Once More Around the Bay Area

An account of my Mom’s recent visit.

As I mentioned, I was on vacation for a week, with my Mom visiting for the first time in a couple of years. It’s taken me a while to get this entry together, but better late than never, right? She flew in two Wednesdays ago and left last Tuesday.

And boy, did we ever have a good time!

First of all, her flight was 40 minutes early, which seems just about impossible in these days of air travel, and especially on United. On the other hand, this did mean that I didn’t quite have time to get everything done I’d wanted to do before she arrived, but then, setting up the bed for her isn’t really all that much of a burden.

We had a pretty simple first day: We drove to Apple to visit the company store so that she could pick up some gear for my nephew, and we went out to dinner with Debbi, getting Thai food and hitting some bookstores in downtown Mountain View. Mom was delighted by the weather, since the northeast had been socked with rain, snow, heat, cold, and probably also locusts in the month before she flew out, whereas we were having highs in the 60s with occasional rain and clouds, which felt downright balmy and pleasant to her.

Mom wanted to make sure to see the coast, but since there’s plenty of coast around, that was no problem. Thursday morning we drove over to Half Moon Bay where we had breakfast at the Main Street Grill (Mom thought their Eggs Benedict was excellent). After doing some shopping (I picked up a copy of Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro), we drove along the coast to several beaches to see the ocean, which was particularly energetic that day. We went as far south as the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, which made for a full day. Returning home, Debbi cooked her yummy spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.


Our routine during her visit was pretty simple: Mom woke up earlier than me and went down to get the paper and read it while having tea. Once I got up (lazy slug!) we’d sit around and talk for a while until we went off to get lunch and see whatever we wanted to see that day. Then we’d come back and hook up with Debbi for dinner, and have a quiet evening at home (albeit occasionally not getting back from dinner until 8 or 9).

Mom also loves the cats. Blackjack – to our surprise – decided that he just loved having Mom around, going in to snooze with her at night, and play with her in the morning. The other cats enjoyed the extra attention, but Blackjack really bonded with her.


Friday our outing consisted of going to the San Jose Museum of Art to see an exhibit of M.C. Escher’s artwork. (“M.C. Escher” sounds like the name of some sort of philosophical rapper these days.) It was good – if small – exhibit, and “good, if small” actually describes the museum as a whole. I bought a book about Escher, mainly because I was very impressed with his architectural and cityscape drawings, which I mostly hadn’t known about.

We hit another of the many excellent used bookstores in the area, and then went down to Santa Cruz where we shopped, walked out the wharf (and saw some sea lions), and then went over to the lighthouse (although the surfing museum was not open). For dinner went want to the Peninsula Creamery, where we stuffed ourselves full of milkshakes.

Debbi hooked up with us for the weekend. Saturday was overcast and rainy, but not too much so, and we went up to the city anyway, spending much of the afternoon in Golden Gate Park. The Japanese tea gardens were flowering, and we walked through a slice of the botanical garden (a different slice from the one Dad and I walked through on his last visit). I didn’t know they had a little redwood forest in the botanical gardens! I really need to spend a larger part of an afternoon exploring that place, now. (Debbi said we need to hit the museums in the park again, too, and I’ve also never been to the Conservatory of Flowers.)

(click to enlarge)

Mom particularly wanted to go to Pier 39 to visit the sea lions again, so we did that and did some shopping. Then it was off to Ghirardelli Square for yet more ice cream. All my vacations these days seem to be giant food-fests! Yummy ones, though. Once we got home, we were tired enough that we just ordered pizza out from Amici’s.

(I find that I am taking the great food around here for granted, since Mom remarked how good everything was throughout her visit. Debbi says she doesn’t take it for granted, though, so maybe it’s just me.)


Sunday we drove up the east bay and went to Berkeley, where we walked around the Berkeley campus. Then we drove down to the Westover Vineyards to taste (and buy) some wine, and then ate at Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! for dinner.

Monday Mom said she wanted to head back to the city, so we stopped off for lunch on the way at one of our new favorite places, a build-your-own-burger restaurant called The Counter and then headed up. Unlike Saturday, Monday was bright and sunny and warm. We went to the Musee Mechanique, which Mom found fascinating. I had forgotten that their new location has info on many old-time amusement parks, including Playland-at-the-Beach, a park which existed at the north end of Ocean Beach until 1972 (which frankly boggles my mind, that San Francisco had a full-blown amusement park). We spent a good long time looking at the exhibits and starting many of them up. As always, it impresses me that some of that stuff still exists at all, as some of it is pushing 100 years old.

Afterwards we drove along the bay past the marina, over to the Cliff House and Ocean Beach to see the ocean again. Then we headed back to meet up with Debbi for dinner. Sadly, my favorite Chinese restaurant Su Hong is closed on Mondays, so instead we went to Max’s, which was fine.

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday morning I took Mom to the airport and she flew out. I was sad. We had a lot of fun during the week and were able to catch up chatting about things. She said she had a terrific time seeing everything and enjoying the weather, and she hopes to come back before another 2 years have passed.

I hope so, too!