the place where i live

i have discovered some of my new favourite spots in the bay the past couple of weeks.

i did not take these pictures (except for an obvious few). i have been trying to see things completely through my own eyeballs rather than through a camera lens. also, i am kind of amazed at how i can’t find really good pictures on google. so imagine these places about 5x cooler than what you see.

here’s what i have to share - some very neat places in space and some wonderful places in time…

-i had a decision to make last week and i needed a good place to think, so i decided to go check out the wave organ at the marina just as the sun had set. there is a spit of land that extends out from the yacht clubs and at the end there is a fascinating structure – someone has engineered pipes in a way that the waves of the bay make music. apparently the best time for listening is at high tide, so when i went i couldn’t hear much, but it was worth going just for the ambiance and the views – the city glimmering on one side, the bay sweeping from pier 39 to alcatraz to the golden gate bridge on the other. it was so cold that night as i sat on a rock and soaked up the glorious sights. i felt alive, human, real, somehow aware of all my cells.


-i have happened upon lafayette park in pacific heights a time or two, and i love the views it offers down san francisco’s long, hilly avenues and over victorian homes to the bay. {no sufficient google images. trust me. it’s fantastic.}

-a sunny, chilly, sparkling afternoon stroll around lake merritt with jospehine last saturday made me have a little crush on oakland. i love the gothic-looking lampposts with copper-colored glass and the strings of big bulb twinkle lights along the path that lines the water. downtown oakland reflects all squiggly in the lake, and everything’s a bit quiet but also a bit electric.

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-on sunday mornings i like to take a walk to mt. davidson park. it is a very uphill walk. but the view when i’ve arrived makes some sort of triumph and thrill run through my veins. i think the vista is just as spectacular, if not more, than the one from twin peaks, but at mt. davidson there are no tourists and it’s as if the whole city and bay sprawled out in front of me is actually just mine.


-i spent a saturday afternoon exploring a super neat special exhibit at the legion of honor museum with ellen and josephine. there is something so perfect about how that building is perched on a hill overlooking both the city and the bridge and about how it feels like you’re in france while you stroll through the courtyard and the galleries. the exhibit was ridiculously beautiful dresses reminiscent of fashion through the centuries (among other things) made entirely out of paper. quite flabbergasting, actually. other places i simply must mention from this delightful saturday are: 1. little skillet, which is a soul food joint in a tiny, random alley in soma where we ate fried chicken and waffles with kiwi lemonade on a cement landing across the street from the hole-in-a-wall restaurant, and 2. the pier at crissy field where sat in the salty air gazing across the bay and toward the ggb and saw wild sea lions right under our dangling feet!


-after tiring a bit of my running route along the beach, i’ve been trying to pick a different neighborhood nearly every day to run through. the other evening it was nob/russian hill. i loved hearing the sound of the mechanics of cable cars buzzing under the tracks, peeking in at different combinations of people having dinner in restaurant windows, seeing bellmen sitting at their desks in outrageously pretty lobbies, catching wafting smells from bakeries, coffee shops, and ethnic restaurants, gasping at stunning views down hills flashing into sight at intersections, passing people walking home from work talking on their cell phones, pounding into the ground of san francisco at every step. the sky turned indigo and it got dark. i got a little lost. and i loved that.


-last friday i felt like having a date with myself. i took myself out to dinner and people watched and read my book, and then i explored the palace of fine arts. i’ve been by many a times, but i’ve never really walked all the way around and through, and i’d never been there at nighttime. the structure is magnificent and majestic all lit up, and no one is around. it’s like a sacred little spot of light on the face of the earth. i made my voice echo under the dome, was startled by the swans gliding in the moonlight, and i climbed up onto the side of a facade and let the cold air tickle.


-yesterday i was fabric shopping in the mission with kelsey and krystle, and we happened upon clarion alley, which is a little side street between mission and valencia plastered, every inch, in fantastic street art. i had seen a corner of the valencia side before, but never walked all the way through. it is outrageously awesome. i love the super bright hues (especially the teal on brown shingles), the geometric designs, the weirdly inspiring quotes, the feeling of wild expression and color. and also i just love the mission in general – walking around friday night and yesterday morning filled me up with loud and strangely beautiful culture. the mission is so alive.


so – did you notice that most of these places seem really romantical? i did. from time to time i muse over the thought that i would make a really good boy. seriously. i would be awesome at sweeping girls off their feet. i wouldn’t mind turning the wonder of these spots into a bit more romantic woo…

all these golden places and golden slices of time are keeping me going. i have a lot to be happy about, and so, amidst a time in life that sometimes seems so hard and a gleaming heart that sometimes seems so heavy, i am happy. because after all, "knowing what [i] know and living as [i] am supposed to live, [i] really have no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair" (president howard w. hunter). indeed, life is beautiful.


  1. Uncle Matt and Nate and I went through Clarion Alley on Friday night. Cool place. And definitely sinister at night. We weren't attacked, but we attacked.

  2. loved the post. We have to come into the city more and you can be our tour guide. And you need to come by more!! Brooke LOVED it! (and so did the rest of us.)

  3. Wow did you ever make the right decision by staying there! What a place! Loved the writing too!

  4. my goodness Charity. Really?! Yep. really. you really are this awesome!

  5. GREAT post Chi! I'm guessing from your parents' comment that youa re staying in SF?! That's fantastic... closer to us and that counts for a lot.
    I was just thinking that you girls need to hurry and plant a veggie garden in the backyard there.... spring is here!


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