love it so.
last week i had off of work THE WHOLE WEEK. it was amazing.
with work and school and commute and normal life stuff, sleeeeeeeep gets lost. daylight savings switching really messes me up too. anyway! i was grateful to have this time off. thanks to a budget shortfall, this meant staycation. my first! for i love exploring new places. luckily, the Bay Area is full of new places to explore a short distance from home.
and this sunset helped me realize that I don’t even need to go somewhere new to have a new experience. I can walk a short distance up Bernal Hill and be transported to a magical beautiful vacation wonderland, one where I get to bask in the sun’s glow and then watch it disappear. That light – all of it – is totally new to me.
And having time to watch it and enjoy (with my neighbors! how nice!) instead of writing a paper, folding the laundry, or attending to one of the other indoor, mundane tasks that so often suck up a Sunday is a pretty great luxury indeed.
So I am newly appreciative of staycation (which also meant sleeping in my bed! No more missing that glory or lumpy pillows or adjusting to new temperature issues etc. etc.). SO MUCH SLEEP. and sun and feasting and hiking and reading and yogaing and laughing with friends and a visit to SCRAP finally and a clean bathtub and library visits and movies and exploring and fun!
Lest I seem totally anti-suburb, I feel like I should sing the praises of the suburbs’ main assets: their parks! More space = more room for lovely, tree/flower/plant filled, quiet beauty. There are some amazing trees to sit under and look up at and ponder the lifespan of, which is a very wonderful way to have a break from work and be restored in a way that is not nearly as easy in a city. Sure, there are parks in San Francisco’s Financial District, and some amazing trees (redwoods in the Transamerica Building park come to mind) – but quiet? Not so much.
City parks are crucial! I am happy to find a park wherever it exists. But they are totally different than their suburban counterparts. I’ve noticed they are generally pretty crammed with people, many of whom are doing all sorts of city things – talking about work, cell phone talking and gaming and working, etc. Not everyone. Like everything in the city, there is great diversity of park activities. City energy pervades city parks, and a work break in the park is great but not at all restorative in the same way. And generally, it is hard to bring a blanket or a yoga mat and lie down and look up in the city parks.
But easy in the suburbs. Suburban parks are good for the wandering, resting, breathing, eating, stretching, contemplating, photographing, and taking in the good smells (well, except at Bayfront Park, where the smells are best ignored to the extent possible).
So! with the exception of the ever-tantalizing Flood Park, which costs $6 to use so no one does, I thank you for your wide open, accessible, quiet, beautiful, restorative parks, Menlo Park, CA. They make lunch breaks great!
Wow, it has been nearly two months since i posted something here – that time flew! i think i say that every day. borrrring. but also true! anyway, working backwards, what has happened, wow. i work in the city one day a week now! San Francisco, I’ve missed you. I drive to Silicon Valley for work and it is lovely (not the drive but the parks near my work) but boring. Soothing, but BORING! I miss city diversity and energy and food and fun and proximity to interesting people doing interesting things.
My office is close to Chinatown, so it is very fun to walk for two minutes and feel like I am in a completely different world (including the presence of tourists – we don’t get those in Silicon Valley, and I never thought I would miss them, but they somehow are a welcome part of the SF landscape because I’ve grown so used to them).
There are so many great colors in the city, which is not true in Silicon Valley. Things blend into things in Silicon Valley. Nothing stands out. No lanterns, flags flying, red or green metal work…things are tan, or grey. I drive through Atherton on my way home and people have giant walled multimillion dollar compounds and hide from the possibility of interaction. In Chinatown, it’s all happening right there, to watch and be a part of, and it is wonderful, and I love it.
besides the cobb salad, of course, the most amazing and bestest part of the recent camping trip in Geurneville was the swimming! the floating! the underwater flips and general joy of being in a river, in the sunshine, with a perfect breeze, hawks soaring overhead, and a duck family swimming by adorably.
on the first day, we went to Monte Rio beach, where dogs are allowed, since we had a dog with us. a big dog! Makua, a super friendly chocolate lab, who loved to fetch his ball and quickly return to shore. Makua also did not like it at ALL when i floated too far away in my tire-themed inner tube, and expressed his displeasure quite vocally. for float i did.
therefore, on the second day, Makua and his mom went for a hike in nearby Armstrong Woods State Park with the glorious redwoods, and I went to Johnson’s Beach, where I got to enjoy this river view and swimming and floating at will, no dog displeasure involved. there were a couple of guys fishing and talking shop about the best bait and lures, which I always find very quaint and soothing somehow. reading. floating. feasting! on lunch and snacks obtained at the very excellent hippie store, Food for Humans. and a whole lot of nothing! it was perfect. late in the day, it was so quiet that i could even hear the birds’ wings as they flew around. glorious!
no screens, no tvs, no radios, just water and trees and sky and birds. unplugged! soaking in the sun and the silence. i’ll take it. any day. thanks Russian River! you always know just what to do.
behold, my second ever cobb salad. this one was very different from the one i inhaled in Austin and i am so glad to be exploring this delicious, protein-packed world. my body, i just can’t say with words how happy my body is to be filled with protein instead of grains these days.
probably you don’t want to hear the poop stories either. i will leave it at: life is 1 million times better for me without grains. who knew i didn’t have to have all of those pains and bloating and ugh? not me. UGH. i lived on bagels for years! literally. i had a bagels and diet coke diet and no time or money for real food. awful. poor body!
psychologically speaking, YES i wanted the biscuits and gravy at this fine Guerneville, CA establishment, the Big Bottom Market (aptly named in many ways). YES, grains still cry out to me, in the way that any good addict hears from a formerly-loved substance guaranteed to have a short, initial burst of pleasure/euphoria, followed by much suffering later and a whole lot of craving for more.
truth be told, i wanted a hot breakfast, and not a cold salad. luckily, the deliciousness and freshness and FLAVA of this beauty’s ingredients overrode any thoughts of hot biscuits and I avoided any suffering, present or future, by finally listening to my body instead of my thoughts.
that is a miracle.
a delicious, nourishing miracle that i am so grateful for! big ups to the CHEESEMONGER who got that super rich blue cheese to my bowl, the farmers who grew the produce, raised and killed the animals, and the good people of the Big Bottom Market to put it all together and made it possible for me to feast and feel so good.
With coffee! Ohhh yes delicious hot coffee. Made me so glad we forgot the propane and could not have coffee at the campsite as originally intended! Miracles upon miracles indeed.
mmmm blackberries. i did not eat these. i just admired them and continued on my hike, as with so many other things i happily stumbled (luckily not literally) upon the way. a few weekends ago, i realized i had almost 24 hours unscheduled and decided to escape the city and it’s cold, cold fog. little did i know that pt. reyes would also be foggy (until my 24 hours were up, and the sun busted out in its full glory to light my way back to foggy SF). i stayed at a very wonderful farm with chickens and a friendly goat, Stanley, and fruit trees and flowers and all kinds of loveliness. including some other nice ladies who had been hiking all day and were very nice and helpful.
i explored the farm and pt. reyes town a bit saturday night, read a funny book, and then on sunday, i hit the trail! the Coast-Laguna Loop, an easy 5 mile hike (a little extra because i went the wrong way for awhile, whoops, i will get a map next time!). out of 150 miles of trails, it was hard to choose where to start, but i usually default to ocean/water access where possible, so that helped. i am so glad san francisco is not far from pt. reyes and i can go back any time for more. soon!
although i was hoping for sun – i love it so much – i ended up being glad it wasn’t super sunny because i would have been a lot sweatier and probably sunburned, since that happens to me so damn easily. the fog was kind of perfect, actually, and left a lovely mist over the hills that made the day feel a bit more magical. and when colorful wildflowers and blackberries popped out from the green and grey, the sudden burst of color was extra exciting.
I love San Francisco fog! and how beautiful it is as it rolls in. especially when there is also sunshine, so it’s not freezing or gloomy but only beautiful. misty. you know. the good stuff.
i encountered this lovely, Sutro Tower-obscuring fog yesterday afternoon at the end of my first-ever internet date. I have no idea why I thought that would be a good idea to do. It involved Mitchell’s ice cream (Mexican chocolate, mmmmm) and a walk up Bernal Hill, so those are great things, especially on a sunny Sunday afternoon. So I guess it wasn’t the worst idea I’ve ever had.
At the date’s remarkably not-awkward conclusion (maybe for one second because it was a sudden conclusion that took me by surprise), I was left deciding which way to go down the hill to walk home. I don’t normally go down the stairway that led to this glorious view, so I am glad that the sudden turn of events led me to it. Lovely!
And I’ll be back! Not with that guy, though. OH YEAH! It ended so suddenly I didn’t even get to tell him that I understood why he might prefer to live in San Francisco to his native Poland. That when I visited Poland, and stayed at a hostel in Krakow, irate neighbors who hated the noisy hostel guests partying outside threw BALLOONS FULL OF SHIT at the noisy hostel kids, who fled inside the hostel, coating everything in shit and puke (I probably puked too, the smell was SO AWFUL) and it was the most disgusting experience I have probably ever had in my entire life. Certainly top 3. I will admit that we received a warning – I actually went inside thanks to said warning and did not get hit with a SHIT BALLOON – but I also think far less dramatic, disgusting, vile methods would have also sufficed. I am also recalling that we couldn’t hang towels or other wet stuff to dry in windows at that hostel or they would have been stolen, so it could not have been a fancy neighborhood. Just a horrible one. And thanks to this date, the memories, they came flooding back And I appreciate San Francisco for one more reason – no one has ever thrown a shit balloon at me or anyone I know.