Category Archive: Golden Gate Park

Our last visitors: B+B’s visit to Oakland

Before our big move back down to Long Beach we were able to host one final set of friends, Brian and Brianne. It was bittersweet but it was so nice to be able to share our second home, the Bay Area, with our closest friends one last time.

We spent the majority of their short visit across the bridge in our favorite city, San Francisco. We visited one of our most favorite spots in the city: Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.






And we made another day trip back across the bridge to do the most touristy thing ever but something none of us had ever done: Alcatraz!



Of course they had to get lunch at Boudin…having worked across from Pier 39 for 3.5 years it was definitely not on my bucket list before we left the Bay Area, haha.


Sirena and Auntie Bri




Nerd alert!


Family photo (minus Lola) with our favorite city in the background



It got freaking chilly after the sun went down on our side of the island and we had to wait for the darn ferry. Glad we came prepared!


Goodbye, San Francisco and the amazing Bay Area. We love you and we’re so grateful for all of our adventures!!

City life + swingin’ in the trees

This past weekend Kevin, Lola and I had a completely free schedule so we took full advantage of it.  We drove into the city on Saturday to enjoy what we thought was going to be a super sunny, warm day…

View of the Ferry Building from the Bay Bridge…it was such a clear day, you rarely see this view with such clarity going over the bridge!

Lola anxious to get to our destination

View of the Ferry Building from Embarcadero

Our first destination was North Beach–I still have a SF library card (shh, don’t tell them we moved to Oakland) and so I reserved some pregnancy/childbirth books to pick up at the North Beach branch since it’s so close to work and they were ready for pick up so we figured we’d stop there first to check ’em out.  Then we decided to take full advantage of our location to enjoy some yummy Italian food for lunch.

Kevin enjoying some major sunshine at Caffe Delucchi

Some graffiti art around North Beach

We then decided to treat Lola to a visit to our old stomping grounds…Golden Gate Park!  To our surprise, though, by the time we got to that part of the city the weather had completely changed.  It went from sunny and warm to cold, foggy, and rainy!  Even though we lived in the city for 2 years and experienced this on a number of occasions we still couldn’t get over the fact that a 15 minute drive could get us to what seemed like a completely different part of the country.  We tried to make the best of it though to get Lola some much-needed and well-deserved exercise!

The tip top of the dome of the Conservatory of Flowers

Thar she blows!  Not too shabby of a background for our rendezvous in the park.

Lola’s newest obsession?  Frisbee!  We love the Kong frisbee, it is the absolute best for a sharp-toothed dog like Lola.

Kevin getting a good throw in

Lola being a good girl and bringing it back to us (about 85% of the time, anyways!)

The next day we made a trip to Albany Hill Park to do some exploring on this hill that we had seen numerous times driving around North Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/Richmond…it was about time we made a trip up the hill and we are so glad we did!

Be-a-u-tiful eucalyptus trees!

The view from the east side of the hill (I forgot to take a picture of the view of the bay from the other side of the hill)

To our delight, we found a tree swing just hanging out and begging for Kevin to give it a whirl!  He spent a good 15 minutes swinging on that thing and Lola’s reaction to him swinging was so perfect, I caught a couple of hilarious videos for your viewing pleasure!

Kevin up among the trees (and Lola below, freaking out)

Lola attempting to bite Kevin’s ankle upon landing, hahah.

Kevin about to give me a good whack in the face (and Lola trailing behind)…I love this photo.

Lola about to get smacked in the face by Kevin’s big ol’ feet!  I’m surprised she didn’t get hit the whole time they did this.

And here are the videos! Here’s the first time Kevin attempted the tree swing and Lola’s initial reaction to all the action. Here’s another video of Kevin dodging Lola’s attempts to bring him down from the rope swing.  And here’s a quick video of Lola versus the rope swing.

The result of Lola’s battle with the rope swing?…

…one very sleepy pup.

Bay to Breakers 12k

My brother Derek and I ran in the centennial race of the Bay to Breakers 12k on Sunday 5/15–it was the first time that we ran a race together and I was so excited when he decided to run it with me!

The day before the race Derek, Kevin and I headed over to the B2B Expo to pick up our race bibs.

We saw Dean Karnazes!  He’s the “ultra marathon man” who recently ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 days!!

It was so cool seeing our names right next to each other

We had fun in the historical exhibit, showcasing 100 years of the race…

Me and Derek next to the infamous pink gorilla costume

Posing next to the 1983 shirt (the year I was born)

Derek not so happy about the lavender/pink 1986 shirt (the year he was born)

On the way back to the car we noticed this frightening sight…a random woman’s photo in a drain pipe.  Wtf?!

Race morning!  We were up bright-and-early to jump on the BART downtown to meet with all of the other runners.  It was really cool being on the train full of runners, some even in costume.

Beautiful morning!  Luckily the rain stopped for race day.

Sun breaking through the clouds over the Bay Bridge, minutes before the start of the race

Derek’s race number (out of 55,000 participants…he JUST made it!)

We felt like cows being herded to the starting line.  Some folks decided it would be a good idea to bring bags and bags full of corn tortillas to fling amongst the crowd.  Nothing like flying tortillas to pump up a crowd, I guess.

The aftermath

Starting line!  Only 7.5 miles to go…

There were TONS of characters I saw along the way…

A group of people dressed in tighty whities

Flight attendants along the road directing the traffic


Escaped prisoners from Alcatraz


Salmon (running upstream)

Mahna Mahna muppets

Up the awfully steep Hayes Street hill…

But at the top I was rewarded with the smiling face and the cheers of my co-worker Jayme!  She even made me a sign saying “Go Lisa!”, so sweet!  She and her husband came down from Marin County to visit with a friend who lives off of Alamo Square park so had front row seats to the race.

Me and Jayme

The “Up” characters


Oompa Loompas

As I was nearing Golden Gate Park I finally saw my sister Jessie!  And within a few minutes of our visit we saw my brother pass us by too!  What perfect timing.

Running through Golden Gate Park

Mile 7!!


The ocean, so close to the end!

The finish line!

Derek finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes and I finished in 1 hour, 34 minutes.  Go us!

You can see our finish line photos here (my bib # is 47906 and Derek’s bib # is 54982).

You can also see a video clip of us crossing the finish line here!  For some reason the first video clip shown isn’t of us, but if you just wait it out for a minute or so and let the video refresh on its own you’ll see us cross the finish line about 30 seconds later!  You have to look us up individually by our bib numbers.

Gorilla dad and kids at the finish line

So unfortunately Derek and I hadn’t come up with a meeting place for after the race.  I had my cell phone on me so was able to get in touch with Jessie but we had no way of getting a hold of Derek!  And with 55,000+ people there, it was proving almost impossible to find him.  We searched for at least an hour and Jess and I decided to just sit on a rock on the side of the road in hopes that we see him…and within 10 minutes guess who came walking by!

Proud finishers with our commemorative medals…

We then shuffled our way to breakfast at the Bashful Bull diner.

Derek and Jess

Such a beautiful day!  The view of Bernal Hill from our apartment.

Lola getting some lovin’ from her Auntie Jessie

I was so incredibly sore after the race so after taking showers we all took a nap (in typical Delmar kid style!)  It was so much fun running the B2B race, especially since Derek was there with me and Jess was there to cheer us on!  We’ve got plans to run it (all three of us, and hopefully in costume) next year!  🙂

Dad & Mysty’s visit

The evening of the same day that we said bye to Thomas and Ashley, we welcomed my dad and his pup Mysty for a few days!  They drove out from Las Vegas and got in around 8:30 pm on Wednesday April 20th.  After catching up for a bit we hit the sack because we were all feeling pretty tired and Kevin and I had work the next morning.

Mysty was a little suspicious of us at first, haha!

While Kevin and I were at work on Thursday, my dad and Mysty made a trip down to San Jose to visit with my sister Jess and check out her apartment and her wine bar.  That night the three of us went to dinner at our favorite Salvadoran restaurant Balompie.  It was my dad’s second time having pupusas (but only the first time eating them at a restaurant) and I think we made a fan out of him!  After stuffing ourselves silly we made our way up the street to El Rico Pan, a Salvadoran bakery, for some goodies and coffee.  The pound cake was TO DIE FOR as well as the churro that Kevin swears by now so we’ll definitely have to make a trip (or two) back here.

All the yummy goodness within El Rico Pan bakery

Me and my dad with our pound cake!

On Friday while I was at work for a half day, Kevin and my dad took the pups to McLaren Park in our neighborhood to get the girls some exercise.  They then made their way to Pier 39 and walked around a bit while I finished up things at the office.  Once I was able to tear myself away, I jumped in the back of the car with the pups and we made our way to Golden Gate Park!

Me with barely enough room to sit with those two doggies in the backseat!

We made our way to (you guessed it!) Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake to take in the scenery and give ourselves and the dogs some exercise.  Lots of nature to be seen…

Ducks, seagulls and a turtle

Two ducks and a whole group of tiny ducklings!

Lola was a thirsty dog by the end of the hike!

A super random little character tied up in the tree.  Not sure what to make of it but felt the need to take a photo!

That night we took it easy, ordered in pizza from Pizzeria Sophia (it was our first time ordering from them…holy moly, such good pizza!) and watched some of the Laker game.  It had been a couple of years since I saw my dad (and a few for Kevin) so it was great spending a few days with him.  Hopefully a visit to Vegas is in the cards for Kevin and I in the near future!  🙂

Thomas & Ashley’s visit

Right on the heels of my trip to Napa with Jess, Kevin’s brother Thomas and his girlfriend Ashley came up for a 2-day visit!  They were here early the morning of Monday 4/18 and left super early Wednesday morning (ahem, 4:30am wake up call!) but it was an adventurous two days to say the least.  This was Ashley’s first time visiting SF so we pulled out all the stops for her visit.  🙂

We spent the afternoon enjoying the concrete Seward slides (see our first visit to the slides here) in the Castro.  At first we only had a few scrap pieces of cardboard to slide down and they weren’t too useful when the slides were dewy so we were actually on our way back to the car when we spotted a brand-spankin’ new computer monitor box in all its glory just calling out our names.  So after some slick maneuvering by Thomas (who, in essence, rummaged through this random person’s trash for our sliding enjoyment) we were on our way back to the slides to get some extreme sliding in.

Thomas and me

Kevin and Thomas (check out Kevin’s signature arm placement in this and the next photo, haha!)

Kevin and Ashley

The sliding was so extreme that on one ride down Thomas was propelled to his feet and then flat on his face!  The craziest part was that none of us even noticed Thomas flying through the air and all we saw were his arms and legs flailing up while on his back as the end result.  I’m still not quite sure how it happened.

There’s Thomas lying down in the slide!  “Help me, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”

Me and Kevin

Awesome action shot of Thomas mid-slide

We then took a drive to our favorite part of Golden Gate Park, Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill.  It was a bit drizzly and foggy but we made the most of it with a walk around the lake and a hike up the hill.

Thomas and Ashley sitting on the bridge over the lake (this was taken with a “miniature” mode on our camera, so cool!)

The green, green lake and its surroundings

Well hello Mr. Squirrel!  He was anxious for some treats, too bad I tricked him and only wanted to take his photo.

Ashley & Thomas

Me & Kevin

Kooky brothers


Thomas and the waterfall

Bluebird amongst the fire red leaves

We then made our way through the Presidio and ended up exploring some of the abandoned bunkers on the coast.

Great view of the Golden Gate Bridge in all its foggy glory

So apparently our camera also has a fish-eye lens mode–didn’t realize Kevin took this photo in that mode until later, hilarious!

Ashley, Thomas and the GGB

See how drizzly it was?  Water was covering Kevin’s glasses.

We had a lovely evening introducing Ashley to the world of Indian Pizza at Zante Pizza.  YUM!!!

The following day while I was at work the three amigos went to explore the Marin Headlands.  They were trying to find the entrance to an underground bunker that apparently hasn’t been sealed shut and only a handful of people have been successful finding but, unfortunately (or fortunately?) they didn’t find it.  Kevin is determined to find the thing.

Green, green everywhere in Marin!

One of the bunkers they explored

They met up with me at work and we went to dinner on Pier 39 at Wipeout Bar & Grill (just “okay” food, nothing to write home about…luckily I get a discount there because I work so close to the pier).  We then had a nice long walk along the piers and made our way to Ghirardelli Square so that Ashley and I could share a super delicious chocolate fudge/peanut butter sundae.  Mmm, mmm!

Thomas had to get an obligatory sourdough bowl and clam chowder; Kevin in front of the Chowder Hut

The “Penny Mist” boat docked near Fisherman’s Wharf

Two old(ish) men playing checkers on the corner of Beach & Hyde

We had to drop those two knuckleheads off at the airport at 4:30 in the morning the following day (yikes!) but we wish they could’ve spent at least another day or two exploring the city with us!  Until next time (hint, hint!)  🙂

Golden Gate Park 10k

One month ago I went for a run and, after huffing and puffing up a small hill, I realized something: it had been three months since my last run.  I knew that was not the purpose of the months of training and my completing the half-marathon even while sick as a dog and so I was determined to not let all of that hard work go to the way-side.  I quickly went online and signed up for the Golden Gate Park 10k that was coming up in early March and began my training that day.

With only four weeks to train, I only built back up to running 4 miles so I was a wee bit nervous about completing the 6.2 mile race.  But I knew that even if I had to walk across the finish line, I’d finish.  My goal was to finish in 1 hour, 20 minutes (13 minute/mile average).

The morning of Sunday 3/6 I woke up early to a nice little rain storm.  I wasn’t too nervous since I’ve run in the rain before and I was hoping it’d let up a bit.  I showed up to the starting line to register, get my race tag, and warm-up.

Still smiling despite the rain! 🙂

Because of the rain, for the half hour before the start time there weren’t many people there.  And, since I was running a race that was put on by a local running club that was open to the public, the majority of the people there looked like professional runners.  I was getting more and more nervous by the minute, afraid that I would get left behind in the dust and be the last person by a long shot to cross the finish line.  As the gun went off, all I could think was “Well, here goes nothing”.

Warming up

The rain was coming down steadily throughout the entire race so, needless to say, my shoes and clothes were soaked!  But one advantage of the rain was that I didn’t sweat nearly as much.  🙂

Raindrops on the trees

Drizzle over Spreckels Lake

Towards mile 4 I realized I hadn’t yet taken a walking break so I made a goal to not walk the entire race…and I did it!  I was pretty amazed that I didn’t take a single walking break and I still felt pretty good by the time I crossed the finish line.  My finish time was 1 hour, 12 minutes (8 minutes faster than my goal!) and I got a nice little ribbon for it.  I placed 139 out of the total 158 racers, not too shabby.  And luckily I wasn’t the youngest person in the group of the slowest 20.  😉

Soaked to the bone!  But a happy runner nonetheless

I want to sign up for another race in the next couple of months to help keep my running up–who’s with me??  😉  I might do the Bay to Breakers 12k on May 15th–it’s the centennial for the race so it’ll be quite the show!

Rainy day at Golden Gate Park

On Saturday 1/29 we decided to spend the gloomy, rainy day at Golden Gate Park with Terri, Scott and their two pups Madeira and Ihna!  We had a yummy picnic with meats, cheese and crackers along with fruit, veggies and homemade hummus.  And what picnic in the park could be complete without red wine drunken straight from a plastic mug!  🙂

Terri opening up the bottle of wine

Scott getting some kisses from Ihna

Madeira relaxing after a good round of fetch

Me and Kevin’s mandatory photo opp 😉

After lunch and playing fetch with the dogs we went on a nice little hike on Strawberry Hill.  Terri and Scott are quite the hikers (we went and hiked Mt. Diablo with them back in July, see the post here) and although Strawberry Hill isn’t much of a hike, it was nice to enjoy the fresh air and the gorgeous views amongst the occasional cold raindrop.  🙂

Terri, Scott and the pups after the hike

Christmas: The SF Edition

We were back in town for Christmas Eve–Kevin had to work but I was lucky to be able to spend part of the afternoon with the Julian family who were in town for the holidays visiting their son Brandon (he lives in San Bruno). The Julians are really close friends of my family’s who we spent Thanksgiving with in 2009 (see post at this link). Me and Lola met up with the gang in Golden Gate Park at Stow Lake, one of my favorite parts of the park. We walked all around the lake and up Strawberry Hill for a good hour or so–it was such a nice, crisp day, perfect for a walk in the park!

Diane, Dave and Lola

Just as I was taking a photo of this squirrel, Lola decides to…

Jump in mud. Gross.

Playing fetch with Brandon

Me and my second mom Diane

After saying farewell (we were going to spend Christmas Day with them) we ran back home to pick up Kevin and made our way to Carleigh & Scott’s place for Christmas Eve dinner.

The fixins

Failed photo attempt #1–Totally cut out Scott, oops!

Not-so-failed photo attempt, but not a great photo overall. Oh well! We were hungry and didn’t have any more patience to try it a third time. 😉

Bailey got Lola a squeaky duck for Christmas! Surprisingly, she’s still got the duck but it looks nothing like it did on day one (photos soon).

Pecan pie, straight from Carleigh’s kitchen…mmm!

Carleigh & Scott bought us a new game for Christmas as well called Bezzerwizzer (a trivia game) and we had a good time playing although trying to remember the name of the damn game was difficult because you were supposed to call it out occasionally and none of us could ever remember what the name of the game was, haha.

Pretty much sums up the whole evening!

Christmas day we were able to sleep in and enjoyed a yummy pancake breakfast, just the two of us. Jessie joined us mid-morning and we video-chatted with the Edmonds family to do our annual sibling gift exchange (thanks Rob for the AWESOME vase and New Orleans messenger bag!!) Jessie and I went in on a gray pea coat for Kevin which he absolutely loves and I got myself a little surprise (that I’m sure most of you already know about) that I’ll write a whole post about soon. Chatting with the family was fun–having just been in Long Beach with family it wasn’t as difficult spending Christmas day away from everyone.
That afternoon we met up with the Julians again at an apartment in the Castro where Brandon was house sitting for dinner, drinks and games (Catch Phrase). Lots of food and lots of wine was consumed (no photographic proof but you’ll just have to take my word for it).

Diane, Brandon and Jessie (the three blondies)

Jessie…being Jessie 😉

Photo bomb!

“Act natural”–Dave, I guess, was the only one who follows directions 😉

We ended the evening being treated to a movie by Dave and Diane–True Grit! Most of us LOVED it (Jess wasn’t too much of a fan) and it was a great way to end the Christmas season! 🙂

Windmills and wine bars

Kevin asked work for Saturdays off (woo hoo!!) and we spent our first Saturday together (on 10/9) in our old stomping grounds: Golden Gate Park. This time we decided to check out the part closest to the ocean since we’re so used to hanging around the same ol’ parts (near the museums and Stow Lake).

Is that really necessary? I doubt anyone will be looking towards a sign in the event of a tsunami. Just run like hell away from the water, duh!
Lola is never happier then when she’s out with us at a park

On one of my long runs the weekend before I ran past this random windmill in the park and we decided to check it out during our visit.

We made Lola jump into this hole in the side of the windmill. She’s such a good girl, she’ll do anything her mama and dad ask her to do! 🙂

Loving the sunshine and the time together

That night we took a drive down to Los Gatos to visit Jessie at her wine bar, Enoteca La Storia, for some dessert and wine. It’s in a little shopping center and it’s a ridiculously cute and comfortable space for getting together and enjoying some wine.

I had a burgundy wine and Kevin had a Malbec…yum!

We then shared some carrot cake bites (delicious) and sflogliatella (an amazing treat!–here’s a random video I found online about them if you’re interested in learning more).

Jessie seemed right at home back in a restaurant and serving–I’m so happy for her!

The check comes in this cute little book

We had such a great time and loved visiting Jess at her new job, can’t wait to visit again!

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival

Carleigh, Scott and I spent the afternoon of 10/3 at Golden Gate Park with thousands of other people for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. It was the festival’s 10 year anniversary and the festival is absolutely free which is pretty uncommon nowadays.

Scott, Carleigh and me
Our neighbor dog, she was such a sweetie!
Yeah, it was that packed.
A very random head on a pole with a clown wig
It was friggin cold that day, so I bundled up on the blanket I intended to sit on…guess this other guy had the same idea 😉