San Francisco Day

Today we played the role of local tourists and took the Caltrain from Mountain View to San Francisco.
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We met up with my friend Jessica and her two boys and enjoyed the journey up the peninsula together.

When we arrived in San Francisco, our first stop was Panera for lunch. We enjoyed freshly baked sandwiches, salads and soup, Mac-n-cheese, and bagels. We then had enough energy to walk along the Embarcadero to the Ferry building, stopping along the way to admire AT&T Park baseball stadium and the gorgeous weather.
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When we arrived at the ferry building, we took a bike taxi to pier 15 to explore the Exploratorium.

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Our feet were tired and we didn’t know how much further it might be from the ferry building to the designated pier. The bike ride was an experience in itself that we all enjoyed in the California sunshine.

The Exploratorium had so much to see and touch. We could have spent several more hours there if I didn’t have other plans this evening to bring us home by dinner time.

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Everyone was having a good time, touching and learning. I especially loved the transistor circuits and watching all the creative and smart kids work together collaboratively.

I also enjoyed being outside on the back of the pier admiring the sailboats passing by. There were great big boats supposedly racing today for the Louis Vuitton Race. They picked a perfect day to be on the water!

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I loved just being back in San Francisco again. We picked a perfect day to be there as the sun was shining and it was actually a warm August day.

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I hope we get back up there again very soon to explore another part of the beautiful city!

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Namaste.

Day 307: Joy On A Bike

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I played hooky today and skipped my Dutch class. The sun was shining and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I needed Vitamin D and exercise. Does that sound like a good excuse? Plus now that I’m moving in 2 months, my desire to master the language has dwindled… Not that I don’t want to learn Dutch, but I only have so many days left with the kids in school (think free kid care) and sun shiny days.

I thought you might love to see the beautiful forest by my house from a biker’s point of view. Enjoy!!

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Love the goat farm, and this little guy jumping through the air!

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These flowers are right by my front door and were so nice to see when I came home.

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And to end the beautiful day, the kids and I and our friends walked to the ice cream shop to celebrate the sunshine and warm weather after school. Living in the moment and living it up!

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Life is good, and sweet! Namaste.

Day 273: Living it Up at the Rijksmuseum and in the Sunshine

I have a motto – Live It Up! We only get one life and we have limited time, so we better live up every minute and choose to do what creates happiness for ourselves, our friends, our family and our community. Right now. Every damn day!

Some of my daily sayings include:

Let it go.

Do you want to create a connection or conflict?

It’s all good.

Yes.

Life is good.

What made you happy today?

No worries.

So what?

I love you.

Can I have a do-over?

God bless you.

I’m sorry.

I made a mistake. Can I try again?

Do the right thing. Choose the harder right.

In 20 years, this won’t matter.

But I digress… One of the best things I’ve learned so far is to live in the moment and to enjoy what you have and where you are. Right now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Be in the moment and live it up. And I do. And I do my work and take care of my responsibilities and I have fun, every day in some way. If the mama’s happy, everyone is happy. Am I right??

Today I rode my bike for the first time from Amstelveen into Amsterdam with my friends, and i was so proud of myself. I’ve been a little intimidated and finally faced my stupid fears and went, like all the other Dutch people! We met up with Cami at the Rijksmuseum and hired a tour guide for five euros each to give us the highlights of the museum. I highly recommend this option for your first visit. We also all had museum cards, which get you into the museum for free and avoids the queues. The museum just reopened after ten years of renovations. There were lots of problems and bureaucracy that postponed the reopening, but finally last week it reopened again and it is marvelous. The architecture is amazing, and was almost as entertaining as the art.

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The arrangement of the collections are now organized by combining paintings, sculpture, crafts, and historical objects chronologically. Together, they tell the story of Dutch art and history Ina more contextual iced and meaningful way.

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This was the first piece that was highlighted. It is from the Middle Ages and depicts the Virgin Mary expressing sorrow. The majority of the art produced in Europe during the Middle Ages was of a religious nature.

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This painting is from the 19th century and was created by George Hendrik Breitner. Its interest comes from the use of photography to structure the painting. The veiled woman in the front is significantly larger than the other figures and was originally a maid, but was transformed into a well to do lady as requested by the art dealer. In this time,maids and the wealthy folks were not seen on the street at the same time of day. So this was cutting edge!

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Van Gogh’s self portrait and a few of his pieces were displayed. Most of his art is in his own museum, and is temporarily at the Hermitage while the VG museum is being renovated.

We climbed up several flights of stairs to see a 20th century airplane that was designed by the Dutch.

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We were all fascinated by how they got the airplane onto and into the building on the highest floor. They took it apart and rebuilt it over several months to get it to fit indoors.

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The best part of sightseeing with a tour guide, is that they highlight details that you might otherwise overlook. I’ve seen Vermeer’s The Milkmaid before, but this time I noticed the broken window and the light coming through the cracks, and the Delft tiles on the floor. I loved the woman’s hands and the stillness and simplicity of her pouring milk.

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This scene by Jan Steen is awesome and provided my lesson for the day. This painting is called the Merry Family. I love that everyone is being silly and jovial and playing together. The paper hanging from the mantel tells the moral of the story: “as the old sing, so shall the young twitter.” The young will copy and mimic their elders. What will become of our youth if we set the wrong example?

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The masterpiece of the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt’s Nightwatch painting. The room where it is hung is where it was originally showcased. The entire room is dedicated to Rembrandt, the master of capturing light and darkness. You could sit in this room and stare for hours and see something different every time.

Speaking of light, the sun was shining so warmly today and brightly that we had to go outside for lunch and soak up the sun. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from this glorious day. Namaste and I hope you get a chance to see the newly reopened Rijksmuseum.

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And after the beauty of the Rijksmuseum, nature finished the day with her beautiful, final curtain.

Life is good.

Day 263: More Vitamin D Please!

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I am going to remember this saying when it gets cloudy and gray again this week.

But today, the sun came out to play almost all day and night. Life is so much better with sunshine. People are just happier all around.

When we woke up this morning, we waited for the rain to pass and then headed out for a bike ride with Patti Beth and her family.

20130414-220853.jpg This is an old fashioned tram that runs through Amstelveen on the weekends.

20130414-221036.jpg This is the Jonge Dikkert – a fancy restaurant in Amstelveen.

We wanted to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom, but because of all the rain and cold weather lately, the blooms are delayed. We did get to enjoy a few blossoms, but not the field of color we expected.

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The cherry blossom orchard is a memorial to all those who lost their lives in the tsunami in Japan in 2011.

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We rode our bikes through the forest and to the pancake house. So many people were outside, enjoying the nice weather today. If you live in Amsterdam or nearby, this is a great place to visit with your family. Boerderij Meerzicht they have a playground, outdoor seating, coffee, dessert, and really delicious Dutch pancakes served a hundred different ways!

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And if the day couldn’t get any better, we met up with friends for a rooftop BBQ. Sitting in the sunshine, listening to music, and having having a couple drinks felt so good! Thanks Cami and Rich for inviting us over!

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“Happy is the new fancy.”

20130414-221950.jpgGirlfriends – you make life so sweet! xoxo

Day 157: Family Bike Ride and Goat Farm

We were all busy cleaning up around our house today, catching up with laundry and decluttering. Isn’t that what you do on a weekend? But then the sun was shining in and we had to stop cleaning and go outside for a bike ride. Just like that.
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We live by the Amsterdamsebos, which is an awesome man made forest with lakes and rowing ponds and pathways and fields and trees of course, along with other surprises. My favorite part is riding along this rowing pond or body of water – I don’t know what you call it. But there are always people out running, and riding, and rowing and fishing, and strolling. There are protected paths that make it safe to take your family out for a bike ride, like we did today. Jeff and I also run through this forest every other day when we can get out for a run, as it is so conveniently close.

While we were riding today, we took the kids to a goat farm we had heard about and ran by earlier in the week. We parked our bikes and took a break to check out the farm. Here are some of the animals we saw.

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20121229-230630.jpg This trio was funny – the cow was snuggled up to the pig and the goat kept standing on the pig. The pig would grunt and eventually the cow nudged the goat off his back.

P.S. Being with the goats made me miss you Michele, and our trip to the Harley Goat Farm and your pygmies!!