Mom’s Wonderful Visit

It’s been quiet all week on the blog because my mom came to visit and I was too busy enjoying her company to get on the site. In addition to just spending time together and talking about tons of things, we packed in a lot of San Francisco fun.

IMG 4166 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit We spent a lot of time with Lucy – walks, parks, playdates

IMG 4177 764x1024 Moms Wonderful VisitWe walked over to the Wave OrganIMG 4191 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit

Saw the swans at Palace of Fine ArtsIMG 4196 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Visited the new-ish Disney Museum for the first timeIMG 4263 764x1024 Moms Wonderful VisitCalifornia Academy of Sciences
IMG 4282 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at DeYoung MuseumIMG 4324 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit CityGuides SF Gold Rush History Walking TourIMG 4373 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Smitted liquid nitrogen ice creamIMG 4390 764x1024 Moms Wonderful VisitSharing that ice cream with Lucy icon smile Moms Wonderful Visit
IMG 4406 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Watched the basketball game at Thai StickIMG 4422 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Lovely dinner at a friend’s houseIMG 4459 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Dinner Party at My House for St. Patrick’s DayIMG 4515 764x1024 Moms Wonderful VisitSpending time with a friend’s baby
IMG 4552 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Boat tour under the Golden Gate BridgeIMG 4578 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Pier 39 Sea LionsIMG 4640 764x1024 Moms Wonderful Visit Castello di Amorosa wine tasting and tourIMG 3224 Moms Wonderful Visit Sha Sha Higby Solo Dance Performance at Theatre of Yugen / NOHSpaceIMG 3228 Moms Wonderful VisitOcean Beach

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Tucson Attractions, A Tourist in my Hometown

This past Christmas I went to my Tucson hometown to see my little sister graduate from college and spend the holidays with my family. While I was there I went to some of my favorite old attractions (Winterhaven, Old Tucson) but I also visited a lot of places I never actually went to when I lived there (Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak, Pima Air and Space Museum). It was lovely to play tourist in my hometown for the week.

Pima Air and Space Museum

We randomly decided to go check out this airplane museum near the air force base, which I’d never thought about going to before. My mom had been there a long time ago but she said that it’s way bigger now. It was stunning how many aircrafts were on display here in a number of different hangers, as well as outside, plus there are exhibits about the space exploration stuff. Really actually quite impressive.

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Biosphere 2

I knew the basics about Biosphere 2 because it was a big deal when it was a living project back when I was a kid. However, I’d never been there to visit. My brother, sister and Dad had been there once before but they said that at the time there wasn’t a lot to see. We went and checked it out and they have formal tours.

You learn a bit about the history of the place. Basically there were two different groups who lived here trying to be self-sustainable inside the mini-earth that it is. There were ups and downs, which are well documented in the writings from those people. Since then it’s become a place for various kinds of research, first under one university, then as a privately owned place and now under the University of Arizona.

It was amazing to see the different environments that are built here under one roof, from a rainforest to a desert climate. And it was cool to see the underground workings of the place. It was neat and worth a visit for sure. Plus it’s a nice long drive out there (north of Tucson) and I got to enjoy lovely desert views, spotted a roadrunner and generally just felt like I was really home again.DSCN2069 1024x1024 Tucson Attractions, A Tourist in my Hometown

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Old Tucson

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San Francisco: Happy City

Earlier this year I saw this infographic:

find a happy place 5107f6cf94ac7 242x1024 San Francisco: Happy City

(source)

It ranks San Francisco as the 7th happiest city in the world, although the way it ranks it is really odd to me. We get high marks here for shopping centers, middle marks for outdoor and culture locations and lower marks for performances and amusements. We do have ample shopping here, I suppose, but I really think of us as a place with lots of performances and culture locations. Interesting. In the end I guess what matters most is that I’m happy here!

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Snippets from Solvang

DSC00962 Snippets from Solvang

I’ve been to Solvang a few times in my life. It’s this cute little Dutch-themed town in Southern California. We went as a family when I was a kid during a trip to see relatives somewhere else in the same area. Since my brother lives in LA and I live here in San Francisco I’ve done the drive between the two cities quite a few times and have sometimes taken a route that lets me stop in Solvang. It’s a small place and not somewhere I’d need to spend a ton of time but it’s a cute little place with some great bakeries, an adorable bookstore and beautiful photo spots.

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Fun facts from the City of Solvang:
  • Solvang means “sunny field” in Dutch.
  • The town was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish teachers.
  • There are about 5000 people who call this town home.
  • It’s home to lots of windmills and Hans Christian Andersen stuff.

Is there a cute little town near you? What’s it like?

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California Geyser and Petrified Forest

I’ve been to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve been to the Petrified Forest in Arizona. The Old Faithful Geyser of California and the Petrified Forest in the same area are not quite as amazing as those places but they make for a fun little day trip away from San Francisco.

Old Faithful Geyser of California

The Geyser is a natural geyser like the ones in Yellowstone. It’s a single geyser and it’s small compared to what I remember of the real Old Faithful but it’s kinda cool. I hadn’t actually thought about this place in awhile (I haven’t been there in awhile) but I saw a sign for it when I went to wine country and realized that it’s really not that far from here.

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Petting Zoo

There is a little feeding zoo of goats and sheep in the same place as the geyser. I confess that when I look back on my trip to this spot (which was actually several years ago now) this is what I remember as my favorite part!

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Petrified Forest

The hike through the Petrified Forest is short from what I recall but it is impressive to see these major fallen trees that are hardened over.

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Some of the Small Stuff from San Diego

I’ve been to San Diego several times. It’s easy to get down there. It’s sunny. It’s relatively affordable. And there are tons of things I like about it. When I think about the memories of my trips, I usually think about the big things. I think about the great boutique hotels I’ve stayed in, the experience of going kayaking in the ocean, the times at the zoo … but there are actually a lot of little things I loved during the days of my San Diego trips, things that enhanced those big things by adding in the details to enjoy. Here are a few of those things:

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The Lily Pond in Balboa Park on a sunny day. Actually a lot of the little things I love are in this park!

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Flowers from the conservatory also in Balboa Park.

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A ship that was in the harbor during one of my trips.

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A statue of that famous kiss.

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My sister peeking out of sculpture on the street.

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Reading the signs to find out about the people who were in the Old Town cemetery.

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Huge display inside one of the museums.

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Funny sculpture.

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Koi in Japantown pond

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Rose in one of the gardens

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Desert garden in Balboa Park

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Scenery! This must have been in Balboa Park as well.
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The details make the days!!!!

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