Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pegynthia Part One!

I am finally getting around to writing a blog post about my mom (Peggy) and sister’s  (Cynthia) visit.  It was so much fun and so action packed that I will not be able to cover it all in one post. and will no doubt write one of not more follow up posts (hence "Part One").

Pegynthia - FOP (Fresh Off the Plane)

I picked them up at the San Francisco airport in our friend’s car to be sure we’d have enough room for their luggage (we did) and to ensure that we’d have a more comfortable ride back to Fremont than we would have in either my or Traci’s cars.  As anyone who has traveled across the country before knows, you get to the West coast and you’ve missed lunch by hours and you’re STARVING.  Pegynthia now knows this as well.  I high-tailed it to Fisherman’s Wharf to get their tourist groove on from the get-go.  We parked in the aquarium garage and walked to the shopping and food area of Pier 39.  After some fish n' chips and a bread bowl of clam chowder, we were all feeling much more human and up for some sightseeing.  We meandered along the pier, and Pegynthia began shopping (a trend that lasted pretty much until I dropped them off at SFO again two weeks later).  Once they had their first round of knickknacks purchased (and a very smart looking, and necessary San Francisco hoodie for poor, freezing Peggy), we walked down to The Bay proper.  As we looked out toward Alcatraz, Cynthia noticed some sea lions playing in the water, and I was able to snap a picture (they are the slightly darker black bits in the picture below).

Sea Lions At Play In The Bay

We walked a bit further down the pier until we reached the area where the sea lions like to hang out.  There were far fewer than usual, something that is being investigated actually, but there was no shortage of people with cameras in the area.  I’m pretty sure mom photo-bombed one nice Asian man as he attempted to snap a shot of his daughter (nice one!).  We left the parking garage handicap space that we were able to park in thanks to Mom’s FL placard.  Sadly that was the last time we were able to take advantage of that perk because the placard went missing, never to be seen again.  Then we drove around the city at random so Pegynthia could take in the sights (and they could openly mock me each time I stalled our loaner car – I don’t drive stick anymore).  I made sure (thanks to the suggestion of Navigatress Traci) to take them to our place via the scenic route, across the Bay Bridge which provides lovely views.  Since we had three people in the car, we were able to take advantage of the HOV lane which DRASTICALLY reduced our traffic annoyance and travel time back to Fremont.

The next couple of days are a bit of a blur.  I was looking for a new job, and I think I had an interview around this time, the first one with Bain & Company where I now work, and I believe Pegynthia might have wandered around Fremont one of those days.  We did take a trip to the beach one evening at sunset and as you can see below, this was not the normal garb they would wear to a Florida beach.

I know for sure that we played some board games.  It reminded Cynthia and I of nights at our granparent's cabin when we were kids.  Now I know from whence springs my love of all things game!  Speaking of Games, Cynthia bought me a gift certificate to a cool online store called Marbles The Brain Store and demanded that I shop for my gift while she was there.  I did just that, but in classic Gemini fashion, couldn't pick just one.  So we made a deal, and I got my birthday and Xmas presents at the same time!  In June!  She gave me a game called Dixit! which is super awesome and might get a blog post of its own some day.  She also gave Traci and I Colorku for our Xmas present (yay!).  That one is basically sudoku (which neither Traci nor I have ever played) only with a wooden board and colored balls instead of numbers.  The rules are otherwise the same.  We're having a blast with both of those, and you will likely be playing one or both if you come for a visit.

On the first Saturday of their visit, we had planned a trip to wine country, a first for all of us.  I bought a Groupon for a tour and tasting at two wineries in Napa Valley.  The drive was beautiful as was Napa Valley as a whole.  It was pretty cool to drive along the main strip and see the names of all these wines we've purchased or at least seen in stores.  The first winery on our tour was Beringer and the second was St. Clement.  At Beringer, we were led on a tour through their onsite wine cave.

Traci and Cynthia Entering the Wine Cave
Basically when they purchased the land it butted up to a mountain and they made a cave in it and built a house in front.  It is naturally the perfect temperature for wine and requires no climate control.  We missed seeing loads of barrels by one day as they had just reached the right age and had been moved to bottling.  We had the wine tasting in the caves, and I think we tried three or four different wines.  We also got to check out the vintage room with some wines over 100 years old.  After that, we went out into the beautiful California sunshine and sat at a table and ate our $95 picnic lunch purchased at the gift shop (no I'm not exaggerating).  Though to be fair that price did include a nice cheese knife.  We also enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine that was included with our Groupon tour.  We all opted for the sparkling wine because we were promised that it was a "party in your mouth".  It delivered on that promise.  Delicious, crisp, just sweet enough and very refreshing on a warm afternoon.  We toured the grounds and wandered through the historical house that's been turned into a gift shop, and then we were off to the second winery.  The second winery, St. Clement was slightly anticlimactic since we were about wined out by that point.  This stop was a tasting only, and so we tasted about four wines there.  The best part was the fact that the winery area was set back off the road a good ways and up a hill so it provided beautiful views of the surrounding vineyard country.

View From St. Clements

I suddenly realize two things.  I am very long-winded (even when typing... long-fingered?), and we did a LOT while Pegynthia were here.  I am going to stop here for now so I can get something posted (people think we've forgotten the blog, and we can't risk losing the four people who are reading it by alienating them with no content!)  There is still lots to blog about from their visit, so look for another installment soon!

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