Thursday, October 25, 2007


Don in Blue and Max in Red.

This past week we had our first visitors. Matthew and Sharon arrived on Sunday on their way to Hawaii for a vacation.

We were so excited to see Matthew and Sharon. We are absolutely delighted that Sharon is going to be part of our family- And wanted to see them now that the relationship is "official". Additionally- I was anxious to see how the apartment handled the increase in population. At home in Cinti company is never a problem- why I think you could live for days and not see someone if you wanted- But not here- there isn't anywhere to "get away".

The weather in San Francisco was beautiful, so we spent time on Sunday doing the normal sights. First we went out to the Golden Gate National Recreational Area for some wonderful views of the coast line and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Next we drove to Ghirardelli Square for a little chocolate, then Fisherman's Wharf to see the seal lions that collect there

and onto Telegraph Hill to go up in Coit Tower for a view of the sun setting over the bay, the bridge and the city.

I had never been up to Coit Tower. Don thought we could all use some exercise so he parked at the street on the bottom and we started the climb up- one of those streets so steep there are actually stairs to get up and down. So all the people living along the path have to climb up steep stairs from the street below (and I thought a 4th floor walkup would be bad). Don told me later that the path up was the equivalent of 25 floors up! But it was absolutely worth the walk. The views were incredible. You can walk the perimeter of the tower and see the city from on top of the world. We were there at sunset and it was breathtaking!

Unfortunately, Max had to work on Monday and Tuesday, but since I still have 4 weeks vacation that I haven't taken yet, I got to spend time showing them some of the sights of the California Coast. On Monday we drove up to Marin and then over the mountain to Muir Woods. We hiked for about 4 miles on the trails at Muir on another absolutely beautiful day.

Looking up at these magnificant thousand year old trees is a humbling experience. Some of these trees are over 1200 years old and are among the tallest trees in the world. The ones at Muir are over 250 feet tall. These trees give you an appreciation of what nature can do.

Here is picture I took looking straight up from the base of two giants.

On Tuesday we took a different approach and visited wineries in Sonoma County. Our first stop was at one of my favorites, St. Francis Winery. Matthew and Sharon did the tasting while I did the driving.

From St. Francis we went to Chateau St. Jean and then onto Benzinger winery where we took a tour of the whole operation. First they took us out into the field among the vines. This is a biodynamic vineyard where they use no pesticides or herbacides and use only the mulch they create to fertilize the fields.

From the fields we went to the processing where they de-stem and crush the grapes (not by stomping on them, so our feet aren't purple) and then pump it all into the fermentation vats. Finally we went to the caves where they store the wine in oak barrels to age it. This is a fairly small winery, and they had over 14,000 barrels in their caves.

Matthew and Sharon had a great time swirling, sniffing, and tasting just like the pros, and we came away with some really nice bottles of wine.

Sharon and I decided to try some shopping on Fillmore (the restaurant and shops a few blocks from our apartment) so we walked down when I got home from work on Monday. Well trust me- we'll save money this year if I can't find other places to shop. It was a shock. We wandered into a lingerie store.

I looked at one of the bras- IT WAS $350! And trust me on this- it did not provide adequate support- And a pair of under panties- $85- and there was not much material in those panties (you'll have to trust me on that as well). The clerks didn't look as if they thought I might be interested in any of their underwear- And believe me I wasn't. Not just the cost- I do not believe there was one single item in that whole store was even close to comfortable. And as far as I'm concerned COMFORT is the first criteria for any pair of underwear. It was a bit sobering though to know that in this little store (voted BEST LINGERIE in SAN FRAN) just one bra and panties set would cost much, much more than all of Don and my underwear put together (even if you add in all of Don's black socks and white t shirts).

But of course I didn't miss a meal! I am having such a good time trying different restaurants in in San Fran. We're still focusing on the ones we can walk to from our house. We'll branch out later- but for now are sticking to the neighborhood. The first night we went to a Japanese restaurant on Fillmore (not far from the underwear store). The food was great and not too pricey (unusual for San Fran). I'm enjoying the SUSHI- but TH (and other environmentalists out there)- I'm avoiding endangered fish- so I'm loving the eel- my favorite anyway.

The next night is was Peruvian. Well trust me- it was not like the Peruvian food Don and I ate in Cinti (some of the worst food I have ever eaten- gag me sort of stuff). This was wonderful. I decided to stay with the Ceviche....

It was amazing. They actually had 7 different selections (not that all sounded very good- I'm just not a big fan of octopus) But I did find some to try.
Now this restaurant is one of those restaurants that the young love- very popular (waiting outside for a table- even on a Sunday night)- and noisy- and new different combinations- not sure a Peruvian would recognize.

And of course great wine!

We loved the time we had with our first visitors- and are ready for more. The apartment handled the population explosion quite nicely (of course it helped that I was up and out of the bathroom- in fact out of the apartment- before anyone else crawled out of bed). But we can "schedule" shower times if needed (reminiscent of that first year in Cinti with all the kids- and tiny, old water pipes that only lets one person shower at a time- my time was 6:30- and if you miss your scheduled time it is just "tuff luck"- we'll be nicer here).

But best of all- we know Sharon better- and Matthew- and enjoyed spending time with them at our HAH.


Anonymous said...

i absolutely love the tree pic from the ground! whew. and who are those lovebirds? so much touching in EVERY picture. good luck sharon and matthew! love to all-can't wait to see max's fashion show of the new undergarments! -marianne

Anonymous said...

Matthew and Sharon look great together, can't wait to meet Sharon. The wineries look like a lot of fun! Brandy

Lucas said...

I too loved all the pics, especially the trees. I bet seeing them in person was overwhelming, especially when you got to involve your other 4 senses! Glad to see Matthew looking so happy. He's such a great guy that I'm sure Sharon is a wonderful girl! Hopefully I'll get to meet her someday. AND I'm really glad the apt. was up for the company because I know Shawn and I will be out for a long weekend sometime! (You know there are Leroux's out there Uncle Don? Two of Mary's daughters live there!) Much love to both of you! Amy