I often daydream about living in The City. If you're reading this from anywhere but northern California, you should know that "The City," to folks around here, refers to San Francisco. So anyway, every time I go there, I wonder anew why on earth I moved all the way to Northern California from Colorado and didn't quite make it to the goal destination.
When I'm in San Francisco, I feel full of promise and possibility. I feel like there is too much magic there for it not to catch on and spread around a bit to any who drop in. And though I've been there many times, I usually still feel like a tourist, simply by virtue of the sense of wonder it gives me. When I look around and am surrounded by *actual* tourists, from far, far away, I also feel proud of a city that isn't even mine, and lucky to be living so close to a place that people travel across the globe to get to.
And while I get to The City every now and again for random events or with specific plans, I hardly ever make it to explore the attractions that bring so many people there, from everywhere, in the first place.
Enter Today's New Activity: Dinner and a Browse at Ghirardelli Square
Say what?! Never been to Ghirardelli Square?! I know, huh? I did grab a hot chocolate once at one of the little cafes there, but that didn't even require stepping foot into the actual square, so I don't count it.
The actual plan for the day was shopping at Union Square, but the rain made dodging the TONS of shoppers (what were they all doing there?! Christmas is over. How dare they!) seem like a pretty bad idea with the monkey and his stroller. Plus, with most of the shops starting like Neiman and ending like Ferragamo, the thought of purchasing anything there made me feel a little queasy, especially in the wake of holiday spending.
So, dinner at a diner in Ghirardelli Square it was:
The diner was just meh, and the service pretty bad. I think we were just too hungry to put in any effort, because why oh why would you drive all the way to SF and find parking at Ghirardelli Square just to eat at some ole' diner? Yeah, I don't know.
There was one kitschy shop we checked out that had fun stuff. I'd considered getting the below shirt when my boy was born, but not being a big ACDC fan, I would have felt like a poser parent. Still, I think it's cute:
Then there was a set of little paddles to be used in lieu of living out any lurking road rage fantasies:
I'm pretty sure that, no matter how mad I was during some kind of road confrontation, if the person in the car next to me held up a paddle that said "WTF?" I'd probably laugh and get over it :)
I love the idea of being a tourist in one's own city. And no, SF is not my city, but it's close enough that I could take it for granted. But *every* city has its treasures; and most people wouldn't really think about the treasures in their own city unless they'd just moved there and were trying to convince themselves they'd made a good choice.
Just two days ago I learned there is a big park and recreation center just down the street that offers nature walks and all sorts of activities for kids, like feeding sharks and learning how to catch lizards. The mamas and the papas out there know how all-important it is to know where the nearest distraction of a learning experience is, in the event one is going just a weeee bit crazy at home with the little guy. My project gives me great motivation to actively seek out the little gems all around me, even if they may be as unassuming as a historic house, or a previously-undiscovered public work of art.
Oh, and a follow-up...these are some of the pictures taken on my new, red camera. I'm liking it so far :)