Monday, January 7, 2013

What I Did with My Winter Vacation

Before Mike and I flew to Houston for Christmas, I threw one last party of 2012: my first sitdown dinner party, to celebrate the acquisition of a grown up dinner table! It's made of lovely dark wood and extends through a series of gears and pulleys that are steampunkishly delightful. A friend made a delicious soup, and I served a filo dough veggie pie and an arugula and beet salad for dinner. Dessert was a store bought cake (I'm just not a baker, but that may change since I got the Flour cookbook for Christmas!) and Talenti's sea salt caramel gelato. This stuff is available all over the place now, and it is sick. Sick as in good, sick as in delicious, sick as in you will scarf it until it makes you ill.
We spent the holidays at Mike's parents' house, then a few days with his brother's family. Mike has three nephews who are smart and funny and unreasonably cute, and who also fight a lot. It's a good reminder that kidhood isn't easy or innocent or la di da. Also, it seems a bit tiring for the parents. Just a bit.
There were also many restorative things to do, like bake and drink wine and admire my new bracelet.

When we got home, we vegged hardcore. Chinese food, endless episodes of Buffy, the works. We did get ourselves out of the house to go to Frances, which is as good as it's supposed to be. The service is impeccable, but it has a great neighborhood feel. It's worth the wait for a reservation. Luckily we walked there and back, because I was so painfully full after dinner I would have had to be rolled into a cab. 

San Francisco around the holidays is dreamy. It's just chilly enough to feel seasonal but not so much you need to bundle up like the marshmallow man and rush from here to there. We stopped to say hi to a dressed up palm tree, for instance.
We also did our standard urban hike - first to the top of Buena Vista Park, then to Corona Heights. Sometimes we throw in a jog here or there, but my FitBit (also a Christmas present, thanks Leslie!) logged something like 20 flights of stairs climbed, so the hike itself is enough of a workout to justify the Chinese-and-Buffy consumption.
On New Years Eve we were still waffling on what to do - I was all in favor of a bowling party at Mission Bowling, but we didn't know who we could convince to go with us, and it seemed straight up sad to go bowling as a couple on NYE. P+E stepped up to the plate and offered their beautiful West Oakland loft for a party. And so it was done. I made jello shots, they ordered pizza, and everyone had a rocking time, including the in utero (now fully birthed!) baby I startled while popping open a bottle of champagne. Sorry, baby. 
New Year's Day was spent in recovery, but we rallied on the 2nd for a good adventure-about-town. Mike had the day off, so I took it as well, and we headed to much-ballihooed Outerlands for lunch. Half the city must have had no work that day, because it took an hour to get a table; it was tasty, but I wouldn't brave that wait again. It's worth it to head out there to see the parklet in front of Trouble Coffee, which has a beautiful old downed tree for seating. Also, on a clear sunny day, being out in the avenues feels like a special surf's-up kind of California.

Post lunch we hiked through Golden Gate Park, sticking to side trails and exploring new areas as much as possible. We came upon the angling pools, which are big ponds for fisherman to practice casting.  There were even rings for aiming. As my dad wrote when I sent him these photos, What a city! Every constituency gets their little piece of the park. 
California in January: hallelujah.
Then we went back to work, boo, the end.

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