“This is the main difference between the Gospel and philosophy. Although the philosophers speak on the subject of morals splendidly and with praiseworthy ability, yet all the embellishment which shines forth in their precepts is nothing more than a beautiful superstructure without a foundation, for by omitting principles, they propound a mutilated doctrine, like a body without a head.” Paul [in Romans 12:1-2] lays down the principle from which all the parts of holiness flow.” John Calvin

Oktoberfest at the Becks

Our German Neighbors

Spending the evening at the Becks was a special treat. The Becks are our German neighbors who celebrated Oktoberfest on September 28th, 2013. There were lots of familiar faces from the neighborhood and swim team, and then there were some people that we had the priviledge of meeting that night.

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Of course, Claire did not resist going to this adultish party. Her good friend Fancisca is nearly always there to help her find creative and fun ways to by silly.

And what boy can resist a treehouse? Can you find him in this photo?

As night fell, the lights around us brought a warm glow, as well as the home made Schnapps from Bernanrd's mother in Germany. 

By this time Matthew had so much fun eating sweets that he had ejected some and went home. But I stayed to enjoy more yummy sweets.

It's special things like this that make our neighborhood a wonderful place ot live. Thank you Becks!

One of Our Favorites Coffee’s

Intelligentsia Coffee

This brand started in Chicago and has made it's presence known worldwide. But only recently have we started serving this at our home. The coffee is incredible and I can write about that later. Meanwhile, enjoy a video that was put together by Magazine B to document the company. I think any coffee lover can appreciate this video.

Phil’s Fish Market

With a Bluegrass Surprise

I found myself at the end of our Monterey Bay Aqaurium visit trying to decide where we will eat. Sometimes it seems like I can spend more time deciding what to eat than the time we spend actually eating. And to make things worse I'll ask the kids where they would like to eat and I'll get two different preferences. I finally decided that we will try Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. The kids were already expressing their disappointment and it was a depressing walk from the car to the restaurant. Jenn reminded them that dad was taking them someplace special and that I didn't have to take them out anywhere at all. 

After a short time in line to order food, we sat down to a wonderful, relaxed ambience. The front room was filled with the sound of bluegrass music. This was a welcome surprise to hear live music. Now I don't normally listen to bluegrass music, but somehow it was the perfect fit for this time and place. The kids took some time to loose their grumpy demeanor, but at one point Matthew thanked me for bringing him here and said "I would like to come back here, I think." It's as if he's still unsure, but all he knows is that he's really liking the place and the food. 

Jenn had a crab cake sandiwich, Claire had the grilled-cheese, Matthew had chicken-nuggets, and I had the Cioppino. Everything was amazingly good and the music seemed to be more than just a garnish to our meal. The music was every bit as good as the food. The musicians sang wonderful harmony and played their instruments with ease. One of the songs, 'Jesus Cry from the Cross" hit our hearts in a special way. 

I highly recommend visiting Phil's Fish Market on one of the evenings that they have music. Check their website for days and times.

Hiking Roller Coaster Goofiness

Lameness and Coolness Collide

The hills of the South Santa Teresa neighborhoods are the stomping grounds of my childhood. As a child I enjoyed being so close to the hills. I could hop on my bike and ride a few blocks to explore the winding trails.

We asked the kids if they wanted to go hiking and they objected. But I insisted, knowing that they will likely enjoy it. Within moments of arriving, the kids were running around as kids should. It was a beautiful thing and we desire to go out hiking more often. We really have little excuse with the hills so close to our house!

The video below shows a short stretch of trail that feels like a roller coaster. The trail descends, falttens out, descends again, and then steeply ascends, with slight twists and turns. The video shows us going in the reverse diretion of what I just described. It's a special thing to show my children the very same stretches of trail that I enjoyed as a child. However, I don't remember ever doing what you'll see in this video. 

This is our version of self-proclaimed lameness and coolness. 

The video below if of the entire trip.

Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco

A Place the Kids Actually Love

Jenn has been exposing the kids to art during their home-school days. But I still wasn’t sure if the kids would enjoy extended time at a classical art museum. But they really enjoyed looking at the various sculptures, painting, and items.

The Legion of Honor has the Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette on exhibit. The entrance is marked by a large hanging tapestry artfully woven, displaying two angels holding a crown above the family crest (my interpretation). I was in awe by the way it looks like a very solid and lively image from a distance, yet upon close examination we can see threads of various colors weaving their way through the fabric (all of this and more is shown on the video below).

In other rooms, there are various useful objects, such as trays, vases, and serving vessels. The function is quite ordinary, but the appearance is far from ordinary. Something that would normally be plastic or steel, is made of gold or silver. A container and it’s lid are adorned with a garden of intricate leaves and flowers made with gold and jewels. It’s simply stunning to see.

I was also impressed by the tiny snuff boxes with portraits painted on the lids. Normally, we might see this and think it’s quite easy to replicate. We use inkjet printers, or other methods of image reproduction. However, these images have been carefully painted with what I can only imagine to be very tiny brushes. The art is so precise that even close inspection barely reveals any brushstrokes or evidence of having been drawn by hand.

The treasures will be there through March, 2013. I highly recommend visiting.

The detail can be seen better at full-screen. Click on the expand icon (four arrows pointing outward) to go full-screen.

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