Thursday, May 31, 2012

an afternoon run to pier 39.

The temperature climbed above 70ยบ today in San Francisco! As a warm-weather lover, I decided to run to Fisherman's Wharf to properly enjoy the sunshine and sea. It's less than 2 miles from our place and such warm weather is a bit atypical for SF. I had to soak it up! So for 1 glorious hour, I lazily basked in the sun at Pier 39, watching the boats pass by and listening to the sea lions' noisy antics. They are a rowdy bunch.

. . .

flower money.

As a gift for my birthday, my mom and sister gave me "flower-money", money intended only for the purchase of beautiful flowers (what a brilliant gift!)Not groceries, not prescriptions, just flowers. For 3 weeks I've been searching for a good downtown stand, and finally stumbled upon one yesterday after taking Finn lunch. Located at Geary & Stockton, this stand has the best selection and prices I've seen yet. 

My selection included a few sunflowers, blue & purple delphiniums, and a bunch of irises (which I carried at our wedding - I'll love them always). I felt instantly more glamorous cradling that brown paper parcel and was beaming the whole way home, proud to carry such a colorful bunch of flowers under my arm. I split up the portion into two messy bouquets, which now grace our living & dining rooms.

In my opinion, fresh flowers brighten a room like nothing else. See evidence below.



What a transformation!

Having the experience of freely picking out lovely flowers without my nagging conscious whispering "should you really be spending money on flowers?" was a special treat. And I have some money left over, so I'll get to enjoy the experience again sometime soon. What a great gift! Also, it turns out that taping faces on furniture is shockingly fun. There I was, alone in my apartment, laughing at the sudden cuteness of our sideboard.

Hooray for flowers!

sidenote: the metal plates on the ground are for earthquake protection. aren't they fetching?

. . .

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

our neighborhood.

I love the area of town where we live. It's safe, relatively quiet, and very close to:

1) the Financial District, where Finn works.
2) a main BART/MUNI station, which means we can get anywhere in the city pretty easily.
3) lots of great stores & restaurants.
4) the Cable Car line! We are just 1 block from a trolley ride. 

I thought I'd share a few glimpses of our neighborhood, the sights we see every day. 

1 & 2. Our street & our block. I took the second photo outside of Bush Market, which I visit on occasion when I need some produce, milk, or a chaco taco. It's good for quick runs.
3. The Powell Cable Car line: it's so fun to live right by one of San Francisco's most iconic qualities. Mostly tourists use the line and I often shoot them a kind & knowing smile that says "isn't it fun??".
4. Viney Wall: I walk by this wall daily. I love it because it feels like a 10-second nature oasis in the middle of the city. I appreciate all the green I can get these days.
5. Burritt St.: I think this sign says "burrito" literally every time I pass it. 
6. Hill. We live on one. This super steep one pictured runs perpendicular to our street. If you climb to the top, you can see the ocean as well as lots of out-of-breath people.
7. Our building. Davy took this picture our first week here. The buzzer is a facade. I wish it worked so I could be like Jerry Seinfeld when my friends visited.

. . .

p.s. - Today is my wonderfully kind & loving mother-in-law's birthday. 
Happy Birthday Carrie! I wish we could bring you dinner & flowers tonight. Miss you lots.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

happy birthday golden gate!

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge's opening and San Francisco 
is full of celebrations in the name of this architectural icon. Tonight we're heading to the Marina with friends to watch a grandiose fireworks show (and hopefully eat cotton candy too). My friend Caitlin is visiting from LA and I'm hoping tonight's fun will convince her to move to San Francisco.

Today I learned that there are 80,000 miles of wire in the main cables and 
well over 1 million rivets! The two main towers weigh 44,000 tons each
can't even get my mind around that. Cheers to Golden Gate, you make 
our skyline more picturesque in all your orange vermillion beauty!

. . .

Friday, May 25, 2012

our apartment: teeny things.

Many things make our apartment a home: each other, photos of people we love, our art, beloved books, cozy blankets, a putt-putt machine, and.....teeny things. I (along with my sister) have always held a tender place in my heart for items unusually small and these little treasures somehow make our space more feel more homey to me. There's nothing esoteric about this appreciation. They are just really cute things & I love them. 

1. Chair: gifted by my sister, this wonderful little seat serves as a bottle opener too. 
2. Whale: discovered and immediately purchased at an NC flea market on a hot summer day. I paid $2. He sits just inside our front door on a shelf, there to welcome all.
3. Buffalo: I honestly have no idea where he came from. He's a staple in this house. I think Finn secretly kind of hates him because I frequently find him knocked over.
4. Clothespin: No special story here. You can buy a bag at Michaels. However, it has inspired me to find a teeny shirt and hang it on a teeny line to dry.
5. Ship: gifted by my mother, this tall ship is one of my favorite possessions. The box it sits upon came totally separate and belonged to my grandfather. Antique mini-liquor bottles are stored inside. 
6. Jar: recently purchased on our trip to London & perfectly sized for one dollop of jam.

I should be friends with a mouse.

. . .

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a skype date.

Earlier this week, I skyped with my sister-in-law Summer and her sweetest baby Jet who is my first ever nephew (or niece for that matter). He's a total cutie. I miss them loads and was thrilled to see their faces (see my perma-smile). I'm thankful to Skype that I can still see Jet grow month by month. I miss my Rimbeys!

Although the last one seems like Jet is smiling at me, he's actually smiling at his mama who is standing up. He's obsessed with her and lights up like this when she talks to him. Isn't he so sweet? I love this little guy.

. . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Google+ conference.

Thanks to a nice friend at Google, I am attending the first Google+ Photographer's Conference which is happening here in San Francisco, less than 1 mile from our place! It's 2 days long and jam-packed tons of speakers, workshops, and connecting with interesting people.

At the end of today's events, I heard Jeremy Cowart speak, who is an incredible photographer & human being. His life and work is clearly inspired by his beliefs and I was teary-eyed for about 70% of his presentation. In addition to making beautiful images of famous musicians & actors, Jeremy also makes a conscious effort to photograph people who are often forgotten, especially in terms of photographic form. He has used his fame for the name of love & goodness.

Here is a project he did in Haiti just after the earthquake 
in an attempt to give the utterly broken a loud voice to speak. Read the 
captions of what the people say, it's amazing.

Or have a look at Help-Portrait, which was started by Jeremy. 
It's a movement of photographers giving the gift of portraits to those 
who have never been photographed as individuals or as families. 
Read all about it here

Personally, the presentation was hugely encouraging. Jeremy is creative. His ideas for shoots are dreamlike and weird. He puts glitter on lenses. For one project, he followed around this kind homeless man who prays through drawings and made a beautiful film set to this song about it and it turned out great! Often times I secretly feel like my peculiar hodge-podge of skills or interests are too specialized and strange to make art or things that people will like. That notion was challenged tonight, which felt freeing. Jeremy's work resonates deeply with a huge audience and he's just making what he loves, wild & all. I'm so happy I stuck around for the last session. It was a nice little hidden treasure that I didn't expect. 

. . .

Monday, May 21, 2012

a helpful chart & guide.

Here, it's legal for folks to be publicly naked as long as they're not causing a total ruckus. I've learned to identify nude passersby from far away, which allows me the good fortune of averting my eyes early on...
Here's what to look for so you don't have to look!!

a) a far-away pedestrian who seems to be all one fleshy color 
between the neck and ankles.

If you suspect (a) to be true, verify your findings by consulting (b)

b) Look for a space-cushion radius of 3-6 feet around suspected 
naked-person (because no one wants to walk super close to the 
naked guy in tennis shoes).

If you find (a) and (b) to be true, I recommend wasting no time and quickly activating the being-really-interested-in-your-phone-technique or the suddenly-very-turned-around-and-looking-up-at-all-the-street-signs (with squinty/confusion-filled-eyes to make it believable) approach until the coast is clear!

. . .

p.s. I know that many places on earth have nudists besides San Francisco. My chart is just meant for funny's sake.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

my smartie sister.

For the past 4.5 years, my sister Robin has worked gruelingly hard towards a Marriage & Family Counseling Master's Degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. You cannot imagine the amount of scarily thick books she's read, the number of pages she's written (I'd honestly guess over the 2,000 mark), and the countless number of hours of counseling she's given, all for this degree.

Today, she graduates!

I am proud of my sister and so excited for her to be done with school and to have a "normal person life", as we call it. She really has worked so hard. Robin cares deeply for people and has a natural gift at drawing out the deep. She's compassionate and wise. She will make a great counselor and is already loved by many clients. Congratulations sister, you are free from school. Have a cupcake, go throw a frisbee. You don't have to study and miss fun things or write papers anymore! 

Happy Graduation Robin! 

. . .

Friday, May 18, 2012

lydia's happenstance hotel.

This week, a North Carolina friend of mine is in town for a post-graduate culinary adventure. We decided to try and meet up if our schedules aligned. After getting the name of her hotel, I google-mapped the directions between our places and this was the result:


so pretty! these have onion, potato, & curry in a spicy sauce.
I love where we live! Needless to say, we hung out. We had dinner at Thai Idea Vegetarian to accommodate Lydia's vegetarianism. She said it was overwhelming to have a whole menu to choose from, as most restaurants have just a few vegetarian-friendly options. Dinner was superb! It seems that every restaurant I try in San Francisco becomes one of my favorites - I have not had a disappointing meal yet. We had Thai Samosa for an appetizer & some gingery-pineappley-peppery-delicious main courses.

Hanging out with Lydia was fun. I miss females (no offense Finn) and our dinner date conversation was an excellent balance of politics, ideas, clothes, her upcoming travels to Palestine & Israel, the health benefits of cravings, hair-donations, crows, relationships, with a healthy dose of sarcasm thrown in. Girls are cool! We can talk about everything!

Thanks to Lydia for spending her free evening with me. I had a happy time and hope you enjoy your time in San Francisco. Safe travels to you this summer!

. . .

the makings of team martin.

Yesterday, one of my dearest & best friends, Alison, said yes to her beloved Jacob as he asked her to be his wife in a beautiful field in North Carolina. They are engaged & elated. I am beyond thrilled - I am brimming with excitement & praise. The thought of my dear Alison as the strong & lovely & gracious wife she will surely be brings joyful tears to my eyes. Really though, I've cried several times since hearing the news (I'm a cryer). I even teared up in front of the guy installing our internet like a crazy - I am so happy for these two!

aren't they a good looking couple??

Alison took me to brunch the day after I got engaged. She, dressed as a tiger, put on my dinosaur-bride veil at my animal-themed, zoo-scavenger-hunt bachelorette-party (my friends are awesome). She cheered with joy at our wedding and has been a most loving friend, intentionally encouraging me in my faith and marriage constantly. Alison is a blessing of a friend & will certainly be a precious gift of a wife. 

I am moved to think of the beautiful season she's entering into with Jacob (who is such an honorable & awesome guy by the way). My marriage to Finn has grown me and enriched my life in many ways and I expect no less for these two. Their relationship is healthy, honest, playful, full of mutual respect & adoration, and has the most solid of foundations. I have full faith they will lead a wonderful life together. I can't wait to write "the Martins" in my address book!

Congratulations Alison and Jacob. We are for you!

. . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

tartine: a love note.

I hereby declare my unending love for Tartine, the most wonderful, most dangerously delicious bakery ever made known to me and located just 3 miles away. Tartine, I will eat your morning buns with severe abandonment as frequently as possible with literally no regard for health consequences. I will most likely spend all my extra money on your pastries and I will defend your name and honor always. It's the yeast I can do (ba-da-bing!). You are my one true bakery-love.

faithfully yours,


( ( but really people, it's seriously so so good ) )

. . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

mother's day & napa.

On mother's day, we drove north to Napa Valley to escape the cold-city weather & enjoy the views of Napa's rolling hills of vineyards. We had a delicious Mexican lunch, visited a few wineries, and loved the views along the way. The landscape much resembled Italy and we were, yet again, amazed at how much diverse beauty there is so close to San Francisco.

for breakfast she had peaches, mango, yummy cereal, insta-coffee (we don't own a coffee maker), & cards
from me and my sister waiting for her. nothing too fancy, we just made do with what we had. i love my mom!

my mama was polite company while we enjoyed a glass of fancy wine
(she doesn't drink alcohol). i really like this photo she took.

We took the long way home in order to drive on Highway 1, a beautiful scenic route that goes along the coast. It was definitely worth the extra time in the car. At one point, we pulled over at a salt marsh (not pictured) because we saw some seals in the distance. We walked down to the rocky beach and waited. A few curious ones (that didn't have vulnerable pups by their side) came quite close and one individual poked his little head out of the water and looked right at me for about 15 seconds. Day made.

the view from highway 1

My mom said she loved the whole day for which I was thankful! I'm blessed to have a great relationship with both my mom and mother-in-law, Carrie. My mom is an awesome lady whom I love dearly. She's strong, intelligent, artistic, generous, beautiful, and possesses the all-important-ability to laugh at herself. I love Carrie too, who has really become a second mom to me - she's patient, kind, selfless, wise, also beautiful, fun to be around, and can have good laugh too (obviously an important quality to me). We wish she could have been with us too. It was a great mother's day! Aren't we a bunch of lucky ducks?

. . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

marin & muir.

Just a short drive outside of San Francisco, there is an incredible amount of natural beauty to behold. Perhaps my favorite day of my mom & aunt's visit was our day-trip to Muir Woods (with a stop at Marin Headlands on the way). We rented a car, drove north across the Golden Gate Bridge, and had a dream of a day in the perfect blue-skies weather. 


Marin Headlands is the southern most part of the peninsula that's north of San Francisco. It's very hilly & has beautiful views of the bridge & bay. It's amazing that just 15 minutes from my apartment are these dramatic sweeping views of cliffside and sea. There are wildflowers, sea lions, and the windy air smells like the ocean. It is a treasure to me.

i really love it here.

We had the place to ourselves and watched the sea lions sunbathe on the rocks below. ps you can click on these photos to view them in larger form if you'd like!

Muir Woods is a 554 acre National Park and home to thousands of ancient Redwood behemoths. It feels like a fictional fairy land complete with a stream, songbirds, and angled light beams shining through the towering trees all lovely like.

This is the only picture I'll share of the trees because it's the only one that even slightly does their size and scale justice. They are breathtaking in person. 

When we left Muir Woods, we discussed how we all felt peaceful and relaxed. We read this excerpt by John Muir while there - we liked it and thought it certainly holds a bit of wisdom:

"Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain 
or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."

. . .

tourist for a week.

The week spent with my mom & aunt was such a gift. The weather was peculiarly warm & wonderful the whole week and we adventured all around San Francisco and its surrounding nature-lands, allowing me to know (and consequently love) our new home much more. I'd like to share our outings over the course of a few posts since there's so much to share. 

I must say having your mom & aunt as first visitors is completely ideal, as the trip is void of pressure to plan things or be an excellent tour-guide. They were patient as I figured out public transportation, flexible when it came to the day's agenda, understanding when I got huffy, and overall just cozy to be with. Plus my mom bought me like $30 worth of pastries WOOT WOOT. gotta love moms!

Filled with excitment their first morning here, I kept peeking on them
hoping there would be positive correlation between # of peeks & likelihood
to wake up (no significant findings to report).

Once we were all up & at 'em, we rode a cable car up to Fisherman's Wharf. The cable car line is only two streets from our apartment & though a ride is expensive, it is fun! I opted to hang off the side with all the under-10-year-olds like a boss. 

At Fisherman's Wharf we made a last-minute decision to enjoy a boat tour of the bay after the employee agreed to give us all senior discounts (for which none of us qualified by the way) - huzzah!! We went under the Golden Gate, rounded Alcatraz, & at certain points froze our buns off (see below). I'm learning the weather turns very quickly here.

We also spotted lots of seals & sea lions as I had hoped. I want to hug one.

One day we visited the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in west SF. We touched starfish, watched penguins play, and stood in awe of the aquarium creatures. We also sat through the imax feature which was a touch too soothing & I fell asleep.

all about some animals.
thanks mom for taking the coolest picture of me ever.

Other highlights included Dolores Park which has a kid's dream playground, the views from Coit Tower which I will never voluntarily hike to again, and the Farmer's Market where we bought dried lavender, cucumber-pineapple tea, fresh baked bread, and tabouli. San Francisco is fun!

the best place to enjoy a treat at the farmer's market.

There is lots more to share & I'll keep it coming. Thanks so much to my mom 
& Nancy for visiting. I love you both and miss you already!

. . .