Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Left My Harp in Sam Clam's Disco

by Stephanie Black

We decided to do something fun as a family on Saturday, a plan which resulted in a certain amount of groaning from some of the kids, because it would involve getting up early instead of sleeping in. But we wanted to go to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and if you’re going to do that, you want to get there early, or you might find yourself with nowhere to park. That happened to us once. We drove all the way to San Francisco (takes about an hour) and went to the Academy only to discover that we couldn’t find a parking spot. The parking garage was full. The surrounding street parking was full. We drove around for a while, and then my husband suggested he could drop us off while he went to find parking. Then we saw the huge line outside the museum—people in line just to get inside. That’s when we gave up. We messed around on the beach for a little while, watched some surfers, picked up some pastries at Tartine, and went home. Not sure it was worth the time on the road, but man, the pastries were good.

You know how Monk takes place in San Francisco? You know how whenever Monk and Natalie go anywhere they can just park right in front of their destination, no problem? Lies. All lies. I’m a big fan of having places to park, which is probably the biggest reason I’m a true blue suburbanite. Big cities are interesting, but just so danged inconvenient.

Anyway, back to Tartine—that marvelous bakery is one of our favorite spots in San Francisco. If we don’t see a parking spot, my husband drops me off and then drives around, maybe eventually finding a parking place, while I go stand in line to buy delicious fruit frangipanes and éclairs and brownies and such. On the drive home, I divide up the treats into pieces and pass them around so everyone gets to taste everything. I end up covered in crumbs and bits of flaky pastry, but it’s all worth it. Another favorite eatery is Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf—mmm, clam chowder in a bread bowl. Oh wow, that sounds good. Now I’m hungry.

So we successfully arrived at the Academy early enough to find a parking spot and proceeded to have a great day, with only a little suffering sprinkled in to keep things interesting. The rainforest biodome with all the butterflies was awesome. The aquarium was great. But my five-year-old did NOT like the planetarium show. She’s still traumatized from the motion sickness she experienced at an IMAX movie, so she was afraid this giant show-on-a-dome would be the same type of thing. She sat on my lap the whole time and kept her face buried, until the very end when I told her they were now just showing still pictures of the night sky. She snuck a few peeks then. I feel her pain—I have trouble with the wild motion of IMAX-type things too. The older I get, the less I can handle such stomach-twisting experiences. Same with rollercoasters.

It was cold and windy—which SF often is—so we went to the car to eat our picnic lunch and cruelly instill false hope in drivers. Since we were parked near the entrance, people would pull into the garage and stop to wait, thinking we were leaving. We had to wave cars on until finally the flood stopped—they must have switched the sign to say the garage was full.

Right across from the Academy is the de Young Fine Arts Museum, so we went there as well. They currently have a special exhibition called the Birth of Impressionism, featuring works on loan from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. It was cool to be able to look at Monets and Renoirs and such. My older daughters enjoyed it, but my younger son almost died, he was so bored. He declared it the worst hour of his life, and when my husband told him we’d only seen a fraction of the museum, he started crying. Poor guy. Fortunately for him, we went home rather than look at any other exhibits. I can’t blame a nine-year-old boy for not being bowled over by famous paintings. Now if it had been a hands-on computer exhibit, that would have appealed to him. We'll go back sometime without the younger kids. There's only so much culture they can take.


At 5/26/2010 6:14 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

Stephanie, you made me homesick for San Francisco. Ah, the Boudin bakery sourdough . . . but you forgot to mention Ghiradelli's chocolate. My children always like to see if they can disguise themselves (do I look different with my jacket off and my hair messed up?) so they can get back in line for the free sample.

At 5/26/2010 8:10 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Reading your post is making ME hungry. =)~~

Does anyone have any favorite restaurants (or yummy dessert places) they know and love in Portland or environs? My wife and I will be, um, vacationing there for a bit and would love recommendations.

Questionable spot on our list: Voodoo Doughnut. Looks a little scary, but where else can you get a donut with Froot Loops, or, ok, I'm going to copy and paste this description, we may have to go there after all:

Memphis Mafia
Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon sugar covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!


Oh, and sure, if there are other attractions in the area you'd recommend, those would be nice, too. =)

At 5/27/2010 1:49 AM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I love the Sam Clam's disco joke! I haven't heard it in years!


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