Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sacramento - Beth's Shrug-Worthy Day Trip

One of my favorite activities that I don't do too often is just to get in the car and drive aimlessly for a few hours and see where I end up. Some of my most memorable trips have come that way - the first time I saw Portland, for example, or the time I randomly drove to Vancouver after a particularly traumatizing job interview experience.

So last weekend I got the bee in my bonnet to see Sacramento. I had never been there. Didn't know what to expect. Unfortunately I did absolutely no research beforehand, couldn't tell you what's there (besides the Governator) or what the city is known for. I just drove there on a whim.

So. Yeah. It's actually a short drive from San Francisco - just about 80 minutes. Surprisingly it's a pretty rural drive too, with a few strip malls along the way. Shrug. I drove around for a little while once I got there, curiously avoiding the downtown area which I expect is where the capital is. I got on I-5 while I was there and felt a little closer to home knowing that Seattle was literally just up that very road several hundreds of miles. Then I headed home. I would not categorize it as a life-changing trip, but it did feel good to get out and drive for a long while and sing along to cheesy songs on the radio.

So....huh. Any guidance or advice on Sacramento? Anyone been there and fallen in love with it? Did I miss something obvious there that would have tranformed my very core? As an aside, I'm trying to focus more on weekend roadtrip adventures, so if you have recommendations, send 'em my way too.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All the world's a parade....but outside my front door?

Okay, so I realize this isn't exactly breaking news, but I feel compelled to share a totally ridiculous story from Beth's Insane Neighborhood.

(Quick aside to remind Loyal Readers that while I like to say I live in "North Beach" the reality is that I live just one block from San Francisco's Pier 39, which is the biggest, noisest tourist trap in the City. Tour buses, drunk vacationing frat boys, fanny packs, rental cars and lost German tourists consulting folded maps are all part of my daily life.)

So there I am, in my apartment, on a weekend. I putter away all Saturday in the house...Sunday comes along and I decide to get out of the apartment, if only to run a few errands and see the world. Plus the traffic and noise outside is incredibly loud, even more so than normal. The noise is a strange combination of motorcycles, tour buses, techno music, shouting and horses trotting by. Horses? Seriously?

I get dressed and head out my front door. And immediately find that only ten feet from my front door is Ground Zero of the North Beach Italian Heritage Parade, which consists of floats, marching bands, Italian flag-decorated fire trucks, ladies in hot pants, cars shaped like bowls of spaghetti, representatives of the Boudin bakery walking alligator-shaped loaves of bread on leashes....you name it and it was sitting right in front of my apartment building ready to head up Columbus Avenue. For those who know it, Caeser's restaurant near my place looked like a pinata had exploded on it from all of the balloons and streamers and festivities taking place on its front steps.

It's very surreal to come across a parade completely unawares, and stranger still to have one just sneak up on your neighborhood and your apartment building like that. Parades are by nature kind of ridiculous and they're downright trippy when they come out of the blue. One certainly doesn't expect the U.S. Marine Corp. marching band to be outside their front door, does one? Here I thought I could just easily sneak off to Bed Bath and Beyond on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but that quickly proved impossible when the Columbus Salami Company truck rolled by with patrons throwing hard candy at my head. Was there a memo somewhere that I missed? I feel like this happened last year too which makes me feel especially clueless.

Ultimately I ended up sticking around the neighborhood - walking around sort of aimlessly while I tried to get my head around all of the stimuli around me. Costumed versions of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella...local government representatives waving at crowds...baton-throwing junior high girls....all right there in one giant Columbus Day celebratory par-tay. Who knew?

At home, I have a framed postcard right near my front door that reminds me that "76.2% percent of people leave their house every day." Frankly after my parade trauma, I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beth Returns (Once Again) to the Blogosphere!

Alright kids, so it's been two months. I get it. I know I should post more often, but frankly it's been rather slow and non-post-worthy in the World of Beth, so material's been lacking. Plus frankly my non-Millenial, social media-challenged brain is struggling to keep up with the constant stream of updates needed to keep up on Facebook, Twitter, email and the blog. A girl can only update so much, you know.

Still, now that I've been away from it for a while, I'm realizing that even I have begun to miss the blog. I miss hearing from people and using this as a way to keep the world up on my lame adventures and updates. Part of the challenge living in this city is feeling so very far away from everyone I know and love, and there's a simple way to fix that - it's call reaching out. Connecting. Creating a dialogue. Mocking things in a public online forum You know, the basics.

Snaps and shouts out to those loyal readers who keep checking back in on this and encouraging me to write. Stay tuned for more adventures....