Monday, October 31, 2011

Rattlesnake Mountain

One could say I don't like snakes. One could say I have a phobia. Others might say I fear them so much that I can't even utter their name and, instead, refer to them as "blanks" on the trail. So, last Monday, when Matt drove us out to Raymond, Maine, where we would hike to the top of Rattlesnake Mountain, my first question was: how did it get it's name?

I never found out. Probably because I was too mesmerized by the glory of fall that appeared to have fallen perfectly on that mountain just for us.

The hike was beautiful because we didn't have to wait for the summit to see the views. Oddly enough, the summit was more of a forest, a place to get lost and meander.

Long corridors of trees helped us find our way.

Golden leaves floating like ornaments.

Under our feet, the crunch of foliage.

Matt told me that the trees were hit by a fungus this year. You wouldn't know looking at these beauties.

Crescent lake in the distance.

Matt, the hero of the forest.

Me, insanely happy with a hiking stick.

Ah, to be in Maine...and luckily, we didn't see any snakes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jamaica Plain

Nothing is as comforting as arriving in a city at 6 a.m. (after a red-eye) and being picked up at the airport by a friend. My friends Jess and David are living in Boston right now and they were the first stop on my New England adventure. We've done this before. I get off the plane, Jess picks me up, we chat in her kitchen for 3 hours and then I pass out. This time was no different.

I awoke from my nap around 3 to the beautiful light in their apartment. Since it was a Thursday and they were both at work/school, I went for a jaunt around the adorable Jamaica Plain neighborhood. I was eager to see some foliage.

There is was! Staring me right in the face. That's one thing I miss so much about living on the east coast. The changing of the seasons.

At Jess' suggestion, I walked around Jamaica Pond. If I had a pond near my house, I would probably walk around it everyday! The water was so clear and calm.

Lots of people were running and walking, out and about on this gorgeous New England day.

Oh, ya, runners. On the second morning of my visit, Jess and I wandered around the Arboretum. I didn't realize you could leave California and still find big trees!

They were golden...

...and leaves were falling all around (can anyone tell I'm having a major Led Zeppelin moment?).

Color burst!

Love burst!

On my last night, we went to the Jamaica Pond lantern festival. Imagine hundreds of people walking around the pond holding these lanterns. The night glowed! Kids were dressed up like it was Halloween. At one point, some people took their lanterns out onto the pond in a row boat. I got my full autumnal New England experience.

Thanks Jess and David for such a magical visit!

xoxoxoxoxoBut come back to California soon, ok?xoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October on the East Coast

Happy fall everyone! I know we're nearing the end of October, but I just experienced a burst of autumn on the east coast while visiting friends in Boston and Maine. With the foliage peaking and the Halloween decorations freaking (sorry, I had to!), I couldn't help but be in the spirit too. No one does Halloween better than New England. I scheduled my trip so that I'd be there at the perfect time for leaf-peeping (more to come on that), but I didn't even take into consideration the plethora of pumpkins, squashes and gourds I might see. Here's a sneak peak!

Autumn was everywhere in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.

Locals schools get in the spirit.

Pumpkins on every stoop.

Often next to pots of flowers.

Gorgeous fall wreaths on gorgeous New England doors.

Cute window arrangements.

Chocolate stores go wild during the holidays.

Baskets of baby pumpkins.

Peppers make their way into many displays.

The South End neighborhood was big on decorations, too!

Up in Maine it was just as cozy. Halloween cookies at Big Sky Bakery on Portland.

On Saturday, we made a pumpkin pie!

On Sunday we made an Apple Pie! We reveled in the season and then we made it our own! Stay tuned for more pictures and stories from my dreamy trip.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Standing on a Hill in my Mountain of Dreams"*

Last Sunday's sunset on ocean beach. If I could watch the sunset every night I would.

I'd watch it every night but then wouldn't it become less special? It would become everyday. It would become routine.

I'll keep it as is, then. Spontaneous, deliberate, full of meaning. As if each sun I see, is the first to set. As if the sun I'll see, was never born. Until now.**

*Line from Led Zeppelin's Going to California.

**Inspired by the line:

"Ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn/tryin' to find a woman who's never, never, never been born" (Page/Plant).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking Care with Pumpkin Ice Cream

I took a little bit of a spill this weekend. Those close to me are probably tired of hearing about it, but rest assured (family and friends) (and I have been resting) I doth not dwell anymore. How could I? What do they say in the mafia? "Take care of it." Well, that's exactly what I did with my aches, pains and woes. For those of you that don't know, here's the (long) story (short):

While trying to catch my Bart train, I got caught in an OccupySF rally. I know, I know. I should have been occupying with the protesters, but I was eager to get home after a busy day and I wasn't even planning to participate in the protest. I was just swept away by the full momentum of the crowd. Before I could even fathom whether I too wanted to occupy or not, I was occupying the ground. I slipped and fell. It's that simple. I was scared, then it hurt, then there was blood (ew!), and then I was annoyed. Let's not dwell though. This happened:

and then this happened:

Tetanus shot sad face :(

But then this happened! After I went to the doctor, I took myself out for a treat because no one should grow up when it comes to ice cream. I'd recently heard via twitter that Bi-Rite Creamery finally had pumpkin ice cream. One of my favorite things to do at the turning of any season is to go for the ice cream of the season: strawberry and peach in the summer, pumpkin in the fall, chocolate in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Some flavors are just timeless.

It was also a really hot San Francisco October day, so it only made sense that I pop into Bi-Rite and take care of things. I did what was right.

See how fast a sad face can turn into a happy face!!! Pumpkin ice cream makes everything better.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Le Dîner à San Francisco

I experienced something kind of amazing Friday night. It all started a few weeks ago. I read about a secret, pop-up, flash dinner in San Francisco, inspired by an event which originated in Paris. It was called Le Dîner. I knew very little except that there would a picnic style dinner, dancing and entertainment. Guests were asked to bring their own meal and table setting. The secret component was that we would only learn the location just a few hours before the event! Oh, yes, and we were asked to wear all white (head to toe). So much mystery and mayhem.

With sweaty palms and an impatient mind, at 4 p.m. on Friday I got a special email, disclosing the secret location: Le Dîner would take place at the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, between the beautiful deYoung and California Academy of the Arts Museums. Evocative of the Jardin des Tuileries, the spot could not be more perfect.

So there we were: me, David, Jen and Emmanuel in our all white attire. Set-up and oh-my-goodness-this-is-so-cool time was from 5:30 - 7:00. At 7:30, we all waved our white napkin, a signal for the commencement of dinner. I must admit, watching as 1,000 white napkins danced in the air was quite magical.

Emmanuel waving his napkin!

The night was full of romance...

...and the wonder of Paris.

People went ALL OUT with their attire.

We waited in line for our photo to be taken against the white backdrop.

Glowing lanterns flew into the air every so often.

This way and that, someone was putting on a show.

The seating arrangements were divided into the 20 Arrondissements of Paris. We were in Bastille, which I guess is a combo of 3 arrondissements?! Francophiles, feel free to chime in here.

We were cozy in our section, until we found where the real party was at:

Le Dîner was a dinner...

...turned dance party...

...turned rave.

It was only a matter of time before people got into the fountain...and it was only a matter of time before the park ranger told them to get out.

Whichever way you looked, the night was pretty fab. Mes amis et moi sure thought so!