So where did that month go? Oh, I remember: it was swallowed up by work. (And then my low back fell apart, which was not pretty.)
Except for the last week of September, when I hobbled off to San Francisco. There are only a few pictures, because I am not good at remembering to take pictures, and my camera is doing this thing where it produces pictures that look like this.
Anybody know what’s happening? Is it time for a new camera?
The trip was great. I love San Francisco. I don’t know why. If it was in Canada, I’d move there. (See, I read stories like this about health care in the USA, and I get worried.) The trip came together at the last moment. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get away from the office, and then the low back thing hit and, as I said, that wasn’t pretty. Then it was hard to find a hotel room, as this was busy season. It finally all came together, with my only concerns being a) whether I could get a hotel room for the last night of my stay, and b) whether I’d be mobile enough to do anything other than lay in a hotel bed and eat pastries and sandwiches from Tartine. (Things could be worse than that.)
But on the appointed day, I hobbled through the airport at 5amEST and arrived at my hotel in San Francisco around 1pmEST or 10amPST (San Francisco time). My hotel wasn’t ready for me, but they held my luggage while I hobbled around the neighbourhood. I knew that Tartine was kinda within walking distance and that there was a yarn store there somewhere, but I couldn’t find either. I didn’t have a map, was in pain, and sleep deprived. (I’d been awake since 8:30am the previous day.) Found a Starbucks with free-WIFI and using the iPad I charted my route to Tartine, where I had excellent bread pudding and a Morning Bun. Then back to the hotel; checked in, went to bed around 2pm San Francisco time, and slept to 6am next morning.
The hotel I was at for the first few days of the trip is The Willows, and I recommend it highly. My room was small, but everything I needed. There was a small fridge and a sink in the room, with shower and WC a couple of doors down the hall. The staff are great: friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Continental breakfast was fine, and Happy Hour was pleasant. The Willows draws an international clientele: during my stay other guests were from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Qua’tar and Germany. The owner explained that the building had originally been build as a storefront property on the ground floor with the upper 2 stories as boarding house; they are now the hotel. This tells you that, yes, there are a few stairs. (And it’s easy to miss the door for The Willows on the street; I walked past it a couple of times.) The hotel is a few steps from the above- and under-ground transit lines. (At some point I mentioned that my birthday was during my stay. Came home one day to find a birthday card from the staff and a single-serving of carrot cake from the neighbourhood bakery in the fridge.)
Partway during my stay, I moved down to the Hotel Whitcombe, also right on the transit system. This is a big hotel, and a totally different experience to the Willows. It was completely fine, and I’d stay there again. (Though I’d stay at The Willows first, preferring the intimacy of the experience and the neighbourhood.)
And despite having problems walking (and standing and sitting), I had a great time. There were some things I’d hoped to do that didn’t happen, but Serendipity worked some magic and unexpected things happened. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends in the Bay Area and we had fun together. WonderMike had supper with me early in the trip, and then spent the entire Saturday with me in Berkeley, stopping at A Verb For Keeping Warm, Lacis, and a visit with Nancy at Machine Knitting to Dye For. Andy chauffeured me to south San Francisco for some shopping, and then we toured part of the city which really helped me get a sense of here things are. Kyle and I hung out one evening, with a trip to the waterfront, then up to the GLBT Museum, and a stop in a diner for a lace knitting lesson. Bill took me to the yarn shop I couldn’t find my first day there, and then we went fabric shopping and then he sewed that into a light kimono-style robe for me. (Useful when travelling, staying in B&Bs and you need something to slip into for padding down the hall to the shower.)
Weather was lovely. Early in the trip I was sweating heavily, and chalked this up to being in pain and difficulties walking. Apparently, though, it was unseasonably hot and humid during those days. (I think it was about 85 degrees, which is considered hot.) No rain whileI was there. Near the end of my last day, there were some delciously cool breezes. (Locals complained that it was cold.)
Imagiknit, just down the street from Tartine. Great yarn store, nice selection of yarn. They didn’t even blink when Bill and I walked in, but then I guess they’re used to guy-knitters there. (Unbelievably, I didn't get a picture of Tartine.)
A hedge at a house. On the left is lavender, and the plants are about 3anahalf feet tall. (Not sure what is on the right.)
Thorough Bread Bakery, just down the street from The Willows. Excellent sandwiches.
SightGlass Coffee, where I had The Best Cup of Coffee I Have Ever Tasted. I couldn’t believe that coffee could possibly taste so good.
Andy and Stephen at SightGlass.
A Verb For Keeping Warm, where Kristine dyes yarn and fibre using natural dyes. (Natural dyes, for those of you who don’t know, means the chemicals that colour the yarn come from plant or animal sources, rather than being synthesized in the lab.) The yarns are gorgeous. I don’t know if it’s just my eyes, but there seems to be a gentleness about the colours that I don’t see in synthetic dyes, which somehow seem harsher. (First picture: nope, not looking through a beaded curtain. That's my camera doing strange things.)
As I said, Serendipity played her hand. I was in San Francisco for the Castro Street Fair. Andy and his partner Mike, and Kyle and I wandered the street. First pic is looking south down Castro Street, from the intersection of Castro and Market. Second pic is looking north from approximately the intersection of Castro and 19th. Third pic is about the same location; that’s Andy in the white shirt and black kilt.
Thank you to all my wonderful friends for companionship, conversation, and laughter. Auf Wiedersehn, San Francisco.
In Other News
Well, I’m now back. Life is as it is. Work is brutal. My back is okay, but not well. I have little time or headspace or energy to knit, spin, bake, think, plan.
Fall is setting in. Here’s a picture of the view from my balcony. (Click to enlarge.)