February Part II

Pictures by clicking here or on the photo above…

Lots of stuff here, but it seems easier to me to make one big overwhelming post than to be considerate and split it into two.

For the kids’ “midwinter break,” we went to California, primarily to visit my brother and meet my new niece, the Mountain. We got first class tickets on Delta both ways when we realized that all things considered, it would cost us something like an extra $25/person.

We got up early and went to the airport. KrisDi and all associated travelers get TSA Pre Check because of her work, and flying first class means short lines, so it was an easy trip through the airport. They fed us and gave us bloody marys on the plane. The kids jabbed at huge first class touch screens mounted on the back of (possibly) annoyed travelers’ seats. Once we got there, we rented a small SUV and stayed in an AirBnB two blocks from Northwood’s place. This is super convenient for visiting family who have a baby!

When we arrived, we went to the Pruneyard and found lunch at Mendocino Farms and ate outside near a park with blue gorillas where the kids could run amok. After a little bit, we got some ice cream at Tin Pot. We really didn’t do much that day in California aside from meet The Mountain and hang out with family. We had dinner at the South Winchester BBQ — the food was pretty good and the beer was really good.

Next day we made our own breakfast at the BnB (french toast), lounged around for a while in the morning before finally taking a short walk to a nearby park. Then finally we all drove out along some crazy winding roads to take a five mile hike in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We grilled at Northwood’s for dinner. I wanted a big bone-in pork chop, but the best I could find was a tiny, thin, boneless pork chop and a weird cut of pork that was kind of shaped like a chop.

Breakfast the next day was at Uncle John’s Pancake House. Then we got to visit Northwood’s workplace, the NASA Ames facility, and walk through the big wind tunnel and shop at the gift shop. The kids enjoyed the elevator and the pallet jack at NASA. We brought the kids back to the blue gorilla park and had some beer at Out of the Barrel, burgers at the Burger Lounge, and bought books at Books, Inc. We made knoephle soup in the afternoon for dinner that evening.

Wednesday the 19th, we basically avoided Northwood and company. They were probably sick of us anyway. Breakfast was low-key, donuts and bagels or something, although I also had a half-coffee-mug of knoephle. We went to the Winchester Mystery House and The Children’s Discovery Museum, a brewery (Golden State) and a half (Lazy Dog), an In-n-Out (Chilkat and Chilkoot both still like it), and tolerated Disney on Ice.

The next day was Chilkat’s actual birthday. She picked breakfast: Uncle John’s again (apparently she loves the pancakes there). Northwood took Chilkat and Chilkoot (and me) on little rides around the block on his little motorcycle. We took a trip to a small zoo, had lunch at a fish place where Chilkoot could get clam chowder, went back to the blue gorillas, and had Chilkat’s choice of dinner: Korean Barbecue at Gen Korean. This was chaotic, noisy, stressful, and seemed to be a bit too much for Northwood’s family. The food was pretty tasty, but not great.

Friday morning we handed off most of our leftovers to Northwood and drove down to Aptos, where we were meeting up with KrisDi’s Mom Board friends in their “cabin” (a large luxurious house near a beach). We had lunch at the Sante Adairius brewery (after KrisDi made cupcakes at the house), which was really good beer and pretty good food.

The husband is a hunter of various animals and fed us interesting things like dove breast stuffed peppers, goose and duck prosciutto. It was interesting and I enjoyed it. We shared our leftover knoephle and KrisDi made chili. They loved it.

KrisDi’s friend is interested in starting a newborn photography business and had recently acquired a camera she didn’t understand (Canon EOS 80D). I let her play around with our travel kit (which, looking at it from the outside, is super nice, including her “dream lens,” which apparently cost them a fair chunk of money after she fell in love with it). I spent a little time teaching her the rudiments of how cameras work (which is the bulk of what I know about photography). It was fun.

One of the other moms had a craft activity set up, which occupied the kids on Saturday morning. I played with cameras and shot the shit with the hunter (and drank beer). Northwood biked over the mountains and met Aunt L and the Mountain and us at the house (they drove across), even after he broke the tensioner or something on his bike. LG, the aspiring photographer, borrowed our camera and took us to the beach to take family photos. It was fucking cold — fifties and windy as hell. Some of the pictures turned out OK. I can’t link them all so go browse through if you care. Northwood and crew departed before we made it to the beach.

Sunday morning was time to leave. We got up early (4 AM IIRC for the parents, and a bit before 5 for the kids). Chilkoot zonked on his mom at the airport. Les and D picked us up at the airport and we mostly chilled for the afternoon.


  • I do not understand the attraction to the blue gorillas. I think we went three times, and we also had some arguments where we told the kids we weren’t going back.
  • The Mountain is eerily adorable. She rarely cries. She rarely laughs (unless her mom or dad is holding her). She stares. And judges. Chilkoot seemed to really, really like her. He let her pull his hair. Chilkat seemed to be a little jealous of the attention The Mountain got.
  • It’s nice (for me at least) to have a vacation where the primary agenda item is “hang out with people when possible”
  • I’m glad I don’t have a baby any more. So glad.
  • Apparently KrisDi’s internet friend NS likes some of the same beers we do. This surprises me. We have lots more interesting beers we could share with her.
  • Cameras are fun.

I don’t remember which day we were out there, but since the manager of the other development team that works on my project at my office announced he was leaving, our boss asked me to manage both our teams so we could hire a full time developer instead, and offered me a raise. With KrisDi’s encouragement, I managed to (sort of accidentally) turn that into a slightly bigger raise and a promotion. Effective in a couple weeks, I’ll be a Senior Manager, and have 16 positions reporting to me (likely the largest number of direct reports ever managed by one person at my company; whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen…).

Real life resumed the day after we got back.

Various things:

  • Chilkoot dressed up as a centenarian for his 100th day of school. He was suddenly and unusually reluctant to go to school in costume, because he was afraid he’d be the only one dressed up. In the end, he mostly complained about the hat.
  • In my ongoing quest to kill superfluous liquor bottles, KrisDi cooked with some sherry and killed one bottle.
  • KrisDi and I went to Hard liver Fest, ate “lightly” (a huge plate of frites and a couple croquettes); afterward we shared a delicious bowl of ramen.
  • Chilkat’s Girl Scout troop sold cookies in front of a local grocery store.

Posted by snaotheus

1 comment

Ooo, I like the blue gorillas! I didn’t get to go to the NASA gift store. Probably a good thing. Glad they got to climb on the cow thing; it’ll be practice for the wee buffalo things on Guam (assuming flight is then possible). Mountain is busy Taking In Data, but yeah, she has the best judgy stare I’ve ever seen in a baby! Congrats on the promotion–I hadn’t yet seen this post. Mwah!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.