In the 5 months since we’ve been out here I’ve been away for 6 weeks. I’ve been away from Katie for 4 and a half of them. Chicago, Valparaiso and Oregon have been the destinations. They’ve been great trips, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I’m looking forward to having the time to write up the 4th of July experience at Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

rockaway-beach-or-2014-july-04

The rest of the time has been spent either learning about this strange, foreign place I now call home or scrambling to catch up on work and healing my pain in the neck.

Tonight, I breathe. Finally breathe. Because in the last week, for the first time since we’ve been here, we’re finally getting a chance to live in California.

Exploring the valleys and foothills that surround me will take energy.

As I wrote about in the last story, I’m getting back into workout rituals. In fact, so long as I get my workout in, I feel like my day is a success. That’s a far cry from the ole agency days. My waistline is thanking me.

More importantly, Katie and I are getting closer to being able to take advantage of the area’s vast natural resources. It sounds silly, especially if you’re back home near the nine lakes of Valparaiso on the Indiana side of Chicago where there’s a Great Lake & sand dunes to the north. Such resources sound like second nature. But imagine those sand dunes are 600 feet taller and they surround your city, leaving you essentially four roads in and out of town.

Then, imagine being claustrophobic.

Welcome to the Dublin / Pleasanton, CA area.

Tri-Valley, Eastbay, where mornings in the summer are 60 degrees, afternoons top out at 110 degrees and fall back down to 75 degrees before sundown – all with about 19% humidity. Where every day is about the same, like clockwork. Where your weather is considered Mediterranean and you’re told you live on the southern tip of wine country. Where people actually drive 90 minutes west out to the Sierra Nevada mountains to have fun in the snow.

They think snow is a novelty!

Napa is an hour north. Lake Tahoe is 3 hours NNW. Yosemite is 3 hours south. Mount Shasta is 4 hours north. The Pacific Ocean is 40 miles due west. The Big Sur is a couple hours away.

It takes a helluva lot of energy to fully enjoy these places. Welcome to my renewed vigor for exercise.

And, oh, the outdoor music scene.

We’re going to a place called The Mountain Winery in Saratoga (#Southbay) this Saturday to see Amos Lee. It used to be known as the Paul Masson Winery. Their commercials were voiced by Orson Welles.

Hopefully like this.

The venue is backdropped by a vintage sandstone winery building and the vineyard.

photo by carol grape via flickr
Mountain Winery amplitheatre.
Photo credit: Carol Grape via Flickr.

There are also lines of shops and outdoor dining on the backend of the that we’ll make sure to use to great decadence.

There are more concerts to come that we have our eyes on and venues that sound like the stuff of legends but we have to be mindful of our calendar. Now that we’re keeping our feet planted here for awhile, we have a list of family and friends coming to visit us from now until Thanksgiving. The first one gets here next week.

Visiting Napa for the first time next week.

My buddy Brad Best is coming out here next week. I haven’t seen him since I last guest lectured at Mizzou in February of 2012. Coincidentally it was the trip where I first met Katie.

He’s coming out to San Francisco to do some Analytics training with Adobe and is sneaking in early to visit (cat’s out of the bag now). The three of us are planning to go up to visit Napa and Sonoma and do the tourist vineyard trips. Note to self: Watch Bottle Shock, again.



There’s a better than average chance that’ll be sneaking out to hang out in the city while he’s here. This will mark the first time I’ve been in downtown San Francisco since I was 7.

Yeah, we still haven’t been to the city yet.

Half Moon Bay, Bakersfield, and more to find out about.

Yeah, we haven’t even been to the California coast of yet. But those days are a’coming. And there a’comin’ soon.

The best part: I’ll finally get to write about present events.

And…exhale.

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