Archive for October, 2009

San Francisco Day 2

After a great first day in San Francisco, we woke up the next morning (my hubby’s official birthday), anxious for the day’s main activity: watching the San Francisco Giants play the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park. Since the game didn’t start until 1pm, we took our time waking up, watching the Michigan game, and getting ready for the day. We had already planned to eat lunch near the ballpark at a bar & grill called 21st Amendment. It was recommended to us by a local we met at the wine shop the night before. Since we didn’t have a car and the ballpark was not within walking distance, we decided to use public transit rather than cab it. As per usual, I was navigating until I lost all self-control when I spotted a cable car that had stopped for loading/unloading. I may have said “That’s our cable car!” in order to make my husband think that was our ride. We quickly hopped on only to realize it was headed in the complete opposite direction of the ballpark. The great thing about cable cars though, is the fact that they go up and down the same street, like a train on a track, just stopping at intersections for people to hop on and off. So we just stayed on the car until it ran out of cable and returned to the same spot. Waste of time? Perhaps. But it was fun and we can say we’ve rode on a San Francisco cable car now.


After a couple of bus switches (and realizing it would have been cheaper to take a cab) we made it to AT&T Park.


We purchased our tickets and with time to spare, found the 21st Amendment bar & grill. Fortunately, they were playing the Michigan game, and we just happened to sit next to another couple where the guy was also a Michigan fan. It also helps that they won that day. After lunch, we went to the game and I have to say that AT&T Park has one of the most gorgeous views of any ballpark we’ve been to.


That was the view from our nosebleed seats. We didn’t stay there very long, mostly because it was just so hot and the sun was beating right down on us. So we went down a few levels and just walked around for most of the game. Two things that shocked me: 1. The sheer amount of Cubs fans. In fact, there could have been more Cubs fans thans Giants fans at that game. It was hard to tell. 2. Garlic fries. I’ve never seen garlic fries at a ballpark, but they were more popular than nachos. Weird.

We spent some time walking along the perimeter, just looking out at the bay. The most notable boat had to be this one.


Just as we were getting bored and ready to leave, I ran into a girl that I went to high school with. She graduated the year before me so we weren’t really friends, but we recognized each other and I gave her crap about wearing a Cubs shirt (if you’re from St. Louis, like we are, then you’re assumed to be a Cards fan). They were visiting San Francisco for their one year wedding anniversary so she claimed she was wearing the shirt as a gift to him. ha!

After the game, we cabbed it over to Chinatown. We weren’t big fans. So then we walked over to the Italian district, which was much more our style. We ate an early dinner by sharing a calzone at one place and had dessert of tiramisu gelato and a cappuccino at another place. After that, we felt like we were out of things to do so we went back to the room, changed, and walked across the street to a building where you can go up to the 52nd floor and view the entire city. I forget what it’s called but it’s sort of like the Rainbow Room in NYC. So we had some overpriced drinks and a crab cake appetizer there while we took in gorgeous sites of the city at night.

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San Francisco

We left early Friday morning and even despite a few delays, we finally landed at SFO around 11:30 am local time. We hopped a cab to the fabulous Omni Hotel. (Travel Tip: For the best deal, use third-party travel sites like Kayak.com or Expedia.com and once you’ve found your top three hotels, check their websites to see if the hotels themselves are promoting even cheaper deals than those third-party sites.) We arrived a few hours before official check-in time and the couple in front of us had just politely been told their room wasn’t ready, so I stepped up to the front desk with my friendliest smile and even though our room wasn’t ready, the front desk clerk was more than happy to find us a similar room that was ready. He also recommended a 3.5 hour city tour and though the tour was already booked, he was able to squeeze us in with the tour company at the last minute with some sweet-talking of his own. So we dropped off our stuff (our room was perfect!), grabbed a snack from the snack shop next door, and waited for our tour.

Most people know that San Francisco is incredibly hilly, and therefore not much fun if you tried to explore it on foot. It’s also a runner’s nightmare, so even though I had every intention of jogging, I figured it could wait until we hit Napa. The tour was okay. We took a bus past Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the Italian District, to the Golden Gate Bridge, to a museum, up to twin peaks, past the painted ladies (the houses featured in the opening sequence of Full House), through the old hippy hangout area of town (I forget what the tour guide called it) where Janis Joplin used to hang out. So we saw quite a bit of the city. The biggest downside was that our tour guide’s first language was not English, so it was difficult to understand him at times and we only caught bits and pieces of what he was saying. So enough talk, let’s look at pictures:


A foggy Golden Gate Bridge


View of the city from twin peaks (at least I think that’s what it’s called).


The painted ladies. I was probably more excited to see this (and the Mrs. Doubtfire House, which I didn’t snap a good picture of) than anything else on the tour.

The tour ended a Fisherman’s Wharf so instead of going back to our hotel, we just stayed at the wharf and walked around.


From the wharf, we could see Alcatraz.


And the Golden Gate Bridge.


Alcatraz from Pier 39. If the flag is any indication, it was windy. And cold. So most of our photos from here have me awkwardly holding my hair back in a faux ponytail. Like this:


Shortly after this picture, we bought my husband a jacket because he was freezing his arse off in that thin short-sleeve shirt. Oh he had a jacket or two, back at the room, but we considered it a souvenir since it says San Francisco on it.

We ate dinner at a place called Scoma’s since it was recommended to us by a friend, but even though the food was okay, we were a little disappointed. It was sort of pricey, the portions were small, and we just weren’t impressed. I think we expected more East Coast style of seafood dining. After dinner, we kept walking until we hit Ghiradelli Square.


The store even gives out free samples! But I couldn’t make up my mind on what to buy, so I walked out with nothing at all. Instead we went to the little wine shop across the plaza and did our first California wine tasting. I ended up buying two bottles of sparkling Shiraz and had them shipped to us because 1) it’s delicious and 2) there are only three places in the US that make it. It’s a good holiday wine, so I’ll have a bottle for Thanksgiving, when all the family comes in town, and another bottle to take to the in-laws’ house for Xmas. They just arrived yesterday and they kind of look like champagne bottles. I’m so tempted to break into one early.

We got back to our room around 10 pm to discover this:


When I booked our room, I noted that it was for a birthday celebration (my husband’s) and even though his birthday wasn’t until the next day, we were pretty excited to come back and find a huge piece of chocolate cake and a small bottle of champagne waiting for us. And of course, I even lit the candle that came with it and forced him to make a birthday wish. Thank you, Omni Hotels!

A sweet ending to a wonderful first day.

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(I’m still sorting through our vacay pics, but in the meantime, let’s look at all the happy.)

Happiness is…

A very realistic dream where I was hanging out with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. More importantly, James McAvoy. I almost never have dreams that involve handsome men. Especially not handsome, famous, SCOTTISH men. Le sigh. Stupid alarm clock.


New boots! I’m not much of a shopoholic, but the desire to buy at least five new pairs of boots is hitting me hard. I covet these immensely and plan to purchase something similar this weekend. These are Aerosoles. You see, I’m experiencing some slight foot pain and I think these would be both stylish AND comfortable. I’m all about the comfort, baby.

We just signed up for AT&T U-verse service. I’ve been wanting this for at least a year, and it’s finally available in my neighborhood. More HD channels! DVR! DVR on ALL three of our TVs! And for less than $20 more than I’m paying for basic service (with no DVR) with Charter. I’m so excited for the switch! And to finally have a DVR! Bye bye Charter!

Speaking of TV…

I can’t wait to veg out on the couch with my hubby and just relax and catch up on some movie rentals this weekend.

So what’s making you happy lately?

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And we’re back

I’m still in my post-vacation haze, trying to get back into work-mode and I’m finding the mix of emotions to be a bit more challenging this time around. There’s the post-vacation depression (made worse by the empty-wallet syndrome), the happy-to-be-home smile, comfort and warmth that comes with nuzzling a certain special fur-baby, who has just been bathed and is just so darn happy to see us. Then there’s the foggy-headedness that comes with trying to remember where all of  my 15 work projects stand and then the subsequent, overwhelming stress that hits once I do remember. The same goes for all of our household obligations, like bills that need to paid, customer complaints to Charter that need to be made, and home maintenance work that needs to be scheduled. The strongest desire to clean and organize comes as soon as I walk in the door and realize my home is nowhere near the cleanliness standards of the hotels I’ve been resting my head in for the last few days. And of course, the worry, sadness,  and sympathy that occurs when having to visit my grandpa in the hospital after two cancerous tumors were removed from his colen. But also relief, that it’s over and he’s okay, all things considered.

It’s a lot to take in, especially when the only thing I allowed myself to take in for the last few days were views like this:


But we’re back to reality now. So I’ll post more pics and details of our trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley as soon as I’ve readjusted to my regularly-scheduled life.

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