Posts Tagged ‘F-Market’

The Rock

March 22, 2015

Not the wrestler.

The island.

Alcatraz

The view from Alcatraz

I went out to Alcatraz today with my dear friend whose birthday celebration happens to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the penitentiary closing.

The last inmates were shipped off 65 years ago and they shut the prison down.

Thank God.

I cannot think of a worst place to be, and I am sure there are worse, but to be stuck on a rock in the middle of the bay and see the beguiling San Francisco just across the way is a kind of torture I just don’t think I could bear.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back in San Francisco soon,” my friend patted my arm as we waited for the ferry, the line was long, so many of us, though not many of us from San Francisco itself, were waiting that I did have a moment of panic.

I laughed out loud.

I am that obvious.

Take me out of the city and I am itching to get right back to it.

Although my friend and I agree, I seemed to have out grown the Mission, and though I don’t look my age, 42 (and thank you Uber driver for the flabbergasted look on your face when I told you my age), I do feel it quite often, and I am a grown up living in a grown up place.

The Outer Sunset.

Oh.

There’s some kids out here, surfers and guys and gals, and some hipsters and the like, but it does seem a community less focused on the hip, slick, cool, and of the moment.

I am not a tech girl, but as I realized, again on the Uber drive to the Ferry Building (when the bus rolled over the hill on Judah I remembered that there was construction on the Sunset Tunnel between Duboce Park and Cole Valley and I was about to embark on a journey that would put me way behind schedule, I called for a lift), just from living in San Francisco I am often a head of the curve with tech and its uses.

I’m still not savvy enough to use my google map or to know how to delete apps of my phone.

Thank God a friend noticed me struggling with my Iphone and showed me how to get Tinder off it.

Complete and total side bar.

I got rid of Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid on my phone.

I kept OkCupid online though.

A girl has got to have a few balls in the air.

Or a cute tour guide to flirt with.

Dude.

The cute guy at Alcatraz knew my girl friend and I were there for the @Large exhibit by Ai Weiwei.

“Anyone from San Francisco,” he hollered as we joined a small group clustered below the penitentiary sign.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

 

My girlfriend and I nodded.

“Here for the art exhibit?” He asked.

We nodded our heads, it was pretty obvious, yes, we’re locals and yes we came out to see the art, not so much the cell blocks–we were the only folks in the group to acknowledge we were there for the art.

Though it was pretty impressive to see the prison.

And spooky at times.

Especially when the fog started to roll in.

Fog

Alcatraz

The guide gave us directions and we went to the exhibit.

It was truly amazing.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Wei Wei–Blossom

The light was one of the things that would have saved me if I was an inmate at Alcatraz, little else.

The artist, Ai Weiwei, though confined to China, seemed cognizant of the light, spectral, haunting, smashed by the sea and melting through the wired panes of windows.

It was dreamy and dangerous and affecting.

The first piece was a large floating Chinese dragon kite.

Dragon

Dragon

It was astounding and wound through a large holding cell space.

Dragon Body

Dragon Scales

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon head

Color and light

Then the portraits of various activists and artists laid out on the floor with Lego’s.

Legos

Edward Snowden in Lego’s

Lego Art

Lego Activists

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I do encourage you to take the trip out.

I don’t know that I would have gone out otherwise and I am glad to say that I did.

The art was exquisite and the juxtaposition of it in the prison was superb.

Haunting.

Depressing.

There was a room, “Hydro Therapy” that gave me the goosebumps.

It was like someone had stepped on my grave.

Bathtub

Hydro Therapy Room Alcatraz Psych Ward

I had a flash of an inmate disrobing and being hosed off with high pressure water, the light refracted around the enamel bathtub and I took the shot and shivered.

I had no desire to walk through the cell blocks are take a photograph in one of the tiny cells.

Although, I laughed and acknowledge that a few of the cells were actually larger than my studio.

The light better too.

But I would not trade what I have for a prison cell.

Even if the square footage was impressive.

I counted a lot of my blessings today talking with my dear friend as we traversed the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building (a bit over priced–$7.00 for two Aztec Fuji apples, albeit delicious and gigantic) and picked up lunch and snacks for the afternoon adventure.

I had divine boxed salmon sushi from Delica and two of the most amazing rolls I have ever had that I bought ala carte, sushi rice with rare roast beef (sushi doesn’t have to be fish, fyi, “sushi” means food on rice, it is often vegetables and fish though, the beef was exquisite and I couldn’t even bring myself to share it with my friend, who thankfully had brought her own lovely lunch) draped over the top of it topped with fresh wasabi.

Oh my goodness.

I get to live in San Francisco being very near the top of that list.

I get to go out on ferry boats and travel the bay and see amazing national park areas, Alcatraz is part of  The Golden Gate National Park System, I mean, basically right in my back yard there are all these incredible parks and land marks.

Plus.

You know, the Burning Man community started here, Bakers Beach, baby, and all that Burning Man is to me.

My friend and I discussed that a lot today as well.

I have started my list of the stuffs that need to be gathered.

Another reason to love the event, it brings out the inherent hunter/gatherer in me.

And of course, there was much talk of the graduate school program and just how far I have come in a short time.

I mean.

Really, it was not quite two years ago, I was coming home from Paris and when I got to Berlin to change in my Euro (the only money to my name) I got back $10 American.

I came from that to where I am now.

I work my ass off.

I took a moment or two to bask in my glory, to reflect on my gratitude for this city, for my dear, darling friend, and when we saw our photograph taken by the tour guide on the trip,  we didn’t have any problem shelling out the $30 bucks for two copies of it.

I’m lucky.

Or graced.

Or lucky.

I got to open up the cell door of my own imposed prison and walk out of it.

Free.

Clear.

And moving forward.

Becoming even more myself and more in love with my city by the bay.

It was with much gratitude and love that I stepped off the gangplank of the ferry and hopped the F-Market back downtown.

It was truly an experience to see the city from Alcatraz.

But I prefer to see Alcatraz from the city.

My home sweet home.

San Francisco.

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Brown Paper Packages

December 22, 2014

Tied up with string.

These are a few of my favorite things.

“Upcycled” is how I like to think about it when I wrap my Christmas packages in brown paper deconstructed from SafeWay grocery bags and brown paper sacks from CVS Pharmacy.

I cut the bag up, pull the handles off, flip it inside out and wrap whatever present I have at hand that needs a spiffy new look to it.

I put a name tag or holiday tag on the package.

Then the piece de resistance, green jute string.

I also occasionally use fabric and ribbon remnants.

I have a little Christmas box and it was unearthed today.

I got my Christmas tree.

It’s definitely a Charlie Brown type of fella, but he’s got some style and panache and some adorable blue lights adorning him.

Before

Before

After

After

A Few of My Favorite Things

Tied up with String

Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

And despite the fact that my Christmas tree has blue lights, it’s not a blue holiday for me this year.

I have someone to share it with and that’s first in some years.

I quite enjoyed wrapping up his presents while he lay napping on my bed this afternoon–poor bunny’s been sick.

He did rally like a trooper and helped me go to the Sloat Garden Center and get my tree.

I warned him that I was about to dork out.

I closely inspected all the trees, the pickings were far slimmer than I recalled from last year.  Then I realized that last year I had gotten my Christmas tree far earlier than this year.

That whole weekend trip to Alaska threw my schedule off.

And despite the decorations and the lights and the Christmas carol’s being sung, the stockings all hung by the chimney with care, it hasn’t felt like Christmas until about today.

I feel settled and at ease with what is happening with my father.

I got through my birthday, which, yes, though a day of celebration was such a surreal experience as it was the day I got the news about my father, plus it’s just a loaded day.

“Don’t have any expectations about anything,” I told myself.

Which is the best suggestion I can give myself at any time.

Expectations lead to resentments for me and the last thing I need on top of my already merry-go-round mind is some resentments about the expectations I have around the holidays.

And with a few years of having done this deal and been an orphan as such, although not really an orphan, I have done a few things for myself that speaks to good self-care and holiday joviality.

Last year I worked at half day on Christmas eve, then I rode the F-Market train down from the heart of the Castro to the Embarcadero and caught the last ferry from the terminal to Sausalito and then hopped off, walked a few yards, snapped some photographs, and hopped back on the ferry to San Francisco.

The year before I was in Paris and that was both monumentally mundane, as I helped a visiting friend locate a store open in Paris on Christmas Eve that could fax some paper work to her job, and unbearably magical–walking into Sacre Couer for midnight mass and the entire church is signing the first Noel in Latin.

Yeah, that’s not really a bad way to spend Christmas Eve.

The year prior I took myself out to the San Francisco Ballet and saw the Nutcracker for the first time.

I got all dressed up and took a cab.

I was unbearably homeless and lonely.

I was house sitting for a friend.

One of the sweetest gifts I got that year was a tiny black framed print in aquamarine that says: “Happy is a home that shelters a friend.”

I was pretty much a wreck that year, but tried to muster through it.

Of course in hindsight I can look back and see that I was being stripped down of all the things that I needed to let go of so that when the opportunity arose to go to Paris I was pretty much able to up and go.

The year prior to that I was living in Nob Hill.

And that was the first year that I allowed myself a Christmas tree.

I had a small studio and it overlooked the cable car line on Washington Street at Taylor.

The cable car guys would rumble by and certain operators would wave or flirt, or ask me what I was eating, my window really was just at eye level with the cable cars.

That year I was struck dumb with love and light and joy when I turned off the lights in my little studio and the Christmas lights on my tree twinkled and winked at me and the bulbs lit up the ornaments which cast Christmas colored shadows on the walls and ceilings.

Then.

Oh then.

A full cable car rattled by and all the passengers on the car were signing Christmas carols.

I felt my heart swell and the magic of Christmas kissed my forehead as I settled down for a long winter’s nap.

I can and do get a tiny bit sentimental and I think that’s ok.

There’s love and joy all year round in my life, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to celebrate and decorate and do up my own tiny little scene.

I have some Christmas goodies in the fridge to make a Christmas Eve dinner: warm spinach salad with bacon and Roquefort Blue Cheese, cherry tomatoes, and chopped apples; mini-rouladen–thin sliced black forest ham, slathered with a cream cheese and rolled around a dill pickle spear; asparagus with prosciutto, (I am now seeing a proliferation of pork products in my dinner I was not aware of until just now, ha), roasted Japanese sweet potato, and filet with some of that Blue Cheese reduced down and mixed with softened butter and fresh pressed garlic sautéed with baby Portobello mushrooms.

Yeah.

I like to cook.

Then  Christmas night dinner–caesar salad with grilled chicken and bacon, berries–strawberries and blackberries– and mixed cheeses, which I am going to do a little swing through ye olde BiRite tomorrow while on the way to the park with the boys, I’ll probably get my man a small Acme batard or sweet roll, a relish plate with marinated baby artichoke hearts, black olives, cornichons, deviled eggs with organic paprika, and yes, Virginia (ham is not on this menu), a duck.

I have not ever made duck before, but I am going to give it a go.

As I said, I like to cook, if you haven’t noticed from previous blogs and I am quietly thrilled to be able to make a few things for the man.

And have a tree.

And someone to hold my hand and snuggle with while I watch the lights twinkle in the dark.

Happiness.

Happy home for the holidays.

Happy indeed.


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