Monday, August 1, 2011

Halcyon Day

Today I'm here to tell a story of a halcyon day, back in June of 'Eleven.
Amid the hustle and bustle of work meetings scheduled across 2/3 of the U.S., and the big family visit east to the Capital, there was a short jaunt just for me. It was to San Francisco, CA.
Famous CA hills and rowhouses in the Mission, but note also that radio tower
Evidence of nature, in amid all the works of man. Plus, mural!
I wrestled a long weekend out of work by leaving on Thursday morning and coming back on a Monday evening in early June. I wanted to explore the city as an adult, having always thought of it as a lovely place to visit friends in, a great place to party on, but never having lived there myself. I thought it might be my next move.
So I stayed in a friend's apartment who was out of town, and I explored. I walked. A lot. Please take note of that radio tower and the camera-holder's proximity to it in different photos.
 What did I find there?
I found wide, sweeping vistas. I found color in unexpected places. I found activity and community and voices dripping with cynicism at the table next to me at Tartine. I absorbed the feel of neighborhoods, re-acclimating to the California habits of landscaping, of creativity, of disposable income.
I was delighted by the alleys (which DC has, but they're different), by the hills (which DC has, but they're really different), and by the joyful beauty (...).
I don't see much of that kind of expression in DC- joyful beauty. There is the watermelon house in my neighborhood, true, and the wonderful red-toned edifice in Dupont with the antler accoutrements, and the crazy-colored mansion on R St., sure.
But I realized I missed a certain sense of joyful liberation in how people set up their nests. I liked seeing the evidence of others' finding their true selves.
Color! Height! And a hobbit door!
 I mean, look at this one. The front part of the home is painted light lemon yellow and houses a gorgeous nature-inspired metal pattern (TREES), which is echoed in the trees/ bushes they chose to dot their winding entrance. And there are steps resembling individual stairs instead of something broad, brutalist, and centrally planned (ooh, maybe I have been here too long...).
It reminds me of a cross between the book Mandy and the Mission church I grew up in: a sweet, rambling style from decorator magazines, but with a direction and focus all its own. That's what I want.
 Oh my! I'm right at the base! It took several meandering hours, several questing turns, and a bit of sunburn, but I got there: Twin Peaks. Beautiful views and diverse housing stock.
See? It's the little things that make life worth living: how you choose to live is all you've got, so you might as well make it joyfully beautiful.

 For this delightful grub, simply cruise on down to 758 Valencia St. Reservations recommended, but no tie necessary, just a good appetite!
I had:
summer corn, caramelized onion, napa cabbage, apricot, applewood smoked bacon..... and it was gorgeous.
The s'more meringue concoction was not as delicious, but very tasty and very pretty. At least the chef went for joy- don't you just want to eat it all up?


  1. San Francisco has always been my favorite city in the US. It was the first city I ever came to in the US about 10 years ago. I fell in love right there and then. It has never changed ...

  2. Oh, San Francisco, how I miss you! You did a great job of capturing the beautiful views, quirky neighborhoods, awesome food. Um, also I love the book "Mandy." I read it at least 10 times. And it was such a nice surprise to get to see you in Chinatown while we were both in town!