Saturday, August 7, 2010

Time Away, Part 1

Since Stella was born, I've been lucky to have pretty minimal travel for work. But I currently have a project with a client in the Bay Area, and I don't mind going there since I have been able to combine my on-site meetings with an extended visit to stay with my brother, Tim, and sister-in-law, Jeanne. For this trip, Jeanne was out of town, but I luckily hit one of the weeks when Tim has Friday off. (He works a "9-80" schedule, which means every other week he has a free Friday.) So after my meeting, which conveniently is close to the town he works he, he picked me up.

First we went to the Stanford campus. He'd hoped to show me the chapel and the Art Museum. Unfortunately, the chapel was closed, but Stanford has a beautiful campus, and it was interesting to see the Ivy League look mixed with California mission. Stanford also has a large collection of Rodin sculptures, including a version of the Burghers of Calais, a set of statues which commemorated the sacrifice of six elders during the Hundred Years' War to spare the rest of the city's population. The Rodin Museum in Paris was one of the highlights of a trip there years ago and the story is moving, so I appreciated getting to see these in person.

A great photo of the sculpture, not taken by me. I didn't bring my camera on the trip, so photographic evidence is a bit few and far between.

Tim had originally proposed we go to Alcatraz on this trip, but tickets were already sold out, but the next morning we decided to go into the city anyway, starting with the BART ride to the Mission, where we ate at a great (and popular!) bakery called Tartine and checked out the view from a park.

I couldn't believe how long the line was on a Friday morning! But the wait was worth it. This bakery felt a bit like entering France, and our morning bun and brioche fruit bread pudding were fantastic. And there's always something decadent and wonderful about a big bowl of latte to sip.

View from a park in the Mission--we had lovely weather and a great view.

Next we went to the Ferry Building, a refurbished port building that's been turned into a market. A bit like Pike Place, but smaller and focused on local artisanal products: olive oil, cheese, salumi, coffee, pottery--pretty much my idea of heavenly shopping!

First I ogled the beautiful Heath ceramics--maybe someday I'll have an excuse to get another set of dishes, or at least this little water pitcher!

Time for lunch--there were many good looking and smelling options, but the "salty pig parts" caught my eye, and the daily special was fantastic. I almost got Tyler a t-shirt, but he was worried he'd seem like a Salumi traitor.

My friend has raved about Blue Bottle coffee, so I decided to bring some home as a treat for me and Tyler. Their descriptions were almost worth it alone.

After shopping and eating, Tim took me to the Wells Fargo Museum, a free historical museum with displays talking about the stage coaches, pony express, and banking from early days of the gold rush. It was pretty interesting and fun to see one of the old stagecoaches up close. They also had samples of all different kinds of gold which were found in California, which was fascinating, along with photos of the great earthquake and fire.

That night we went to a chaat house, which they seem to have lots of in the Bay Area and not in Seattle, where most the Indian food seems to be Punjab/Northern, rather than Southern. Even though we didn't go to the South on our trip, I have a soft spot for dosas (a crepe filled with spiced potato yumminess) and thalis (a platter filled with small bowls of various dishes).

We started the meal with poori, which can be different kinds of things, but this seemed like crunchy puffed rice with cilantro, lime, red onion and probably some other things, which was light and refreshing and delicious.

Along the the thali in front of me, Tim had recommended a rose lassi, which I'd never seen before and was so good!

That night we went for a movie, something that's been a bit of a luxury post-Stella. The next day, it was time to come home. Thanks to Tim's usual planning and considerations, it was a wonderful trip! But much as I loved my visit,and having a few baby-free days, I have to admit that by my third night away I was missing Tyler and Stella more acutely.

Of course, I expected that my reunion with Stella would be filled with her relief and happiness and a big hug. And she was happy to see me, but after she smiled and laughed a bit, she went about her business, by showing me that Tyler was wearing sandals. I guess I should be happy that she's not traumatized!

Before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Stella again, but this time just for a night as we headed to our friends' wedding that was on an Argosy boat in the Puget Sound.

Congratulations, Mike and Kristie! It was a fantastic wedding!

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