Monthly Archives: August 2014

Good ideas observed in Europe

Greetings from the train!


It’s Labor Day Weekend I’m joining David at a work event tonight in Stockton and tomorrow we’re driving to Irvine. It’s a quick trip-and I’m nervous about the traffic-but excited to DRIVE home. I haven’t been able to do that since college.

Last year, we were in Europe for LDW. I’ve been thinking about that trip a lot this week. Last night I watched an episode of Rick Steeves Europe, just to pretend that it was a year ago and I was preparing for an adventure.

Scrolling through my notes from the trip, I found this list:

Things to take back from Europe:

1) make a pasta salad and have a picnic with wine in Navy Yard

2) have more croissants and pan au chocolate (Trader Joes)

3) take a break for tea in the afternoon

4) more drinking outside

5) sandwiches I want to recreate:

-biscuit, hardboiled egg, cheese and ham
-Swedish: roll, havarti, cucumber, red pepper, tomato
-roll, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, tomato sauce

6) look for an Indonesian food

7) make porridge-make oatmeal with milk

8) more biking, more walking, more picnics

9) find a good North Indian restaurant

10) find a place that does afternoon tea

11) buy cheesecloth for juicing lemons, eventually get a lemon juicier

We’ve done a lot more picnicking and can check off #11-thank you wedding registry. The others-they make for a good autumn resolution list :)

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Filed under Observations, Travel

Camping was…

Actually, really great! We only camped for two nights and Shaiya basically planned everything, so I can’t pretend it was really roughing it. But we still slept outside, in tents-and it was freezing-there were no showers and we were at 8000 feet, so…definitely camping!

Yosemite was breathtaking. The location was also a first and I could not get over the beauty. Right here! Just a few hours away from Oakland.

Highlights from the trip:


Our incredible hosts. It was Sachin’s 30th and Shaiya’s been planning this surprise for months. Sachin thought he and Shaiya were going to Yosemite for a few days for a quiet getaway…and then on Friday-surprise! 9 of us showed up to crash the fun. Shaiya thought of everything-the logistics of all of this were impressive. On top of that, she and Sachin cooked all of the meals for all of us. Incredible stews, thai ginger tilapia, bacon and eggs, picnics-really-it was incredible and delicious.


(Birthday boy making a mean meat stew)

Waking up outside, in the sunshine.


We camped at White Wolf, and at that elevation the temperature DROPS at dramatically at night. It wasn’t the best sleep, but waking up, unzipping the tent pocket, and peaking out to the trees-a pretty neat way to greet the day.

Shaiya had a fire going first thing in the morning. It was so cozy to just meander over to their camp sight, pour some hot tea, and wake up by relaxing around the campfire, catching up and laughing with the group.



Cozy Melissa with her coffee :)

YOSEMITE. It’s unreal. I felt so much pride for Janou and her colleagues each time we passed a NPS sign or spoke with a ranger. The park just celebrated its 150th anniversary-and it looks great!

After breakfast on Saturday, Shaiya lined us up into two rows of chairs.
Not Hunger Games-but she was dividing us up into teams…for a scavenger hunt! Despite finishing first time wise, the other team had so many extra points that they won. Bummer. But really, we were all winners (cheese!) because the hunt took us all over the valley. It was an afternoon of jaw dropping views followed by a victory picnic for all:





(The final clue led us to a picnic area, where Shaiya greeted us with sandwiches and champagne. Really-she thought of everything.)

Swapping stories.

Any venue, trip, or situation, that lends itself to sitting around for hours, drinking wine, and just swapping stories, is pretty much an ideal night for me. And that was most of the weekend. This is a group that lovvvvves
to talk (TGs) and I love to listen. So, that’s what camping is, count me in for Sachin’s 31st.




Filed under California Discoveries, Travel

Cheers to 32!

These two cuties celebrated 32 years of marriage today:


Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Thanks for all you’ve taught me about love, marriage, and especially laughter over the years. Cheers to 32! I love you!

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Filed under Family

Camping-first time

Generally, with any type of travel, I spend hours pouring over websites and blogs, researching, making reservations and planning out the details of the trip. For whatever reason, with this trip, I’ve done none of that. We leave in two hours.

We’re going camping this afternoon-and it’s my first time. In dream world, the weekend would look like this:

But in real world, I only started to think about what to pack last night. And, shocking, our “integrative pharmacy” only sells all natural bug repellent. Here’s hoping the soothing lemongrass citronella balm wards off all enemy insects.* Also, with the move, I threw out all my old sweats and comfy clothes. So, I’ve got a backpack with a sock monkey onesie I won during a white elephant gift exchange, some workout clothes, and some all natural (the pharmacy sells no Purell, but they’ve every item of Say Yes! To Carrots) face wipes.

It’s just two nights. That should be ok, right?

*Mom, our friends who are organizing the trip and generously sharing their supplies, are very prepared. They have Deet. Please don’t worry. The trip is a surprise for a friend, so I was hesitant to write this, but since I’m pretty sure only you and Janou read this, safe to say the surprise is safe*

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Filed under California Discoveries

Catherine in SF!

Catherine was in SF today for a hot second (literally-it was a 24 hour trip) and we got dinner tonight at the Ferry Building. I miss DC and being able to get dinner with her on a random Monday night. But it was great to pretend that was reality one again and enjoy Japanese tapas and good conversation after work!

I insisted on a selfie-


but thankfully a nice man took a proper photo:


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Filed under Reunions