Friday, July 31, 2009

Field Box 20, Row A, Seats 1 - 4

On Wednesday our friends, Diane & Wally, invited us to go to a Red Sox game.

Diane got free tickets from her boss, so of course we said yes. We've paid $80 each to go before, so this was great. None of us knew exactly where the seats were going to be, but Diane's boss had made it clear that they were very, very good.

Do you know where the dugout is? We sat to the right of it. When I say to the right, I mean that Diane's seat was touching it. Oh yeah, we were also in the front row. The only people closer to the field were the photographers in the pit in front of us. Holy moly! And did I mention we didn't pay a dime for the tickets? Life is good.

A family with a little boy sat across the aisle from us, and we let him stand in front of us to try to get an autograph. He was very cute, but not loud enough to get anybody's attention.

The Sox played the A's. Unfortunately they lost, but it was still a great game. And Varitek played, so I can't really complain. :)

Many thanks to Diane & Wally for the tickets and a GREAT NIGHT OUT!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A NJ Surprise Party

My grandparents (on my mom's side) turn 80 this summer. Their 5 kids threw a surprise part for them this past Saturday, and quite a few people showed up!

The party was in New Jersey, so Eric and I drove down Friday morning. We arrived at my other gramma's house around 2:30, and spent some time with her before heading to a friend's apartment in Weehawken for the night. When spent a wonderful evening (into the early morning) just chatting with our friends and eating homemade pizza and brownies. At one point we walked a couple of blocks to Hamilton Park to see the grogeous view of New York City (click the picture for a larger view, as always).

Saturday was party day, and my parents and brother arrived in NJ around lunchtime. We went to the restaurant early to decorate and prepare for the big surprise.

I didn't get pictures of every guest, but as you can see it was well attended! The birthday boy and girl are in the top left corner (click for larger view). A delicious dinner was served, and then my family broke out the musical instuments and microphone for a little entertainment. What happened next brings these R. Kelly lyrics to mind:
Crystall poppin in the stretch Navigator
We got food every where
As if the party was catored
We got fellas to my left
Hunnies on my right
We bring em both together we got junkin all night
Then after the show its the (after party)
And after the party its the (hotel lobby)
And round about 4 you gotta (clear the lobby)
The party was supposed to end at 7:30. After 8:00, it was announed that it had been extended to 9:00. Good thing, since cake was just being served! Then there was an announcement that we had the restaurant until 10:00. We didn't leave the parking lot until 10:45, when a bunch of us headed over to the hotel to continue the fun. We stayed there until well after 1:00. Hahaha. We didn't get back to my Gramma Horty's until after 2:00.

So we had 2 very late nights after a crazy-busy week in San Francisco and a red-eye flight, but it was worth it! Eric got to meet my cousins and some uncles he'd never met before, and I got to see people that I usually only see at Thanksgiving. I only wish my sister had been there.

Sunday, it took us 6 1/2 hours to get back to Boston. Ugh. That was the worst, and it was completely draining. But we made it, and I think we've finally recovered from all of the activity.

Today is Thursday, and Lost In Thoughts is inspired by black & white this week. I've also featured a photo of my cousin Rachel singing at the party, so check it out here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back In Boston!

We landed in Boston on Wednesday morning, around 8:00 AM. It was cloudy, just like when we left, but it was warm.

We flew all night, and I'm so proud that I actually managed to sleep for quite a bit.

Have I mentioned yet that San Francisco was freezing? It was sunny for most of our stay, and it looked like it should be about 100° out. Felt more like 45° or 50°. Maybe Eric will write a post about the weather and the science behind it. I'll just say sometimes there was fog, the rest of the time there was wind.

Luckily, we packed appropriately. I wore a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and either a hoodie or my windbreaker or both almost the whole time we were there! It felt more like October than July. (I think I still have a few more things to tell you about the trip.)

Anyway, Wednesday I had a meeting at 5:15 PM. I napped a little during the day, but I had trouble sleeping. I was a little groggy at the meeting, but I'm glad I made it there because I had a good time.

Thursday was hard. Eric slept a lot, but I just couldn't stay in bed. Plus, I had to write Lost In Thoughts! Even so, I think I was a little out of it all day.

Friday morning we got up and headed to New Jersey. Yeah, more travelling! I'll write about that adventure next time!

Presidio, Marina & Pier 39

Even though we couldn't see Kristen on Tuesday (she had other people to see, of course), we switched our flight to the Tuesday night red-eye because it was significantly less expensive (about $400 less) than the Monday night flight. That meant we had an extra day to explore the city.

I had a 2:00 pm ET phone call (11:00 am PT), so we didn't really do much besides get some breakfast until noonish. At that point, we met Drew for lunch in the Financial District, near his office building. From there we walked over to the Ferry Building, and just looked around a bit. We'd also been there briefly on Saturday for the Farmers' Market.

Then we caught a cab to the Presidio to have coffee/water with a friend from college. The Presidio is a national park that used to be an army post. Now the old houses are used as offices, and our friend works in one of them. We were in an odd sort of behind-the-scenes-looking business section, so I didn't even think to take any photos. Nuts!

After coffee, we basically crossed the street and we were at the Marina. Wow, what a view of the Golden Gate Bidge! It was really windy on the beach, and we saw two guys getting flown by a kite. It looked like a lot of fun until one guy crashed into the ground big time.

We took a bus from a Divisadero Street stop at the Marina over to the North Beach side of town and went to Pier 39. I took pictures of the carousel, the sea lions, and the hilarious tourists (and their dogs).

After a long day, we had dinner with Drew and headed to the airport. We took a cab to the financial disctrict because he was headed back to work (seriously), and then we took BART the rest of the way to San Francisco International. Our flight was scheduled for 11:25 PM, but we took off around midnight.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Extended Stay In CA

As I mentioned earlier, we extended our stay in CA in order to spend some time with Kristen, one of my closest friends.

She and her parents (Bill & Judy - we spent the afternoon with them on Thursday) were staying at her Gramma's, across the bridge in Belvedere. I'm not the only one who wanted to see her, and a bunch of her family members were going to congregate at her Gramma's. Monday morning, her cousins Kate (an actress living in LA) and Hannah (we spent the day with her on Friday) picked us up so that we could also join in the fun!

I don't know how to describe the day to you. It was great and feels sort of like a dream. I still can't believe everything worked out so well.

Kristen and her cousins are very similar in some regards. It's probably most noticable in the way that they talk. They all have a very unique way of stressing certain words. It's pretty hilarious when they're all together. Everybody kept saying that Eric was such a trooper for haging out with 4 girls all day, but it was a great time. Seriously. We laughed all day!

It was fun listening Kristen and her cousins talk and just catching up on life. I also enjoyed talking to her parents, aunts and uncles, and gramma. Eric spent time talking to the grown ups too.

In the morning we had bagels and sat outside soaking up the sun. There wasn't as much of a breeze as there is in San Francisco, so it felt much warmer. We also went for a walk into Tiburon.

I'm sad it was such a short visit, but I can't complain. I really can't believe we got to see her at all!

Kate made this little video of all of us hanging out (so unfortunately she's not in it).

Are you wondering how and why Kristen unexpectedly showed up in CA? Her husband is in the Air Force. When you're a member (or family member) you get the opportunity to hop along on flights that have extra room. It's like flying stand-by so you aren't guaranteed a spot, and she tried to get on one for father's day but there were people ahead of her in line and not enough seats. But this time, she was at the top of the list and was able to catch a ride.

It wasn't a normal, comfortable flight at all. It was a cargo plane and apparently it was very loud and cold. It flew from Japan to Seattle, and it took 10 hours. I can't remember the exact hours, but they left Japan at like 11 am Sunday and arrived in the states at 6 am Sunday because of the time difference. It's like she went back in time, isn't that crazy? That night she took a commercial flight from Seattle to San Francisco.

At this point, I think she's already headed back to Japan. I'm pretty sure she left Wednesday. Isn't that wacky?

I still have one more day to tell you about, but I'll save it for another post.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Strybing Arboretum, Chinatown & A Surprise

Sunday morning Eric, Drew, and I headed to breakfast at La Boulange on Columbus Avenue in North Beach.

The three of us shared two pastries and a gigantic bowl of fruit, gourmet granola, yogurt, and honey. I don't know what type of yogurt (maybe greek?) was in that bowl, but believe me when I tell you it was magical! And the honey on top - swoon! It was a marvelous way to start our day.

After that we took a bus across town to Golden Gate Park. I really wanted to visit the Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (located in the park), so it was great that Drew and Eric were up for it.

I took around 200 photos while we were there, but I'll just share a few here.*

We had lunch nearby at San Tung Chinese Restaurant, because they have the best wings in the city (according to Drew). The food really was delicious, and most of the people in the restaurant seemed to be Chineese (seems like a good sign, right?). After lunch we went back to the gardens for a little bit before catching the bus back toward Drew's apartment.

On the way home we walked through Chinatown, just to check it out. We didn't buy anything, but it's a colorful place to pass through.

That evening we had leftovers and made some fresh coleslaw. Then the boys smoked cigars on Drew's roof (I only stayed for a few minutes because it was freezing).

We were supposed to catch the red-eye home on Sunday night, but our plans changed when Judy called to tell me that Kristen was unexpextedly coming to town Sunday night. I found out on Saturday afternoon, and we rescheduled our flights so that I'd have some time with one of my best friends. We haven't seen Kristen since her wedding, a year and a half ago. Her husband is in the air force, and he's stationed in Okinawa, Japan. They moved there just after the wedding. Originally we'd looked into spending a few days in CA and then going to Japan from there, but we just didn't have the money. Switching our departure date was much more affordable!

At about 9:15 I went to the airport with Bill and Judy to surprise Kristen. She was surprised, but very sleepy. I gave her the biggest hug. :)

*I'm working on an album that will include many more photos of flowers and of our trip in general. I'll let you know when it's ready and you can browse at your leisure.

Note: It's Thursday, so check out today's Lost In Thoughts over at Everything Little Miss!


My feelings about our visit to Alcatraz on Sturday afternoon are mixed. Before going, I had no idea what to expect. Numerous people told us how amazing the tour was going to be, and I was excited about visiting. If you don't know, Alcatraz was a maximum secutiry prison for about 30 years. It closed in the 60s, but it's still creepy, so I was also a little nervous.

Our trip to the jail started with a ferry ride. The vantage point from the boat was very cool.

It turns out that I was worried about our visit for the wrong reason (the freaky-factor). The audio tour wasn't bad, per se. It was a tad hokey, but I can live with that. Basically, a whole slew of people comes over together on the boat. Then everybody makes their way to the cell block (up a hill that's equivalent to 13 flights of stairs, by the way) to get audio devices. Everybody presss play and the tour begins. As a result, most people start the tour at the same time. That means that we all moved around as a giant mob even though we'd only travel 5 paces at a time to look at something the size of a doorway. While not ideal, I could deal with that by just staying at the back of the group and looking when the crowd cleared.

My problem with the tour was this: all of the damn tourists! Stop rolling your eyes. I know that I was a tourist too, but at least I was being considerate. Some people are just plain old rude. People let their kids roam around unattended. There were moms yelling at their kids throughout the tour. They did't know how loud they were because they had headphones on, but they were also trying to be heard since their kids were wearing headphones too. Plus there was a drunk woman. Our tour was at 3-something in the afternoon and she was stumbling-drunk. I'm telling you, the people were just ridiculous.

I was also a little taken aback by the photographs people were taking. They'd put their kids in a cell and they'd be all smiles and thumbs up and I'm watching, thinking "this isn't Disney World, it's a jail that housed the country's most dangerous convicts." The thought process seemed a little disjointed to me, and I found it disturbing.

Anyway, I'm glad we went. It's an historic site with compelling stories. Plus, there were some fabulous views.

I took this photo of Eric and his brother, Drew, on the ferry back to San Francisco. All in all, it was a pretty cool day: Farmers' Market & Muir Woods in the morning and Alcatraz in the afternoon!

Later on we met Drew's friend for dinner at Joey and Eddie's before going to a very laid-back bar called Church Key.

Note: It's Thursday, so check out today's Lost In Thoughts over at Everything Little Miss!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Muir Woods

Saturday was a full day. We went to the farmers' market in the morning and got some peaches, fancy cheese, a giant loaf of bread, and some granola that had a tag line claiming it was the best on the planet (it wasn't).

Then we took a zip car over the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods to see the redwood trees.

It was my first time on the bridge, and even though it was too foggy to see anything I really enjoyed it. I've seen the trees before, but they're still so completely stunning.

We broke the rules (bad signage, I swear) and ate our cheese, peaches, and bread on a bench under some enormous trees. There was a ranger nearby showing a group of kids a banana slug. Don't know what it is? It's basically a giant yellow slug with super sticky slime.

When we left the woods, we came back to San Francisco for a tour of Alcatraz. I'll write about that later.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Full House Day

Yesterday Eric and I went to Pat's Cafe for breakfast. Then we spent the afternoon with Hannah and Paz, her dog.

Yeah, we defnitely spent the day in seach of all things Full House. It wasn't quite a religious mecca, but almost.
Our first stop was Alamo Square Park. This is where the Tanners are picnicking during the opening credits.

Then we went to Broderick Street to see the real house. After that we grabbed burritos at El Burrito Express. We ate them in some park, which wouldn't have been weird except two bums decided to plant themselves right next to us. At one point the woman said (loudly) "we should move because they're trying to eat." They proceeded to stay in the exact same place. That's the trouble with the word "should," I guess.

Hannah had a loner truck, but we still drove down Lombard Street (aka the "crookedest street"). This hills this town are nuts. Seriously, they're a little scary. Driving up to the top of this hill was intense. First of all, we had to wait in a line so we had to keep stopping and the hill is at like a 50° angle. Crazy. But then we went down the crooked part and it was pretty fun. The gardening on the hill is really beautiful.

We had a lot of fun with Hannah, because she's hilarious and she told some wonderful stories. I'm so glad we got to spend time with her! The dog was pretty funny too.

After that, Eric and I were on our own. We walked over to Pier 39 (which is pretty close to Drew's apartment) . Don't worry, there's totally an episode of Full House where Wake Up San Francisco is shooting live from the Pier. It's the episode where Comet gets away (Michelle loses him at the corner of Alamo Square Park, I believe, because she can't cross the road) and finds a girlfriend.

The two dogs visit Coit Tower, and the Tanners make a plea to the city (live on the show at the Pier) to look for the dog. Sooooo, it totally makes sense that we also visited Coit Tower after Pier 39.

Arriving In San Francisco

It's late (2:09 AM at home; 11:09 AM in San Francisco), so I'll make this short.

Yesterday (July 16) we flew across the country. The flight was long (6+ hours) and uncomfortable, but it was worth it.

We went straight to Drew's office to have lunch with him, and Bill and Judy met us there.

Drew worked in the afternoon, and Bill & Judy drove us around. The highlights of our adventures were ice cream at Bi-Rite and the view from Twin Peaks.

I was still figuring out the settings on the new camera, and I'm not thrilled with the pictures I took with it yesterday. Eric got a few nice shots with the Canon, including this one of Bill and Judy at the top of Twin Peaks, which has a stunning view of San Francisco.

Today was busy, and I'm much too tired to write about it now! More pictures and stories soon.


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