Friday, June 22, 2007

"If You're Going to San Fransisco...."

" sure to wear some flowers in your hair." (Scott McKenzie)

I spent 6 days in San Fransico last week. Working most of the time at the Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero with Anthony and O.J. (who, by the way is leaving IMS and heading for Korea in a few days, and if you don't set up a blog and keep it updated with pictures, Joey, I will be very upset!!).

Anyway, I did have a day off in the middle of the week, while O.J. babysat his multi-plasma video creation and Anthony did his Production Manager duties), I got up at the crack of dawn and walked out to the piers to catch a glimpse of the sunrise against the Bay Bridge. As it rose, I walked down the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf, which was just slowly getting into business for the day. Past the fishing boat docks and up some hills, I got a cool view of the water with the Golden Gate in the background. Afterwards, I hopped on a cable car to go back via Chinatown. Later, I took a ferry from Market St. to Sausalito and back for some sunset photography. A good trip, with some long work hours, but some good shots to show off.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Redesigned Bling

Today was the one day I had at home between last week's trip for work (New York City) and next week's trip for work (San Francisco), and wouldn't you know it, Kendra had to go in for her first Saturday work today too. But it was all good because I got a call on Friday that Kendra's ring had come in.

The ring that we had gotten for our wedding (now nearly 7 years ago!) was a thin platinum band with 12 small diamonds in a row in a channel setting along the top. Fairly soon after, the band started to get bent up and misshapen, mainly due to how thin it was at the bottom. We've taken it in for straightening several times, but it's got progressively weaker and worse. I started putting aside some cash from time to time for a replacement a few years ago, so this last time that Kendra complained about her ring being out of shape, I had her leave it with me on my day off the other week and took a stroll down to Jeweler's Row here in Philly.

There's about 300 jewelers, designers, diamond cutters, setters, goldsmiths, wax makers and polishers in a 2 block radius, so it would take a whole week to shop around, so I just trusted my intuition and picked a place at random. The people inside were great and had a number of ideas about replacing the ring. I had wanted to do something that would be a little more sturdier and tougher than the one she had now, but with using the same stones from the original, and they were all for it. We decided on a white gold band, thicker and more uniform in size, with a new, larger single diamond at the top and the 12 original smaller diamonds in a scatter set (alternating sides) around the rest of the diameter. They were also able to take a few extra dollars off by buying the remaining platinum band back.

They had told me 3 weeks to finish it, but they left as message on Friday and said it was ready. So, I walked back today and they had it waiting for me. It looked really cool and they were able to keep all 13 stones flush with the surface of the band, which was nice. I thanked them all and took off with the ring and picked up a bottle of wine up on 2nd street. It was a lovely sunny day and lots of people were out on the streets. When Kendra came home, I showed her the ring and she loved it. She immediately put it on (well, after she had me take pictures of it for the blog) and wouldn't put anything in her hand that might smudge it. We went for sushi at Kisso and dessert at Patou, during which she kept raving about the ring. It does look pretty neat (pictures below).

Now were watching a documentary about the disturbing Gray Man, Albert Fish. Tomorrow it's off to San Fran.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Summer Birthday Bash

On Sunday we had a good time at the ruins area of Kendra's workplace where we celebrated the multiple summer birthdays in the Wingert family. Kendra went out on Saturday and did alot of shopping for vegetables, pesto sauces and fish- which all turned out quite wonderfully, despite our vast inexperience in using outdoor grills. We had vegetable skewers (tomatoes, squash, onions, mushrooms, pineapple and peppers), two kinds of fish (salmon in a basil pesto sauce and talapia in a lemon-pepper sauce). She also got some hot dogs (the uncured pure beef kind from Whole Foods) as well as saurkraut. My sister made a fruit salsa with tortilla chips and my mom made a potato salad and a big tossed salad with carrots, lettuce, spinach, asparagus and radishes from their garden. My aunt made some delicious chocolate chip cookies and we also made smores (compliments of Sam).

The ruins is a very cool little area with two big gas grills under a pavilion, a bunch of picnic tables, wooden Adirondak chairs, a stone fireplace and a playground for the kids. Under the pavilion a bird had made a nest and the parents kept flying back to feed the baby birds. We even saw the baby being fed a worm right in front of us!

The skies were full of dark clouds while Kendra set up her things and prepared the vegetable skewers and marinated the fish. We played a little catch with a massive frisbee we got at Walmart.

[Kendra putting the vegetables on the skewers in her meticulous predetermined order]

[Kendra giving Tim a semi-annoyed smile after picture #10 of her was taken while waiting for the rest of the guests]

[Kendra putting the marinade on the fish]

[Kendra deciding we need some pictures of Tim, too. Here is Tim building a fire in the rain!]

Everyone arrived around an hour and a half after we got there, and the weather was starting to get worse. It held out for us long enough to get the food cooked and sit down for our meal. Almost everyone except Kendra was pretty wrapped up with the fish and side dishes when it started raining hard enough that we had to take cover.

We all moved under the pavilion and in between downpours, people ran out to the firepit to make their hot dogs and then s'mores.

A little while later, it really started to pour and we had to take cover inside where we had some coffee and exchanged birthday gifts.

It was a great day, despite the weather woes!

[Here's our everyday view out of our windows- looking south across the Ben Franklin Bridge, toward Market St., and Society Hill with the rain moving in. This is another 4-shot panoramic stitched-shot]