Posted by: Travis | December 16, 2007

Random update

Its been a while, but Rachel and i have been pretty busy so im going to try and keep this one relatively short and sweet. Last weekend Rachel and i went for camping and hiking at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, a place in the Santa Cruz mountains about 45 minutes away in the direction of Santa Cruz. We drove up early saturday morning and hit the trail hard doing about a 12 mile hike that covered many redwoods, a series of waterfalls, and even a few banana slugs. We got back just in time to set up camp before it got dark. Then it got cold. As the sun went down the temperature plummeted below freezing and Rachel and i struggled to stay warm, scooting closer and closer to the fire. Its been a long time since i slept in jeans, a sweatshirt, socks, and a ski hat, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Rachel and i planned to go on another 12 mile hike on sunday when we woke up, but it was just too damn cold, so we packed up the car, cranked up the heater and headed home. The drive home was beautiful so Rachel and i stopped at several scenic lookouts. You can check out the pictures here. In retrospect, the decision to come back early sunday was a good one as it was nice to have a little bit more time sunday to go grocery shopping and recoup for the work week ahead.

Rachel started her new job at Stanford on monday and so far is really enjoying it. At the moment it looks to be a great fit for her. She was lucky enough to get in on the office christmas party, the department meeting, a birthday party, and a few orientation classes in her first week, meaning that i think it was thursday before she had her first full day of work in the office. For those that curious as to what she does, she works in the office of medical development on the donor relations team. In english that means that she works for the nonprofit wing of Stanford that raises funds for the medical school and medical center. When someone decides to donate to the school, Rachel is responsible for thanking them for their gift, designing a plaque to commend their gift, and maintaining a relationship with the donor. The woman that had the job before Rachel worked in the position for a year and a half before being promoted to assistant director. Since they are big on promoting within, and given Rachel’s enthusiasm and work ethic, they are expecting her to follow a similar trajectory. After months of coming home to a bored, unemployed girlfriend low on self esteem and tired of rejection, her new habbit of talking my ear off when i ask how her day was is pretty refreshing. I couldn’t be happier.

Ryan and his girlfriend Marie are here to visit us this weekend. They are road tripping down from school in Portland for Christmas break. On Thursday Rachel and i are planning on flying down to El Paso where we will then meet back up with Ryan and Marie, then drive to Big Bend to meet up with my parents and some friends. We’ll stay in Big Bend until Sunday, the drive back to do Christmas with the family, then Rachel i will fly back to Palo Alto.

Ryan and Marie arrived late Friday night after making the 11 hour drive down from Portland in a single day. Tired and exhausted, and with most places closed for the night, In and Out Burger was the choice on where to eat. Saturday morning we woke up and drove north, through San Francisco to Muir Woods. After a short hike through the redwoods we hopped back into the car and drove over to Berkeley. It was our first time there and i have to say it was pretty cool. We got cheesesteak hoagies at a place we found called I.B.’s. It was really good. We hit some great music stores and walked around on Telegraph street. Once we got tired we hopped back into the car and drove down Shattock street to see the famous Gourmet Ghetto, a small area known for famous restaurants. As we were turning around to head back home we stumbled upon Chez Panisse, widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world and known as the birthplace of California Cuisine. Once Rachel and i have paid back our debts and have some more money to play with a visit to Chez Panisse, Manresa (in Los Gatos), and the French Laundry, among other places will be in order. Or perhaps when mom and dad come to visit (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). To be a foodie and live in the Bay Area, and never visit these legendary restaurants before leaving would be pretty tragic.

We came back to Palo Alto and got a Pizza from Patxi’s, my favorite chicago style pizza joint, and had a nice relaxing dinner at home. Ryan and Marie then went to visit Ryan’s current roommate, who lives in San Jose, and was having a party at his house. Rachel and i were going to go, but then the time came both of us were just tired. We’re only 6 months out of college and we’re already lame, pardon me while i cry myself to sleep.

This morning Ryan and Marie brought his roommate, Michael, back to Palo Alto and we all went to breakfast at the Palo Alto Creamery, and old school diner style restaurant that makes IHOP look like an amateur operation that steals food from a dumpster. Its not really the place to go if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, but a great way to start an ambitions day…if you plan on sitting around all day and taking a nap. Rachel and i did our grocery shopping while Ryan and Marie hung out of University street, then we all met back up at the apartment and did some vegging (which luckily gave me the chance to catch up on my blog). The plan tonight is to grab and lighter dinner and maybe watch a movie. Ryan and Marie will be leaving tomorrow morning and taking the long way down to Cayucos to visit our family friends, Bruce and Grace tomorrow night.

Im really excited about taking a week of work and getting to hang out with my family, see big bend, and do the whole christmas thing. Then in early January we’ll be going to San Antonio to visit our friends in grad school and meet our friend Katie’s boyfriend, Robert who is a Sudanese refugee that she met on a visit to Kenya in the summer of 2006. She went back to see him in the summer of 2007 and he will be coming to the States (his first time here) for a month around christmas time to meet her family and friends. It should be a really good time.

So much for short and sweet. Oh well, maybe next time.

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