We came down to San Jose for Lori’s pre-op meeting on Friday, which went well except that a computer mixup meant that she missed getting a bunch of needed tests. So we had to go back to Stanford today so she could complete those. The plan had been to go to the San Francisco Zoo, but by the time we got out of Stanford it was 2pm.

So plan B was to go up to SF and then wander around Chinatown. On the way up there I thought about these almond cookies we used to get in San Jose that we haven’t seen for years. Since they were a Chinese product, we figured we’d make it our mission to find some in Chinatown.

The first grocery store we visited had them, and they are as delicious as we remembered them. But that left us with out a grail to seek.

Then Lori remembered this specific pincushion she wanted. She explained what it looked like but I was at a loss trying to picture it. We went into store after store and didn’t see any sign of Chinese pincushions. I figured since people don’t sew anymore, there’s really little need to be stocking pincushions these days.

It was just about getting time to return to our truck before it would get ticketed or towed when in the last store I noticed they had a clearance section down in the basement. Thinking that maybe they might have them hidden down in the stuff that nobody wants anymore I wandered down there. I had covered most of the items down there and was about to give up when I heard a lady on the other side of the store say, “Oh look at these pincushions, my mom had one just like it.” I rushed over to where she was standing and asked, “Did you say pincushions?” She pointed to the barrel filled with pincushions and I instantly recognized the grail of pincushions, they were exactly what Lori was looking for.

Lori finally wandered down stairs and I rushed her over to the barrel, where she picked out a pretty purple pincushion.

We got back to the truck with 7 minutes to spare and both missions accomplished. The iPhone made it a lot easier to navigate SF streets, and we made it out of the city with my blood pressure only slightly elevated.