Saturday, January 5, 2008

The San Francisco Moment

The blog may seem to have turned into a logbbook, but I have a point in sharing my San Francisco adventure. I will fully flesh it out in the book, but the trip has been multilayered and revelatory. The voyage, the stay and the departure were all one big moment of Marcie.

As I have shared with Jane and Christi, and which Jane already knew, the world Marcie lived in was divided into realms. Work people only rarely met family. Family and friends mixed sparingly or not at all. Lastly, the spouse was not to get to close to, or to interact too much with, the girlfriends.

There were some exceptions, to be true. I occasionally got to spend limited amounts of time with Tom and Chrissy Patterson before they moved to the Midwest, Jane was a common and welcome guest (though I was often shooed away by Marcie) and Lisa and I often enjoyed long calls. Tanya was persistent and had known us both as neighbors, so Marcie was occasionally willing to interact with me in tow. But, when it came down to it, I was generally cut out of girlfriends' lives. I took an interest in their activities, but she kept the wall there.

That changed as Marcie became ill. I met Walt, Lisa's boyfriend, now husband, and we went sailing with them and had dinner, something I greatly enjoyed. Calls and visits with her girlfriends became longer, more personal and connective.

But Jane remained largely a mystery, as did Christi, a person I met once and heard of several times and had even heard a story or two about (when I was not told to go out and surf or to leave Marcie with Jane in peace). Jane was the near-sister who occasionally summoned Marcie to her side for joy and merryment, support and indulgence.

But I started to really discover Jane and Christi before the memorial, then at it, then after it as we cleaned up the wake. I knew I wanted to visit them in San Francisco when they offered to have me up. Then I truly began to understand a little about why Marcie loved them so.

Jane, Jason, Christi and their whole world unfolded before me, and with it, a special corner of Marcie's life, that "magic trip" that always lifted her spirits. So, I may call Christi and Jane angels, but it may be because they showed me just what Marcie's heaven could look, feel, taste and sound a lot like. The experience was at least in part due to Marcie herself. Not simply because she was such a friend to Jane, though.

In Marcie's world and in any given realm within it, everything was always planned, usually thoughtfully so. When Marcie summoned me from my exile (for their girl time) to see Jane to her car, she told Jane and I before we left that she wanted us to stay in touch and support each other, no matter what happened to her. It was a devastating thing to hear, as we both still expected a good outcome, and it meant she felt her way of living and separating her social groups was no longer serving any good purpose. It was a tough walk to the car.

In that little dictate, she gave me the greatest inheritance she had, the last of her friends. In so doing, she let me out of my box and then told me where to find more of her to love, in San Francisco.


The Big Chair

I realized that I never posted my picture from the big chair... Thank you, Christi, for sending it. This is from the last night of the visit. That's another wonderful day to share sometime... Here's the last thing we did before we dropped Christi off via taxi and headed to Jane's:

Friday, January 4, 2008

The San Francisco Angels

So, I have finally gotten together my permission to post some pictures of my hostesses from our day and two nights of grand debauch. I may also post unmentioned photos that I feel express something revelatory... as long as they are flattering, that is.

I cannot fully express how good this trip was. I enjoyed the journey, to be sure, but I was absolutely spoiled the whole time after I arrived, and I feel elevated, and more than a little lighter of heart. As much as I speak of a grand debauch, nothing was excessive, but the luxurious and rather rococo setting made it feel as if just a few drinks was a long, languid party. And we had that a few times.

I have chosen not to describe this trip in multiple long posts. I would rather share it in little bits and sprinkle the trip across several posts over time, and just refer back to some of the special moments when I am not still relishing them stingily. They seem pretty private right now.

But here are some pictures, as approved by my San Francisco Angels, Ms Christina Cavallaro and Mrs. Jane Steele. First up, a shot which I think shows off the coziness of Christi's cocoon-nest:

Next up is a shot of pure animal love. Here are Christi and Samsara, a shot chosen by Jane. I have two, and they are both very sweet. I was lucky to get clear shots:

A doting kitty mother
Samsara cuddled in and beyond all escape

We did quite a bit of walking after we left Christi's cozy little nest. We ended up at the high point of Fillmore after a while. I did not choose to frame in Alcatraz, as it is an image I find pretty depressing, though I will likely tour it someday. I still like this shot, though.

After we turned back toward Christi's end of Fillmore, I snagged a couple of shots outside a bookstore of the two hostesses. I actually pulled of a surprise shot:

Cooperation with the camera handler began to break down after I took the first shot from behind the window display. I still managed to get a few more, though. First, I took pictures of a cute little pup to push their guards down. This is Little Kim, who soon also decided she was not happy being photographed and trotted off:

After one shot, Little Kim deployed her "Dog Smears Window with nose" defense.

We moved on and eventually landed at the O Izakaya Lounge, featured in the video posted earlier on the blog. Here, I actually snagged quite a few shots, most of which were too dark and grainy. However, the angels found one or two that were acceptable, but looking down means many things, so both seem good to me:

Considering their apparently plentiful and "Gorgeous" options (see video in post below...)
Preparing to admonish me (again) for taking more photos

Eventually, we landed for real dinner at Benihana's, where we finished the night out. I like this picture from there, dark or not:

We hiked back to Christi's, happy, full and no, not drunk. It was a feeling I hadn't had in a long time. Sooo many good conversations... in confidence until they can be in context. Night, folks. As soon as Christi gives me more shots from the second, wilder night, I will post about it. We didn't start at the big chair!

So much to post, but first... a request

We had a good time at O Izakaya lounge in Japantown. Our waiter was quite fun to watch and to film. There is one adjective which seems overused. Thesaurus, anyone? This is actually posted more for Jane and Christi than general use... They're cute as buttons, no?

Jane just cannot deal with the filming of it after a while... you'll hear her at the end. Stick around for the credits...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Catching up on my Vacation/Scouting - Mission Days 1-3 in the Bay Area

I have had a wonderful few days in San Francisco, and because of that I have been quite remiss in my blogging... but all for a good cause. I have MORE pictures, and I get to introduce friends in pictures who have not been featured visually but have made their respective debuts before.

First off are Jane and Jason, whose home has been mine as well since I arrived on the 30th, and who will be featured in their own "plus bunnies" post when I get home. However, for now... here is a wonderful picture of the two of them overlooking the Pacific:

Setting Sun For a Couple

Jason was a champ. He may have even turned me on to watching football and finding some intellectual stimulation from it to override my disinterest. The sociological angle is just what I needed. I'm not saying I'll watch every week, but I will read the sports news more often. Thanks, Jason.

My first day up here was spent walking around the neighborhood Jane and Jason are privileged to live in. Wow. What a beautiful neighborhood, amazingly only one block from Golden Gate Park and a scant few more than that from the beach, which is where the above shot was grabbed. Yes, that's a bird in the middle, but an accidental one....

The tour of Golden Gate Park was quite nice. It has enough country to appeal to that part of my soul, and enough city to make it feel urbane as well. Some of the highlights to perhaps pause and look at include the horse we visited at the stables, the bison, and a raven. I also fooled around with catching a fishing line in mid-cast, which Jason actually was doing first but I had to try.

After a long trip through the park, including a little free entertainment (a reggae concert which was quite well done) and a visit for batteries, we headed to the coast. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful:

As if to end our day on mystical note, a beautiful dog kept flying down the beach and into the water, drawing my shutterbug out and challenging me not to take a picture When I saw he picture on a computer screen afterwards, I was very pleased. What an effect. It's a dog leaving a trail of fire in his or her wake:

The Trail of the Fire Hound

After our dog-frolic encounter, it was time to head back for a delicious and hearty cornbread and turkey-chili dinner, which was a very good thing to have in my belly. Talk about a long and sound sleep! I did not know it, but it would be a needed rest...

Tamalpais and New Year's Eve-Day Two

The next day dawned, the 31st, and it was off to a hiking trip. Jane and I went alone on this one, to Tamalpais, above Sausalito. But first... first a trip to a delicious and deliciously underpriced, diner. Marcie would have gobbled it up, and I certainly did. Traditional breakfast served fast and sweetly by an Asian family. Yummage.

Then, we were off! Just a 20-minute trip from her home, a jaunt over the Golden Gate bridge, Jane has the countryside and a fullon forest in her backyard. Actually, several, but let's focus on this trip's destination, hmm? Agreed? Yes! What can I say? Nothing. It was better to take pictures and a film. The pictures first:

Jane claimed she was prone to getting lost, but she was an excellent guide. Much talk of my baby here... Marcie would have marched us for the whole round trip, but we turned back for a night on the town... New Year's Eve! But first, a waterfall film. Turn on your sound...

I will be getting New Year's photos from Jason and Jane later. For now, just know that the debauchery was kept to a relative minimum but that we found a cute little place to eat with a kickass host, drank at a Beat spot, crashed a party at Bimbo's and loved us up some North Beach. But I was restless, which was a poorly timed state...

The Debauch-Day 3

Day Three was a meandering joy. The first order of business was to decide on what. Both of us suffering from stiff calves, Jane and I agreed that a trip to another out-of-doors location might be "uncalled for." Another trip, and perhaps a lighthouse then...

But for the third day, we would meet with newly minted co-conspirator
and Marcie-sanctioned, long-time Jane pal Christi. The other wonderful hostess and helper at Marcie's memorial, Christi is a true gem and a multi-talented maven.

Since my little trip is a mix of memorial, vacation and thank-you for their help, I had brought a collection of items which I felt were appropriate as gifts for Marcie's friends. Candles, candies, drink (high-end vodkas) and some more personal items were brought and given (to a great reception). We had some long discussions and champagne, food and candy.

It was a little memorial for my baby, and every gift had in it something I knew of her or the two of them. The gifts did not go unanswered. The answer, a field trip, took all day and much of the night and was thoroughly enjoyable as much for watching my two lovely companions interact as it was for sharing little bits of my Marcie's person with each other.

Hmm... I have too many pictures to share here, but I need to clear them with Jane and Christi. Women love their images only when they meet their own standards. For now, I have been admonished for not putting myself and my picture on the blog, so I will share a picture of all of us at the Japantown Benihana's.

We'll talk more of the debauch (post, talk, whatever) after I go home and have time to digest it. Suffice to say it was awesome! Benihana's was the last stop before we all paraded back to Christi's, but there is way too much before that to share for me to keep typing now...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More from Big Sur

I have been running the shutter on my camera's CCD like wild. I am posting some leftovers from Big Sur in this slide show and then later some pictures I have taken since I arrived in San Francisco. For now, enjoy these:

More later today, I promise.