Final days in the US

After our big day in San Francisco on Monday, Tuesday was much lower-key.  I baked buttermilk biscuits again, but a smaller batch since Brad, Silvia, Kelly, Pat and Carl had already headed home.

Below left: My mother practices a piano piece while my grandfather looks on.  Both were music teachers.  Below right: Tawn prepares to take a bite of one of my buttermilk biscuits.

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Mid-morning, Jennifer, Kevin, Tawn, the girls and I headed to the South Bay so Jenn could show Emily and Ava her childhood stomping grounds.  We were born and raised in Sunnyvale, a suburb of San Jose.  In fact, I spent the first 23 years of my life in the same house, which I find rather ironic given how frequently I’ve moved since that time.


We stopped by our old house (above) at the corner of Kennard and Peacock near the Wolfe and Homestead intersection.  It was interesting to see how much and how little things have changed.  The streets in my old neighborhood are actually wider than I remember them but the houses are smaller.  Some have become quite run-down while others are still in very good shape.  We visited briefly with some of the neighbors who are still there, catching up and hearing all about their perception of how things have changed.

One noticeable change, indicative of how the Santa Clara Valley has changed as a whole, is that the neighborhood now has many more Chinese and South Asian families.  When I was attending middle school, that change was just starting to happen and by high school many of my friends and classmates were of Asian heritage.  In fact, the large shopping center up at Wolfe and Homestead – “Vallco Village” – which used to have a Safeway grocery store and dozens of other stores, is now a primarily Chinese shopping center with a Ranch 99 market, dim sum restaurants, and bubble tea shops.  That change happened while I was in university, so it has been a few years, but it really reflects the increasingly diverse demographics in California.

We walked over to Raynor Park, the park where Jenn and I used to play, with the girls.  The playground and the landscaping has undergone a lot of changes and updating, but there are still two concrete dinosaurs in the playground that we used to climb on.

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You can never look at things the same way, I suppose, but it was nice to see how things look these days.  It amazed me to find out from one neighbor who is a real estate agent, that my parents’ house would fetch about $800,000 these days – a far cry more than they were able to sell it for in 1994!

In the late afternoon we drove up to Dick and Sandy’s for a final family dinner.  We had a good time and Dick grilled chicken and sausages.  Dick and Sandy have a gift for making get-togethers of friends and family very special – it was so good to visit and to see all these different people.  Below: Dick feeds chocolate ice cream to Ava.


P1010063 Wednesday morning we packed up, tidied the house, and set out for the airport.  After dropping Tawn and his luggage off at Paul’s, we arrived at SFO in a brief rain shower. 

The flight back started out horribly as both Emily and Ava were crying loudly when we got on the plane: Emily because she wanted to sit next to her mother and Ava because she was set off by Emily.

Thankfully they calmed down in about ten minutes and spent most of the flight sleeping.  It wasn’t until we returned to Kansas City that Emily’s mood lifted a bit.

Right: The girls finally fall asleep, leaving Kevin and me to chat during the flight back to Kansas City.

We arrived about 6:00 and once we got back home we made a quick dinner of pizza and salad and got the girls to bed.


P1010138 Thursday was a free day for me to complete errands and pack my bags.  One thing on my to-do list was to take a trip to Local Burger, a hamburger restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas (home of the University of Kansas) that specializes in local, sustainably-grown and generally organic and all-natural ingredients.  I had a grass-fed beef burger and Kevin had an elk burger.  Sides included “progressive potatoes”, an organic, trans-fat free version of the traditional French fry; organic peas and carrots; house salad; quinoamillet pilaf; brown rice with cayenne, apple cider vinegar and garlic; cinnamon applesauce; rainbow slaw; and “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” sea veggue salad with cucumbers, onions, dijon mustard, tamari and hijiki.

Both were really tasty and followed nicely on my recent reading of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  Speaking with a manager, it looks like Local Burger will try to open one or two locations in the Kansas City area, provided they can arrange for local suppliers there.


1 thought on “Final days in the US

  1. Hey im Tom, like the way you write. Come visit us and hear our music and get some ringtones. Xanga supported.

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