West Coast Visit!

What did everyone do for Labor Day weekend? We (Ben, my folks, and myself) went to San Francisco for the week. We left Friday, 9/1 and returned Friday, 9/8.
The last time my parents were in SF was back in 1985, so they hadn’t been there in 30 years. Back in 1985, my dad lived in SF for about a year and while he was living out here my mom went out to visit him. He was there to help open up a new restaurant. My dad used to be a chef/cook and back in the day he would travel all over the place to help open up or head up Chinese restaurants.

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985...what's the deal with that facial hair?!?

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985…what’s the deal with that facial hair?!?

The last time I was in SF was in October of 2013, just a couple of months before my accident, with a few of my girlfriends for a bachelorette trip. Aside from Ben’s parents’ condo down in Delray Beach, FL, this would be my first time re-visiting a location that I’d been to before I lost my legs.
We flew into San Jose, CA the night of Friday, 9/1. It was 100+ degrees!!! WTF?!? We flew into San Jose because we had a wedding to attend on Saturday in Los Gatos, in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was forecasted to reach 110 degrees the day of the wedding! YIKES.
The wedding was held at Nestldown. https://www.nestldown.com/ The ceremony started at about 3:30pm…right when it was about 106 degrees. OY. At least it wasn’t raining…? As hot as I was, I can only imagine how hot it was for the men in their suits. Other than the weather, the wedding was great! The venue, the food, the decor…everything was beautiful!…such a fairy tale wedding.
The ceremony was held amidst some Redwood trees. The cocktail hour was set on the other side of the property, right along one of the stops for the little train that they have that takes you on a tour of the entire property. The bride and groom made their entrance to cocktail hour as husband and wife by arriving in the train…so cute! After cocktail hour we headed to dinner, on yet another area of the property, an open and airy grass area…so pretty! After a delicious dinner, we headed inside to the barn for dessert and dancing!
Here are a few pics from the wedding…
Waiting for ceremony to start!

Waiting for ceremony to start!


Beautiful backdrop

Beautiful backdrop


Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee

Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee


The new Mr. & Mrs.
Beautiful setting for the reception!

Beautiful setting for the reception!


Klara & my Bro My brother's single...Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)

Klara & my Bro
My brother’s single…Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)


Beautiful

Beautiful


Congrats again Klara & Scott. We had a blast and were so glad that we were there to celebrate your special day with you! XOXO
The day after the wedding we went to Klara and Scott’s post-wedding BBQ and then drove into SF and checked into our hotel. The following day, Monday, we did a little bit of shopping and browsing right by our hotel before heading down to the pier for our night tour of Alcatraz. We were just killing some time before heading down towards Fisherman’s Wharf so our shopping and browsing was pretty uneventful…except…for one little interaction. The big Macy’s in SF was located about 2 blocks from our hotel, so we headed over to walk around. We took a look at the Boudin in the Cellar, Ben got his Ben & Jerry’s milkshake, and then we headed to the elevator to go upstairs. BTW…I had my prosthesis on and was in my wheelchair for this excursion. As we’re making our way towards the elevator, I see an open elevator that a woman had just entered. I yelled, “Hold the elevator, please!” and sped up my wheeling. As I wheeled ahead to catch the elevator, my mom followed behind me, followed by my dad and Ben. As I entered the elevator and made a U-turn to face the door, the woman (prob in her 60s, early 70s – not much older than my parents) who was holding the elevator shouts, (don’t remember verbatim) “OMG!!! OMG!!! I CAN’T. I CAN’T. I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF MY WAY! GET OUT OF MY WAY”…as she basically pushed my mom aside so she could escape from the elevator. Uhm…ok…WHAT just happened?!? Followed by my, “Uhm, ok” I shouted to her, “Have a nice day!!” Ben had just made it to the front of the elevator as the woman was running out, so he said, “That was f***ing rude.” I wasn’t offended or hurt, mostly because I didn’t really care. There’s nothing wrong with me and if you have a problem, well…that’s your problem. I have no problem educating people, answering people’s questions, sharing my story, or anything along those lines – but if you have a problem because you’re ignorant and act accordingly, well then…you can go F*** yourself. Sorry, not sorry. It was the most bizarre thing. Usually people are curious, shocked, amazed, unsure, or might be frightened (because they don’t know what they see). But in the 3.5 years since losing my legs, I’ve never gotten a reaction like that!…not even when I used to be in my wheelchair sans prosthesis…and in a city like SF, where there are plenty of veterans! I saw more homeless in wheelchairs, some even amputees, than in any other city I’ve been in! Her reaction from seeing me didn’t seem like it was was a trigger or PTSD related but more like I had gotten on the elevator with some deathly, contagious disease. This doozy of a story should really be in my next post about how people suck…
Moving right along…after Macy’s, we headed down to the Pier. We strolled around Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the sea lions, and had some soup in a bread bowl from Boudin. When it was about time, we headed down to Pier 33 to wait to board the ferry to Alcatraz Island. As we were sitting and waiting at the pier for the ferry to return, we noticed a few pesky flies that kept circling and landing on us. We didn’t notice any garbage cans in our vicinity, so we were ???. Some of you who have been to Alcatraz around this time of the year, may know where this part of our Alcatraz story is going…
Once the ferry arrived, we boarded and took our seats. More flies…like, A LOT. I decide to sit outside so I can watch as the boat pulls away from the pier…and hope to get away from the flies…no such luck. As I’m sitting outside, one of the boat staff comes out so he can help direct the captain. He and I start chatting and I ask him…”Uhm…so what’s with all these flies?!?” So…Alcatraz is home to a variety of birds. Taken from https://www.nps.gov/alca/learn/nature/index.htm…”Long before humans set foot on the island, Alcatraz was home to thousands of nesting birds. The first humans to interact with these birds were Native Americans, who hunted and possibly collected eggs for food. The name Alcatraz itself came from a European explorer who named one of the islands in the bay ‘Island of the Seabirds’ for the multitudes of avian life he observed. Years after the prison’s closure in 1963, Alcatraz is now a sanctuary for seabirds such as cormorants and pigeon guillemots, and for waterbirds such as snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons.” One of these birds is the Cormorants and starting in mid-August, thousands of cormorant flies hatch from the bird colonies and swarm the area. They’re nicknamed zombie flies. They were everywhere. Luckily, they aren’t around once you enter the prison, but OMG, they were everywhere and it was disgusting. The captain of the boat even told the ladies who had long hair to shake out their hair before getting of the boat and returning to the mainland. YIKES. I was definitely brushing my hair throughout the duration of the return trip back to the pier! Here are some pics from “The Rock.” I had to force my mom into the cell with me to take a picture. She was not happy about it. Mom – you’ll be able to get out…they won’t be locking you in here…
View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island

View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island


Moms

Moms


On the ferry heading to The Rock. I'm surprised a zombie fly didn't photobomb our pic!

On the ferry heading to The Rock. I’m surprised a zombie fly didn’t photobomb our pic!


Welcome to The Rock

Welcome to The Rock


Mom and I sharing a cell

Mom and I sharing a cell


Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement

Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement


View of SF from The Rock

View of SF from The Rock


The next day, Ben and I had brunch at Plow, right near the Dogpatch area of SF. Plow is on a corner and both of the intersecting streets is either a major uphill or downhill. I could only stand exactly on the corner of the street while we waited for our table. Had we parked the car on either of the immediate intersecting streets, I don’t think I would’ve even been able to stand up and get out of the car because the hill would’ve been too much for me! Oh, SF and your your hills…Plow had a good brunch! Go check it out of you’re in town. www.eatatplow.com/ After brunch, Ben and I drove around town a little bit. We stopped by Liguria Bakery to pick up some foccacia bread (It was yummy…https://www.yelp.com/biz/liguria-bakery-san-francisco – it’s saying it permanently closed…not sure if that’s right…), drove down Lombard Street, drove up to the top of Coit Tower, and then picked up my parents from the hotel so we could go and visit my brother at the MLB office. He gave us a tour of the office and their rooftop. After hanging at his rooftop for a bit, we dropped by dad off at the hotel and the 4 of us headed to the Oakland A’s baseball game. My brother had secured tickets for Ben and I in the 100s section for Tuesday’s game the week before we arrived and then the day before the game he was able to get 2 more tickets, but these tickets were behind home plate! Since he’d been in those seats before and my Mom was just tagging along, Ben and I took the tickets for the seat behind home plate and my brother and Mom sat in the 100s section seats. The Oakland A’s stadium is an old stadium and isn’t exactly the most accessible. In order to get to the seats behind home plate, I would have to walk to the elevator, take the elevator down 2 floors, walk down a small decline, then walk down 10 stairs, then another small decline, and then 10 more stairs. To avoid this, they drove us to our seats. Yup…we were driven to our seats. They put us on a golf cart…and drove onto the field. Pretty cool…Too bad it was the Oakland A’s stadium. =P Hehe…I kid. Check out some pics! I tried to attach the video that I shot while Ben and I were on the golf cart…but the video file was too large to upload…womp womp womp.
A's vs. Angels - behind home plate

A’s vs. Angels – behind home plate


View from behind home plate!

View from behind home plate!


Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro's section. I spy a big ol' butt... =O

Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro’s section. I spy a big ol’ butt… =O


Although we were driven to our seats, I still had to do the whole stairs, incline, stairs, incline, and elevator routine if I needed to go to the bathroom. I went once before the game started and made sure not to drink too much so I wouldn’t have to do it again! All in all it was a fun experience and it was my first time to an out of state ballpark! Thanks Bro!
On Thursday, we took a trip out to Sonoma, which was about an hour drive from the city. We drove out to Cornerstone Sonoma, a wine country marketplace with shops, boutique wineries and tasting rooms, artisanal foods, and art-inspired gardens. http://www.cornerstonesonoma.com/ We had lunch there, did a couple of tastings, bought a few bottles of wine, and walked the gardens. The grounds were lovely! Here are some pics from that outing…
Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers

Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers


Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma

Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma


So much purple!

So much purple!

After Cornerstone Sonoma, we drove into town and checked out some of the local shops and then we headed back into the city…not before stopping off at a See’s Candy Shop so that my could pick up some candy to bring home! =) It was still a little early for dinner when we got back into the city, so we took my parents to check out Lombard Street. When I described it to my parents they didn’t know what I was talking about, so we took them to see it. We drove down the street and then when we got to the bottom, I told them to get out and see it from the bottom. You don’t actually get the full sight of it when you’re in the car driving down the street, so you have to view it from the bottom and look up. We snapped a couple of obligatory photos and then they got back in the car…to which they said…”This street must be new. I don’t remember this when we were here.” Uhm…No guys…it’s not new and it was here…even way back 30 years ago. Are you sure?… YES, parents…it was here. My parents…
Mom & Pops on Lombard Street

Mom & Pops on Lombard Street


And then it was Friday. Our week in SF was up and it was time for us to fly back to the East Coast! Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to SF and weren’t too bored by my stories or my pics!
Thanks everyone!…’til next time…

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