Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Some thoughts

Now Alec is back to work (really nice to have a three-day weekend happen to fall now!) so Clementine and I will be left to our own devices during the day.  This has caused me to consider something which has been pulling at me particularly since returning to my homeland.  How does my life change with a baby?  Also, what made us think we should travel internationally with a three month old?

I think it comes down to the fact that we never considered that we shouldn't.  At home, we've had Clem out and about since the day she came out of the hospital.  I feel very comfortable going into the city and getting on and off of the train.  I'm still working up to the tram because it's above ground and you have to shlep that stroller up a few stairs, it makes me uncomfortable to rely on someone else to help me get up there.  If I'm going to go anywhere in San Francisco I'll have to put my big girl pants on and do it anyway because all the trams are above ground!

Here, and especially now that Alec isn't with me, I'm a bit more out of my comfort zone.  I was nervous this morning to go to breakfast alone with Clementine.  We've been going to this small diner around the corner called Irving St Cafe and it's just a counter with a few tables, I didn't want to be that woman who crams her pram into the only available walking space.  I tried it anyway, what's the worst that could happen?  Turns out it was completely fine, the cafe wasn't busy because I got there early on a Monday and Clem slept while I enjoyed many cups of coffee and a new magazine.

Alec and I had a long conversation last night where we both admitted that sometimes we feel momentarily very frustrated about the prospect of doing things like travel or eating in a cramped restaurant with a baby.  We've moved spontaneously all over the world and this tiny girl is making us slow down just a bit.  It's so easy to go, nope it won't fit, better just stay home!  But if you wait just a minute past that inclination, it usually turns out okay but a little different.

So that is our travel motto I guess, slow down just a bit, try the thing you wanted to do anyway even if it feels uncomfortable at first.  So far it's worked marvelously.


Ps.  No pictures on this post!  We left yesterday with the camera for our adventures and then when I got it out to start taking pictures realized I'd left the memory card in my computer.  Poo.  I'm going to try and write more in the future.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Wandering San Francisco

I feel a little guilty about the blog, I haven't updated as often as I'd like even though I have a whole bunch of material from goings on in Phoenix.  I was having too much fun sitting around my parents house with my siblings to be bothered.  It will filter through eventually!

This weekend Clementine and I met Alec in San Francisco where he'd been for two weeks, so our little family is reunited.  We are staying in a home we found on Airbnb in the Sunset neighborhood right across from Golden Gate Park.  We have plenty to explore, it is quite urban and the neighborhood is filled with small businesses and restaurants.

Onto the pictures!

Watch out, cute baby with a sun hat!

Our house is only a couple houses down from the park.  We meant to go to a museum but it was so sunny and lovely that we spent the day wandering instead.  The first thing we came to was this FREAKING AMAZING ice cream truck.

Seriously.  So good and so many options.

We shared one of these badboys.  Organic chocolate soft serve on a home made waffle cone with fair trade dark chocolate dip and Maldon sea salt.  I'm not even making this up.

Note to self: do not try and eat chocolate ice cream while breastfeeding in the future.  This naturally ended up down the front of my white shirt, but I have to say it was worth it.

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture that I had to include it, even though I obviously look ridiculous.  I was making faces at Clem and yes that is chocolate on my face.  
I am a serious grown up.

This species of succulent also grows all over Melbourne, but these ones were at least a foot across.  
I wonder why they are so much bigger here.

Also giant Agave plants.

...And then we didn't take pictures for many hours because we were having too much fun.  We wandered to Richmond where we looked at cute shops and had Hawaiian BBQ chicken.

We ended the day back in front of this section of the park which is right in front of the museums.  
There were hundreds of people milling around enjoying the last of the sunshine.

We wandered to the fountain and sat on a bench watching people for a while.

Oh look, it's me!  This time without chocolate all over my face.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

I-17 North

Sunday we took a drive to Page with Mom, Bob, Anders, Clementine, and myself.  Our destination was Page Springs Vineyards for an afternoon of tasting and eating.

The I-17 connects Phoenix to Flagstaff (Page is a bit south of there) and I've done this drive approximately one million times.  I used to live in Flagstaff, for those of you who don't know, when I attended NAU.  It's been a few years for me so I took extra time to appreciate the vastness of the landscape.  If you go all the way to Flagstaff, you gain about 7,000 ft in elevation and the changes in the scenery can be dramatic.

We listened to classic rock the whole way which I feel is highly appropriate road trip music.  
Mom and Bob also did a healthy amount of squawkin' at each other and I felt very happy this drive would end with many glasses of wine.

Mom feels I have misrepresented Phoenix by calling it flat.  Phoenix is a valley and is surrounded by mountains on all sides, so unless you actually live on a mountain or are in the process of climbing one, it's flat.  As soon as you get out of the city though, the mountains are everywhere.

I never thought twice about a Saguaro being unusual, but now I've been gone long enough to see how strange they could be.

After a half hour we are much higher into the mountains.

This bit is my favorite part of the drive.  It's difficult to convey through a blog, but after you go through this mountainy little pass, the landscape is like BAM different.  It feels like climbing onto a roof.

Suddenly you are in a flat open grassland, surrounded by a dark canyon.

We always wonder how this one got its name, so if anyone knows, please tell us!


After the turn off to Page, one sees that yes, there is actually a vineyard in Arizona.  
I had my suspicions!

Edit:  We didn't go to Page, we went to Page Springs and Cornville.  It's different!

Hi lookers!  I'd like to give a small thank you to whoever you are for stopping by.  We're almost up to 1,000 page views which feels incredibly exciting to me, because like I've mentioned, I was fairly certain the only person who visits is my Mom.  So yes, hello!  Also don't be shy and please leave a comment or two.

Blogger also has these neat stats pages where you can see where all your readers are coming from, so far you are from the United States, Australia, South Korea, Germany, Canada, Colombia, Taiwan, UK, Cambodia, and Mexico.  Who do I even know in Mexico??  Awesome!

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Stevie and I have a long history of battling over where we will eat for lunch.  She has a strange love of chain restaurants and I frankly usually hate them.  However, Stevie is almost 8 months pregnant and as such, I will gladly let her pick wherever the hell she wants to eat (with a healthy amount of grumbling on my part, naturally).

She picked Macayo's, I relented, and Alec was like "you're both insane."  Me, grumble?  No way!

If there's something I love even more than bitching about where I don't want to eat lunch (and I mean this without an ounce of sarcasm), it's delightfully tacky decor.  

OMG human sized parrots hanging from the ceiling??  Count me in!

I wouldn't mind owning these chairs...or that pineapple light fixture.

Alec makes an excellent model.

Giant murals of Mayan ruins, yes!

"Mom, why are you being ridiculous and taking so many pictures in a restaurant?"

Above the hostess desk.

Aaaaand, because this is Arizona!  Just sayin'.

I really do love and appreciate my home state in all its silliness.  The whole time at lunch I wished that the birds would break into song like the Tiki Room.

A few days after we took those pictures we ate in a different Mexican restaurant which also had ginormous parrots hanging from the ceilings.  I took a picture.  
Where can I get one or twelve, seriously?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Walky Walk

Have I mentioned how perfect the weather is in a Phoenix winter?  It's perfect.  It's that temperature right at the bottom of being warm just before you need a sweater, but you could wear one anyway if you felt like it.  And it's like that all day, every day, without a cloud in the sky.

Before Alec got on the plane for San Francisco, we all went for some lunch.  He had an evil flu, poor dude.  My Mom's house is in a rare pocket of Phoenix where there are actually things one could walk to, as long as it's not summer, because if you did this walk in the summer, you'd surely spontaneously combust from the heat.

We switched Clem's stroller to the big girl upright seat and she loved being able to see everything.  Seth and Bennet took turns pushing her around, although we had to make a no pod racing rule.

Handomest men ever.  This picture makes me feel like Alec is actually the one related to all these ones and not me.  He fits in well.

"Make a silly face!"

Neighborhood cactus.  The diversity of cacti in my neighborhood is something I never appreciated while living in this neighborhood, but now I go out of my way to look for them.  
Must do a post on this soon.

Holy crap they are getting so tall.

Clementine is having a great time as usual.

I am addicted to iced beverages on this trip.  If I leave the house in the car, I must go through the Starbucks drive thru for iced coffee.  
I'd say it's on my list of top-5 things I miss about America.  
There is something so oddly satisfying about the sound the ice (and not one or two pieces of ice, mind you, a whole cup!) makes in the giant plastic cup.  And then you have a whole thing of ice cubes to munch on afterward.... ahhh the luxury.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Happy Weekend

We are spending our weekend hanging out at the house doing not much at all.  Alec is leaving for San Francisco this evening so we're getting in as much quality time as possible.  Clementine and I will join him in two weeks, but we'll sure miss him in the meantime.

Bennet trying to pose and be shy for the camera.


Clementine has the best uncles and Bennet is getting very good at holding her.