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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The End of School as We Know It.

Hands down, Mr. Dave Gehrke was my favorite school teacher. He taught pottery, and I took two years of it in high school.

I was an average potter. Probably below average. But I loved the class, loved the relationship I shared with this teacher.

It was this teacher who encouraged me to keep playing tennis even when I wanted to throw it all away.

It was this teacher who encouraged me to go off to Chicago, even though most would stay close by.

It was this teacher who shocked friends and classmates by appearing at my high school open house.

It was this teacher who then visited me in Chicago, kept in touch and had me over for dinner and evening desserts on many occasions.

It was this teacher who read scripture at my wedding and this teacher who laughed jollily at the birth of H.

Mr. Gehrke retired the year I graduated. He was ready. He'd worked in the district 30 plus years, coached football for years even dabbling in hockey at times. It was not only time but he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Another disease I now hate.
He was a tough cookie with a genuine, oh so genuine heart that I loved.

I remember crossing the stage at commencement, shaking the principals hand and as I walked down the steps I spotted Mr. Gehrke amidst my classmates. And as I walked past the row he sat in, he got up shakily and gave me a hug.

And I cried.

Because while I was more than ready to get out of school and on to bigger and better things, I knew it was all going to change.

You know how it goes as you pass the yearbooks around. Promises to stay friends forever, that nothing, no distance, no life changes will change the memories and bond you share.


"Keep in touch..."

And while there may be many people who are successful at such things, I was not. From time to time I talk to friends from high school, but it's not like it was.

And that's ok.

Hugging Mr. Gehrke as I walked back to my seat with my classmates, I knew that no matter what, it wasn't going to be the same.

It is that experience alone, and my entire relationship with Mr. Gehrke that helped me understand Miss M today.

Today was M's last day of kindergarten. I expected an excited little girl to bound down the hallway with a big grin.

Instead, as M approached, she grabbed my hand and said, "My heart is 'beeping' so fast."

And as I started to congratulate her on finishing her kindergarten year, the tears started coming.

They didn't subside quickly.

She'll miss her teacher.

M and Mrs. Ryan at the kindergarten program last week.

She'll miss her friends.
She'll miss school.
She doesn't want it to end quite yet.

I was proud, yet sad for her. Because I knew what she was feeling. She doesn't want anything to change and she loves this teacher.

Her teacher was wonderful, truly caring and so sensitive. She made each student feel that they are special not only in her eyes but in everyones eyes.

She taught them about responsibility in a way that I am amazed.

She loved on those kids as if they were her own.

M and Mrs. Ryan at the kindergarten concert in April.

They had a great year, and while M is excited for summer and all that comes with it. She is also sad and broken over the prospect of change.

We went back and M hugged her teacher one last time. And just watching Mrs. Ryan cry as she hugged crying M, was almost enough to send me into tears.

But it will be ok, and next year she'll have a new teacher and a new experience but right now, she can't imagine it any other way than how it's been.

M, how you've changed.

T, on the other hand, will most likely walk off the bus and scream in celebration!

I can almost hear him reciting... 'No more pencils, no more books. No more teachers dirty looks.'

Both reactions to the end of school are equally good in my eyes.
First day of school. September 5, 2006
Last day of school. May 31, 2007.

Happy last day of kindergarten, M.

Happy last day of 2nd grade, T.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Random Blather About My Day.

Returning from San Francisco I found out that my drivers license was expired. Apparently it had expired back in March (my birthday, duh!) but for whatever reason I must have missed the reminder post card. This made for a huge deal at the airport including a complete search of my person and my belongings.

Something about a blonde haired, blue eyed woman with a foreign sounding name and an expired license seems to scream terrorist.

Anyhow, I decided that since today I would be around the Government Center that takes care of business like drivers license renewal I'd take care of it.

First things first, here's what I'm wondering. Why are there twenty different stations that people could be working at and only four people working?

I asked the gentleman who was helping me if twenty people ever worked at the same time.

"No, usually just five."

Does that make any sense? Is that a good use of space? computers? Do they just like to make people wonder what the heck they were thinking?

So when filling out my paperwork, when I got to the blank titled 'weight' I thought, hmm I certainly must weigh less than I did the last time I did this, so I wrote down a weight five pounds less than what it used to be.

After the license renewal process, I went to a doctor appointment only to find out that I lied on my drivers license. I know they say that's typical, but really I've always put my actual weight and height.

I was thirteen pounds off this time. I made myself thirteen pounds lighter than I really am.


Finally, the saddest part of my day had to be filling out the annual clinic questionnaire. You know the one where it asks you eighteen different ways if you feel safe in your relationships.

Are you married?

Is your spouse Male or Female?
Didn't this question used to be self-explanatory based on my gender.

What's the world coming to?


Each time I've thought about blogging the last two days, I've come up blank.

I have lots of funny stories I could share, but I'm not really in a funny mood.

I'm actually not even sure what kind of mood I'm in, if that says anything.

Maybe tomorrow will be different.

For now, enjoy these miscellaneous pictures from the last few weeks.
My 13 month old son reads Fortune magazine, beat that!My little sister and me. Though we don't look very much alike, I think our teeth give away that we're sisters. What do you think?

As I'm typing this I'm realizing just how goofy I'm being after saying I'm not in a funny mood.

You can call this one, the one that tried to get away. The child doesn't sit still very long these days, not even long enough to snap a picture. My parents and H.

Again, trying to get away. This is my friend Megan, she was here visiting Minnesota for the first time ever this weekend. Fun time was had by all.

No idea when this picture was taken but I love that laugh. This picture really captures T.

Track and Field day has changed a lot since I was a participant. The events range from shoe kicks to 50 yard dash, rock wall to snack time. My kind of track and field day!

In case anyone is confused, that's M on the rockwall.

M singing with her kindergarten pals at her program. She loved school this year. So neat to see that.

Hayley, Holly and I. Girls I've known for 10 plus years. Between us three colleges, two weddings and four kids. The picture on the left is from our April girls night, the picture on the right was from tonight, our May girls night which I completely messed up in regards to childcare for H. J is out of town so H joined in the fun tonight. That's life, right?

Friday, May 25, 2007


Have I ever told you just how much I love when my husband is off of work?

It's Great!
We made carmel rolls earlier (recipe compliments of L, they are very-delicious!)
J has to roll the dough and I usually do the rest. YUM!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Last week was a very hard week. Not just for me, but for every one in my family.

And to say that it was hard is quite possibly the largest understatement of my life.

I'm completely, indescribably, painstakingly devastated.

An hour rarely goes by that I don't think about it in some way, shape or form.

This cancer, this battle, this thing will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult things I have to deal with in my lifetime. If not the most difficult.

There are moments (such as last Friday) where I feel as though I am at rock bottom. Full of sadness, stress, and overwhelmed with grief that I can not push aside. Tears that I can not hold back.

I get myself thinking about things, like the fact that I talk to my mom every-single-day.

I start thinking about birthdays and holidays.

I think about all the things in my own home that are from my mom or remind me of my mom. H's baby quilt made lovingly by her. The picture of the Lords Supper in our dining room, a family heirloom given to me. A beautiful picture of my mom and dad from my wedding that sits on my dresser.

Then I think about the prospect of my little sister's wedding.

And then, new birth. That's probably the worst for me. Knowing that I may someday have a child that does not know my mom.

One thing I've learned for sure in life is that we all deal with things in such different ways.

While one may cry or be angry about lifes events, another person may be able to live in denial and another person may be able to compartamentalize it all.

Some laugh in the face of grief. Others get physically ill.

Some can cover up or hide their sadness.

After trying all of the above, I've started to feel a sense of peace.

For now.

That's not to say that in the near future I may be blubbering like a baby again and depressingly not myself.

I will be, of that I am sure.

I am still sad. I am still mad. I am still scared.

It is not easy to see a loved one (especially one's mother) suffer in any way.

But this last weekend I awoke with this peace. This peace that it is going to be ok.

Perhaps it is all the prayers going up on our behalf.

I have awoken with this sense of wanting to enjoy the days, weeks, dare I say years that we have left together.

Do I want to look back and remember crying my eyes out and being overwhelmed with grief? Or do I want to remember enjoying my mumsy, enjoying our life?

I'd like to take the latter, please and thank-you.

I want to soak up every moment, every piece of wisdom, every story.

Never in my life have I been more aware of God's plans in one's life.

I've said before that living where I live is not my first (or second, third or even fourth) choice of where to live. But marrying J, we had to make decisions and this is a decision that we'll stick with for years to come.

I've also mentioned that I've struggled with what I am doing with my life. Barely working. Barely using my very expensive degree. Struggling with all that and the status of being a 'success'.

But right now I can thank the good Lord for making sure I am where I am. Both where I am living and what I am doing, because this is truly right where I need to be.

And I thank the good Lord that over time my mom and I have developed such a strong, loving relationship.

And so it is a reminder, that I am not in control. Sometimes things just don't make sense. And the truest one, as we tell the kids, it's not always fair.

I am learning though that laughter truly is the best medicine.

Know that my mom is never far from my heart. Or mind.

Nor will she ever be.

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us when adversity takes the place of prosperity when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." --Washington Irving

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Makes Me Smile.

Monday, May 21, 2007


School is coming to a close for all of us.

T and M each have seven days left after today.

I have two half days of work left.

And today was H's last day.
What? You didn't know that H was already in school.
Oh he is, indeed. One can never start learning too early.
H and I not only were in Parent/Child swimming lessons, which we failed. (I think it had more to do with him being the youngest in the class than actually "failing", or at least that's what I'm telling myself because really this kid is a FISH and hey, I'm not a bad swimmer myself. But I do know that he has to be three to go to the next level. I'm thinking that's the deal. Right?)
But besides swimming, H and I have also been in an ECFE class through our school district. Early Childhood Family Education has many mom and me classes throughout the year. It was actually something I've been looking forward to doing since I was pregnant.

In the great state of MN, ECFE is a big deal. In our community, ECFE is a very big deal.

We've been in a class called "Side By Side" which is for children ages 1-3 and they go to school "side by side" with a parent, grandparent or even the nanny. It's been an hour long class once a week for the last six weeks and H and I for the most part have enjoyed it.
H of course was the youngest in this school as well, which only posed a problem when it came to painting (He wanted to suck on the paintbrush.) and the sensory table being filled with corn. (My son obviously tried eating the corn, which was not good.)Overall though what I learned in this class is that my son LOVES school. He LOVES being around other kids. Doesn't worry when I look like I might leave, in fact he waves at me like it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to leave.

He has loved exploring every crack and crevice in the classroom. Loved tasting each and every toy.
I most of all loved just being there with him. Watching him learn and figure things out. I do admit there were a couple mornings I wasn't thrilled to go. But once we were there, it was great. Seeing his face light up at "school" was the best.

So H, what do you plan on doing now that 'school's out for summer'?

I'd say that means some swinging...

And some snoozing...

(The above picture is really how H looked after class today. We go straight from his class to pick M up at school and he was OUT. He slept in my arms while we waited for her to come out from class. Amazing how a one hour playtime/class wears a little guy out!)

More end of the school year updates coming soon!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Love Thursday/Quality Friday

For awhile now I've seen this friend participate in this thing called Love Thursday. I've gathered that the premise is to post something that shows love in your life that particular week. (Correct me if I'm wrong, please.)

Recently, this friend started something called Quality Friday, where you're to post something of quality about your week on Fridays. (Right?!?)

This week I have had a million and one moments that could count or qualify as my moments.

My heart and mind are heavy. So heavy.

Today, H turned thirteen months and it is so hard to believe that it was exactly twelve months ago that we were at Gammi and Gampi's celebrating his first sleepover at their home.
We were at their home again today visiting with both of my parents and my dad managed to snap these shots.

What a difference a year makes, eh?

In more ways than one.

This last month since H turned one has passed by so quickly. Not as many noticeable changes. Still not walking. Talking up a storm. Into EVERYTHING!

He tried his first apple today.

After these pictures were taken he threw the apple like a baseball across the kitchen. It may be awhile before we try that again.

Here are some pictures of T playing baseball. He is so good. He is in the Willie Mays League which is for 9-10 year olds. (He is only 8 but tried out and made it!)

And T's biggest fans....

(Self portrait by M herself, oy!)

H, who may or may not demand raisins and sippy cups during games thus far.

This week the best way I can describe love is all of this. Just sitting at my parents, helping my mom and dad with whatever they need, laughing as I sloppily eat a Ding Dong on the couch with my mom. Watching H discover a new food (even if that means throwing it across the kitchen) Enjoying T's baseball games. Being proud of him for playing so hard.

Love is all that. Putting it all aside.

Do you ever realize how many times a day you may say 'in a minute' or 'just let me finish this' etc? Is it just me?

Love to me is putting it all away, and doing what is truly important. Spending time with those I love. Enjoying each and every moment. Enough with the just let me do this or that. Love to me is listening to some made up song about the flowers and trees by M. Love to me is talking about something I have no interest in but I know that T loves. Love to me is leaving the kitchen a disaster to go on a walk with H.

That is love, to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

One of Those Days.

It was one of those days today.

I started out bringing the van into the dealership to have the AC fixed. I first had to dispute the need of a loaner vehicle because despite popular belief I don't just sit around all day.

I pretty much laid it out that either they could be my personal chauffeurs for the day or they could give me a loaner.

They chose the loaner.

Then I had the great pleasure of watching these men try and install H's car seat. Finally, they just let me do it myself.

After driving the Jeep Commander all the way home (about 10 miles away, 20 minute drive time) I realized I did not have my garage door opener.

M recently changed the code on the outside of the garage so I couldn't get in that way either. (And don't even bother asking her what she set the code to because she doesn't remember.)

So after putting some gas into the empty gas guzzling loaner car I headed back up to the dealership to get the garage door opener.

T and M were thrilled about this car. T went as far as to ask if we could just keep this car instead of the van.

For whatever reason it doesn't work like that.

By 3:45pm I had spent $711 fixing the van. Yes that is seven hundred eleven dollars.

I realized as I was leaving the dealership that the people there really were nice, even though I was not so nice on Friday when I learned about what kind of work was needed on the van.

It puts things in perspective.

On the way to the dealership my phone went dead but the last I had spoken with my parents was that my mom was just finishing her dose of chemo. So I decided that I would drive to the hospital to visit again since I hadn't been there since Tuesday.

J decided he'd meet us there as well.

After about an hour in the car I arrived at the hospital, got inside only to find out that my mom had just been discharged. Of course, I would have known this just before walking into the hospital had my cell phone been on.

So J and I again went our seperate ways and headed home.

At T's baseball game I noticed H's nose starting to run. This would be fine except for my mom can't be around any illness or germs right now, so unless this clears up before morning, there will be no visit to grandma's tomorrow.

Right now I am sitting in the kitchen writing this listening to one of our smoke detectors beep.

There is no fire.

The battery is running low. It has been beeping since 6am this morning.

J is gone to the store right now to get the new battery.

Uff Da.

It's just been one of those days.


Thank you to all of you who I know are on your knees for my mom and my family. That means so much and I appreciate it, as does my mom. My dad and my husband keep reminding me that we serve a God of miracles, and they are right, we do.

Promise me that you will cherish every moment with your moms and dads. Hug them and love on them every day that you can.


Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God's hand in mine. ... He's always been faithful to me. I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain. I can't remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting his hand. ... God has been faithful, he will be again. His loving compassion, it knows no end. ---Sara Groves

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Wind Blew Some Sand in My Eyes.

When the clock read 3:30pm today I said a little prayer to myself and forced myself to think about other things.

Like cleaning the garage, filling up the sandbox, being outside with the kids on a gorgeous 95 degree day.

I wouldn't let myself think about my mom and her appointment with the oncologist.

I wouldn't let myself think about what any outcome would be.

I did, what I am very good at, keeping myself busy.

Keep moving, on to this and that. Don't stop to think about it.

By the time H awoke at 4pm the appointment was far from my thoughts.

At 5:40pm when a family member called and asked if I heard anything, I was irritated. Don't remind me. Don't make me think about it. Let me be.

T's baseball game started as the clock rolled to 6:30pm and again my mind was gone.

At 7:30pm I had a message and I knew it'd be best to call back.

Sitting at the baseball field, I called and heard my dad's voice.

She's been admitted. She starts chemo tonight.

This cancer is aggressive and at the worst stage. It was either start chemo ASAP or get hospice for six weeks.

Samara, this is terminal.

Two years, maybe.

But don't forget, God makes miracles.
God has a plan.

Yeah. I said through tears.

And I sat in my chair and cried as I listened to my mom for a minute try to act like this is normal.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" she asked.

TOMORROW? Are you kidding me? I thought.

"Nothing. M has a doctor appointment. That's it." I humor her.

"Oh good, I hope that those meds have been helping her."

Me too, mom. Me too.

And as I sit in the chair, between my husband and the kids mom, with tears coming out underneath my sunglass covered eyes, I am so sad. Scared. Mad.

And I finish talking to my mom and again to my dad. Say our goodbyes and I love yous.

Hang up. Wipe the eyes and think about something else.

As T comes over to get a drink he looks at me and asks why I'm crying.

"I'm not. The wind blew some sand in my eyes." I lie wincing inside at the fact that I am lying to a child that we are trying to teach not to lie.

J, nor the kids mom L, said anything. They give me the grace and space they know I need in those moments.

And the three of us adults sit there at the game in silence.

I look at H who's getting discontent in his stroller. I know if I look long enough at him, I will be able to smile or laugh about something.

Because so many have asked, my mom has terminal carcinoma in her lungs. It is cancer in the lymphnodes of her lungs that has spread to her liver.

I said before I won't say much about this here, and I'd like to think I won't.

I've spent the last several days feeling many different things.

One moment I am laughing my head off at something one of the kids says or does.

Another moment I am saddened about my mom. And then I'm saddened about my dad because I know he's heartbroken too.

Then another moment I can smile with M about her kindergarten days and listen to T read his school reading book. I can watch H speed crawl across the house.

Yet I find my patience is short.

And in the morning, I just want to hit snooze or pretend this whole cancer thing was all a bad dream.

So far, it's not.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day Double-O-Seven/Weekend in Review

Saturday found the kids and I outside planting. Though I do not have a green thumb in the least, for whatever reason I was motivated to do somethings around the outside of our home. So to the nursery we went and bought shrubs, flowers and bushes.

Hard at work. I think they were working on the annuals in the planters in this picture.

We put two of these shrubs in. They are called Goldflame Spirea.
This is our lilac bush.

The kids were very excited to show dad our plantings!
Knocked out for the night! J's flight got in at 9:50 PM. Though I wanted to have someone come and stay with the kids, they really wanted to come and see their dad.

On Mother's Day we stopped at my parents for a bit, and they had decided to do some planting of their own while my mom was feeling up to it.

This gorgeous smile is enough of a Mother's Day gift for any mother.

The lovely treats/things the kids made for me. This stuff beats anything you can buy in the store any day. (Though I am enjoying the gift J bought me in CA.)
M's card was especially funny. She made me younger than I really am, and I like that in her mind I work around the house all the time and am good at loving people.
She made a card for me and for her mom even though her teacher would only let her make one plant. This is the first time we've ever encountered a teacher not allowing the kids to make things for both "moms", M was upset about it on Friday but it all worked out.

Doesn't his face look like he's thinking, not another picture mom?
Bedtime stories with dad are the best.

So glad to have this man home with me. I missed him even though it was only three days. The three days without him were long, tiring and a lot of work. Besides all that, he's my favorite and I like having him home.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Mumsy.

Just a guess, but I probably don't have to remind many of you that Sunday is Mother's Day.

It's all over the newspapers. Ads of what to buy mom for her special day.

Radio ads about where to take her for brunch.

Pictures of teary eyed mom's with their new jewelry.

I had hoped to write something about being a stepmom this Mothers Day. Writing a letter of sorts as a stepmom to the kids mom. To be published on or around the big day.

I couldn't do it.

Not because I don't have tons of admiration and love for the kids mom. Not because I don't have anything to say. I've got pages and pages.

Not because I wouldn't have loved the opportunity.

But because this mother's day there is something else for me to think about.

To write about.

To reflect on.

Something so close, so deep, so intricate and close to my heart.

My own mother.

My mom.

My mumsy. I don't remember how that nickname ever came about but I have unique names for both my mom and dad, that only I call them.

This Mother's Day I'm reflecting on my mother.

My mother who went through an awful pregnancy and delivery to have me.

My mother who played Chinese Checkers with me while nursing my little sister.

My mother who made cookies with me time and time again. And always let me lick the spoons.

My mother who helped with the class parties and at track and field day.

My mother who when I couldn't sleep at night would sit on my bed and rub my back and tell me to think about relaxing all the way from my toes to the tip of my head.

My mother who 'made' me save half of my paychecks all through high school so I would learn how to save.

My mother who, when I got in a car accident one month after getting my drivers license, didn't get mad at me, instead she told me to go to the store for her. That way I wouldn't be afraid to drive again.

My mother who, when I threw a basketball at some kids head for being a jerk to other kids in my gym class, got me out of trouble.

My mother who taught me how to interact with both the common and the elite. The homeless and the mayor.

My mother who when I was heartbroken because of a boy sent me to get my hair done. She said it'd make me feel better, and it did.

My mother who emailed me just about every day when I was away at college. Sent packages and letters just about every week. Oh how I took those for granted. But I saved each and every one.

My mother who never made me feel bad for transferring colleges or told me, I told you so.

My mother who, when I called from Wisconsin to tell her I'd gotten in an accident with a semi, drove through a snowstorm in the middle of the night to pick up my friend, Hayley and I.

My mother who loves J and T and M, and loves them as if they had always been part of the family.

My mother who, when my husband called to announce the birth of H immediately asked how I was. Called every couple hours and came over every day. Not just to see the new bundle of joy but to check on me.

My mother who has never once questioned or made me feel bad about my career (or lack of career) and has always encouraged me to do what makes me happy.

My mother who strolls through Macy's with me pointing out cute outfits and good prices.

My mother who knows when to listen to my rants and when to give me her advice.

My mother who has always told me, and my sisters and each of her grandchildren that she will 'love us forever, like us for always and as long as we're living her babies we'll be.'

My fifty year old beautiful, vibrant, loving, kind, wise mother.

My mother has cancer.

Cancer. I don't even like that word. What an ugly, icky word.

My mother is sick.

And now instead of me leaning on her, she needs to lean on me.

And it's ok. It's going to be ok.

Like my dad said, it has to be.

I will probably not say much here about my mother and this battle. It is too raw and too real. It is something I find myself drawing inward rather than my typical external reach.

But I do want all to know that this Mother's Day, she is all that matters.

My mumsy.

I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living, my mumsy you'll be.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Home Sweet Home.

After five days away I returned yesterday. I picked up the little man from my parents and we came home. T and M will be back on Friday. J returns on Saturday (he started a conference yesterday)

J and I had a great time on our holiday.

San Francisco is a very fun and exciting city. (BUSY all the time!) Great shopping, great food, great weather.We really had wonderful weather (90's and sunny) the entire time we were there. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

I feel refreshed, well rested and more connected.

Glad to be home.

J and I arrived in San Francisco Saturday. Because I LOVE public transportation we took the BART to Union Square.We stayed at the Herbert Hotel on Powell Street. I booked this hotel back in January when I booked our airfare but a few weeks ago started having second thoughts after reading some s0-so reviews. I got some suggestions from friends who'd visited SF in the past but decided I'd take a chance and stick with the Herbert.

So glad that we did. It was right in the heart of Union Square.

While the rooms are really nothing to write home about, they are all furnished from Ikea and would never compare to the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, it was a nice place to stay and we had a good time.

Most of Saturday we just explored Union Square, I dragged J into various shops and stores out and about. We had a bite to eat at the popular Lori's Diner.

Sunday after a quick breakfast at Betty Boop's Diner, we bought three day passes for MUNI so we could take Cable Cars, Busses or Subways wherever we needed to go. (I really do love stuff like that, I love 'figuring' out where we need to go. I have no idea what we would have done with a rental car...UGH!) This is a definite must if you are visiting for more than a day or two and want to have transportation options!!!We enjoyed our first Cable Car ride to Fisherman's Wharf where we walked along the dock and saw some of the boats. We then decided we would try to go see the Golden Gate bridge. While we were planning on taking the bus we started walking and didn't stop until we got there. We later found out that this was seven miles.Did I mention I was wearing flip flops?

While my feet weren't sore from walking they were sore from sun on the tops of my feets. I have permanent flip flop tanlines now.

We definitely deserved a treat after that. So we took a bus back to Fishermans Wharf and headed to the infamous Ghiradelli and had some great ice cream. My favorite ice cream place is Sebastian Joe's in Minneapolis but Ghiradelli is a very close second. YUM!We took the cable car back to the hotel and got dressed up for dinner at Annabelle's Bar and Bistro in Union Square. It was a very cute and swanky place. Beware the cosmos though, they have leaves in them.

Monday we had breakfast at Sear's Fine Food's. We actually beat the line and only had about a five minute wait. When we left the line was going out the door. They are 'world famous for their little pancakes.'

We got on the cable car and stopped to see Lombard Street. The 'crookedest' street in the world.

We then headed back to the other side of Fishermans Wharf and decided to take a charter cruise out around Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. It was two fisherman who do little tours of the bay on the side. It was perfect weather to be out on the water plus very fun so we did it. We had to have a quick lunch at In N Out.
After our day in the sun we headed back to Union Square and got dressed up for dinner. We stopped at the Gold Dust Lounge, which is the 'last' dive in SF. (It may have been a gay bar, we're not quite sure. Regardless they've got great margaritas.)

Later we ate dinner at the Compass Grill inside the Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf. The food was great, the atmosphere not so much. They are 'remodeling'.

We walked near the bay for a little bit before heading in for the night.

Tuesday morning we got up and did a little shopping and then headed out to the Westin in Millbrae, CA. J is staying in Millbrae until Saturday for a work conference.

It was nice to relax in the outside pool (which was FREEZING) and the indoor pool.

We had a nice dinner at the Elephant Bar (which J would like to open up in MN, don't hold your breath.) It was a really fun restaurant and worth the hour wait. (It's right on the bay.) Great atmosphere and really good food!

It was such a nice trip and I really liked seeing more of California. I'd only been to LA in the past and J had never been. It was relaxing and enjoyable and so nice to just be J and I. Thanks J for the fun trip. See you in a few days!