Friday, April 30, 2021

That Time I Found My Photography in a Book

 K is working on a report for one of her classes.  She borrowed books from my Dad, downloaded some articles, and pulled some from our own shelves.  

Going through one of them, I had a surprise:  a photo that I'd taken!  No credit given, but it is labeled, "Hiker Enjoys Sierra Nevada Backcountry" and I was sure that was my Mom in the photo. I walked too many miles behind her not to know that backpack!   I flipped through years of albums, years of backpacking trips, and finally found it.  Unmistakable and pretty cool:

Friday, April 23, 2021

Happy 3rd Birthday Minerva!

 Celebrating our "dat" - our cat who thinks she is a dog.  She runs down the stairs to greet us at the door, is crazy-affectionate, loves her puppy Puck, and sometimes is just crazy.  Never thought I'd love a cat... and even as I write that I hear K correcting me, "Mom, she's a dat."  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saint Junipero Serra Statue

 We were actually surprised to see this still standing, given the push to get rid of symbols of our less-than-"woke" history.  Saint Junipero Serra had an extraordinary life and, according to some of the original sources K has had to read for her California History class, advocated for the native Californians.  Of course, he was also part of a colonial power that took  the land from those native people, so in the context I can understand both why is life is a symbol of Franciscan faith and why celebrating is offensive to many.

None of us had been to its base, despite driving by it on 280 all of my life.  The girls' reaction?  "Ugly feet."  Ha!  Gorgeous views on a beautiful day, though!

Thursday, April 15, 2021


 G and I are kind of proud of the new shelving unit we built in her bathroom.  Looks great and gives her more room, too.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


 So common, such a pest, but also so cute.  This one, all alone, came walking right down someone's front walk as Puck and I wandered by.  I didn't think s/he was going to stop for us at all!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Kite Boarding

 We were exploring, saw all of these massive kites in the sky, and pulled over to check them out.  A few people were getting 20, 30 feet in the air; amazing.  Add that to the kids' bucket list.  A very windy day and super fun to watch.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Happy Birthday!

 A low-key birthday for a fabulous kid.  I love her so much!

The perfect shirt for her new coaching gig!

A trip to the driving range to celebrate.  I was lame, but both girls were hitting pretty straight, G's shots were going reasonably far, and K hit a few over the 200 yard mark.  Fun!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter!

 Online Mass, a Harry Potter scavenger hunt to reveal the location of the Easter baskets, and then a family dinner.

Working through the clues together (love it!)

Clues, Eggs, Cake

And our Harry Potter quote/clues, which I really thought would stump them.  But K got most of them before she finished the quote:

  1. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” (growth chart on wall)
  2. “Do I look stupid?” snarled Uncle Vernon, a bit of fried egg dangling from his bushy mustache. (eggs in fridge)
  3. “Percy wouldn’t notice a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing one of Dobby’s hats.” (on Dobby)
  4. “Where is Wood?” said Harry, suddenly realizing he wasn’t there.
    “Still in the showers,” said Fred. “We think he’s trying to drown himself.” (Shower)
  5. “I dreamed I was buying new shoes last night,” said Ron. “What d’ya think that’s gonna mean?”
    “Probably that you’re going to be eaten by a giant marshmallow or something,” said Harry.  (G’s new shoes)
  6. “I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it [homework] in.” (Homework table)
  7. “Well, I certainly don’t,” said Percy sanctimoniously. “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”
    “Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.
    “That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!’
    “It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.” (Animal poop – litter box)
  8. “I’m never wearing them,” Ron was saying stubbornly. “Never.”
    “Fine,” snapped Mrs. Weasley. “Go naked. And, Harry, make sure you get a picture of him. Goodness knows I could do with a laugh.”  (Camera)
  9. “Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?” (Lavender)
  10. “This is night, Diddykins. That’s what we call it when it goes all dark like this.” (Closet)
  11. “You’d think people had better things to gossip about,” said Ginny as she sat on the common room floor, leaning against Harry’s legs and reading the Daily Prophet. “Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it’s true you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest.”
    Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.
    “What did you tell her?”
    “I told her it’s a Hungarian Horntail,” said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. “Much more macho.”
    “Thanks,” said Harry, grinning. “And what did you tell her Ron’s got?”
    “A Pygmy Puff, but I didn’t say where.” (Pygmy Puff)
  12. “He can move faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.” (Shampoo)
  13. “Go on, have a pasty,” said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten). (Cake)
  14. “I’m not blamin’ yeh … but I gotta tell yeh, I thought you two’d value yer friend more’n broomsticks or rats. Tha’s all.” (Broomstick)
  15. “I believe your friends Misters Fred and George Weasley were responsible for trying to send you a toilet seat. No doubt they thought it would amuse you.” (Toilet)
  16. _ _  _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ (An underlined word in each clue, unscrambled, said "on the front porch."  Unfortunately, I put them where the sun shines and some of the chocolate had melted, but fortunately, the girls thought this was funny...

Saturday, April 3, 2021

San Francisco Pizza Walking Tour

 Another episode of an activity that is truly our new favorite family tradition!  In honor of an upcoming birthday, we all met at the top of the parking garage with perhaps the most gorgeous view in the world and began a "circle eight" double loop tour of pizzerias, covering about eight miles and four pizzerias and having a ton of fun.

Happy yet?  The girls with their cousin and a good friend

Mom and I, enjoying the views of the bay and North Beach from the top of the parking garage

At Lotta's Fountain, which is where people gather every year at the exact time the 1906 earthquake struck to commemorate the event (the year we attended - at 5AM! - we were relocated to Union Square due to a bomb scare (false alarm)

A photo of everyone on our fabulous tour

This is H not sharing, while eating - devouring - a piece almost as big as him.  

Down at the wharf, watching the sea lions
Waiting for everyone to arrive; looking forward to a day that turned out to be spectacularly fun

Our planning got assistance from this blog (thank you very much) and we combined these recommendations with some practical considerations about reasonable walking distance for a group that was to range in age from 83 to 3.  (Though my Dad decided not to come, which was disappointing.)  

First of all, my planning was flawed - as usual I had other things going on and didn't completely research everything.  After all, half the fun is just wandering with a purpose and seeing what happens!  The first result of this lack of thoroughness is that we discovered that three of the pizzerias didn't open until four or five.  Honestly, that just didn't occur to me.  I had checked the web sites of each and made sure that they had either takeout or outdoor seating, but not open on a Saturday afternoon?  Weird.  Anyway, that seemed to be remedied by reversing our planned circle eight and doing the northern circle first.  So we walked from the Vallejo Street parking garage (best view ever) to the Carmel Pizza Company near the wharf.  They were closed!  No explanation, no hours listed, and their web site said open.  So that was a bust.  But we were at the wharf and that's never bad, so we walked around and looked at the sea lions, discovering a new view of them away from the crowds and a cool relief map of the SF Bay.

Next stop:  Tony's Pizza Napoletana, back in North Beach.  We had HUGE slices of pizza, really good, and I discovered that pizza actually stimulates the appetite (I hadn't thought I was hungry until I ate).  The best part was watching my three-year old nephew eat a piece almost as big as he was, clearly with no intent to share with his sister, despite occupying her lap for that purpose.  

From there, we split some to-die-for pastries from Stella's Italian Bakery on Columbus and spent some time at the City Lights Bookstore.  Then we walked through the Financial District to Pizzeria Delfina at Mission and 3rd.  The kids had more pizza and the adults tasted it while having a delicious burrata/arugula salad (most of us) and a falafel (Elizabeth).  I thought the pizza was fine, not memorable though... but the servers were super nice and that's always great.

Next stop:  Back to Market Street, then past Union Square to Delpopolo at 855 Bush.  Really, really unique and good.  The kids stuck to pizza, but discovered that their pizza had goat cheese... and they loved it.  Elizabeth and I split a very unique roasted carrot/greens/farro dish and Len ordered some pear dessert that we all had a nibble of and it absolutely melted in our mouths.  Definitely a place to return to - unique and delicious.

From there, we went back to North Beach to Tomasso's, which is the oldest pizzeria in San Francisco.  (At least, I read that somewhere - looking now at their web site, they don't claim that.)  In any case, the pizza got rave reviews from the kids and I shared an excellent veggie antipasto with my mom.  Len, Elizabeth, and H seemed to love their caprese salad, though H couldn't seem to get enough tomatoes.  :-)

Len kept track of the ratings as we went and now I forget what they are.  I think that Tomasso's, Tony's, and Delpopolo were all vying to be favorites; definitely worth revisiting for the food, service, and atmosphere. They all had outdoor dining and the views from outdoors really are such an added benefit of Covid - sitting outside allows for great views of North Beach (Tony's), the African Diaspora Museum (Delfina), the Fire Chief's residence (Delpopolo), and the financial district (from North Beach) (Tomasso's).   Everywhere we went, everyone was masked, but with vaccinations on the rise (I got my second shot before we left today; yay) you could tell that the crowds were beginning to remerge from Covid hiding.

A happy almost-birthday to an amazing kid, too!  She celebrated in a special way, by driving almost the whole way there (not an easy feat in SF traffic).