A few times this month I’ve gotten these broad invitations to what seem like they should be personal parties but that are during work.

And I’m all for parties and honestly I like getting out of work as much as the next girl.

But at some point I thought it was appropriate to stop and think about the right and wrong of going to a retirement party for someone to whom I have never been introduced.  I could have gone under the heading of “we all work in the same office” but that felt wrong.  So I didn’t go.

I’m blaming it on this book.

Emily Post… that woman knew how to handle herself.  No matter what the situation.

That’s a skill that is worth developing.

I can tell it’s going to take me a lot of time to get any good at it but I think I’m going to give it a try.

night

night fires

January 22, 2012

I was invited to a beach bonfire on Saturday by a dear friend at work.

I haven’t been to Ocean Beach in YEARS.  If you don’t count trips to the zoo then the last time I went to Ocean Beach… it was for Jeff’s Memorial.  Donuts, champagne and goodbyes.

This was not about goodbyes.  It was a party with someone else’s family.  There’s something fantastic about a party where you only know one person.  It’s so open to interpretation.  The only downside is that Jim’s wife Carol wasn’t there.  I so wanted to meet her… maybe next time.  Momma Collins invited me back for next year!

After I walked down to the beach and said another goodbye to Jeff, I hung out with Jim and was introduced to all kinds of awesome people, family and otherwise.  One of Jim’s brothers brews beer and soda.  I tried his root beer and ginger beer.  I must admit.  He’s good!

For dinner there was cioppino.  And seriously… words cannot describe how amazing this seafood stew was.  I want more.  I want it now.  You should be jealous of the mere IDEA of this cioppino.

But I must say the coolest thing was the fire.  And that’s not just the pyromaniac that lives inside by juvenile heart of hearts.

It’s been so long since I’ve had the chance to sit in front of an open fire.

The warmth, the crackle, the light.  It was amazing.  And I enjoyed every single second of it.

But then there was the extra added, vaguely, not exactly legal bonus of this…

It is illegal to burn a Christmas tree.  I’m not exactly sure why but I think it has something to do with the sparks.  Anyway you look at it, burning Christmas trees are insanely cool.  And maybe even more so when they don’t act like a torch like you want them too.

I’ve got to get out to the beach more often.  I love it there.  And it’s so beautiful.

Note to self… more trips to Ocean Beach in the new year.

Gung Hay Fat Choy

I walked to El Cerrito today.  When I woke up I just thought it would be a good thing to walk instead of taking BART or a bus.

When I first left the apartment I noticed the clouds and the moisture in the air.  It was the feeling you get before it might rain.  (It didn’t rain but the feeling of hope in the possibility of rain was so perfect that it made the start of the day feel so fresh.)

On my way up Shattuck I saw a sign in a window…

I thought it was a great sign.  I took a picture and I continued on my way.

Then, as I walked through the Northbrae Tunnel, I began to see things in a different way.  It was as though I was seeing scenes from a story.  But no story I knew.  Maybe as story I will write.  Or perhaps one that will only ever exist in my head.  Or even a story that lives only for today and tomorrow it is gone forever like a dream you can’t hold on to.  But I was seeing the places that inspired the story from every angle.

Since I had my camera I took pictures.  That is no guarantee of a story.

But here are some of the photographs.

I’m telling you… there’s a story in there.  I just have to write it down.

night

I’m not sure why but I got the idea in my head that I needed to go to the fabric stores of San Francisco … well the fabric stores that aren’t Britex because I know Britex and I am not prepared for that price point in silk and wool at this time.

I did a little research and came up with 2 shops in the Mission District and 2 on Clement Street.  There’s a Discount Fabrics in San Francisco but I’ve got one on my side of the bay so I skipped that.

Starting in the Mission I went to Fabric Outlet, which was very fun and lovely.  I got 4 cones of black thread for my wondrous new serger.  I didn’t get any fabric because honestly between Discount Fabric on San Pablo and Stone Mountain and Daughter there wasn’t anything I felt I needed to drag home.  Then I walked over to Sal Beressi Fabrics.  Great place but I didn’t find anything I absolutely had to have.  I have enough upholstery fabrics, thank you very much.

While there I did get a chance to really look at and think about the idea I had about sewing actual cowhide and I now know that there is no way my machine could handle the thickness involved.  Good thing I didn’t spend $250 on one.

I saw this lovely piece of street art on my way back to Mission Street.

Back on Mission I picked up the 33 and headed to Clement Street.  While winding up and over the city I was struck again by two very strong feelings.  One that San Francisco is TRULY stunning and two I have no desire to ever live there.  Give me my nice little town and gown suburb any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Fabrix on Clement was an experience.  Bolts of fabric tucked everywhere with only the vaguest of signs.  Great prices on grab bag baskets of zippers.  A small shop, chock-a-block with a little of this and a little of that.  Great prices but hard to find anything if you were looking for something specific.  I did get three different fabrics – one poly satin in green with brown animal print, a deco patterned silver fabric, and a vanilla ice cream colored textured knit.  What got me was the fact that the woman doing the measuring let every piece of fabric drop to the floor.  Two of these fabrics aren’t going to be washed because I don’t think they could take it.  But I consider them dirty because of the way the shop handled them.  That leaves enough of a sour in my mouth that I will not be back.

Finally I wandered into Satin Moon.  It’s a lovely if expensive little jewel box of a fabric store.  The fabrics are lovely and cost true market price which is a bit hard when you’ve been shopping on the discount floor.  But I did walk out with a lovely Vogue Pattern from the sale pile.  I paid more for this one pattern than I’ve bad for any other pattern.  It’s a little daunting but look at the funnel neck on that jacket.

All in all it was a great adventure and I’m glad I did it.  But in the end the thing I learned is that I don’t need to cross the bay to do my fabric shopping.  I have the best fabric stores for me right in my own backyard.  Thank goodness.

And with that I will bid you goodnight.  See you next week.