another chapter set to begin

After a few months off I will be started a new job at a really great biotech firm in Foster City. We are also expecting #3. The first trimester was really hard on Tina and made my time at home perfect timing. I will so miss spending every minute with my girls, but I am very excited about this next chapter…

Mitsubishi Outlander 2007 Sirius Update issue

Sirius recently merged with XM and my radio received an update as part of the merger.  It killed the radio with an “Antenna Error” message.  I argued with 4 or 5 CSRs at Sirius that this was not a hardware issue, the timing is too perfect.  I ended up pulled the #7 fuse and it reset the radio.  Voila, the radio is back up and running.  However, every time they send an update I have to pull the fuse.  I hope this helps other MMS owners, and I hope they get this figured out asap.

Here’s a link to my forum post:

Big Sky Vacation

dsc_2881There are many places to vacation in California, and I have been fortunate enough to see most of them.  I am even fortunate enough to have been to many of them more than once, and even some of them yearly.  There are not many prior experiences that could have prepared me for the amazing splendor of Montana.

Let me break from the review for a second to share the definition of splendor:

  1. brilliant or gorgeous appearance, coloring, etc.; magnificence: the splendor of the palace.
  2. an instance or display of imposing pomp or grandeur: the splendor of the coronation.
  3. great brightness; brilliant light or luster.

There is no better word in the English language to describe Montana.

dsc_2999Our rental it was exactly what we expected from the outside, the mountain-home site does a great job of representing the rentals. The inside however could not have been properly respresented no matter how many pictures they used.  It was GORGEOUS.  We enjoyed this home as much as, if not more than our home.  We had planned to use the house as a base of operations for our many adventures…the house became the vacation.  I could walk down to the river and throw a line in while the family watched from the spa, then at night the wife and I could sit in the spa and enjoy a bottle of wine while listening to the river flow by.

We have not experienced a more relaxing vacation, especially one where you don’t have to go anywhere to get relaxed.   We cannot wait to go back!

Seghesio 5th Annual BBQ

On Saturday we joined Seghesio’s pit team, and their custom built pit BLAZE, and their special guests this year—the rising stars of Texas BBQ, the Salt Lick BBQ pit crew. We enjoyed pulled pork sliders, spicy ribs, and grilled smoked sausages along with Tequila grilled shrimp. They featured their single vineyard Zinfandels and we met the farmers behind these special sites. We ate and rocked the day away with live music by Texas Steve and the Git Gone Trio!

Here’s the pics!

Midsommar 2008 – Sveadal

In modern Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve and Midsummer’s Day (Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen) are celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19 – 25. It is arguably the most important holiday of the year, and one of the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated, even if it has been influenced by other countries long ago. The main celebrations take place on the Friday, and the traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge maypole. One typical dance is the frog dance. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole.

Raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång) is an activity that attracts families and many others. People dancing around the pole listen to traditional music and many wear traditional folk costumes. The year’s first potatoes, pickled herring, sour cream, and possibly the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Drinking songs are also important at this feast, and many drink heavily.

Because Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strongest, it was considered a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick bouquets of seven or nine different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. In the past it was believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were highly potent, and water from springs could bring good health. Greenery placed over houses and barns were supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock; this old tradition of decorating with greens continues, even though most don’t take it seriously. To decorate with greens was called att maja (to “may”) and may be the origin of the word majstång, maja coming originally from the month May. Other researchers say the term came from German merchants who raised the maypole in June because the Swedish climate made it impossible to find the necessary greens and flowers in May, and continued to call it a maypole. Today, however, it is most commonly called a midsommarstång. In earlier times, small spires wrapped in greens were erected; this probably predates the maypole tradition, which is believed by many to have come from the continent in the Middle Ages. Others argue that some form of Midsummer pole occurred in Sweden during the pre-Christian times, and was a phallic fertility symbol, meant to impregnate the earth, but as there were no records from those times it cannot be proven, and this idea might just be a modern interpretation of the poles form. The earliest historical mention of the maypole in Sweden is from the Middle Ages. Midsummer was however linked to an ancient fertility festival which was adapted into St. Johans day by the church, even though it retained many pagan traditions, as the Swedes were slow to give up the old heathen customs. The connection to fertility is naturally linked to the time of year. Many young people became passionate at Midsummer, and this was accepted, probably because it resulted in more childbirths in March which was a good time for children to be born.

Midsummer is one of the only pagan holidays that are still celebrated in Europe (if not the only). In Denmark and Norway it is referred to as the eve of St. Hans but it’s only in Sweden that it has kept its original name. Midsummer rivals Christmas as the most important holiday of the year due to the copious amounts of alcohol consumed.

Here’s the pics!

Paul And Alana Forever!

First stop was the rehearsal dinner at Girasole in P-Town hosted by none other than the fabulous parents of the groom.  We partied like it was 2008, and ordered Scoozi bread.  The back room was packed full of love for the couple who was about to make the most important step in the lives of their great-great grandchildren.

What a great wedding.  We had so much fun, and Paul and Alana clearly attract really great people.  Everyone there was a really good friend or family or both!  If you don’t know Paul or Alana I highly recommend getting to know them.  On to the pics!

Crawfish. Wine. Sun. Fun.

We were invited up to Healdsburg by Mister Gary (Cathy Seghesio’s dad), Uncle Cotton, and Mister Larry who came out from Louisiana to host this authentic New Orleans party. We joined in the fun at a traditional crawfish boil!. They cooked up the crawfish Cajun-style with red potatoes, corn on the cob, andouille sausage, onions & garlic. We I peeled & ate ’em while they were hot along with some 2006 Barbera & 2006 Cortina Zinfandel. It was pretty nice to be able to experience the sights and sounds of the bayou without having to drive 3000 miles.

We left the party early so we could eat a family dinner and walk around the square before it got dark. There are many places to eat in the square, but a lot of them are your typical nice places to eat. We were looking for a more local home grown feel. We found just what we were looking for, in a place called “Ravenous”. It has been a local favorite for 17 years, and just moved to their own location, a cute little house just a few blocks from the square. The chef takes real care in choosing her menu, and even writes it out herself daily. She chooses dishes based solely on what is available locally, and her creations are simple and full of flavor.

Tina had the rolled flank steak combined with proschitto/arugella/onions/carrots/breadcrumbs, which was served with roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables (super fresh). I had the Poblano, which was a mexican veggie dish, which is not a common choice for me but sounded really good….and was amazing. The wait staff was really friendly, the hostess who was new, Linnea, had never worked food service and was doing a great job. Rachel our server was SUPER nice, and really helpful with choosing our food. Everyone in there was a local, in fact, I am pretty sure all the other tourists were in the square, which is a shame, cause this is probably the best place to eat in the area.

Our next stop was our lodging for the night. Again, a place farther from the square than most will venture, and again, well worth it. We found the Country Garden Cottage through Healdsburg Property Management via Google. The price was right, and so was the availability. What we drove up to was not at all what we expected.

We arrived in the front of this beautiful red ranch house, with beautiful white rose bushes. We were greeted by Chris, who was so gracious and genuinely happy to see us. We unpacked and got settled for the night. It was really warm but there was a cool breeze coming through the open window. There is central air, and I am sure it is needed later in the year, but this night was perfect. We played building blocks with the girls and enjoyed some coffee, and then went to bed. The mattress was amazing, much better than our new one at home unfortunately, and the sheets were of heavenly quality – the thread count was HIGH. All 4 of us slept through the night and woke up refreshed and ready to hit the square.

We hit the Center Cafe in the morning for breakfast. They have these really great tasting potato pancakes. They will scramble a denver omelet into the potato pancake and grill it, it is awesome. We also had the pancakes, french toast, poached eggs, and biscuits and gravy. The french toast was a little heavy on the nutmeg, and the gravy was a little light on grease, but overall it was a great breakfast.

We finished off the weekend with a trip around the square. There are many great shops, and the people are very friendly.

If towns were required to have a square there would be a lot more community, and a lot less towns.

Here are the pics!