Sunday, October 30, 2011

pumpkin carving. pumpkin beer.

This was a great week with a mix of busy days and relaxation (which I've done the entire day today). The big news is that Jumpstart's office is moving from Mission and 6th - a bit of a sketchy area - to Battery street tomorrow. We're going to be less than a 10 minute walk to the Ferry Building, which makes me incredibly happy. This happiness stems from the fact that there's a year round farmers market run by a local non-profit every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Ferry Building. I've been to the Saturday market (which is the largest of the three days) and it's amazing. I can't wait to some squash this week! Aside from my obsession with farmers markets, the office move is going to be a huge upgrade for us. The space is better, in a better part of town and it's going to be a much better working environment. Tomorrow is unpacking day!

On Friday, Maddy and I kept it pretty low key and carved some pumpkins. This is by far my favorite Halloween tradition (I could do without the dressing up). I was also dead set on drinking pumpkin beer as we carved, but forgot that beer seasons are like clothing in some ways, so I had a pretty limited selection, but was able to get my hands on a six pack of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale (brewery in  Hayward, CA). Not a Shipyard Pumpkinhead, but it definitely sufficed.

I always have grand plans for my pumpkins and tried to be a bit more creative this year. I attempted to carve The Pumpkin King from Nightmare Before Christmas and with the limited tools we had, I think it turned out alright. Maddy carved a pug and it's pretty darn impressive. I have yet to roast the pumpkin seeds but they were saved and will go in the oven this week likely.

On Saturday a friend from high school who lives in Mountain View came by to see the place and we went on a little tour of SF. The weather was amazing (sorry to those of you who were snowed in back east) and he has a Miada - the perfect cruising car. Brandon had some inside scoop of some not so commonly known places in the city from a former boss of his who has lived in SF for 15+ years. First we went to Best Buy (not exciting) and bought a wireless router for my apt. Funnily enough, the wireless router we had previously was in fact not a wireless router - that explains why it wasn't working.

Anyway, our next destination was Tank Hill in the neighborhood Twin Peaks. The view was breathtaking. This has to be the best view in the city - you can see Oakland, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Candlestick Park, AT&T Park, Mt. Diablo and everything in between. There is no obstruction and you can see for miles. I will definitely be going back here! The last stop was the most random thing I've seen in a city - concrete slides called the Seward Street Slides. They are in Noe Valley, very close to the Castro, andwere built in the 70's (as if that needed to be said). I didn't get the opportunity to slide this time around because I was wearing a dress, but again, a spot I will definitely go back to.

Last night was a Halloween progressive party - boy do people in this town love their Halloween. But the most exciting part of the weekend was finishing my first library book. Holler! On to the next - Dry.

Have a great week all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

still sunny in late october.

The best thing I did this week was get a library card. Score! It's amazing how easy it was considering my first attempt to get one back in the day in South Boston was an utter failure because I still had my WA license. It was just as bad as trying to get my MA license and all I wanted to do was check out some books! Anyway, I don't have a CA license yet, but they graciously accepted my residency after I showed my address on a comcast bill (the only thing that being a comcast customer is good for). I checked out a book I've read (Dry by Augusten Aurroughs) a book I was half way through when I left Boston (Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell) and a book that I've checked out and returned three times in the past (The Corrections). Time to get my read on.

The week had some major new discoveries that really made me excited to do more exploring here. I went to Hayes Valley to get some food on Wednesday - it's a really great neighborhood with lots of small shops, eateries and other fun stuff. The highlight of it though was an ice cream stand called Smitten. I urge you to check out the website because my explanation of why it is so cool would not do it justice. I had a kiddie cup of chocolate ice cream with candid jalapenos (delish). I also went to a wine bar that you would never know was there but it was so cozy and such a great atmosphere for wine drinking. My partner in crime was much more knowledgeable about wine drinking than I so I fumbled through the wine conversation inserting the word "tannins" at all the wrong times. The place is called Hotel Biron - I will definitely try to make it back there.

Maddy and I had a high school friend visit this week. He was in town to see the Standford v. University of Washington game (poor Huskies). We hit the town on Friday and found ourselves at a Mexican place called Tortilla Heights. I was definitely the butt of some jokes when I asked if where we were going was a neighborhood. In my defense a) there are so many neighborhoods here I can't keep them straight and b) I feel like half of them have the word "Heights" in name. Still, I know, dumb comment. We carried on to a few other places, one being a piano bar.

Saturday I tagged along with Maddy, her boyfriend and another friend to The Bridge School Benefit Concert held at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View (very close to where my mom grew up). It was such an amazing day - the weather was perfect, we got there early and snagged a prime lawn spot and spent seven hours listening to music. And the icing on the cake was the school that this concert supports, The Bridge School, teaches developmentally disabled students with an emphasis on building communication skills of all kinds. Definitely worth checking out. Of all the artists we saw, Norah Jones, Beck, and Mumford and Sons definitely stole the show. Norah. Wow.

Sunday has been a lazy day, but I made it to a park that I walk by a lot just to do some reading (thanks SF library). It was nice to just sit for a while and enjoy the weather. As you'll see below, I had a nice little view of the park. Please please please send me any books suggestions you have since I'm going to become a library junkie here soon. I also caught a late lunch and did some reading at a place called The Grove in Lower Pac Heights (see, another Heights). They have an awesome mayo-free tuna salad, one of the best I've ever had.

Looking forward to a quiet week and a possible visitor next weekend! Don't forget to send along book suggestions!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

clean room will not last.

As you saw in my post last week (or lack thereof) I went to Las Vegas for the weekend. Thanks to Columbus Day (or Indigenous People's Day as San Franciscans call it) I had a full three days in Las Vegas with Katy and Elian. Huge thanks to Elian for hosting us in her hometown! I added a picture of the gang - it was a great time with great people, amazing food and lots of dancing.

This weekend was the first weekend that I had nothing planned in advance. I'm starting to learn my routine a bit, where to go grocery shopping, when it's best to do laundry at the corner laundromat, etc. I'm definitely missing laundry in my apt and now spend all the change I save on laundry and I REALLY miss the bulk section in Harvest Co-op, but life goes on.

I didn't do much during the week since Vegas took a lot out of me and I was happy to tag along with Maddy and her co-worker to a play on Friday. First we went to Farmerbrown, a farm to table soul food restaurant, which had inventive cocktails (I had the "concord & divide - gin, concord grapes, fresh grapefruit & st. germaine) and food. We ordered a couple appetizers (much to the waitresses chagrin) and then headed over to Exit Theater for one of the performances in the Olympians Festival. The festival is going on all month, each night a different play that only will be performed that one time. I will definitely be going back to shows there! It was a great vibe and is one of the premiere independent theaters in the city.

On Saturday myself and others ventured to "Taste of Filmore", a street event in Lower Pac Heights. An afternoon of wine, finger food and dog watching. The group I was with took a little breather then went to dinner on Filmore at Chouquet's. Wow.

Today I spent a majority of the day unpacking my final boxes. The apartment is almost in good shape although we still have a many things to hoard (dining room chairs, microwave, toaster, some small storage, etc.). My room though is in MUCH better shape - no more boxes, no more clothes everywhere (yay!). But how it's set up now is pretty temporary, considering I cut up boxes to make "storage" for under my bed. Just call me DIY Dana.

Tomorrow is the inaugural soup group in the San Francisco office! I'm so excited to be bringing soup group here and share it with my new co-workers. I'm also considering signing up for a CSA delivery service, similar to Boston Organics. It would be helpful for soup group since each box contains a hefty amount of veggies. I'm strongly considering it.

Another Sunday night, another week. Looking forward to a big weekend next weekend with a Seattle visitor and concert. Booyah.

As I said, the room isn't done yet (notice the lack of wall hangings) but here's a little preview:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

i like free.

Another Sunday, another blog post. I’m starting to look forward to Sunday evenings to be able to recount the week – I hope you’re enjoying reading.

My parents stayed until this past Tuesday and I took them to a Giants game Monday night to make up for not attending my dad's sixtieth birthday party. Too bad the Giants took themselves out of the pennant race the game before; another World Series I won’t watch. Anyway, it was great to watch baseball with my dad – definitely brings back good memories.

I have a bed now, which is a big win. This whole week it’s felt like I’ve been sleeping on a cloud. Tomorrow the movers will bring the stuff that my grandma and aunt are generously donating to the “Maddy and Dana are poor and can’t afford furniture fund”. They swear that they wanted to get new things so I’m not going to complain. I can’t wait to have all of my boxes and feel like a whole person again.

This week held a few great adventures. I went to a few new bars (I think if I go to a couple a week for two years, I’ll hit about 13% of them in SF). On Saturday Maddy and I went out to Brentwood to see the stuff my grandma and aunt are giving to us. As much as I rag on Brentwood, it is so peaceful at my grandma’s house. She has such a beautiful place and it’s quiet. I can’t wait to escape there when I’ve had too much of the city.

Today was an ideal Sunday. Maddy and I got up early and went for a run starting at the Marina. Unfortunately there were a couple thousand other people down there also because of a 12K race, but we just waltzed right on the course and ran alongside. It was a beautiful day and we had amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. I can definitely get used to this. I’m likely going to join a running group and the ones I've researched start their runs down there – it’s nice and flat, but it’s easy to find hills too.

After our run, we quickly showered and headed out to Golden Gate park for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a three day free music festival. We got there in the early afternoon and it was swarmed with people. The first two days included great acts: M. Ward (who I saw this summer at the Newport Folk Fest), Bright Eyes, The Felice Brothers, Hugh Laurie. Today was the only day we could go, but I think it was probably the best day. We parked ourselves at one (there were five total) stage and started off listening to Bela Flek and then The Blind Boys of Alabama. Trekking out there was totally worth it just to the latter - they are all over 80 (I think) and still rocking, and they are really blind. The writer of the music from O Brother Where Art Thou (Ralph Stranger) followed and then Emmy Lou Harris. To beat the crowds we left early from Emmy’s set, but caught a bit of Gomez on our way out.

I’m still in shock this festival is free. Massive stages, tons of space, well organized, just great. Every walk of life was there – I think I was high off of second hand smoke and people, just regular people were selling beers out of coolers, treats were being sold out of backpacks and baskets. We also met a really nice couple that let us sit right in front of them – people are so nice here.

Such a great week/weekend. Here are the standard bullets:
  • Paragon - bar near AT&T park that we discovered on our walk to the game. It sounds like it's usually packed before games but because the season was basically over, we were able to get a table outside and enjoy a beer. I had a New Belgium 1554 - definitely a new favorite.
  • 620 Jones - really cool outdoor bar/restaurant. Tons of tables and there were heat lamps - so genius.
  • Bourbon and Branch - a speakeasy style bar with amazing drinks. It requires a password to get in and you have to ask to go to the library. The wall that opens is a book case and you're led to a back room - it was a million degrees, probably just to be authentic. Definitely going back.
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - I will go to this every year I live here. It was amazing. I hope that next year I'll be able to attend at least two days and just spend the whole time basking in the sun.
Tonight is a new episode of The Good Wife - I miss watching it with the old roomie, Candice. I miss you Candice! I'm so glad that Maddy is addicted now though!