Notebook
September 15th, 2017 by grant

Had work up north and I didn’t want to stay in the hotel, so I drove out to Fort Bragg. After dinner at the North Coast Brewery I checked out Glass Beach. As it usually happens to me the skies were gray & gloomy.

 

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
July 6th, 2017 by grant

This year we decided to go to Hawaii as Joan & Larry have never been there. Since we have some locals in the group, Jon declared it the “Insiders Tour”.

Thursday: We all met at HNL airport where Joan & Larry got lei’d. We haven’t seen Joan since our Germany/Switzerland vacation so it was a nice reunion. After the airport pickups we went to the Asatos’ home where Gavin terrorized everyone.

 

Our temporary home in Oahu was located near Diamond Head. Sandy did an incredible job of finding us a magnificent rental.

 

Hawaiian snails are huge by the way. I’ll spare you from the cockroach photo.

Lunch was a quick take out from the Diamond Head Grill. My Wasabi Shoyu Ahi Steak Sandwich was good. Dinner was at the Side Street Inn. No pix as it was really dark and I was distracted by the food.

Friday: Breakfast at home was incredible. We had papaya, lychee and gigantic blueberry scones from the Diamond Head Grill Bakery courtesy of the Asatos. Joan quickly learned how to serve a papaya.

 

The Bishop Museum was 1st on the schedule where we took in some important information on Hawaiian history and culture.

Gavin got a hold of some palm fronds that were riddled with thorns. Who was watching him?

 

Lunch was at Piggy Smalls. The porchetta was incredible. I have to say it was one of the best meals during this vacashun.

  

  

After lunch, the rest of the group proceeded to the Doris Duke’s Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art. We passed on this one so I do not have any photos. Instead, we used the swimming pool at the house to burn off calories from two days of food binging.

Dinner was at 3660 on the Rise. The ambiance was relaxing and our waiter was good but I’m sorry to say the food was slow to come & the copper river salmon was overcooked.

  

Saturday: We got up early to walk with Roy to the Diamond Head Farmers Market. We didn’t have much time and the light was horrible so I can’t offer many photos. This was unfortunate as there were so many unique items.

  

Later that morning, we visited the Hawaiian Plantation Village which centered around the different ethnic migrations to the islands.

  

  

 

 

A traditional Hawaiian lunch was set at the Highway Inn. This is where Joan got her 1st taste of Poi, it doesn’t look like she was impressed. Jon did not join us but he would have liked it as the food was served on compartment trays that kept the food from mixing.

Next destination was the North Shore in Haleiwa where we braved the long line at Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.  A traffic jam prevented us from going down the eastern coast.

 

Dinner was chinese food at Happy Day Seafood. No photos were taken.

Sunday: Sandy sought spiritual grace at nearby St Patrick Church.

Sunday brunch was at Willows. It was a huge spread but I forgot to take photos.

 

In the afternoon, we watched Jon at concert at the Orvis Auditorium. It was Jon’s last day of work.

I saw a bug in the parking garage, I couldn’t resist.

 

Our after concert dinner was Japanese food at Gyotaku.

Monday: USS Arizona Memorial I passed on this event. So I will post Sandy’s photos. She described the visit as melancholy.

 

We managed a quick trip to check out the the new International Market.

Our final Honolulu dinner was graciously hosted by the Asatos. No pix.

Tuesday: The Inouyes were nice to make an early morning run to Leonard’s for freshly made malasadas. Can’t leave without having one. Make that three.

Pack up your stuff as we are flying to Kona. Unfortunately we had to split up into 2 different houses.

 

Our first group dinner was at Cafe’ Pesto. The food was good.

Wednesday: Hilo Farmers Market – Sandy was getting the low down from her peeps.

Volcano National Park. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t get closer and only shoot it from 2 angles.

Lehua Orchids Roy’s cousin has an orchid farm close by so we dropped by to admire orchids and learn about orchid breeding.

 

The Asato’s also introduced us to stone cookies & star apples.

Dinner was at the other house as they was better equipped for cooking. Steaks were on the menu, thanks Larry & Uncle Harry.

Thursday: Waipio Valley Unfortunately the same situation I could only shoot from one angle. It would have been possible to go down the valley on a 4 WD or a 4 legged horse but time did not allow.

Lunch was Watz Shakin

Akaka Falls I sound like a broken record. The falls were magnificent but from the lookout you can only shoot it in a limited way.

Hawaiian Botanical Gardens We had a great time here as the flora was incredible. I’ve never seen Joan take so many photos.

The high winds in Waimea was perfect weather for some shave ice. I wish I would have taken a photo of everyone eating in their cars with the heater on. BTW what is organic shave ice?

 

 

Dinner Red Water Cafe’. The cold smoked sashimi was fantastic. Sandy had the guava braised short ribs which was also excellent.

 

 

Friday: Kailua Kona

  

Lunch at Fumi’s

Greenwell Farm Coffee Tour We learned the ins & outs of coffee making, for instance it takes 7lbs of berries to make 1lb of coffee.

 

Gavin was more interested in Lola the dog than finding the difference between normal & peaberry coffee beans.

Dinner was at the 100 year old Manago Hotel.

Saturday: Snorkel diving for us. I wish I had an underwater camera.

The group went to Waimea while I stayed home.

 

Our last dinner in Hawaii was at Merriman’s

Local farm raised Maine Lobster.

Finally we had a last get together for dessert and goodbyes. These family vacations always seem to bring us closer so we’re thankful we get to do these.

Sunday: Fly home.

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
October 12th, 2016 by grant

Saw these on my way up Hwy 101 just past Geyserville.

gurn_sculptures_02

gurn_sculptures_03 gurn_sculptures_01

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
October 4th, 2016 by grant

This has been on my list for quite some time. Since I was in the area I decided to hit Burney Falls. It was an overcast day but I made do.

burney_falls_02 burney_falls_01

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
September 20th, 2016 by grant

On another trip to Gualala I happened to stop at a location where there were a sh*tload of Pelicans so I had to take a photo.

rocky_shore_3

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
July 9th, 2016 by grant

Had to go up the coast to Gualala for work and as usual had to take some photos.

sonoma_coast_01 stillwater_bch_01

stillwater_bch_01_sm

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
June 7th, 2016 by grant

Day 6: Crans Montana, Switzerland.  We took the subway to the train station to pick up our rental vans. Once again the bait and switch. Instead of three full-size vans, Hertz gave us 3 mini vans. It wasn’t possible to fit everyone and their luggage in these small vehicles. Luckily, Joan was able to pull some strings and we got another small van (free) but that meant Aunty Irma had to drive. The 6-hour drive to the chalet was taxing, not to mention navigating some of the narrowest roads I’ve seen! But we made it and the dinner at Burger Lounge was a welcome treat. Before arriving at La Grande Baronne though, we had to brave a single lane uphill suicide road in the dark.

The 1st morning we spotted a spiral horn antelope, Sandy named her Annie. I think she was looking for her Father who was mounted on our wall above the stairs.

la_baronne_01 antelope_01

la_baronne_02 la_baronne_03

la_baronne_04 la_baronne_05

la_baronne_06 la_baronne_07

We also celebrated Uncle Peyton’s Birthday.

la_baronne_08 la_baronne_09

la_baronne_11 la_baronne_10

Day 7: Free day. I was always one of the 1st to awake every morning. After I made myself a cup of coffee, I would enter the living room to take in this spectacular view of the Swiss Alps.

la_grande_baronne_view

Then I’d look to the left to view Jon & Kathy’s room with the growing collection of Gavin’s crap bags. Next time I’ll book a Motel 6.

crap_01 crap_02 crap_03

We ate lot at the chalet and like so many other times I forgot to photograph it.

Day 8: Lunch and a tour at La Maison De Gruyeres factory.

gruyeres_05 gruyeres_02

gruyeres_01 gruyeres_04

What to do after eating cheese? Tour the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory!

cailler_01 cailler_05

cailler_04 cailler_03

cailler_02 cailler_06

cailler_08

cailler_07

Day 9: After breakfast we took a train ride to the town of Zermatt which is set below Das Matterhorn. Lunch was at Hornli Beck, the salmon crepes were excellent.

zermatt_01 zermatt_02

zermatt_03 zermatt_04

zermatt_05 zermatt_06

zermatt_07 zermatt_08

zermatt_09 zermatt_10

zermatt_12 zermatt_11

zermatt_14 zermatt_13

zermatt_15 zermatt_17

zermatt_18 zermatt_19

zermatt_20 zermatt_21

zermatt_16 zermatt_22

Day 10: My turn to make breakfast or so I thought. Just minutes after consuming a croissant, smoked salmon & scrambled egg, I got a nasty bout of food poisoning. I spent the next 3o minutes barfing while Sandy stood outside the bathroom googling food poisoning.

Day 11: We drove to Montreaux to check out Lake Geneva. Who knew this city was home to Freddie Mercury?

lake_geneva_01 lake_geneva_04

lake_geneva_03 lake_geneva_02

We took the 2-hour boat cruise around the lake, which was very relaxing.

lake_geneva_05 lake_geneva_06

lake_geneva_07 lake_geneva_12

lake_geneva_11 lake_geneva_10 lake_geneva_09 lake_geneva_08

lake_geneva_13

Day 12: With a free morning we made a last minute decision to jump into the jacuzzi. It was well worth it as my back was killing me.

la_baronne_12

A group celebration lunch was scheduled at Le Petit Paradis. We decided to walk as the restaurant was 500 meters from the house and the weather was pleasant. Whoops almost stepped on a snake.

la_petit_02 la_petit_01

la_petit_03 la_petit_04

Our final dinner was at Cafe Restaurant Le Rothorn. I was so hungry I could eat a horse. So I did and it was really good.

last_day_02 last_day_03

Last opportunity to take a group shot.

La Baronne 1200

Day 13: Travel back home or so we thought. We got delayed in Zurich and missed our connection in Frankfurt, so we had to spend the night. We never ventured out of the Inter City Hotel. The bathrooms were ultra modern but the toilet seat was too high. I couldn’t live there.

bathroom_02 bathroom

After a very long flight with some inconsiderate passengers, we made it back to SFO. The Super Shuttle ride back to Alameda was the most hair raising experience, but we were glad to be home.

Thanks to Sandy for contributing photos for this posting.

I used a Sony RX100IV & Canon EOS-M3 this trip, oh and Sandy’s iPhone.

 

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
June 5th, 2016 by grant

This year we went on another “big” vacation setup by Jon & Joan. They arranged for us to go to Germany & Switzerland with the family. The departure day arrived all too soon and I went through my usual dilemma, my luggage packed full of camera gear and no clothes. I slowly started the inevitable task of swapping clothes for tripods & strobes. My bag topped off at 49.3 lbs.

Monday 5/16 our Super Shuttle driver is early. This created the 1st of many stressers.

The 11-hour Lufthansa flight out of SFO to MUN was as one would expect long & boring. There were a total of three babies on board: one had a melt down, the second screamed in chorus & Gavin hardly made a sound. This would be the norm for the entire vacation. Upon arrival in Munich we discovered a switch in transportation to the hotel. Instead of a large bus it was 2 small vans. This transportation bait and switch would be a regular occurring event.

kathy_jon_gavin_01 jon_gavin_01

Every morning I awoke to this light fixture on our ceiling. This explains why the entire time in Germany I craved a bundt cake.

blauer_bock_02 blauer_bock_01

The Blauer Bock hotel was in a great location in Munich, it was walking distance to so many sights.

munich_02 munich_01

munich_04 munich_03

munich_05 munich_06

Dinner on our 1st night was at Wirtshaus zum Straubinger. The crispy pork knuckle was excellent and the dark beer & soft pretzels quickly became my favorite.

beer_01 pork_menu

wirshaus_01 wirshaus_02 wirshaus_03

Day 2: Munich. Our days always began with a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel. The layout was quite impressive, though I forgot to photograph most of it.

brkfst_01 brkfst_02

Next it was on to the famous Viktualienmarkt, which is a very large open market with a huge beer garden in the center. The produce there was incredible.

viktualienmarket_01 viktualienmarket_02

at the Viktualienmarket

What’s up with the green cheese & red eggs?

viktualienmarket_03 viktualienmarket_04

viktualienmarket_11 viktualienmarket_10

It was asparagus season and we saw it everywhere including the menus. They love their white asparagus.

viktualienmarket_09 viktualienmarket_08

viktualienmarket_07 viktualienmarket_06

viktualienmarket_05

A short walk brought us to Marienplatz which is the heart of the city. We went up the New Town Hall for some spectacular views of the city and then descended to watch the Rathaus Glockenspiel.

marienplatz_01 marienplatz_02

marienplatz_03 marienplatz_04

marienplatz_05 marienplatz_06

marienplatz_07 marienplatz_08

marienplatz_09 marienplatz_10

marienplatz_12 marienplatz_11

I can’t go too long without eating. Thankfully, lunch was arranged for us at the Ratskeller. I had pork cheeks with white asparagus. This would be a good time to mention the obsession Europeans had with Gavin. Everyone wanted to hold him.

ratskeller_01 ratskeller_02

ratskeller_03 ratskeller_04

After a quick nap at the hotel it was on to dinner time at Der Pschorr. The venison was so good, I’d say it was one of my favorite meals.

der_pschor_02 der_pschor_01

der_pschor_03 der_pschor_04

Day 3: Salzburg. A subway, train & bus ride brought us to Austria. This was our only bad weather day although that meant flat photos. Of special interest was Mozart’s Museum. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.

marienplatz_13

salzburg_01 salzburg_02

salzburg_03 salzburg_04

salzburg_06 salzburg_05

salzburg_08 salzburg_07

salzburg_09 salzburg_10 salzburg_11

salzburg_12

salzburg_14 salzburg_13

salzburg_15 salzburg_16

salzburg_17 salzburg_18

salzburg_19 salzburg_20

salzburg_21 salzburg_22jpg

salzburg_23 salzburg_24

salzburg_25 salzburg_30

salzburg_29 salzburg_28

salzburg_27 salzburg_26

Day 4: Munich. We had a free morning. Some including Sandy, went shopping. I went with the group that had lunch at the famous Munich Hofbrauhaus. After lunch, we hopped on the subway to the BMW factory tour (no photos allowed). The robotic assembly line was quite impressive.

bmw_03 bmw_02

bmw_01

bmw_06 bmw_04

After what seemed like a 10-mile walk (half of us went the wrong way) we arrived at our dinner spot Zum Ferdinand. Joan was reunited with her “German daughter”, Anja. She was responsible for making a lot of the reservations for us in Germany. Danke schön, Anja. Sandy loved the bacon salad.

zum_ferdinand_01 zum_ferdinand_02

zum_ferdinand_03 zum_ferdinand_04

Day 5: Munich. A 2-hour train ride and a big hike brought us to the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle.

neuschwanstein_01 neuschwanstein_02

neuschwanstein_04 neuschwanstein_03

neuschwanstein_05 tickets

neuschwanstein_07 neuschwanstein_06

We had free night & decided to go off on our own for dinner. We ended up in Andechser am Dom. The place was filled with locals and as it is customary, we did the community seating thing. Duck & dark beer was in order for me. Later, our table mates warmed up to us and even helped Sandy with her meal (which mustard goes better with the sausage and sausage must be enjoyed with bread). We bought them a beer as we left.

Thanks to Sandy & Uncle Peyton for the photos.

Next stop Switzerland…

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
October 4th, 2015 by grant

While we were in Reno we visited the Animal Ark. We didn’t get there til midday so I have too many photos of sleeping animals which I will not post.

ark_02 ark_01

ark_06 ark_03

ark_04 ark_05

ark_07

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
July 14th, 2015 by grant

Our neighbors Paul & Brenda were gracious enough to invite us to their cabin at June Lake this past weekend.

june_lake_02 june_lake_04

june_lake_01 june_lake_34

june_lake_37 june_lake_53

june_lake_38

Silver Lake

june_lake_03 june_lake_36

Sunday was church day in Lee Vining.

june_lake_07 june_lake_35

While the others were at church, I shot some beat up old houses nearby.

june_lake_05 june_lake_06

Then it was on to Mono Lake. A very unusual place. Highly recommended, just go there when the light is good.

june_lake_08 june_lake_09

june_lake_42 june_lake_43

june_lake_10 june_lake_11

june_lake_12 june_lake_13

june_lake_14 june_lake_15

june_lake_16 june_lake_17

june_lake_18 june_lake_19

Back to the cabin for happy hour.

june_lake_44 june_lake_45

june_lake_20 june_lake_21

june_lake_22 june_lake_33

They call this the Jesus rock (above). Can you see the profile?

june_lake_23 june_lake_24

june_lake_25 june_lake_46 june_lake_47

We also took a very relaxing trip on rafts into June Lake. I almost died as I tried to jump into the raft and went face 1st into the 3 ft deep stream. What do friends do when you have a life threatening experience, point & laugh or grab a photo? They did both.

june_lake_49 june_lake_50

We stopped by Yosemite on the way back home. 1st stop Tuolumne Meadows.

june_lake_27 june_lake_28

june_lake_52

After a lovely lunch we headed up to Olmstead Point. We had a wonderful weekend.

june_lake_29 june_lake_41

june_lake_39 june_lake_30

june_lake_31 june_lake_32

june_lake_40 june_lake_51

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
March 6th, 2015 by grant

This year for my birthday Sandy made reservations at the Bodega Bay Lodge. We could only stay 1 day but it was so relaxing. Their restaurant, the Duck Club was excellent. I had a superb lamb shank and Sandy had the sole in parchment paper, neither of which gave us diarrhea. The next morning we made a very slow drive down highway 1 through Point Reyes and Stinson Beach. What a wonderful way to spend a birthday.

bodega_bay_01 bodega_bay_02

bodega_bay_03 bodega_bay_06

bodega_bay_04 bodega_bay_05

bodega_bay_08 bodega_bay_07

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
January 28th, 2015 by grant

While she passed away back in November we finally put Grandma Maeda to rest. She made it to 102, which is incredible these days. Sadly it was probably the last time we will all get together.

Grandma_Card_03 grandma_01a

I did not feel right taking photos at the funeral, as it just feels too morbid. Afterwards we put Grandma next to Grandpa in a very informal ceremony.

grandma_01 grandma_02

grandma_03

Afterwards we converged at Christy’s place for food & drinks.

grandma_04 grandma_18

grandma_17 grandma_16

grandma_15 grandma_14

grandma_13 grandma_12

grandma_11 grandma_10

grandma_09 grandma_08

grandma_07 grandma_06

grandma_05a grandma_19

I did my best to shoot portraits of everyone but my G1X2 doesn’t have a viewfinder and the glare on the LCD was really strong. That coupled with the usually flawless ETTL flash system was not giving consistent results. Nothing is ever easy. That is Diamond Head in the background BTW.

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
September 21st, 2014 by grant

I had to spend some time training at the home office 30 minutes south of Miami. Luckily I was in the same class as my co-worker buddy Jhonathan.

miami_19 miami_06

Training was quite demanding so we didn’t go out much other than to eat dinner in the local area. Friday night Jhonathan did give me some exposure to Ecuadorian food. The last time I saw him we could not find an single place in the bay area that served Ecuadorian food.

miami_20 miami_23

Later we explored the Miami Beach scene. To my surprise it was pretty quiet. Other than the ringtail lemmer.

miami_03 miami_02

miami_01 miami_08

miami_09 miami_07

Over the weekend we did drive down to Key West which is the southern most location in the US, unfortunately I was unimpressed.

miami_21 miami_22

Wanting to take advantage of the local food scene we did our best to hit as many of the ethnic restaurants. This included Jamaican (good goat), Peruvian Polpus (octopus), Filipino, Colombian Patacones, Argentinian, Italian & Japanese.

miami_16 miami_15

miami_24 miami_10

miami_11 miami_12

miami_13 miami_17

The final day a fellow employee flying back to Australia handed me a bottle of scotch. Which we shared that evening in the breakfast room of our Holiday Inn. I ended up passing it along to an engineer who would be there another 3 weeks.

miami_18

I came back home 6 lbs heavier. Other than the vast eating, the hot & humid weather prevented me from my daily walks after dinner.

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
April 13th, 2014 by grant

We took a train from Greenwich to Grand Central Station (forgot to take a photo). Paz met us and immediately whisked us to their favorite Thai Restaurant, Sripraphai. We consumed a whole fried fish & with fishy breath we jetted off to the Queens Museum to watch a press conference where Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a new commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs. When we arrived, Paz was invited to stand behind the mayor along with select leaders of arts organizations, we were directed to sit in the bleachers.

nyc_01

nyc_28 nyc_27

Next we had a date at the MOMA where we had a pre-dinner dessert. Then it started to rain which only means… yes, ramen weather! We stumbled into ISE and was not expecting much but the food was great.

nyc_04 nyc_05

nyc_06 nyc_07

The following day we went to the 911 Memorial. It was a somber experience to say the least. The magnitude of the memorial made it impossible to photograph properly.

911_memorial_sm

nyc_08 nyc_12

nyc_11 nyc_13

Wall Street

nyc_15 nyc_14

nyc_17 nyc_18

nyc_22 nyc_26

The bull’s balls are noticeably shiny. That only means that there are a lot of people rubbing them. Disturbing.

nyc_16 nyc_19

For lunch we met up with Charm an old car poolmate of Sandy’s before we married (14 yrs ago). I wasn’t sure I would recognize her but when I saw a woman running across the street screaming & waving her hands frantically, my question was answered. I was laughing so hard I was in tears. I wish I would have captured that moment on video. Charm brought us to a great soup dumpling place called, Shanghai Asian Cuisine. The food was excellent.

nyc_25 nyc_24 nyc_23

Okay get dressed we are going to the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Anniversary Gala at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. But wait, there is a cool place on the way so we stopped at the High Line to shoot Paz.

nyc_20 nyc_21

Unfortunately I didn’t shoot many photos at the gala. I missed the moment when Jon was petting the seeing eye dog (bad etiquette).

nyc_29 nyc_31

nyc_32 nyc_30

Our last day in New York consisted of a last minute photoshoot at Topaz Arts before going to the airport.

nyc_33 nyc_34

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens
April 13th, 2014 by grant

As we do from time to time, we followed Jon to CT & NYC to play while he works. We stayed at an incredible house that was hosted by Inez & Al, two of the nicest folks ever.

greenwich_05 greenwich_06

greenwich_07 greenwich_01

Lunch was at a little place downtown called, Mediterraneo. I loved the octopus.
For dinner we met up with Barry & Kathy. I haven’t seen Barry in years and I don’t remember the last time I saw Kathy. We dined at Ginger Man, duck tacos yes!

greenwich_02 greenwich_08

This was followed up by a short portrait session.

greenwich_09 greenwich_14

Breakfast at the house the next day was incredible, Mira did an outstanding job.

greenwich_12 greenwich_11

greenwich_10 greenwich_13

The downtown Greenwich area was nice with plenty to see & do. Sandy was happy to find a Catholic church.

greenwich_04 greenwich_03

We attended the Sunday matinee concert where Jon played Rachmaninoff II. That was followed by a party Inez threw at the yacht club. It was hilarious to witness Jon’s rock star status. Everyone wanted a photo with him.

greenwich_party_collage

The following day we headed into New York city!

 

Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite PicLens