Sunday, April 13, 2008

For Lisa

So I had my eyebrows done in San Francisco by Kanako back at the beginning of August then touched them up in mid-October of last year. So here, for Lisa, are comparison photos of my eyebrows when I went back in October.

The first three pictures are right before I went in for my appointment for my retouch. I was sitting in the reception area of the office when I took these photos.

I took this one right after I came out. I walked up the street a bit and took it. Pretty dark, huh?

Three days later I was back home and took these photos. The ink was starting to exfoliate off so it looks a little messy. I didn't pluck either. Click on the photo to enlarge and you can see that a shadow has developed under where the surface ink came off.

And this is me now in mid-April. The color Kanako used was a dark brown, not black. I can probably go a little darker and may do that when I go back later this fall.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gracie Speaks

Yippee! I got to play in the rain AGAIN! Can't really see all the dirt since momma videotaped me through the screen door. She didn't want to get dirty.

This will be the third time in a row that I take a bath. Woof! Woof! Me after my shower:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Love Mika!!!

Okay, so this adorably cute little English bloke has captured my musical heart. I love his style, his uniqueness and his awesome voice. Even I can't go as falsetto as he can. His CD Life in Cartoon Motion is so much fun to sing along with, I can't wait to get his DVD. Remember, everybody's got to Love Today!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Francisco October 2007

Sunday, October 21

I was in San Fran for less than two day so I tried to make the most of it. I just LOVE it here. I took the BART to Powell and walked part of the way towards North Beach. My little rolling carryon was so heavy and the company laptop that was already cutting into my shoulder made me give up the walk and call for a taxi instead. The guy that picked me up was like a throwback to the sixties. 'Yeah, good times' was all I kept hearing all the way to my destination. Funny how quickly we arrived there when the original thought of walking made it so far.

I stayed for two nights at the Washington Square Inn in North Beach. My room was Room #1 which is the only one on the first floor. A room for the handicapped I reserved this one since the room I really wanted (Room 15 - the cheapest) was not available. I put my things away and walked around Columbus to get a bite to eat. I ended up at Cafe DeLucchi. Of all the Italian dishes I've ever eaten, my favorite is the simple dish of fresh mozarella, sliced tomato, and basil drizzled with olive oil. And that's what I had. After that I went back to my room and took a short nap.

After a few hours of sleep time I got up in time to walk up to Coit Tower right when the sun was setting. Those steps going up really gave me a great workout. Lots of people were there taking pictures too. The views, even at nightfall, were so awesome. I felt the chill of the night air coming upon us so I walked back down and picked up a pastry and coffee from Mara's before heading back to my room.

Monday, October 22

I woke up the next morning and looked out my window. It's only a few feet away from the front sidewalk so I had to close the blinds and curtain to get my privacy. The view out my window was directly across the park so it was a wonderful sight waking up to see people about doing their thing. The elderly practiced their tai chi, men were reading their papers on the bench, while others were walking their dogs. What a great way to wake up.

This is the dining area that's on the same floor. The living room area and front desk are located nearby. I think the only thing I didn't care about my room was that the floors are wood so when people came in late at night I'd wake up from their footsteps. Other than that it's a wonderful place to stay at.

Today would be a busy day for me. I had a ten o'clock appointment near Union Square then I had to pick up my rental at noon.

I walked up Union Street and took this pic. A little bit of life in the middle of the sidewalk - like a little oasis.

I headed up to Jones Street and turned left there where I passed by, then went back to, a place called Macondray Lane. When planning this segment of my California trip I made a list of some bed and breakfast places I wanted to check out for the next time I stayed there - I wanted to get a feel of the area. A potential place was on Priest Street which was on my way to downtown today. Along the way there was this nice surprise - Macondray Lane, which I later found out was the inspiration for Armistad Maupin's book called Tales of the City.

This is going down Jones Street. The bird was circling above so I thought I'd catch it doing circles but gave up after it sat on the rail for five minutes.

So my 10'clock appointment was with a tattoo artist by the name of Kanako who's a part of Venus Permanent Tattoo on Geary near Union Square. Before you start envisioning me with the words C-L-A-Y heart A-I-K-E-N straddled across my arm, Kanako does eyebrow tattooing among other things. I was just there to redeem my free touch up. Can you tell the difference between the first and last pictures?

I stopped somewhere on Bush Street, near Stockton and had a falafel pita sandwich. That was yummm!

After I was done I continued walking until I hit City Rent A Car ( ) to get my convertible British Cooper. On their website it said that the rate to rent the Cooper would be $150 for 24 hours. That doesn't even include the insurance. In the end I did end of up paying $150 total, insurance included. Sweet deal for me.

Too bad I picked up the car at noon though. It left me with no navigation system to find my way to all the potential B&Bs on my list. I made a list of the B&Bs I wanted to stay at the next time I was in SF, even listed them the order I wanted to see them. Good thing I still had my street map. Still, it was hard driving and looking for an address at the same time. Note to myself to purchase a GPS sytem.

I did cruise around for a bit. To the native San Franciscoan you'll know exactly where I went, to the other readers, well, you won't. From what I remember, leaving Bush Street I drove to the next street Pine, then onto Divisadero because I knew it would take me into Castro. I turned on 24th and drove all the way to Potrero Hill. I loved seeing this Latin district with people waiting at the bus stop and kids going to school, normalcy at it's best. I turned down some street and ended up on Cesar Chavez. The houses in this area were definitely on the poor side yet there was life there - trees, shrubbery, that kind of life. The vibe was there. Then I turned onto Mission and turned left onto Cortland. One of the places that I was going to put on my B&B list was in Bernal Heights which is where Cortland is one of the main streets there in that district. I stayed on Cortland and turned down a street and surprisingly I crossed over the street where that B&B was. Good thing I took that one off my list. After making a turn onto another street I was on Crescent Avenue. I turned back onto Mission and found myself driving over the freeway. Mission Street is a wide street at that point and traffic's not at all busy. I think I was entering the Excelsior district so at the Silver Avenue intersection I made a U-ie and went back. I wanted to drive further but without a GPS I didn't want to really get lost. At that Silver Avenue intersection there were alot of people waiting at this one bus stop. Probably people heading to Visitacion Valley but that's just my guess.

So while back on Mission I turned left somewhere. I wanted to get to Diamond Heights Blvd because another place, that I ended up taking off my list, was there. I slowed down on a street and asked a guy where I was and he said Glen Park. So I was on Monterey Blvd and noticed that that area was pretty dull. That section of Monterey, I just didn't care for. Looking beyond over to my left I must have been looking out at Daly City and I noticed how the houses on the hillside looked so tractlike and unattractive, even from that far away. One day I'll take a drive there though, when I have a GPS.

I continued my drive on this lifeless part of Monterey realizing I would probably not see Diamond Heights. The street starting getting some life and the houses were looking nice. There were beautiful homes that were not connected to another like in the city and they had their own yards. I must have been in St. Francis Wood. San Aleso Ave, San Adreas Way, San Anselmo Ave, all very pretty. I found myself on Portola, then I crossed over a street that had all of these trains. I think this was the West Portal MUNI station because of the arches of metal sheet.

I turned onto Ulloa and headed straight to the Pacific Ocean. Not until I was near the end did I realize that these were the streets that went alphabetically. So after right onto the Great Highway I drove until I reached Judah, turned onto it and headed back to the city. I did notice in this Inner, Middle and Outer Sunset area that the further I headed to the beach the more desolate the houses looked. I could've sworn that I was starting to see tumbleweed crossing my path. Coming back on Judah nearing 6th Ave I started seeing life again. There was more activity, I started seeing restaurants and little stores, more cars on the road, and I saw people at the UCSF Medical Center. Judah and 6th was another location of a B&B that was on my list, as well as one on Woodlawn Ave that was on the other side of the Medical Center. I knew I was near Haight Street so I turned onto Stanyan then back around and back up Haight Street where I parked above Masonic.

I spent a few hours going through the little shops. Had lunch at a forgettable place, the food was just so-so. I only remember that you had to pay a dollar to use the bathroom if you weren't a customer there. I found their bathroom and the one at El Balazo (where I ate when I was there in August) to be disgusting. Is there no clean restroom along Haight? After a few hours of constantly feeding the meter I headed back to the inn.

But not before I drove up Lombard and down the other side of the hill which is known as the crookedest street in the _______ (fill it in, various nouns have been used here). I never really cared to drive down Lombard but since it was on my way back I thought 'what the heck'. I was the only one on those curves so I was able to stop and take pictures. I kinda felt like I was participating in a parade with people on the sides and down below waiting. I finally got to the bottom and looked for the parking garage the inn told me to park at. I saw the sign and drove down this dark area. I thought, 'geez, if I'm murdered no one will find me'. After ridding that morbid thought out of my head I walked up to the next driveway where it was brightly lit and found out that I was supposed to go there instead of that first entrance. I gave my key to the guy and he moved the car up to the correct level for me.

Walking to the inn the afternoon sun was brilliant and gorgeous and the activity in Washington Square Park was buzzin'. The elderly were doing a little line dancing for exercise, dogs were chasing frisbees, and people were either sitting on the benches or laying on the grass eating, reading, talking or just relaxing. I loved this!

But I was tired so I went back to my room and took a nap.

*Note #2: also purchase a video with an attachment I can secure to my head so I can video the places I drive through.

I watched this other group doing a little country dancing.

Well, the summit turned out okay. Two full days of learning, eating, learning, eating and learning. Now I just have to apply what I learned back at the office. C.A.N.N.O.T. W.A.I.T.!

Okay, so my flight to San Diego reminded me of why I don't like flying for longer than an hour. I'm not afraid of the take off and landing or the turbulence. It's those damn crampy seats. They're so miserable on my neck. Then taking a tiny little commuter was just hilarious. One of those times when I feel like giant.