Archive for Outside The Bay
What we did not plan was to experience a hurricane. Instead of a visit with our daughter it turned in to a visit with Sandy, also known as Frankenstorm.
My heart goes out to all of those who have suffered because of Hurricane Sandy. Please take time to donate to the RedCross for Hurricane Sandy relief. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Thanks!
I was fortunate, the only thing that happened to me was a mild inconvenience. I felt blessed to be there for our daughter (although she really didn’t need us). It’s still nice to be near family when things like this happen.
The last post I wrote here was about my commitment to not complain for 30 days. I picked a fine time to stop complaining but in the end I was grateful for my intention of not complaining.
Really, what possible good would have come out of me complaining about the hurricane? People were and are living through real tragedies. I could have gotten on Twitter and Facebook and done a whole lot of whining about my hotel losing power, my vacation being ruined, losing most of our clothing at the laundry mat, having to stock up on 7-11 survival food and just general inconvenience but what is the point? In reality, we were very blessed on this trip. The day of Hurricane Sandy we ran in to an old friend who let us camp out in her hotel room, a hotel which had power during the hurricane. The day after the hurricane, despite lack of power, internet, land and cell phone reception we were lucky enough to find our daughter walking down the street in NYC! Her friend’s family offered the girls a place to stay in Manhattan until their power was back.
One of the strangest things I have ever heard is a silent New York City. The silence was deafening.
The explosions of light I saw on the other side of the Hudson River were scary and the darkness was intense.
I did not sleep that night.
Video of Hurricane Sandy on bikes:
Video spotted on Twitter via my friend @Ctygrl99
The hurricane was a bit of a wake up call for me:
We are all very dependent on electricity, the internet and cell phone reception. Amazing how much our lives change without it.
I am not prepared for an emergency if one happens here.
I spend too much time on the internet.
Because of the realizations above I plan to take some action. I already got a tiny purple address book from the office supply store and I am in the process of handwriting everyone’s contact info. I plan to keep this tiny address book in my purse. Thanks to “smart” phones I no longer have any phone number memorized. Do you? The only phone numbers still floating around in my head are ones from before the invention of mobile phones.
Next, I will complete my emergency kit at home and work, you know the usual: water, flashlights, canned food, and everything else on the list my super organized wonderful neighbor wrote up.
The thing about spending too much time on the internet… the night of and the day after the hurricane when we were all sitting around the hotel lobby with nothing to do because pretty much the WHOLE city (Manhattan) was shut down, we started talking to people. Real life, face to face communication with strangers. I think nowadays it is more difficult to meet new people because most people, including myself are looking down at our phones and not looking out at the world. I enjoyed talking to strangers and meeting new people. It was a very in the moment kind of experience. I haven’t decided yet how I am going to change my internet use but ideas are peculating. More than completely cutting it out of my life, I am working on finding more balance. More to come on that topic later. Below are some photos from my trip. I didn’t take too many pictures because it felt sad to take pictures.
The morning after the hurricane.
Walking through East Village on way back to original hotel to pick up our stuff in the dark. iPhone came in handy as flashlight going up and down the emergency stairs in the very dark hotel when we gathered our stuff. We couldn’t even check out because the front desk person couldn’t do anything but write our name and room number down on a piece of paper using a flashlight to see.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. My last night in NYC when I was hoping to get some sleep this Taxi line to get gas due to the gas shortage in Manhattan wrapped all the away around the block. They honked ALL night!!!
Yes Colombia in South America! The one many of you associate with drugs and spell ColUmbia. Spelling ColUmbia with “U” instead of “O” annoys Colombians in the same way that calling San Francisco “Frisco” drives Bay Area people crazy.
Our trip was short and wonderful (except for the American Airlines return flight home that had an emergency landing, oxygen masks and all – details on this adventure coming soon).
This was a family vacation! Celia, the 3 kids (young adults) and I went together.
When I tell people I went to Colombia the usual response is “Why?!” or “Isn’t that dangerous?”
The reason we chose Colombia was because much of Celia’s family has immigrated from Venezuela to Colombia over the last few years.
Bogotá looked a lot like any big city you see around the world with the difference that there are no lanes drawn on the highway. We complain about our freeways, try driving on one with no lines, pot holes and people passing on the left, right and every which way while honking and trying to avoid hitting motorcycles and bicyclists.
Celia’s cousin and her husband who live in Bogotá were the most gracious hosts! They welcomed us in to their beautiful home and took time to show us around Bogotá.
The first stop was the Catedral de Sal which is an underground Catholic Church that was built in the tunnels of the Salt Mine many years ago. We had free reign to explore the mine/cathedral. It felt like we were in a Disney adventure film wandering around underground discovering new rooms, hallways and treasures.
To be continued… Celia’s cousins introduced us to 2 amazing restaurants in Bogotá!
Last week I was in Phoenix, Arizona attending the IVAA conference. On the last day my friend Yvonne and I and our new friends Janet and Mike decided to play hooky and go out on the town. For a whole $1.75 we had transportation for the day thanks to Mike who knew about the awesome light rail public transportation system that Phoenix has to offer. Our first stop off the rail was the Hard Rock Café to get a t-shirt for Jan but of course when I saw they had a purple blingy one I also had to get myself a t-shirt. We then headed to Alice Cooper’s restaurant Cooper’sTown and had very large glasses of lemonade.
After drinking our very large glasses of lemonade we headed back to the train and made our way to Tempe. Yvonne was on a mission to see a desert and a cactus. I was going with the flow. When we arrived in Tempe there just happened to be a little mountain or desert hill in the middle of the town and it had cactus on it! It was called the Hayden Butte Preserve. Yvonne and I asked Jan and Mike if they were up for a hike. Being the easy going fun people they are they said sure! Off we went, me in my flip flops, Yvonne in her semi-high heeled flip flops and up the trail we went. I’m so glad we were the adventurers that we were! The view from the top of that desert mountain hill was beautiful! (Please note I am the short one in this picture for some reason ALL of my virtual friends have the idea I am tall. I’m not.)
After our desert hike I was craving a beer. Mike said let’s get one then. (My kinda guy!) We strolled in to town to find a plethora of pubs. We had pub choices! We decided upon the one called The Library (being on a business trip and playing hooky it seemed appropriate). The place was great! The walls were lined with nice old books. It made us feel smart. I got my cold beer and was very pleased. I also had a chicken caeser salad that was huge and quite delicious. I’m thinking this could be my new office.
The waitress uniforms were… well let’s just say I wouldn’t work there. Seriously how do businesses get away with this kind of dress requirement? I guess because the women put up with it… You can take a look for yourself here.
The Library Bar & Grill
501 South Mill Avenue, Suite 101
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Celia just discovered a new restaurant in Auburn! This makes me happy because I’m always looking for good food halfway between Tahoe and home. Lots of Bay Area people drive past Auburn on their way to Lake Tahoe or Downieville to go skiing or mountain biking.
Here is what guest blogger Celia has to say about the Auburn Ale House:
The Auburn Ale House is a great brew company located in old town Auburn. It is hip and is open pretty much all day. Auburn Ale House has great food and they brew all their own beers. We heard from other mountain bikers that the beer is very good. This place is perfect for people going to Tahoe or coming back from Tahoe. We got there around 4:30 pm, hungry after a day of skiing. Everything else in town was closed because it was either too late for lunch or too early for dinner. But this brew co was open! And the service was great too!
Auburn Ale House
289 Washington Street
Auburn CA 95603
This weekend I am in the city of Claremont which is located in the greater LA area. We came here because it is family weekend at the Claremont Colleges and we are a Claremont family. Our son goes to Harvey Mudd and our daughter just got accepted at Pitzer.
I love the town of Claremont. In fact, I’d even consider moving here if it weren’t for the poor air quality. My Asthma and this area don’t get along very well.
Besides the air quality, Claremont is a very charming town. It’s a college town. You’ve got the 5 Claremonts, quiet streets with adorable little houses I assume the professors live in and a thriving downtown area full of great places to eat and shops. Claremont is actually one of the Top Best Places to Live according to Money Magazine it is number 5.
Yesterday my parents drove up from The OC to visit me here in Claremont. I took them on the college tour pretending I was the college student since our kids decided snow boarding sounded more fun than parents day at school. Walking around the Claremont Colleges is like walking around a botanical garden. It is so beautiful and each campus has a totally different feel in plant life, architecture and student culture. We first walked through Scripps which has Spanish architecture and beautiful old flowering plants and trees and secret gardens. We then went to Pitzer which is the more eco friendly school with modern green resident halls and gardens full of cacti and other environmentally friendly plants for this area.
On a clear day the views from campus are breath taking. I got this picture yesterday.
After we toured the campuses we went downtown. We wanted something light and healthy and were delighted to find the restaurant So Fresh Salads. This place is great! You can build your own salad. It’s not a salad bar but you tell them exactly what you want in your salad and they make it to order. I had a mixed green salad and Broccoli Cheese soup. Very, very yummy stuff! My mom had a chicken-lettuce- sundried tomato-artichoke heart-wrap. My dad had vegetable soup and a green salad. We were all satisfied customers. The salad was super fresh and crisp. So Fresh Salads is almost like fast food but fresh and healthy food. I love that a restaurant like this is next to the university. Our world could really benefit from more restaurants like this and less of those other fast food types.
For dessert we were happy to discover a Yogurtland nearby.
We are in Los Angeles this weekend visiting our son at college.
I guess Hollywood heard I was coming and wanted to give me a warm welcome!
Photo from SFGate Day in Pictures February 12, 2010.
Thanks Amy for sending me this photo.
Downieville is not exactly the Bay Area but you can drive to it from the Bay Area in about 3.5 – 4 hours. That counts, right?
A few weeks ago Celia and I and a group of mountain biking friends headed to Downieville for a mini vacation. Downieville is famous for it’s Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race. Downieville is one of my favorite places. I LOVE Downieville. I go there at least once every year.
Downieville is a beautiful small town located on the Yuba river in Sierra County. It’s a total escape for me to get away from my fast paced Bay Area life style and just simply relax for a few days. The town of Downieville is also very dog friendly. Poncho had a great time swimming in the river. He literally spent hours in the river.
My favorite thing to do in Downieville is to go to the beach and just chill by the river. Sometimes, I even get in the river although it is a tad bit cold for my taste. However, I do enjoy floating on the river on my inner tube. Other people like to mountain bike, fish or pan for gold.
We always stay at the Downieville Riverside Inn. We love it there, the inn keeper’s Mike and Nancy are super friendly and the place is very nice. The Inn is located right on the Yuba River so you can hear the river rushing by when you are falling asleep. The room we stay in has a balcony right over the river and also comes with a kitchen. Breakfast is included and is served in a living room. Every morning we sit around living room chatting with Mike, Nancy or some of the other guests while drinking delicious fresh brewed coffee and eating bagels with lox and cream cheese.
I usually go to Downieville the first week in July so I am there for the 4th of July celebrations. They have a small town parade on the 4th that is so much fun. Here are some pictures from past years.
The best part of the parade is at the very end when they roll out a big giant roll of plastic bubbles and everyone steps on them at the same time. It sounds exactly like a big firework show.
The locals of Downieville have always been super welcoming and fun to hang out with. They are even up for some friendly competition in the tug-o-war (locals against visitors) and the foot races.
There are only a few options of places to eat in Downieville: the Grubstake and the Pizza Place. There is also an Ice Cream shop and a a small local market for groceries that has a cafe in the back of the store. I noticed a new restaurant called the Wooden Trout Cafe just opened within the last year as well. I did not get a chance to try it but heard it was good. If you stay at the Riverside Inn and get a room with a kitchen you can cook there or use their BBQ.
If you are looking for a fun, relaxing and friendly place to escape to I highly recommend going to Downieville and staying at the Riverside Inn.
The Riverside Inn is located right on the river at:
206 Commercial Street
This isn’t exactly a locally owned independent business (or the Bay Area) but I enjoy Yard House so much I decided to write about it. Every time I go to Orange County I make sure to stop by the Yard House in Triangle Square at least once. They have over 100 beers on tap. Despite all my beer choices I always order the same one – The Hoegaarden White.
I recommend going to Yard House during Happy Hour when you can get select appetizers for half off. Happy Hour is Monday – Friday from 3 – 6pm.
The food is delicious. My sister and I went for an early dinner the other night. We had the Blue Crab Cakes with mango papaya chutney.
The Moo Shoo Egge Rolls served with apple ginger plum sauce.
And the California Roll. The Yardhouse California Rolls are like no other Califronia Roll – it’s more like a California Cake.
This should be the last Orange County post for awhile. Now returning to the Bay Area.
When my friend Emily who lives in the Bay Area heard I was going to be in Costa Mesa she said, “you have GOT to try Yogurtland, it’s the best frozen yogurt ever and it’s self serve and you can put as many different toppings as you like, and, and, and…” She was very excited about Yogurtland so I looked it up as soon as I got here and discovered there was one near my parents house. Although, I found it strange that they list it as a Newport Beach address when it is actually in Costa Mesa. Maybe their thinking is people from Newport Beach spend more money so let’s pretend we are in Newport Beach and if you are not from here you probably would never notice but, whatever…
Plus, it is so incredibly hot and humid here in OC this week a frozen yogurt sounded pretty good to me.
Emily was right. Yogurtland is great! You come in and grab a big bowl. Your choice of bowls is big and bigger. I would have liked to see a small or junior size bowls but since you get to fill it yourself and decide exactly how much you want I guess big is okay, it leaves room for the toppings. They offer a huge choice of yogurt, I decided to try 3 different flavors: Dutch Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, and Plain Tart. Plain Tart is my favorite but I couldn’t resist trying the other flavors. They also have some unique flavors such as Taro and Green Tea. The topping bar was endless… full of fresh fruit, nuts, candy, cereal and probably other things. I was focused on the fresh fruit. I had mango, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and blueberries.
Yogurtland charges by weight. I think it was .30 cents an ounce.
I just discovered Yogurtland is also in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have a location in Berkeley! I think Emily and I will be taking a field trip to Berkeley soon.
277 E. 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA