Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer in the States- by b

It's 2 am in San Francisco. We get on a plane to Barcelona this evening. Herewith a long blog post (don't worry... it's long because of photos not words) about our summer in the California. For me the trip swung between being very stressful and very nice... for me the early part of the trip, in SF, was more stressful (with nice bits woven in) and a lot more pleasant in the second half once in southern california, once I felt I had got a number of things under control up north. There was stress woven in the second half too, but the balance was in my favor. The photos, of course, show mostly the good stuff ... even from day one.

San Francisco
Mark Twain was absolutely right when he famously said: "San Francisco is really fucking cold in summer." It was brrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! when we got here. We turned to warming our selves with foodstalgia: Regent Thai, bagels, etc. Arel's birthday was a couple days after our arrival. His birthday food choices included avocado and jarlsberg scramble at Chloes for breakfast and dinner at home of Lucca Ravioli.

Gisela, Sven, Karen, Nick, Caio, Senta and David Hart came over for the ravioli at Jeanne and David's house our (thank you!) home while we were in SF.

Arel's day started with some really nice prezzies: a netbook... goggles...

... a pair od Nike ID's that he'd designed online and my parents bought for him and gave him when he go to Cali

Arel, especially, often seems to have rolling birthday celebrations in multiple places. Here we are at Lydia for more cake.

San Francisco involved a lot of errands. This is the German consulate for getting the boys German/EU passports renewed.Arel was smiling in his passport photo... turns out this isn't ok. We walked down the hill to get him new, more dour, shots. Apparently this is a post-9/11 requirement of several countries.

Errand: the state of a water heater at 27th Street. Fixed now.

Kristin really planned the trip and the overlaying calendars, needs, and logistics. She also really took primary responsibility for the boys and let me be free in SF as I had a lot of catching up to do with people for work---and a lot to fix/align. (She had some work too... including taking her oral exam for her coaching course.) Here are Dylan and Richard, two key Rassak people. During the second part of summer I took more of the kids responsibility from kristin.

Dylan and I went on a bunch of sales calls together

My work routine was not unlike Barcelona. It's a lot easier to get WiFi around here though

Mark Twain also famously said: "when freezing your ass off in San Francisco, it is a good idea to visit John and Ariege in Sonoma where it is warm and lovely." Which we did.

David and Jeanne's immediate neighbors are Gabi and Kevin. Gabi made a super nice "snack" (AKA meal) and we hung out for a while. Kristin looks really happy/peaceful to me in this snap. I really wish I could have eased into social moments more readily in SF. I was a bit jealous of her.

Several people (kids and adults) were talking about a new place in Noe Valley that sells games. They let you come in and play games free in hopes you buy something (sounds like the web!). The boys went several times. Here Dorian is trying out a laser game... the pieces have mirrors, and holes.. and you need to line up your pieces so that a laser on the board will pass thru and reflect off your pieces (and your opponents) to kill your opponent's king.

At the game shop: Arel, Dorian, David and the guy who owns the place

The guy who owns the place puts a CD in a microwave. You can watch what happens.

My parents came up to visit for a couple of days. We went to dinner with them at Liberty Cafe on Cortland. They drove over with Kristin and Dorian. Arel and I walked over Bernal Hill. It can be quite glorioius up there.

They brought us Bananagrams. Here a game at the Blue Bottle @ Mint Plaza

Coffee break

Hanging with Sven and his friend and kids in Hayes Valley.

We had a kidshare reunion. These kids have known each other since they were very very very very young. They are growing up!!

At the kidshare reunion: Kristin, Karen, Ariege

Charlotte (just back from a year in Laos)

Typical(ly amazing) kidshare food

Dorian and I are working on a top-secret project. Sven shot some photos and videos for it. He made Dorian feel like a star.

This is part of Sven's talent. It's much more than technical and visual talent... there is a psychology and energy to getting the best out of people in a stressful, time-is-money situation.. and he did a great job with Dorian. I'm really grateful. Stay tuned to learn about the project. It is cool.

Dorian and I had dinner with our neighbors on 27th St. I went down the street with Dorian and Andrew to pick blackberries

Early saturday morning playground.

As part of his bar mitzva "transitions project" Arel interviewed Nick Nickerson.. who is in his 90s... about transitions in his life.

BTW, Nick makes a very tasty Manhattan

Arel slipped very easily into life in SF and saw a number of his friends.... like Amina

Southern California

Heading South... After time in SF, Arel, Dorian and I drove down in Kristin's mom's car. Kristin would follow a few days later by plane.

I really liked the drive. It went fast. And I like 2-lane highways. Highway 5 is one for most of the drive down. This shot captures the drive for me.

There were signs of Iraq in a number of spots during this summer. Here is a truck we passed on the 5. The back of the cab is a memorial to two US soldiers lost in the war.

We stayed with my brother Yoni....

... and his wife Lori

We snuck in for a drink and a swim at the The Standard on Hollywood Blvd. Dorian's reading the menu

Yoni checking mail

Arel's friend from Barcelona was staying in Malibu. We drove out there on Sunset Blvd and went directly by Carolwood where Michael Jackson was staying when he died. We stopped for a second. The house had a few notes and memorials that people had left behind --- from all over the world.

Somebody made a heart with words from a song Michael Jackson sung. "Smile, even though your heart is breaking... " The music is written by Charlie Chaplin.

Here Michael Jackons sings it

This is Manny.. yoni and lori's dog. short for manuel or perhaps manhattan

We went to their work where the boys got to design jackets which they made for them. that was very cool

as was driving around on a forklift

running in the fountains at hollywood and highland ... the security guard is telling arel he needs shoes.


Kristin came down to LA for a night and stayed with her friend June. Next morning we headed over to Catalina to see Jeanne and David and the kids.

This is Jeanne and Darrah coming to pick us up at the ferry upon our arrival.




Coney Island---supertasty

Early morning fishing on the pier in Avalon. Arel's about the to throw the fish back. It was cool. I woke up early and was doing some work in the diner down the street from the house. I looked up at some point and there was Arel. He'd got up early too. He wanted to fish. So we went.

After a few days we drove to San Diego. Here is San Onofre at sunset

Hip Omi in Arel's ID's

I couldn't help myself. San Diego involved some meetings.

My cousin John and his kid Ethan.. plus Arel and Dorian. John makes my guys laugh.

A (second?---I never really know how it works) cousin of mine, Nicole, was getting married in San Diego. So loads of people who I don't get to see much were in town. I enjoyed it. My brother's kids from Philly were in town. I convinced the kids to walk up to my parent's synagogue with me on Friday evening. Arel and Dorian succumbed to the temptation of my parents' car soon after this picture was taken.

Ami (my bro), Sam and Charlotte walked all the way. Ami was cursing me (quite literallly) toward the end. It's a beautiful walk though. Loads of eucalyptus trees... and the ocean.

We got some good non-family time too... we drove out for a good afternoon/evening to Rancho Santa Fe to see our Barcelona friends Duff/Sue and Lyndsey. That was really nice.

We also had a really mellow afternoon with old old friends... all visiting town for summer. We met up and a house David and Annie rented by Windansea beach .. and then ended up on the beach. Here's Annie

Kristin and Mila




David. He looks like he's barking buy/sell orders.. but he's talking to his parents in Australia

Kristin and Laurel

My mom had a brunch for my dad's birthday. It was a really big deal for her to celebrate his first birthday after coming out of his colon cancer. These are my cousins Richard from Cincinatti adn Paul for Portland.

Laurel hung out at the brunch. Later we headed out to the wedding. Laurel was practicing tie tying

Dorian and Sam

Dorian on a golf course. Don't tell anyone... i don't think that's an appropriate use of a sand trap

Dorian getting down with my dad during the Hora

Dorian and my brother talking

Errand!! My dad checking my eye

We had an excellent day with Laurel.. we started at the Shores looking for sharks. They weren't there. My dad and mom came down and took some great pics. Once I get one or two, I'll add them to this post. We went with them and Laurel to El Pescador for a yummy! lunch. This is the tip jar at El Pescador

And a guy behind the counter

Local shark

My parents peeled off and we went down to Laure'ls place

We saw the sharks there ... not quite the same ... but the couple other times we tried to find them later, they weren't around. Next time we'll try at 6 am... that seems to be the trick

Charlotte pickign lemons at Laurels

I got a bike for my dad. The guy who owns the store lost his little brother in Iraq. Another sign of the impact of the war here while we've been gone. Here my dad is riding up his hill.

The boyz over at Omi's place

Dorian and Charlotte making crepes on our last day there

On my last morning in La Jolla I went to visit a friend for a coffee down near the Cove. I borrowed my dad's new bike for the ride down. It was about 6:45 am and just beautiful. I rode over what is my favorite path of anywhere i've been so far in the world... the path by Dead Mans.

OK.. i'm done writing. I'm actually in Barcelona now --- in a hotel lobby. After a great night (thanks Ambien and Johny Walker). We move into our new apartment in a couple of hours. Ciao