In about six weeks, our daughter Jennifer Lynn leaves for her year-long study abroad program. She will be spending her entire sophomore year in Shanghai; we’re excited for the adventure ahead of her but my stomach knots up when I think about not seeing for more than eight months.

I wish I could take the time that we’re spending with her this summer and “bank” it, so we could withdraw it over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and weekends – times that I anticipate that we will especially miss having her here. Since that’s just not possible, the best we can do is to take the opportunity to spend time together as a family when our schedules open up.

Saturday was one of those days – Jennifer had the day off from The Gap Outlet, and Steve and I were happy to procrastinate the shopping trips to Costco and Target, vacuuming and laundry, and bookkeeping that usually fills our Saturdays.

So what would be a diverting and gratifying way to spend our day together? We love going Into San Francisco with an objective but also staying flexible. We have found that it’s often best to let the availability of parking in San Francisco drive the day instead of driving to park.

So with that in mind, our first destination (and amazingly we got a parking space without even circling the block!) was Warby Parker. I know – I had never heard of it either until Jennifer came home from a trip to San Francisco raving about what a cool place this is to shop for frames…as in eyeglass frames.

My standard response to just about every shopping need is, “Why don’t you just get (fill in the blank) at Costco?” But for a fashion forward 19-year old who just got a super-cute rock star haircut (I know I sound old), getting your glasses prescription filled at Warby Parker in Hayes Valley is like a hipster holy grail. And it worked out just great; it was affordable and the verly attractive 20-something staff were helpful, friendly and super-efficient with their iPads and paperless transactions. Jennifer’s glasses will arrive in 7-10 days.

When a day starts out with finding parking in San Francisco you know you’ve got a blessed day ahead and that proved to be true for us as the day wore on. We found a great place to eat (only a 10 minute wait!) in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. With our tummies happy, we thought we would try for some window shopping along the trendy area of Fillmore Street but since we couldn’t find parking we continued onto Chestnut Street (again no parking) so we continued north across the bridge.

It was still early in the afternoon and the sun was shining in Marin. My first reaction was to say “Let’s just head home” but Steve understands the value of cherishing the moment and suggested extending the nice time we were having by stopping at the Village in Corte Madera.

The affluence that envelopes that shopping center always makes me feel a little like I’m stepping aboard luxury cruise ship. But it makes for great people watching. Sitting under an umbrella outside of Starbucks watching the moms and daughters leave Nordstroms with their Anniversary Sale bags, I felt like I was on vacation.

But the great thing is that sitting there and taking in the view didn’t cost us more than gas and a Frappuccino.  If Jennifer has next Sunday off, let’s do it again and make another deposit into her “we’re going to miss you!” bank account.