Glad to go, glad to be Home

The Cub's lost, the economy stinks, gas prices stink, and airfares stink! It's enough to throw you into the pit of despair. This past weekend my girls had a very long weekend off from school and I wanted to go see my sistah and get out of town for a bit, so despite all the negatives I went anyway. Because of the lousy airfares I decided to drive and take my chances with the lousy gas prices. I was very fortunate to find great prices all along the way which made me think it was meant to be! I even found a place outside Winnemucca with gas under $3 a gallon! I never thought I could be excited to see gas below $3.

It was a great weekend and I put up a slide show of photos from the trip (on the sidebar). We did some of my favorite things to do in San Francisco, like shop at the four story Williams and Sonoma store in Union Square, and eat my favorite pizza (forgot to take a picture of it), and my favorite breakfast from The Grove on Fillmore (see photo above). We also went to a four story fabric store - heavenly, even if I was disappointed with their color selection! We also did a few touristy things as I recently realized that the babies in the family have missed out on a few things because Mom has already "been there done that" and doesn't care if she does them again. One of those touristy things is to go down Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. The girls heard about the street and couldn't stop talking about it. They were amazed and thought it was very cool. I told them they had five minutes to talk about the experience afterwards and then they were to drop the topic until they returned to Utah, where they were allowed to tell their friends all about it. That arrangement worked out very nicely.

The weather was wonderful while we were there and we took full advantage of it. We took the dogs to Fort Funston (my sistah was dog sitting for her neighbors two dogs, so there were three dogs, one cat and four people in her one bedroom garden apartment while we were there). Fort Funston used to be some sort of military installation but is now a beautiful beach and park which is very dog friendly. Dogs are allowed to be off leash and so they enjoy running about the sandy hills, fetching balls and smelling each other while their owners enjoy the fresh air and a walk. It is also very windy and so it is an ideal place for hanggliding. The hanggliders are very close to you when you go out to the observation deck, and there are warning signs that hanggliders have been known to crash into people on the deck so proceed at your own risk! The gliders were beautiful and the people in them all looked like they were having a great time. I liked watching - not sure I could walk off the cliff with the same confidence they did!

We did a lot of walking, which we always seem to do while there, and I thought I would die. I am really in bad shape and need to work on getting into better shape this winter. We walked to the movie theater and saw "The Secret Life of Bees." It is rated PG-13, and I usually preview these kinds of movies before I let my babies see them, but I made an exception this time. I'm grateful that I don't regret it. The movie is about love, relationships and racism and we all loved it. E told my sistah later that she looked over and saw that "mom was crying up a pool." So bring your tissues if you go see it! I don't think you will regret it either.

The last thing we did was visit the California Academy of Science. It was a bit more expensive than most museums I've been to and so I was a bit nervous about spending so much of my sistah's money :). Afterward we all felt it was worthwhile. Sistah thought it was so worthwhile that she bought a membership. The museum houses three museums really, as there is an aquarium, a planetarium and a field museum all together, however it seemed to be much more. As the museum has only been open less than a month it was very crowded and there were long lines everywhere but they moved quickly and we enjoyed the experience anyway.

We first stood in line to go into the biosphere which housed a rainforest in which you walk up a ramp taking you through all the layers of a rainforest. There are many plants, a lagoon, birds and butterflies. They also have many exhibits with various lizards, snakes, spiders, leaf cutting ants, and frogs. All things I was grateful to see behind glass and not crawling about with the birds and butterflies. The biosphere was fascinating and education also. I loved the butterflies and tried to take a lot of pictures of them. I didn't include them all in the slide show so that I wouldn't bore you, but tried to include just a few of the better ones. Some of the butterflies landed on people providing those of us with cameras a great opportunity of getting closeup shots. Whoever had a butterfly on them became an instant celebrity. One butterfly, whose wings are blue on top and brown with "eyes" on the bottom, really liked a gentleman with a blue hat on. We decided the butterfly thought the hat was his mate.

The lagoon had a large number of fish from the rainforests and you could view the fish both above water and below. Once you walked up the ramp to the canopy of the rainforest you took an elevator down to the basement where the aquarium was housed. It was here that you could see the fish in the lagoon from below. There were other exhibits of fish, and a white alligator (one of the 7 brothers of the alligator we had here in Utah this summer). We didn't make it all around the aquarium as it was so crammed with people down there that it was difficult to get to the exhibits. We also didn't make it into the planetarium, but didn't feel slighted. We will have to go back and visit these exhibits when we return to San Francisco.

The field museum part of the museum was a large hall filled with exhibits of stuffed African animals. We all thought of the movie "Night at the Musuem" and pondered what the animals did at night when they came to life. I also wondered what was more humane - animals living in a cage for us to stare at, or animals who are stuffed for us to stare at. Hopefully the animals have had a nice life before being stuffed and weren't killed in a cruel manner. Looking at stuffed animals has always felt creepy to me, but looking at the animals in cages can make me sad sometimes too. Like the exhibit of penguins they have. The Penguins are very fun to watch. They are so beautiful, but their area seemed so small for the number of penguins. With all the strict laws in California I hope this means they have researched the topic throughly and are giving the animals what they need. The exhibit is set up so that you can see the penguins above and below the water as well, and sometimes they swim up to the glass to get a good look at you. They are incredible creatures.

For some reason, one of the things I was most excited to see was the museum's roof. Why? Because it was green. Both figuratively and literally. They have worked hard to make the entire museum "green" and have recycling booths everywhere, but on the roof they have solar panels as well as a field of wild flowers. I had heard about green roofs while we were in Arizona a few years back. They help to make the building inside cooler because of the plants, and they also help to cool the environment. Phoenix could really use a large number of these green roof as it is a concrete jungle and hot enough as it is! However, then there is the problem of water - thus it isn't being put into practice there yet. Anyway, I found the roof fascinating, and I think that maybe the first time I have ever said that about a roof!

All in all, it was a very long drive both ways, but well worth getting away and enjoying my sistah's company as well as enjoying a fun city, and now I am just happy to be home!


Liz Harrell said…
Great vacation pictures!
Anonymous said…
Hey Lisa
Never been to San Fran so thanks for sharing your pictures. Sounds like you and your girls had a really nice time. How long did you guys stay with your sis?
What kind of camera are you using? Digital? Me, still scared to take that leap. Guess I like my feet planted on the ground. I love my 35mm and not ready for change yet.Maybe someday. Anyway, I have a lot of jobs to keep me busy next week. Only day to myself is Thursday but that's OK. Speaking of jobs, I better get off my butt and get going. Got a client to take care of today. Anyway, nice that you share your fun times with all of us. Keep on blogging!

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