Monday, May 12, 2008

Brandy Came to Visit!

What a wonderful weekend! Brandy arrived on Friday here in San Fran- and we did have the best time ever. We had plenty of time to just be together- to do nothing together- and to share this beautiful city with our beautiful daughter.

But now to the details.

We started downtown with a walk- and then met Don for lunch at the Ferry Building. We brought Don home with us- even though it was a bit early on a Friday- don't tell the folks back home that he quit early. It's OK folks, I was actually taking a vacation day on Friday, but had to come in for a meeting that I had set up.

And then we took Brandy in to get her hair cut- have to begin with a bit of pampering I think. You know, I go to Ben at the Exchange Barber Shop in the financial center. The haircuts are a bit more expensive here in San Francisco (about twice what I pay at the Valley Barber Shop in Cincinnati), but Ben does a good job cutting my hair and I leave in about 15 minutes. This process of getting a haircut that Max has become accustomed to is a bit different. I was just sitting and waiting in the front and the receptionist decided that I needed some "herbal tea". At least it wasn't bottled water with cucumber in it like the place Max goes to in Cincinnati. Then they had to wash Brandy's hair. That's the hair washing below with her lying down. Max also says they give good head rubs. If Ben started giving me a head rub, I think I might find another barber. Anyway, her haircut took a bit over an hour. And then the tip she gives the beautician is about the same as the cost of my haircut from Ben. I guess you get what you pay for.

And the results were fantastic!
We spent the rest of Friday just talking- and of course if you're visiting me- there is plenty of time for the eating as well. So we walked down to the Marina for dinner at our now favorite restaurant Pacific Catch.

Saturday we began with breakfast at home- we have breakfast at home more often here- no Half Day or Gabby's for weekend brunch- But we will be back! Max does like to fancy up her breakfast. Bacon, eggs and hash brown is about as good as it gets, but here we do go that extra step.

Max often lightly poaches our eggs and then "finishes" them by sauteing them in butter and breadcrumbs. The "finished eggs" are then placed on top of sauteed spinach and accented with sliced tomatoes. Max says she likes to eat food that has lots of color.

It is pretty, but brown hash browns, brown bacon and white eggs are awfully good too.

And then it was off to Berkley and the Botanical Garden at U.C. Berkley.

The day was absolutely gorgeous- And there were glorious flowers all about- we wandered about for hours- in a paradise of flowers.

And we observed wild life-

And even wilder-

This was our third trip to Berkley and the Botanical Garden- But I do believe that this was the first time we went down every path- and looked at every garden. Brandy is thorough!

Then it was off to lunch at Tacubaya- a Mexican taqueria owned by Dona Tomas- the chefs whose inspiration resulted in our Mexican night at home. The picture below is the upscale version of tacos here in San Francisco. This is no Taco Bell.

I was impressed- for fast food- but equally delighted that Don thought our food at home was better. He does know how to keep us cooking!

Now you'd think that would be enough- But no! It was off to another adventure- Brandy just doesn't tire out that quick- So next it was the Japanese Garden (complete with a tea house) at Golden Gate Park. I hadn't been for better than 15 years- and it was a real treat- It is now on the rotation of places to go back for an afternoon.

Brandy crawled up and over a "bridge"-

And suddenly I was feeling braver- and younger- and decided I'd scamper to the top as well-

Well scamper might not be the exact description of my ascent- But I did make the top!

We started Sunday on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. We were off to the Bonita Lighthouse- perhaps Don's favorite adventure.
But first a stop to look out over our beautiful city away from home- These next two pictures are from the hills just above the Golden Gate Bridge. These locations have historically been military outposts put in place to defend the bay from attack. The first emplacements were 16 bore cannons in the late 1800's. Those were replaced by artillery during WWII, and finally by a Nike missile site during the cold war. Now they are just great places to view the bridge and opening to the bay.

Then we took the curvy ride down the back side of the hills to the lighthouse- by the way- I don't knit on this trip- I'm not usually car sick- but this drive does require a bit of extra vigilance. These narrow roads wind up the hill and then back down the backside again towards the Pacific. But it is sooooo worth the trip. Here Brandy is standing in front of the small suspension bridge that takes you out to the lighthouse. The lighthouse sits on a rock that is a point of land at the entrance to the bay. Over the years, the wind and the waves have eroded the access to the light house so they built this little walking bridge for access. It is a little bouncy, and with the wind blowing as it was at around 40 makes the short walk a little exciting. They only allow two people on the bridge at a time, a rule that makes you wonder just how sturdy this bridge is.We finished the outing at the Cliff House for dinner- watching the kite surfers and wind surfers braving the winds and waves of the Pacific- But I was mostly interested in the food- and we had a dandy of a desert-

Monday was our last day of this most special of Mother's Day weekends. Don had to go off to work- But Brandy and I started (after breakfast- in case you haven't noticed- I don't miss a meal!)- at the Aquarium of the Bay.

I think the most interesting thing- something new- not just sharks with their menacing face- were the "skates in utero"- or rather the the "mermaid's purse"-

There was an exhibit with 6 "mermaid's purse" that had a "window" cut out and covered with plastic so we could actually see the developing skate in this "egg".

The mother skates didn't look too concerned with the attention paid to their developing babies- don't think they were giving it a second thought-

From the aquarium Brandy and I walked downtown to meet Don for lunch after his meeting. We met at the most appropriately named "Fog City Diner"- because this certainly is the foggy city!

But we weren't done yet. Before heading to the airport we walked up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower to one more sweeping view of the city.

But finally it was time to say- THE END!


Lucas said...

How fabulous! Brandy looks great and it sounds like you guys had a terrific time. Hooray for family!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mom and Don, it was a wonderful weekend! love, b

Anonymous said...

wow. first i want to say i can't wait to meet brandy. going down EVERY path at Berkeley Botanic Gardens sounds perfect AND going to the Japanese Gardens is now on my to-do list on our next visit...japanese gardening is one of my favorite specialties. can i turn your ohio backyard into one? pretty please? haha (kidding..just in case you didnt know i was kidding)
love, sharon

Karen said...

So good to see Brandy! Hey, girl, where are you living now? Where's Will? Would love to hear from you!

Shan said...

Don, you make me laugh! The part about the head rubbing gave me a chuckle at 6:45 in the morning!
Hope all is well.

ps... MY breakfast at home looks nothing like yours.... hmmmmmmmm?