Saturday, August 24, 2013

From Bakersfield to Boston

 In August I spent two days in Boston with my new client. My last client operated only in California and so I am done with travel to places like Bakersfield and Sacramento, at least for a while. I really enjoyed this trip east, as quick as it was and even though it lacked any extra time to see the locals. I’m sure Kathy Lunetta would have gone on an early morning run with me but who am I kidding – it was brutal enough doing those meetings on five hours of sleep. My client has funky, hip offices, more Google-style than Big Blue. In one of the kitchens there are large canisters of M&Ms, gummy bears and chocolate covered pretzels. I needed those M&Ms to supplement the 7:30am breakfast (which was 4:30am in my head)!

We were in Cambridge, an area I do not know well. The client offices were on the MIT campus and during the 20 minutes I had to myself I took a close look at the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center. The Stata Center houses MIT’s Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Labs. I’m a fan of Gehry in general and this building is especially interesting. It looks as if it's about to collapse. Columns tilt at scary angles. Walls teeter, swerve and collide in random curves and angles. Materials change wherever you look: brick, mirror-surface steel, brushed aluminum, brightly colored paint, corrugated metal. Everything looks improvised, as if thrown up at the last moment. It’s a metaphor for the freedom, daring and creativity of the research that's supposed to occur inside it.

It was a mild summer day with temps in the 70s so it seemed that everyone in Boston with an urge to exercise outdoors was doing it along the river.

The MIT campus is beautiful, a mix of old and new architecture and grassy open spaces. I kept hoping that the older, more historic buildings would be labeled so I’d know more about them without having to resort to Google later. This wasn’t the case.

Every time I come to Boston I remember how much I like it and hope one of our kids will go to school there. And then I remember that it’s 2,500 miles from where we live and that I’d miss them. It’s a good thing that I don’t get to make these decisions for them.

We had two amazing working dinners – the first at The Red Lantern, where the wait staff seemed to push the drinks more than the seafood-heavy Asian food – and the other at Al Dente, traditional, heavy Italian dishes in the North End.

On the way home I caught an earlier flight and the gate agent even waived the change fee as they were in a rush to close the doors and depart.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Penny Boards

We're in Newport Beach this week for one last hurrah before school starts. We're staying with Nini and Sydney.

Yesterday we walked around Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula. Nini and Syd are often visited by their grandchildren so their home is equipped with Razor scooters, boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrellas and a gazillion towels. I love how they have posted Summer House Rules. Seriously! No electronics at meals. Wet towels are shaken out and then go straight into the washer.

Newport Beach is beautiful. I'm surprised how uncrowded it is, especially the beaches on the Peninsula. We ate lunch at Ruby's on the pier and watched one very smart pelican eat all the small fish that the locals landed from the pier. A sea lion entertained us. The tiny beach houses are very cute and I want to rent one for a week or two. The dilemma: island for the cuteness or Peninsula for the beach??

The youngest Pinks got Penny Boards, adorable plastic skateboards. You can buy them off the rack or customize them by choosing the board and wheel color. Too fun!