We had had some rather wonderful company a weekend or so ago, and David was telling of our visits to San Francisco. Sure enough, he made plans for us to go again, making reservations at the Queen Anne and Cafe de Paris. Friday after work, we took off again, leaving Jena, Drew and John to watch the home fires.

Another insane and crazy drive amoungst the Bay Area commuters included the usual dodges and amazement these people actually survive to live another day. We made a mental note to try and avoid a sunset trip next time, as we drove over a small summit to be completely blinded by the setting sun at 75 mph, along with everyone else on the road. Fun!

Ah, the city again. A lovely brisk 65 degrees. There is something simply enchanting about arriving in the city. There are the usual sights, including a very beautiful, tall, dressed to kill, blonde he/she walking the streets. Just another day there. Love it.

We checked into the Queen Anne. Now, David doesn't have to sign anything to check in as we have a history in their computer. Is this a good thing? We received the keys to room 411, a new room. Strange room, nice, but almost unwelcoming, a back room with windows that faced a narrow alley. We dropped our bags and went down stairs to investigate a new place to eat. I wanted so badly to ask for another room but kept mum.

Off to the wharf where we found a parking spot with rare ease. David said this must be a charmed weekend, let's make sure we buy a lotto ticket. At the Fisherman's Grotto we walked past the first entrance, stopped at the second to notice they had Scallone, one of our favorites. In we go. What we didn't realize is that the first door leads you to the normal, sophisticated, classic dining room. The second entrance leads to another area that instantly reminds you of Santa's Village or Candy Land with gaily painted candy cane poles and booths. The waiter should have been an elf, but he was a very serious young man who had absolutely no idea if they served a particular beer or not, despite the fact it appeared on their menu. David, thankfully, refrained from calling attention to the stick the waiter had in some indescetional location to his face. Crab cakes and Scallone were good, quietly making fun of the stuffed waiter and the decor was even more fun. Next time, we are going to ask to sit in the adult section.

During dinner, I noticed my notebook was missing. This can't be, what would I do without this? A search of the car revealed nothing, I am stumped, and lost without it.

A stop at the Ghiradelli's chocolate store, and goody gifts for everyone. Returning to the hotel, we stopped at the desk to ask for an ashtray, only to be informed that room 411 was a nonsmoking room. After a moment's delay, the clerk handed us two new keys. Room 406. Oh, why am I surprised? Thank you, God. We settled into our old, familiar, welcoming, comfy room for a blissful night's sleep. I have to remember next trip to check what kind of mattress that is.

Another leisurely morning, several trips down to the lobby for coffee and finally we leave the hotel for breakfast at The Ramp in China Basin. This place is a delight which receives one of our few three star ratings. A bumpy, uneven patio at the edge of the water full of character, levels, tables, planters, balconies, great service, wonderful food and excellent Bloody Mary's.

Next stop was the Bed & Bath store for a bath scrubbie our store at home doesn't carry. It is totally impossible just to walk in and out of a two story Bed & Bath, so we ended up with a larger 8 quart pressure cooker and assorted cooking accessories. That's when I saw the shopping cart escalator. You put your cart in it's stall, a series of side spokes pick it up and carry it down along side the normal people conveyor. We had to try this! We even returned upstairs just to see the cart go back up the escalator. How fun. In the parking lot the shopping cart just froze up, solid. It was simply too much for the poor thing. David is now known as the shopping cart killer.

We passed a real, authentic garage sale. You know I had to stop. We left with an antique colander and several other fun kitchen things. We both had to use a bathroom and the hotel was closest, so we stopped there, returned to the car to find my notebook beside the car under a parked motorcycle. All this time!! Thank you, God!

Haight Ashbury. Again, a sudden parking space right on Haight. Shopping for Renaissance fabric, Indian bedspreads, the Gargoyle bead shop is gone!!! More plants and they are handing out a paperback, Wild Animus. At Haight and Ashbury, there is a sincere and serious guy with a pocket protector and a sign protesting the book, declaring the end of the world if the book is read. Several bystanders (obviously past residents like myself) and I had a laugh about how some things never change. I am actually toting a camera like a tourist and taking shots thinking about how KP would love to see this. A bumper sticker for Jena "Clear the Road - I am SIXTEEN!"

Back to the wharf for our normal feeding of the gulls and seals. We were greeted by a seal who almost performed and begged, staying head out of the water watching us. David ran down for shrimp but the seal saw a boat come in and went down there to beg. Due to a complete and total, serious lack of brain, all the film of the flying gulls, including one who actually posed for me and he hovered in for a landing, was lost. Getting gray, are we? The infamous BushMan scared a woman who shook his hands, thrilled to meet the guy. Drinks to warm up at the wharf and back to the hotel.

Dinner at Cafe de Paris was, as usual, heavenly. We had the steak (David) and salmon (me) as usual, the Meringue dessert, ordered two jars of the garlic steak sauce to go home with us and waddled back to the car after a $100 plus tab. When we parked I joked about us stealing one the Queen Anne parking signs for the driveway at home, but the screws were rusted and not to be moved.

I went downstairs for ice and the same friendly clerk was there. I had to ask, what is with room 208? 410 is notoriously haunted, but something about room 208 has always intrigued me. She looked up, light bulb went off and she went back into the office to return with a photo. A girl sitting on the couch no the second floor, right next to the door to room 208. As clearly as day, there is an orb. She said people bring her pictures of orbs in that area all the time. We spoke for quite a while until I realized I should probably get back upstairs, although I know David won't worry, he knows exactly what I am doing. Snooping around my favorite haunt.

Another grand night's sleep, packing and coffee. At the car I joke about the first stop being a hardware store to get tools to remove a sign. David looks around. Guess what's lying on the ground at another parking spot? Yup. Going on the driveway fence at home. (Charmed?) Off to North Beach to find Mo's for breakfast. We spied a used bookstore we had never visited, the Black Oak Books, and it was another hundred dollar bill spent, but the books are fantastic. An old Quaker cookbook, an 1802 set of five history books and an 1929 copy of Volume One of the Mabinogion. Wandering the streets of Chinatown we found vegetable seeds and we can only guess the names of some of those we bought. I keep thinking if KP ever made it to SF, all the places we would take her? We would need a least two weekends. A stop at the Fortune Cookie Factory for cookies for Jena and we return to the car four hours later.

Last stop, Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploritorium. I have not had so much fun in years. If we had not worried about traffic, we would have stayed a few more hours.

Oh, we lost five dollars on the 97 million dollar lottery. Oh well.

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