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Bring it on San Francisco.

Bring it on!
I can take it.
How about another day of being beaten to death by the wind, on a boat to Alcatraz.
How about another day of walking all over this city and then forgetting where you parked your car. And then spending another hour finding it. But only after you spend $100.00 on a spaghetti dinner for the family… and not even an amazing spaghetti dinner… but just a regular old spaghetti dinner.
How about another aggressively friendly nudist?
How about two more nights cooped up in one hotel room with my entire family.
How about seventy three more trips in an elevator with my four sons.
All I really want to know is how many more years until my four sons can ride an elevator without having to get into an All Star Wresting Match?
And when do they learn to stand in line without poking each other’s eyes out?
Here are some things I have learned about my family and vacations on this trip.
1. Beaches are great.
2. Parks are great.
3. They can tolerate long walks… barely… but are completely unable to walk without smashing each other in the stomach several times.
5. Why is this?
6. Why the smashing in the stomach?
7. WHY!!!
9. Pretty much everything other than parks, beaches and stomach smashing walks are going to be a challenge.
10. But I am up for a challenge.
11. You ain’t got me beat yet San Francisco.
12. I am not down yet.
13. I may look like I am down, but I am not.
14. Okay, I am kind of down,
15. Okay I am pretty much dead.
16. But give me eight hours of sleep and I will be ready again.
17. I hope…

Day Two San Francisco dawned bright, warm and sunny. We had spent our first day walking from one end of the city to the other and then we hit the beach where were greeted by an aggressively friendly nudist.
How could San Francisco possibly get better than that?
So we opted to head to Berkeley on our second day. After strolling around the beautiful campus for a while we moved on to Oakland for a friendly ball game between the Oakland Athletics and our own Kansas City Royals.

Oh Oakland…
Oh dear Oakland…
Oh my Oakland!!!

For in Oakland, my children were to receive an education in the art of cursing out a ball player unlike anything they had ever heard before. Which is not to say that my children have never heard cursing before because well yeah – okay – um maybe from a few movies and uh also maybe uh… maybe just a little… from their mom. But only tiny little bits and only when it was completly necessary – like when a snake crawled out of the brick pile or when I have to deal with traffic or maybe… um maybe… just when I am kind of TIRED AND SICK AND ACHY AND SHAKY AND AT MY WITS END AND SO DONE WITH EVERYTHING THAT I CAN ONLY COPE BY SAYING REALLY ROTTEN WORDS but that doesn’t happen very often.

Well – it doesn’t happen every day…
Most of the time it doesn’t…
And when I do curse it is usually under my breath…
Most of the time…
So Oakland was kind of a new experience for our whole family.

The young men sitting behind us were our professors.
Trust me, they were not even trying to curse under their breaths.
And strangely – the more they drank, the more they cursed.
Eventually, they got so riled up, that security knocked them out of the park.
But our family had found a different place to sit by then and guess what? We managed to sit down right in front of a new group of young male professors who continued with our colorful language lessons.
I was so glad we didn’t fall behind
I have never been so glad to see the Kansas City Royals win a baseball game in my life.
You go Royals!
Woo Hoo!
Love Them Royals!
We drove back to San Fran….cisco – and in the last few hours of daylight, we explored Golden Gate Park.

Which would become my favorite part of the city.

I guess maybe it reminded me a little of home. But with better pastry…

I especially loved the Japanese Tea Garden where I received this fortune.

And immediately started making big plans…




I don’t have a business!

But if I did, you better believe I would be expanding it.

One by one, my family disappeared into the small Japanese garden and I was left alone with my tea and a pigeon and this moment here…

This little tiny respite…
This little vacation inside a vacation…
This was my favorite place in San Francisco.

Oh! – And the Japanese Garden itself is a masterpiece.

They have amazingly therapeutic tea there!
It somehow gives you new strength.
It is almost like magic tea.
For after I drank it, I was able to smile at my kids again.
I need to get me some more of that tea.

The Pyro Crew

May 15th, 2009

Every Fourth of July. our small town hosts the most spectacular fireworks show in the area.

It is planned, organized, designed, built, and set off by a volunteer group of local men known as the Pyro Crew.

This year the fireworks show was moved from it’s old location in the City Park to the brand new ballfields, which meant that the show could be even bigger, louder, and that even more people could watch it from the surrounding soccer fields and hillsides.

Because I am a very serious blogger and am also practically dripping with investigative reporting skills, I went down to the ballfields on the morning of the Fourth to interview the guys about the process of being a member of the Pyro Crew.

They told me a lot of things about all the planning…

and the organizing…
and the technical difficulties…
and the paperwork…

But mostly…
I just noticed how cool their shirts were.

And it made me want to be a part of the Pyro Crew so that I could have a Pyro Crew shirt.

But I don’t think they are going to let me join them.

Because after talking with them for quite a while… all I really remember is this one little detail…

The Pyro Crew uses pipes like the one pictured above to light the fuses on the firework thingys…
I asked them how long they had after they lit the fuse to get away.

They told me you have about one second.
Then they said…
You don’t get away….

You just try and duck down a little bit…
After that I decided that I don’t really want to be on the Pyro Crew after all.

But that is okay…

Because the world of investigative journalism needs me much more.