Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Quorn Day!

Some of you may be having turkey, but those of us in the know will be having Quorn. Like Tofurkey, only better! I will also get to enjoy stuffing this year, thanks to my sister, who is making a meat free version. (And hopefully it will also be free of turkey broth, unlike the in-law version.)

What am I preparing, you might ask. Flying in just in time for dinner, thus avoiding all cooking duties! I am contributing a certain something from a special Square here in San Francisco. Yay for tasty treats!

I hope everyone has a fabulous day, turkey-filled or not! I am thankful for having each of you as my friends.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missing My Front Porch

We found an apartment with a fairly spacious balcony, where Matt will be able to create a container garden. We have a nice view of Twin Peaks - a glimpse of nature in the city. We can eat outside and enjoy the weather (although it's a little cold at dinner time these days).

But we can't meet our neighbors.

Our last New Mexico house featured a tiny little front porch, in a neighborhood of front porches. Or, where a porch was lacking, people sat in chairs in the driveway. We could talk to our next door neighbors, say hi to the people walking their dogs, know what the police were up to, and yell at our friend down the street. I can't say we were active participants in the neighborhood, but I did not feel isolated.

Now all I see are the damn tourists on Twin Peaks yelling because it echoes off our building. Isn't it interesting how a 57-unit apartment building can be less friendly than a free-standing house?

I believe in the power of the front porch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

California Supreme Court Considers Gay Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court has agreed to take up 3 lawsuits filed in response to the passing of Proposition 8. The lawsuits claim that the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage takes away civil rights, is really a revision and not an amendment, and that it should have required Congressional action, not a majority public vote.

The Court, however, refused to allow gay marriages to begin again, pending their decision. Oral arguments won't take place until March, at the earliest, so that's at least 5 more months of inequality!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Apartment

I realized I have been remiss in actually uploading pictures of our house and Twin Peaks, however exciting they may be or not be. So here goes. (And then I'm retiring from blogging for another two weeks.)

Kitchen and Dining Room:

Living Room:

View from the Balcony (of Twin Peaks):

View from Twin Peaks (and some of my hair):

Urban Hiking

This past weekend, San Francisco had record highs - about 80 degrees. There was actually a weather advisory, telling us to wear lightweight clothes and drink water. These people need to get out more!

Matt and I took the opportunity, after a tasty lunch provided by my dad at Burgermeister, to hike the Coastal Trail and Bay Trail from Ocean Beach to Ghirardelli Square. Absolutely gorgeous! Of course, now it's all foggy and cold again, but it was fun while it lasted.

Hetch Hetchy

Yosemite Valley once had a twin, filled with flowers and flanked by rock fortresses. Hetch Hetchy now provides drinking water to San Francisco, leaving behind a fairly unsightly reservoir off-limits to tourists. A valley loved by John Muir in a beloved National Park, destroyed for the consumption of a city. One of the tragedies of the National Park System, and, I think, of human enterprise in general.

But let me tell you, that water sure is tasty, straight from my tap!

Shooting Star

I discovered that if I lie on the living room floor in front of the sliding glass door, I can see the stars over the top of Twin Peaks. If I try really hard, I can forget about the radio towers and the light from the public bathroom that I can also see.

But my biggest discovery was the shooting star that fell through my small sliver of sky. I don't recall seeing one of those from my houses in New Mexico, and they were certainly more rural than this giant city. Such a quick delight, I didn't even have time for a wish.

Just Read: Native State

I read this book by happenstance. After finishing Breaking Blue, I perused the books I had with me at my house in Marin and realized again that they were all books I'd tried to get through before and never succeeded: The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey (I know, what is wrong with me!), The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols (classic water book set in New Mexico), The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, Collapse by Jared Diamond, The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons by John Wesley Powell.

So instead, I checked out the books that had been left by previous residents. The Prophecies of Nostradamus didn't sound like good bedtime reading, so I figured, how can you go wrong reading a memoir by a guy who likes to live in Mexico. Apparently the author, Tony Cohan, is somewhat famous, although I've never heard of him. Although come to think of it, maybe I only think he's famous because he beat me over the head with that fact about 100 times in the book. Oh, look at me, I played the drums with the Beatles. Oh, look at me, I'm a famous author. Oh, look at me, I've had a lot of fantastic sex with gorgeous women (and maybe some men). Okay, I know talking about yourself is the point of a memoir, but good grief. I'm not that into it. He kind of reminds me of Paul Thoreaux in his most recent books where he became full of himself as well, such a shame after his great earlier books.

Just Read: Breaking Blue

I'm generally not one for mysteries, but since I've been expanding my reading realm based on authors I like, I checked out this book by Timothy Egan. I'd previously enjoyed Lasso the Wind and The Good Rain, so as part of my free gift certificate to Better World Books, I picked up this one. It's supposedly a true story, about a 1935 crime that became hot again in 1989, as a sheriff/graduate student researched his thesis. Of course the work destroyed the guy's marriage, and the lives of the ancient criminals and their families. Not one of my favorite books ever, but the internal police force corruption put on display is rather sickening, if not surprising.

Recommended: San Francisco Toyota

So, I guess along the lines of "Only in San Francisco," I also have "Not in New Mexico." I have not received good service anywhere in a long time, so I wanted to give props to the good guys at San Francisco Toyota Service Center on Geary. (Not that anyone who lives in San Francisco reads my blog. Maybe one day.)

Shortly after Matt first got here, we were driving into town from my house in Marin, and as Matt braked for a stop light, his seatbelt abruptly detached from the side of the car. As much as I like to make fun of Matt for braking way too hard way too early and giving me whiplash, only to glide slowly into the light, I'm pretty sure that seatbelts are supposed to be designed to hold up, especially during such sudden braking. Alas. We happened to be about two blocks from Toyota, so we pulled right in.

The service advisor took our car into the garage very quickly. We had no idea they were going to fix the problem right away, so when a mechanic suggested we go inside and get a hot drink, we complied. And what a fantastic coffee and hot chocolate machine! So tasty! By the time we got our drinks, the car was ready! No charge! (And they swear the seatbelt won't fall off again...)

A week or two later, after several hours at the DMV, I ended up with an extra license plate with nowhere to go. And I was told that I could receive a $100 fine for driving without a front license plate, even though my car didn't even have screw holes on the front bumper! Wanting to avoid paying more money (after the DMV, the smog test place, and a street sweeping fine sucked up a bunch), I figured I would stop by Toyota on my way home and ask them to put on my license plate. I pulled up, a mechanic grabbed a drill and some screws, and I was out of there. No charge.

I wonder what kind of service you get when you actually pay money?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Only in San Francisco

Where else could there be an actual ballot measure to rename a waste water treatment plant to be the George W. Bush Sewage Plant? Alas, it did not pass, even here.

The Morning After

Some wins, some losses. Thumbs up for Obama; disappointment for gay rights. That is all for now; blogs are dead.

Update: Same sex marriage not dead yet. Thank you San Francisco!