SAN FRANCISCO, ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

A few months ago I escaped to San Fransisco for a few days of fun with my step mom-in-law.  We had such a great time being tourists in San Fransisco.  Although I have been to SF more times then I can count, I never get tired of the touristy stuff this city has to offer. 

Hard to believe that I've been a "widow" now for 16 months.  I hate that word.  I love road trips and the time I spend with Mike's step mom is very healing since she lost her husband, Mike's dad, my father-in- law, when she was my age.  At the time I thought I knew how she felt but turns out I had no idea.  The truth is you don't know, until you know.  When we're together we get to talk about them unconditionally, with laughter and/or tears, and it's so good.  When you lose your spouse, talking about them keeps their memory alive, it's very cathartic.  I love talking about Mike.  But most people, even close friends, often avoid the subject like the plague.  People think that if they mention your deceased loved ones name that it will remind you they died. Trust me, we haven't forgotten they died. 

One of the nice things about this trip was that we were not on any particular time schedule.  That made for a nice scenic drive with lots of potty breaks, Starbucks stops and an impromptu lunch in Gilroy, the garlic capital of CA.  We stayed at Hotel Rue at Fishermans Wharf.  I have never actually stayed at the wharf before but my favorite boutique hotel, sadly, went out of business during covid.  It turned out to be a great location for us.  There are a few different parts of Fishermans Wharf.  Pier 39 is the touristy part, which is really fun, and the old ferry building and the Embarcadero are more upscale.  And of course Ghiridelli Square, famous for Ghiladeli chocolate.

Our first stop was Boudin for their famous clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls.  They are the original sour dough makers and have been baking on that site since 1849!  The first time I came to SF I was 22 and had never even heard of sour dough bread.  I sent the bread basket back twice and told the waiter there was something wrong with it because it tasted sour.  After the second time he asked me if I knew it was sour dough bread.  I was a native NY'er what did I know from sour dough.  Back then it wasn't a thing.  It was pretty funny, the waiter had a field day with me, calling the rest of the staff over to meet the NY'er that never heard of sour dough bread.

Our first morning, after a great breakfast, we headed off to Pacific Heights, my favorite neighborhood.  Why not, it's just about the most expensive real estate in CA with amazing views of the bay, gorgeous homes and lots of very steep hills to climb.  I always use the address for the Lyon Street stairs to get there. I'll share all the addresses and links below.  There was a house under construction and the constructor saw us gawking and started talking to us about the living wall installation of plants and lighting he had just installed for a zillion dollars.  It was gorgeous and fun to get the inside scoop.  

Then we were off to the Presidio, the Presidio is a former military base that has been tunred into a National Park.  Below the Presidio, is Crissy Field where all the locals go to jog, ride bikes, and socialize and all the tourists go for the best spot to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.  We stopped in at the Warming Hut for hot chocolate and biscotti.  It was unseasonably cold and windy for June.

Next stop, only about 10 minutes away, was Lombard Street.  This is also in a great neighborhood and if you've ever been to SF I'm sure you know Lombard Street.  It's known for being the crookedest street in the world.  What intrigues me about it is that people live on it.  I never get tired of being a tourist on this street.  I've walked it a ton of times with my husband and my daughter.  But this time I drove it.  It was early morning on a Wednesday and not crowded at all.  It was so much fun to drive that when we got to the bottom we went around the block and did it again.  Then we decided to catch the ferry to Saucalito for lunch.  Saucalito is an artsy town of 7,000 people and is referred to as the Meditereanin of the west.  We ate at Barrel House Tavern and had a gorgeous view of the bay.  And according to my my MIL the best ginger margarita this side of Mexico.

We shopped the boutiques and would have stayed longer but it was so windy and cold we decide to catch the 4:00 ferry back.  The ferry is located at Pier 39 and from there we walked back to our hotel to add another layer and then we walked to the hub of the cable car station at Hyde and Powell to take us to Chinatown.  It was June and people were wearing puffer jackets. The last time I took the cablecar in SF was with Mike probably 10 years ago.  He was hanging off the side singing the Rice-a-Ronie song giving me a heart attack.  

It was a full house on the cable car and we sat in the back with the woman who controlled the back break.  Those hills are so steep it requires two people and two sets of breaks, one up front and one in the back.  This woman break operator happened to be a comedian.  She was telling us stories of the stupid questions tourists ask her and she was hilarious.  It was loud and friendly, we took pictures, and it was just one of those lucky things that the cable car turned out to be an extra source of entertainment. 

When we got off we walked a bit into China Town and got on line (there's always a line) at The House of Nanking.  It's the best place to eat in China town.  It's pretty famous and they don't take reservations unless you're a large party so we waited and as always it was worth it.  After dinner we had to walk back to the trolley stop, up hill all the way.  I was a little leary as it was getting dark and the streets were noticeably emptier compared to when we arrived. But we did it, and we made it back to the hotel safely. All in all we walked 8 miles that day!

The next morning we headed off to Golden Gate Park.  It's big, as a point of reference it's 1,013 acres, Central Park is 842 acres. You could spend a week in the park and still not see everything.  Our first stop was The Conservatory of Flowers.  We both love gardening so this was something we were looking forward to.  I've never seen so many rare and unusual plants.  Next we walked to the de Young Museum to take in a 360 degree view of SF from the 12th floor observation desk, spectacular.  Then off to the Japanese Tea garden.  I love this place.  I got tapped on the shoulder by a woman who said "how was your Chinese dinner"?  It was the two women visiting from Canada who had sat across from us on the cable car! 

The Conservatory of Flowers where Scarlet, the famous Corpse Flower, was about to bloom / The view from the observation deck at the de Young Museum, 12th floor, you can get up there for free even if you are not touring the museum / Another view with the Golden Gate peeking out / One of the beauties in the Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park
More sites at the tea garden

House of Nanking, a favorite in China Town, you must try their house special Sesame Chicken and the Sizzling Rice Soup, and the tea ball that opens into a flower in your cup! We took a cable car to China Town / Shots of the bridge from the ferry to Sausalito / Sausalito / Homes and Heart in Pacific Heights at the Lyon Street stairs. There are 131 hearts around SF by local artists, a project that started n 2004.

Palace of Fine Arts / Drinks and lunch at Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito / Ghirardelli Square for my fellow chocolate lovers / The original Section of Fishermans Warf / Merry Go Round at Pier 39 

Clam chowder bread bowls at Boudin first thing, it's the original sour dough bread factory baking since 1849 / A place to contemplate inside the Conservatory of Flowers / The old Brick buildings of Canary Row / the view from Lombard Street / Cable Car Depot

I'm kind of obsessed with taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, every time, over and over / cable car stop at the top of Lombard St. / Hills and steps everywhere / gorgeous architecture

The Presidio is part of Golden Gate Park and Crissy Field in a great area under the bridge where you'll find lots of locals jogging, biking, walking and lots of activities / The Warming Hut if it's cold this is a stop for hot chocolate / Pacific Heights / House of Nanking

If you're interested in more SF check out our San Fransisco family Christmas with other sights and restaurants I recommend.  Find it here



















PASADENA DESIGN HOUSE AND THE ART OF GOING SOLO:

If you've been reading my blog for a while you probably know that I'm obsessed with the Ojai Garden Tour.  If you've never heard of Ojai, it's a sleepy little town about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles, nestled between the Topatopa Mountains, and I love it.  I've been going on the Garden Tour for years on Mothers Day weekend and I look forward to it so much.  Last month I went online to buy my ticket and there was nothing. WHAT?!  I called the Chamber of Commerce and was told that the tour was cancelled this year, NOOO!  Apparently the massive amounts of rain we had ruined gardens and there were not enough people to volunteer their homes this year.  I was upset.  Really I was.  I sat at my desk thinking there was no coming back from this devastation. Yes, I'm overly dramatic, but still.  I needed a way to recover from this news.  And then I remembered the Pasadena Showcase Home.  I had never gone and I could go on Mothers Day!  I bought a ticket. 

My daughter and I are extremely close so Mothers Day is every day for me, and she was out of town, coming back in time for us to have dinner.  That gave me the day to myself.  And I really wanted to go to the design house alone.  When I told some of my friends they offered to go with and me.  I politely explained that I was going solo by choice not by default.  It was the ultimate Artist Date!  Browsing through an 11,000 sq. ft. mansion that looked like it was right out of Gone With The Wind, on 2 acres of gardens in Pasadena CA. 27 different interiors designers took over the house and each designed a different room.  Yes please.

If you have never heard of an Artist Date, it's a solo experience doing something you love by yourself.  The idea was created by Author Julia Cameron and described in her book The Artists Way.  And if you've never given yourself an Artist Date what are you waiting for?!

Going solo to an event like this means I can concentrate on taking photos, which I love to do.  I'll share some below, some, as in a lot. 

Speaking of solo dates, I recently came across my old collage journal and documentation of my very first solo date.  I was 20.  I went to a pub called Casper's that was right next to Nagler Hall, the dorm I lived in on 27th street when I went to FIT.  Students would hang out at the bar, but this night was different, this night I was going to ask for a table, all by myself and have dinner.  I got dressed up, I remember I was so nervous and I wrote three pages in the journal on how traumatizing it was when the hosted said "just one?" I was sitting in my kitchen reading those pages last week and howling with laughter.  Another beautiful thing about getting older, I love taking myself out to eat, having confidence, and not caring what other people think of me. AKA freedom!

I had a great time at the showcase home, they also had shops set up outside.  I had a lovely lunch in the garden.  And although none of the decor styles were my taste, I found something in every room that I liked.  Overall, I truly appreciated all of the thought that went into every aspect of the designs and the artistic details of every room.

And of course without a selfie, was I really there? 😜
  

 






AGELESS LIVING: MY THOUGHTS

Dear Fellow Baby Boomers, 

Have you noticed lately that we have become big business?  Not only is every company and/or celebrity out there coming up with something to target our wallet, fight aging, and battle menopause, but it's become politically incorrect to say things like "anti" aging.  We're apparently supposed to say "pro" aging now.  How about instead of all this talk on aging, we just live our lives without focusing on our age number at all?

We've become a marketing tool.  I'm not against this, if things are legit, but I am against companies that market anti wrinkle creams to us on 20 something faces.  New magazines that target women over 50 but get their advertising dollars from designer clothes splashed across their pages on 20 something models. 

A few years ago I was prompted to change my blog and instagram name to Life In The Six O.  One of my girlfriends, who is 10 years younger than me, said I was her poster girl for aging, hmmm, I liked that.  She said she was scared by some of the women she knew that were my age because they looked and acted frumpy.  She was freaked by frump.  Up until that point I had pretty much always lied about my age, well not really lied, but never corrected anyone when they assumed I was younger than I am.  I was afraid people would stop taking me seriously in business if they knew my real age.  Let's face it, there is ageism in this world.  Then I realized I was part of the problem.  If I told the world how old I really was, maybe people would start to see that this is what 60+ looks like.  I thought I could be part of the solution, instead of the problem.  Frump is a choice not a chronological component.  And we all have a choice.

Fortunately, we are the generation, after the generation, that called things like your period and menopause "the curse".  Imagine being a young girl in the "olden days" and getting your period?  No one told you about it, you had no idea what was happening, so naturally they all thought they were bleeding to death.  Same with menopause, even our mothers' generation didn't talk about it, although I've heard some refer to it as the "beginning of the end".  Oh brother!  And I remember my mother would say that it just didn't really affect her.  Well, I beg to differ! 

Any Jewish friends out there get the period slap?  There's an old Jewish custom (although when you google it, the roots of this "custom" are a bit sketchy) that when a Jewish girl gets her period for the first time, her mother slaps her across the face for good luck.  My mother did this to me.  My nonviolent mother who never hit me, smacked me right across the face as I sat on the toilet pondering the fact that I was supposedly a woman now.  Shocker!  She quickly explained that it was good luck and hugged me.  Yes, I was still on the toilet.  That tradition ended with me.  I did not smack my daughter when she got her period.  Talk about your body image trauma!

I like to call it Ageless Living, not because we don't age, or can stop the hands of time, but because my focus is living life without putting age restrictions on myself.  Age affects us, no doubt about it.  Hey, if I don't stretch before I get out of bed in the morning I'm walking to the bathroom like Frankenstein.  But how many times do you hear women say "I'm too old for that" or "it's too late" for this or that.  This drives me crazy and it's just not true!  Ageless living is about living without paying attention to societal stereotypes for the "middle aged" and that's exactly how we break those stereotypes, by proving them wrong.  It's never too late for a new dream, a new hobby, a new pet, a new city, a new home, a new friend, a new job, a new career, or a new style!

The other day I posted a story on instagram from @the.dancing.nana.  She was tap dancing at her own 100th birthday party.  And smiling from ear to ear.  She's been dancing her whole life.  Do you think she ever listens to anyone that tells her she's too old to dance?  Or that she might break a hip, or asks when she's gonna stop already?  No she doesn't.  She just keeps dancing.  And I bet that she thinks a lot more about dancing than about the fact that she is 100.  And that is why she continues to dance and live her best life.  In her mind she sees herself as that young beautiful dancer, and so she is.

Master Life Coach Tony Leigh says "we can only create to the edge of our self image".  The first time I heard her say this my mind was blown.  BLOWN!  Read it again, "we can only create to the edge of our self image".  So if you're walking around thinking of yourself as old, you're going to be old.  Not a complicated concept to grasp.  If you think you're looking frumpy you most likely are.

We often forget that we have the power to create through our own thoughts.  It's been proven that our subconscious believes everything we tell it, whether it's true or not.  So why not tell it the good stuff!  Pick your best age, for me it's 45, I'm 45 and holding.  That's what I think, that's what I feel, and I have made that part of my self image, and that's what keeps me young.  Let's forget aging gracefully and let's age powerfully!

If you have any doubts here's a little inspiration...

Famous French Chef Julia Child did not have her first cookbook published until she was 50.

Acclaimed novelist Toni Morrison became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature at 62.

Kittie Weston-Knauer is the oldest female BMX bike racer. At 71 she's still wining championships and has no intention slowing down.

Ray Kroc founded McDonalds at the age of 52.

Fashion Designer Vera Wang did not enter the fashion industry until she was 40. 

Claude Monnet was 73 when he started his famous water Lillie series.

American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known by her nickname Grandma Moses, and her famous painting of the same name, began painting at the age of 78.

Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing the Little House series of children’s books at 65 years old.

Charles Darwin Published the Theory of Evolution at 50 years old.

Just to name a few.😉
    



HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Hello!

I wanted to post one more time for 2022 to wish you all a beautiful holiday season and a happy & healthy 2023.  And to thank all of you that have reached out to me this year.  And for being here reading my blog, it has meant so much to me and has been such a comfort.  It is greatly appreciated! 

Also, sending warm hugs to all of you in the rest of the country on this beautiful 79 degree day here in Los Angeles.  And to all of you that are living through the bomb blizzard, don't hate me.  On the up side, you're having a white Christmas!  How beautiful all the snowy pictures look on Instagram.  We do go down to the 50's at night so I do have a fire going while I look at your snowy pictures, again, don't hate me. 

It actually started to snow on me at the outdoor mall today.  Seriously, I thought I was having a stroke 😮.  I turned to a person behind me and said "do you see that?"  It turned out to be a snow machine.  Nice fake out.  There was also a guy with a mini horse sitting outside having coffee.  I had seen him walking from a distance and thought it was a really big dog, but it was a horse!  Only in LA.  And although we don't have a White Christmas, we do get pretty festive around here, so I thought I'd share some holiday postcards of pictures I took around town.  Oh, and I'll include the horse.😊

And of course, sending slobbery kisses from my Stella.
From Our Home To Yours
Happy Holidays!