Tuesday, July 29, 2014

9 Signs we're in San Francisco

Summer has been flying by in a flash - while many of our activities are the same, our surroundings have been decidedly San Francisco.
How so?

1) Expressive 
It's liberating to live in a city where truly any outfit goes - I think I might be the only one who notices what people put on….

Ouch - check out the earring...
Zoe got in the spirit with 'whacky hair day' at camp..

2) Non Swimmy Beaches
One needs to be tough to swim in San Francisco.  While we are surrounded by water, it's C-O-L-D and, in many cases, full of currants.    
Q & I found the warning sign surprisingly blunt

Our beach visits tend to skew to land based play...

3) Pet loving
If there were a 'typical' San Franciscan, it would certainly include a pet.   People bring them everywhere…

Yes, that's a dude with a parrot on his shoulder at our City Target!

And - hard to see - a biker with a dog in his backpack...

We even got to enjoy the love of the pet when this fellow literally fell into our yard
(In true SF style, it turns out 'Calvin' is shared between 2 moms and a dad.  The dad lives next door to us)

4) LGBT embracing
Expressions of support for alternative lifestyles & life partners are common
A pet store display….

A random home window….

And with June being Gay Pride month, the usually prominent rainbow flag got even more omnipresent

LGBT support is evolving to raise awaremess & tolerance for the transgender community
After seeing this newsstand ad, I had an interesting conversation with Zoe about options when people feel they were born the wrong gender ("if a boy thinks he should be a girl, then they could cut off their penis?!….").  

5) Homeless Welcome
Being a liberal city full of public support + a mild climate = an abundant supply of homeless:
Many make a living collecting cans for deposit money...
Others just look for tossed smoke stubs...

6) Seriously minority supportive
ADA ensures there are enough parking spaces for handicapped passengers + 
San Francisco wears its eco badge proudly  =
Electric car handicapped parking at the SF Zoo….
(surprised to hear the spot was vacant?!)

7) Random Neighbors
We're happy to have neighborly businesses flanking us to accept packages when we are not home.   Of course, reciprocate when we can.   Given one neighbor does colonics, the packages can be interesting…..

8) Free-cycling
You often see furniture or bags of clothes / goods set out on the curb for others to take (& they often do).  My favorite spotting of late….
What to do with a giant faux-phone?   
(He planned to take it to Burning Man!)

9) European Visitors
OK, let's be honest - there are 2 cities in the US Europeans tend to visit first (NY & SF).  Being in one of these brought us our first visitors from abroad - Egle & Kestes!
(They made it from Lithuania for just a week - so the rest of you Europeans do not need a full month off to make it to the States.  Come visit!)

Within this wacky, fun city, our summer days look pretty typical

Art / dance camp for Zoe…

Chess camp for Xavier…

'PE camp' for the boys…

Outdoor adventures…

Here's to new normals & a wonderfully wacky San Francisco  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


18 months ago plans were made for a Bernauer family trip to the Galapagos
We were excited to dust off the passports & head out for more international adventure

What we discovered…..

Ecuador is on the ball
The biggest city (& gateway to the Galapagos) was far more refined than I expected

Nicer roads, more big box retailers & multi-national brands than expected

Recycling abound

And re-using too….bottle trash can
2L Bottle planters

Adventure travel is FAB
Aboard a National Geographic boat, there was loads of action

Zodiac rides
The kids got to learn how to drive one


Beach time


Riding bikes
And mules
(Q demonstrating old school sugar cane juice making)

And exhausting
With 6 am wake up calls & action all day, by 9:00pm the boat was like this….

And nap time became a necessary norm
(Zoe loved sharing a room with Nana & Gramps)

Gorgeous Galapagos
The scenery was amazing

Xavier is an animal whisperer
Has no problem with iguana proximity...

Attracted the sea lions….
Befriended the Blue Footed Boobies

Tormented Talked to the Tortoise

Animals show all
3 sets of giant tortoises were 'getting busy' during our visit.   
Lots of grunting & one male full on drooling on his mate's head

Giant turtles = giant poop…..as big as Logan's foot!
Zoe demonstrating

The week absolutely flew by - we were sad to say goodbye

Thanks N&G for the foresight that Galapagos would be so fab

Here's to family adventures!