Wednesday, December 7, 2011

49 square miles surrounded by reality

As I expected, our final weeks in San Francisco are flying by with a sense of "Wait! We haven't seen / done everything yet!!" But there are only so many hours in the day, and we are really quite busy here. The kids are immersed in rehearsals for Щелкунчик, a Russian adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Rehearsals are 3x / week for about 2 hours each time, so it has definitely impacted our schedule. All of our regular Russian and English classes are still running, Marina and I have re-started our morning meetings, and and we are pretty continually cycling around to the library, playground (Yerba Buena) and Children's Creativity Museum. We've even managed some more ice-skating.

My dear friends Rebecca and Andre Dhondt came to visit for a long weekend. This is one impressive couple - they left their 3 kids (ages 10, 8, 6) in the hands of a highly-choreographed network of family and friends, used credit-card reward miles for their flights and a new camera, and spent four days making the absolute most of their getaway adventure. They went to Muir Woods and Alcatraz and Chinatown, tried out recommended restaurants and spent an afternoon with newly-acquainted friends fishing for crabs on a boat. And at night they went out dancing till the wee hours! They even made time to spend quality time with me and my kids - one night they watched the little ones so Greg and I could get out for dinner; Andre and I went running; Rebecca and I went out for breakfast and thrift-shopping. Overall they were delightful houseguests and filled my apartment with tulips....

This past Monday we spent the whole afternoon at Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. (Monday is a much less crowded time to be there, thank goodness!) Greg and the kids explored the Mirror Maze, which Baz claims is his favorite thing in San Francisco. We shopped, watched street performers, got free chocolate at Ghirardelli's, and explored the Hyde Street Pier, with its beautiful old ships. We had lunch at Boudin's - including taking a tour of the bakery and learning about the fascinating history of the place. It claims to be "San Francisco's oldest continually operating business", started by the Boudins of France, who were among the first to settle in the San Francisco Bay area in 1849. They claim that the original mother dough starter yeast has been in every loaf of bread for over 150 years. Along with the history of the Boudins is the history of San Francisco itself, including the Earthquake / Fires of 1906, the Depression, and the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s. ...after all this learning, we all thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in the cafe, pizzas and soup breadbowls made of delicious fresh sourdough.

With the arrival of December, we all officially click into Christmas mode, with some 99-cent window lights from Goodwill, an online Advent calendar, and some till-now-forbidden Christmas carols on iTunes. Somehow it feels weird this year to be getting ready for Christmas with such mild weather outside. But, the excitement cannot be contained. Letters have been sent to Santa, and the kids are counting the days till they can bake Christmas cookies with their Grandma Terry. Every day, it seems there is something festive. One evening we were watching window-decorators. Isa and I went to a Holiday Sing-Along at the library. This evening we splurged on a pedicab ride home. Now, if I could get my shopping done, that would be a really good thing...


  1. Hi Shana,I'm a cousin of R.Darwin (who i've never met but are 2nd cousins and not seen her mom since the late '60s;maybe wedding?).i found your blog when my aunt told me about the darwins' wedding and was sorry she didn't go.
    i have since been following your journey and am thanking you for a wonderful ride.everyone i've shared your life with has felt a joyous lift.
    Happy Holidays to all- Daryl Schepart

  2. Wow! That's a cool "six-degrees-of-separation" kind of connection Daryl, thanks for reading and your kind comments!