Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Smart Forecast

Tonight Hubby Tony and I were talking about what time sunset would be, so I opened the Weather Underground app on my phone to check. Just above the sun and moon information, I saw a feature I had never noticed before called Smart Forecast.  After clicking around on the screen I learned that the feature lets you choose the weather conditions you'd prefer for different activities (running, biking, landscape photography, walking, fishing, star gazing, hiking, kite flying, gardening, sailing, surfing, and wildflower photography) and the app will tell you when those conditions are met.

I decided to try making a walking forecast.  I chose the acceptable and ideal ranges for the temperature, wind speed, chance of precipitation, air pollution, and the acceptable times for doing the activity. Next I chose one of the seven different color options and hit 'Done'.

The result was an interesting graph:

However, in the next five days the conditions will often be acceptable, but they will never be ideal.  I guess I'll have to wait until the temperatures cool off to see if there's an additional notification for that.

Five years ago today: Tasting Event

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Last Of The Family Fun (California, Summer 2018)

The day after our jaunt to Sacramento was the Fourth of July.  Daughter-in-law Nicole had a previously scheduled bike ride, and was already gone when the rest of us woke up. Son Brian had done some research and suggested that the San Jose Rose, White & Blue Parade would be a good morning activity for the rest of us. After breakfast he packed a bag with snacks and drinks for Grandson Jay and made sure the stroller was in the car before we left.

The parade started at 10:00. For almost two hours we saw floats, Scout groups, bands, antique car clubs, dance groups, service organizations, and groups of pets go by. There was a festival area at the end of the route, but  Jay was getting tired, so we walked back to the car and drove to a Panera close to the house, where we met Nicole for lunch. Then it was back to the house for nap time.


Brian and Nicole had invited some friends over for dinner. They arrived about four o'clock, each bringing a dish to share. Brian and Nicole provided ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, and chips. Tony and I threw in a bag of Belly Flop jelly beans. After dinner we sat outside. As it got dark Brian offered Tony and I the chance to go watch fireworks. We declined. However, their house was close enough to the city's display that I heard the boom of the show for an hour after I went to bed.

Wikipedia

On Thursday, the last day before Tony and I few back home, Brian and Nicole took the day off and we made a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Brian and Nicole are members, and their extra guest passes got me and Tony in for free. We spent a couple hours there, concentrating on Jay's favorite displays-the habitat exhibits with lots of fish, the penguins, and the children's area.

Before we left the aquarium we ate lunch in the cafe (where I thought the food was surprisingly good for a cultural institution).  After lunch we walked a couple of blocks for ice cream, then got back in the car and headed home. It took Jay about five minutes to fall asleep, and he napped for the entire  drive.

Brian had after-dinner plans, so Nicole, Tony, and I took James to the park, where he had a great time climbing, sliding, and digging in the sand.  At bedtime we gave Jay extra hugs and kisses, because we didn't know if he would be awake the next morning when Brian drove us to the airport.

Five years ago today: Hospitable Hosts

Friday, July 13, 2018

Extended Family Fun (California, Summer 2018)

When Hubby Tony found out we were going to have some time to ourselves on this trip he contacted his cousin Jean (on his mom's side) to see if we could visit with her. Although they are cousins, Jean is about 30 years older than Tony. She lives in Sun City Lincoln Hills, a planned senior community  a half hour north of Sacramento.

We rented a car for this trip. Tony called the rental office Monday morning to arrange for them to pick us up. The person he spoke to wrote down the time wrong, and the shuttle driver ended up arriving a half hour late. However, to make up for their mistake they gave us a slightly bigger car and waived the return gas fill up requirement, a nice bonus.

Our drive started out the same way as our previous route, but this time we went farther north on Interstate 5. We passed through Sacramento and kept going. When we arrived at Jean's we were greeted by her son Nick, who lives with her. Jean was right behind him. Although frail-looking, she gave both me and Tony a firm hug and invited us in. We chatted for several hours. Jean was able to answer many of Tony's questions about some of his long-deceased family members. I took notes so Tony would be able to remember all the details.

At the end of the visit Tony and I drove to a nearby Starbucks, where we used the wi-fi to research hotels in Sacramento. It was the beginning of rush hour when we got back on the road, but we eventually made it to our destination. We checked in, dropped off our bags, and immediately searched for places to go to dinner. Yelp directed us to a nearby Thai restaurant, then a ice cream parlor for dessert. When we returned to the hotel it was time for bed.

Then next day we relied on Yelp again to find a great coffee shop for breakfast, then headed to the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, a historical landmark that was once the western termini of the Pony Express and first transcontinental railroad.  Many of the historical buildings have been repurposed into stores and restaurants.  We walked around for a couple of hours, had lunch, then started back towards "home". This time we took a different route, which allowed us to visit the Arboretum at University of California-Davis. For part of the walk through the grounds we were escorted by a pair of turkeys:


Our last stop was in Fairfield, where we visited the Jelly Belly factory.

Jelly Belly factory
The plan was to take a factory tour, but the wait to get in was 30 minutes. Both Tony and I were tired, so we settled for visiting the gift shop, where we stocked up on Belly Flops (irregulars that didn't make the quality cut) and got back on the road again. I'm glad we did; thanks to a couple of accidents traffic was really bad heading back into the Bay area.  We had to be back at the rental car office by 5:30, and made it just in time.

One more set of adventures awaited us before we came home.

Five years ago today: How Exciting!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Family Old And New (California, Summer 2018)

Son Tony and his fiancee Ie live in Dallas, but she grew up in Central California. When Hubby Tony and I figured out we would be babysitting, we asked if there was any way we could get together to meet some of Ie's family. Eventually we heard there would a casual barbecue get-together at one of Ie's sister's houses.

After Hubby Tony and I left Grandson Jay with his parents we left for Manteca, a city approximately 75 miles away. Thanks to some heavy traffic it took close to two hours to get there.  We moved from Interstate 880 to 680 to 580 to 205, then got onto a state highway for another ten minutes.

Ie comes from a large family. Her mother and all but one of her siblings were there, and with spouses and children there were about 30 people! I did my best to remember names and family groups, but joked that I hoped there wasn't a quiz at the end.  Most of the people there had never been to the Midwest, so we spent some time talking about the differences in our areas.

Ie is a first generation Asian-American, with parents that came to this country in the late 1970s. The buffet meal contained dishes like barbecued meat and vegetable skewers, tossed green salad, and tortilla chips with salsa. Next to those were green papaya salad, egg rolls, and spicy pickled greens. Dessert was tasty Nab Vam (Tapioca in Coconut Milk), a mixture of chopped fruits and tiny boba swimming in a sweet liquid.

Nab Vam - Pinterest

After several wonderful hours of socializing and eating, Hubby Tony and I left to drive back to Santa Clara.  Everyone else in the house was asleep when we got in, so we quietly climbed into bed to get ready for the next day.

Son Tony and Ie were combining family time with personal vacation time. Sunday afternoon they stopped by Son Brian and DIL Nicole's house for lunch and socializing!  It was great to have most of the family together. (The only one missing was Son Donald, who was back in Missouri working and taking university summer classes).  Eventually Tony and Ie left for their next commitment.

After dinner Hubby Tony and I packed up our suitcases for the next adventure.

Five years ago today: All The Excitement Happened In The First Half-Hour Of Work Today. Then It Went Back To Normal.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

All In The Family (California, Summer 2018)

Shortly after the new year started Son Brian and DIL Nicole approached Hubby Tony and I about babysitting grandson Jay while they flew to the East Coast to attend a wedding at the end of June. We quickly agreed. The plane tickets were purchased in April, and then it was a matter of waiting.

Tony and I flew into San Jose on Tuesday afternoon. Brian picked us up from the airport, and we were just getting settled into our bedroom when Nicole and Jay arrived home from day care. We talk with the family via Face Time most weeks, but it still took Jay a little while to get used to us in the flesh.  At the end of the evening we watched his night time routine (so important for a 20-month old). On Wednesday we shadowed Brian, learning the morning routine and day care drop off and pick up.

A great day for a game
While Jay was at day care and Mom and Dad were working we drove to the nearby San Jose Earthquakes stadium, where they were showing World Cup games on the huge video screen. We watched Brazil beat Serbia in Group E play and got some great food truck lunch. After dinner that night Brian and Nicole left for the airport, leaving Grandma and Grandpa in charge for two and a half days.

Chalk is always fun

I was proud that we successfully navigated the first bath and bedtime without a hitch, and when Jay briefly awoke in the middle of the night he accepted my glass of water, then laid down and went right back to sleep.

We took Jay to day care both Thursday and Friday, then spent the days exploring the San Jose and Santa Clara area.  
Carmelite Monastery, Santa Clara

Del Monte Park, San Jose

In the evenings after dinner we read books, played with balls and bubbles, and took walks around the block. On Saturday morning we pushed Jay in his trike to the local strip mall. Brian and Nicole got home Saturday afternoon. We handed Jay back over to them, and borrowed Nicole's car for the next part of our California adventure.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Welcoming Weather

Ten days ago Hubby Tony and I left for a trip to Northern California. While we were there we visited with nuclear family, extended family, and new family. We were also able to get some time for ourselves. The weather was beautiful the whole time.

Our plane got in mid-afternoon yesterday, and we walked out of the airport into a typical hot and humid St. Louis day. It took ten minutes for the parking lot shuttle bus to arrive, and by the time I got on my shirt was sticking to my sweaty back. The rest of the day was filled with playing with the cats, unpacking, organizing, and laundry. After dinner Tony cut the very long grass and I made a quick grocery run. We went to bed early, not even bothering to watch the local news.

This morning we continued our catching up activities. I did more laundry, and put it all away. Downloaded photos from my phone, Tony's phone, and the camera. Caught up with work emails and scheduled some jobs for the upcoming week. After lunch I realized I had some errands that had to be run, so I got ready to leave the house. When I walked out into the garage I realized that the weather had changed from the previous day. It was really nice--almost the same weather we had left behind on the West Coast!

When I got home from the errands I opened up the windows so the fresh air could come in. Based on tomorrow's forecast we'll be closing the house up again tomorrow, but I'll take the nice weather when I can get it.

Five years ago today: Bromeliaceous