At the end of the day we found ourselves on the thirty-ninth floor of the Marriott Hotel in “The View Lounge” enjoying some spectacular views of the bay and the lights of the city…

Unfortunately the ring came with a care and feeding manual containing admonitions against cooking, cleaning, the washing of dishes, clothes and cars in addition to any of several hundred other activities which were deemed potentially harmful to the diamond, the setting, the gold band or the finger the ring was adorning.   I believe that I have committed the ultimate act of shooting myself in the foot.

We are currently at the Elks Lodge in Fremont, California and find ourselves immersed in all of the day to day family functions, get-togethers and holidays which occur at this time of the year.

Our granddaughter, Bella, celebrated her eighth birthday replete with presents…

Of course, occasionally these “hidden face” shots are more interesting than a posed one.

Capurro’s is one of the lesser known of the wharf area restaurants and is the only place you will find barbecued oysters.  Although they have their own recipe which actually includes BBQ sauce (YUCK!!), they were quite willing to whip up a dozen for us using my recipe of garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese…

…the kind you simply unwrap as well as the other kind with “some assembly required”…

Pier 39 is another of those “must see” spots should you find yourself wandering aimlessly throughout the wharf area.  One of the more interesting sights is the resident seals that have taken over and partially sunk several of the docks which were formerly used by local boaters…

She dragged this critter for several feet before realizing that she had a problem.  We aren’t sure if the dog was simply enjoying having his back scratched in this manner or was angling for a seat in the baby carriage.

The fishing boats berthed at Fisherman’s Wharf seem ageless and, except for the occasional name change provided by a new owner, the appearance of the overall fleet has remained unaltered throughout the years…

We always make a point of starting with one of these libations as fortification against the rigors of traversing the streets, alleys and hills of the wharf area.  There is just no way of anticipating what you may encounter while in “The City”…

My favorite part about riding is hanging onto the outside grab bars with the brakeman yelling “Right side lean in” as we pass precariously close to parked cars and trucks along the route…

    Memories                                                                      May 14, 2011

This being California, the land of “Nanny State government”, I can only imagine that it is just a matter of time before everyone will be required to wear seat belts and shoulder harnesses while riding and hanging on the outside of the car will become but a memory.   Until that time, in addition to death defying encounters with motor vehicles of every variety, hanging on the side of the car also affords you the best views of the track ahead…

This picture didn’t turn out as nice as we had hoped but I think you get the idea.

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day so we rounded up my mother and a couple of our hundreds of kidlets for a Mother’s Day champagne brunch here at the Elks Lodge…

Located directly across the street from this terminal is the “World Famous” Buena Vista, “Home of Irish Coffee”…

That’s Vickie on the right and Jenny on the left or, as I introduce them, “the Nice One and the Other One.”

The unfortunate thing about spending time with people who aren’t retired is that they are actually expected to show up for work occasionally.   During those periods we are left to entertain ourselves, and what better place to do that than San Francisco…

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) provides a direct route from Fremont to the Cable Car terminus at Powell and Market Streets.   In times past, the riders would help the brakeman push the car around the turntable before re-boarding for another run up Nob Hill.   Nowadays, I suppose due to the litigious nature of some folks, they have a paid crew that handles this chore…

After resolving a minor mishap involving forgotten dentures, Mom seemed to thoroughly enjoy her time away from the home.   We’re all hoping that she continues to behave herself so we can see her again next Mother’s Day.  We hope all you other Moms out there had a happy day and we’ll be dropping in on y’all again next month.  Hugs, Chuck and Kalyn

This is a “Weasel Ball.”   The green and yellow ball contains a battery operated gyro which rolls the ball and drags the “weasel” along behind it.  Placed in a paper bag, it duplicates the motion you would expect if the bag actually contained some small animal.   I use this gag so often, always giving the toy to my “mark,” that I am actually on the Weasel Ball “Preferred Customer” mailing list because I buy these things by the case.   Hmmmm… perhaps another example of having too much time on my hands?!

Another of the nice things about spending time in Fremont is having kids who are of an age to share in one of our favorite pastimes: wine tasting…

And, YES, it really is that steep!!!  It is during these downhill runs that the brakeman really earns his pay…

We happened upon this marketing company’s photo shoot of a six foot tall pretzel using the Cable Cars as a backdrop and even managed to snag a couple of their free samples to hold us over until lunch.

A bit further along we encountered a lady taking a reluctant poodle for a walk…

Street performers can be found throughout San Francisco and at Pier 39 they are provided a stage from which to attract and entertain visitors…

The Date: January 7, 1984.  The Place: Spengers Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, California.  This is a restaurant and I’m hungry (imagine the theme music from “Dragnet”).  My dining companion (and primary squeeze for the past 5 weeks) and I were in the process of devouring our second tray of a dozen oysters on the half shell while enjoying an icy cold bottle of Chateau St Michelle Riesling.  Our conversation consisted primarily of our planned future together and allusions to some as yet unplanned matrimonial event.  In mid chomp of a munchable mollusk, I was suddenly struck with the fact that I had not formally proposed to the young hottie sharing my table and I was pretty sure that she had not proposed to me.  And so, without any hesitation whatsoever I asked as romantically as possible, “So, are we in this together?”  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Flash forward to early 2010.  In recounting the above tale to some friends, I was again struck with an epiphany: In asking my now travelling companion, navigator and Bunkie to marry me, I had never given her an engagement ring.  I immediately told her that she needed such a bauble, she feigned indifference, I insisted, she reluctantly relented and finally, after a yearlong search for the “perfect” ring…

Nick found himself out-maneuvered at every turn and ended the race a defeated and demoralized little soul who will require years of intense therapy to recover.  I must admit that I had home field advantage for this particular event but I must also credit my old age and the treachery I’ve acutely developed to overcome both his youth and skill.

Another fun thing to do with grandkidlets is to give them a sealed paper bag containing a live ferret…

A word of caution: NEVER volunteer to participate in any act involving a near-sighted juggler and sharp implements of any kind.   And remember, these folks earn their living through the generosity of their audience and will usually roll up into a tiny ball or hide their face if you try to photograph them without first contributing to their kitty…

which, upon closer inspection, turns out to be something entirely different…

They didn’t get the quantities of butter and garlic anywhere near as generous as we like but the taste was nonetheless spot on.  This is what they are supposed to look like…

And the pier itself houses a variety of interesting shops and restaurants and even a high end fruit stand offering cups of melted chocolate in which you may dip the humongous strawberries…

One of the Cable Car routes leads to Ghirardelli Square…

Although this may look like a cage (an altogether appropriate gift for some children), it is actually the frame for a futon bed.  We spent several frustrating hours assembling, disassembling, reassembling and disassembling the damn thing before our son decided to return it to the store for the already assembled floor model.   I just don’t understand how something of such obviously simple construction with no moving parts could be so impossibly difficult to put together.

We had both Bella and Nick come over to our house one Saturday morning for a healthy breakfast of glazed donuts and the Super Mario Brothers Kart Racing Championship…