Saturday, October 30, 2004

No Words necessasry

We saw Rachmaninoff being performed at the SF symphony, and then followed it with dessert at Jardinere. What a great day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

5 Favorite Days

I have a bias in my memories towards the good times rather than the bad, but I can't remember anything bad about the 5 days I spent with m in Hawaii. It was my first trip to a tropical location, and we spent all 5 days in Kauai, exploring the island and relaxing.

There's a vibe to the place that I can still feel when Iz's "Somewhere over the rainbow" comes on. Driving around with the windows down, snacking on tuna poke which they sold *everywhere*, the chickens and roosters which ran freely around the island, all brought a smile to my face.

We did some tourist things, like visiting the Alberton botanical gardens. The garden was built on what was originally the site of Queen Emma's estatees, and there were well kept examples of much of the native plants which grew wild in Kauai, as well as beautiful specimens of plants from various other climates and regions. Scattered throughout the grounds were charming sculptures of children which added a whimsical quality to the tour.

We also tried some adventurous activities which I'd never done before, but both of which I loved. Ziplining reminded me of the fun I used to have as a kid, playing around on my neighbors pulley system growing up in Sudbury. The course we took was a serious of 8 zips which led gradually down to a grotto between two mountains at which you could swim. Since each person was strapped into a harness which was then clipped onto each zip line, there was an illusion of control and safety; still the course had only been open for 3 months so who knows! It took some grace getting on and off the ziplines, but once you got the hang of it, it was so cool flying through the air, and if you had the guts, looking down hundreds of feet into the valleys.

We also went around the island in a sea raft. This took two tries because the first time we tried, we had to turn back because of a storm which suddenly hit the island. I have a tendency towards seasickness, but did not have a problem with the sea raft because it was a smaller craft with plenty of fresh air. I'll never forget the school of dolphins which came to play around our raft just a few minutes into the trip! They were close enough to touch, although they were so fast that you never quite could. There were even baby dolphins among the school which were still learning how to jump through the air. It was my first time snorkeling which admittedly I didn't completely get the hang of (kept on breathing through the nose which messes things up). It was cool to go snorkeling off a boat though, no coral to bump into and the fish swarm around and bump into you. I fed them potato chips crumbs from my lunch. :)

Hawaii also had abundant things to eat and buy. Plenty of the cuisine in Hawaii involves raw tuna, which is a positive in my book. We had some good meals everywhere along the culinary spectrum, from Kalua pork at a hole in the wall local lace (we also tried poi at this place which despite being made from taro--I did NOT like) to a delicious new cuisine/hawaiian meal at A Pacific Cafe. m and I also discovered yummy kona coffee glazed macadamia nuts (which we searched out to bring home with us to the "mainland") and drank plenty of Hawaiian Sun iced tea.

Hawaii is indeed paradise. I bought that Iz CD before I left the island, and sometimes play it when I need a pick me up. It brings me right back to those blissful days and I feel better no matter what's going on. See why.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Viva Las Vegas!!!!!!!!!

Despite the fact that I don't gamble hard, drink hard, or party hard, I actually love las vegas. Which is good because given its proximity to the bay area, a group of friends typically make an annual weekend long trip there. This trip included a tasty trip to Samba, the brazilian barbecue place and a trip to the ghost bar. In case you've never been, the ghost bar is on the top floor of the palms casino, and the balcony has a glass floor. You know the glass is really thick but it's a trip to walk on! As usual, I also spent a lot of time in front of the bellagio fountains. those fountains take my breath away, and every time I see them, I'm impressed with how thoroughly we Americans understand entertainment. Want to see more pictures? And, the bellagio fountains.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

I heart NY, Part 2

The thing I love most about new york is the abundance of character you can find in the simplest of things. While gentrification is a fact of life and encourages efficiency and sets expectations, I find that New York is one of the places where the lack of standardization is mostly delightful. For one thing, some of the best ethnic food I've had, including even chinese, I've found in New York. it's almost as if they took the best of what the world has to offer and stuck it all in one city for me to discover and enjoy.

My second trip was also characterized by an abundance of walking, and it was during this trip when I discovered the "video" function on c's camera. Magically, both the sights I encountered as well as the sounds were captured in small new york moments to share. highlights included:

- discovering some new boundaries of chocolate, and trying to keep it unmelted in the hot july weather
- the complex simplicity of the guggenheim, the speechlessness of the media exhibits at the whitney
- "documenting" the purple couple and our antics trying to do this while being surreptitious about it...
- Seeing one of tony bourdain's old haunts
- the cheezy, buttery, sinful corn at cafe habana, fresh pita bread, olive oil gelato and the best pearl tea ever
- seeing s and "Sacha's Castle" which she'd always told me about
- Running as the clock ticked down, off the commuter rail, and towards the water, through crowds, and eventually finding a spot behind an overpass near the united nations to watch fireworks!

See for yourself--
Day 1: images, washington square park,
Day 2: images, inside the guggeheim, about that carpet: article & video,
Day 3: images, fireworks 1, fireworks 2, fireworks 3, fireworks 4
What lightning looks like from 30,000 ft

Sunday, June 27, 2004


Somewhere about 40 minutes north of SF on highway 1 is an other-worldly small chapel, plucked and dropped suddenly next to the highway in the middle of a grassy field.

The chapel was built by a stonemason, architect, woodworker, and tile-layer--I think it was one person--and it was an expression of his or her love for the sea. the place is resplendent with curved, asymmetrical lines of constantly changing waves, blues and greys of its depths in all seasons, satiny polish of wood tossed about in rough and fickle surf, and
unyielding edges of stone which have been the demise of so many foolish enough to disrespect its power and grace.

Words are inadequate to describe the way I felt sitting inside the chapel. peaceful, awestruck, overwhelmed, and illuminated all at the same time. And
these pictures really don't describe the beauty of this place. you should really just go and see it with your own two eyes, hands, and ears, you'll know what I mean.

Monday, May 24, 2004

lovely arizona

The last time I was in the grand canyon it was as part of a field trip for the "Olympics of the mind" national championship I went in 5th grade. Aside from some vague memories about the actual championship, I can remember that it was my first trip to Circus Circus, and that we drove for hours in the boiling hot desert, in a car lacking air conditioning, with me and Rachel Weiner crammed in the front seat. Finally, we stayed for a grand total of about 2 hours before heading to the next destination! In any case, The grand canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world, and given that it's relatively close to us here on the west coast, c and I decided to pay another visit.

We went by way of Scottsdale, where we saw Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd wright's Winter Home. I loved Taliesen west. It was my first visit to a FLW official site, and a good way to get some more insight into the way of life of the man and his apprentices. Although I really don't have the attention to detail and the capacity for tremendously difficult, and oftentimes unrewarding work that is expected before being able to stand on ones own as an architect, I had a fleeting interest in being one when I first started school. That small flame was rekindled--briefly--when the docent was talking about the apprentices living in the wilderness, and the evenings of culture and performance that were inherent to their time there. It sounded fun!

After a beautiful though hot afternoon there, we sped over to the Grand Canyon where we were just in time to catch a sunset. We then spent the next day hiking up and down the elementary levels of the canyon, and taking a guided tour of the flora and fauna in the surrounding area, collecting some breathtaking views along the way. There really is nothing like a 20 mile wide gorge to give you a better perspective on how truly small you are in the world. Anyway, check out some pictures, and make sure to take a look at the captions which are crammed with lots of info.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Climbing Yosemite

In April of 2004, a&j were cool enough to organize a group trip to Yosemite National Park, which is about 3 hours east of the bay area. Thanks a&j!! :D They both are avid hikers and know the park well, because they knew best places to stay and how to plan out the days there. We stayed at the Yosemite bug, which is a very comfortable and convenient hostel-type place. our group broke up into various rooms with bunk beds, and ate in the communal dining room which had delicious food--like steak, delicious asparagus, and these very unique barley pancakes which were super heavy to prepare you for a full day of hiking.

Since we were all relative newbies from a hiking perspective, we stuck to low to moderate impact trails, which put us in view of some lovely waterfalls. The occasional spray from the falls was helpful in the heat and sweat from exertion that at times threatened to make even the strongest among us quit. Both the times I've been there, I've been pretty much awestruck by the unadulterated beauty of nature. I love Yosemite because it really is a wilderness, there are bears and a relative lack of fencing and rangers--you could really get hurt if you weren't careful or if you were foolish. But there are also some safeties in place so that non-professional hikers like me can still enjoy it..clearly marked, paths, stairs in most areas where they're needed, and just the right number of people on the paths in case something went wrong. The climbing and effort we had to invest to get to places where the views were made the scenery at the top all the more beautiful. Take a peek at some of the views.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

My first trip to middle America

Having been born in NY, raised in Boston, and now living in San Fransico, I hadn't had a lot of opportunities to travel of the parts of the US bordered by shore. Although Chicago can't really be determined as a true part of middle was a good place to meet j, r, and e who were in Boston and Detroit respectively.

Since it was the first time in chicago for many of us, we spent a good portion of it just walking around and getting a lay of the land. a few things are big in chicago: sports, and beef. These two interests sometimes co-incide as we found many of the restaurants had sports themes, or sports-related owners, two of which we tried: Mike Ditka's, and Harry Caray's. Portions in this town were in general huge, and well prepared. We also had deep dish chicago pizza in the original Uno's! Unfortunately one place we missed was the restaurant of charlie trotter, c's favorite celebrity chef. Just an excuse to go back for a repeat visit--hopefully when the weather is a bit warmer.

Chicago is certainly a windy city. Temperatures were in the 30's to begin with, but the windchill made it worse, cutting through my clothes and swirling around my nose and inside of my ears. There weren't that many trees so sometimes walking across those unprotected fields and plazas brough up images in my mind of eskimos crossing tundras in the snow and blowing wind. I probably fared the worst out of all of us, though--the bay area really has made me soft! Anyway, check out some snaps!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Grandma and Grandpa's adventures in SF

Once in a blue moon, my grandma and grandpa will leave their nice home in Boston to come visit me and my uncle's family here in the bay area. During this time, I'll see a lot of my uncle's family, and my food intake is always more and of better quality during these brief stretches.

I think my grandparents like california. The weather is in general nicer and you can pretty much get by not knowing how to speak english, which is especially useful for my grandma. Only it's not as convenient to get around as Boston is...especially in the suburbs where my uncle lives. So despite the fact that they enjoy the time, visits tend to be short as my grandpa goes a bit crazy when he's cooped up and dependent upon others.

During our last trip, my uncle took us to a nice lunch at HK flower lounge in Millbrae. I was especially impressed by the dim sum was obvious that it was made in house, which is more than can be said of most of the dim sum places in the area. We then went for a nice walk around the part of 280 close to san bruno. There was a beautiful reservoir there, which was shaded and paved in most places--probably a great place for running if it weren't so far away. We finished off the day with a jaunt through the richmond in SF, checking out the wares in the various chinese markets, comparing prices and purchasing pastries. It's always so great to see my grandma happy and comfortable, enjoying herself and her environment.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Party on Oracle!

The one and only party I've been to at Oracle's expense was a 10g release party, which was held by the server tech (the profitable) division. they rented out San Francisco city hall, and decked it out with food, entertainment, and music. They had different rooms with musical and food related themes, but I remember many of them being pretty loud. Entertainment included cultural dances of various nations, including a dragon dance with the dragon throwing out candies at the audience!! All in all, I always love an excuse to get dolled up in formal wear, so it was a fun time.

Sunday, January 11, 2004


At some point after my gaming phase, I decided I needed to get outdoors more and I'd always wanted to know how to play basketball. I got a few friends of mine to join me, and we were matched with a bunch of free agents down in the Campbell beginners league. The team was called Swoosh. it was the first time playing organized ball for many of us, and we didn't realize how uniquely talented the other girls on our team were. Specifically, our center was a russian model (and I mean runway, folks) named vallya, who I'm convinced I remember used to play for the russian national team or something. She was tall, graceful, and attracted so much attention in the block that the rest of us were open to take wide open shots.

Karen was our captain. A student at San Jose state, she was fiery but very patient with us, teaching us the most basic fundamentals about the game. She also used to throw these wicked lob passes down the court to me so that I could make fast breaks. We were fast back in the day, comparatively at least. In fact, one team in particular commented in a nasty fashion that we were "too young for this league". It was as close to brawling I've ever gotten. Tracy and Teresa were two other adept and friendly players. Tracy, I remember, played our last games of the seasons and then broke the news she was a few months pregnant! And then there was Laura. Laura stayed with us after the campbell league had ended, through the brief forays we had in Menlo Park/EPA, to our current home in San Carlos. Always enthusiastic, and always opinionated.

My dad happened to catch
our last game of the season, the championship, which we won!! i made two fast breaks, and c and the crew said he was going nuts on the sidelines. In my family, none of us are all that althetic, so he was very surprised. My mom told me later he went home and said, "s plays basketball, and surprisingly she's pretty good!"