Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

the Golden Gate in Fog

The Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California

Of course this week’s Photo Challenge has to be the Golden Gate Bridge.
To think I went running here almost every weekend. No matter what the weather, she was breathtaking and inspiring. I always left feeling uplifted and renewed. How I miss her.

the Golden Gate

 

the Golden Gate from Presidio Overlook

Ocean Beach: the Edge of the World

Ocean Beach from Sutro Heights

Ocean Beach, as seen from Sutro Heights

It’s exactly two miles from my house to Ocean Beach (my Strava app tells me so). Every weekend I make the short run, ending up at the north end of the Great Highway near the Cliff House (today I beat my record: 9-minute miles – hurray! A special thank-you to my running partners, stress and angst).

Grafitti wall

The wall, looking northeast.

Ocean Beach wall

The wall, looking northwest to the Cliff House.

Ocean Beach is not initially beautiful. At least it wasn’t to me, the girl who grew up in Hawaii. There’s a huge, graffiti-covered (only on one side, thankfully) concrete wall that spans the entire length of the beach. It’s supposed to keep sand dunes from piling up on the Great Highway. Still, every summer the highway shuts down for the annual sand removal, a project that moves approximately 7,000 to 10,000 cubic yards of sand (source: SFGate).

oceanbeach.cliffhouse

Another view of the Cliff House.

oceanbeach.crows

oceanbeach.surfer

Even without the eyesore, there’s the weather. The beach is cloudy or foggy or cold or windy or all of the above 360 days of the year. But… like everything else in this town, it’s grown on me. I love how vast it feels, how uncrowded (when it’s a nice day, you know it. Everyone flocks to the beach), how rugged, even how grey (I mean, crashing waves at the edge of the world are pretty amazing, whether the sun is shining on them or not).

oceanbeach.beerbottlesI’m beginning to think San Francisco can make anything beautiful. The old homeless man sitting on a park bench I passed this morning. The abandoned beer bottles I found last week. Maybe my stress level is so high that I’m not thinking clearly (I think I AM a tad delusional right now, let’s be honest). But I think more than that, I just want to love my town as much as I can in these last couple of weeks.

oceanbeach.blue

One of the lessons that San Francisco has taught me (and it’s taught me many) is to look beyond. To look beyond myself, to look beyond first impressions, beyond stereotypes, beyond the hype…to look beyond the concrete wall and the fog, to find the beautiful crashing waves of Ocean Beach.

Bracelet Envy: the Apex Bracelet

I’m not a jewelry person. I like the idea of jewelry, but whenever I put a necklace on, for example, it always comes off before I leave the house. However. I’ve been eying this gorgeous bracelet from Young In the Mountains since last Fall. I’ve even gone so far as to email the designer (who used to live in San Francisco – it’s a sign!) to ask whether she could custom make one for my ridiculously skinny wrist (she can).

I’m in the process of trying to convince the logical part of my brain (which is most of my brain) that I need (yet another) going away present. And double-arrows? I mean, come ON. Think of all the symbolism that can be applied to my life right now!

Apex bracelet

Photo credit: http://www.younginthemountains.com
(the photo shoot was done near my house – another sign!)

But alas, $245 just isn’t in my budget. Neither is $20. Anything that isn’t food or a utility or a bill, gets kicked to the curb. (Drinks with friends don’t count, because a) drinks are food and b) I consider that a necessity as part of the moving process.)

So for now, I must be content with admiring it from afar. But she will be mine one day. Oh yes, she will be mine.

Hawaii: Running at Ala Moana Beach

Running at the beach

I was able to get several runs in at Ala Moana beach (a 15-minute drive from Mom’s house without traffic) during our short Hawaii vacation – yay! Definitely needed some exercise to balance all the sugary foods I consumed (if you can resist multiple helpings of the haupia pie that is eyeballing you from the refrigerator every day, you are not normal).

Here are some of the things I saw…

San Francisco Weather Report: Cherry Blossoms Confused

cherry blossoms

If you haven’t already heard, California is in a drought. We’ve had unseasonably dry, warm weather this winter, and it’s confusing the plants. Cherry blossoms, which usually bloom in early spring, have arrived in full force. They are everywhere and they are beautiful. But I’m afraid they won’t last. The sun was nowhere to be seen today and it’s supposed to be more of the same this week.

cherry blossoms against a blue house

Michigan is known for their cherries. Traverse City in Northern Michigan boasts over 2.6 million cherry trees. And someday I want to drive up there just to see the miles and miles of orchard trees in bloom. I have no doubt it’s a sight to ooh and ahh over.

But there’s something special about seeing them in the City. There’s a wonderful element of surprise…their bright pink flowers against vivid Victorian colors or dull concrete buildings… it’s pretty magical.

And it’s little things like this that I don’t realize I’m going to miss until I come face to face with them. It seems like every other day I find something new. It’s bittersweet. I love that there are so many great things about this city and I love that I’m grateful for all of them. Of course it will make leaving that much harder, but better to have loved, as they say.

cherry blossoms against a blue roof