Lands End day trip

The weather’s supposed to clear up this Sunday after several off-and-on days of much-needed rain, so I’m hoping to take the opportunity to bolt to San Francisco for a little day trip around the Outer Sunset / Lands End / the Legion of Honor.

My plan is to check out Outerlands for the amazing-looking Dutch pancake (just look at that thing) plus possibly the eggs in jail (purely for the name). Although the fried egg open-face sandwich with roasted chicories and goat cheese sounds intriguing too…as do the poached eggs with braised greens and yellow corn grits. Accompanied by hot lemon-ginger apple cider with Buffalo Trace bourbon in a mason jar? Yes, please.

Ever since Weekend Sherpa ran this blurb on the 6-mile Grand Walk that skirts Lands End and Baker Beach before continuing to Fort Mason, I’ve wanted to traverse the trail myself. At least a small part of it. Judging from this Google map, I could easily head up the Great Highway from Outerlands and park at the Lands End lot behind the 1863 Cliff House, jump on the Coastal Trail—sidetracking briefly for a look-see of the labyrinth—and then follow to where the trail cuts up through Lincoln Park to the Legion of Honor. If the trails aren’t too soggy, that is.

Side note: Do you remember the book West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915? It’s a collection of Laura’s letters home to her husband, Almanzo, on their Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri about visiting their daughter, Rose, during S.F.’s Panama Pacific International Exposition. Laura writes of the delight of dipping her toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, somewhere along Baker Beach, and the image always stuck with me because, well, when I think of Laura, I think of the prairie. It’d be so neat to stand on the beach and imagine her there as the waves caress the sand, evoking the same wonder she must’ve felt.

Anyhow, it’ll feel good to be outdoors in the sun after the rain has washed the air clean this past week. And how cool will it be to combine some hiking and books with a little art fix?

John Spencer Stanhope, Love and the Maiden, 1877.
The figures in the background remind me of Botticelli’s Primavera.

The Legion’s exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860–1900 is up, with its focus on the British Aesthetic Movement, and I’m curious to see paintings like this Stanhope mainly as a foil to the fin de siècle Austrian Expressionism I’ve been so immersed in with my MLA thesis on Egon Schiele. In fact, the whole trip will be a nice break from thesis writing and colloquium.

I love planning little adventures like this—and having the time for them again, as well as the head space not to stress out about taking time away from doing what I need to graduate.

(Outerlands montage photo via Foodiggity via Eat Drink Chic; Grand Walk photo via Weekend Sherpa; Love and the Maiden via the Legion of Honor)

Update: On second thought, I may have to swing by Devil’s Teeth Baking Company for a cuppa and some hot beignets first, and save Outerlands for a midafternoonish brunch!

I need a do-over on my 20s!

I used love reading Erin Meanley’s Single-ish blog posts for Glamour, because they were so funny and down-to-earth. Her stuff felt like straight talk from a good girl friend. In fact, she’d write about things I wish someone had told me when I was floundering around in my 20s, like this and this and especially this (gotta love a good bucket list). So when I first read her post “I Need a Do-Over on my 20s!” on her personal blog, Adultlescence, I had to admire her guts for admitting publicly to a moment many of us probably prefer to keep private … and, honestly, I had to smile too because it seemed to me that although she evidently succumbed temporarily to the old rat-race danger of looking around and comparing herself to everyone else (or at least where everyone else seemed to be, which is to say, seemingly doing much better than she was), she also knew underneath that she’d done some pretty darn cool things in her 20s. Plus she could still keep her sense of humor about the situation even if she was feeling down.
As one commenter said (in response to Erin’s ironic remark, “I can’t believe I’ve wasted my 20s studying and traveling and writing and freelancing. DUH!”) (which, honestly, is one of the remarks that crack me up), “Well, I’m 26, married with a mortgage and an okay job I took straight out of college and I keep thinking, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t take any time for myself to travel or study or experience anything new and different!’” Right?
As for me, there’ll always be things I’ll look back at in my 20s with some chagrin, but I wouldn’t want to go back and relive those years. No way! Of course, if a redo were possible, knowing what I know now, that’d maybe be different … but even so, how would I know what I now know if I hadn’t lived it first myself? Anyway, I’m pretty happy with certain 20s highlights: taking the Peace Corps plunge, learning to salsa-dance where once I was a wallflower, traveling solo through Turkey and Guatemala. But I just want to keep turning those corners and moving forward and racking up cool experiences and hopefully gaining some insight along the way.
Of course, I have to say it’s easier to have some peace of mind when you’re more financially stable.
Update: Erin is now a senior editor at San Diego Magazine, so she can’t be doing too badly. :)


I couldn’t sleep last night. I’d been researching the prices of cars and I just couldn’t believe it. I started realizing how much time and money I’d wasted throughout my 20s and it really upset me.

First of all, I applied to one grad school, got in, and went. Then I spent 2 years getting a useless master’s degree, thinking, What else is there to do? Jobwise, there was a writer’s strike in Hollywood, a small recession, and then 9/11 happened.

Not only did I go into debt by going to school, but immediately afterwards I went into a profession that doesn’t pay you more for having more education. You get paid less, actually, because your school loans take away from your salary. I had more schooling than anyone on staff, including all my superiors and big boss. But through August of 2005—four years after graduating cum laude from USC—I…

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“The Hill” by Rupert Brooke

The bravado of this poem makes the last line all the more poignant.

Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
You said, “Through glory and ecstasy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old … ” “And when we die
All’s over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, other lips,” said I,
“Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!”

“We are Earth’s best, that learnt her lesson here.
Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!” we said;
“We shall go down with unreluctant tread
Rose-crowned into the darkness!” … Proud we were,
And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.
And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

(Photo: Michelle Summers Photography)


I once promised myself that I’d do something new every day, even if it were as small as trying a different menu item or a new route to work, just so that each day of my life could have a little adventure in it. And if I put all I can into today—this one day I have—eventually I can look back at my whole life and (hopefully!) find it fully lived, day by day.

Living this way means I try not to put off bucket-list items or even “I should go check out that new museum exhibition this weekend…” types of outings ’til later. Workouts, however, can be another matter! But if I just focus on today, that makes the getting-it-done easier. After a while, getting today done will add up to a habit.

(via FitSugar)

“I Will Not Die An Unlived Life” by Dawna Markova

Joy and exuberance personified.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

(Photo: Anna Bryukhanova for iStockphoto)

A bit of Emma wisdom

When I was an undergrad and had just read The Sense & Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries by Emma Thompson, I developed a huge girl crush on her. (Huge.) I loved her intelligence and sense of humor and most of all her down-to-earth way of seeing things. So of course I would get a kick out of this quote attributed to her. Enjoy life as it comes, right?

(via hip hip gin gin)

P.S. Remember how she did her 1996 Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Motion Picture Screenplay in character as Jane Austen? (Fast-forward to about 1:08.) And how could I forget her as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing?