Vacation Time

We made it home from our winter vacation in July!

Somehow, I missed the memo that winter is July and August in San Francisco.  It was freezing the entire time.  So cold, we had to buy warmer clothes because we were dressed for a heat wave.  Instead, it was a cold snap.  Mid 50's were the high, with a brisk wind.

This was by far, one of the best experiences we have had in so long.  I think the one thing that made all the difference was that we didn't have any expectations.  We promised each other we would be laid back and let each day unfold.  Each evening, we talked about the must see/do for the following day and that was as far as we planned.  None of us were allowed to say NO.  Which meant...

We did things we would have never done.  We watched the Pelicans dine on an ocean buffet at sunset.  We fed the homeless.  Found ourselves in a back alley with a Hispanic gang.  We bought lunch for a man who spent 20 years in a Federal Prison.  We watched Sam do a back flip at every landmark and activity we did. We ran on the Golden Gate Bridge. We stacked rocks on every beach.  We rode on a double decker bus with bitterly cold winds in our face.  We laughed and laughed.  We talked and talked.

When things didn't go as planned, we leaned into it, and kept a perspective and things did go wrong plenty of times.  Shelbie had a few seizures, Sam had some vision issues, at one point, someone said, "We are like a bunch of escapees from a nursing home." It was true, we hobbled along.  Our toilet broke in our hotel room.  They tried for one entire day to get it fixed but it took a second day so we had to keep running down to the lobby to use the public bathroom.  I think the manager was caught off guard that we didn't whine and complain but rather, laughed and waved to her as we passed the front desk on our way to the bathroom at 2 in the morning.

Sam at the Salt Flats PC: Spencer

Me at the Salt Flats PC: Spencer

Sam doing a handstand on my hand!! 

Monterey Bay. We went to the awesome aquarium and played on the beach. 
The next stop was Santa Cruz and the Mystery Spot.  The Mystery Spot is a place up in the mountains where gravity is all messed up.  This place just about killed us all!  It messes with your brain and equilibrium and blood pressure and the boys' pacemakers.  We all just about puked in the middle of this cabin.  Even though it looks like we are standing at an angle, everything was perfectly level. The boys could stand on the side of the wall without holding on to anything and just balanced there.

Our tour guide wanted this picture.  Sam is actually not at all in danger of falling, it just looks like it.  
I was holding on to Sam and Shelbie for dear life because we felt like we were going to topple into the wall. 

frIt was a weird place but fun. 
From the Mystery Spot, we drove into Santa Cruz.  Another freezing cold day but we hung out on the beach anyways.  We flew little kites, stacked rocks, and played on the board walk.

I use to do a lot of weaving as a kid so I thought it would be fun to weave something at every beach with whatever natural materials were available to use.  This was my second one- kelp, driftwood and feathers. 

My kids said I had to get a tattoo.  Mostly because they know how much I hate the idea of tattoos.  I guess I just have never loved something so much, I felt compelled to ink it into my skin.  Since this was a vacation of YES, not saying No, I sat for a fake tattoo.  I had to close my eyes while they chose the subject matter.  Of course, they picked the dumbest thing- a fat panda bear but it was funny!!  It was right after that, they dragged me onto a roller coaster!

 We tried to be at a beach for each sunset because my kids all love taking pictures.  Santa Cruz has this beautiful lighthouse and as we watched the sailboats and sun set, Shelbie's eyes filled up with tears and said, "This is one of those moments I hope I never forget."  It was a moment when we were filled with so much love and gratitude for each other.  Honestly, we could have just come home and it would have been perfect!

Our last two days were spent in San Francisco.  I did not want to drive so I bought a bus pass that allowed us to get on and get off at 34 different places around the city and even went over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.   It was about 53 degrees and the wind was wicked as we spent the day on the double decker bus.  San Francisco has some interesting history.  It seems like they just keep rebuilding the city from all the earthquakes. 

 One of the kids' must see things, was called Clarion Alley.  It is located in the Mission District which I believe is the Artsy area.  It's just one long back alley of graffiti and street art.   The streets were lined with questionable people selling what appeared to be stolen items.  The stuff wasn't in stores, just literally laying on the sidewalk, like a big yard sale.  I called them 'Entrepreneurs'.  Car theft is the number one crime in the city.  I wasn't too keen on parking my car here and walking around but that is what we did.  There was a Hispanic gang in the alley and while we were there, the police came to pay them a visit...I was a little out of my comfort zone you could say!!  But...the art was cool!

We stopped to visit with this guy learning to play the guitar.  He was nice, a little out there but nice. 

Several times, we heard people say we needed to visit Baker Beach. It's close to Golden Gate Bridge and a beautiful view of area.  As we got there, just a little before sunset, the beach was nearly empty.   We headed down towards a beautiful outcropping of rocks with a nice view of the bridge. Of course, more rocks to stack.

Here's the deal, we spent quite a bit of time at the rocks on Baker Beach, by the time we left, more people had arrived and were walking around.  As we came around the bend of the rocks, we ran into naked men!! Shocking to say the least!! They were just standing around!  It was 50 degrees!! Who does that?  As we were scurrying on down the beach, there was a fully clothed man standing at the shore line and I said to him, "Can you tell me what is happening here?  Why the naked men?"
In a very quiet, awkward voice, and without making eye contact with me, said, "I'm not from here.  I was wondering the same thing."  

Turns out, after further research it is also one of the best known nudist beaches!  There were no signs posted and everyone who recommended the  beach said it was popular for families during holidays. Only awkward things like this happen to me...

Our last stop was the Sutra baths.  This was once a bath house but after many years of earthquakes and destruction, this is all that is left.  It was a breathtaking view and a beautiful hike down to the water's edge. 

So, it was a perfect week.  I did have to deal with some health stuff.  The surgeon's office called, they were hoping to have us come last Thursday.  The most Senior Surgeon at University of Utah/Huntsman has reviewed all of Shelbie's scans.  He has also met with two other surgeons who will be with him in the surgical suite.  We will meet with them this Wednesday and the procedure will follow soon after.  He still has hope that they will be able to remove the necessary tumors in a less invasive way and they are trying to come up with that plan before Wednesday.  If they determine a safe way to do that, they may be able to accomplish that the same day, otherwise, surgery will likely be next week. 

My hand became much worse while being gone.  I will start Physical Therapy tomorrow.  I had to play the organ in church today and it was my first time attempting to play.  During a quick run through, I could not for the life of me, get my left hand to co operate when there was more than just one note.  I ended up having to change the songs at the last minute to something with fewer notes and as it was, I couldn't use my left hand.  Some people mentioned afterwards that they saw I was playing with one hand and asked how I could still make it sound okay. I don't know how I did that.  It kind of breaks my heart that it's such a struggle.  I realize it was a calling I dreaded and even hated but it has become something I love.  It was stretched me in ways I didn't think were possible.  When I sit at the organ to play, I think of my grandma who taught me to play and shared her love of the organ with me throughout the years.

Here's to a big and busy week as we watch life unfold.  I hope I can maintain my new perspective and let God put his meaning on things before I rush in to make it all a mess.


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