Zigzagging down Lombard St.

Zigzagging down Lombard St.
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Like I said, the streets of San Francisco make one heckuva fun ride. We were all set. First stop, Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. This time, I parked at the top and we walked down these stairs.

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No matter how many times I’ve been here, the feeling is always the same. I’m completely knocked off my feet by the beauty of the homes on both sides of this street. They have a quaintness all of their own. I’m sure they must look like a page off a decor magazine inside. What makes them even more mysterious is that I’ve never seen anyone go in or out. It’d be interesting to see who lives here.

Living on such a winding slope of a street must be quite something. I can’t imagine reversing in and out of the garage. But if you live here long enough, I guess you will eventually get the hang of it but surely it must be a bit of a daily adventure. See those little green dots I’ve marked on the hedges to show how the street zigzags its way downhill.

Lombard St

When we got to the bottom of Lombard Street, we climbed back up the stairs, got into our car, and I did something I’ve never done before! I freakin’ drove down Lombard Street!! This is a first for me and I gotta say maneuvering those bends and screaming all the way down was quite a thrill! I wonder why I never thought to do it before. By the time we got to the bottom, Hip2bDaughters were lamenting that the ride was too short! Let’s start over. Sure, let’s do it again next time, why not? it was fun!

The streets of San Francisco

The streets of San Francisco
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After spending a half day in San Jose walking around Japantown, and checking out the Japanese shops and restaurants, and a Buddhist temple, we hoarded a stash of Japanese pastries and sushi. It’s a shame that after our In-N-Out escapade, we couldn’t fit in another lunch – there were so many Japanese restaurants there.

The next morning, we headed out to San Francisco on a cold, gray day with patchy fog (nothing like the white wall) which wasn’t so good for picture taking but good weather to be out. Okay, so you know you’re in San Francisco when the streets turn into a roller coaster. Wheeee! Up and down we went, and as if that’s not thrilling enough, many of the Stop signs are at the top of really steep inclines! which literally leaves you sitting tilted backwards as if you were in a dentist’s chair.

Tilted backwards

I was almost afraid that when I took my foot off the brake to step on the accelerator, we would inadvertently go sliding back down the incline. If I were driving a shift stick, that would be a very real possibility. Thankfully with an auto, we just went screaming as we rolled forward down the slope, hahaha!!! So much fun!

The white wall

The white wall
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I’m back! From our little vacation to the Bay Area. It was a cold, gray day when we headed out to San Jose. Mind you, this wasn’t your regular gray winter’s day, it came with thick fog. Regular fog is fine, I’m used to that. But we ran into several patches of fog so thick that visibility was like 200 feet. We’re talking complete whiteout here!!

Pretty weird!! I felt like I was driving straight into a white wall. I couldn’t see anything beyond the front of my car. That’s how bad it was! All I had were the white lines on the road to guide me. Beyond that, I couldn’t see a thing!! Not a thing! Whenever a vehicle passed by, its tail lights would disappear in a flash and then it’s back to that white wall again.

It’s a strange feeling. It’s like you want to get out of it quick. You’re hoping the wall will open up at any moment. But you can’t speed up. In fact, I slowed down so as to keep a safe distance between me and any vehicle that might just be in front of me which I couldn’t see. You wonder where everyone else is, and if they can see you. You hope they’re not speeding. And you wonder how long that wall is going to go on for. Just pretty weird!!

But by the second patch of blind fog, I was beginning to consider myself quite a pro at it. I slowed down. I kept going. And I was glad when I finally emerged from it. It’s just like they say, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you know there’s a clear road beyond the fog. 😀

Catching up… sorta

Catching up... sorta
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So happy we’re beginning to see some signs of fall. Enough of this searing weather already! I feel like I’m being fried every time I step out. It was cloudy yesterday which is rare in a place where there’s hardly ever a cloud in the sky. What was even more surprising was that it rained. yes. all 3 drops of it in 20 seconds. We enjoyed that for what it was worth. A big change from Vancouver where the rain is drippy and goes on and on and on… so annoying! And today when we stepped outdoors before 8, the air was crisp and chilly.

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But enough about the weather. So much has happened since my last blog post I’m not even going to pretend I will ever caught up in detail. So here are some brief highlights.

In the almost tradition of Hip family flying, we pulled an overnighter at LAX to wait for daylight to drive to our hometown. Always interesting to see who’s snoring on a bench near you!

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Between a VW Jetta, a Chevy Cruze, a Chevy Captiva, and a Chrysler Town and Country minivan (soccer mom me, yeah!), I drove them all in the past few weeks. Wish I could’ve kept the big*ss Chrysler. That thing is huge and it rocks! Oops, did I let slip the a word?! 😳

Pancakes and turkey sausages every single morning for 3 weeks… not funny! You just wanna kick yourself for not noticing those strawberry, and raisin cereals sooner.

It’s almost endearing how helpful someone is at first. Then you realize they were only out to make a sale.

When you don’t have internet connection, you have so much to blog about (in your head). The minute you get internet connection, your mind goes blank.

There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’m looking at you, Panda Express.

We’re settling in. It’s good to be home. Really happy with how we’ve set up the place. I think we’ve given brand new meaning to the word minimalistic. It’s still a work in progress but we’re getting there.

Our cookware set arrives Friday so we have a few more days of eating out before we start cooking at home. My daughters can’t wait to have a homecooked meal.

And that’s all the time I have for right now. I’ll be back with more catchup posts, I promise.

5 things that rock my socks

5 things that rock my socks
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Okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day (no big deal) and since we’re supposedly all about love today, here are 5 things that totally rocked my socks this week.

  • A berrylicious smoothie. Do me a favor and pretend you’re not seeing those cheesecakes in the background. Sssh, we’re still working our way through 108 slices of those. #notevenkidding

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  • Homemade char siew (barbecue pork). Squawking like a peahen that my first attempt turned out so unbelievably delicious and authentic.

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  • Snow-capped mountains and a sliver of ocean.

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  • Shrimp cocktail. A regal appetizer for the queen and her princesses *giggles*.

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  • Heart theme in our hallway, just for kicks. My after-dinner workout.

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Have a fantastic weekend. And if you’re so inclined, what rocked your socks this week?

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
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Snapped this on our Sunday drive. The view from the sunroof. Feeling hip!

The only time a sunroof works for me is on a sunless day like this.

Letter to my minivan

Letter to my minivan
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Dear Wheels,

Life without you is not the same. You recall we used to shuttle the kids back and forth (man, do they miss you!) and sit in traffic all day and you would listen silently as I ranted endlessly about having to pay toll to sit in traffic and cussed at those nut cases on the road. Crazy times, we were great together *cries*!

I miss you, dude! Without you, I’m down to working these legs of mine. No longer Hip Chauffeur, just call me Hip Walker. These days, I’m off to walking my girls to the bus stop every morning. This is what it’s like when we set out. See anything? Me neither! This is freakin’ almost 8 in the morning for you and I’m not even kidding but thankfully it’s getting lighter every day.

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Some mornings, I step outside and I see this.

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A sign that Jack Frost has come by during the night and left everything in a blanket of crystalline white. The leaves on the trees, the plants, the cars, even a sticker that some kid has dropped on the road. Truly a sight too awesome for words. I stand there for a moment, imagining how handsome you would look cloaked in crisp white crystals and I cry a little inside.

As for the rest of the day, it pretty much goes like this – a scene from out of Twilight, bleh. After 4pm, it gets completely dark and feels like 8pm.

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You know how I’m always complaining about the sun and the heat. Well, in cloudy 40+ degrees like this, I don’t have much to complain about. It’s bearable, not that cold, and best of all, no sun, only fresh mountain air and a cold sea breeze on my face. So lovely but …

… without you, I have to walk everywhere. Going up and down an incline a couple of times a day is giving my glutes and hamstrings one heckuva workout. You will be proud of me. But I’d rather be stepping on your pedals *bawls*, you take me everywhere in a snap!

Me and the kids, we’re lost without you. Wish you were here. We could really go places. Love you, miss you like crazy, can’t wait to see you,

Hugs and muaks.

Rear-ended

Rear-ended
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I have often lamented about how insane driving has gotten over the years. And so it has finally happened. Reason #279,301 why driving is a real hazard these days!

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My minivan got rear-ended by a monstrous city bus yesterday!

Was this a surprise? NO, absolutely not!

As it happened, HipebDaughter1 and I went downtown and there we were, trying to turn onto an impossibly busy road. I was at a full stop and actually looking and waiting for everyone to pass before turning out. Frankly I didn’t even know there was a bus behind me I was so busy craning my neck to see when it would be clear to turn.

I was just beginning to roll forward when boom! Clearly I wasn’t moving fast enough for Mr Bus Driver. He confessed that he wasn’t paying attention when he rammed into the back of my minivan. That’s nice, with 50 people in that bus, you weren’t looking where you were going? you should be real proud of yourself!!

Strangely enough, I didn’t even flinch when I felt the impact and heard the boom but HipebDaughter1 was slightly shaken up.

I’m a super cautious driver from years of driving with my kids in the car. I don’t take chances with the way people drive these days. They’re either on the phone, don’t know the traffic rules, don’t use their brains, plain don’t care or all of the above. So if this happened to me, it could happen to anyone out there.

Of course, I’m hopping mad. My first thought was, doublya tee eff! Honestly I don’t have time for this, I really don’t. I have 300 other things on my to-do list. The last thing I need is this mess and my minivan ending up in the workshop. So yeah, there are good days and there are not-so-good days. This just happened to be one of them. But I’ll get over it 😀 .

Wednesday Hodgepodge 137

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1. My daughter earned her Master’s Degree this past weekend…what’s something you’ve ‘mastered’ in recent weeks or months?

Recent months have been pretty laid-back for me as I vacationed halfway across the globe. I’ve kicked back and learned to relax more, rush less but I won’t say I’ve mastered it. Let’s see how I do as we get ready for the next flurry of activity.

2. What song most reminds you of your childhood?

There are so many and one of my favorites are the Bee Gees. I still think they’re the best songs ever written and sung, and I love them to this day. So glad I’m not growing up listening to the likes of Beiber, Rihanna, One Direction and others who can’t sing for peanuts!

3. What do you think about single gender groups and/or events? Should every group/event be open to both genders? If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate?

I guess they’re okay as long as they’re not discriminatory in nature. Sometimes us girls just want to hang out for girl talk, and the guys too I’m sure have their games or drinks night which are a great way to bond and have some good clean fun without boring the other gender out of their wits.

4. What’s your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?

One of my favorites (and I have many) is rosemary which I use for my roast chicken. Edited: Okay, I just noticed the question is asking for a spice, not a herb, silly me. So my favorite spice would be cayenne which I use on everything.

5. I saw this question on Marla’s facebook page and asked if I could steal borrow it for the Hodgepodge…thanks Marla! Chevron patterns are everywhere! Do you like it or think it’s just a little too much? Do you own anything ‘chevron’?

I think it’s cute but I don’t have anything chevron… yet.

6. What’s something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now?

When I was a child, I balked at carrots, insisted they’re for rabbits. Now I’m a regular mama rabbit 😀 .

7. What can irritate you very quickly?

The other drivers on the road. They’re either stupid or suicidal or both, and they should keep far, far away from me. People generally have this attitude where they expect you to look out for them instead of them looking where they’re going. They shoot out of nowhere without warning and expect you to see them and stop for them. Driving is becoming such a health hazard.

98% of drivers out there are selfish, impatient, rude, incompetent (read: morons). They don’t use their signal lights and some don’t even bother turning on their headlights at night (yes, you’ll be surprised!!). One lane becomes 2 as people try to squeeze into every available inch of space. The opportunists among them change lanes erratically or straddle 2 lanes trying to get on the lane that’s going faster. They park indiscriminately, on street corners, in the middle of the road, anywhere they darned well please.

Are you sorry you got me started? Because I could go on all day!! 😐

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s so exciting that Hip2bDaughter2, our resident dog whisperer, has taken it upon herself to train Hip2bBeagle, our playful beagle who until now has been doing exactly as he pleases around the house. Well, finally Hip2bBeagle is going to school and getting an education. So proud of both Hip2bDaughter2 and Hip2bBeagle.

Okay, that’s it from me today. Great questions, Joyce, thanks. And thanks, everyone, for stopping by and commenting, hope to see you back here soon.

Dinner at Applebee’s

Dinner at Applebee's
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After a full day of shopping, we needed a place to plonk our tired selves down, grab a bite to eat and then continue shopping till they chase us out of the store at closing time. Applebee’s was conveniently nearby so we went for it. There was a good crowd but they managed to find us a table right away.

We ordered the 2 for $20 which comes with 1 appetizer + 2 main dishes (I think). The onion rings came with 2 dips, ranch and barbecue.

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We had the Chicken Tenders which were okay as chicken tenders go.

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And the Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp which Raine swears is the best thing ever and she would definitely go back for more of the same!

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And the Lemon Shrimp Fettucine that came with lots of shrimp and tasted pretty good.

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The servings were plenty for us and we went away with a box of leftover chicken tenders and onion rings. They kept well in the fridge at the hotel and even after more than a day later, they still tasted pretty good when we reheated them at home. A little greasy but still edible.

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