Posts/July, 2010/

People Watching

Friday, July 16th, 2010

After having my hair cut by a student at the Aveda Institute downtown, I lingered around Union Square hoping that I could convince Nik to join me for afternoon coffee. When he called to say he was ready to go home, but couldn’t quite yet, I decided to find a corner coffee shop and people watch while I waited. I sipped my Pike’s Place Roast very slowly because I knew I would be there a while. Then, after an hour, I took out my notebook and started to write down what was going on around me. These are those notes…

At Starbucks at the corner of Grant & Bush.

A family of 6 resting and waiting for the next thing. The two youngest boys are twins and both have small cameras dangling around their necks. And they just seem happy!

A buff guy in yellow shorts with a “Monster Tunes” t-shirt. Speaking Spanish.

Guy in all ochre (jacket & pants) walks across the street on the phone in a hurry.

Girl in flip flops, leggings, skirt and blue scarf holding a “PINK” shopping bag chatting with friends. Speaking French.

Group of 5 pausing to take photos of China Town Gate. Speaking Chinese.

“I don’t want to talk about work outside of work” says the red head.

Two girls with dark long hair, black long sleeve shirts, purses crossing their bodies and boot leg jeans.

Guy with horn rimmed glasses.

“That’s a private bus.” ” That would be comfortable.” says the middle aged group walking by in shorts and tennis shoes as a big “Silverado” bus passes by.

Mom takes photo of teenage son with her Nikon DSLR, then mom turns and sees me. She smiles.

Blond headed man with receding hairline and khaki pants pauses in front of the trash cans in his all white Nike tennis shoes.

Guy with Beatles hair cut, denim jacket and royal blue sweater crosses the street with a stern face.

10-12 yr old boy in blue abercrombie & fitch sweatshirt turns and strikes a pose for his dad with the little point-and-shoot.

“There’s a Starbucks on that corner too…Were you siting here the whole time?”

1/2 bald man in lavender oxford and brown plaid sports coat looks east as he sends a text message.

College sorority girl poses with her younger braced-teeth brother as mom takes photo while standing next to her greased-back-hair dad.

20-something couple walks by with 3 dogs.

Working girl with blond highlights, slouchy big grey bag, steel blue wedges, loose grey jacket and black skinny jeans walks by.

Sister in All-Stars. Brother in Sambas. Mom & Dad in Asics running shoes.

Two Asian girls with rolling suit cases.

Cute Indian couple. Girl in grey + blue. Boy in plaid shorts, sweatshirt and holding Banana Republic bag.

“This isn’t what her mom does”

Asian guy in all black looks at a map then begins folding it while his lady friend in a red-pink trench coat and guy-friend in all black laugh.

“BABY PHAT” says the purse the girl in all black carries.

Horn rimmed glasses walks by again.

Muscle man in tight white t-shirt, shorts and backpack leans into the corner as he turns left.

“Everyone else drank your beer this week. I didn’t want to be the a**hole”

“No. I don’t want to go.”

“You can follow us.”

“See, my mom was stupid…I want Starbucks”

Couple with backpacks, fleeces, hiking pants and walking shoes.

Petite Asian girl with black leather biker jacket, lavender sweater, jeans, flats and her hair twisted in a knot turns the corner while texting a friend.

Blond 7 year old in a pink sweatshirt and pig tails runs by in her flip flops.


“There there there, it’s very good” says the 6 year old boy with a head full of curls to his dad.

Black hood. Pink lips. Blushed cheeks.

“I got a picture of”

And then it was time to meet Nik and take the bus home. I absolutely love sitting and observing life. It makes me wonder if I would have been a good contemporary anthropologist. So many people with insanely different stories, and I got to spend my time imagining what those stories might be.

Sequoia Cabin & A Ride across the Bay

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

We arrived late Friday evening to darkness. We heard the sound of crickets, frogs and a rushing river. And we saw stars! Oh my the stars! It was like we were in a planetarium, only 5,000 times better. After the exhausting five hour drive, we found the cabin without a problem, and were happy to see our friends from down south. Once the produce was unloaded, we settled in and relaxed with a glass of wine. My eye lids were heavy so we turned in early, and our dreams were filled with anticipation of what we would find once the lights were turned on.

The least rustic cabin I've ever seen

Mother Nature flipped the switch around 6am, and Nik and I joined her. Out our bedroom window, we saw a hillside covered with trees that had not yet been touched by the morning sun while horses grazed for breakfast. We were the only ones awake, so we left the cabin and strolled through the garden and orchard towards the river and watched as the sun slowly peaked up from behind the hillside. Everything we saw was pure with only the softest touch by human hands. This was a place where rodents, deer, snakes, foxes and spiders ruled. We were there as observers.

Our Fourth of July weekend near and in Sequoia National Park consisted of three full days of relaxation, laughter, nature gazing, walking, cooking, polar bear swimming, sun scorching, game playing and reading. It was the perfect escape from city life, and made me wonder if we would one day make this life a full time thing. I think we could handle living in the middle of no where. I think we could fall asleep every night with a huge blanket of stars up above. I think we could watch the progress of fox cubs learning to hunt on their own. I think we could do it if the opportunity presented itself. I hope it does!

The top of a trophy collection

Jet ski flies across the water at Lake Kaweah

Jon relaxes under the redwoods

My first bear spotting...

of a Mama Bear and her two cubs

Nik and the Sequoias

All four of us on Moro Rock

We returned to San Francisco late Monday evening and were greeted with the bone chilling fog of the Richmond. Immediately, we missed the warm crisp air of the mountains, but were happy to be home.

Nik’s Post: Holiday Weekend Around Sequoia National Park

The week was fairly uneventful, and this weekend was low key as well. Yesterday we took a ride across the Bay to Berkeley to see what was to be seen. We had lunch at the Cheese Board and strolled around for a bit. We walked through neighborhoods where if we didn’t know better, we could have sworn we were in east Portland. The streets were lined with voluptuous trees. The people were jolly. The gardens were organic, and the houses were Craftsman. This made me wonder why people moved all the way to Portland when they were ready to leave San Francisco. Why didn’t they just move across the bay to Berkeley?

Then we saw a real estate office with a few of these four-square Craftsman houses for sale, and I knew the reason. These cities by the bay are expensive. Ridiculously expensive. Especially when compared to Portland.

Artichoke Flowers

Song Birds

Archives for July, 2010