Monday, September 23, 2013

San Francisco

Technically this isn't only about San Francisco, but the title would have been too long if I'd included all the places we visited while with Jon and Natalie: Sonoma, Petaluma, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, and, of course, San Mateo where they actually live. But since all of these are suburbs of San Fran, I think it's okay to group them together under the one heading. All agreed?

When we left my sister's house on Thursday, we meandered back through Sonoma and Petaluma. First up was a lunch stop at one of their favorite Sonoma restaurants, the Sunflower Café. I'm still dreaming about the stuffed sweet peppers! The filling including chevre, ground pistachios, honey, orange zest and a drizzle of olive oil. Sooooo yummy! In Petaluma we stopped at a fun antique store housed in a former bank; a very grand edifice stocked full of lovely (as well as downright odd) pieces, including lots and lots of artwork. I took this (not-so-great) shot from the second floor balcony, with my iPhone:
We also stopped for the requisite photo shoot by the Golden Gate Bridge:
It's quite lovely to look out from there and see the city spread out below, as well as the bay.

Knowing it would likely be late before we got to their place, Jon and Nat had already planned to take us out to dinner. We went to the Mongolian Hot Pot and enjoyed this new experience of cooking our meat and vegetables right at the table in boiling broth:
Jon and Nat chose meat and vegetables they thought we'd like, and they were spot on. It was all delicious!

Friday was a very full day and I'm including a couple photo collages to represent our wonderful day in downtown San Francisco! The first collage is all about Github headquarters where Jon works, and the second collage is full of photos we took as we walked along the Embarcadero.
From left to right, starting in the upper left corner: Natalie, Jon and Ivan in the "Github Oval Office" -- fun factoid: the dimensions are exactly the same as the real Oval Office! Eating lunch on the rooftop deck (we had southern soul food from Farmerbrown's Little Skillet). Jon in a "coding cave", one of the many different work spaces Github has provided for employees. The official seal of the Octocat -- this is in the center of the Oval Office! haha  One of the meeting rooms has a distinctly "Mad Men" vibe going, don't you think? One seriously loooooong couch! I wonder how many Githubbers can fit on that?!

The crazy thing about San Francisco is that you're constantly walking in and out of windy areas, so I kept putting my jacket on, then taking it off...putting it on, and taking it off...All.Day.Long. Oh well, small price to pay for such a fun place!
From left to right, starting in the upper left corner: A large sailing boat that we think was there for the America's Cup. A cute tugboat. One of the piers had tile insets like this along either side, depicting ships we assume have some kind of historical relevance to the city. Ivan took this fun "artsy" shot through one of the many metal sculptures that dotted the Embarcadero. We came across this amazing display of mushrooms at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Ivan hanging onto a trolly car, and enjoying every minute!

Having someone who lives there and knows the area helps so much; Jon and Nat were great tour guides during our day in the city!

Saturday was a more laid-back day. We visited the fabulous Farmer's Market in San Mateo in the morning...
...and then relaxed at home the rest of the day. Jon and Natalie prepared a most delicious meal in the evening, after slow cooking pork in the crockpot all day with a variety of herbs and spices.
We made our own soft tacos, adding whatever fillings we wanted. I added everything except the hot peppers; I guess I've been in Argentina long enough that I just can't handle much of the hot stuff any more.
After church on Sunday, Pastor Steve took us all out for dim sum. It was a first for both Ivan and me, and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it yet.
We are sure having lots of opportunities to try new things this furlough! (We also tried pho for the first time, at a new Vietnamese restaurant in Warsaw, Indiana.)

It was wonderful to catch up with Steve, Daisy and their girls. By the way, Pastor Steve is the one Ivan had the adventure with, back in April.

Monday was another more relaxed day, with a drive out to a beach at Half Moon Bay.
The dogs absolutely love going there! Leo runs in and out of the waves while Bailey tries to get as close as he can without actually getting wet. Those two are so funny! And adorable. Which is why I decided to create yet another collage. But this isn't only the dogs, I had to include the cats too.
From left to right, starting in the upper left corner: Leo (he's the black one) and Bailey racing along the beach. Leo curled up on the couch. Dickens, who is actually a very affectionate cat, apparently doesn't like getting his photo taken... hence, that "look". Bailey is such a cute little puggle! Both dogs like to be near their humans and are often as not on the couch if someone else is there. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Libby, who is shy and skittish around humans, but decided to come close enough to see what was in our bowls. I just liked this photo of Ivan and Jon with "the boys" as we call the dogs. One final shot of Bailey, who is much easier to photograph than Leo because (1) he does stop occasionally, and (2) his lighter brown coat photographs well whereas Leo always appears to be one great big black blob. FYI, in person Leo is very handsome; it's just that it's hard to capture his gorgeousness with a camera.
Natalie needed to find a clutch to use at the Github charity ball later in the week, and knowing I wanted to visit Chinatown, we took the train into the city on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the guys at home to do computer stuff.
It was a lovely day and I was especially happy to score some great deals in Chinatown.

I mentioned the Github charity ball (which was on Thursday of last week). Jon got a new suit (only his third or fourth EVER), and he looked so good in it I had to take some photos.
He cleans up pretty good, doesn't he?!

An altogether fabulous week and we are so grateful for the opportunity to go to California. Thanks again, Jon and Nat, for making that possible!


Mari said...

You packed your time there full of fun! I loved all the pictures and I think I need to go to CA now!

The Bug said...

That looks like a GREAT time! I think my favorite photos are the ones of the dogs - ha!