27 August 2012

If You Google Google

The young man silhouetted here was googling something (he's my nephew). We were visiting the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University with our out of town relatives on Thursday. Of course, before coming, we had to google the hours, the parking situation and the cafe. We googled  the traffic to get the best route. We googled the Apple Store to see how many were nearby. (Five) We googled Steve Jobs' house, we googled the artists, we googled the best place for Thai, we eventually even googled Google itself! (using, of course, the free Google wi-fi that the entire city of Mountain View enjoys!.. thanks, Google!)

Then we headed over to the fabled Mountain View headquarters. Oh my. Late afternoon on a perfectly sunny and 70 degree day, the Google kids were outside... sweating aerobics on the lawn, playing soccer and hockey, riding multi-hued bikes, swimming (yes, swimming), playing sand volleyball, gardening (yes, organic gardening) and lounging around under the beach umbrellas that shade their outdoor dining area. Oh and did I mention the full-scale dinosaur hidden among the trees in the courtyard... festooned with balloons?

My nephew stated the obvious, this was no ordinary workplace. As we followed the yellow brick road through the campus we felt we had dropped into another dimension.  Come with us! First stop, the modern installation at the Cantor Arts Center in Palo Alto for a little culture and visual inspiration for us designers! 

Basel looks like another elegant sculpture here checking his handheld! 

I have always loved this Wayne Thiebaud, but even moreso now that I have 
sworn off desserts hoping to fit into my dress for my 
other nephew's (and godson) wedding next month!

A tongue in cheek rendition of the blue willow pattern with the center
left as unfinished paint by number!

Marbling and torn tickets are part of the artist's message here. 

This is a completely functional chest of drawers with two drawers styled as Japanese
in the last part of 19th century... incredible that a piece of furniture can look so

In 1996, the artist did a woodblock-like rendering of globalization with the
Japanese businessman wearing a western suit and using a cell phone and fax and the
Western businessman wearing a traditional kimono and carrying
a samurai sword... this is a wonderful piece!

I love this depiction of sailors on a wet day with the sun just coming out!

a fascinating escher-like cube highly decorated 

this is not a real workman but part of the art installation; it is so much fun to watch
people's faces when they first realize he is not just taking a break!

the beautiful courtyard of the Cantor Art Center with its Rodin sculpture garden 


next stop, the Google headquarters approaching the interior complex where all the fun is happening!

very inviting courtyard adjacent one of the food courts for Google employees.. you cannot
miss the primary colors of the Google logo here in the red, yellow and blue, and of course that
brilliant green grass carpeting the public spaces

the architecture soars, inspiring the mind to soar also!

need to make a meeting half a mile away? just hop
on one of the thousands of Google bikes and head out! 

need a little interactive break? head over to the Googlebahn, an
interactive sculpture installed by Barker Blue

want to relax in a tactile, low-tech manner? head over to the
organic gardens and turn over a little soil with... your own hands!!

...or sit and watch the tomatoes ripen

...and dream of making pesto when you get home...

don't forget to pat the dinosaur!

lobby where Googlebahn is installed! 

the sculpture of a sail inspires mind traveling to all who see it...

and here is the beginning of the yellow brick road that
wanders through the complex... 

the family heads home, full of wonder

even the handlebars have the
Google logo emblazoned


Use an Internet search engine, particularly Google.com: "she spent the afternoon googling aimlessly".

Search for the name of (someone) on the Internet to find out information about them.

    all photos taken by Kit Golson's iPhone

    Thanks for stopping by! It has been a very distracting summer for me spending lots of time helping my family....  I promise more about Provence in the very near future as I post more about our incredible journey there last spring! Thanks for your patience and for all your inquiries!


    17 August 2012

    The Gracious South in the Hot, Hot Summer

    Since I have recently returned from a month in the Deep South, I am full of visions of the old southern mansions and ways. Touring this stunning old plantation gives a window into that gracious way of life long, long ago, before air conditioning, even.

    I love the screened porch with the high, high ceilings (heat rises) and the cool blue-green floor.. and that lantern! You can see the moss hanging from the trees outside. A luncheon on this porch would probably end with a delicious slice of Hummingbird Cake and a tall glass of Pomegranate Lemonade (recipes below!)

    you know you are in for a lazy afternoon napping in a hammock somewhere after
    lunching on this stunning porch in the heat of the summer

    I LOVE these turquoise objets on the sideboard of the entry hallway

    said to have come from Marie Antoinette's own home, this table takes
    pride of place in the center of the parlor

    I love this fretwork and chinoiserie design on the side of the
    "Marie Antoinette" table

    a close up view of the inviting setting for lunch

    this stunning crystal punch bowl is ready for
    it's debut at the next big bash.. filled with
    Planter's Punch perhaps?

    the most essential item found in all homes across the
    Deep South in the sultry days before central air conditioning

    the quintessential Hummingbird Cake, a must in the baking repetoire of every 
    respectable Southern baker! This recipe from Joy of Baking

    Hummingbird Cake Recipe:

    1 cup (110 grams) pecans, toasted and finely chopped
    3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
    2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    3/4 cup (180 ml) safflower, corn, or canola oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
    2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

    Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting:

    1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
    1 pound box (454 grams) (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (55 grams) finely chopped pecans
    Garnish: (Optional)
    pecan halves

    Hummingbird Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. 
    Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.
    In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
    In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  
    Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting. 

    Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the finely chopped pecans.
    To assemble: Place one cake, top side down, onto your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer, top of cake facing up, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate the cake for about one hour so the frosting has time to set.
    Serves 10 - 12 people.

    THE essential ingredient for perfect
    Pomegranate Lemonade.. spiked or not!
    Buy yours HERE

    ahhh... THIS looks refreshing.. non?


    Stay cool my friends! Thanks for visiting...

    10 August 2012

    A Flea for Another Reason

    Sometimes you go to a flea market because it's been five long weeks since you've seen your daughter, and she really wants to go. So on a chilly, drizzly Sunday morning after a delicious breakfast of eggs benedict (her treat!), off we went to our favorite little flea, the scrappy little Alemany Flea Market below the intersection of 101 and 280 in San Francisco.

    While the rest of the northern hemisphere is suffering a broiling heat wave, once again here in San Francisco on an August morning we donned our sweaters, scarves and sturdy shoes for tromping around the flea.

    There was kind of a "
    take it or leave it" mood at the market Sunday.. nothing compellingly forced its way into my drifting and dreaming mind, heady with steady chatter with my darling daughter... but even my subconscious mind was able to spot some truly wonderful little bargains and I snapped them up without even skipping a beat in our conversations!

    my finds for the day: a vintage record cart in blue; a beautiful
    carved wooden bowl and a wonderful calcite

    the little escutcheon on my wonderful vintage 50's record album stand

    I am a sucker for anything in this gorgeous translucent blue-green and
    this calcite at $5 made my heart sing!

    ok people, this is a real steal! for another $5, this wonderfully
    etched rustic wooden centerpiece bowl came home with moi!

    a girl cannot have enough St. Emilion 1955 vintage wine boxes in her collection; nor enough
    vintage April Cornell table cloths for summer outdoor evenings

    the Alemany Flea just below the row of yellow green houses on the hillside in the south of
    San Francisco... other days this is the site for a fabulous farmer's and fish mongers market

    I let this Japanese warrior armor go.. even though it really appeals to me for some reason!

    also let these jade birds go, and the pretty covered bowl..

    still can't believe I let these wonderful fish molds go, or
    the beautiful handmade 50's pottery...

    a very cool vintage French cheeses poster also languished at the market waiting for its new home...

    perfectly aged wrought iron garden pieces... somedays you let things go
    because you just can't fit them into the back of the Soul!

    a pretty perspective on the entrance to the Alemany Flea.. on a very
    cloudy, chilly, gloomy and drizzly day in August!

    a chilly, drizzly Sunday in August...
    the Alemany Flea Market is always smaller (and the deals are better)
    on the first Sunday of the month, which is when the much,
    much larger Alameda Flea Market happens across the Bay.. a real
    project to attend since it is huge and generally far more expensive


    Thank you to everyone who was so very supportive over the last month while I was away helping my Mom... she is doing remarkably well. She is feisty, nimble and quick; she danced around the floor when we brought her home from Rehab. She is back to her old tricks: staying up until the wee hours watching old movies, sleeping in until 11 am, having her leisurely breakfast and lunch, then burning her chicken dinner! Good to have you home, Mom!

    And it's good to be back home, and back to at least a blog post or two! Hope your summer has been going spectacularly!

    Thanks so much for visiting!... Kit


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