PALACE OF FINE ARTS
Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, the other iconic structure in SF is the .Palace of Fine Arts
. On our second day in SF (Friday) we walked from The Presidio up to the Palace of Fine Arts with Kepler. Again, it was practically empty with a couple of stragglers and one small wedding party taking wedding pictures. Kepler was very well behaved on his leash and didn't try to photo boom the wedding couple!
Posted on September 24, 2021
In my humble opinion, the Exploratorium
in SF is the best science museum I've ever been to. I know I've only been to a few, all in the US, but it's still really amazing. There are so many hands on activities and all presented in simple ways that kids can really understand. We've been to it many times in the past, but this is the first time the kids are finally old enough to really understand and remember things. Both kids had a blast! We spent all afternoon there and Buzz is already saying he wants to go back.
The amazing thing about this particular trip to the Exploratorium is that we went on a Thursday (most kids are still in school up in SF) and more importantly, during COVID-19 restrictions. SF recently instituted new law that anyone over 12 have to show proof of vaccination to enter the museum. When we were at the museum, there were maybe one other family there with a couple of adult stragglers wandering around, in the entire museum!! I felt like it was our private museum. The kids touched about 98 percent of all the exhibits, both inside and outside of the museum. We even got to go on the fog bridge
all by ourselves! The kids also loved this sensory room where they project your motion onto a large screen with crazy colors. They must have spent at least 10 minutes in the room by themselves before I dragged them out. One of the most impressive thing I saw was this toothpick structure
of all the famous SF attractions. It took this person overy 40 years to make it using just glue and toothpicks! Overall, it was great fun and we were all tired by the end of the day!
Posted on September 23, 2021
QUICKIE ROAD TRIP
I am not a spontaneous person. I need to plan, way ahead, for anything. I would spend a week researching sweat pants online before I order a pair. I don't like surprises. I hate spontaneous trips. But over the years, having kids, Mr. BAW training me...I've learn to try to let go a little. Maybe go with it some times...That's exactly what I did last week, go with it. Well, it wasn't entirely unplanned. We knew the kids had Yom Kippur (Thursday) off a month ago. Mr. BAW wanted to take a little trip somewhere and we talked about SF. But I was still thinking we'd not go if work was too crazy or COVID got bad. So in my head, it was not 100% that we would go on this trip. We didn't even book a hotel until a few days before! In the end we decided to take a quickie road trip up to SF to visit family and friends, it's simply been way too long since we've seen them. We just said heck with school and took them out of Friday and Saturday Chinese school that week.
Kepler was happy to know that road trip means he gets to come along!! We started driving up after the kids got out of school Wednesday. That did mean driving through LA during rush hour and getting into our first destination really late, around 11pm. I was very nervous about Mr. BAW being too tired for driving (we wake up pretty early during weekdays for work), I was very tired myself. So I will not let us do that again, it's just too risky to drive tired at night. In any case, we made it to a our little hotel in San Juan Bautista, about an hour south of SF. Kepler was a bit of a bugger all night. He also barked when people walked by our room (it was one of those courtyard facing rooms on the first floor). So I didn't sleep too well that first night. But we went to a different hotel in south SF for the rest of the trip and Kepler slept much better, which meant I slept better!
The next day, Thursday, we drove the rest of the way up to SF and spent the whole day at the Ferry Building
and the Exploratorium
. It was a glorious weather day for SF! Since we were at the Embarcadero, it was naturally windy. But dining outside behind the Ferry Building was pleasant and sheltered from the wind. We all ordered different foods from different places at the Ferry Building and everyone tried different foods. We had pizza, Chinese BBQ pork buns, empanadas, and a burger. Mr. BAW and I even tried a charcoal latte
at Blue Bottle Coffee
. We weren't a huge fan of it so we probably won't be having that again.
Kepler spent most of the day at the hotel but he needed a good rest after a long sleep-less night before. We went to have dinner at TNK's home with her lovely family. It was a full and fun first day in beautiful SF!
Posted on September 21, 2021
If you like boba
and coffee, run to your nearest Trader Joe's! Usually, boba would harden if it's too cold. But, somehow, they managed to keep the boba chewy and the ice cream cold. Warning, this may not be good for your waistline...
Posted on September 20, 2021
Oh my, life has been BUUUUSSSSYYY! Last month I posted a blog early in the month fully intending to be on a blogging roll. But then life throws you a curve ball and you just have to go with it. I suddenly found myself watching a movie in fast forward speed. At the beginning of August, I was riding the "summer rituals"
thinking that life would be the same as last year. Well, next thing I knew, I had to take a work trip, Buzz got invited to take a week-long trip to San Diego with a friend and his family, and Mr. BAW booked a trip for himself and Ahgoo back to Michigan to see his folks, all in the same week!! Oh, and since no one was going to be home, Kepler got himself a trip to the "Doggie Resort!" I did take him on a long walk before I dropped him off at the "resort" (first picture below.) This is epic since this is our very first summer trip apart as a family!!!
We all learned lots of lessons during this non-family trip. We had gotten Buzz a cell phone, this is also a pretty big deal. But since he was going to be on his own, we wanted him to be able to call us whenever and I wanted to be able to track his whereabouts. This trip for Buzz was huge in so many ways. It was me being able to trust another family enough to let him travel with them (which I do, these folks are our close friends and they live literally on the street right behind our house), it was me trusting Buzz to be on his own (taking care of all his own daily needs), and it was Buzz being on his own without family for the first time in his almost 12 years of life! He ended up doing real well for the first three days. Then on day four, boom...homesickness hit him like a rock! He texted me that evening begging me to call him. When I talked to him, he was sobbing. I felt so sad for him, my heart was breaking. But I also knew he was going to be fine so I tried to calm him and even nagged him about brushing his teeth so he'd feel like he was home, haha! I also felt bad for his friend and his friend's Mom who texted me and told me she tried to get him sushi (his favorite food) for dinner that evening. Over the next few days he continued to be sad and homesick, usually in the evenings when they were home. But then on Thursday night I reminded him that I was flying home on Friday from my trip and that he'd be able to see me the next day (his friend's Dad was driving him back from San Diego Saturday morning). After he heard that, his spririts lifted and on Friday he was able to enjoy their whale watching trip! When he came back from the trip we spent a wonderful two days together before Mr. BAW and Ahgoo came back from their trip. I took Buzz to get sushi and he wanted to watch all of my favorite movies with me in the evenings. So we watched Big Fish, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away with him hanging on to my arm throughout the entire movies both nights! Absence does make the heart grow fonder, I have never felt more loved by Buzz!! It was supper sweet and I'll never forget our weekend together. Oh, and Kepler was, of course, so happy to be home too. I picked him up Saturday morning right before Buzz got home from SD. See how happy the two of them are in the picture below?! Then, on Sunday night (at midnight!) we drove to LAX to pick up Mr. BAW and Ahgoo and the family was together once again!! Aghoo had a wonderful time in Michigan, she even got to dress up and attend a cousin's wedding with Grandpa and Grandma.
As if life wasn't exciting enough, a few days later the kids started school in person!!! Woohoo! Not only that, Buzz is a newly crowned 6th grader and started at middle school! This was another reason we got him the cell phone, he's taking the public bus to school in the morning and riding the bus to the local library after school. He's doing super well and is adjusting well at having different teachers/classes for different subjects and managing lockers and changing for PE. He's also doing well navigating the buses and is learning to get to places on his own. We do live in a pretty small town and the public buses are full of kids during the weekdays so I'm pretty comfortable letting him ride the public buses. This is also a pretty big year for Ahgoo, she's a 4th grader but has been recommend by her third grade teacher to be in the 4th/5th combo class. They wanted kids who have demonstrated that they can work independently, are advance in their skills, and can work cooperatively with others. The reason the school has to do the combo class is due to attendance. They don't have quite enough students to hire two more teachers for another 4th grade class nor another 5th grade class. If they try to place 10 more 4th graders and 10 more 5th graders into existing classes, each class would be too large. So they end up with a combo class with about twenty kids. I am actually very happy that Ahgoo got placed in this combo class as a 4th grader. This means that it's unlikely she'll be in a combo class when she's a 5th grader. I much prefer her being in the combo class as a 4th grader and maybe absorb some of the 5th grade material early. Then, when she's a 5th grader, I don't want her to have to share her "senior" year at the elementary school with 4th graders. Plus, this year, the combo class is being taught by the best teacher at the school!! I wanted Buzz to have her but sadly he never got her while he was at this school. In any case, I am very happy with Ahgoo's class this year.
Now, let's get to other things that went on at the end of August! We celebrated another birthday for Mr. BAW! We tried a new restaurant in DTLA called Rossoblu
at the recommendation of a friend. We've been worried about going to expensive restuarants during COVID because last year we tool my BIL and SIL to Bestia and was highly disappointed by the quality of the food and the service. Bestia was once a premire DTLA restuarant. Since our friend (who has very high restaurant standards) recently went to Rossoblu and still recommended it, we thought it was worth a try. The food, service, and ambiance were excellent! Even the kids enjoyed the food. The only slight knock is the dessert. Mr. BAW is a dessert foodie and we would recommend dining here but getting dessert elsewhwere.
Then came early September, we hosted a little get together for some close friends over the Labor Day weekend. Mr. BAW smoked a huge brisket with his Green Mountain grill. This is his second time smoking a brisket and it's fantastic! Brisket, according to Mr. BAW, is the Everest of meats as far as smoking goes. It took him 12 hours to cook the meat and then you have to let it rest for another four hours. He set it in the smoker grill over night and woke up at 4am to check on the time, now THAT'S dedication! My job is just to slice it up once it's ready to be served. I also put one heck of a cheeseboard together. I even decorated the board with some nasturtiums from my garden. I love growing nasturtiums (they kind of grow wild where we live) and I often put the flowers (which has a mild, peppery flavor) into my salads for a pop of color.
We also celebrated our lucky 13th wedding anniversary over Labor Day weekend. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house and went to my absolute favorite, favorite sushi restaurant Sushi Enya
for a fantastic anniversary dinner. I can't tell you how much I love Sushi Enya. We went to the Little Tokyo branch a few years ago for my birthday. This time, we tried the Pasadena branch and it was still fantastic. Mr. BAW have taken me to Nobu
years ago and Sushi Enya is at least half the price but has way better food...drool...
Last, but not least, it's still tomato season and my Volunteer plants are still producing like crazy! The other day, I accidentally noticed that my beefsteak tomato plant on my front balcony had this huge red tomato on the vine and somehow the squirrels haven't gotten to it! I am already saving more seeds from my Volunteer plant for next year. Wow, this is a long post but you're all caught up on our latest home front! I hope to put in a few more posts this month but they won't be this long. Happy September!
Posted on September 10, 2021