Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday I started my new job.  A guy dressed up in a clown outfit came in.  Maybe if I had moved to New York from Montana I would have been startled or laughed, but San Francisco has prepared me for this.  It honestly didn't phase me as he made miming motions to the other customers in the store.  <3

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tip to mother effin tip

My friend Kate told me about something one of her friends did, and as soon as she told me I knew I wanted in on those bragging rights.  We decided to walk from the top of Manhattan to the very bottom (tip to tip).  It's 14 miles if you walk straight down, but of course that's not how we wanted to do it.  We planned our route around site seeing, street food, parks, drinks, etc.  Our route ended up being close to 25 miles we think.  We started at 9:30 am, joined by her parents visiting from Montana and finished close to 11 pm.  Today I have three blisters and my feet hurt so bad I'm hobbling around, but it was so fun!  I highly recommend it if you have a day and want to see the city by the best way, on foot.

The top tip-looking across to the Bronx (215)

Stairs at the beginning, we ran up them at this point in the day

Our first stop in the 160s...we needed coffee

This is a row of old houses from the 1870's across the street from the Morris Jumel mansion that was once inhabited by George Washington.  The doors were just tall enough for me to walk through.

The bathroom at the Morris Jumel mansion

Reminded me of the Hunchback.  This was at City College of New York which was the best unplanned part of our trip.  So amazing, I want to go back to school there!

City College

Apollo Theater

Grafitti wall in Harlem with tons of notes for Michael Jackson

Hudson River

I think this was in the 60s

Little birdies in Times Square

Scariest job ever...Hells Kitchen

Empire State Building...we're in the 30s!

Bottom tip!  Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Heart New York

After spending a week in Seattle I finally made it to New York!  The joys of flying stand-by are not joys anymore.  Every flight was over sold until Saturday, so I spent a lot of time lying on the couch catching up on tv, thanks Krista and Nathan for being such great hosts and letting me take over your space.  I got the last seat to Newark, spent 3 hours getting to Brooklyn, but I'm here!
Everyone's seen the t-shirt.  The "heart" is used for everything now a days-robots, vampires, bacon...whatever the latest craze is.  I believe New York was the first thing people hearted though.  I never know what to say when people ask me what it is about New York.  It's got great restaurants, bars, parks, music etc, but so does San Francisco, and Seattle for that matter.  There is just something about New York, a vibe, a feeling that you can't describe, you have to feel it.  That's why I'm here.  Getting on the subway and not having to ask for directions.  Walking to the East Village to have the best pizza on earth.  Entering an unmarked doorway to have a cocktail made just for you.  Laying in the grass at Central Park reading a book.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dairy Queen and Potatoes

Day two the excitement definitely was not there.  We decided to forgo our stop of a ghosttown because it was too far off the highway, and we just wanted to get home.  Regardless, it still took us 12 hours to get home:  stops for lunch, repaving the highway, a Dairy Queen that was not right off the interstate that we had to call and get directions for because we had to have it, multiple bathroom breaks, and the potato museum.

They may want to look into getting a new sign I can't imagine they get a lot of business with this one.

Uniroyal Girl in Blackfoot, ID. Wish we had stopped here for lunch those fries look amazing.
We were pretty excited!

This picture is funny on so
many levels.

A collection of Mr Potato Heads
As soon as we crossed the Montana border you could see the difference.
This is in Lima Montana.
Montana, Home Sweet Home
I saw this cloud in the sky...pig head?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds

So I'm in the middle of working on a post full of deep meaning and reflection, but in the meantime I thought I would share how the first leg of the trip went. My friend Kate from high school (thank you social networking for reconnecting us) flew down from Seattle on Wednesday to hang out with me for my last days in SF and to help me drive back to Montana. I was able to check off a lot of items on my bucket list with her help!
Going away dinner at one of my favorite places in SF Local Kitchen. Going to miss my SF friends a lot!

Finally made it to the Castro Theater to see Inglorious Basterds which was amazing.

Still my favorite bar in SF, Elbo Room with one of my favorite people, Grace.

We drove out early Monday morning to drive my car back to Montana, so I could leave it parked with my brother for a few months (no need for a car in NYC).

Cheap flights have cut down the amount of road trips people take. I did a lot of traveling by road with my family as a kid. I didn't even get on an airplane until I was 18, a freshman in college, scared out of my mind. My dad drove trucks for a living, so we got to see a lot of the United States from the cab of a semi. This could have been the most boring road trips I've taken though. First stop was Elko, NV, almost half way between San Francisco and Helena along the 80. I have a large fascination with "weird" things. I have both the Weird America and Weird California books, and plotted our trip with as many Roadside America stops as possible. These stops were the only thing that kept us going on the trip.

First stop Auburn, CA! I've been through here plenty of times on the way to Tahoe, but never stopped to have my picture taken in the gold miners bowl.

The long expanse of road we covered. Boring!

Our stops in Sparks were a bust (they were either gone or we couldn't find them), so we decided to stop for In-N-Out, Kate's first taste!
Probably the jackpot of Weird. This was called Thunder Mountain (not the same as the ride at Disneyland) outside of Imlay, NV.

My first taste of Basque food in Elko, NV. Definitely fit in with our weird finds. You order a main (ours was pork tenderloin, covered in garlic and pimento) and are served an array of sides: green beans (canned), pinto beans (canned), french fries, spaghetti (canned), cabbage soup, salad drenched in dressing and bread. Not the epitome of gourmet or taste, but a fun experience.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am not leaving my heart in San Francisco.

1999. My college roommate Debbie and I took the obligatory Spring Break road trip from Seattle all the way to Tijuana and back. San Francisco was our first stop and love at first sight. I had never felt like that for a city before. The Victorian houses, Chinatown, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, even Fisherman's Wharf. It was magical, and I thought the feelings were mutual, she loved me back. When I returned home our room was transformed into a shrine. Posters of the bridge, a framed map of the city, framed pictures of us around town. Smitten. I knew one day we would be together.
2006. A job opportunity arose at our corporate office in Oakland. I immediately applied, got the position and packed my bags. I had been living in Seattle for almost 9 years. I was ready for a change. Seattle and I would remain friends, but we had grown apart.
San Francisco is definitely a different city to visit than it is to inhabit. Our relationship has been tumultuous. Roller coaster. Manic-depressive.
So now the list. The good and the bad, the love and the hate, the discoveries and the things best left hidden.

What I learned and loved in San Francisco
  • Yelp How did I ever know where to go before I discovered this website?
  • Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh mi). The combination of meat, cilantro, shredded carrots, jalapenos and crusty bread? Divine, especially when it's $3.
  • Individually brewed coffee, aka Blue Bottle. Snobby? Maybe.
  • Sonoma is way better than Napa.
  • The Tenderloin is one of the best neighborhoods to hang out in, don't let anyone tell you different (Bourbon and Branch, Rye, Great American Music Hall, etc).
  • I'm not a hipster, but I wish I was.
  • Local is better (veggies, crafts, businesses).
  • Potrero Hill has the best weather and the most parking of any neighborhood in the city, and what I will miss most about living here.
  • Walking is my favorite mode of transportation.
  • SCRAP.
  • Olive oil ice cream at Picco.
  • Oakland.
  • Free concerts.
  • I still love the Giants after all these years and nothing is better than watching a game with a dish of nachos and a hot dog in AT&T Park. What a view.
  • I'm part foodie.
What I learned and disliked in San Francisco
  • Horrible drivers. I'm talking the worst I have encountered. No one uses their blinkers, and it's ok to get in the lane next to you even though there's a car (me) right beside you.
  • Horrible parkers. Everyone double parks in this city. I actually missed that question on my DMV test because I didn't know it was illegal. Everyone (except me) does it.
  • Traffic every day on the Bay Bridge (are you sensing a trend here?).
  • Flaky people that ditch out on plans at the last minute.
  • Over the top liberalism. "Open minded" but only if you believe what they do.
  • Protests for anything and everything. (Prop 8, the war, the Olympic torch, cutting down trees, Anti Israel, budget cuts, blah blah blah)
  • Street cleaning.
  • The amount of homeless and crazies.
  • Fisherman's Wharf sucks.
  • Chinatown sucks (especially riding on buses that go through Chinatown).
  • It takes FOREVER to get anywhere in this city.
  • Rent is a whole paycheck.
  • Forget about dating or finding an eligible, single, bearded man that doesn't wear women's jeans.

Ok, so maybe I am leaving a slice of my heart here. These have been three of the hardest years of my life, but I'm coming out stronger. I still met people that I will be friends with forever, had experiences I will never forget, and now bring my own bags when I go to Trader Joe's. You did your job San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Get me out of here!

Midlife crisis-"a period of dramatic self-doubt that is felt by some individuals in the "middle years" of life, as a result of sensing the passing of youth and the imminence of old age." (Elliott Jacques)
I turned 30 in April. A milestone some would say. I agree. Midlife? I hope not, but a milestone all the same. I automatically took stock of my life-my career (same company for 11 years, halting to a dead end with no opportunities), my love life (sadly non existent, if you've lived in San Francisco you know what I mean), children (thankfully non existent, definitely not ready to be a single mother), success (monetarily-not much to speak of, I live in San Francisco, remember?). I was in a city I didn't love, a job I didn't love, and squirming to get out.
I have been the epitome of responsible my entire life. I babysat until I was old enough to get a real job, worked every day once I turned 16, full time in the summer. I saved all my pennies until I got to college, so I didn't have to work my freshman year. I worked almost full time through college, on top of being a full time student. I have been with the same company since I was 19, working my way up the ladder.
Now don't get me wrong. I have experienced a lot. I've lived in three different states, traveled to 40 different ones. I have friends all over the country, good friends that would do anything for me (including let me sleep on their couch, we'll get to that later). But when I hit 30 I still felt lost. Self doubt? Definitely. What was I seriously going to be when I grew up? Was I too late?
An event at work finally made the decision easy. I had to leave. I couldn't sit in front of a computer one more day (well at least not for another year), this muffin top was getting way too large. So I asked some of these good friends, and my family, and they agreed. I was still young, single, and in good health. No better time than now. Time to be irresponsible.
So I'm leaving. I'm selling most of my belongings, putting a small amount in storage and am going to travel around for a year. Loading the Civic up and heading to Montana on August 31st (where the fam lives). From there a short stop in Seattle where I lived for 9 years, then on to Brooklyn to take over my great friend Mo's futon for a couple of months, back to Montana, Seattle, finally to Europe. At least that's the plan so far. You never know what could happen, and that's why you'll have to read the blog. :-)