Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last Friday…

WARNING - Don’t read this if you are squeamish (why do I have so many posts that start like that??) 

So last Friday night I fell asleep on the couch with my contacts in, I woke up, went to take them out. Then I went to sleep. Or at least I tried but my right eye started to swell. and swell. and swell. And it started to weep and to feel heavy and very uncomfortable. Like a thudding pain that radiated behind my eyeball. So I get out of bed and flip on the light to look in the bathroom sink mirror.

HORRORS – my eye is grotesquely swollen AND some clear goo is moving across the surface of my eyeball – I pin the lids open and try to swipe the goo – thinking it is some sort of discharge – AAAH more horrors – it doesn’t come off – it is some sort of clear solid film across my eyeball. It was terrible. horrific. Like when you have that dream that your teeth are falling out and you stare in the mirror at your crumbled teeth (everyone has that dream right?) and then you realize – its just a dream. only this WASN’T. It was my EYEBALL and there was something very terribly wrong with it. So Will gets the kids out of bed and takes me to the local Emergency Room. Even the nurse, an ER nurse who you know sees all kinds of guts and gore takes a look at me and says, “oh my gosh that looks awful, like really bad”. Um thanks dude. really.

They flush it out and put in all kinds of drops and stare into it with bright lights. He put in some dye and looked with a special lamp – he said if there was an abrasion it would show up green. Well – the entire rim of my eyeball turned green. Finally, while I lay there thinking I am going to go blind, that my retina has detached or something… he says I am having two things – 1. An severe infection and 2. A severe allergic reaction to something. But he says – nothing is actually in my eyeball and he can’t see any abrasions – so no damage basically. The clear white film – it was actually the membrane behind my eyeball that was so incredibly swollen that it overflowed it’s proper area and had crept up over the surface of my eye and across my cornea. Holy cow batman – it was SO nasty!

After a full night’s sleep and a lot of eye drops I was mostly looking better. By the next day it was still very swollen but the nasty membrane has retreated back away from the surface. Thank heavens.  I will have to wear my glasses for a while. Kind of makes me wish I had kept up with the prescription as they are like 5 years and several prescriptions old.

The only good thing is that after WEEKS of being on the waiting list – I have in my possession the entire first season of The Legend of the Seeker. So a great deal  of my evenings has been spent watching it  - with my one good eye. Kind of EYE-ronic – eh? Legend of the SEEker…Hah, I crack myself up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 4th Weekend

We had a fabulous 4th of July weekend, we started off by going to a fun bounce birthday party for our friend Aidan. We had so much fun – thanks for having us Aidan!

Then we headed off to Lake Conroe. 

Last time I saw the swimming pool, it looked like this:


05.201000000119 05.201000000116 05.201000000114   

The landscaping and outdoor kitchen aren’t done yet – but the pool now looks like this:




At first we worried that the weather wouldn’t be nice enough for swimming. And it was overcast on Saturday. Now I don’t really like swimming in overcast weather, even if it is very hot. I just need actually yellow rays of sunshine to feel warm.  So I took pictures instead:

The kids played with Daddy.

06.201000000283  06.201000000286

Cousin Lulu chilled out on the raft


Uncle Bob and Will had an epic fight with noodles:


Jacob flew (OK really he just launched himself off the side of the hot tub)


The kids watched movies


And ate ice cream  and water melon (the watermelon is meant to be a whale. I need more practice!)

 06.201000000307 06.201000000303

Bella swept the patio.


We had hot dogs and hamburgers and stayed up late visiting.

On Sunday night after dark Jacob and I  went out in the paddle boat to see the fireworks. The house faces the wrong way to see any fireworks, we needed to get out on the water and clear the tree line. 

We could hear the frogs and things slipping into the water (ducks probably) and it was quiet except for the sloshing of the paddle under the boat. It was the most perfect half hour…just Jacob and I out on the water, with darkness all around us.

As we passed each house we got a glimpse of all the different ways people were celebrating. Some houses were quiet with just the flash of TV blue coming from the living room, some houses were in full party mode – rock music and teens laughing and flirting out on the docks, some were traditional – with porches covered in bunting and little ones twirling with sparklers. Most houses were like ours,  folks outside on the deck, with a cold drink, tending the grill. 

We paddled until the canal opened up and we could see the fireworks in the sky all around us. They were beautiful, and far enough away that Jacob was content (he doesn’t like to be close to the noise).  After a while we paddled back but not until after we had our fill of the fireworks, the dark water gently rocking the boat, and the stars above us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

San Francisco – Day 4

Our last day in San Francisco dawned bright and fresh. Notice the difference in our view from the condo porch.

View on Thursday:


View on Sunday:


We were lazy on Sunday. We slept in, ate our Tacoliscious leftovers, drank coffee, sat around reading books for a few hours.  It was well after 1 PM before we set out for the day. Hah! Can you imagine the pure luxury, I never just sit and read for three hours straight anymore, ever. (I had nearly forgotten what it was like to get that lost in a story.  I was reading a really really good book called Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monniger. It was the perfect vacation read, I highly recommend it!)

Anyway we looked online and figured out what the Gay Parade route was going to be and then looked to see what we could go do that would be away from the crowds and craziness. (Not a social commentary or anything – I just do not at all like crowds like that. I can deal with crowds at places like a concert where there are seats or blankets and you kind of have your own space, but the kind of crowds where people are pressing up right on me gives me trouble, I feel like I can’t breathe. )

So we went down to the wharf and explored Ghirardelli Square and all the boats around the piers and had lunch.  We discovered two wine tasting rooms.

You know I should explain – we really are NOT huge heavy drinkers, really. We do like wine though (all things in moderation!) and I should also say that on this trip we bought two cases (24 bottles) more or less and that will probably last us something like 7 YEARS.

And also, to explain how a wine tasting works – you usually try about 5 wines from a menu and each pour is typically about 2 ounces (and often Will and I split those, so it ends up being about 1 ounce).  So in this post and in previous ones when I talk about going to all these vineyards and tasting rooms, we are talking about SIPS of wine, not huge goblets or anything.  So I hope that puts anyone’s mind at ease about all this wine drinking that went on!

First we tried and purchased some wines -



Then we went to a 50’s style diner and sat on the patio looking out over the bay:

(The camera was set on Sepia, I don’t really know why!)



Our view as we ate lunch:


Next we explored the old historic boats on Hyde St. Pier. I was honestly prepared for this to be um…boring. But the displays were fascinating and you can get right on and explore every part of the different ships. It was really neat and I could help thinking how much the kids would have loved it.


First we went on an old steam ship.


We both took a turn at the wheel.


It was HUGE inside. As in there are even real model t’s and old tractors and things inside. And one room where we met two men busy building model ships. We visited with them for a while, learning all about the process. He showed us a tiny perfect model he was working on, then he told us he had been working on it since NOVEMBER. It was crazy to see the itty bitty tiny lathes and other tools.


 06.201000000261 06.20100000026706.201000000262 

It was a really fun place to explore, in fact they ended closing so there were 2 of the boats we didn’t get to go on.

Our flight on Monday morning was really early, so I was up at sunrise to take one last picture of a view I could never tire of - 06.201000000269

So that about wraps up our vacation in California, I do have a little bit of video I took that I’ll post up once I get it all compiled.  I had such a wonderful, romantic, fun time but I was also more than ready to get back home to my regular life and sleep in my own bed again. I missed my kitchen and my dog and of course my little ones. I missed the space we have here – space to park and live and a back yard after the hustle and bustle of the city. I guess I am just a Texas girl at heart. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

San Francisco – Day 3

Our third day in the city was a Saturday. We did not know that the weekend we would be there was the 40th annual Gay Pride Parade. On the news they said that over 100,000 people came into the city for the weekend events.  We were really able to explore the city without being too impacted by crowds and being just two of us we didn’t notice longer waits at restaurants or anything like that. (Although I did see a dog wearing a sweater that said “I have two daddies”. LOL)

We took the bus over to City Lights Bookstore.06.201000000225

City Lights is an American literary landmark, it was founded in 1953 and is a truly independent bookstore. 


Is that a beatnik over there by that shelf? Oh wait, it’s just me.

(And in case anyone clicks to enlarge this photo, no, I had zero intention of posing next to a copy of “God is Dead”, which is, however a book about the atrocities that have taken place in Sudan and how against the backdrop of unchecked mass murder and genocide belief in a benevolent God becomes near impossible…)


Then we checked out the murals on street behind it which were a social commentary about guerilla warfare in Chiapas, Mexico.

(The writing below reads: solders, drugs and whores – no! corn, beans and peace – yes! A sentiment I’m sure most of us share – eh?)



Next we wandered around China town. The weather was finally beautiful, the breeze was still very cool, but the fog lifted and the day was sunny and crisp. 



After lunch at a sidewalk French bistro (Will doesn’t do Chinese) we walked and walked until we arrived at the the Haas-Lilienthal house. 



This home was built in 1855 and is the only such Victorian home that still stands and is open to the public.  We love historic home tours and this one was especially neat because the same family lived in it all the way up until the 1970’s.          06.201000000232   


After catching the bus and a nap, we went back out to the Upper Haight district where we wandered around and found the famous intersection of Haight-Ashbury -birthplace of American counterculture in the 1960’s. 


By this time it was nearly 10 PM and we were really looking for a great place to have a late date night supper.  Close to our condo in the Marina district, we were delighted to find Tacoliscious which is part taqueria and (at 10 PM on a Saturday night) part lively bar. The atmosphere was urban and hip and the food was incredible and we sat at the counter and so we got to watch them make it.

Very cute Mexican boys worked the kitchen – one making bowl after bowl of fresh guacamole, one worked the grill, one cooking up dish after mouth watering dish of carnitas, beef, chicken so tender it fell apart with one prod of the fork. One guy frying fresh corn tortillas into chips… it was a thing of beauty.

The best were the fillet mignon tacos with caramelized onions. And queso. And yes, there were a few leftovers which we were happy to have the next morning for breakfast.


Monday, July 5, 2010

San Francisco – Day 2

Our second day, which was our first full day in San Francisco we thought we would do any tourist-y things that would be crowded on the weekend. But before we could go have fun, we needed some groceries; namely COFFEE and also breakfast things. (Because I always kind of feel like paying to eat breakfast out is a waste of money, you know?)

Real estate is so precious in this city that nothing is freestanding – it is strange to enter a building that looks like an office building but inside there was a Safeway!

After we got squared away on groceries it was time to head out for the day’s activities.

There is nothing significant about this building – I just liked it.


First stop – Fort Point.  This military fort served to guard the bay from enemy attack.  My understanding is that nothing ever really happened there per se but it is a neat place to tour and an ideal location to see the San Francisco bridge because the bridge arches right up over Fort Point. Inside the former mess halls they now have an exhibit about the building of the bridge. It is all very interesting. It was so freezing cold up on the top though!

06.201000000169   06.201000000170.Cropped 06.201000000172.cropped 06.201000000175


Next we drove across the bridge into Sausalito, then on up into the windy hills to Muir Woods. We have been before but I just love it so much we had to go again.  Notice how sunny it was once we crossed the bay away from the city. The weather got progressively nicer during our stay.



Walking among the ancient redwoods, it is so quiet and so peaceful. One thing I learned is that the very first United Nations summit was held in Muir Woods.  06.201000000196


The road coming down from Muir woods is so twisty and just one lane in either direction; there is a wall of rock on one side and a drop off on the other – in some places the drop off is only a few feet from the road with no guardrails or anything.  I especially noticed it on the way back as we were on the drop off side of the road and I was in the passenger seat. Here are views from the road as we were going back down.



That evening we went to our favorite restaurant in San Francisco, a little Italian place called La Trattoria Contadina.  We discovered it on our honeymoon so many years ago and were glad it was still there and  still fabulous.

View My Stats