Struggling with S.F.

Ok, I admit it. I seem to be struggling with San Francisco. Every day I try to be optimistic and face this city with a smile, but sometimes it just seems to beat that smile right off my face and kick me in the butt all the way back to the loft. However, I keep trying.

I am an eternal optimist, and it is my theory that for the most part a person can be happy no matter where they live. S.F. is really putting my theory to the test. On the one hand, this city has been really good to me. My boyfriend and I have good jobs, we have a great loft, our neighbors are becoming our friends, and our friend circle is slowly growing. I am doing Bikram Yoga and experiencing many different types of food. Actually, it is pretty good.

On the other hand, there is no parking, it is overcrowded, very little green space, and the ride to work is really beginning to weigh on me. Actually, I think it is the commute that is the main problem. In the morning, I can go 28 miles in 40 minutes, but at night that same distance can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in stop and go traffic. Sometimes I wait for 20 minutes to get into the Caldecott Tunnel, and then another 30 minutes to pay the toll at the Bay Bridge. Somehow, I need to learn to relax when cars are backed up and I'm in stop and go traffic. Maybe more podcasts or old radio shows.

San Francisco is stunningly beautiful with the beach and the bay. The weather has been great, and I'm really loving the diversity. When I put it down on paper, there are more pluses than minuses. San Francisco has been really good to us so far, and I think I just need to relax and get into the groove more.

Even though the commute is kicking my butt, I do love my new job. It is just great to have a job in this economy. I work with wonderful people who encourage me to be creative, and I feel like I'm making a difference. In addition, the budget is finally balanced again.

Ok, I'm done whining. I know that in time I will figure it out, but it is definitely a challenge. A year from now I will probably be writing a post about how much I adore San Francisco.


40th Birthday on the Horizon

As I approach my 40th birthday, I am thinking about the things that I want to accomplish in the next 40 years. When I look back on my life thus far, I feel that I have definitely had some great experiences and met some wonderful people. Basically, I don't have any regrets. There have been good times and bad times, but overall I would have to say that I have had a good life. I've definitely learned a lot along the way.

Some would call this mid-life crisis time and talk about it as a bad thing. Honestly, I don't think it is a bad thing to take inventory of your life and make some goals for the future. It is my theory that the people who go off the deep end at this point in their life do it because they didn't enjoy or reflect on their life until now. They feel like they haven't accomplished anything that they wanted to do in the last 40 years, and now they are panicking. I do not think that will happen to me. For the most part, I've always found a way to be happy. It is my theory that a place does not make you happy. Happiness comes from within. Another reason I do not think I will have a huge mid-life crisis is because due to the recession I took the last year off of work. It gave me a lot of time to relax, think, reflect, and plan. I got in touch with who I was as a person outside of work. I took up some new hobbies and returned to old hobbies that I had given up due to the "rat race." I recently got a job again, and I feel totally refreshed and like a kid just out of college ready to join the workforce. The year off will definitely make me a better worker because I will make sure that I take care of myself and that I am happy. My job is not my identity anymore. When people ask me what I do, I feel like saying I blog, write, enjoy movies, bicycle, love home improvement, hike, camp, explore, etc. I love my job, but it is not who I am. It will fund my life and is an important part of my life, but it is not my whole life. This is my new approach to work, and I think it will work well for me.

As I reflect on the next 40 years, I have decided on the following things that I want to accomplish:

  • Become a published author.
  • Learn Spanish.
  • Keep up with technology.
  • Stay close to the ones that I love.
  • Continue my faith in God.
  • Stay in the helping professions where I feel like I can make a difference.
  • Save for retirement.
  • Visit Europe.
  • Go to Hawaii.
  • Stay healthy and work harder on becoming fit for the future.
  • Continue to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life.
  • Take more time to read.
  • Volunteer.
  • Continue to laugh a lot.
  • Whistle more.
  • See a Broadway Show and visit the Statue of Liberty.
  • Take up photography as a hobby.
  • Ride a jet ski.
I wonder if I will accomplish all of these goals in the next 40 years. Honestly, it really doesn't matter, just as long as I continue to take the time to enjoy life and appreciate this incredible place called Earth.


Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Tres Pinos, California

On my way back from my camping trip, I found a small Catholic church. It was a very decorative church with a lot of grottos on the outside. They even had an outside walk to Golgotha with monuments along the way commemorating Christ's journey.

Church near Pinnacles, D

Church near Pinnacles, C

Church near Pinnacles, E

Church near Pinnacles, B


Camping Trip to Pinnacles National Park, CA. 10/11/09

Below are the pictures from my overnight camping trip to Pinnacles National Monument, CA. I hiked up the trail 1.9 miles above the fog to the top in order to get these shots. The park has many other trails and caves which I plan on exploring at a later date.

Pinnacle National Park, CA 014, 10/11/09

Pinnacle National Park, CA 008, 10/11/09

Road near King City, CA 007 10/10/09

Pinnacle National Park, CA 016, 10/11/09

Pinnacle National Park, CA 012, 10/11/09

Pinnacles Natl Monument 10/11/09 B

Pinnacle National Park, CA 010, 10/11/09


Random Pics, October 5, 2009


Doppler, October 2005

The Sugarlump , my home away from home.

Sugar Lump Coffe shop, San Francisco, October 2009


Reflections on Walking

I have always found walking to be therapeutic and relaxing. It all started when I was in junior high and lived on the farm that my great grandfather built. Mom loved to walk, and she always tried very hard to get one of us kids to go with her. We walked the pastures during the winter when the rattle snakes were hibernating, and we walked the country roads and oil lease roads the rest of the time. We talked about everything.

When I was in high school, I continued the long walks with my best friend. Granted, the town of Jetmore, KS is only about four miles long, but we would walk back and forth on our nightly walks and usually end up in his basement where there was always an ongoing game of Risk. We also liked to climb the big hill in front of my home in the country and relax on our backs and look at the stars. We'd look down at the pasture below where we had trespassed and parked his black Trans Am. Sometimes it was so dark that when we were ready to leave we couldn't find the midnight black car until we had almost stumbled on it. Up there on the hill we would watch the stars and talk about our hopes, dreams, challenges, fears, etc.

After high school, I found myself going on nightly walks when I was in college in the twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). Often, other friends would want to join. Around 10:00 p.m., I would lead a small exodus of warmly dressed buddies off the campus of the College of St. Thomas, and we would explore the charming neighborhoods. We were totally bundled against the cold, Minnesota night. It was my first time away from home, and I had moved several states away. I remember that the sound of the wind chimes on the porches was particularly comforting to me and made me feel less homesick.

Recently, I find myself walking through the neighborhoods of San Francisco. When I walk through the neighborhoods in the early evening, I see the husbands and wives coming home, the kids putting up their bikes for the night, and I hear the clinking of silverware and dishes that signal dinner is on the way. I hear music, smell BBQ, and feel the beginnings of the cold night air start to touch my face.

In the mornings when I walk in the Mission district, I see the store owners unlocking the bars on the doors, sweeping up the sidewalks, and making fresh coffee which tempts everyone as they walk past the open doors and smell the aroma. Parents are waiting at the bus stop to get their kids off to another day of school, construction workers are putting out their orange cones, the stoops have women and men in their pajamas having their first cigarette of the day, and there is a freshness to everything that signals a new day with unlimited possibilities.

Saturday morning walks are particularly sacred because nobody is in hurry. Many people are still asleep, and those that are awake are packing their cars for a weekend camping trip or short day trip outside the city. Released from school for the day, the kids are biking, skateboarding, roller skating, and using their sidewalk chalk to draw creative murals. Saturday mornings are a festive time. It seems like the whole city just takes a collective sigh of relief that the work week is over and now it is time to play.

My boyfriend and I have now begun what we affectionately call "Old People Sundays." We get up early on a Sunday morning and walk the city for about five to six hours. Along the way, we stop in the stores that interest us and get brunch. It is great.

Well, it's time for me to walk back to the loft on this Saturday morning. So relaxed!


Potrero Hill Garden Tour 9/13/09

My boyfriend and I recently toured the gardens of Potrero Hill, San Francisco. We didn't drive to the homes; we hiked the hills. Behind all of these wonderful old homes are beautiful, small gardens. It is incredible what these urban gardeners did with such a small space. They have definitely figured out how to have outdoor living at it's best. Below you will find some of the pictures:

Potrero Hill Garden Tour   9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  L 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  A 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  M 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  N 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  J 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  K 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  F 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  B 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  E 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour  O 9/13/09

Potrero Hill Garden Tour S 9/13/09