Saturday, July 31, 2010

comment under "Santa Barbara" post

Anonymous said...

why so many mistakes? It is not "provinvional", it is "provincial" I won't even mention all the other awful mistakes.


Monsun's thoughts:
Ah, the beauty of human nature! I should make more mistakes in my posts so that others by slamming my posts and my general incompetence in writing (and in life, presumably as well) could make themselves feel better!

Have a nice day, stranger :)

PS And please do mention the other (both awful, and pretty) mistakes so that at least I can learn for future and not upset you that much anymore. Thank you, I appreciate your comments.

PPS I also appreciate the irony that the person criticizing my mistakes, makes a spelling mistake herself...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a cool, hippie place full of young and sportive people (and tourists). Even though it was coldish when we were there, still there were plenty of people on the beach pursuing variety of sport activities. I wish there was such nice beach for people to hang out in San Francisco. I would definitely be a regular guest there.

The biggest attraction of Santa Monica Pier:

Santa Barbara

Unfortunately, due to June Gloom Santa Barbara that you can see on the photos below does not look too pretty or inviting. That's a pity, as it actually is a very nice place. I would even consider living there in future. I like its slightly provincial (*), slightly (luckily not too much) posh feel, I like its clean, well-kept and green streets, I like its proximity to many nice, sandy beaches, and to several bigger cities (LA, SD, SF). In many ways it reminded me of Palo Alto, but contrary to the latter, it did not feel ostentatious.

Few random pics from streets of Santa Barbara:

(*) spelling corrected thanks to a comment by Alicja

Hobart Building

Hobart building is one of the landmarks of downtown San Francisco. It was designed by Willis Polk (in 1914) and definitely it is his masterpiece. What makes this building very unique these days is that part of it (the front and top floors on all sides) is highly decorated in Renaissance and Baroque style, wheres the "back" of the building is completely plain, boring and undecorated! This is due to the fact that when the Hobart building was built, there was another building adjacent to it. Unfortunately, when that building got destroyed, nothing was done to decorate the exposed wall...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bear Valley Trail to Arch Rock in Point Reyes NS

What a great idea I had to wake up today at 6am and head out for a hike to Point Reyes NS before the rest of Californians wake up. In these early morning hours it took as only 1h 10min to get to the trailhead located at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. On top of that, on the way to our destination (Arch Rock) we encountered only 3 other human beings. For comparison, on the way back we met close to 50 people...

The trail leading to Arch Rock is called "Bear Valley Trail" and is 4.1-miles long (one way). The trail starts directly behind the Bear Valley visitor center and it follows Coast Creek through the beautiful green forest all the way to the beach and Arch Rock. The trail is very pleasant and well maintained. Perfect for families, strollers, bigger groups and handicapped in wheelchairs. I guess because of that it is very popular and hence I would strongly recommend hiking it as early during the day as possible. At the end of the trailhead you get rewarded with great views of ocean, nearby beaches and cliffs.

If you would like to see Arch Rock from up close you will need to scramble down on a rather steep and often slippery rock. Still, it is definitely worth the (minimal) effort. Bare in mind however that this part of the trail is only accessible during the low tide (yet another reason to hit the trail early - at this spot the tide is usually the lowest at around 6-7 am).

It took us 3h 15min to hike this 8.2-mile long trail, which included 20-30 min break to enjoy the arch.

It was a very foggy day today, which did not discourage thousand of runners from participating in SF Marathon:

First views of the ocean at the end of the trailhead:

Monika and the northern coastline of Pt Reyes Park:

Coast Creek:

Anil crossing the Coast Creek to get closer to the arch:

First views of the Arch Rock:

Scrambling down to the "beach", or what is left of it...

Arch Rock at different angles:

Beach next to Arch Rock:

And another arch rock there, hardly visible due to upcoming tide:

And, yes, I am looking forward to waking up at 5:30am tomorrow...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

every day do one thing that scares you

Would doing one thing a week that would keep me scared for the remaining six days count?

I must love my husband a lot as I agreed on taking swimming classes together at 6:30am every Monday. To put it into context: I usually go to bed at around 2-3am, so you can imagine that waking up at 5:30am is not something my body will enjoy. I can already see myself barking at everything and everybody (mostly my husband, of course) every Monday morning and looking like a zombie for the rest of the day...

The swimming lessons are part of my long term plan to switch my daily cycle by around 4h. I plan to go to bed at around 10pm and be waking up at around 5:30am, so that I can start working by 6:30am and get solid 3-4h of undisturbed work before the rest of my coworkers appears in the lab. I like this plan a lot, but I honestly have no idea how to put it into action.

I already tried to wake up early for one week, hoping that one day my body will give up and fall asleep earlier as well, but it did not happen. No matter how little I slept the previous nights, my brain just does not switch off before 2am. So if anybody has any tips on how to fall asleep at around 10pm, I will deeply appreciate them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

my husband is the best

The title pretty much sums it up: my husband is the best best best. He does thousands of things that make me very happy (and very few that drive me crazy..., but still the balance is hugely on the positive side).

The whole past week he was the most perfect house-husband: every day he drove me to work and/or picked me up from there, cooked delicious multiple-course lunches and dinners for both of us (my only contribution in this department was to make two salads) and kept our place nice and clean. All that without being asked to do anything and on top of his very demanding job. I am one lucky wife :) Thank you dear husband.

On a side note, it seems that we completely switched from eating rice to eating quinoa. Quinoa has way better nutritional value than brown rice (*), and in my opinion, it is tastier. Also, to my great surprise, so far it tasted perfectly well with all dishes that we prepared.

(*) 1.6x more protein, 20% less carbs, 20% more fiber, more magnesium, potassium, folate!, and better proportions of essential amino acids

Friday, July 9, 2010

call me wife, house wife

Yesterday I cooked a nine-dish dinner for myself and my husband. It seems that I have to overdo everything, even being a wife:

Clockwise, starting in the left top corner:
  1. couscous
  2. ginger-glazed carrots (fried grated carrots in ginger & spices)
  3. cucumber raita (yogurt, grated cucumber, cilantro, turmeric, salt, pepper)
  4. coconut chutney (this dish was made by Anil)
  5. ratatouille (sauteed, each separately, mushrooms, onion, green bell pepper, white squash, tomatoes, tofu, spices)
  6. sauteed white squash (white squash, pepper, salt)
  7. sweet cabbage (shredded cabbage, orange marmalade, white wine vinaigrette, soy sauce, ginger, garlic)
  8. fresh salad (mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, lime juice)
  9. zucchini with feta (sauteed zucchini, feta, cilantro, spices)

I also planned on making cheesecake, but luckily we did not have any butter/margarine at home.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Snow in Death Valley

While in Death Valley we experienced two very awesome natural phenomena: (1) moving sand in and around Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and (2) snow! in June! in Death Valley!

Moving sand in Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes:

Snow on the way to Dante's view, Zabriskie Point, Painter's Palette, and coyote:

"For the record, I am dying..." - hiking on Grandview trail in Grand Canyon

During our honeymoon we not only took pictures, but also lots of movies. Some of them are good, others are simply funny - like the one below, taken on our route up from the Grand Canyon:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Berry Creek Falls

At the end of our honeymoon Anil and I decided that upon coming back to SF, no matter how busy with work and other things, we would go hiking once a week. The plan is to at least find time to go for a short, half a day hike, but preferably to try to go for a full day hike every other weekend. On top of that once a month we decided to try to go for a 2-3-day long trip.

In a spirit of that resolution the past Sunday we went hiking to Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin Redwood SP. Luckily, Anne and Sebastian agreed to go with us, otherwise, I fear, we wouldn't have woken up early enough to make it as it takes around 1.5h to get to the park from SF and the hike itself is another 5-6h.

There are several different options on getting to and back from the falls. We opted for a loop made out of "Skyline to the Sea" and "Sunset" trails. It is 10.5 miles long with around 1'500ft elevation change. I found the hike to be very pleasant as it is very green and leads through the heart of redwood forrest. The waterfalls were nice too, but even without them it would be a very nice hike. In a nutshell, I would definitely strongly recommend it and sometime in the future I am going to repeat it.

On the sign below "Berry Cr Falls, 6 hours, round trip" somebody carved with a knife "or until dead". Hikers have an interesting sense of humor.

We promised to this banana slug that if it poses nicely, it would be featured on my blog:

A 70-foot Berry Creek waterfall:

Silver Falls:

Upper Golden Falls:

Lower Golden Falls:

Beautiful green trail:

Lake Lagunitas and Bon Tempe hike

Today Anil, Tadhg and I went on a 5-mile hike around Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lakes located on the northwest slopes of Mt Tamalpais. According to Moon's "California Hiking" the hike should offer spectacular views (10 on a scale 1-10) and should be relatively easy (2 on a scale 1 to 4). I would rate its easiness at 1 (on the same scale as authors use) and its views as 8. I think I will keep "10" reserved for the hikes that I loved so much that I would not mind doing them again even as soon as a week later. The Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lakes hike was definitely very pretty, but I doubt that I would like to revisit them anytime soon.

I thought that this sign that we encountered at the beginning of our hike was pretty funny. I was scouting the trees to see if there were any people working "in" them, but I saw no one:

Lake Lagunitas:

Bon Tempe Lake:

Mother duck and its seven ducklings: