"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

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!