Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 2

On day 2 in the city by the bay, we awoke to drizzle and gray skies. We were not deterred. We knew we had a lot of ground to cover in a few short days, so off we set. I would like to mention I am a little obsessed with the weather, the w.eather c.hannel, and so on (i feel your laughter, my friend who calls me to ask about the weather. yes, I'm talking about you). So, I might have checked the potential forecast twenty or three hundred times before we left and knew there was rain in the forecast. Now, normally that's where my forgetfulness would have fallen in and I would have forgotten the umbrella, but alas, my slightly less than full functioning brain remembered, so long story short, we had an umbrella for the trip. And, yes, I realize they probably sell them there. Anyway. I digress.

Day 2. I happened to read about this market that is open just Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Port building, and thought it looked fun. No one we talked to mentioned it from their previous travels and said "yes, you have to go there", but we are so glad we did. We rode the trolley cars down to the bay and walked through the market, buying yummy cherries, tasting different cheeses, and of course, coffee. The market indoors is available everyday - it's a little more posh, but the outdoor market is fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc from the surrounding areas...


The Bay Bridge from the pier outside the Port Building

Our next stop took us to Pier 39 - quite the tourist area, and we didn't stay long, but we did check out the seals that live there

This is a friend of the seals. Really, just a cool picture with no zoom that Emily took of the bird next to us on the pier. It's obviously disturbed by us...

The Rock

Further down our adventure by the bay was the Boudin Bakery - a fun and delicious place my sister-in-law recommended. It was a nice place to rest the tired feet and people watch too. San Francisco tourists seem to be quite the melting pot of people and nationalities. Anyway, at this bakery, they make amazing sourdough bread and sourdough bread novelties. There is a wine bar, deli, restaurant, and tour - where you can see everything from start to finish of the bread business. I was quite the fan of all the animals they made out of the bread - lobsters, turtles, alligators, crabs, bears, etc.

Ghiradelli Square - some tasty chocolate treats and a small reprieve from the rain

Em and I - the Golden Gate behind us in the fog.

So, after a really long day thus far - off on our time change, meal times, walking a lot, and dealing with drizzle, we decide to go drop our souvenir purchases and sourdough turtle at our hotel room before dinner. So, we get back on the trolley and head up the hill towards our hotel when it stops abruptly and says that is as far as it can go at this time due the fact that the president's motorcade is expected and security is EVERYWHERE. So, they direct us to walk the rest of the way. Well, it happens that the president is going to the F.airmont - directly across from our hotel, so there is no in or out of that particular area and we are barricaded. Exhausted, we decide to wait and see the motorcade and pomp and circumstance. I mean, political opinions aside, how often does this happen? So, we stand there, and the president and his entourage drive right past us, and we see the president about 6 ft from us through the window of his car. It was insane - the armored cars, secret service (not so secret), the guns, the press, the police; I can't even tell you how many came zooming past us. We are then told by the officer standing next to us that the blockade will be in effect until he leaves - in a few hours. So, with no hope of getting to our hotel anytime soon, we decide to head back to the bay for some grub.

What seemed really frustrating turned in to being one of the funnest parts of the trip. A trolley car ride with Lance. Lance was hilarious with a capital H. He told us all about the trolley car history and system, he pointed out interesting parts of the city and became our little tour guide. Emily and I both got to ring the bell on the trolley car and were given some really good laughs. Lance was eager to pose for pictures

Day two was fantastic. Exhausting, educational and soooo much fun!! We ate at the In-and-Out Burger back at the bay, walked along the pier, and shopped before heading back to the now open streets up the hill to our hotel and fall asleep to get ready for Day 3.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be sure to wear a flower in your hair...

The end of May, I went on an amazing girl's trip to San Francisco with Emily. The first day started off really early here in Texas with an alarm set for about 4am. Our flight left Austin at 7:30am, but because of time change, even with our lay-over in Denver, we landed in San Fran at 10:30am. After gathering our luggage and boarding the BART, we were set for the city. Em and I had looked at the map and found that the BART station was fairly close to our hotel...on the map. And, we naively thought "we can walk it." Well...on the map it is very close, and I suppose 1.5-2 miles isn't that far, except that it is straight UPHILL. with luggage. Oh. My. Goodness. We thought we'd never make it. And, when we did, I'm sure the people at the front desk thought something was terribly wrong, because here we are in a city where the high for the day was hovering around 60, and we were redfaced and s.w.e.a.t.i.n.g. The first two pictures are of aforementioned hills.

After checking in, resting and chugging a gallon of water, we made our game plan and attacked. First stop, Chinatown...

...and lunch. We knew we wanted to eat in Chinatown, but being tourists, we had no idea where was good, what was good, etc. Well, after a bit of walking and observing, we were hit up by some very timely, very wise marketing. On the street were some people handing out fliers for their restaurant with an offer of free potstickers. Genius. So, being the suckers that we are, we ate there. And, so did many other flyer-toting people. It made for fine people watching. And, it was pretty good food. Also, to Emily's amusement, I said hello Gig 'Em to the fellow Texas Aggie dining there (we are everywhere).

By this time, it's later in the afternoon, and we decide to head toward Haight and Ashbury and the ocean. Again, amazing people watching. Said hello to some incredibly interesting people and eavesdropped on some crazy conversations. We made a stop in a small grocery store, and I use the word store loosely - it was the size of a small souvenir shop, but they had delicious fruit. Then we made our way to the Pacific....

....but not without first living out my part of the song. I really don't like this picture, but I wanted to prove I wore a flower in my hair in San Francisco.

I wish I had a picture of our faces the first moment we walked over the sand dune and saw the ocean. I have seen the Pacific and Atlantic several times, but this was different. God-breathed. Creation on display. And, He hung the sun so perfectly in the sky. It took my breath away. I often wonder how people don't believe...especially at that moment.

We walked, lost in our own thoughts, for awhile on the beach. The air was crisp, the water was cold, but the overwhelming feeling of peace was perfect.

Across the street from the beach entrance was a coffee shop, and quite possibly the best cup of coffee I have ever had. We sat outside, listening to and watching people pass by, talk, and be. It was the perfect ending to the first day.

Slightly Belated...

I'm very lucky to have the relationship I have with my dad. I am blessed to live right around the corner from him. My dad is a very good friend of mine, a man who always has some advice but very rarely gives it unless you ask. He is forever helping without complaining; a noble feat seldom found/seen anymore these days. Thank you seems small but thank you, dad, for all you do for all four of us around the corner. We love you!!

I have been very blessed. I always knew that Greg would be a wonderful father, but over the last 8 years, I have seen him be much more than a father, he is an amazing Godly daddy. Thank you for everything you do - for providing, loving, caring for, and leading this family. We love you more than words can express!

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,

He called it ... Dad

~~Author Unknown.~~

Alright Already

A few weeks ago, I gave my cousin some grief for not updating her blog more frequently. She is a school-teacher who was in the last days before summer, and for some reason she laughed at me, something about not the first priority. I don't know, I heard 'blah, blah, excuses, excuses.' And, I was feeling pretty good about mine, thinking I'd kept up with the highlights, keeping all 3 readers informed on what they probably already knew was going on. Then summer hit here. It's been crazy busy so far, with quite a few unexpected events going on in June. That plus add another kid at home, and crazy as it sounds, I haven't taken had time to blog. I have had great intentions. Does that count? Then, yesterday, I got called out by one of my 3 readers. And, since there are no children here this week (except for Greg), I'm going to try to catch up a bit. I know, I know, you're on the edge of your seat...

p.s. for the record, my cousin has done a fine job of catching up