Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hiking and Holidays

Yipee!!! We're going hiking!!!

Ayla and I went hiking with the Saturday morning group. Here she is at the top of the Elderberry Trail in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. This is overlooking Castro Valley and you can see the bay in the background.

Hiking is thirsty work. Here's Ayla and her buds Christie and Coby getting a drink at one of the watering troughs. There are cattle grazing through the area and the water for them makes for convenient dog watering too. Ayla didn't have to put her front paws up like these two, she could just stick her head over the side since she's so tall. Looks like she'd rather drink the mud here though.

Speaking of cattle, here's Ayla wondering what she should do here. This cow and the others on the other side of the road had calves with them, so they were a bit grumpy and mooed a lot.

Finally back in the car after four or five miles of hiking, with Christie. Look, they're holding paws! :)

It was a great hike and Ayla (who is eviscerating her stuffed goose toy as I type) was good and tired after, which was a great thing because Chris and I were going out that night - gasp! :) Chris' work sponsored a holiday party on the San Francisco Belle, so we got dressed up and hopped on the bus with many of his coworkers in Pleasanton. The ride over the Bay Bridge was neat - we were up so high in the bus and could see so much more than I'm used to when I drive over the bridge. It dropped us off at Pier 2 in SF and we boarded the boat. It was decorated for the holidays and there were appetizers and a jazz quartet.

Before the boat launched, Chris looked over at me with a gleam in his eye and said, "You know, we could get off the boat and go have a nice dinner and see a show or something instead." I took a look around and realized that while the party was nice, I only knew a few people there, and the appetizers weren't promising for a vegetarian (unless I wanted to eat just cheese cubes, carrot sticks, and goodness-knows what had been dipped in the chocolate fountain). The music was good but it was loud and enclosed in the room, and I have an awful time focusing and holding up my end of a conversation in that type of situation. So off we went! Funny, we felt at first like we were breaking the rules or getting in trouble, but then realized we're adults, we can do what we want! How silly is that?

We found a bus stop and looked at a map, wanting to get to Union Square. It looked to be about a mile away so we set off on foot. On the way we got to look at a lot of holiday decorations, and though it was cool we had coats and gloves so we were happy. We made our way to Union Square and walked around a bit looking at all the holiday cheer (kittens in the Macy's window display!), looked at a ticket office but didn't see any shows nearby that we were interested in, then happened upon the Daily Grill, a restaurant my great-uncle and -aunt Loren and Lynn took the family to for my college graduation 5 years ago. We had a wonderful dinner: I had grilled vegetables, risotto, and a glass of Shiraz. There was so much food it looked like I had hardly touched my plate, but I was stuffed! Chris couldn't pass up the 28-day aged porterhouse with fries, though he usually doesn't eat meat either, and a spiced rum and coke. He said the steak was one of the best he's ever had, and this is a man who loves steak.

Then we walked down to the big mall and rode the many curving escalators, something we did together on that National Honor Society trip 11 years ago when we first fell in love. We went to the Nordstrom's Cafe for coffee and dessert (creme brulee and a sorbet & gelato trio) and looked out over the city and its hustle and bustle. After that we caught an easy BART ride back to Pleasanton, walked a short half-mile or so back to Chris' work, got in the car and drove home.

It was such a wonderful day and we had such a good time. I'm pretty much hobbled today since I walked too many miles in the city in 3-inch heels, but it was very much worth it. I'm sure the boat would have been nice, but I'm glad we decided to do our own thing instead. Here's to my husband and his spontaneity! What a wonderful gift it was!

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