"Then let's look on the bright side: we're having an adventure. . . and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are"
-- The Princess Bride

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Services in Decline

While I don't take to politics well, and feel that conversations about money and ideology should be left alone in polite company.  I did have a startling revelation today.  The post office is going through a rapid decline.  A service that I would consider to be one of the most important has seen better days.

I dropped a package off at my friendly neighborhood USPS this morning and was the only person there minus the lovely woman working.  I mean, literally, the only person.  No cars in the parking lot, nobody buying stamps.  I felt like I was personally saving the post office from being one day closer to shutting down.

The dim lights, the defunct stamp machine in the corner, the ratty display of sad birthday and holiday wrappings.  It was all just a reminder of how much we as a country have switched to the world of the internet.  It's so easy to pop off an email, but really who doesn't love getting physical mail?  I got a postcard from Kim (who is off traveling in far away lands) and it made my day, no, my week a little brighter.

Amid the collections of catalogues and Bed Bath & Beyond 10% off coupons I receive, it is rare to actually get a piece of mail.  And that is worrisome because the postal service needs us.  So go do your part, send a real letter, mail a birthday gift (mine was for a 4 year old and was 2 months late), or go buy some damn stamps.  It is just so depressing to see a system collapse.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ship Just Got Real. . . or a note on Passports

Back in 11th grade I visited Chelsea in Panama for a week.  During that Easter week I managed to watch Constantine 4 times, Anchorman 13 times, visit a fair 5 times, lose my passport 1 time, make out with a cute boy 1 time, visit the capital city 1 time and spend 11 days sweating my little adorable underage ass off while trying to get back into the US.

My luck with passports seems not to have changed much despite my best attempts.  When Kris and I went to France I quadruple checked the night before to make sure it was in my purse and then never let the damn thing leave my luggage while we were abroad.  But everything returned to normal last weekend. . .

Katie, my friend from college, invited me on a family cruise! We excitedly prepped our way through the packing stage and when Thursday rolled around I was stoked to get on the road at 7am.  I dropped off Kris at work and had a coffee before heading down to Camarillo.  Of course it wasn't until 2 hours in that I realized my passport was indeed missing from my purse.  So I turned about and returned to Berkeley.  

The rest of the weekend was amazingly spectacular. We danced, we sang, we mostly sang Carly Rae Jepsen, we ate delicious sea treats, we visited Mexico, we ate Churros and Fish Tacos, we even managed to accidently fall asleep at 9:30pm one night (no judging), and we Hot Tubbed the shit out of that cruise ship.  But the entire time I was worried about my passport.

Everyday, I woke up and checked to make sure that my ticket back into the US was still stowed away safely in my purses inside pocket, and everyday I was prepared for it to be lost to the depths of the sea like that blue diamond heart necklace in Titanic.  Her family made fun of me, but I refused to lose my passport another time in a foreign land.

And with that, I returned to America, not any worse for wear minus a killer headache.  Chelsea tended to my needs (this should be read as "Chelsea forced beer down my throat and then we watched a Channing Tatum marathon in the dark") and the weekend was a total success.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Friday night. Let's rage.

Jaymi is in town house sitting for her dad and we have been hanging out. Last night was pretty much the best ever. Let's recap.

The evening began where many good stories do, on BART. Once we had arrived at the Berkeley station, we couldn't figure out how to get out an were yelled at by a security guard who we then apologized to and befriended. We joked a while and then headed out, waving farewell to our new friend.

Once outside we only had to walk a few blocks, but this didn't stop us from hanging out with Christopher (with a ch) and his cute dog Kansas for twenty minutes or so next to a clock tower.

To clarify, Christopher is just a nice guy who travels a lot and was sitting on the curb looking like he needed a friend. So he gave us a beer and we discussed world politics and religion. I kid, we talked about dogs and traveling, and life outside of the normal rent system.

With our bellies filled with beer, we headed onwards to Shattuck Down Low, for dancing.

There we got to know the DJ, a lovely chap with a penchant for blue moons. We became his beer runners and got free drinks all night. I managed to lose my phone for all of thirty minutes and then luckily someone turned it in to a bartender who gave me back my technology as well as another beer for the DJ!

Dancing, boozing, more dancing, Jaymi doesn't remember most of the night but I have it all stockpiled for thinking about while bored at work.

The club closed down at 2am and we made our way out front. We were about to walk home (standard for us after our evenings at SDL) but the DJ's friend wasn't having it and paid for us to take a cab home.

Even the cabby was awesome and told us jokes the whole way home. Then we passed out and that was Friday. I totally put college me to shame and probably burned a few calories dancing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Apartment 1970's TV Show

Enter the protagonists, Kris and Jessica, young, happy, in love, and freshly moved into their awesome apartment.

over time (and many montages of cooking, bbq's, holidays, etc) we meet. . . the neighbors.

The Mitchell n' Mann promo shot.  Pretty awesome, I know.

In this episode of "The Mitchell n' Mann" (get it? like the Michelin Man?? No? Whatever, you suck) the audience gets to learn all about some of the neighbors.


Theme music plays
Scene 1
it's 2am, and there is a loud crash
Kris and Jessica awake from their slumbers
K: what was that?
J: no, not again, OH GOD WHYYYYY?
noises from below ensue, yelling, profanities, muffled crying,
     "I will never win a fight with you, dating lawyers is the worst!"
     (light awkward audience laughter)
J: It's. . . the neighbors.
K: what are you talking about?
J: the downstairs neighbors.  Haven't you noticed? They get in multi-hour-long fights that last until about 3 am and then they have raucous angry make up sex until 5.  While I admit I am intrigued by some of the noises, I mostly want to pound on the floor and blare (insert 70's artist similar to Justin Beiber here) songs through the floors.
K: Maybe they won't do that this time
noisy sex commences below, muffled scream, slap, laughter, moaning. . .  2 hours pass

Scene 2
repeat exactly the same thing once every two or three weeks for a year

Scene 3
J: I can't take this anymore! *jumps on floor for twenty minutes, screaming along to (70's artist), scares kitten*
K: Do you feel better now?
J: yes, much, quite, thank you.

Scene 4
8 am on a Saturday
Jackhammer noises and sawing below
K: what the hell are they doing?
J: killing us slowly with their inability to share a functioning relationship?
Kris goes to check it out, and returns with news.

End episode.

Yeah! My crappy downstairs neighbors moved out! Hopefully the new ones will be awesome and want to play Kinect with me and not have angry hate sex at 4 in the morning!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Quick Bullet Point on Bay Area Weather

Growing up in LA I was blessed with the magic of 76 degrees year round.  So weather here has a tendency to confuse me a little bit.  Especially when two days ago I got a sunburn in my backyard during this madness.

. . . and today I am cuddled up with a blanky inside my apartment for this.

80 degrees on saturday, raining on monday.  That is the Bay Area way.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Job for Jessica

Starting June 4th I have a new job with JCrew! I will be working in the city as a Bridal Concierge.  As of yet I am not totally sure what that entails but I do know that I will be setting up appointments and basically acting as a receptionist for the San Francisco center wedding department.

I don't know my pay or my hours or anything else but it should be good!

Wooooooo PROGRESS!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Blogday!

It has been exactly one year since I moved up here and started this blog.  It seems like last week I was living on Alyssa's couch drinking Brown Owl lattes everyday and seeing as many things as we could on her days off.

A lot has happened since then, two new apartments, numerous new friends, break-ups, get-togethers, barbecues, locating the best hot chocolate in Oakland, more public transportation than ever before, job changes and hunting. . . It has been interesting to say the least.  For every negative there has been 10 positives and I never would have made it through without my wonderful friends, supportive parents, and fantastic boyfriend.

So thank you Bay Area for a great year, let's do it again right now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sutro Ruins

Saturday was my first day off in a while and Alyssa proposed that we go see the old Sutro Bath ruins.  I did a little investigating to see what it was we were getting ourselves into and was all the more intrigued.

Wikipedia has this to say about the ruins:
"On March 14, 1896, the Sutro Baths were opened to the public as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment. The baths were built on the sleepy western side of San Francisco by wealthy entrepreneur and former mayor of San Francisco (1894–1896), Adolph Sutro. The vast glass, iron, wood, and reinforced concrete structure was mostly hidden, and filled a small beach inlet below the Cliff House, also owned by Adolph Sutro at the time. Both the Cliff House and the former baths site are now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and operated by the United States National Park Service."

Apparently, when it first opened there was a single large freshwater pool, 6 saltwater pool, slides, chutes, trapezes, diving platforms, over 500 dressing rooms and a museum filled with the fruits of Adolf Sutro's travels around the world.  It was said that you could see just about anything when visiting the pools.

It was a short walk down the hill to the ruins and there you are allowed to wander freely, trying to imagine how a structure so huge and imposing could be boiled down to just a few concrete walls and a cave.  We scrambled about on the rocky ledges and took a higher vantage point to overlook the Pacific.  It was almost reminiscent of some of the overlooks I came across while in Cinque Terre.

Post-romp, we were a bit peckish and had lunch at the also famous Cliff House.  The views were amazing, the chowder was delicious and chowdery, and most importantly we were able to wash our dirty hands and discuss the strange photo shoot we had seen earlier.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Daytime, of the Night

Not three days after deciding more adventures were needed, Alyssa rose to the challenge and gave me an insiders view of nightlife in SF.  Jaymi came into town for a brief vacation from her challenging life as a ski resort rental shop supervisor, and we spent a few days eating popsicles, tanning in the backyard, and making whiskey sours.

After one particularly fun/late/wine filled evening I awoke feeling, as the lay people say, "like absolute shit."  Jaymi was also feeling a bit sick (from a cold however) so we spent the day watching quiet TV and drank a lot of water.  She convinced me somehow that a trip on BART was just what I needed (it was not, it was the worst 20 minutes of my life this year minus getting fired while standing in a petsmart) and we made it to the other side of the Bay without me emptying my stomach contents on any nearby passengers.

A slow walk to Bush Street later, we met up with Alyssa at Akiko's, my favorite sushi place up here.  2 hours later I was actually feeling better and the two of them were feeling like drinks.  So we tried Tunneltop, a bar on top of a tunnel.  Truly a mystery how they came up with the name I know.  But it smelled of pee and was cash only, so we were unprepared and left.  Next, some walking around led us to ATM's and Union Square.  Remebering a place nearby, Alyssa led us to The Gold Dust Lounge.

Easily the most kitsch bar I have ever entered, The GDL is like the bastard child of a steampunk saloon, Scarlet O'Hara's drapery dress, and art from the Renaissance covered in glitter.  It's pretty fantastic and awful all at the same time, a lot like the $3 margaritas they sell (according to Alyssa, I was obviously not in the mood for drinking.)

Post GDL we took to the streets, a cupcake here, a jaunt up corded off stairways there.  Finding artwork and nice views wherever we turned.  We snuck onto the back section of the Ferry building and watched as the barges passed by in what seemed like stealth mode.  Everything was so black except the bridge and for once it seemed almost peaceful in the city.

By 11 though, it was time for Alyssa to get home and Jaymi and I to take a much less awful BART ride back to our side of the Bay.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Ellis Baths

There now, doesn't that sound like a real location?

It is, and it is conveniently located in my apartment.  I have recently discovered the magic, no, the pure joy of baths.

I came into ownership of some Lush goods and figured I had to give them a try which meant taking the first bath I have had in what I think is around 18 years.

Let me tell you now that this post is going to get descriptive.  descriptively bubbly.

After finding a way to stop my tub from leaking (washcloth around the plug) and adding 2 doses of cherry calamine soothing bath stuff, I tumbled into my tub of temptingly tasty smelling bubbles (yeah, I ran out of appropriately bath-timey "t" words, what of it).  At first it was all "Oh I don't get it, whats so great about sitting in my own filth with some bubbles?"  And then, the magic happened.  I read some of my book, I drank some chocolate milk, I lounged.

The book reading and lounging led to a light nap, and for the first time in a while I felt really relaxed.  My back and feet stopped hurting from 8 hours walking around at work, my head stopped aching from constantly thinking about job-hunting, my body seemed to soak up the heat and where there was once pent up frustration and a little hunger I now only had fluffy happy feelings.

Kris then fed me, which always helps.

Friday, May 4, 2012

On Retail: A Rambling Post

Today a woman who I was helping at the Crew asked me what I wanted to do.  Or more clearly what kind of job I am ultimately looking for.  My response was that of absolute honesty, "I would really just like to have consistent hours and enough money to buy groceries. . ."

And for once, the person I was talking too actually agreed and said something along the lines of "golly, that does sound like a perfectly acceptable answer" but obviously with more words and much more compassion and understanding.  WHICH WAS SO COOL.

Because really, it gets a little dull knowing that everyone you help put in a dressing room internally thinks they are a bit better than you.  Not all the time, just occasionally, they don't hide it so well.  So when someone is legitimately interested in you as a person, and takes a minute to have a real conversation, it feels nice.

On an unrelated note, I need to go on some more adventures.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Today some friends from college were passing through Berkeley on their way back to SB.  Sam and Ashley have always been ahead of the curve, graduating into fancy grown up jobs that utilized their engineering degrees and buying a house long before any of us even considered moving somewhere with more than one bedroom.  Now they are renovating and planning for their September wedding (which is scary, but awesome) and it was great to see them.  

The thing is, they made me think about my home.  Where exactly is it?  LA? I haven't been there in years. SB? Where I met countless friends, and lived for a majority of my personal development as an adult, maybe.  North Carolina? I visit there and consider it a home since it's where I find my parents, but I haven't ever actually lived there.  Or Berkeley? I have only been here a year but it is already a place filled with good friends and happy feelings.

So which is it?  

I think I can count out LA sadly, even though it is where I am from, it isn't home anymore.

And SB no longer houses most of the people that I consider to be an essential part of it's "hominess"

North Carolina has most of my family, but nothing I am actually familiar with.  Because seriously, those streets are effed up.  Whoever designed Charlotte must have been on drugs.

Berkeley seems to be the only choice.  But I am still in a learning period here and feel like a stranger most of the time.

I guess home for me, is wherever I am with friends and family at the time.  I used to think it was about things.  Things like a really cool rocking chair in our front room and our house and my room set up just the right way.  But after my parents moved I started realizing that I didn't really miss the things, just the people.

So it is great that Sam and Ash are making a home, something that is uniquely theirs (with some kitties too) and hopefully one day I will decide on a place to make that happen.  Wherever it is, I hope that there are more memories like this though.

from left: John, me, Kris, Ash, Dan, Kaela, Sam.  Front is Chelsea's head.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


All right, all right, stop whining for more updates from me! Wait, what? Nobody asked for more? Well too bad! Here is a new blog post.

Kris and I returned home from France on Sunday.  The trip was awful, 12 hours in first class with free alcohol and a five course lunch, seats that were able to lay flat, bathrooms that a normal sized human can comfortably fit in.  Blech.  But really, our trip was amazing.  We went to a new place almost every day (spending a day and a half in Paris) and got to experience France and Belgium like I never have before.

We stayed in Nomain, a small small town about an hour from Lille, in a Gite run by a lovely couple named Bernard and Therese.  Our general daily plan was to wake up early, go to town X, return around 4 to the Gite, and have a nice dinner at home or at  a local restaurant.

I wish I could just upload my travel journal with all of the details of the trip but it would lack ticket stubs, postcards, maps, and just about everything else that got stuck in my pocket for the week.  Theres quick photo run down of the trip though after the jump!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What A Week

This week has been busy and slow all at the same time. Between prepping our luggage for the upcoming trip (WE LEAVE IN TWO DAYS!!!!!), work, my Dad's eye surgery, and house stuff, I feel like I am simultaneously bored and overwhelmed.

But, right now, everything is dandy.  I am searching key french phrases so I am sure we wont (a) get lost, (b) be unable to pay the check, (c) accidentally feed Kris crustaceans, and drinking a giant cup of coffee.  This past evening was spent at a rollout in Walnut Creek; 9pm-5am was spent folding crewcuts and noting how tiny cardigans don't really serve a purpose. And I slept from 6:45-noon/until the kitten mewed so loud I thought her little kitty vocal chords were going to bust. Then after a vigorous face cleaning a la "langue de chaton" I called my parents and we discussed how life post macular hole surgery is going.

But with the bags all packed, the me all clean and filled with caffeine, the Kris at work, and the kitty asleep next to me on the couch, everything seems pretty excellent at this point in time! So I am going to spend a relaxing afternoon here and then let the excitement really kick in tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will the Planning Ever Cease?

I realized that I never even posted about our 4 year anniversary trip to SB!  I spent months getting it all ready and making sure that Kris was kept in the dark and then once it was finished my brain was so spent I just kept moving forward, planning for the France trip (one week away), and then after that, Kim is visiting, and after that I am sure something else will pop up that requires the artful balance of all my effort and not going bat-shit insane.

But to back track, Kris and I had our 4 year anniversary in February! Yeah for 1,461 days of liking each other (I added one for a leap year, I don't really know).  To celebrate, I rounded up a variety of college friends from two states, 4 different Californian cities and one meeting location and somehow managed to plan a 4 day wine tasting adventure with a pit stop in still crazy Isla Vista.  I did manage to forget to tell people it was for our ANNIVERSARY so everyone kept wishing him Happy Birthday, but whatever, one small thing, it was still awesome.

It was great, trying to pinpoint the best part is hard, but I think that just having our big, loud, crazy group of friends all together was the highlight.  I almost had El Sitio too, sadly it slipped out of my hands and onto the asphalt before I could take even a single bite.  But that is just one more reason we will have to plan more and go a Little crazy for another return to IV.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Off the Grid

Back in Los Angeles I walked by the same taco truck for nearly four years and only ever got sodas or snacks from it.  But this new Food Truck craze that has taken over the country has led me to the conclusion that I need to branch out, try new foods, see what mobile restaurants can offer me.  So last night Kris and I met up with Klugo and Jim (some friends from Peet's) at Off the Grid.

A weekly event hosted in North Berkeley, Off the Grid blocks off a triangle of space and has 8-10 trucks come park for about three hours while locals sample some interesting cuisine.  We started at Koja Kitchen, a Korean/Japanese fusion truck and after the line (30 minutes) ordered up some Kamikaze Fries and a Koja Chicken Pineapple Burger.  Questions as to the level of spiciness were met with good natured replies that "no, it's not spicy."


$13 later I sat down to eat my food and noted that both items were generously doused with Siracha.  As much as I would like to level up on my man-meter of spiciness, I could not eat more than three bites before I had to go get some water.  So I watched Kris eat food for two and thought about the idea behind the Koja burger.  It looked and seemed delicious, as instead of having buns it had rice patties that were solid enough to hold in your hands.

Oh well, strike one for the food trucks.  Next we headed to Cupkates, a polka-dotted mini truck filled to the brim with fresh cupcakes.  I got a tiramisu and a lemon meringue pie cupcake and commenced with the first.  All the sadness of Koja was forgotten as I bit into the heavenly mingling of sweet, espresso-y, mascarpone madness.

We hung around a little longer and Jim got a tasting sampler of ArKi's fried chicken and beignets.  I had a bite, but was unmoved in their favor.  So Kris and I walked back to BART and shuttled on home (of course we had to stop in at Corso to feed me real food, but that's another story for another day.)

All in all, my feelings for food trucks are 50/50.  While I enjoy the socialization aspect of the gathering, I can't say that the food or prices were all that competitive with the bajillion restaurant options I have at my disposal in Berkeley.  Minus the cupcakes, those guys were delicious, and I will be back next week for more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Migraines and More

Today I was supposed to wake early, walk to the market a block away, get some eggs and a 6oz plain yogurt, and make a second loaf of bacon bread.  But I woke up at 3 am with a splitting headache that made me question what was going on and why the nighttime seemed so bright.

So when I did roll out of bed at 10am (I tried to hide under the covers to stay away from the barely there light coming from the rain clouds outside) I only made it to the kitchen for water before getting right back in with the kitten.

Jaymi is coming down from Tahoe this evening and we are going to do some wine and cheesin' with Alyssa.  I just hope my head doesn't feel like this for too much longer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bookswap in the Haight

Given my love of books, and wine, and talking to people, Alyssa thought it would be fun to go to Bookswap at the Booksmith in the Haight last night.  We met up at the Ferry building and split a delicious grilled cheese then took Muni to our planned location.

Everything started off a little awkwardly, but they filled the room with about 30 people and split us into groups of 5 so we could talk about our chosen thriller in a smaller group.  We all switched tables two times and by the end I had talked to two authors, a slightly awkward geeky couple, and the very sweet owners of the store!

I bought a mystery novel by one of the authors who writes exclusively about Paris and ended up with 4 other books for FREEEE!

After all that it has been nice to hang out and have an evening in with Kris, watching Star Trek and drinking chocolate milk!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books and Baking

My life as a housewife seems to be starting prematurely.  Yesterday, while home I read David Lebovitz's "The Sweet Life in Paris" in one sitting.  Well that's a lie actually, I got up halfway through to go to Berkeley Bowl so I could buy ingredients to make a recipe in the book.  And what was so magnificent that I couldn't wait to start baking? Bacon & Bleu Cheese Cake, a french-ish recipe that combines the deliciousness of all my favorite things into a loaf of light fluffy bread!

It was easy, it was fast, it was cheap, it was delicious.  This morning I woke up and kept the housewifery coming by putting a thick slice in the oven to warm up and then topped it with a drizzling of maple syrup and a fried egg (thanks to Lydia's Facebook suggestion.)

The second time around was even better than the first and I basically know what I am going to be eating until I run out of bread and/or eggs and/or maple syrup.  I gobbled it down so quick there wasn't even time to snap a photo of my breakfast masterpiece.

If you want to know more about this delicious book check out my review of Lebovitz's book over at my Book Blog, "A Year In Books".  For the recipe click the "read more" button below!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Back in high school I detested Valentines day, something about the combination of already despising my peers who were making out in hallways and the fact that I had nobody to do so with created a flurry of feelings perilously close to hate.  So I celebrated Anti-Valentines day, a day where I pretended it was just another normal weekday and went on with business.

Even while I have been dating people, the concept of Valentines day eludes me.  Don't get me wrong, I love a random present now and again, but basing a romantic holiday on a massacre? That seems a little effed-up.

So today I am in North Carolina with my mom, and Kris is in California with his coworkers and I think that we will be perfectly content to treat today as a normal Tuesday.  But he better not forget about our anniversary, or there will be a new holiday celebrated in the future based on a different massacre.


Best Valentines Day Card (Thanks Facebook)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reporting LIVE From North Carolina

Got into Charlotte last night and had a great dinner at home with my mom and dad.  Goulash is one of my very favorite recipes so it was a nice treat to get right off the plane!  Now I have slept for 10 hours, and am eating cookies while fiddling about on the internet waiting for Kristen to call.

My cousin (Kristen) and I are going to be doing some activities this afternoon, although I don't really think either of us know what they are yet.  Probably some window shopping and hopefully eating some tiny cakes or other tasty little delectables.  Who knows, not me.

More updates to come!

EDIT: I found TWO awesome old blazers in my closet I had forgotten about, one is black velvet (a classy little number) and the second is green plaid.  This is already a great trip and it has only just begun.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heartbreak and Muffed Punts

This is a bit late, but the Superbowl was last Sunday! And apparently the weekend before some things happened that were no good for the forty-niners.  One of these things was called a "muffed Punt."  Which as we all know means to. . . uhh. . . muff a punt?

What this means for me, is that I have a new favorite insult to yell at people while driving!

So watch out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

These Boots Were Made For Walking. . . Do they have to be so ugly though??

I have been on a quest recently to find some good walking shoes for my upcoming trip to France.  Oh right, did I not mention that? I am going to France, for like, you know, a week and a half.  No big deal though.  Whatevs.


Right, got that out of my system.  But like I said, this mission to find walking shoes, it's not going too well.  I walked around with Sarah in my running shoes and by the end of the day the bridge of my foot was bruised and unhappy,  I tried the next day in Chucks and it was just a different part of my aching foot that complained.

But all I have come to notice is that walking shoes are ugly.  Why can't someone create a comfortable shoe for exploring the North of France (sorry, had to throw that in there) that doesn't look like an orthotic cry for help from the Greenpeace campaigners?

My travel clothing will be awesome, my shoes, not so much.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lombard Street

Last weekend when Sarah was out visiting, we did all kinds of fun touristy things.  We took a ferry, went to Alcatraz, walked around Chinatown and Little Italy, saw the 6 story Nordstrom at the Powell BART stop, and ate at my favorite restaurant!  But the last item on our list was to walk down Lombard Street.  So on Sunday after the Alcatraz trip, a big bowl of chowder at Boudin Bakery, and Ice cream sundaes at Ghiradelli, we walked 4 blocks to Lombard Street.

4 blocks.  Nothing scary, right? WRONG. they must have been the 4 steepest blocks in all of San Francisco.  We had to take a break halfway up because the atmosphere was getting too thin.  I am fairly sure I saw some dead frozen explorers wearing Mount Everest climbing gear.

But once we made it to the top we had an amazing view all the way to the Bay!  Since it is winter there weren't any hydrangeas in bloom but it was pretty nonetheless.  We started walking down the hill (to get a picture from the bottom, since from the top you can't really get the full effect) and about halfway down saw a guy who had earlier passed us on his motorcycle and gone into one of the garages on Lombard Street itself.

We started up a little conversation and found out some very interesting things about Lombard Street and the history of San Francisco!

In 1922 the curvy street was instituted to help cars get along the 27 degree hill, the city did not pay for it though and the residents of the street had to pool the money to make the changes amongst themselves.  One of the residents on the street decided to plant the hydrangeas and since then there have only been three gardeners, all of them street residents.  In the 60's one of the residents of the street took a photo of from the bottom with all the hydrangeas in bloom and it was put in a newspaper.  From then on, people have flocked to the street (more than 6,000 people come to drive it each day!)

What most people don't know is that the gardening and maintenance of all the plants is not paid for by the city.  That means each year 8 or 9 of the residents of the street fork over upwards of $20,000 a piece to replant, clean, care for and generally maintain the street.  The man we talked to just so happened to be John Van Vechten Smith Jr., the third gardener!

He also told us about some of the houses and people who have lived on the street over the years.  One of the most famous houses looks like an old European chateau and was designed and lived in by Julia Morgan! The same woman who designed Hearst Castle.

So we learned some history and had a bit of exercise, a pretty good day overall!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kitten Windows!

You know what is great about SF? Sure there are wonderful restaurants, incredible people, brilliant writers and photographers, and exciting things to do on a tuesday night.  But most importantly, San Francisco is a city that loves animals.  They love animals so much that during the holidays Macy's helps people adopt pets.

For a little over a month the windows of the Union Square Macy's are filled with adorable critters! Kittens, cats, puppies, and full grown dogs, all just waiting for a new home!  When Alyssa and I walked by the first week they were doing this, we asked how many little fluffballs had been adopted, the nice fellow from the SF SPCA responded that 84 had been taken to new homes!  We thought this was incredible and amazing especially since they had only been in operation 7 days, but he said "no no no silly girlies, 84 TODAY!!"

That means that they are finding new homes for hundreds and hundreds of little adorable animals (and one slightly creepy looking Chihuahua we saw)

So there, yet another reason I love this new home of mine.  Watch this video and feel your cold icy heart melt a little bit from all the adorable!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Beer!

wait, wait, something is wrong about that title. . . oh well!

My plans changed for the first time in as long as I can remember on NYE this year.  We still hung out with Walter and Lydia, and we still went to Rivoli, but everything was a little out of order.  But that's fine because I still got to see all the people I have come to associate ringing in the new year with.

Now thanks to a slight overindulgence on my part last night, I am going to go take a nap.

Happy 2012, let's hope the world doesn't come to an end quite yet!