Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, January 23, 2014

San Francisco Nights - When I Could Stay Awake

It's been so hard to sit down and write anything lately.  Life is going by at a breakneck pace.  Wasn't it just Christmas?  And now January is almost over.  In my family February heralds in the birthday season, starting with Rex and Ronna, and the whole year rushes by from there.

This month has been a blur.  I just got back from a week in San Francisco.  We stayed at the Palace Hotel, a beautiful old hotel that had a spectacular lobby and dining room.  Absolutely gorgeous.

But before you get all excited, it was for work.  Meh...  On the 15th it was our anniversary (our 14th!),  and when this business trip came up, we thought "How great - we'll both go, and have a good time in the city after the work day to celebrate!"  My friends, when your day starts at 5am because you have to be down and ready to roll by 6am, there is very little energy left at the end of the work day.  I did pretty well.  I was up and going every day - ready for those little cardiology fellows who were attending our conference.  It was fun to interact with them, and observe which ones were going to be the great doctors that were beloved by their patients, and which ones would do better as lab rats.  We found we loved (almost) all of them for various reasons.  On the last half day of the program, the Big Snowstorm hit the northeast part of the country, and we were scrambling trying to secure new flights home for dozens of stranded doctors who'd just had their flights cancelled.  New flights, extending their hotel rooms, reassuring them that our company would pay for all of it.  It was an exhausting morning and never was I so happy to realize that I only had a short 1 hour flight home to good old John Wayne airport. 

While in San Francisco, I was finished with work every day around 4pm.  I'd originally thought that L and I would tramp around the city, seeing sights and drinking in the San Francisco culture.  In reality, I limped upstairs to our room and took a deep, snoring 1 hour nap every afternoon before dinner.  I couldn't believe how tired I was!  Once awake, we'd set off in one direction or another and find the restaurant that L had found on Yelp for us to try out.  One night it was a small Italian restaurant, with only about 10 tables in the whole place.  Their specialty was pizza - and it was delicious - but I fell in love with their spaghetti and meatballs too.  Another night it was a great little burger joint that also had sweet potato fries.  We shared a small table space with an older woman (yes, even older than me!) who had come in by herself.  We ordered room service in one night when I couldn't crawl any further than our room.  That was a treat - French onion soup, truffled fries (I thought I had died and gone to heaven) and chicken wings.  In truth, it was a little too much of a treat, but we won't go there...  We did tropical Mexican another night.  That was the night the 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks.  And lost.  Never was there a more quiet and subdued bar.  But the food rocked.

My favorite night of all, however, was the night that our friends Sue and Dave drove into the city and took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant in North Beach.  Pinocchio's.  The kind of beautiful Italian food you dream about - well I do anyway...  Good company and good food - you can't beat that. 

And that was the week.  It was fun to be away (when I wasn't working) but there's no place like home after several days away.  Good to get back into my nice comfy little rut again.  Working in the mornings to the sound of talk radio, and then rocking out in the afternoon to my iTunes collection.  Taking a shower whenever I can fit it in.  It's been a blessing to not have to put on makeup for a few days.  My skin is thankful.  My lazy self is thankful.

So what's next?  Well, on Valentine's weekend we'll be off again for a weekend in Santa Barbara.  My nephew Tom is getting married there and its... black tie.  Seriously.  Who has a black tie wedding?  No one in my circle, certainly.  Not until now.  I've been pulling my hair out looking for a dress that I wouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg for.  I found a beautiful one at Anthropologie, and it was perfect.  It was a short dress, but I didn't care.  It was one I could wear again and it was fancy enough. 

I saw it just as we left for San Francisco, and I thought I'd order it when I got back.  And when I got back... it was sold out.  So disappointed, but I reset my sights and continued the search.   So then I found a pretty ivory lacy top that I thought I could pair with a green silk skirt that I already had.  I looked at it in the morning, and thought I'd order it right after I finished work. 

And - you guessed it - it sold out.  It was all I could do to keep from cursing like a sailor.  I mean, what are the odds?  Is everyone going to this wedding?  I was not good company the rest of the night.  Clearly, I need to shop a little faster.

Today I was working away and wondering where I was going to look next, and thinking maybe I would just not have to go to the wedding (actually a more attractive thought than I cared to admit) and I suddenly remembered: the black formal dress I'd bought about 6 years ago to attend a black tie event for the American Heart Association in Las Vegas.  At the time I was stuffed like a sausage into it and I didn't like how I looked in it at all.  So it's been hidden in the nether regions of my closet so the memories wouldn't keep coming to the surface.  But, 30 pounds lighter, I tried it on and hey now... it actually fits me right and it looks nice!  Nice enough that I don't want to look for another one.  Paired with a cute little pair of jeweled black velvet kitten heels that I've owned forwever, all I need is a killer pair of earrings.  L was so relieved he didn't have to shell out for a new dress, that he practically begged me to let him buy me a pair or earrings.  Done and done!

So the week that started with wardrobe angst has ended with a peaceful smile.  I know I shouldn't let things like that get to me, but I get hobo anxiethy when I know I'm going to be surrounded by beautiful people.  And the bride's family are all beautiful people.  Like model beautiful.  Tall, blonde, beautiful models.  It's what nightmares are made of in my head.  But I shall hold my little dark haired head up, because on that occasion it will be decorated with killer earrings.


  1. I have always wanted to visit San Francisco someday. It's on my domestic travel Bucket List!

  2. Oh, what an amazing trip to San Francisco! That place looks like a dream. And so glad you are having a peaceful smile now. You are beautiful, too!

  3. I've been wondering where you've been.

    Getting a dress for a wedding is the most stressful shopping there is. Glad you got to avoid most of it.

  4. The last time I had a work related trip we went to Washington DC. It was so fun but all I had to do was show up for classes. I was done by 2 so we had plenty of time for play! I think a trip to San Francisco would be awesome, but you had to work too hard for your trip! I'm glad you're home safe and sound. I think it's so wonderful that all the hard work you did to lose that weight had a nice surprise for you. Enjoy the wedding and the earrings!

  5. It's not easy to walk in San Francisco or the surrounding area. When The Hurricane showed me the Berkeley campus, we walked uphill for miles. Then we turned around to walk out the way we came. It should have been downhill, right? But no, it had somehow become uphill again. Amazing!


  6. Wow! That hotel looks fabulous! I had to laugh about your correct assessment of doctors.
    The wedding will be fun and you'll look wonderful no matter what you wear. You're so cute! But 30 lbs...neat! The new earrings will be just perfect.

  7. Strobe lights beam creates dreams
    Walls move...minds do too
    On a warm San Franciscan night
    Old child young child feel alright
    On a warm San Franciscan night

    Hi, karen! It was fun reading about your working holiday in Frisco.


    * Did you see any of them-there hippies?
    * Did you go to any of them-there love-ins?
    * Did you smoke any of them-there banana peels? :)

    All those nice restaurants and all that delicious Italian and Mexican food - I'm sure you returned to the O.C. having lost another 5 pounds! :)

    Next came the hunt for a dress to wear to the upcoming black tie wedding. There were moments of disappointment and frustration, but suddenly you remembered a black dress hidden away in your closet. Lo and behold it fit perfectly thanks to your recent weight loss initiatives. This is what I admire about you, dear friend. In the end you always land on your feet. You make your own good luck because you stay on top of your game, thoroughly prepared, thinking ahead, planning, organizing, meeting challenges head on. These are the habits of champions.

    “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” - Seneca

  8. Don't know why they made you start so early every morning, but I'm sure glad we got to see you. It was such a good time, and yes, the food was yummy!

    So glad you found a dress, and it makes it even better that it used to be too small. Hurray! (You will give those tall, blond model-types a run for their money!!)


  9. It's really tough to mix work & vacationing together, isn't it? You gotta have a lot of stamina to pull that off. . .There truly is "nowhere like home"...I'd love to see photos when you go to the Black tie wedding. I've never been to one that fancy.


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