Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We made our way to the Ghiradelli "factory" and watched how they make chocolate (we also ate a Ghiradelli chocolate sunday with a still-warm waffle cone shell).
We sampled some Boudin sourdough bread with our fresh-from Fisherman's Wharf seafood dinner.
Jeremiah did some sight-seeing (dressed like a pimp)--still in a suit from his Spine conference and wearing some of his Mom's sunglasses (throughout the trip) since he left his at home :)We hopped on a ferry to go to...Alcatraz.
This was such an unforgettable experience. You do a walking tour with a headset, and the people talking gruffly in your ears are men who were imprisoned or worked there. It was fascinating to hear about their daily routines, their escape attempts, and peek into the actual cells where they spent such large, morbid periods of their lives. There is background noise of guards yelling, doors sliding, men cat-calling...all while you walk around with a whole lot of silent people just as engrossed in the stories as you are.
We had lunch looking out at this view while we were in Sausalito--just before we perused their quaint shops and art galleries.
We had dinner across the grassy square from this church in the Italian district. This is the church that Marilyn Monroe wanted to marry Joe DiMaggio in (he grew up in this neighborhood), but the priest wouldn't let her since it was her second marriage...so they just had pictures made inside instead :) We also were not afraid to be TOURISTS! Check us out in the double-decker bus, along with everybody else with their cameras...and even a fannypack or two was spotted.I normally shy away from the whole idea of being a tourist. Something about it seems...humiliating. But let me tell you, that double decker bus was the best thing we did! We saw ALL the sights. We hopped off and explored when we wanted to, and then caught the next bus. We leisurely sat back and enjoyed the sunshine and breezes, and heard catchy side stories about places we passed on our way to the next big attraction.I will never again be too cool for the bus...and you shouldn't be either. Our fellow red bus traveler snapped this one for us in front of the Academy of the Arts. Jeremiah's still lookin' hot in those glasses. [My sister also just pointed out that I might should address what the HECK I am wearing. I started out the day wearing that as a dress,...then started freezing so I pulled out the jeans that I had handily stored in my purse, and there you have it--pregnant Abby.] We had our breath taken away by the Redwood trees of Muir Woods.
And we took another of several brisk walks in improper female footwear. Jeremiah can't bear to spend money on cabs, so we huffed it everywhere across not only this rocky terrain, but also those steep San Francisco hills.
He can never seem to convince me to wear "proper" things. I say, "Do you really want me to wear Isotoners with black socks??" And he replies, "No, but I would also like to not ALWAYS be over the bag weight limit in the airport because you've had to pack eighteen different pairs of high-heeled shoes and flip-flops to match all of your 'outfits'." Thankfully, his Mom sides with me on this issue, so at least I wasn't the only one...I digress.We went to Sonoma valley for a little wine tasting.It was GORGEOUS and GOOD :)And while we talked a lot of smack to our fellow tourists and tour guide--warning us about the heat when we reached Sonoma--we told them that it couldn't compare to the temperatures we'd left in south Alabama. Well, we were swallowing our words by the days' end and looking for the nearest shade :) Finally, after all this beautiful scenery, mind invigorating conversation (with no sweet babies to interrupt), sumptuous food, and, well, wine-tasting, we all four went home feeling like this...
I love San Francisco.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Let me stop just a second and tell you why/how we're here (WITHOUT ANY CHILDREN!). There is a global spine congress here this week and Jeremiah is presenting one of his spine research projects. Since he is presenting for UAB, they were paying for his hotel room and flight. Now, I had enough frequent flier miles for my ticket...all that was left was arranging child care...HOW IN THE WORLD COULD I NOT GO? So, Keke (and my Dad, and most likely other members of my extended family) are keeping the rascals so that Jeremiah's parents can come and cheer him on with me :)
Last night we went out to a nice dinner and then poked around until we accidentally ran into the Golden Gate bridge (hence the pictures from earlier. And we did ask a passer-by to get a pic of us together, but there was a bit of a language barrier in explaining how to use the camera and the photo turned out so fuzzy you couldn't tell what anything was).
Today, we did something very odd for two tourists' first whole day in a new city. We sat in the hotel room and did exactly what you see in these two pictures. I wore a big fuzzy white robe and read my book, while Jeremiah worked like a madman on his presentation. With that bad schedule he's had the past couple of months, he hasn't had ONE minute to work on the presentation he's giving until Sunday afternoon. But let me tell you the honest truth, just being able to both be present in the same room, sitting quietly on our butts, with the window open and a cool breeze and Starbucks coffee...has been MARVELOUS. I've just missed him so bad I didn't want to go wander around and shop and sight-see alone. We did go out and eat lunch and get his hair cut at a local place. We did go for a run this afternoon, through the city and by the water, and we have a WHOLE WEEK to see the sights later.
I'll end with this. I've been saying over and over how bad I need a "break" (and you other Moms know what that means). But as soon as I realized I was about to leave my little girlies for that long, I just about perished. I actually started talking to Jeremiah about how I bet Dapples could still count as a lap baby on the plane and maybe we had enough frequent fliers to get Pace a ticket too. He looked at me like I had lost my ever-loving mind...and he was right. We are having fun and the break is glorious and I've said "thank you Jesus" out loud (to myself) several times, but I do miss those little chicken wings :(
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
That is what greets you on my porch if you drop by our house. It serves as a constant reminder of last spring, just like every spring before, when I've gone to Home Depot, listened to Jeremiah make fun of me as I spent hundreds of dollars on plants vowing that THIS year would be different. Well, that was my gigantic prize fern from last year...you can see how well I took care of her.
This year, I said, no more. I am not a gardener. I'll try to take care of the wispy little plants that have managed to survive in my garden, and I'm not going to waste all that money...even though I do miss those beautiful, overflowing hanging baskets on our porch :( But then this year, God gave me a curious child. For weeks I've listened to her tell me every day, "Mommy, can we please plant some seeds?! All we need is dirt and water, and they'll grow, I promise! PLEASE!" And on and on it went. Who told her that anyway? Did one of you neighbors do it to spite me :)? Do they talk about crap like that on Sesame Street to guilt us non-gardeners into getting out there and doing it anyway?
I don't know where she heard it, but I couldn't bear to squelch her anymore. Maybe the child is going to have a green thumb. Heck, maybe I can let her plant my flower beds every year :)? She certainly couldn't do any worse than I have.
So, I made the dreaded trip to Home Depot, but instead of spending hundreds of dollars, I only spent about five. I let Pace pick our seeds and this is what she chose:
And planted to our hearts content. (Mary Aplin nearly gave me a concussion with that rake before the day was over)
Now, a good solid excuse I have for not enjoying gardening is that my yard gets next to no sunshine. There are no fun colorful plants that grow in shade...or at least very few (maybe to get the good ones you have to go spend some real money at a nursery and not Home Depot). To give Pace's plants a chance at life, I've left all these planters in the only spot in our yard that does get sun--THE FRONT YARD. We are lookin' oh so classy with our half clover/half grass yard and our planters strewn about.
They actually grew!! (I honestly had zero faith that it would work) And Pace asks to go outside and check on them about twenty times a day. Bless her heart...it looks nothing like her mother's in this gardening area.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Today has been a marvellous day. One of those days that has gotten me wondering..."Is this what normal peoples' lives look like?" Jeremiah had to go in and round for a few hours this morning, but he actually managed to squeeze in the pew beside me halfway through the singing in church. It was such a nice surprise! Then we went out to eat at Irondale Cafe, and I bellied up to the meat and three...fried chicken, squash, green beans, macaroni and cheese (but that was for Mary Aplin, not me :)), and a big ol piece of corn bread. On our "Residency Budget," I am afraid these traditional Sunday lunches have been replaced with turkey sandwiches and soup at our house most Sundays, but today I knew my extended family was down in Dothan celebrating my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary with a meal that could make me melt. I passed a note to Jeremiah in church saying that I might cry if I had to eat a sandwich for lunch again today :), and he was more than happy to give in.
On the way home, post feast, Pace started begging Jeremiah to take her down to the basement (where the sound equipment is) and let her play the guitar and sing with the microphone. She has been missing her Daddy so bad these past couple of months, and I think this was her way of asking to be all alone with him. The weird thing is that both she and Mary Aplin start to be mean to him when he is gone a lot. He comes home from work and (if they are still awake), they run and hide. Then when he finds them, they act pouty. However, as soon as they get more than 10 minutes of his undivided attention, you would think they had sprouted wings. His love brings an animation and spirit to them that my attention can't touch...but when they don't get it, they punish him for his absence. It is scary how innate manipulation seems to be inside little girls :)
We stayed in the study, so that Jeremiah could look up guitar chords on the computer for all of Pace's song requests, but we had the best time playing and singing this afternoon. For me, seeing the delight Pace and Jeremiah were taking from each other was priceless.
After singing, we put the girls down for naps and Jeremiah crashed in our bed while I sat beside him...stitching away. I was so excited that he was getting to nap, that I couldn't have fallen asleep myself. Man did he need it! Finally, Pace and Jeremiah both got out of bed (notice I say "got out of bed" and not "woke up" because Pace is now refusing to nap most days) at about the same time and she asked if they could have a tea party. I wasn't invited, so I got to cook dinner ALL BY MYSELF IN THE KITCHEN (without anybody asking to help or pulling out all of the spoons and Tupperware or fighting at my feet).
After the tea party broke up in the next room, they announced to me that they were going to run sprints on the football field. I waved goodbye to the duo who were so obviously in need of some one-on-one time and like a happy housewife whose casserole is already in the oven, I cuddled with Napoleon in the big girl bed and then took her outside to see where the wind would take us. It was just all so normal, simple, and wonderful. I am sad that I missed my grandparent's anniversary this weekend. I spent a lot of time contemplating whether or not to pack up the girls and head down to Dothan for the day... But I know we needed today, in all its normalcy, we needed it.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Preheat the oven to 400. Combine flour, 1/3 c of sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Cut in the butter until the mix resembles small pebbles. Stir in 1/2 c cream and the egg. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth (I do this step for all of three good kneads. It seems a little pointless because it comes out smooth, but I would be scared to tell you to skip it since it is bread...and who KNOWS what happens if you skip steps :))
[I have also served these, as dessert, with fresh cut strawberries and homemade whipping cream. Talk about a tasty twist on strawberry shortcake!]
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
If Pace does marry Noah one day [as she claims she will and reminds him of often], they will have the cutest rehearsal dinner video EVER :)