Archive | california RSS feed for this section


6 Apr

I recently had the privilege of experiencing what has got to be kitschiest place on Earth — the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. My friend has been obsessed with this mecca for some time. I have no idea how she heard of it, but we saved our shekels and traveled down CA-1 to stay for a night in the acclaimed Inn.

The Hotel has 109 rooms, all hosting a different theme. The most popular is the “Jungle Room.”

We were really hoping for that one, but I think we checked in to late. On the way down, my friend, Lindsay, convinced us all that she “would do the talking” when we arrived at the hotel. She believed she had the knowledge to save us around $20 total. After listening to her 5 minute pitch on why we should let her do this, we were pretty sure she would be able to handle this task. When we got there, she walked with authority to the reservation counter and began her deals with the bell-hop. When all was said and done, we each ended up paying $30 more. That’s the last time we let Lindsay try to bargain. However, we landed in a luxury suite, called “The Traveler’s Suite.”

Gigantic couch, rock wall with fireplace, rock-wall mounted flat screen TV, 2 king beds, and a free bottle of water… yes, please!

Ashley and Emily enjoying wine by the fire in the complimentary pink bath robes.

Ornate lamps in our room.

Seriously though, the most interesting part of the room was the toilet. It was a bidet, with a heated front and rear stream, which were both power adjustable. I had never used one before, but the idea of conserving toilet paper by using a bidet has always sort of appealed to me. The seat was heated too, which really ruled! Overall – I was impressed with the contraption. It wasn’t really as intrusive as I was expecting.

Cutesy patio furniture.

Beautiful (heated) pool!

Pink gate!

The whole trip was totally fun and relaxing. Unexpectedly, San Luis Obispo is a really cute college town and they had a hoppin’ farmer’s market the night we were there, which was really quaint.


Muir Woods…

19 Mar

…is so close to SF! I never realized this. I took advantage of the beautiful weather today and ventured north to the federally protected sanctuary. It was just gorgeous!

The Nearest Corridor

24 Sep

Divisadero, the large street near my apartment, is being completely revamped. I heard a rumor the new set up is supposed to look like Octavia Street, which I have mixed feelings about. As it is, Divisadero is pocked and scabbed and it feels like you are off-roading when you drive down it – so repairs are definitely in need. The Octavia Street model is confusing and flawed, so hopefully they have edited it for a better pedestrian/bicycle/car experience.







Of course, all the money for these repairs is coming from the Federal stimulus, as CA is broke as a joke and all city based street repairs have been stalled.

The work goes on, for about a month, from what I’ve heard. The street I live on has been closed all week. There are major construction vehicles, barriers and men in orange vests everywhere. In fact, for the past few days, I have had major street crossing anxiety. All the sidewalks and crosswalks are closed off, meaning you can only get across the street if you walk in the middle of the road, and even then you could end up knee deep in concrete. It would make sense to me to walk down the next block to cross, but, those intersections are barriered off as well. The other day I ended up just sort of pacing between a parked dump truck and a back hoe, until I was noticed by one of the workers. He was kind enough to escort me to the middle of the intersection, where I promptly leapt over a cement stream and ran through three lanes of pissed off drivers to the safety of a coned off corner.

Normally, I am not like this. In fact, in the past I have discussed authoring a book called “How to Walk in a City,” in which I would disclose tips to city dwellers about how to properly walk around. These tips would include: walk on the right side of the side-walk, similar to when you drive and just because it says “Don’t Walk,” as long as there are no cars coming, you can cross the street. This book would also, perhaps, have an addendum called “How to Ride your Bike in a City.” The only thing I would say in that section is: Don’t be an asshole.

Maybe it’s just the fumes from the construction vehicles, but I really feel this project has thrown me through a loop.

Little Town Review

25 May

Whenever I take the train, I pass through Benicia and Martinez. It occurred to me that these places might be worth visiting, because from the train window they look like old-Western destinations. On Sunday, my friends and I headed over “the hills” to check these locations off of our “places to visit” lists.

Martinez was a tiny little city, nestled behind olive-colored mounds and snuggled up against where the river meets the bay. The town was hosting its weekly farmer’s market while we were there and along the main strip (Main Street), there were several antique shops and second hand stores. The prices in these joints were refreshing. In SF, you can’t get an old, holey tee-shirt for under $10, and in Martinez, I got the raddest pair of vintage sunglasses for all of $1.00! We scored major at Alley Cats, a co-operative thrift store, with a plethora of vintage furnishings, clothes, jewelry, and toys. They have no Web site, but here is their Yelp! Profile. I got this most amazing resin switch plate for $3.oo:


Benicia (once the capital of California), was more touristy, with an enormous amount of chic-y boutiques. I was really set on finding the “glass beach” that I had heard about. We didn’t see it, and none of the locals could point us in the right direction. It remains a mystery.


An added bonus: we got to spend the entire afternoon soaking in the sun that was hiding from San Franicsco yesterday.

Locomotive Breath

20 Apr

Today I took the train, a more frequent occurrence than ever before, now that my parents live just a short ride away. The train is way better than sitting in the traffic that builds up between SF and Sacramento. It can be brutal… 90 miles has taken me up to four hours! But, alas, the train saves me from this painstakingly boring, frustrating and road-raging journey. I just sit back, in the AC, watch the scenery and think about how I am on a train. At rare intervals, you can see the line of cars on the freeway, moving at snail-like speeds. All I think in these moments is “suckkkkers!”










The most amazing thing about training in CA is that there are so many different landscapes in such a short amount of time. 2 hours meant I traveled through farmlands, marshy fields, industrial parks, neighborhoods, over bridges, and along the coast.

ooppss, i did it again.

3 Mar

I missed a month! It hardly counts though, because it was a shmonth (short month).

Editor’s note: in the post below, I commented about seeing the movie, Milk. I announced that I had been recruited – which caused several people to question my sexuality. No – I was not coming out. I was simply stating that I had been recruited to Harvey Milk’s political stance(s). Whenever he gave a public speech, he said, “My name is Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you.”


To me, this means a commitment and an openness to equality. That’s what I meant – I believe in these things, just as he did. On this same note, Milk took home two Oscars, which makes me even more famous!

And, also, it’s finally raining in San Francisco.


i will miss my room mates, best friends…

5 Jul

… Granted, they will only be about 7 miles away, but it feels like they will be days away because I’m used to living within a 20 foot radius of them.

I’ve lived with the same gals (my best friends) for the past two years. We have a kickin’ apartment, in Oakland, and we have had an outstandingly wonderful stay together. And yet, it feels time to move on… to different things, places. I’m finding it all very sad. The truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life but I have found an apartment in SF (“The City”) and will haul myself and my belongings across the bay August 1st. So, for nostalgia’s sake… my roomies and I try to take a “house picture” whenever we are together for some kind of an event. Here are some from the past couple years:

September, 2006

October, 2006

November, 2006

January, 2007

February, 2007

July, 2007 (plus my brother)

oh, wait, that isn’t us

July, 2008