We had a nice weekend… half spent at home and half spent in the Bay Area. Friday evening Patrick flew in and he and Bill spent way too much money at the yuppie grocery store for dinner. Bristol Farms is a great grocery store similar to Whole Foods Market. They have an enormous meat and seafood market. Patrick said they went there “to just get ideas” for dinner. He and Bill came home with beautiful steaks and Alaskan King crab legs. The new season of Deadliest Catch has begun on the Discovery Channel, so we’ve been in the mood for some King Crab. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but King Crab happens to be on sale everywhere, $7 to $8 per pound. Bill cooked the steaks perfectly and made some clarified butter. He did something different to it that made it taste really good… kind of nutty and carmely. It was a fantastic dinner. Afterwards we watched episodes of “How I Met Your Mother”. We’re getting Patrick hooked on that show.
Saturday morning the three of us made our way to The Petroleum Club in Long Beach to get our credentials for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach . We each got an event poster, tickets, information booklets and our snazy red uniform jacket. It looks like we’ll be working in the main grandstands that are right at the start/finish line. We’re supposed to be there to help people find their seats and guide people to the bathrooms, ATM, concessions, parking, etc. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
After the credential stuff, we flew up to OAK with plans to have dinner with Damon and Susan and Vu and Polly. Damon and Susan were flying back to Plano, TX on Sunday. When we landed Damon called to let us know he and Susan couldn’t make dinner. They had family obligations for their short visit. We completely understand that! So, we met Mom, Dad, Grama and Michael at Jan and Mark’s house for some BBQ chicken and potatoes. Mark had just opened the first bottles of a zinfandel rose. (I can’t remember if it was a zin or not…) Either way, it was delicious! And we had a lot of it. After the rose we had something else that was red. Then there was some delicious port. And I seem to remember a bit of tequila. We were all having a great time laughing around Mark’s fire pit-thing in the backyard. We ended up roasting some marshmellows too.
Sunday morning I went with Bill and his parents to the Mountain View Cemetery in Piedmont for Chinese Grave Cleaning Day. It’s a day in Chinese culture where family members visit the graves of their ancestors and basically clean up. They honor their family who has passed by replacing wilted flowers with new ones, burning incense and bringing food such as roasted pig and fresh fruit. Sometimes family members burn paper versions of things they want their family to have in the afterlife. Stores sell paper cars, yachts, mansions, credit cards and more to burn for decesaed family members. Bill remembers burning a Mercedes and a chauffer for his grandmother soon after she died in 1996. I never met her, but I’ve been to her grave many times. It’s way up on the top of a hill with a fantastic view of the Bay Area. When we got there on Sunday morning, it was more crowded than I have ever seen. The Chinese tradition mixed with Easter Sunday made the cemetery look like a popular picnicing park. It was actually nice to see so many flowers on the graves at the bottom of the hill near the entrance. Those are the oldest graves dating to the mid to late 1800s. It was very busy at the top of the hill where a large number of Chinese people are buried. Large families were gathered around a loved one’s grave saying silent prayers and burning incense. It was an interesting mix of people. Some were eating the food they had brought complete with card tables and blankets on the lawn, enjoying each other’s company as they shared happy memories about the dearly departed. It looked like a party. Others were very somber and quiet. The emotions in the air contrasted almost as much as the smells. One minute I could smell the comforting warmth of incesne. A second later I could smell the sweetness of a whole roasted pig or fresh flowers. Here’s the panoramic photo I took:
Not a bad view for your final resting place. Afterwards we had dim sum in San Leandro. Then Bill’s parents dropped me off at the airport. I played the stand-by game and I got a seat on my second try. Bill is staying in the Bay Area until Thursday. He and one of the guys on his team are getting SFO all set up for their station opening. Bill is a little excited to have a SFO badge. To quote him, “They have grown-up airplanes there!”
I took this pic of Wrigley with his peg leg yesterday. He’s so adorable, but big. He’s probably over twenty pounds right now and almost five months old.
A face like that will put anyone in a good mood.