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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

getting in those steps in san francisco

the bean was pretty excited to be on the plane to the bay area with her bestie and her little sister.  once they got settled in their seats in front of me and the hub, she took a few selfies with me photobombing from behind.

bye, ontario!

it was a pretty quick flight - just an hour and a half compared to the 7 hours it would have taken to drive up.  the time went by pretty quickly.

hello, oakland!

while her BFF and family stayed behind in oakland to spend a night with her uncle, the three of us gathered up our bags and made our way outside to the BART station.

there's a dedicated train that picks up at the airport and takes you to a hub where you can transfer to another train that takes you to your final destination.  we could have used uber or lyft, but this seemed like a pretty easy and economical way to get ourselves to san francisco.

when we got off the train, we headed right over to the machines to buy our tickets.  we'd need them to exit the station and head over to catch the next train.  thinking we were being super smart, we purchased one of the plastic reloadable cards and put all of our train fares on it.  too bad you can't do that, as it turns out.  we swiped it for the bean first, who went through the turnstile and then got denied when we attempted to swipe it again.  the nice lady in the information booth kindly explained that each person needed to have their own ticket, whether it was one of the plastic cards or a paper ticket that was a one-time use.  the bean gave us this look as she waited for us to take care of everything:

once that snafu was straightened out, we headed down the stairs and found that the train we needed to board had just pulled up. sweet!  even better...we had a whole car all to ourselves.

when we got off at the embarcadero station, we opted to walk instead of calling for an uber.

you can see how thrilled she was about that.  we made our way out towards the water and found ourselves beginning our walk at pier 1...with our hotel just past pier 39.  eek.  we walked most of it before the hub finally took pity on us and called an uber to take us the rest of the way to the hotel.

when we arrived, our room was ready for us and we happily went upstairs to get rid of our bags and stretch out and relax a little.  we had the whole day to ourselves before the girl scout whirlwind of activities began the next day, and after getting some rest we headed out towards fisherman's wharf to look around.  we had dinner plans with cousin seven and her boyfriend that evening, and we had just enough time to stroll through the wharf and get some more steps in.

we stopped in at a chocolate shop that was a total tourist trap, but still managed to hook us into buying a treat to snack on as we walked.

as we approached ghirardelli square, we came upon the cable car turnaround and saw several of them lined up.

we walked up the hill and stopped in at the starbucks for a pick-me-up.  i was freezing my face off despite all the walking.  the wind was blowing pretty hard and it was that cold kind of wind that bites its way through you.  i always, always manage to underestimate the weather up in san francisco.  i'd packed a bunch of full-length leggings, a pair of jeans, one light sweater and several layering pieces plus a hoodie.  still not enough for this so cal girl.  i was so cold.

just before 7:00, we found ourselves in front of the restaurant that we were meeting seven at.  her boyfriend had made the reservation for us, and he was already there waiting for us.

we had a really nice time with them, sharing appetizers and ordering drinks and steaks and enjoying each other's company.  it's always fun to see cousin seven.

along with a bunch of our cousins, we'll see each other again in june for filipino night at dodger stadium.

after dinner was over and everyone had hugged everyone, we grabbed another uber that took us back to the sheraton at fisherman's wharf that was home for the next three days.  it was a great way to start off our weekend getaway, and 15,000 steps later i was pretty excited for bed.

next up, chinatown with the girl scout troop!

Monday, April 29, 2019

spring break, woohoo!

the bean's spring break went by in a blur, as it usually does.  we'd originally had grand plans of doing another road trip, but for a few different reasons we ended up scrapping the idea and turning it into a shorter trip during the second half of break instead.

somehow, while i'm already feeling the pangs of senioritis for this school year, the bean found herself with three separate projects still to work on and turn in as soon as break is over.  the first, a big state project that's several months in the making.  her assigned state is maryland, which was kind of fun for me since my family and i lived there from the time i was about 3 till 7.5.  while it was a bazillion years ago, i still have lots of great memories of that time.  anyway, she'd done a big chunk of the actual work at school during class, but the assembly of the actual board was to be done at home.  we'd hoped to finish it so that it could be turned in before spring break, but it didn't work out that way.  she and the hub finally got it done, though:

her math class had been working on a taco truck assignment - making up a business name, creating a menu, figuring out pricing, designing the truck.  they were to create a 3D model out of paper, which she didn't quite complete in class and had to bring home to finish up.

the third was a report on a book that she'd chosen but found herself struggling to get through - the red badge of courage.  she finally finished reading it on the last day of school before break started, and wrote up her summary before she could forget what the story was about.  luckily she was able to put it together and even submit it via google classroom.  she was so relieved to finally get it done and de-stressed by drawing this cute picture of herself:

she loves a sushi spot that our friends lilcee and mini cee introduced to us a few months ago, and i'd promised her a trip once all of her school projects were finally done.  i made good on my promise, and she was elated to finally get there.

we headed back to disneyland for another day trip, and i made her a fun new dress to wear, plus a skirt for me.

and then thursday morning found me up early to pack and get ready for a super fun trip up to san francisco with the bean and her girl scout troop.  of course, an hour before we were to leave for the airport i was doing this:

but we managed to pull it together, get packed and over to the airport with time to spare.

the hub and i recently applied for TSA precheck - you submit information online, do a background check and fingerprint at a local facility, cough up $85 and then receive your "known traveler number" in an email as well as a snail mailed letter.  you provide said number while booking travel and then you get to go through a separate line during the security check before boarding an airplane.  and it's FABULOUS.  you don't have to take your shoes or jacket or belt off and you get to leave your 3-1-1 compliant liquids and laptop in your carryon during screening.  it takes about half the time as the regular security check line and it's amazing.  and it's good for 5 years!  i super duper highly recommend it.

oh!  the bean was over the moon to find that her BFF and her family were on the same flight we were taking.  and since we were flying southwest, the open seating allowed the girls to sit together.  i think you can see how happy they were about that:

it was just the beginning of - well, you'll see.  lots to recap!  so much fun.  just wait and see.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

a little disney for easter

it will come as no surprise to anyone that the bean and i headed down to disneyland to close out our easter sunday.  i wasn't sure how great of an idea it would turn out to be, because the crowds are so unpredictable at the 'land these days, but we were pretty excited to find a great parking spot and practically no lines to get through security and onto a tram to the main gates.

we decided to go into the disneyland side again, and the mickey's soundsational parade was in full swing by the time we got inside.  as we started heading down main street, i remembered that there was a sneak preview of the upcoming live action "aladdin" movie at the opera house that normally houses the abraham lincoln exhibit.  we decided to go inside and take a peek at the movie props that were on display before heading into the theater to watch the preview.

while i'd been some what skeptical about this movie before, seeing an extended sneak peek got me a lot more excited for its release.  will smith seems to have done a pretty good job of taking the genie character and infusing him with his own brand of comedy and charm, and now i can't wait to see it.

as we exited the building, we spied a fun photo op off to the side next to the prize redemption station for the easter egg hunt.  i saw people standing in line, but it looked like they were all waiting to collect their prizes and so the bean and i scooped up props and snapped a couple of quick pics.

except that as soon as we put them down the people waiting in what we thought was the egg hunt line walked over and picked them up to take pictures of their own. sooooo it seemed that we'd completely obliviously cut right in front of a whole line of people who were waiting patiently for a turn.  damn.  we were so mortified we scampered away with our tails tucked between our legs and got the hell out of there.  a little further down the street, we took this and sent it to the hub:

we had fastpasses for big thunder mountain in about half an hour, and as we were walking at a leisurely pace through frontierland i consulted the disneyland app and found that the wait for pirates of the caribbean was just 5 minutes.  we headed over and sure enough:

we walked right on and were sitting in the back of a boat in even less time than what was quoted.  yay!

big thunder is always a good time.

from there we decided to head over into california adventure and grab fastpasses for the incredicoaster, which had such a short wait that by the time we made our way back there we were all to scan them in and get right on.

the bean adores the giant "jack jack num num cookie" and sweet talked me into buying her one to munch on as we meandered around the pier.  there was zero line for the jumping jellyfish ride, which is one of the things the old lady doesn't really love but we do.  we try to do those types of attractions when she isn't with us, and we were happily sitting down and taking our little bouncy ride in no time. i love the great views of the park we get from the top.

we'd snagged a fastpass for goofy's sky school just across the way, and walked right up to the loading area right after we got off of the jellyfish.

the food & wine festival was winding down to a close, and since we still had a few tickets left on our sip & savor pass we stopped at one of the kiosks.  the bean loves the salt & pepper parmesan wings, and i decided to try the beef tenderloin slider served with chimichurri sauce.  i was pleasantly surprised at how tasty and substantial it ended up being.

the line at award weiners was also practically nonexistent, and so we stopped and picked up another serving of those delicious cookies & cream "get your ears on" funnel cake fries.

the bean still had a gift card burning a hole in her pocket, and a stop at the toy shop on the way to the exit yielded a mystery pouch from disney's new "wishables" plush toy line.  she chose one from the snacks theme and ripped it open to find the popsicle inside.

we'd planned on staying for the fireworks, but decided we were pretty tired and that we'd managed to soak in a good bit of disney magic in the short four hours we were there.  one of these days we'll actually get to see those fireworks, but this was not that day.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...