Friday, May 22, 2009

My Trip to the San Francisco Bay Area

Poolside at the Fairmont, that was luxury!

It was a whirlwind, five-day, vacation with my daughter, Samantha!! Jesse's mother, Jill, invited me into her home and was a wonderful host and guide. We did a walk-about of their hometown, Petaluma, just north of the bay area off Hwy 101. It's a big town with small town ambience, very nice! Also took in the American Graffiti Road Rally on Sat., portions of the movie were filmed here! Alot of cars, I had to take at least one pic, a '58 Thunderbird:

While Samantha worked on Friday(what a cutie ;),

and after our walk in Petaluma, Jill and I ventured to Napa Valley, visiting the Caneros Vineyard, enjoying a "flight of three" and red wine cheese plate ;)Sam met up with us mid-afternoon at the Fairmont Hotel in Sonoma, where Jill's beau, Keith, was staying overnight. The pool(& killer Mia ti!) and full spa were an unexpected fun treat!

On Sunday, we ferried to San Francisco in the morning haze, a view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge(and blimp):

We planned our visit to take in the 96th Bay to Breakers '09, a 12K run/walk. It's quite the event, beginning downtown and ending at the bay, which draws a tremendous crowd of people ranging from the athletic to the costumed and also the not so clothing donned, lol! Here's Jill and Sam as we arrived after the customary opening ceremony, the tossing of tortillas:

A very "colorful" group of the clothed variety ;)

A shot of the masses from above at Howard & 3rd, I believe. I'm still wondering how some of the push carts made it up the hill further down the stretch!:

From here, we headed to Union Square:

Rather than taking the trolley car, we opted to "hike" up Powell St. to reach the bay. Along the way- two of the Hearts in San Francisco:

A trolley going down Powell and our descent toward Chinatown:

As we close in, this great graffiti to welcome you to North Beach:

Love the architecture of these apartments:

We made it! Fisherman's Wharf:
Took a leisurely stroll, enjoyed the restaurant smells and the street acts, Samantha got a caricature drawing, and we relaxed in the Market before heading back over the bay.

A lovely view of the sailboats in the bay, the weather was beautiful:

Hiking trails to see the redwoods topped my list of things to do. On the north side of the bay lies Mt. Tamalpais, once home of the "crookedest railroad in the world". Go to OpenRoad w/ Doug McConnell for spectacular video views and railroad history.

Driving up the mountain, this beautiful view overlooking the bay:

Half-way up the mountain where our hike began:

A pic of Jesse & Sam along the way:

Jill, Jesse, & Sam dwarfed by the redwood growth:

The Old German Brew House, built into the side of the mountain, unfortunately closed for the day for pest control :(. We decided not to make the trek to the valley floor, which was a good idea as the walk back up proved a challenge for unaccustomed hips! The young ones ran the distance back!!

Venturing 75 miles north of SF in the Russian River region, Sam, Kali, Julie, and I took in the amazing Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The estimated age of some growth to be 1300 yrs! The plates on the redwood slab are a timeline of historical world events:

Relics: Standing remnant of a fire-ravaged tree and huge moss covered stump!


More bars in more places?

Finally, we did squeeze in a couple of bead shops :) I swooped up these beauties in Mill Valley at Beads of Marin, a jewelry beader's paradise!!

It was an awesome trip; being with Samantha in her world, meeting Jesse's family and their friends, the sites, the food, the wine taste, the spa, my first flights(really!). It was all terrific and I can't wait for my next visit to see everyone and everything in sunny California!!! Oh, did I mention the mammoth roses everywhere? Gorgeous!!

Thanks, Jill!

Thank You, Samantha!
X's & O's, Mom

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Spring!

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm very blessed to be the mother of three, wonderful, young adults. To proudly watch this time of their individual personal growth in life is an amazing experience. I thank God for the time we have together and pray angels watch over them and their families, always.

My oldest daughter's family, Tezra, Mike, and granddaughters, Kara & Monica, in front of their blooming apple tree :)

Senior portraits of Grady and Samantha, which reminds me to take some new posed photos of them both ;)

I'll be flying to California in a few days, a very special Mother's Day gift from Samantha. I'm very excited to meet Jesse's(her beau) family and spend time with Sam, meet her new friends, and sight-see the San Franciso Bay area!!!

A poem for all to appreciate:


I think God took the fragrance
of a flower,
A pure white flower, which blooms
not for world praise
But which makes sweet and beautiful
some bower;
The compassion of the dew,
which gently lays
Reviving freshness on
the fainting earth,
And gives to all the tired things
new birth;
The streadfastness and radiance
of stars
Which lift the soul above
confining bars;
The gladness of fair dawns;
the sunset's peace;
Contentment which from trivial rounds
asks no release;
The life which finds its greatest joy
in deeds of love for others...
I think God took these precious things
and made of them...mothers.

-Author Unknown

Blessings to all,