Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dog Tongue

Although the video below hardly captures your new passion, we thought we'd share it anyway. This new passion is your attempt to imitate the floppy tongue/licking of a dog. Despite what it may sound like, it's quite cute. We'll get a better video soon...
video

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rai at Galileo

It's safe to say, Rai, that you're known by most and very popular at our school. You've visited enough times and been part of enough events that most of the student body knows that you are "Mr.Flisak' s and Ms.Wattles' baby". The students love it when you visit.
Hallowe'en is coming up, and you may remember, that last Hallowe'en you helped us win the 'Best Costume' title. We couldn't have done it without you! It's time to think of another costume for this year but it may have to involve your little sister or brother...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Top of the World

There's a park, a semi-secret spot in the city, that we love to visit, Rai. It's named Grand View Park and the view from this hilltop of dunes and trees is definitely grand. You can see from one end of the city to the other. Sunsets are especially amazing. Never mind the view, though, you like the taste of the twigs and rocks here best...
video

Monday, September 27, 2010

1 Month (or Less) To Go!

Rai, we are into the last month of anxious anticipation for the arrival of the new baby! Mom would like the baby to arrive sooner than later. "Anytime now," she says.
As for you, this whole baby thing is getting a bit stressful. It has finally dawned on you that you will no longer be the only show in town. There's someone else sneaking into the picture here, a shadowy character who may want to challenge your hold over this here kingdom. You're going to have a little bit of competition for Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa time. Hey Rai, that's the way things go. Everything will be just fine.
The weight of this realization hit you so hard the other day, that I found you in the back seat of the car talking to yourself: "Back, back... back, back..." [see the video below]
You must have been thinking, "I just want things to go back to the way they were when I was the king of the house." Or, maybe I'm reading too much into your soliloquy. Maybe you were just saying, "I'm in the back of the car, back of the car, back of the car..." I guess I'll never know.

video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Last Visit

Remember that mission the other day, Rai? That impossible mission?
Well, it turns out that it may not have been as much a failure as we originally thought.
Sure, Babcia and Dziadek didn't stay in San Francisco, but they did return to The City today for one more visit with their California grandson (yes, that's you!). It was another gorgeous day so we thought some more time at the beach was in order. That thought turned into a picnic at China Beach. Food, sand, surf, sun, family... and dolphins (a group of dolphins swam by, jumping out of the water as only dolphins do. It was quite the moving sight, but not as moving as seeing you and the other grandparents bond some more. Babcia still aroused those affectionate strings of "no, no, no, no, no, no, no..." from you but, overall, we saw you get closer and closer to these grandparents that you've never met until now and may not see again for some time. By the end of the afternoon, we had to see them off not knowing when we may see them again. Travel safe and well, Babcia and Dziadek. We love you very much.

video

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mile Rock Beach

Mile Rock Beach is a secret little stretch of sand and boulders at the midpoint of the Land's End trail. It used to be secret, anyway. Back when you were 1 or 2 months old, Rai, I used to take you down there for a morning walk and we'd be the only ones there, every time.
You don't have the patience to be carried and are not the best hiker around, so we haven't made it to Mile Rock Beach for a long, long time. Today was such a beautiful day, though, that I insisted we go. I carried you the entire way, talking your ear off to keep you distracted. The moment you lost interest, I knew, you'd start wriggling around and ask to be put "down, down, down!" If that had happened, we would never have made it to the beach.
We did make it and found that, apparently, our little 'secret' spot is a secret no more. There were a few dozen people down on the beach. No worries -- the beach still has the feeling of a place very far removed from the city. Sure, there are lots of spots that have this feel in the city, but this one is somehow different. It could be the giant cliffs around the beach or the immense boulders strewn all about and caught in the shallows as the waves crash against them. Whatever gives this place is secluded feel worked for us today. Three hours flew by and we had accomplished nothing but laying in the sand and moving some rocks around. Looking across the blue waters to Baker Beach in the distance, even from so far away, we could see that it was packed. Mile Rock Beach didn't feel so crowded anymore.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Greenest Building in 415

In the middle of nowhere, on land that is considered the most toxic in the city, and in a neighborhood that many feel is the most unsafe place in S.F. is San Francisco's "greenest" building. This state of the art, self-sustaining structure is the focal point of a greening effort along the water in the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood. The site was chosen specifically with this community in mind, a community that has had to live in the most polluted part of the city, the old industrial zone.
Last weekend, we drove over to see what the Heron's Head project looks like and to visit the eco-center. It was closed but we still could marvel at its living roof and water system. With the marshlands under rehabilitation, there were plenty of birds around, even a few herons themselves. We could see a lot of potential and it's great to see such effort and environmentalism put into a neighborhood that could really benefit from it. We hope that actual 'green' is part of the plan as currently there is no grass and no trees. Those will come.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mission Impossible

Your mission, Rai, which you chose to accept, was to convince Babcia and Dziadek to spend the weekend here in San Francisco with us instead of going back to Pleasanton. The plan: take them down to beach, up to Sutro Park, and a little bit along the Land's End trail. The weather co-operated -- it was a gorgeously warm afternoon in the city.
From our perspective, this was a mission that could not fail. No wind, no fog, only blue sky and the warm late-day sun beating down on us. The Beach was amazing, the waves large and a beautiful shade of blue. From Sutro Park, the panoramic view couldn't be better. Along the Land's End trail, the view of the Golden Gate in the nearly sunset light was unbeatable. This one was in the bag. How could anyone turn down a weekend in San Francisco after experiencing this. It was perfection and a comfortable and free suite just blocks from the Ocean awaited your Babcia and Dziadek should they choose to accept it and why wouldn't they?
Well, they did. We couldn't convince them to spend the weekend with us here. We are all left with sadness in our hearts including your grandparents who had all kinds of plans -- an opera, jazz at Yoshi's, and some wonderful dinners out. With this very likely being your Babcia and Dziadek's last visit to the Bay Area for what may be many years, we are left heartbroken. Still, we tried our best, showing off the beauty just outside our doorstep on a perfect day in the city, and after all, that's all we could do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

17 Months Old Today!

Rai, today you turned 17 months old! Wow, that's almost a year and a half!
As you get older the list of places in this world that you call 'home', grows. There's our place, of course. Next in line: Grandma and Grandpa's home. Your comfort zone goes beyond these two familiar places, though. You're also at home at your music class, at Lincoln Playground, and at a couple of the restaurants we frequent in the neighborhood.
To this list, we can also add Central Garden, the convalescent hospital at which Grandpa works. You've spent many hours there with Grandma and Grandpa. Recently, your Great Grandma has become a resident at the facility so while there, you get to see her too. Her face always lights up with love when you show up. Your's too! Now, if you keep drinking that milk, you may live as long as your Great Grandma. You're 17 months old, she's 1104 months old! You can do it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gifts from Afar

Rai, please give a big "thank you" to your loving family far away in Winnipeg. With Babcia and Dziadek arrived some gifts for you from your Uncle Bart and Auntie Kristin (the fantastic Knuffle Bunny books with matching Knuffle Bunny stuffed animal) and, of course, a gift from Babcia and Dziadek, too (a stuffed bear and another wonderful book). Now... maybe you could use the "yes" word a little more often when your Babcia and Dziadek are around instead of your new favorite word -- a word that begins with "n" and ends with "o"..
(watch the video to see your fascination with everyone's favorite toddler word)

video

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bat-mania

By this time, Rai, it must be obvious that I'm trying to barrage you with as much Batman propaganda as I can. You have a handful of Batman t-shirts, you can find Batman comics throughout the house, and I'm always talking about 'Batman this' and 'Batman that'.
Well, just in case the direct approach does not work, I have a back-up plan and that plan is to subliminally inundate you with Batman images, as well. One subliminal Bat image can be found on the toy car that I made out of a cardboard box for you. You love this car. You sit inside it often with your entourage of stuffed creatures. Little did you know, Rai, that this is actually a Batmobile with tiny Bat emblem on each side. See? Subliminal isn't it? Yesterday, while in the Haight, I found another perfect subliminal Batman image: the Bat belt buckle. Even with pink as the only color choice, I couldn't pass it up. Now, you will subliminally soak in the Bat emblem every single time you look up at Dad because this is one belt buckle that I know I'll be wearing for years, and years, and years to come. I tested it on my students today. I'm sure they all went home thinking "I love Batman but I'm not quite sure why...". Mission accomplished.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Colorful Day out WIth the Family

Rai, today was a special day. It's a rare occasion when more than three people from your Dad's side of the family get together here in San Francisco. Today was one of those days.
Babcia and Dziadek drove in from Pleasanton with your Great Aunt Basia, and we met her two daughters (your second cousins?) at their new apartment in Cole Valley. It's great to see them settle in our old neighborhood. A quick walk over to Cole Street and then down to Haight reminded us how much we loved living there. If all goes well, Rai, one day you'll carry on the family tradition and get your first apartment in The Haight... or NOPA... or Cole Valley... or, well, anywhere near the Panhandle would be great!

The Great Outdoors

Whether it's a day out in The City, admiring the beautiful sights of San Francisco or a trip further abroad and into the wilderness, Rai, you love the great outdoors. You are both an urban and rural trekker. You'd much rather play in the grass and sand, under sunny and blue skies than stay inside with your toys. A lot of our students spend almost no time outdoors. They stay in, surf the web, and play online games. It's sad and it's scary. Let's keep you outdoors!