Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Work & Adventure

Very busy couple of weeks (hence the lack of updates). Andrew arrived on the 19th, and we had a good weekend -- a studio brunch, Canadian bbq, catching up. The Canadian bbq was hilarious: they served us (I kid you not) french fries, which were sprinkled with cheese curds, and liberally drizzled with gravy. I told Steve (our Canadian host) that they could totally make up a ridiculous "national dish" and serve it to us, relying upon our ignorance of Canadian cuisine. Steve assures me that the french fry/ cheese curd/ gravy mixture is actually the real deal: I still have my doubts.

The usual work week followed. Then a lovely Memorial Day weekend (which partially made up for the fact that I didn't make it to Reunion). On Friday night I "helped" at the Raines BBQ extravaganza, and Andrew joined me after he was done at the Google. Listened to the music, drank the beer, watched the "beach" volleyball competition.

Saturday we had a fantastic hike at Stinson Beach. We made a 7+ mile hike through a series of stages/ landscapes: 1) climbing up switchbacks in an old forest with massive fern growth, and an impressive population of slugs, 2) bursting out into a hilly meadow a la The Sound of Music, insanely blue sky with misting clouds traveling over the hills, 3) leveling out along fir tree forested areas, drier than stage 1, 4) hurrying across the highway to take a mellow descent along a stream with a series of little waterfalls, in a background that reminded me (and Andrew agreed) of the sort of foliage you expect on a Discovery Channel special with digitally rendered dinosaurs stalking about, 5) passing an old dam and coming out upon the coastal landscape, all low shrubs and within sight of the beach, where we were warned by fellow hikers that someone had seen a mountain lion, and that we should keep talking and making noise, although Andrew & I were more prone to call "here, kitty kitty" (until we saw a couple of deer: then we figured *they* could be the bait).

I discovered that Andrew stops complaining that he's tired around mile 5.

After the hike, we came home briefly & then had Andrew's belated birthday dinner at the cheesecake factory (yay tuxedo cheesecake!).

Sunday was also busy: Mountain View farmer's market (so many peaches, nectarines, apricots, strawberries...), reading on the beach at Half Moon Bay, short appearance at the cohort bbq, fried rice adventure back home, etc.

Monday we ran some errands & then went to Berkeley for a Memorial Day bbq with Rachel, Josh, and the new baby. Who is ridiculously cute. And is learning how to hold things. And has the best nursery room *ever.*

Another work week... I had all 15 of my student conferences, while trying to find the time to read all their papers & comment (oh yes, and also trying to fit in my own reading, an 800 page George Eliot novel, and various books of the Bible).

And another fantastic weekend: Saturday morning we got up at a time that, in my opinion, is more appropriate for just getting to bed at, rather than just waking at. 3:30 am. And waited in the dark for our Super Shuttle, which got us on our flight to Minneapolis. First stop with the rental car: The Mall of America! Yes it is huge. Yes there is a "park" in the center, and basically an indoor, year round fair. Wandered around a while, finally chose a pair of sandals from Nordstrom's to go with my dress, and ate at Wolfgang Puck's, where I was pleasantly surprised by the food (considering it's mall food): grilled veggie sandwich (good), tuscan minestrone soup (decent), and bread (amazing: at first I made fun of their giving me some more starch to go along with my other two starches, but I shut up after tasting it).

Then we quickly got ready for the wedding, which was gorgeous. In the unique Memorial Center -- rounded contour with irregularly placed windows (Andrew says it could be a modern synagogue). The ceremony was short and sweet, with a pretty chuppah (gauzy white cloth, gathered at the front two corners with bouquets), and a well integrated Lutheran & Jewish dynamic (it seemed to go back and forth: from candle lighting to rings to breaking the glass). Reception in another room, which was decorated with live grass, candles, and a beautiful chocolate frosted cake. Then back to the outer room, which was now a dining room & ballroom: table centerpieces very Midsummer Night's Dream -- tree branches hung with candles. Yummy dinner (strawberry & mandarin orange salad, I had the fish with rice and grilled veggies) and decadent wedding cake. Then a little dancing, with me getting stepped on three or four times (and only half of those by Andrew, somehow everyone near us manages to step on my feet), and then our taking off since we were pretty exhausted. Sunday we had a hell of a time finding a place to eat brunch, and finally ended up at an adorable bakery, called Cupcake. Would have been perfect if they didn't run out of oatmeal right before I ordered. Got some way too sweet crepes (raspberry cream cheese filling, smothered with raspberry jam, and sprinkled with sugar), which Andrew chivalrously returned for me, in exchange for a more neutral fruit cup. We did get some cupcakes to go, and a delicious loaf of multigrain bread, which I'm still working on.

After: the Minneapolis art musuem. I spent the most time in the Blake exhibit, with his illustrations of the Book of Job. The runner up: Psychadelic SF concert posters & 60's musician photos.

Then a short walk in the sculpture garden (what's up with the white spoon, holding a cherry, fountaining water over itself?).

Then more of the mall, which made me feel frustrated, since I just wanted a quiet place to read Daniel Deronda.

Then Ikea for french fries (my thinking process: craving for french fries, but who would most likely not fry them in trans fat? my answer, the Swedes!)

Then a wild ride to return the rental car.

Then a triple shot latte.

Then 3.5 hours of Daniel Deronda while on the plane.

Followed by an hour of waiting for the Super Shuttle, which it turns out, is neither super, nor very good at shuttling. Our prepay reservation wasn't honored, so we had to go with a different van, after waiting around for an hour (during which I kept reading D.D.). Speeding along the highways at an illegal clip. Finally at home: 1:15 am. Shower, reading response, more reading, finally in bed after 3 am.


Managed to finish D.D. (all 810 pages) before class... final reading group meeting at the Treehouse... picking up bakery goodness from Andronico's... getting Adela's help to serve our residents chocolate cake, cheesecake, hazelnut-chocolate cake, mocha cake, fruit tarts, mousse cups, fresh berries, etc. Cleaning of the apartment with Andrew. Finally reading some of the Book of Revelations.

Today was also busy, with Jill's birthday lunch, getting yet more bakery goodness & fruit for my students, watching The Shining (which, when not edited for TV, contains a number of scenes with racial & gender politics that I wish we could have discussed further, but we already were 30 minutes over the end of class), and going to the final Bible class. Where my hunch was confirmed: the Book of Revelations is the crazy.

I feel like I just exhaled a huge breath.

Some day I'll have pictures to post from Andrew's better-than-mine camera.

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