A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac


July 31, 2013
Emilie Phillips

For the heck of it, I headed west to visit Sheena. Or really, because I was half a decade overdue and had missed out on the easier trip to Texas. The worst part of the trip was that I came down with a nasty cold the day before. That made travel tough and limited our activities once there. Sheena even borrowed Isaac and took him to the park while I napped.

On Saturday, she taught an intro silks course. I ignored my cold and tried it out. A lot of the technique was similar to proper athletic form in rock climbing, kayaking, and skiing. I thought I did reasonably. My abs were quite sore by the end. The other half of silks is performance art. For that, my cold swamped my enthusiasm. I got quite the look from Sheena when I gave up trying to tie a knot the fancy way and just tied it like I was rock climbing.

Saturday evening we went into San Francisco proper for a CMU alumni event. The gloomy bank of fog and cloud enveloping the city was impressive especially with the sun just hovering over it as we drove in. The event was held at the exploratorium which is a museum with lots of small exhibits of random tricks you can do with mechanics, lights, magnets, etc. Isaac was a big fan of the perpetual motion slinkies. The only downside of that excursion was we arrived late and stayed late so I was really feeling my cold.

Just being in Mountain View it was impressive how much of a physical impact Google has. It is not just some nebulous search engine. There is the Google campus itself (and Netflix and LinkedIn), Google WiFi, Google busses, stores accepting Google wallet, and people wearing Google t-shirts. I, of course, had to get into a discussion with Sheena about big data and whether or not to trust Google. We also talked about women in tech and family life and a whole host of other things.

Sunday we went to the farmers market. That is a very busy farmers market. We mostly sampled. Tasty fresh orange juice, vegetable pockets, some wonderful melon whose name I did not recognize, grapes, fresh salsa, almonds, and more. The strawberries and blueberries were all supersized and not nearly as good as new england varieties. We hung out for a while just taking in the sights and foods.

From there, we went to Sheena’s more advanced silks class. I watched both the techniques and the interpersonal dynamics in the class.

And, finally, Sheena took me to meet her grand parents. There was definitely some language barrier, but we had the common language of good food and grandmotherly love of babies.

There are many things I did not get to do, partly because of being sick and partly because I only had the weekend. But those can be for next time.