Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Unveiling...

The Unveiling...

So, about a year ago, I moved into a new apartment and my mother came out to visit and help decorate. Being a good Catholic boy, I have a tiny Last Supper sculpture (OK, it's more of a mass-produced casting, but let's not nitpick...), and knowing that my mom is very artistic, I asked her if she could paint me an updated Last Supper to hang in my dining room.

Now, my concept was, "What if Jesus was doing his thing in 2004 San Francisco?" He would have been hanging out on Polk Street (OK, probably in the Tenderloin, but close enough), turning water into martinis or mojitos, and eating tapas instead of bread. So, I was thinking Jesus in a bar, maybe cigarette in hand, or cosmo, and definitely shaved and dressed in Banana Republic gear.

Well, Mom would have none of that. Sacrilege! She couldn't put a cigarette in Big J's hand; wouldn't put a martini in his hand. Even with my begging, she wouldn't follow through on my concept. I know that she wanted to beat Michaelangelo at his own game (and her and I both knew that she could!), but her parochial upbringing prevented her from doing it in a blasphemous fashion. Instead of Jesus + 12, she painted a central character + 14 as a ruse. Instead of Jesus as the center of attention with hands spread, she painted a karaoke singer with mike in hand. Instead of wine, cocktails. And, instead of bread, popcorn and olives.

My parents both visited last week - almost a year to the day after my mom and I discussed the "commission" and she began working on it. We had a formal unveiling, with the painting covered, everyone ready, and a quick lifting of the cover...

Damn! This is sooo cooooool! I was expecting it to be nice, but I had no idea that it was going to be so freakin' fantastic! The faces, the drinks, the background, the table, the menus... Everything was so beyond what I imagined, I was just floored! I love it! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!

It went right up on my dining room wall!

Thanks Mom!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Long Weekend Surprise!

So... this is my first official posting on our blog (any blog actually), and I hope this makes Jason very happy, b/c he's been after me to post for awhile now... but I finally have something really great to talk about so here I go!

Last Thursday Jason and I were discussing camping options for a long weekend getaway trip to Pinnacles NF. As it turned out, we did not go camping at all, but had a spectacular, luxurious trip to Sonoma wine country instead! Jason even prepared (and presented to me on Friday morning), a fancy brochure and "white paper" on what the weekend would bring, to introduce me to the details of the trip. (fyi, that's a very tech-y thing to do, for those of you who are - luckily - not immersed in the silicon valley culture...)

After an ultra-quick packing job on my part (possibly a record), we left the city Friday morning and hit several wineries along the way to our B&B in Occidental. The Inn at Occidental was quite a surprise - a really amazing, beautiful B&B in the heart of wine country and just a few miles from the Coast - I've heard about it for years now. Mom and Amy - you will flip when you see the pics of the wisteria at this place! Check it out here: - we were in the Safari room, which was huge and very private, with our own porch! We took advantage of the "free" wine and snacks provided by our hosts Jerry and Tina. The food was de-lish, and the wine flowed freely! We enjoyed all of this out on the wraparound porch of the Inn. We felt kind of old, but at the same time we had such good food and wine in front of us, that we really didn't care! We met some nice folks from Canada - why is it that we only meet Canadians everywhere we go?! :-) They asked if we had left children or other obligations behind for the trip and we felt a bit guilty that our answer was "no" but what can you do...

Friday night we enjoyed dinner at K&L Bistro in Sebastopol and had a superb Rose - our first of the season! It's made as a hobby by a local vintner (if you are interested in purchasing, you can contact him through this website: Jason dined on fresh grilled sardines (he loved them but blech!!! they smelled!) and house-made sausage (even I have to admit it was yummy)... I had the tomato soup and crabcakes. Mmmm.

Saturday was fun and relaxing... after breakfast at the Inn (more goodness: baked french toast with peaches and blueberries), we waddled to the car and drove to Anderson State Park. The idea was to talk a walk among the redwoods but - it was scary. Very scary. Think Deliverance, California-Style. See the video of the dancing cardboard lemonade sign here: - it gives you a pretty good idea of the weirdness that I'm referring to... So, all that weirdness was the perfect excuse to skip the secluded trail and hit a few more wineries before our afternoon appointment at Osmosis. After several wine purchases and a stop at Russian Hill (one of our favorites) - we made our way to Osmosis for a cedar enzyme bath (yes, seriously), facials, and massage. It was quite the indulgence!! I got a little claustrophobic during the cedar bath and had to pull both arms and eventually one leg out of the tub... just to be sure that if needed, I could get out from under the weight of the mulch! It was really hot in there too - the pictures can fool you, everyone looks so serene - we were sweating quite profusely. The cedar is heated naturally through decompostition, and we guessed it was around 140 degrees. Wild. Check out this place, it's really different and a terrific way to spend 4 hours of your life... highly recommended!!

Zazu, in Santa Rosa, was our dinner spot and was spectacular... we tried a little bit of everything and were not disappointed. For starters: razor clam fritters (best clams I've ever had - very different and sweet), eggplant carponata with fresh ricotta and grilled sourdough; mid-course shared entree: goat cheese gnocchi with rocket and mushrooms; entrees: slow-roasted pork shoulder w/carmelized onions & wild boar and juniper sausage; desserts: house-made nutter butters (amazing!) with chocolate fondue and blackberry cabarnet sorbet. Oh, and of course we had the Navarro Rose with dinner... if you haven't tried Navarro, they have some great whites (and they are cheap too, about $9-$11 each usually). Once again, we headed back to the Inn, completely stuffed and ready for some late-night reading under the mosquito nets (and did I mention that the "safari" room came complete with serengetti mural on the wall?!).

Sunday morning was a bit depressing - mostly just because I knew our fun was going to end soon and I'd have to go back to a very busy time at work - however, I overcame my grief after a few stops to wineries on the way out of town :-) We visited two other favorites, Roshambo and Lambert Bridge, and then headed back to SF.

Our pictures are posted on Jay's website:

We lucked out with amazing weather, and all of Jay's planning and preparations were obvious because it was one of our best trips ever, and we were only an hour from home!

I am a lucky, lucky girl.