1) i think it is kind of fun to not have any plans and to fly by the seat of our pants (sometimes):
obviously, we had plane tickets...on a plane that left lax at 6:10am (ouch...though, in then end, it worked out very well) and we had a scheduled ride to the airport (on the super-shuttle with the grouchiest driver ever, that ended up being more expensive than if we had driven ourselves and parked our car in long term parking...but, whatever). but, when we got to san francisco, we had no real plans to speak of. an idea, i suppose, but no set plans. thank goodness for telephone internet...(man, how did i fight against that for so long! iphone gps and google search: i love you).
we "googled" best breakfast in the area, found a delicious little restaurant along the embarcadero south of the bay bridge called "towns end," made only one wrong turn and had to loop around the ol' one-ways an extra time, parked, and enjoyed a lovely meal. after breaky, we walked up the embarcadero to the bay bridge and then south to at&t park, took some pictures, nursed the baby, got him to sleep, made the transfer to the car seat and we were off. short, foggy, rainy first stop in san francisco...but, it already roped me in.
outside the restaurant
the bay bridge
that's at&t park to our left...the gal taking the picture didn't quite get that that was the point...
my silly baby and me
nolan and dada outside the ballpark
from the car window...
we headed up the 101 to alexander valley (named after an old guy named cyrus alexander, who originally owned the land up there) in sonoma county to the alexander valley vineyards. met dale, the super-friendly wine tasting room manager, had a few tastes of wine, got a tour of the winery and the caves (soooo cool...in temperature as well as awesomeness) and then went to see where we were going to be staying.
one of anthony's wine reps hooked us up with this vineyard and accommodations and we were super-excited...and then...
we were to stay in the old alexander valley (one room) school house from the olden days. ;) it was built in 1868 and has since been completely refurbished (is beautiful) and moved to its current location at the alexander valley vineyards. on our way back out to the car to take dale back to the tasting room, i thought it a good idea (why, i don't know) to ask him if it was haunted. whoops. dale: "why...have you heard something?" me: "no, it's just so old, you know?" dale: "well, i'm not going to lie...it is". me: "well crap." apparently, old cyrus hangs out there pretty regularly and shows himself mainly to women (great...). there have been MANY consistent sightings of him doing the same three things: sitting at the desk as if writing a letter, pulling back the covers on one of the beds and opening the drawers in the kitchen. "but, don't worry...he's a nice ghost"...at first, i thought it was so neat...i later realized otherwise...but, that is part of thing number two that i learned about myself and comes a little later in the blog. :)
the cave entrance
the tasting room
wine aging in the cave...so cool
nolan and dale...he really like our little guy
front "yard" of the school house
the school house
the living space...note the animal heads...creepy
beautiful view out the back window....and...a bearskin rug...no biggy
we spent the next day in santa rosa. i was really excited to go there as i had heard some cool things about it: very liberal, great family place, amazing park, yadda yadda...while it was super-cute and the amazing park was really amazing, the town itself was incredibly small. had it not been raining, we would have had much more to do at howarth park (lake with swimming, paddle boats, sailing, sailing lessons, kayaking, fishing, a carousel, a mini train, an animal farm complete with horsies to ride, many different picnic areas, kids play areas and open grass, tennis courts, a softball field and hiking and biking trails!!), but all we could manage was a quick trip around the park under an umbrella and a carousel ride that came with mixed reviews by nolan. by the afternoon, we had run out of things to do and ended up at the mall. yup, the mall...where the finest shop was macy's. :) there was, however, a stride rite store, so we went and had nolan's feet measusred for his first pair of shoes! (but...they didn't have his size in the two types we liked, so i'm going to order them).
carousel at howarth park
crazy white rasta guy in a blazers' jersey playing the trumpet and singing outside the santa rosa barnes and noble...come on...that deserves a dollar...and a picture!
me, nolan and paper mache hearts lucy! there is a charles schulz museum there...therefore peanuts statues all over town...
nolan was a little uncertain of the situation. i'm a little uncertain why this picture won't turn...
"why is this on my foot?"
he totally refused to walk while we were in the store...figures...
monday, we got up and drove back south to san francisco with detours (intentional) through san rafael and berkeley on our way. again, i'd like to thank iphone gps for helping us navigate all over the place. we only had a couple of hours before we had to get back to the airport, so we went to fisherman's warf, grabbed some lunch and ice cream and walked around a bit before realizing that we infact do not know how to do math backwards from a departure time and nearly missed our flight (as in...we checked our bags with two minutes to spare, one of them didn't make it on the plane and we were the second to last people to board)...whoops. thankfully, my dear sweet husband kept it together, stayed positive and reassured me that "whatever happens, happens...we had a great time. if we don't make it on this one, there will be another one shortly...or we'll ride the bart back to town and stay another night...put it on m'tab" - he's amazing.
crazy san francisco magnet shop...
watching mama...and the pigeons!
i also realized on this trip that i take a lot of pictures at an unintentional slight angle...whoops...
alcatraz!all in all, a whirlwind, but great, great trip!
2) as cool as i think the idea of seeing a ghost sounds, i'm totally scared out of my mind when it actually becomes a possibility:
so...we saw the place, we took dale back, went to have some dinner in healdsburg (which as a side note is a super-cute town that is very "green" and i loved the h2hotel that we ate at) and got back to the ol' school house by 6:30. nolan was exhausted so, no bathies just straight to nursing and night night. he conked out and i was waiting our ten minutes before transitioning him to the bed. anthony was curled up and alseep on the couch in front of me, i tried to sneak in a meditation. couldn't do it. i couldn't keep my eyes of that stupid desk chair! it wasn't even dark out yet and i was totally freaked out. but, i tried to keep it together.
i woke up anthony and had him go upstairs to the loft where the extremely high beds were so he would be in bed when i put nolan down. i got all my stuff and went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. by the time i got upstairs it was still a little bit light out, was only 7:30 and i was even more freaked out. i figured i would read a bit until i got sleepy and could convince myself to nod off. but, the only light that wasn't crazy bright and wouldn't keep my boys up was across the room...and i wasn't about to have to get up in the dark to turn it off and be tempted to look over the balcony at that stupid desk.
at that point, i caved...i told anthony how freaked i was. and...he was too! hahaha...so, we packed up all our stuff, re-loaded the car, WOKE UP OUR BABY (crazy parents...luckily, he went right back to sleep in the car), left the creepy old school house, drove a half hour south to santa rosa, found a hyatt and booked two nights there. as silly as it sounds, i was so happy with our decision. ghost or no...i was not going to get any sleep that night...and i had been up since 3:00am the night before.
3) i love the bay area:
pretty self explanatory...it is absolutely beautiful. it is green and "green". there is no smog. the people are so nice. it was even rainy two of the three days we were up there...still loved it. can't wait to go back for a little more focused time in san fran!