Week in Tahoe with the Moons

We’ve had many Tahoe adventures with the Moons over the years. Now that their home is finally ready, we were honored to be the first guests to break in the house (figuratively and literally). I guess the real honor goes to Ed’s bachelor party, but there wasn’t a speck of glitter anywhere, so it’s like it never happened.

We arrived on Monday and had lunch at the family barn, which is just a short walk from their home. It wasn’t hard to keep busy for a week with so much to do. The kids got started on a fort, which kept them busy throughout the week. Olivia is really wanting a dog, so spending time with Thando was good practice.

On Tuesday, Elin, Mike and I took the kids to the ropes course, which was challenging and a lot of fun for everyone. It’s a little bit Truman Show to be able to either fish or go bowling only 100 yards apart, but those were our options in the afternoon. Elin took Nico and Lucas bowling while Alex, Olivia and I went fishing. We heard they’re getting smarter and they did prove hard to catch. I got lucky and snagged a 10-12″ trout. Eventually the others found us and both Nico and Olivia hooked a fish but both fell off before landing them.

On July 4th, Mike wanted to go on a hike/adventure he had heard about at Crystal Peak. Apparently, the Crystal Mine trail ends on a mountain of quartz, which is there for the taking (one bucket-full per car per day). We had no real idea where we were going and there was a dispute between Google Maps, Waze and the internet. We also ended up off-roading for miles and had read that the last part of the trail required 4-wheel drive and clearance. I think we looked a bit out of place with all of the 4-wheel dune buggies whizzing by, but we made it all the way up. The kids thought it was fun.

There was no real objective when looking at a huge pile of rocks, so we told them to start digging up a huge crystal embedded in the mountain. That kept them busy for an hour or so (not even close to dislodging it). Eventually they started to search for and collect clear crystals, which were also hard to come by. After a couple hours, we decided to head out and went out a different way, which we were hoping was a little easier on the car. It wasn’t. The rugged terrain lulled everyone to sleep for what turned out to be a 65-mile drive deep into Nevada and back to Tahoe.

Grace brought a lot of food, which included a colorful 4th of July BBQ featuring Fred Steaks. We finished early enough to head down to Tahoe City to catch the fireworks. Things didn’t get underway until well past 9:30pm when it got truly dark out. Of the 600+ photos I took on the trip, it’s possible that 300+ were of fireworks. I posted one, which still looks terrible. I think the iPhone has those nailed.

Thursday, we wanted to go to the beach on Lake Tahoe. Thando was joining us, so it had to be dog-friendly, which ruled out our usual Sand Harbor. Mike determined that Chimney Beach was the place to go, but it has limited parking so we got a very early start and were one of the first people there. Elin and I were trying to guess the water temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Either way, it was super cold, but the kids and Elin braved it (well, Lucas was less brave). We stopped at the Lone Eagle restaurant in Incline Village for lunch, which was well deserved after the big hike back to the cars. Clara, Mike, Grace and I had one adults-only dinner out at Plumpjack Cafe at Squaw Valley.

Friday, we played putt-putt, which wasn’t the hit it through the windmill type, but rather real greens meandering through the neighborhood. There was a lot of slope to the greens, which resulted in some big scores. Some of the group stopped after 9 holes, but Elin, Nico, Lucas and I pressed on to finish 18. There was a great family festival going on, which kept the kids busy for a while. Mike, Grace and I left early to play real golf. The Martis Camp course is so beautiful and is in amazing condition (until we came along). Mike got some advice to stay out of the bunkers, which was sage. It didn’t help.

On Saturday, we had one last meal together and prepared to head home to the real world. The kids were excited to show us their fort, which was a legit lean-to. We were sad to leave after such a fun-filled week with our gracious hosts. Thank you, Moons, for another amazing vacation together.

Olivia’s Carey School Graduation

On Thursday, June 7th, Olivia graduated from The Carey School. It does seem like yesterday that she just finishing Kindergarten, though she has spent more than half her life at this school. Upon reflection, it has been everything we hoped for when she started: kind friends, amazing teachers (all of them) and administrators, and a wonderful community of parents and supporters.

Elementary school graduation has a lot more pomp and circumstance than I remember from my time finishing 5th grade. That said, these kids are different. While we know they grown up in their little bubble, they’re also very aware of what’s going on in their community, their country and around the world. They’ve studied and participated in movements with empathy and passion. They’re truly little citizens of the world and I do have hope that they’ll do better than we have in bringing people together.

A lot of families were graduating their last or only child this week. Thankfully, we still have a couple more years at Carey for Lucas. As for Olivia, we know she’s ready for middle school and are excited about everything new she will be experiencing.

Thanks to all of Olivia’s grandparents and Aunt Jen and Uncle Dave for coming to celebrate with us. We had a luncheon with Julie and Albert’s family at Il Fornaio (where else?) to toast our little graduates, Olivia and Olivia. Best wishes to them both! We love you.

6th Annual Carey Dad’s BBQ

On Sunday, June 3rd, Adam, Justin and I hosted our 6th annual BBQ for the Carey dads. Justin upped his game this year with his barrel smoker due to his PTSD of not cooking enough ribs last year. This year, he finished 12 ribs just in time for dessert (jk). Adam’s beef ribs were awesome and Grace’s Korean galbi short ribs were prepared with extra love.

Thanks to all the dads (and wives who signed them up) for coming out to support our school and community. See you next year!

Mother’s Day 2018 with the Moons in Marin

As every year, we celebrated Mother’s Day with Clara and Mike. Mike made reservations for lunch at Cavallo Point. We went to their house in Tiburon afterwards, where Grace spent the afternoon napping (isn’t this what every mom wants?). Even Elin succumbed to the food coma in the serenity of Casa Luna. The Binzers stopped by and Mike and Clara made dinner for everyone.

Hope we continue our tradition for these amazing mothers.

U2 Songs of Experience Concert in San Jose (x2)

Somehow I ended up with tickets to both shows at San Jose. I originally got seats for Grace after our last GA experience. When they announced a second show, I opted for Red Zone GA, thinking I could decide which one later. It turned out that neither pair was transferrable/sellable so I got to experience both.

The first night was quite civilized as it included dinner in the BMW Lounge. Plus we didn’t have to get there super early to stress about a spot. Just like Songs of Innocence, there was no perfect place to see the entire concert, but being right in the middle I guess was the best compromise. We were pretty far away from the action, except when The Edge came close to us for Pride.

I thought the show was great. Although they didn’t play one song from Joshua Tree, we got all that last year. This show was still like a greatest hits.

On the second night, I invited my go-to concert buddy, Erich. Even though we didn’t get there super early, we were still there in time for 2nd row in the Red Zone. I could have given up our spot to move to the b-stage, but decided it wasn’t worth it as I already saw the show and knew the end of the show would be where we were standing. It was basically an Adam Clayton photo shoot because we were closest to him for most of the show.

The setlist was the same for both nights with the exception of Red Flag Day, which was their live debut on Tuesday.

  1. Love Is All We Have Left
  2. The Blackout
  3. Lights of Home (String Version)
  4. Beautiful Day
  5. I Will Follow (with “Mother” snippet)
  6. Gloria (with Them’s “Gloria” snippet)
  7. Red Flag Day (live debut)
  8. The Ocean
  9. Iris (Hold Me Close)
  10. Cedarwood Road
  11. Sunday Bloody Sunday (acoustic; shortened; car bomb… more )
  12. Raised by Wolves (with “Psalm 23” snippet)
  13. Until the End of the World (with Allen Ginsberg’s “America” snippet)
    Intermission
    Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me (Gavin Friday version)
    “E” Stage
  14. Elevation (Influx remix intro)
  15. Vertigo (with “The Jean Genie” snippet)
  16. Desire (Hollywood remix)
  17. Acrobat (with “Sympathy for the Devil” snippet)
  18. You’re the Best Thing About Me (acoustic; with “Landlady” snippet)
  19. Staring at the Sun (acoustic)
  20. Pride (In the Name of Love) (with “This Is Not America” snippet)
  21. Get Out of Your Own Way
  22. American Soul
  23. City of Blinding Lights
    Women of the World (Jim O’Rourke song)
    Encore:
  24. One
  25. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
  26. 13 (There Is a Light)
    The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) (ambient mix)