November 29, 2010

Local Treats

I love oysters. They are one of my favorite foods. I appear to enjoy them so much, that E had to test his theory that he had inherited a family shellfish allergy just to see if he, too, could enjoy them. Thankfully, he can, and we often enjoy oysters together.

And yet, despite our joint enjoyment of the slippery little suckers, for some reason, we'd never been up to the oyster farms near Point Reyes.

So, the day after a mellow Thanksgiving with friends, we set out for the gorgeous drive up Highway 1, north of San Francisco.


This portion of Highway 1 is eerily free of human development. The Highway traces the coast and then threads through the Golden Gate Park National Recreation Center, the Mt. Tamalpais State Park, the Samuel P. Taylor State Park, and the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here and there, grandfathered homes and dairies dot the landscape, but for much of the drive, it is simply the highway and the untouched marshlands.

Our first stop was Tomales Bay Oyster Company.


It was a gorgeous setting, but the groups that were already there, dressed in waders and wearing shucking gloves, were too professional for E and me. For starters, neither of us was in waders, and then, we didn't have a shucking knife. Yes, we could have purchased these items, and tried to figure out what the hell we were supposed to do with them, and perhaps, in a future visit, we will. But there wasn't much time left in the day, so we drove a little further to Hog Island Oyster Company, where they have free valet parking, and an oyster bar that will prepare a platter to your specifications.

On the way in, we walked by tanks of huge oysters, which, coupled with the salty air, started my pavlovian response:



We placed an order and scored the last open picnic table at 4:20 or so, just 10 minutes before they stopped serving.


So, we sat and enjoyed the view.


And, after the professionals shucked and laid 'em out for us, we gleefully put away 24 of the freshest oysters we've ever had.


We had plans in wine country the next day and it was only an hour drive from the oysters to Santa Rosa, where we stayed the night.

Saturday, the first time bay area fun continued with an art tour at Clos Pegase and the tram tour and tasting at Sterling Vineyards. Although both of these are considered wine country institutions, for some reason, neither E nor I had ever made it to either of them.

And finally, we enjoyed a big family-style meal with E's childhood best friend's family at Ad Hoc.


The menu? Bread and butter. Stuffed cabbage with mushroom risotto. The best pork chop of my life with sides of mustard sauce and broiled fennel. Sticky Toffee Pudding.

The service could use a quick lesson in manners, and there is a 2 bottle limit on corkage which is applied per table, even if you have a table of 9, unless you make a fuss. But, the food was amazing, and I'm not kidding, it literally was The. Best. Pork. Chop. Of. My. Life. So, overall, I have to recommend it.

In fact, if you are looking for a great quick bay-area get away, I highly recommend the drive to oysters, followed by the drive to wine country for a delicious dinner (or two) and some wine tasting. The ability to have this experience on a whim is definitely one of the better things about living here.

November 22, 2010

Word of the Day

Drayage: the transport of goods a short distance.

According to Wikipedia, the term originally meant "to transport by a sideless cart."

You can imagine my confusion upon finding this (unknown to me) term in a commercial software license form.

You know, software. The thing we modern humans transport via bits over the Interwebs?

Needless to say, this is not the typical purchaser/licensee of my client's products and the form needed a *ton* of work.

November 20, 2010

Turning under

The summer garden is gone, and the winter garden is finally planted.

More detail over at Tech Law Garden.

November 18, 2010

When Help Isn't

True help is in the form of something offered by a donor and accepted by the receiver.

Ideally, the receiver may have even requested the help in a clear way, with an understanding that there was no obligation for it to be provided.

Unrequested aid is often the opposite of help. It often causes damage, both to the receiver and the person who spent time and effort trying to solve a problem without full understanding.

I just found myself the recipient of some unrequested "help" (that I was not given the opportunity to accept or reject) and now have quite a mess to clean up.

Definitely not helpful in the least bit.

November 14, 2010

Fun With Hobbies

When my niece was our flower girl, I made up a story called, "The Flower Girl Saves the Day."

She asked me to tell it every time I saw her in the year before the wedding. Once, I sat on the floor and regaled her and 6 of her friends (all boys) with the tale. They all loved it.

Since then, every few months, she'll ask me to tell it again. It's been years since the wedding, but she can't seem to get enough of the story.

After the last visit with her, when she requested it, yet again, I decided to hire an illustrator and self-publish an illustrated children's book of the story for Christmas so that she can read it to herself whenever she likes.

As a bonus, I'm going to make it available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble after I'm done with the gift phase to see if I can turn it into a successful children's book.

So far, I've very much enjoyed this process -- the drafting of the story and the selection of the illustrator from Elance has been the most fun part of my day every day this week.

November 6, 2010

Dreaming in Color

Last night, I dreamed about mousing over pages on the Internet.

My sleep brain even has ads.

Which is weird because I use Adblock.


November 1, 2010

America's Pastime

I *hated* baseball growing up. Grandpa Jack and Grandma Mary always had the radio on on the background when we visited. Constant noise.

Daddy played in college. That's how he got the scar that kept him out of 'nam. In hindsight, I should probably have loved the game more than I originally did. But I was a child, so I was just confused as to why my huge father played baseball instead of football, which he preferred as a spectator.

When brother played little league, I had to be a scorekeeper. I had to mark the runs, the errors, the hits, etc. It had its own symbolic language, which was cool, but it required me to pay attention to my younger brother and his friends rather than going off to play with the other kids, which was not cool. Thank goodness E2 was subject to the same scorekeeping duty on behalf of her brother's team (or perhaps they were on the same team, I can't recall) -- but I do think that's where we originally cemented our friendship, between the hits and errors.

Once, when I was small, Dad took me to a Giant's game with our local Indian Princesses group. Frankly, it was scary. Loud. Big people. Lots of Orange and White. I do remember Candlestick Park though. I thought that was a very cool name for a park.

In college, I knew a few baseball players, and I decided it was a solid sport. They worked hard. They were cocky when good, but humble when bad. Overall, I started to develop a soft spot for the sport.

My first employer had season tickets to the Giants and I developed a healthy respect for the game. I even watched a few college players from CAL make their early careers after I graduated. (ASIDE -- HOW COULD CAL HAVE ELIMINATED BASEBALL AS AN NCAA SPORT?)

When the Giants played the Angels in the world series, I got to go to a game with my employer. It was amazing.

And then, the Giants fell off my radar.

I focused on my life and they did their thing.

Until this year.

When my step-dad showed up to drop off his trailer to attend the first NLCS game and brought me back a good-luck hat.

I've been wearing that hat and watching games whenever I can ever since.

I've celebrated Giants wins this year at my Mom's house, Kapp's, home, the Grand Wailea, and McTeague's.

Tonight, amongst the crowd at Kapp's, E and I celebrated the win with an adorable local couple who've had season tickets for 32 years. The number of pins on their hats? Amazing.

And, as it's all progressed, I've finally become a true baseball fan. What a game! I love it -- the numbers, the data, the athleticism, the drama, the americana, and the esoterica. I look forward to next season!
Wonderful Weekend

A beautiful wedding ceremony for The Enforcer in Tilden Park where the rain waited until after the ceremony to fall.

Hours of catching up with old friends at the wedding celebration.

Dim Sum with family and friends.

Wine tasting with girlfriends in Sonoma.

A delicious Portuguese dinner at La Sallette.

A long walk along the San Francisco Bay Trail followed by mediterranean food.

A long chat with a good friend on the phone to catch up.

Watching the Giants win their third World Series Game while handing out candy to witches, goblins, and ghosts.

Is it any surprise that the return to Monday normal is a bit difficult this morning...