Archive - July 2012

1
Touring San Francisco
2
Staying at the Fairmont
3
After the Fire

Touring San Francisco

Not San Fran.  Not Frisco.  San Francisco.  Or The City.

Phil’s brother John drove us around in their brother Donald’s minivan.  I think Donald paid him because it has been 20 years since we’ve driven in The City and he didn’t trust either of us.  No matter.  We spent the day doing tourist things in The City.  We started off at the Palace of Fine Arts where none of the adults could correctly remember which event the whole thing was built for. (The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition)

We walked all the way around, admiring the architecture, heading for the Exploratorium.  We got there…and it is closed on Mondays – which I *totally* remembered, after the fact.  So we walked back to the car and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge, but their little parking lot was completely filled, so we headed to Fort Point.

Fort Point is this Civil War era Army post built to help to protect the bay.  We walked all around and pointed out the cool features like the sally port and the spiral staircases built to allow right-handed sword fighters defending from above to have the advantage.

My friend Shanti took her ship under the bridge just a couple of weeks earlier.  Boo thought that this would have been the perfect vantage point to wave to her and his friends from his tiger cruise.  

We saw some shark bait surfers.

Then we drove down Lombard St.  We had a traveling monster with us, so we took her picture.  Because it was San Francisco, nobody was at all surprised to see a monster with a star tattoo popping out of the bushes.

Then we went to Mel’s Drive-In for lunch.  Boo had this huge hamburger.

The kids’ meals came in these cool car boxes.  Estrella, the monster, grabbed the fries and took off cruising down Geary Blvd.  Nobody seemed surprised at that, either.

Next time: We visit Apple HQ and get free samples.

Staying at the Fairmont

Early in June we took a trip to San Francisco. Philip grew up there and his family still lives there. We’ve taken the older children for a visit, but they don’t remember, so it was time for a pilgrimage.

We stayed at the Fairmont, because that's just how we roll.

Ok, we actually stayed there using our Disney Vacation Club points, which is really how we roll. But the children we suitably impressed with the grandeur of a hotel that survived (in part) the earthquake of 1906. Of course,now they think we are rich and keep asking for stuff.

These are the stairs in the lobby. Why yes, Pipsqueak is wearing a 49ers jersey. It says Rice on the back. Old school! Classic Niners! Again, just how we roll.

The Fairmont Lobby. We tried to keep the kids from running amuck too loudly, but they couldn't resist the call of those revolving doors.

We put the three older children in a room of their own. It was bliss! For us at least. I can’t say for sure how their neighbors on the other side felt about the whole thing. I just tried not to stand too close to them in the elevator so I couldn’t be identified as the mother. Why no, I’ve never seen that girl who looks exactly like me before! Who are these people, and why do they keep calling me “mom”?

Having the children in a different room wasn’t as romantic as you’d think.

There’s just no explanation for this next picture.

Um, yeah.

After the Fire

Some thoughts…

That first morning after we returned, I went outside to look at the hill.  At first it didn’t look different, but then I noticed one patch of green.  Everything else was black.

I took the long way home from my errands on Monday.  As I turned the corner, that same hill came into view, but closer this time.  I gasped aloud because the burnt trees were much more clearly defined.  I went out of my way to drive to the Walgreens we always go to, just a couple of blocks from the first set of burnt houses.  I couldn’t see anything from where I was and I wasn’t brave enough to continue up the hill.  Turns out I was about 1/2 a block away from the first house.  I’d like to go take a look.  Just to see.

I’m overwhelmed at the wonderful community we live in. 32,000 people evacuated and there were only 24 incidents of looting.  We had a zero tolerance ban on fireworks for the 4th, and for the first time since we’ve lived here, no one set anything off in the park across the street from us.

Our church, being in the evacuation zone, was still closed last weekend.  We went to a neighboring church where the pastor had those us from our parish raise their hands.  He told us to mark our checks with the name of our church and he would make sure that our offerings would get to our own church.  We got a free pancake breakfast that morning, too.

Did you know that “America the Beautiful” was written after Katharine Lee Bates saw the view from Pikes Peak?  It is an amazing thing to be living right here, at the foot of those purple mountain majesties.  We love these mountains, no matter what.

The day before we evacuated, Boo came running up from the basement, into the kitchen.  “Do I smell burgers,” he asked hopefully.  “No honey, the mountain is on fire,” I told him.

It is a little disconcerting to be scrolling through my caller ID, looking for a number, and see “911 Event” in the list.  Twice.

Our neighborhood is filled with Thank You Firefighters posters.  My favorite one says, “Thank you, firefighters for saving our homes.  Thank you, friends and family for housing us.”  Well said.

 

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