Field Trip: San Francisco Symphony Concert for Kids

This was the second year Melody attended the Concert for Kids event at the San Francisco Symphony. It’s a great way for kids to get exposure to classical music, different instruments, and something people would usually pay $100 or more to see. These concerts are only $5 and geared towards kids (each concert is less than 45 minutes long)! The children’s concert (grades K-3) was sold out this year, so we attended the youth concert (grades 4-9). Melody invited Joyce’s brother, Eric, as a guest to come along this year. It was pouring rain when we arrived in San Francisco for the concert.

Double Bass

Our Lower Level Box Seats

Melody’s view of stage left

Checking out an app on Kow-Fu’s iPhone (I think it was Draw Something)

Getting ready for the concert

The brass section (they were hilarious in bringing out different colored brass toward the end of the concert)

The concertmaster playing “A” for everyone else to tune to

Maestro Donato Cabrera

Conducting the first piece

Talking to the audience

Invited a composer to come and share about how he came up with his piece (complete with explanation about instrumentation and dynamics). The composer also narrated.

Composer with the symphony

The SF Symphony with Flute Soloist, Annie Wu from the San Francisco Youth Orchestra

Melody clapping during one of the songs in demonstrating rhythm

Maestro departing after the concert was over

We went to Brenda’s French Soul Food for lunch afterwards. Last year, we didn’t get to go because of the long line and big group we went with.

Cup of Chicken, Sausage & Okra Gumbo


Hush Puppies with Chipotle Remoulade


Flight of the Beignets (Crawfish, Granny Smith Apple, Chocolate, and Plain as shown below from top to bottom)


Eric’s Pulled Pork Sandwich with French Fries


Melody’s HUGE Buttermilk Pancakes with Seasonal Fruit and also eating her Granny Smith Apple Beignet


Melody pointing to where we were on the BART System Map

Patiently waiting for our BART train to take us home

– Norm

Closing and Opening

New CV Library

New CV Library

This Sunday, the CV library will be closed until Halloween. The new building for the library is finished and all the books will be transferred from the old building. I’m very excited about this. I know everyone is used to the current building and some residents have been going there for ages, but it is a little small. One time we were there in the afternoon instead of the morning, and the children’s area was swamped with teenagers. I don’t have anything against teenagers, and I understand that there isn’t a teenagers’ area, but they were a little rowdy for the little ones who were there.

On Halloween, there will be a Great Book Pass from the old building to the new. 300 new books will be passed from volunteer to volunteer until it gets to the new building. I’m not sure we will make it for that, but we’ll definitely be there for the grand opening. The new building is actually closer to us, so that’s another plus. It’s just across the way from the BART parking lots, which is 2-3 blocks from our house.

Since we get warmer weather later over here, I guess we’ll be heading out to the park on Thursday instead of the CV library. Of course, we won’t miss Wednesday storytimes at the San Leandro library. Melody would be so sad. And it also gives us an excuse to check out the other libraries in nearby cities.

We’ve only lived here for 18 months, so a lot of stuff is new to us. I’m sure that this is a HUGE thing for those who have lived here forever. Our neighbors have lived in their house for 40+ years, and probably in Castro Valley for most, if not all, of their lives. I wonder if this is the only library that the city’s ever had, or if there was another building before. We should go take a photo of ourselves at the old building before it closes. That also makes me wonder what will happen to the old building. What will they use it for?

Here are some photos from last April’s groundbreaking:

Going Green…cheaply =)

Later this month, I’ll need to attend a training for four days in SoCal for work.

I booked the hotel that was recommended by the training company and co-workers, which is coincidentally two blocks from the training location.  I’m getting a 1-bedroom suite with complimentary breakfast at a cheaper corporate rate.  Yay!

Although I prefer flying Virgin America because of the touchscreen entertainment system, seats, and plush surroundings…..they only fly out of SFO.  I booked the latest roundtrip Southwest flights flying out of OAK and into LAX.  This is good because it allows me to go back home after work and have time to eat dinner with Joyce, Mels, and Emi before flying out.  I also don’t have to bug family or get a cab to take me to the airport.  I can just take BART there myself.  Hmmm….comfort versus convenience.

Car Rental
Here’s the best deal from booking this trip: So I was thinking, “maybe I should rent a Prius just for the fun of it and to see how it’s like driving a hybrid”.  Corporate policy says I have to rent a compact or mid-sized car.  While researching car rental companies, the Prius is considered a compact hybrid, so I guess it fits the corporate description?  I was going to go with Enterprise and get a compact Nissan Versa or Toyota Yaris if the Prius option wasn’t feasible since that was the cheapest around.  Every car rental place was quoting almost $90 per day for renting a Prius.  Anyways, I looked online to see if there were any coupon codes available to reduce rental costs.  I found one with Alamo and used it.  Surprise!  It knocked down the $90 per day fee to $18 per day.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Was that a typo?  That’s a HUGE discount.  That’s an even cheaper rate than renting the cheapest car Alamo offers.  I IMMEDIATELY took advantage of the deal by reserving it with a credit card.  Yay for wanting to go green!


If you want to take advantage of this deal, go to the Alamo Car Rental site and click more options in the car rental reservations window.  Enter in your dates and location of rental and under the ID/Corp ID field, type in: 7013904 and continue the reservation to the very end.  Hope it works!

– Norm