Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Singing in the Rain

Oddly enough, one of the things I was most excited about in coming to San Francisco was the rain. After three years of living in the desert I felt parched and tired of the constant sun. My New England bones have ached for weather, however dismal that weather may be.

Today, I experienced my first San Francisco rain as a resident and I'll be honest, I was bummed. But only because I went to bed last night with thoughts swirling around my head about all that I wanted to do today. My plan was to start my morning and knock out emails in a Nob Hill Cafe before walking down to Hayes Valley to "wish list shop" and discover a delicious lunch spot.

When I woke to the soft rainfall outside, I immediately turned on the TV to the weather channel and pulled up weather.com on my phone. I incessantly checked the forecast for about an hour and pitifully gave up on my day of exploration.

It wasn't long until I got stir crazy.

I stuck my hand out of the window one last time to check the rain before deciding that I wouldn't let it ruin my plans. I zipped up my boots (unfortunately, my rain boots aren't here with me yet), squished into a puffer jacket, and grabbed an umbrella on my wait out the door.

And I'm oh so glad that I decided to venture out into the rain, because I had a beautiful afternoon.

Since I came last Wednesday, I've been to Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, the Marina, Cow Hollow, Civic Center, and Lower Pac Heights. I've walked a minimum of 2 miles and a maximum of 8 miles on any given day. There are way too many nooks of this city to discover; I cannot justify sitting still.

The walk from Nob Hill to Hayes Valley was less than thrilling, but I'm still glad that I did it. It felt good to walk, to breathe in the cool damp air, and be alone with my thoughts.

Upon entering Hayes Valley, I walked in and out of quirky stores to gather design inspiration for our new humble 500 square foot abode.

Satisfied with a head full of new ideas, I ducked into a restaurant for lunch. I ate at The Lunchpad, a pop-up shop inside of Noir Lounge on Hayes St and Laguna St. My sandwich was deeelicious (I got the A-bomb), but what I loved most was the atmosphere. Dark walls, hardwood floors, delicate red leather furniture, a chandelier hanging over a flower-topped plank table--all of it was perfect and cozy for a lunch on a rainy day. I can't wait to return here, especially to see how the Noir Lounge functions at night.

After lunch, I popped into a few more shops and one of my favorite dessert spots, Miette. Just being inside of Miette makes me happy, it's so colorful and quaint.

Happy with my day's excursions, I returned home (in a small downpour) with a smile on my face. Today, I conquered the rain. Tomorrow, I'll welcome it by snuggling under a blanket and binge-watching Masterpiece Theater.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Wednesday, November 13th 2013 will forever be important to me, for it is the day that I moved to San Francisco.

I've been smiling ever since I stepped off of my flight in Oakland and into my sister's car. Garrett and I have been waiting some time to live in this city and the fact that this is now home is absolutely surreal.

My first full day in San Francisco was spent in phone calls and meetings, one of which brought me to a not-so-desirable part of the city. Though I walked two blocks in the wrong direction in the Civic Center neighborhood surrounded by frazzled drug addicts and delinquent cat-callers, I still consider my first day of taking public transportation solo a success; I arrived everywhere I needed to and on time to boot.

Day 1 closed with a lovely dinner in Palo Alto for which I was graciously allowed to fifth-wheel, followed by a visit to Cream, the most magnificent dessert shop ever (ice cream sandwiches made of freshly baked cookies and whatever flavor of ice cream you choose? I die.).

Today, I was appointment free and excited to take advantage of creating my own schedule. I woke, took care of some tasks, and headed out of my sister's Nob Hill home in the direction of a new Russian Hill coffee shop.

Isn't this just the loveliest walkway to leave through and come home to every day?
With the air refreshingly cool and the sun high in its blue skies, it was a beautiful day to spend walking slowly through the city. My curiosity high, I stretched my neck to see the top of each building and slowed to peek into alleyways. San Francisco was vibrant with color and happy energy.

I can't decide whether I like or hate this building; either way, I couldn't stop staring at it.
My walk led me to Saint Frank Coffee, a delightful coffee shop nestled behind bright, tall windows in Russian Hill.  The hardwood plank flooring against the white honeycomb tiling proved to be a happy design environment for trendy hipsters and young mothers to gather in alike.

After ordering an almond latte and crumbly chocolate croissant, I settled here for some time to knock out some emails and, of course, apply for more jobs.

Feeling accomplished and happy, I left Saint Franks with, of course, a smile on my face. Too hungry to explore further, I ate a non-adventurous (but still good!) lunch at La Boulange before heading back to Nob Hill.

A full belly and a happy heart, I skipped my way home up and over the hills of San Francisco.

I think that I am going to like living here very much.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

To Ladies, With Love

We are spread out all over the country, some even across the world. It's been years since I've seen some of my friends and nearly half a decade since I've visited my home town. And though days, weeks, months pass between conversations, I still feel connected to the people who built me up to be who I am today.

A big part of that comes from social media, in being able to see their words or pictures spread across a screen. I get to be a third-party viewer of engagement videos, ultrasound pictures, travel logs, relationship news, career achievements and more. Through this viewership I feel a slight sense of being included in their story, of being kept in the loop. But nothing (aside from in-person reunions), absolutely nothing is better than being included through hearing a dear friend's voice on the other side of my phone.

With the best of friends, conversation is effortless. We catch each other up on the big current events in our lives and inquire about the other person's family. We giggle over funny stories and gasp over exciting news. And though it's been ages since we've spoken, we know exactly which questions to ask. Those questions are answered without hesitation, answered honest and true. No detail is spared, no emotions hidden. In giving or receiving words, there is no judgment, no shock. Just words, passing from mouth to ear, establishing an understanding between two people separated by time, space, and life.

It is this understanding that I cherish, the acknowledgement of one's state of being that I hold close to my heart. Knowing that I can pick up my phone, dial the number of a friend that I haven't spoken to or heard from in what seems forever, and instantly have us be in tune with one another's life means the world to me.

What I love most of all, though, is how each and every one of these conversations ends, with three simple words that mean so much. Hearing somebody say "I love you," is never, ever taken for granted. How good does it feel to be loved by someone that you've been separated from, to be loved by someone that hasn't seen you face-to-face in years ? Really good. It feels really good. To know that no matter where I am in life, I can always pick up the phone and have love and understanding in a matter of minutes? That feels really, really, really good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

When I was a small child, my family often referred to me as Cindy Lou Who as my over-sized eyes and ski-slope button nose resembled those of the endearing Grinch character. From the age of 3 or so, I proudly puffed out my chest and batted my lashes to fulfill my nickname. I've felt a close connection to Dr. Seuss ever since.

Green eggs and ham day was my favorite memory of kindergarten. I religiously read Go, Dog, Go! and firmly believed that I would someday own a cobalt-blue or bright green canine companion. I watched the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas on repeat every December and was first in line when the Jim Carey version opened at the theaters.

You could say I've got a thing for the doctor.

Our relationship has faded over the years, however. Though the annual viewing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original, of course) hasn't gone away, my other connections to Dr. Seuss have dissipated in my adult life.

Until now.

In packing for my big move to San Francisco today, I came across this:

Dr. Seuss

My sister gifted me with this book at my college graduation (please note "party edition" under the title), and though it resonated deeply with me at the time, its message didn't hold a candle to my life then as it does now. Because now, not only am I moving to a new city, I am totally redefining my career.

I am really, really excited for this new chapter. I'm working hard to try something new, to follow a passion that's become evident in my adult life. I just know that I'm on the brink of excellence.

But. Every once in a while the excited flutter in my chest falls to dread in my stomach. I am, after all, moving to one of the most expensive cities in the country without a job.

That thought was circulating my mind while I was packing today. So, when I came across Oh, the Places You'll Go!, I welcomed the distraction that the glittery cover offered me. A smile instantly spread across my face as soon as I read the first page.

Today is your day. 
You're off to Great Places! 
You're off and away!"

You're so right, Dr. Seuss, I thought to myself, so right. Hungry for encouragement, I read on.

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose."

Yes, yes I do, I thought, nodding my head, and yes, yes I can.

"And when things start to happen,
 don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
start happening too." 

Yes, I will!

"You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest."


"I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups 
and Hang-ups
can happen to you."


"You can get so confused
that you'll start to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place."

That's where I am right now, at this present moment. I'm a resident of The Waiting Place. Waiting for someone to give me a chance. I know that I can do it all; I just need the offer. With that chance, I'll be off to great places with brains in my head and know that I will be the best of the best.

"And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

I will! I will move mountains!


See! That's photographic proof of me moving mountains.

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"

I'm ready to leave The Waiting Place. I'm almost out, I can feel it. I oh so badly needed Dr. Seuss's words of wisdom today, needed his encouragement.

My mountain is waiting; it's time to go move it.