The next few stories didn't manage to get their own posts (mostly because I don't have many pictures), but I thought I would still share them.
1. Stanford vs USC
Halloween weekend, my buddy Andrew and I left campus on Friday around 5 PM headed for Los Angeles. We arrived at a friend of Andrew's house around 2 AM in Thousand Oaks where 12 or 15 other friends were staying. The next morning we woke up around 9 and headed into LA (in traffic of course) to get some tailgating in before the game. Our seats weren't the greatest, but the Coliseum is still a pretty impressive stadium...
5 hours, 3 overtimes, 13 touchdowns, and 2 heart attacks later Stanford pulled out a 56-48 victory prompting wild celebrations among the 2000 or so Stanford students who came down for the game, and keeping Stanford's National Championship hopes alive (at least until Oregon drubbed us...). My freshman roommate and I celebrating after the game:
The expression popular at Stanford, "Cal is the rival, but USC is the enemy" definitely resonates. And I'll savor a victory- at least until USC comes up to Palo Alto next year...
2. Seattle (Take 2)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Jenny worked on her Honors Thesis this summer with NOAA in Seattle, and since she didn't finish, she went back just before Thanksgiving Break. Given my flexible work environment and our client in Seattle, I decided to tag along. After leaving San Jose head-achingly early for a 6 AM flight, Jenny and I arrived in a freezing Seattle on Sunday morning. After dropping our stuff at our hotel we spent the day hanging out the University District, where I had a personal first: two vegan meals in a single day. The previous sentence is true even without the "In a single day" part actually. The first was a little cafe where I had a delicious peanut rice bowl, and dinner was a 3-course prix fixe at a restaurant Jenny and I discovered on my first trip to Seattle but couldn't fit in, Sutra- half restaurant, half yoga studio (how Seattle). Our dinner included courses like, "Tarragon-Pecan Cheese-Cauliflower Stuffed Celery Root-Spelt Gnocchi with a Satueed Spinach-Cipollini-Chanterelle Ragout, a Curry Leaf-Porcini Demiglaze and finished with Parsnip Chips," with each course explained by the chef, a very Seattle experience, and most importantly, an awesome dinner.
Wednesday, Jenny and I left again at the crack of dawn (before actually) and flew back to San Francisco, eventually heading to Fresno for Thanksgiving with Jenny's family. My only photo of the Seattle trip, waiting for our flight at 5:30 AM:
Jenny's family was gracious enough to host me in Fresno for the holidays, which included a lovely hike in the foothills of the Sierras. In the photo below from left to right, Paul, Jenny's father, Anne, Anne's roommate Vanessa, Jenny, and me (looking quite sassy with that hip for some reason):
All in all, a lovely Thanksgiving with Seattle and Jenny's family.
This Christmas Jenny came to Tennessee (again), and even though I had to work several days, we still had some fun. Saturday night the whole family and Jenny went to a hockey game, the Nashville Predators game against the St Louis Blues, Jenny's first hockey game! Not sure why this photo distorted, but it's still pretty cool...
Jenny was even entrusted with my mom's secret iced cookie recipe!
And she got a chance to see just about the only non-cave related natural wonder in the area, the Natural Bridge in Sewanee.
4. The Fiesta Bowl
On New Years' Day I flew to Phoenix to go see Stanford play in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State on the 2nd. Jenny's family and I took advantage of Phoenix before the game, enjoying a lovely hike in the Tonto National Forest, 30 miles east of Phoenix. We had a nice view from the top of our hike,
and everyone got to see my best Saguaro cactus impression- not too bad if I do say so myself:
I won't dwell on the actual Fiesta Bowl, a loss I still haven't overcome. A game we did everything except win- hopefully paying off our karma debt from the USC game (above). While the atmosphere of a BCS game was awesome, our seats were definitely less so:
Fortunately our heart-breaking loss was offset by a stop in Joshua Tree National Park on the way home for a short day-hike. Special thanks to my constant hosts through Thanksgiving and New Years: Jenny's family. Thanks Jenny, Jean, Paul, and Anne!!
5. Vermont in January
There will be some more 2012 posts coming soon, but I wanted to especially thank my Vermont host, Mark for a great weekend. The last three weeks of January I found myself traveling to Boston every week for work, and at the end of the month on a Friday I found out that our client wanted me to be back in Boston the next Monday. Instead of spending 12 hours flying back and forth to San Francisco, I decided to stay in Boston, rent a car, and drive up to Stowe, Vermont to visit my fried Mark for a weekend of quaint New England towns, snow-shoeing, skiing, good beer, and a great time. My only photo from the trip:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
- Robert Frost (talking about Stowe, VT I'm pretty sure).