• Archives

  • Categories:

A refrigerator, plums, and family visit to SF

This summer has been different one for us. We’ve had plans a lot closer to home now with little Adam, and we don’t go on as many adventures. Gone are most of our jaunts to San Francisco for brunch, and weekends in wine country. This past week I sadly canceled our two wine club memberships, since our wine rack is completely full and we weren’t taking advantage of our other member benefits. We do still get out to some places though, and as exhausting as the adventure days are with a baby in tow, I always appreciate that we have had the opportunity to frequently introduce him to new things.

Now stepping back to where I last left off in generalist life blog posts, in the end of June our refrigerator started to die. It came with the house, and upon inspection I learned that it was manufactured in 2003, so it had a pretty average run as far as modern refrigerators go. It was unfortunate though, we had hoped it would last until we did our kitchen remodel so we could get our forever refrigerator. We also can’t survive without a refrigerator, the day it stopped working I ran out to Home Depot and picked up the biggest mini-fridge I could find so that Adam’s milk wouldn’t spoil, and was suddenly grateful for the freezer that came with the house, which had just been sitting unplugged in the garage. That was plugged in and all the frozen and refrigerated milk was saved! Finally, the timing was poor. We were just about to leave for our July visit to Philadelphia, so we ended up flying out and leaving the old refrigerator in place, and didn’t get it replaced until a full month after it died. Getting the replacement delivered was a trial as well, our kitchen is on the second story and it took three delivery attempts and several phone calls until they finally sent a big enough crew to get it up the stairs to our kitchen.

In July I also received my vanity license plate. I almost got one when I lived in Pennsylvania, but until just a couple months ago, I didn’t have my own car here in California to put one one. I went with the environmental one, and it came out beautiful!

This summer we’ve been frequenting the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market in the nearby BART parking lot on Saturdays. The fresh strawberries, raspberries, and pluots have been a real treat. We haven’t needed to go far for all our fruit though, in addition to oranges and limes growing on our neighbors tree that looms over our entry pathway, we discovered that a tree in our back yard produces little plums! This is the second year in our house so you think I would have noticed a plum tree last year, but I was pregnant and dealing with pretty serious morning sickness, so I had help with the yard work and food was the last thing on my mind. They’ve been yummy this year though! Especially when I can make the time to chop them up and put them in a fruit salad.

Adam has been enjoying fruit too, in July he started on solid foods! Well, Gerber 1st foods which are mostly pureed fruits and vegetables. It took a couple days for him to get the hang of eating, and he still makes a mess even being spoon fed a month in, but he does seem to enjoy foods quite a bit, and last week he got his first meats in the form of pureed chicken meals.

Our own meals have taken a drastic turn this year. We used to eat out a lot and now we’re finding ourselves doing take-out most nights. Thankfully California has a vast assortment of cuisines, so we are have a nice selection, but we have missed actually going out and having dinner together. We ultimately do want to institute a regular “date night” where we hire a babysitter and go out, but for now we were happy to enjoy a single sushi date night in San Francisco in early August at our favorite sushi place. And stopped for donuts afterwards.

The big event for August was my sister Annette and her son, my nephew, Xavier, coming into town for nine days. They had never been to California and were eager to get some time with little Adam, and we needed some childcare coverage for Adam while I took a work trip down to San Diego. The timing worked out for all of us before Xavier had to go back to school, so they arrived on August 16th and stayed through the 25th.

Saturday the 17th, the first day they were in town, I gave them a quick walking tour of downtown Castro Valley so they could find their way around while I was gone. We then all piled into the truck and made our way to the Oakland Zoo. I had been there before, but it had been several years and they made some significant changes since I was there, most notably the addition of a California trail section of the zoo that you take a gondola to!

Of course the San Francisco Zoo will always be my local zoo, even with Oakland now significantly closer, but Oakland does also have the added benefit of having elephants! So we swung by them, and the giraffes, a bunch of monkeys, and the California trail concluded with some bears. It was a tiring day, and Adam was getting fussy about the heat toward the end, but I’m glad we went. We also made sure to hit the gift shop, where Xavier and Adam got matching African painted dog stuffed toys, which Adam now adores.

The next day I wanted to take them to San Francisco for the standard tourist visit, but I think we were all pretty tired from the previous day zoo adventures, and I was struggling with logistics of getting baby around everywhere. I did want to show them BART though, so they’d be prepared to take it on their own while I was gone if they wanted to spend a day in the city on their own. So we did a quick mini-visit to the city. Popping out at the Embarcadero BART station, they got a glimpse of the California street cable car, along with a bunch of street cars going by. We walked through the vendors in the plaza across from Ferry Building, and then had brunch there at Ferry Building before taking a walk along the bay. Our visit concluded with a stop at the little San Francisco Railway Museum, which we all enjoyed. It was then back on BART to head home. I think it ended up being the perfect sized trip for the day.

My week was spent going to the office on Monday, and then on Tuesday flying to San Diego for the Open Source Summit, which I attended through Friday and will write about later. MJ picked me up at the airport and we had a late dinner with my family.

The next day, on Saturday, ended up being our big San Francisco trip. It started off much the same as the previous Sunday, but instead of stopping at Ferry Building we started walking up to Pier 39. However, we quickly detoured when I saw an opportunity to skip walking and take a water taxi! I’d never been in one before, but I thought a boat ride would be a much more enjoyable way to experience the bay, and they had no problem with us bringing Adam’s stroller on board. Now, I do admit a bit of apprehensiveness around going on a little boat in the bay with my 7 month old, but I kept telling myself that I surely would have heard about it if tourist boats were sinking in the bay all the time (or ever). I was right about it being fun, and it was Adam’s first boat ride!

The boat stopped at Pier 39, where everyone else got off, but we decided to take it all the way up a bit past Fisherman’s Wharf – our own private tour! The boat operator was kind enough to take us in a few little spots, and we got to see some sea lions. Adam took it all really well, giggling when the waves got big or water sprayed on his feet. At the conclusion of our journey we made our way through the crowds at Fisherman’s Wharf and then had lunch at Boudin. It was then that the four of us walked to Pier 39 to meet up with MJ, who had driven up after completing some work for the day. We saw the sea lions there at the pier, ate some donuts, went on the carousel (Adam’s first time!), and stopped at Build-A-Bear so Xavier could get a dragon.

We then all piled into the car for a quick visit to the Palace of Fine Arts, and then over the Golden Gate Bridge! Our favorite place to see the bridge is from Fort Baker, so we brought them there and I hung out with a sleepy Adam in the car for a bit, then put him in a baby carrier for the second half of our adventure around Fort Baker to get some good views of the city and the bridge. I’m glad we were able to make this part of the trip happen for them, the fog made the bridge difficult to see from Pier 39, and what’s a visit to San Francisco without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge?

My sister and nephew left on a 7AM flight back to Maine the next morning, leaving MJ, Adam and I with a pretty standard Sunday together.

This Labor Day weekend has been relatively uneventful. On Saturday I spent the morning cleaning up the fruit in the back yard (so many plums!) so they are composted rather than rotting on the ground and attracting unwanted critters. I also installed a hose we recently bought to replace the ones we have which were old and if not already cracked, were getting there. Today I made major progress in getting some bits of our house organized that have languished since I got pregnant last year. Our laundry room looks 10x better now, and an unused closet now has a Metro rack we brought up from the garage and we’re able to stash a bunch of stuff in there now. We’ve also enjoyed brunches Saturday and Sunday. I hope to get some more organizing done tomorrow, but we’ll see what Adam thinks of that idea.

September is shaping up to be a busy one for me at work, and at the end of the month we’re planning a visit back to Philadelphia for a couple weeks, including during Rosh Hashanah, when I’ll be taking about a week and a half off from work to observe the holidays and spend time with family. We’re also going to be doing a little road trip up to Rochester for my cousin’s wedding, which I’m really looking forward to.