My friend Becca (from my first year at Smith) and her wife Angela live in Sacramento, and in my tour of the Bay Area I visited them. (I'm returning the favor in September when they come out to Boston for part of Ang's UU candidacy process -- though that'll be more about providing gratis crashspace and less about playing tour guide.)
me [9:22am] Glad I checked the weather forecast before leaving for Sacramento. Predicted highs in San Francisco today and tomorrow: 63F and 60F. Predicted highs in Sacramento: 92 and 88.
me [9:27am] Overnight lows dipping below 60F both places, though! \o/
Becca [9:51am] but no humidity! :) See you later today.
Back at their place after dinner, Becca suggested playing a game. The games they had weren't really speaking to me, but I commented that I'm always a fan of Apples to Apples (which was one of the games they had). There were only 3 of us, but I said that someone (mayhap?) had told me about a way of playing where each round you draw a random red card and include that in the pile of cards to be judged. So we did that. We totally anthropomorphized and referred to the game as playing a card rather than saying, "The random card is..." and were frequently impressed by how well the game played.
Sat. Aug. 13, 2011
witty - San Francisco (it was the very first hand and Becca was Judge so I knew I would win playing that card for anything positive)
insulting - airline food
lovable - beanie babies (I think)
harmful - cold pizza (Becca was Judge -- I was thinking of her gluten [and lactose] intolerance, but apparently I won just because she thinks cold pizza is gross)
overwhelming - we forget what I played, but we think I beat Becca's black holes
meek - ginkgo tree (beating out Sily Putty, which was the random card)
scenic - YMCA (beat out Grand Canyon; Becca was Judge)
organic - blood (the random card was sleeping pills)
pure - X-rays (I was Judge next and drew Heartless and commented that X-Rays would have been a really good card for that as well)
handsome - the universe
profound - Dr. Seuss (pretty sure Becca was Judge for this)
tough - ... I forget what I played for this; the game played losing your job, while Becca played The Common Loon
squeaky clean - the ozone layer
sensual - incense (beat out ninjas)
clean - going to the dentist
unreal - winning the lottery
quiet - bongos
There were a lot of really good rounds:
intense - the game played Adolf Hitler
shiny - a dozen red roses, the 1950s, Carl Sagan [I think I awarded that last one to Becca]
boisterous - spiders, mice, mosquitos [this last one was played by the game]
loud - california, french wines [Becca won with that one], electric chair [me]
sharp - operation, shark, Albert Einstein (that last one was the random card)
smart - cards included The Pentagon; I awarded it to the person who had played cactus
The game won:
technological - blank card with Becca as judge, if my notes are correct (other cards played that round included chickens)
filthy - witch hunts [awarded by me, beating out Victorian England]
flirtatious - truck stops [awarded by Ang]
(I commented that we had each awarded one card to Apples to Apples -- and then right after I said that, A2A had a winning streak.)
normal - recycling [awarded by me; Ang played Anne Frank and Becca played rolling the car]
delicate - celine dion [awarded by Becca; Ang played oral surgery and I played silk]
swift - Britney Spears [awarded by Becca; I played ticks and Ang played My First Kiss)
sensitive - talk radio [awarded by Ang; I played daytime tv -- a close second -- and Becca played camping trips]
perfect - coconuts (I played assembly line and Becca played haunted house)
smooth - nine iron (Becca played The Great Chicago Fire and Ang played Ballerinas)
sexy - the metric system (Becca played Paris and I played New Orleans; somewhere in the game I commented that A2A benefits from the fact that similar cards tend to cancel each other out, because we're trying to actually match the card whereas the game is just playing random cards; I also commented at some point that as Judge I frequently found myself unsure whether a card was someone playing the irony card or whether it was the game)
refined - amputation (I played Jerry Springer, and someone else played trailer park)
fake - Clark Gable (I wanna say Becca awarded this one, but it's not in my notes)
fragrant - cleaning the bathroom (I played Milk Duds and Becca played Flying Monkeys)
weird - NASCAR (I was the Judge; it beat out rubber gloves + Adam Sandler -- that was a strong round)
honorable - Martha Stewart
For Hopeless, the cards were: Samuel L. Jackson, fund raising, on the top of a ferris wheel
Ang said now she had an image of Samuel L. Jackson on the top of a Ferris wheel, fundraising.
I was Judge, and I wanted to pick Samuel L. Jackson, because Samuel L. Jackson, but for this card it really didn't work. (Ultimately I picked "on the top of a Ferris wheel.")
[9:55am Pacific] Elizabeth [surname] is having a hippie crunchy California breakfast -- gluten-free organic cereal with coconut milk.
my mom [10:32am Pacific] You can come back all healthy and wholesome .... hmmmm, or maybe not so much "wholesome" - but healthy!
Looking at this, Ang said: "It's like that guy with the unicorns, but with naked women." (She was thinking of Lisa Frank.)
We ended up (only) going to the Smith Gallery. Lots of beautiful artwork. Not a huge fan of the proprietor.
While I was at the Amtrak station to come back from Sacramento, Mara called to postpone our plans for that evening on account of she had a stomach bug.
I GoogleMapped vegetarian places in my area and went to Golden Era Vegan. I got the Ginger Bliss and was fairly meh on it. I got Almond Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert and YUM... pumpkin cheesecake.
While I was at dinner, I remembered that there was other stuff I could have done with this newly free night -- like Cymbeline for the second time in a season. Oops.
I walked the outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral (one of Tiffany's recommendations). Smaller than I was expecting, though still a nice experience. (I fairly well tuned out the two people sitting on the facing benches.)
Aftward I walked up the street a bit and hey, I could actually see the Bay. (My being so meh on San Francisco is probably partly related to the part of town in which I'm centered.)
I think I tend to get intimidated by maps and feel like things are so far away when they aren't necessarily.
The other day, I was rereading entries from when I was here last time, and in one of them I said:
I was thinking that going places on my own is like What I Do, so what was my problem? But I realized that exploring places isn't something I tend to do on my own -- which helps explain why I've been feeling somewhat bored wandering around and have actually been wanting someone to be here with me.I considered trying to expedition to Fisherman's Wharf area (yeah, one of these days I will have a smartphone and will boggle that I ever went anywhere without having an electronic map in my pocket), but I came back to the hotel in part because I had to go to the bathroom.
Heading down Taylor, the first leg, one could really feel unsteady heading down that steep incline. As I headed down Taylor, I passed a variety of interesting places, including a "massage" place.
As I interneted back at the hotel, I was still hungry (I think after all the walking around Sacramento, my body was like, "moar calories pls"), so I went to one of the places I'd seen on my way back on Taylor -- Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery.
I knew a savory crepe would fill me more, but none of them were really speaking to me, so I got a strawberry+Nutella crepe. It comes with ice cream, too! :)
It would probably behoove me to invest in some granola bars or trail mix or something.
Sun. Aug. 14, 2011
Initially planning to be on vaca with la bff, I'd looked up ELCA churches -- since she's more denominationaly committed than I am. I stuck with my plan.
I went to Her Church in the morning. Was running a little late (underestimated how much time to allow for eating out, esp. on a Sunday morning), so missed the bus(es) I would have taken. Was less in the middle of nowhere than the map had suggested, and I successfully navigated based on the map I had sketched. (I also got to see the morning fog burning off the hills.) I was actually only a few minutes late \o/
The service was about what one would expect having looked at the website. At one point afterward, two people were chatting about hymnals and I perked up (my best friend has totally corrupted me) and (unprompted) the musician gave me a copy of Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians \o/
I checked out the art gallery and ultimately crashed the book study. The idea of Our Lady of Guadalupe mostly makes me think of the scene in Death Comes for the Archbishop (which book title I totally couldn't think of).
I went to First United Lutheran in the evening.
Coming from my hotel, I accidentally took Grove rather than Hyde (it starts out Grove/Hyde, and I felt like I was going in the wrong direction based on the map I had been looking at, but I also thought I was on the street it had told me to be on and so clearly it would resolve itself and anyway I have a poor sense of direction -- I feel good about the fact that the direction I wanted to go in was the actual correct direction; I also found a Mediterranean eatery I didn't know about as I started on Grove/Hyde) and so had to trek from ~300 Franklin to 1187 Franklin, but I still got there on time. The building signage is poor, but when I mentioned that to the pastor afterward, she said she was very aware and they were working on it. I did get to positively affirm that they did the, "This chalice has wine, this chalice has grape juice, we also have gluten-free crackers," spiel out loud in addition to having it printed in the bulletin (which was true at Her Church as well).
Various people chatted with me afterward. (People did at Her Church, too, but I felt better about it here. Though both places I was very open about being just visiting on vacation, so I can't blame people too much for not having placed a high priority on sustained conversation with me.)
I was gonna go to dinner afterward, but I was full of post-church food, so I took this guy Daniel up on his offer to hang out for a bit. We headed toward the Castro (he mentioned ex-girlfriends and very much presented as straight, the Castro's just a nice place to hang out) and stopped at the Jamba Juice by the Safeway, though I got a Chunky Strawberry Topper, which is more like a meal ($9! -- though Daniel offered to pay, and I let him), so I still haven't had a real Jamba Juice smoothie. (When we were in Old Sac, I saw a smoothie place as an option and wanted to go and Becca was like, "But you're in California -- if you get a smoothie you have to get Jamba Juice," and I was like, "That seems to be what Google thinks as well -- I Googled for smoothies near my hotel, and it mostly gave me a dozen Jamba Juices" [I then told her the story of my having found the now-defunct smoothie place near the hotel I'd stayed at last time I was here]; she did let me get a smoothie at Old Sac.)
After we finished our Jamba Juice, he drove me up to Twin Peaks.
When I noticed we were on Portola I wondered aloud if it was the same Portola I was on this morning and then realized that oh yeah, we were going through the Castro and I'd taken Muni out through Castro to Forest Hill Station and so it was actually likely. We did indeed see Her Church up on our left. (I was at that point forbidden from looking off to the left so as to get the full effect when we got to the peak, but I did look to see the church -- and vocalized that that's what I was doing ... and maintained that given what the view was there, I still retained full points for not looking. He had previously stated that he was impressed that I really wasn't looking. I said the effect of seeing it for the first time from the top seemed worth it.) As he pointed out, San Francisco is not that big.
As we were looking out over the city from the peak, Daniel pointed out that Market Street is basically straight until it hits Castro ;) (This observation is obviously not original to him, nor did he claim it to be.)
It wasn't a brilliant sunset, but it was soft and lovely. (Daniel said he didn't think he'd ever been up there at sunset, actually.)
While I've taken to giving money to people on the street, I almost never do when I'm with other people (yeah, apparently I don't wanna be seen as someone who gives money to panhandlers), so I really loved that Daniel did (once when we were in the car, stopped at a light; and once walking from his car to my hotel). I felt bad about not having affirmed that. (I know that I mostly didn't say anything because I couldn't figure out how to say anything without implicating myself, and/or without getting into a conversation on the topic which I felt would be uncomfortable. Though sitting outside Jamba Juice (so after he'd given change to the guy outside the car, I'm almost certain) we did talk some about homeless folk, and I mentioned that for a while I had the common "what if they use it to buy drugs/alcohol?" discomfort with giving them money, and that then I'd encountered the idea of, "in that situation, wouldn't you want to numb that pain somehow?" -- though I didn't vocalize the next step that was in my head [also not original to me], about part of human dignity being able to make one's own choices).
I have developed enough of a sense of the area around my hotel (and paid enough attention to the surrounding streets -- a training I began to develop after taxi drivers asked me how to get to my Medford apt., though I'm not as conscientious about it [anywhere] as would probably be optimal) that I can sort of direct people who are driving me.
[8:55pm] Elizabeth [surname] got taken up to Twin Peaks at sunset by a guy she met at church tonight. Who walked her to the front door of her hotel and everything and never tried to kiss her. She admits to some surprise at this last part.