The trip to CA we took this past weekend was a bit more laid-back than our usual frenzy of scheduling visits with friends and family around whatever occasion has us in the Bay Area (usually a holiday, but also might include a graduation, a reunion, etc.). I didn’t even hear back from two people I called to let know we’d be around, so we mostly decided to take things easy. We stayed the first night at QIR’s (she of the ever-open futon and tiny fruit) and had breakfast Friday morning at the Homemade Cafe with her parents who were visiting for a QIRSis event. After breakfast, Hulk and I meandered around Telegraph avenue, marveling at the sunshine and lack of snow on the ground. No snow! Temperatures above freezing! and the sun was out, hooray!
My mom was scheduled to have furniture delivered (the demise of the couch finally spurred her to buy new living room furniture years after she’d wanted it) Friday morning so we decided to do some Berkeley stuff before heading up to the ‘dale. Of course, no visit to Berkeley would be complete without the stop at Berkeley Bowl. It was the emptiest I’d ever seen it – when we got in line, there were only two people ahead of us!
Anyhow, some photographic evidence:
After we bought our rosemary potato bread and our chocolate-covered pistachios, we headed north. My mom called at least 18 times to confirm plans, reconfirm plans, change plans, etc. as we decided to meet in Santa Rosa because she and her friend wanted to go to the gem show. Yes, this meant beads and baubles and jewelry and overwhelming sparklyness. On the phone, she hinted that there would definitely be jewelry I’d want to try on, “just to see.” Hmm, what kind of jewelry, mom? So we went to the gem show and my mom bought me some amber jewelry that she wanted to buy me and Hulk and I wandered around and looked at other jewelry. We saw a lot of gaudy stuff and a lot of beautiful stuff and this one vendor actually took the time to show us some of his more unusual inventory, like rings made from stones that you don’t normally see set into rings, and some old estate stuff (a size 3 cocktail ring and a size 11 solitaire – that lady must have had a big finger!). He explained how star sapphires worked, something I’d always wondered about. And I got to see some interesting stones in unusual colors, like that sapphire that comes in reddish-pinkish, very striking and beautiful (though not my thing, personally).
By this time, I was way past Unfed and into About to Keel Over so we took my mom’s friend back to her house and went to Round Table Pizza in Healdsburg, a California chain that I’d talked up for years. Hulk got to try his first Round Table pizza and I got to take my first trip down memory lane, as I hadn’t been in there in at least 15 years. And it still looks the same inside – same jukebox, same video games, same party room with big screen TV. The only difference? In the very last bite (the crust) of the very last slice of the pizza we all shared, I found a big piece of wood. I thought it was a mushroom baked into the crust, but no, it was a partially-blackened piece of wood and I bit right down on it. Luckily, it didn’t hurt, and the manager was all apologetic and gave my mom a coupon for a free pizza for next time.