet?  Yes we are.  Onto June, which begins a seemingly endless series of outings and events.  It starts with Big Sur where there was much climbing, log walking, and treat prodding, and poking.  Then there was a Giants game for Father’s day, a fancy lunch at the Soma Streat Food Park,  Ada as Curtis in Taming of the Shrew, and Woody day at the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Speaking of Santa Cruz, we spent a bit of time there with the junior lifeguards digging holes, playing games, staring agog at taffy, and riding rollercoasters. June ends with anniversary dinner at Cafe Jaqueline, and me hitting the road to London for Understanding Risk.  I had ½ a day free while in London, so I visited random objects at the Tate Modern, and celebrating the Festival of Love.

And that brings us to July and the last phase of this entry - our massive trip to New York.  It started with a successful and uneventful trip to Newark, where we spent the night before heading to my manager’s ancestral summer house on Indian Lake.  There we stayed in the Lake Cabin and spend much time wandering around, boating, kayaking, and eating with my team members and their pals. After a few days of that, we headed to Manhattan where we and the kids romped around, climbed Alice, cannons, and Hans, collected rocks, and watched the last game of the world cup.

It was an extravaganza to be sure, and fun as it was, Ada and Asher are happy to be back home and sliding back into a more normal summer routine.  Phew!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

January-April, 2014

First post of 2014! I know we started the year off attending the annual hangover brunch with friends. After that, well, then we took turns being sick for the rest of the month. I did manage to mostly finish my first quilt, Dave went off to a company ski trip, and we made it out to Franklin Square, where we noticed this gorgeous new mosaic.

In February, Dave went to D.C. for the launch of Global Forest Watch. The kids had their first ever sleepover at grandmas, Ada continues with piano lessons, Asher started swim lessons, and Dave and I went to the Exploratorium After Dark, where we saw a live sex show and met up with friends. We also managed to make it out to some movies, dinners, coffee dates, readings, and birthday parties, but nothing compared to the excitement of birthday-month March!

In March, both Dave and Asher had birthdays, and we celebrated until we dropped. Dave, whose birthday comes two days before Asher's started the birthday festivities with cake and a cheese mask, the latter made by the kids. We celebrated a second time with dinner at Hard Water, which was fantastic. Asher celebrated his actual birthday at home, and a few days later had a birthday dress-up party at the Children's Creativity Museum with karaoke,a motley crew of swaggering pirates, and a slew of the Bat Mans, who soon paraded throughout the museum. Afterwards, Asher chased bubbles and watched a bubble master, while Ada, Grandma, and I saw the ballet Cinderella.

But March held even more adventures: a visit to the pinball museum in Alameda and a subsequent visit to Fosters Freeze, where the kids discovered their new favorite dessert, 'worms and dirt;' Ada's school auction, held in the Masonic lodge that houses Lincoln's andirons, and rich with fine items such as this; as well as trips to the park, dinner with friends and neighborsreading at the bus stop, sharing smoothies, finding gold bug, petting Doppler, being pirates, making daisy chains, and trying to balance.

In April, Ada and Asher went crazy on the Go board (can you guess who did which side?) and Asher had a brief adventure in the soccer world with the Sharks. We were visited by David Hasselhoff, again, and again, and again, and again.

Spring break we spent in San Francisco, going to parks, the zoo,  making duct tape action figures, and taking a fun day trip to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, where Ada took a picture of me looking glamorous and I took a glamorous picture of her. We also played some mean putt putt golf.

Tomorrow is Easter and the Cherry Blossom parade. Should have some great pictures with the next post! In the meantime, as always, here are some of Ada and Asher.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 - It's a wrap!

It's the end of the year! Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, beaches, and snow. Pretty much covers it for the end of 2013. We start off with flying kites at Chrissy Field and building sand castles at Stinson Beach. Next came Thanakkagiving in Thousand Oaks where there was much lounging around and cavorting. Also fishing, catching, fileting and cooking. We threw in some swimming and dancing for good measure. We got back to San Francisco in time to decant caga tio from his lair, set up the Christmas tree, celebrate Julie and Kirsten's birthdays, and hangout with the cousins and Lenore, who visited from San Diego. And then there was snow. Well, more like ice. There's been the worst drought in 150 years here - the snow pack is about 1/3 of what it is normally. In Yosemite (note Asher with light saber in lower left) it had snowed two weeks before we got there, and only a few patches of ice remained. Still, it was beautiful and the sledding was great! As was the rock climbing, and lounging around in our comfy lodge room. We closed out the year back in SF, making quilts, listening to bells, and celebrating New Years with good friends. Say goodbye to 2013 and join Ada and Asher in saying welcome 2014!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

And then it was Fall...

The days are getting shorter, but that does not mean they have not been jam-packed with adventure! September featured trips to Santa Cruz (and the beach!), Happy Hollow, home theater, and the first 20th Street street fair, where the bubble guy wowed us with his bubble skills. Dave and I ventured out to the South End Rowing Club, where we encountered this and helped our neighbor ring in her 40th. The month's biggest excitement, however, was the ridding of the diaper changing table. That's right. We were nostalgic, but not that much. Ada also started second grade, which happened in August, but the photos wound up in this batch, so I'm mentioning it here. And also, we've become regulars at Exploratorium After Dark. You should come!

October was mostly about Ada, who celebrated her birthday four times: with us, Aunt Julie and Jennifer, on her actual birthday; with grandma and John on the following Friday; with her friends on Saturday night, and then AGAIN with her friends on Sunday morning--those that made it through the night. Much fun was had by all. The birthday festivities were soon followed by Haloween. Asher was "Dark Vader" and Ada was a hot dog, which we made together. She discovered that it was difficult to trick or treat in a bun, but the bun held together, which was exciting. We spent the night with a gaggle of hardcore trick-or-treaters and collected insane amounts of candy. Dave and I also ventured out to the Castro Theater for an AMAZING showing of Grey Gardens with Peaches Christ; Ada walked many miles for her school walk-a-thon fundraiser; and I went and saw the very talented Ethel Rohan read from her new book, Goodnight Nobody.

November began with a big celebration for Asher, who graduated from preschool to a new preschool! We celebrated birthdays with friends, and that brings us to Nov 2nd, where the photo upload stops. Next post will wrap up this year! In the meantime, some photos of Ada and Asher.