Welcome to Seven Quick Takes, hosted by the lovely and talented Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary. Be sure you head over to her place to see all the other Quick Takers.
1. We spent nearly a week in California, and for 3/4 of our family, it was the first time we’d been west of Wessington Springs, SD. I managed to get the girls and myself around for two days while Nathan went to his workshop, then we spent the next 3 days exploring the San Francisco area. While flying there, I napped a bit. (Our first flight left at about 5:30 AM.) When I woke up, I saw this out my window:
I was so overcome with awe, and wound up pulling out my iPad right then (after snapping pictures with my iPhone) and writing about it.
2. The girls and I got to see some really old computers and such at the Computer History Museum. It was pretty cool, though since my father used to program computers back in the 1970’s, I had seen a lot of the sorts of things on display. For example, when I sent him a text message with these pictures, he said, “Wow. I used to program those. And I know how to read the cards in the other picture!”
I spent a lot of that afternoon sending him more and more pictures of things he used to use at work. And I loved this display of disc storage!
3. The other museum we went to was The Tech Museum in Santa Clara. (Being in Silicon Valley means there’s lots of computer stuff all around, and plenty of buildings with all those tech giants’ names on the side: Apple, Google, Yahoo!, and more.)
Aside from the amazing Star Wars display…
…there was also some really neat stuff to see, including a light display that could read your movements (I think Microsoft had a huge deal with the museum, based on all the Connex they had).
We even got to ride an earthquake simulator that shook the small area in the same manner (and for the same amount of time) as some pretty large earthquakes. I stood next to this woman who had actually experienced one of the earthquakes demonstrated, and she told her nephews about how terrifying it was. The 39 seconds of earthquake felt to her as if it would never end. I can imagine that.
While touring the earthquake displays, I discovered that the guy running the earthquake demonstrator did not have a sense of humor, as he didn’t even crack a smile at my question about whether or not they would do the Virginia earthquake from a couple of years ago.
4. On Friday, we took a tour of San Francisco with Dylan’s Tours. I mention Dylan by name because it was probably the BEST way to tour San Francisco that I could imagine. As usual, my brilliant husband found something amazing while searching online. I balked a bit at the price (it runs $75 a person), but I couldn’t have been happier by the time the day was over. For six hours, we rode on a small bus that would have held no more than 14 people. (Our tour, being a Friday, had only the four of us and one other woman on board.) Dylan himself drove our bus, but it’s always driven by someone who is a local to San Francisco. We got the inside scoop on good places to eat, where to avoid going as tourists, why things are the way they are in San Francisco (such as who owns what and why, how each part of the city has its own feel and look, and more). We got to see the usual tourist spots, including Jerry Garcia’s old house:
The Painted Ladies:
And Haight And Ashbury, home to the “Trustafarians:”
We even got to go somewhere most tours don’t take you: Muir Woods, home to some beautiful redwood trees. We could have spent a day just there, wandering around and eventually hiking to the ocean:
Of course, we went to get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge (painted in International Orange):
5. But the highlight of the trip for me was the churches and missions we went to see. I saw The Cathedral of Saint Joseph in San Jose:
And St. Dominic’s in San Francisco:
And several of the missions, which my 12 year old has been studying as she learns about Blessed Junipero Serra this quarter:
6. On Sunday, we went to Confession and Mass at St. Dominic’s, then went on a tour of Alcatraz. Alcatraz has been more than a prison, serving as a fort, then after closing, being occupied by Indians who wanted to draw attention to the plight of their tribes (namely, having land taken from them, then being stuck in miserable conditions on reservations).
The tour was fascinating, focusing on the island’s time as a prison. I found parts of it very saddening, and realized just how dehumanizing the prison system is. One voice on the audio tour was from a prisoner who felt lost when he was finally released. He said that when he got into the city, everything moved at such a fast pace that he was disoriented. He didn’t know how to move that way any more, and felt jealous of the people who could do it without thinking about it.
I even picked up a couple of souvenirs that now live on my fridge:
7. Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture we took at the request of my 15 year old. She saw this sign and decided that she must stand next to it, since she, herself, is petite.
Have a great weekend!