Archive for california

Voting in the news

Me voting, in particular. One of our neighbors was on the New York Times website and found a picture of us standing in line to vote at The Wash Place. I didn’t think to take pictures, but somebody else did! I’m looking down at a little dog named Benito Juarez.

Get out and vote!

I just got back from voting at The Wash Place, our local laundromat/polling place. I actually voted for a Presidential candidate who wasn’t a white guy! Wow!

Everybody has been talking about the lines. The polls opened at 7 a.m. and we arrived about 6:50 a.m.; there was a line but it was still relatively short. Within 10 minutes, though, it was out the door, and was still out the door when I left at about 8:30.

San Francisco has the longest ballot in the country, with 12 state propositions and 22 city/county props. We also voted for a bunch of offices, including district supervisor and school board. I didn’t vote early because I wasn’t totally prepared yet — we were still making calls this morning to get input on local candidates. But I think I made good decisions all around.

The lines were longer than normal — I don’t think I’ve ever had even one person standing in front of me to vote at The Wash Place — but there was a nice feeling of community in the line. People were chatting, sharing cheat sheets, talking about the neighborhood. Somebody went out and bought a big box of donuts for voters. We met four of our neighbors we hadn’t ever talked to before. They knew the bassets, but not us.

So, if you haven’t done it yet, go out and vote! In California, it’s critical to vote no on Proposition 8 (that’s the equal marriage ban) and Proposition 4 (that’s the one that would allow parents to sue doctors who perform abortions and thus limit access to women’s health care). Don’t hesitate; buy a box of donuts, go talk to your neighbors, and vote.

Catching up

Ellen and Kyre’s Wedding

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I guess because this has been a really busy few weeks. In the last few weeks we’ve traveled out of town two weekend in a row, had lovely house guests, sold a scooter and bought a new one, and both of us have had changes to our jobs. There’s just been a tremendous amount of stuff going on.

But now I’m back on track and posting again. And I realize the thing I really should have posted here are that our (legal) wedding pictures are up on Flickr. Many thanks to Xande, who did a such a great job.

New wedding videos

We got some comments that the video on YouTube was kind of hard to hear, so I’ve switched to Vimeo, which has much better video and sound quality. So, now, if you want to see the wedding, you should click here.

Also, if you’re really dedicated, you can watch our secondary wedding video, in which we wander around the courthouse, fill out paperwork and have some toasts. Get to that video by clicking here.

We’ll be posting pictures soon as well.

A note for blog geeks: The problem with Vimeo is that while I can embed the player in my blog like I can do with YouTube, the player is huge and goes over the edge of my neat little little columns. And I can’t size it down. So, for now, all I’m adding is the links.

In A Fog

Twin Peaks Observation Platform

The picture you see here was taken a week ago Sunday, on Twin Peaks, home to some of the most beautiful views of the city … as long as there’s no fog. Last Sunday, boy howdy, there was fog. This was about lunchtime, and the fog never really did burn off that day.

As I write this, I’m sure the view from Twin Peaks is similarly obscured. On clear day, I can see Mount Sutro and Twin Peaks from out of my dining room window. Right now I can’t really see past Castro Street.

This is the weather that everybody talks about when they repeat the “coldest-winter-is-summer-in-San-Francisco” saying. And while I don’t miss the Texas heat I see all my pals complaining about on Twitter and Facebook, I can’t say I’m in love with these foggy damp days with highs in the 50s in August.

This weekend, Saturday was beautiful and clear from the first thing in the morning. It was actually hot, and I went out in a t-shirt and didn’t bring a jacket. It was awesome. But, as I’m learning, a clear hot day is a predictor that the next will be foggy. It’s all due to a tidal patterns, the Coriolis Effect and other geographical and meteorological anomalies. A bit hard to wrap one’s mind around, especially when one’s mind is wrapped up in fog.

In a way, it’s charming, yes. But I have to admit I’m looking forward to September and October, when San Francisco traditionally gets a few days of summer. In the meantime, I’ll have to just think sunny thoughts.

Of course, as I complain, I am thinking of all of you down there in the path of Edouard. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for low winds, no flooding, and no twisters.

My Birthday Weekend

Damn, if I only had a PSP!

For my birthday, K. took me to on a surprise trip to Guerneville, to a lovely new little place there called the Boon Hotel. It was really a wonderful relaxing weekend. We’ve been there before — our honeymoon was in the same area, the Russian River Valley, and the place we stayed then was a vacation rental house in the neighboring town of Monte Rio. And we’ve been back since, taking visitors, since it’s only about an hour and a half away, there’s some good restaurants and wineries on the way. Guerneville is home to Armstrong Woods State Park, which is a great place to see redwoods if you’re not interested in fighting the crowds at Muir Woods.

So, it’s a place we were familiar with, and sometimes it’s really nice to go someplace familiar where there’s less pressure to explore and you feel totally at ease just sitting by the pool. And, although not all the dining options in Guerneville are perfect, we already have some places in there we like to eat, too: Andorno’s, a pizza place that has an great seafood salad and a little French bread pizza thing called a “Garden Loaf;” and Pat’s, a diner where we can get really yummy diner-style sandwiches and soda-fountain treats like this:

Happy Birthday to me!

Three Fridays

Swearing that we’re telling the truth

Last Friday was the Fourth of July, and we climbed up Bernal Hill with a few beers and our folding chairs to see the city fireworks show. It’s supposed to be one of the best places in the city to watch fireworks, according this story from last year, in which our hounds Tex and Haylee were specifically mentioned.

However, this year was not such a great year for watching fireworks from Bernal Hill, because of that famous San Francisco fog. From our vista, we couldn’t even see a faint glow of of the city fireworks show through the fogginess, although the illegal ones spouting up in the Mission were numerous and pretty exciting. We went back home and watched the news to see if the official fireworks show even happened, and saw instead panicked news reports about huge displays of illegal fireworks all over the city.

For those of you reading this back in Texas and Oklahoma, you might enjoy reading about what I wore to our July 4 fireworks viewing: a wool hat, gloves, a scarf, a down vest, a hoodie, a long-sleeved shirt, and, yes, Smartwool long underwear, both the top and bottoms. That kept me pretty comfortable, but I was still a little chilly after an hour or so.

The Friday before, we picked up our marriage license. K.’s mom just happened to be in town, so we thought it would be fun to take her with us on this errand. We didn’t think about the day really at all when we scheduled our appointment, but as it turned out, it was the Friday of Gay Pride weekend, and an extremely popular day to get married. There were 280 weddings in City Hall that day, and then other folks like us just coming in to pick up licenses. The city was ready for an influx and had volunteers from all sorts city offices there to help make the process smooth. And it worked. In fact, we never even waited in a line.

The vibe in City Hall was awesome, celebratory, and fun. Full of love, I’d even say. The volunteers that helped us were beyond friendly — everyone was jubilant and thrilled to be there. Every now and then a huge cheer would go up from across the room, and when I asked what the cheering was about, a woman working there told me it was the table where people could come to get an official copy of their marriage certificate after their ceremony. It was apparently the least exciting part of the process, so the volunteers there had decided to cheer every time they handed a copy over to make it more exciting. It was really sweet. Here are our pictures from this!

This coming Friday — which I guess is tomorrow — is my birthday. It’s the beginning of the end of my 30s, but I hear that 50 is the new 30, so that must make 40 the new 20, and me an angsty teen. I hear there are surprises in store for my birthday. I’ve already gotten some really nice stuff!

Oyster adventures north of city

a successfully shucked oyster

This weekend we went to Tomales Bay to eat oysters for K.’s birthday. This was a little intimidating, as I was concerned about the shucking process — Would we be able to eat any oysters at all, or would we just end up tossing ours back into the bay in frustration? — and that perhaps I would be a bit squeamish about the whole situation.

As it turned out, with a little practice, shucking oysters isn’t that hard, and, mostly, I wasn’t squeamish, although I did mention to K. that this was as close to hunting as I’d ever come. But the whole thing turned out great. In fact, I’d say that this was one of our best daytrips yet.

We hung out at Tomales Bay Oyster Company, which we’d heard got pretty hoppin’ with with families picnicking in the afternoons. And it was crowded, but we found table right away and set up shop. And, in a nutshell (or make that an oyster shell), it was awesome. Here are the pictures.

I’d also be willing to try Drake’s Farms Oysters, which we visited, as long as we took the oysters to a better picnicking spot. We like the idea of going to Hearts of Desire beach or the Vista Point picnic area in Tomales Bay State Park, too, so maybe that’s what we’ll try next time if we want a bit quieter dining experience.

On the topic of marriage

So, last week I mentioned that we paid for our marriage license. We have an appointment to pick it up next week, and intend to “solemnize” it sometime later this summer. But let me reframe this a little: We are not getting married for the first time, nor are we having another wedding. We’ve already had our wedding, and we’ve been married for a while now. We have pictures and paperwork to prove it. Here’s a picture right here:

and another:

However, we have decided to register our marriage with the state of California, and we’ll have a civil ceremony of some sort to make it official.

When it was announced last month that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in California, neither K. and I were very excited. Of course, there was also the announcement that right-wing groups were already well on their way to getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would ban equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and it just seemed like another chance to be disappointed and frustrated. We didn’t go out and party in the Castro the night it was announced, and we didn’t plan on getting ourselves a marriage license.

I know we’re not the only ones who weren’t particularly over the moon about this. There was a great story in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle profiling people who got married last time San Francisco had weddings, in 2004. Here’s a quote from that story, talking about a couple that has been together for 32 years:

“Here we go again,” was C.C. Manning’s first thought watching TV news reports about the state Supreme Court’s May 15 ruling granting gay and lesbian couples the right to wed.

Her response wasn’t cynical so much as weary. … “After a while, it becomes just so much bull-, pardon me,” she said. “You get tired of being rejected so many times. How long will these religious groups not want to share their happiness with other people? What have we done to destroy the religious feelings these people have? A lot of these homosexuals are Catholics, they go to movies, go out to dinner, go to lunch have friends…”

“… they volunteer in their communities,” Strugnell [her partner] interjected. “We do all the things that everyone else does. We want the same happiness everyone else does.”

Anyhow, you can read the story and get the picture. This sort of thing gets tiring.

Nonetheless, after hearing from our friend L., a lawyer who pointed out that the legal decision was very important, in that it forces any discrimination by the state on the basis of sexual orientation to be subject to “strict scrutiny” by the courts; and that it was unusual in its many references to diginity and respect, we did take heart. We also know now that marriages performed before the November elections will probably not be nullified even if an anti-equality amendment passes; and that these marriages will also be recognized in New York state; and that polls are now showing that more than 50 percent of California voters are actually in favor of marriage equality.

So, basically, we’ve decided to allow a bit of cautious optimism to seep in and participate in this historic movement by getting legally married in California.

The weddings start today in San Francisco at 5:01 p.m., the earliest time the law allows. The first people to be married legally will be the first people who were in line in 2004, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, activists who have been together for 55 years. And you don’t call that a marriage?

Rockin’ the Suburbs

Target’s cart escalator

This weekend we went to Target; it’s been about six months since our last visit, which was in Texas. It was kind of a big deal, since we don’t have a car and there’s no Target in San Francisco, and renting a car to go to Target sort of screws with that big discount feeling you want to get when you shop there. So, we took a lovely walk to Glen Park, boarded the BART to the San Bruno station, and visited the Shops at Tanforan.

Tanforan was once a famous racetrack where Seabiscuit was stabled for a while — I read there was a statue of Seabiscuit somewhere, but I didn’t see it — and was later a WWII Japanese internment camp (no statue for that). Now it’s a down-market mall with a Target as the anchor, just inches away from a BART station. It’s also the home of a BJ’s Brewhouse restaurant, which is like a chain microbrewery restaurant, if such a thing can exist. I had a very nice beer and a bowl of chili there, and I think our experience was significantly better than if we had dined at the food court.

Since we’d gone to all the trouble to go south for Target, we decided we’d also check out the Daly City Century Theaters, so we boarded BART again and headed north. The Daly City stop has an underground pedestrian tunnel that leads to small BART parking lot near the theater garage, so it’s a pretty straight shot to the theater on foot. We saw The Other Boleyn Girl. All in all, it was a trouble-free car-free day of suburban exploration.

On Sunday night, went to the Meatpaper #3 launch party. I ate the marrow out of a roasted buffalo bone, along with other meaty treats. Funny, we got a car and drove to that event.