Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This morning I was one of hundreds of volunteers to deliver 5000 Salvation Army meals to San Franciscans. I did it because I can; because I have great family and friends who love me (and vise versa!); I have enough, more than enough, in fact. I am so fortunate. And so thankful. Delivering meals was something small I could do for people who don't have as much as me. Today, at least, I know they had a good meal. I was able to get a photo with Santa too, right before I picked up the meals.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lovely Guests

"Taste testing" local beer at 21st Amendment
Last weekend my brother and his girlfriend came to visit. It was great to see them! And so much fun to explore. This is my brother's 4th trip (!) out here, since I've moved, but it was his girlfriend's 1st. They did a little sight-seeing on their own--Alcatraz, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge. We spent Saturday wine tasting in gorgeous Sonoma County; it was an absolutely perfect fall day, grapes were ripe and still on some of the vines. Sunday, we explored Baker Beach, and I showed them the beautiful (and outrageously expensive) homes of Sea Cliff. And of course, we ate at one of the local Mission taquerias; unfortunately the traveling Mariachi band never made it by. I had such a great time with them! They're so much fun. I always feel so lucky when people want to take their vacations here. I know it's a "destination" and there is a lot to see (besides me!), but there are so many fun, interesting other places to visit.

Baker Beach

Golden Gate Bridge

Baker Beach

Friday, November 11, 2011

NYC Marathon

Wow, what an awesome race. 47,000 runners lined up last Sunday to take part in the event. The race is a "tour" of all 5 boroughs of the city. It starts in Staten Island,  heads to Brooklyn, then Queens, Harlem, and finally Manhattan. There are bridges throughout: the Verrenzo Narrows Bridge (the race begins on it), the Pulaski Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, Wills Ave Bridge, and Madison Avenue Bridge. Whew! The bridges were deceptionally difficult--they're a long up and then a long down. Gradual, it's hard to even feel or see it. My body definitely felt this at the end!

The weather was perfect for running--sunny and 50-degrees. The crowds during the race were like none I've ever experienced--so much energy, excitement. There were clever signs, "Toenails are overrated," marriage proposals, "go Mom" or "Dad" signs. There were 103 bands on the course, keeping the runners and crowds energized.

The race began on the Verrenzo Narrows Bridge on Staten Island. There were 3 waves of us--I was the last wave. The bridge is a double-decker, so each wave was split into corrals, and 1/2 of the wave began on the top and 1/2 on the bottom. I can't imagine the logistics of a marathon with 47,000 participants--wow. It was so well planned and organized, probably the best event I've been a part.

Until about mile 18, I was able to enjoy the race, read the signs, smile. After 18, my pace slowed a bit, my legs and back hurt. I stopped looking at the crowds as much and made it a goal to run water station to water station, which were every mile. It wasn't really fun anymore. But I told myself, this isn't easy, and I'd done plenty of difficult things in my life (well, it's all relative, I guess), I could do this.

The finish area was a little conjested and my body was in a lot of pain. I just wanted to sit, but we had to keep moving through the line. After picking up my medal, food and water, clothing, I was able to exit Central Park and find somewhere to sit and stretch. After about an hour, I felt better and was able to smile again.

Afterward, I headed back to Brooklyn--on the train with about 1000 other runners! I felt badly for the "normal" people, who just happened to get stuck on the wrong train with all of us! I am sure we smelled great. JD, CS, and I had a great dinner in Prospect Heights (I think) at a great little Mediterranean restaurant.

The next morning, I flew back to SF. The race was an amazing experience. I'll never forget it. I would love to do it again.

Ready or Not--picking up my race packet!

Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty from the Ferry
Verrenzo Narrows Bridge--Start of the race


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

Last week, I headed to NYC for the Marathon. I stayed in Brooklyn with my good friends JD and CS. JD was my first roommate in San Francisco, and I think of her as almost a sister. She kind of took me in and showed me the ropes when I first came to CA. I remember the cold and rain when I first arrived; and she and I spent many nights drinking hot tea, knitting, listening to NPR, and chatting...I know, we're such wild gals!

Anyway, I flew in on Friday morning, so had a few days to hang out. I wanted to keep off my feet, but I was able to do a bit of sight-seeing. Brooklyn always amazes me--it's so unique, has great architecture, quaint cafes, warehouse-condos, and markets. We went to the Red Hook Farm (right in their neighborhood) to pick up their CSA box. We went to the famous Baked for yummy breakfast.

Here are a few photos of the neighborhood.


Red Hook Farm

Red Hook Farm

Thursday, November 3, 2011

50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do

Seems I have a few things to learn...

Taken from Marc and Angel Hack Life

"Practical Tips for Productive Living"


 1.  Build a Fire – Fire produces heat and light, two basic necessities for living.  At some point in your life this knowledge may be vital.

2.  Operate a Computer – Fundamental computer knowledge is essential these days.  Please, help those in need.

3.  Use Google Effectively – Google knows everything.  If you’re having trouble finding something with Google, it’s you that needs help.

4.  Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver – Someday it may be your wife, husband, son or daughter that needs help.

5.  Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle – There will come a time when you’ll be stuck without this knowledge.

6.  Do Basic Cooking – If you can’t cook your own steak and eggs, you probably aren’t going to make it.

7.  Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention – If you can’t captivate their attention, you should probably just save your breath.

8.  Win or Avoid a Fistfight – Either way, you win.

9.  Deliver Bad News – Somebody has got to do it.  Unfortunately, someday that person will be you.

10.  Change a Tire – Because tires have air in them, and things with air in them eventually pop.

11.  Handle a Job Interview – I promise, sweating yourself into a nervous panic won’t land you the job.

12.  Manage Time – Not doing so is called wasting time, which is okay sometimes, but not all the time.

13.  Speed Read – Sometimes you just need the basic gist, and you needed it 5 minutes ago. 

14.  Remember Names – Do you like when someone tries to get your attention by screaming “hey you”?

15.  Relocate Living Spaces – Relocating is always a little tougher than you originally imagined.

16.  Travel Light – Bring only the necessities.  It’s the cheaper, easier, smarter thing to do.

17.  Handle the Police – Because jail isn’t fun… and neither is Bubba.

18.  Give Driving Directions – Nobody likes driving around in circles.  Get this one right the first time.

19.  Perform Basic First Aid – You don’t have to be a doctor, or genius, to properly dress a wound.

20.  Swim – 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.  Learning to swim might be a good idea. 

21.  Parallel Park – Parallel parking is a requirement on most standard driver’s license driving tests, yet so many people have no clue how to do it.  How could this be?

22.  Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – Otherwise you may wind up like this charming fellow.

23.  Select Good Produce – Rotten fruits and vegetables can be an evil tease and an awful surprise.

24.  Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw – Carpenters are not the only ones who need tools.  Everyone should have a basic understanding of basic hand tools.

25.  Make a Simple Budget – Being in debt is not fun.  A simple budget is the key.

26.  Speak at Least Two Common Languages – Only about 25% of the world’s population speaks English.  It would be nice if you could communicate with at least some of the remaining 75%.

27.  Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly – Improper push-ups and sit-ups do nothing but hurt your body and waste your time.

28.  Give a Compliment – It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, and it’s free.

29.  Negotiate – The better deal is only a question or two away.

30.  Listen Carefully to Others – The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.

31.  Recite Basic Geography – If you don’t know where anything is outside of your own little bubble, most people will assume (and they are probably correct) that you don’t know too much at all.

32.  Paint a Room – The true cost of painting is 90% labor.  For simple painting jobs it makes no sense to pay someone 9 times what it would cost you to do it yourself.

33.  Make a Short, Informative Public Speech – At the next company meeting if your boss asks you to explain what you’ve been working on over the last month, a short, clear, informative response is surely your best bet.  “Duhhh…” will not cut it.

34.  Smile for the Camera – People that absolutely refuse to smile for the camera suck!

35.  Flirt Without Looking Ridiculous – There is a fine line between successful flirting and utter disaster.  If you try too hard, you lose.  If you don’t try hard enough, you lose.

36. Take Useful Notes – Because useless notes are useless, and not taking notes is a recipe for failure.

37.  Be a Respectful House Guest – Otherwise you will be staying in a lot of hotels over the years.

38.  Make a Good First Impression – Aristotle once said, “well begun is half done.”

39.  Navigate with a Map and Compass – What happens when the GPS craps out and you’re in the middle of nowhere?

40.  Sew a Button onto Clothing – It sure is cheaper than buying a new shirt.

41.  Hook Up a Basic Home Theater System – This isn’t rocket science.  Paying someone to do this shows sheer laziness.

42.  Type – Learning to type could save you days worth of time over the course of your lifetime.

43.  Protect Personal Identity Information – Personal identity theft is not fun unless you are the thief.  Don’t be careless.

44.  Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices – You don’t have to be a computer science major to understand the fundamentals of creating complex passwords and using firewalls.  Doing so will surely save you a lot of grief someday.

45.  Detect a Lie – People will lie to you.  It’s a sad fact of life.

46.  End a Date Politely Without Making Promises – There is no excuse for making promises you do not intend to keep.  There is also no reason why you should have to make a decision on the spot about someone you hardly know.

47.  Remove a Stain – Once again, it’s far cheaper than buying a new one.

48.  Keep a Clean House – A clean house is the foundation for a clean, organized lifestyle.

49.  Hold a Baby – Trust me, injuring a baby is not what you want to do.

50.  Jump Start a Car – It sure beats walking or paying for a tow truck.