Sunday, January 2, 2022

New Years, the Beach & Alcatraz

This will be my final post documenting the week I had both girls in my new home in California. That is still weird to write as I pinch myself daily I’m here. It was fun and we did a ton. I’m exhausted. Either I’m getting old or my simple life is making me weak for adventure (or I have COVID…I’ll take my 100th test later this week). 

I dig these two. It hit me tonight this is the first time since I gave birth to them that I do not have a date when I will see them next. I guess this is empty nesting. I’m sure we will get something scheduled soon. 



We celebrated New Years Eve with friends of mine. I’m sure it will be a NYE my girls will not forget. Needless to say, fun was had by all. 







Although I’m a huge goal setter I have never really made NYE resolutions. But I love how January 1 forces me to reflect upon the previous year and I have to say…2021 was good to me. Yes, the pandemic still sucked ass but I learned a lot from COVID as well. I’m excited for 2022. 

The morning after NYE our plan was to drive along the coast stopping at a few beaches but it was cut short by…sleep. We had a little recovering to do from a late night. We did make it to Capitola though so Paradis could see the beach and watch the sunset. I cannot believe I live by this and cannot wait until summer! 











We were cracking up when all our phones lit up with a “Freeze Warning” alert. The temp was going to be 28°. Both girls were in flip flops and it was -30° back home!



Today was a sad one as we had to put Paradis back on a plane for Minnesota. We drove to San Francisco and first took a ferry to Alcatraz. 













Can you imagine being a prisoner and being this close to one of the most beautiful cities in our country? 





The girls were looking for collection jar goodies. We were fortunate enough to walk along the Agave Trail which is only open a couple months a year due to the area being used by birds for nesting the other months. Despite the horrible things that happened there, the island is really very beautiful.  







Annelies and I said our goodbyes to Paradis and drove back home. I took a much needed nap and dropped off the car I rented through Turo. I jumped on a bus back home and I have to say it was very soothing. I plan to write a post soon about my public transit experience, but I really do enjoy the simplicity. 



Overall the week was wonderful showing both my girls my new home. I miss them but I’m so glad we can see one another during our travels. 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2022 brings you everything you desire. - Rae Ann


Friday, December 31, 2021

Hot Pot, Interactive & a Show

I missed a day of blogging because we had a slow day. I must start with a photo from the night previous when the girls used my work backpack’s built in bottle opener! I love their trouble-shooting skills. 



We made another trip to a cannabis dispensary. Warning: I’m jumping on my soap box… 

A part of me is hesitant to add the dispensary visit because of the stigma around weed, but that is just silly. There is no difference with sharing our experience at a wine tasting and that of a cannabis shop. Both are legal substances that are ingested with the intent to become impaired. If your brain has a tendency to think differently I urge you to open your mind. I’m not a huge weed consumer but I have adjusted my biases over the last few years and find it is silly it is still illegal in some states. Off soap box…

We made our way to San Jose and spent some time wiggling three people’s belongings into my 450sf apartment. Anna had shaved her head the night before so she cleaned that up a bit and dyed it again. 

The girls wanted a Hot Pot dinner, so off we went. 



Afterwards they wanted to hang at home for the night so that is what they did (while I returned our Turo car and went out with a friend). It was a good day. 

The next morning I grabbed a new Turo car and dropped the girls off at The Tech Interactive (like the Science museum in Minnesota). I was so happy when they took public transit back!!! 





Later that night we walked to a Cirque de Soleil show downtown (which was amazing!) and afterwards stopped by Christmas in the Park for a hot dog and over-priced hot chocolate. 











It has been raining a fair amount since Paradis arrived so we are looking forward to the sun making a presence the next couple days. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Castle, Candy & Cut

Our day started with a wine tasting in a castle in Calistoga called Castello di Amorosa. Annelies can’t drink, Paradis doesn’t really like wine, and I’m no wine expert but when in Napa Valley…







I agree with Paradis when she said “if you aren’t into wine but want to do a tasting, doing it in a castle is best”. It was really cool. Paradis and I sampled six wines, along with chocolates, and the only drink we ended up buying was the grape juice Annelies was given. She loved it! 







Of course it is winter and foggy outside but the drive was beautiful. I’m looking forward to returning next summer. It is so close to my new home! 



From there we moved on to sugar and visited the Jelly Belly factory. I love factory tours. When I was a little girl I watched Mr. Rogers and my favorite episodes were when he visited factories. I would dream of working at a factory when I got old enough. 





Those are bins and bins of Jelly Bellys! As far as tours go it was really good. Very informative. Of course we were dumped into the gift shop and bought $36 worth of “belly flops” - beans that don’t make the quality cut. 



From there we drove to Berkeley and stopped at a cannabis dispensary. I’m no expert but I do need to say budtenders are some of the nicest people I have ever met. 

We made our way to San Leandro, checked into our hotel, ordered Door Dash, and shaved Annelies’ head! If you are wondering if the dispensary stop had anything to do with that decision I’ll just say…I’m not really sure.



I ended the night sitting in the hotel lobby, in front of the fire, writing my blog. It was a great day. 





Monday, December 27, 2021

Napa Christmas

I am SO so happy!! The three of us are back together! Annelies flew in a couple weeks ago for her college break (I’ll post activities after this trip) and Paradis flew in today for a week. We are going on a mini road trip to Napa. 



Today started early at 4am when I got a call from Paradis saying Sun Country cancelled every domestic flight due to a system outage. I was half asleep when I paid $628 for a one-way ticket to SFO. Ouch. But well worth it to give her a hug when she got off that plane. 

We made our way to Sausalito where we had some lunch on the Bay at Salito. 





Then we drove to Muir Woods National Monument. It has been raining here but it was truly majestic. 









We checked in to a hotel and will not be leaving tonight. We are all are a bit tired as the night was short. 

It is so nice to be with my girls. We talked non-stop today and I imagine tomorrow will be the same.