Friday, May 15, 2009

Turning 40

Hey there! I'll try and get back to blogging about away MP3s and such, but for posterity I'm going to document my 40th birthday since you never know when the details will slip and in my old age I may need to read this over to recall the weekend that was. I can say that I had a very happy 40th birthday thanks to my wife. Disneyland and Napa were the destinations and without further goes...

I was sick the whole week - stayed home from work on Monday (the 4th), went to Sacramento to lobby on Tuesday, worked a short day on Wednesday and took Thursday off. Thursday was a nice day, slept in, ran some errands and at 3:00 I picked my wife up at her job in San Francisco. We darted over to SFO and hopped a plane to Orange County. I had never flown Virgin America, but I'll tell you, I'll be choosing them whenever possible...GREAT experience. Love the mood lighting!

We arrived on Thursday evening and shuttled over to our hotel which was right across from Disneyland. After unpacking we walked over to Downtown Disney for dinner. My wife wanted to check out The House of Blues (here) and we decided to stay for dinner. We had great food, great service (thanks Mary!) and stayed to check out the band that was setting up in the Voodoo Lounge. The band was great (Brophy Dale here) and we stayed for quite a while to check out their set.
The next morning we headed over to Disneyland (for my free admission to one park extravaganza). We had a great time running around Disneyland riding all of our favorite rides and the lines were short, weather was great and we had an excellent time. For lunch we headed back over to Downtown Disney and at the Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. Lunch was good...we had a little problem and the manager took VERY good care of us. Since it was my birthday they served us beignets for dessert. It was my wife's first beignet is high time I take her to New Orleans to Cafe du Monde! After lunch it was back to Disneyland for more rides before we did some shopping (for the kids and my mother-in-law). We had a 5:00 pm shuttle back to the airport for another great flight via Virgin America.
Once we landed and grabbed our luggage we decided to have sushi for my "late night" birthday dinner and we got to one of our favorite places just in time to order. Tomodachi (here) is a great place for sushi (located in Hayward) and when they saw my Disneyland birthday button they came over to sing happy birthday to me as well as honor me with some ice cream (and a candle) plus they took a photo of my wife and I and minutes later came back with a Tomodachi picture frame (stands and has a magnet for fridge use) with our photo in it. Very cool!
The next morning we got up, tooled around a little and then headed up to Napa. Once we got there we visited the Napa Outlets where we did a little shopping for ourselves (and the kids) then over to the resort we were staying at. We picked up some birthday cupcakes (my wife got their Snikerdoodle and I got an Irish Car Bomb - cupcake mind you) at Sift (here) and wandered around for awhile as we just weren't sure where to have dinner.

We ended up at the old staple, Downtown Joe's (here) for a killer dinner (and beer). There was a band setting up there as well so we stayed to watch (and the locals) for a little while. The band name was Xtatic (here)...and we got a kick out of their lead singer Herb Burns. They played classic rock hits from the 60ties thru 2000's. It was fun seeing everyone having so much fun listening to the band.

The next morning we slept in and once we got up and packed we made our way into Sonoma. We again wandered in search of food and had a great lunch at the Basque Boulangerie Café (here). In the neighborhood was Mission San Francisco Solano. We decided to tour it and really enjoyed ourselves. Reading the history of the 21st, last and northernmost California mission was excellent. Mission San Francisco Solano was the only mission founded after Mexico's independence from Spain. It was also the only mission founded without the prior approval of the Church. We enjoyed the Mission very much. You can Google it for more information or visit here.
We also visited the Sonoma Barracks a two-story, wide-balconied, adobe barracks facing Sonoma's central plaza. It was built to house Mexican army troops under the command of General Vallejo. The troops first arrived in Sonoma in 1834 when Vallejo, then the Commandant of the Presidio at San Francisco, was instructed to move his garrison to Sonoma. From then until 1846, Sonoma was the headquarters of the commandant of the Frontera del Norte - the Mexican provincial frontier of the North. It was also very educational and an enjoyable visit.
Our final stop on our way home was one of our favorite wineries, Valley of the Moon (here). We tasted quite a few wines and bought a few wines and enjoyed our stay there. Great place!
We were kidless on Sunday night so we enjoyed a nice dinner together and relaxed. The weekend was complete and completely perfect.

This week my staff took me out for are some pics of that adventure. They gave me a birthday car(d) - meaning, they painted birthday greetings on my car windows. They also gave me a case of beer and we had CAKE!

Mark Harvey

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