San Francisco Tulips

Last Saturday as I was heading back to San Francisco from Oakland, I looked into what events are happening near me. One of my quick go to websites is events12. It focuses on free and priced events in big cities. They feature: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Or, San Francisco and Seattle.

I found American Tulip Day in Union Square. It featured 100,000 tulips you can pick for free. There was a line heading around the block just to get in. Although it was long, it went quick and I only waited about 10 minutes. As you walked in, you could see hundreds of people walking through the tulip beds picking flowers. There were red, yellow, pink, purple, white and a mix of yellow and red tulips. Once inside you were given a small bag. But if you came prepared, you would have brought a grocery bag to fill.

I thought the flowers were going to be already cut for an easy picking. Nope. They made you work for it. They were still in their beds, bulbs and all. If I had a garden I would have picked more than I could carry so I can replant them. I took home about 19 of them. All very beautiful. I got a few strange looks on the metro heading back across the city to go home. I guess not everyone knew about free tulip day. I wouldn’t have either, had I not looked online. I typically don’t go into the touristy part of town.

For those who don’t know, Tulip Day is a version of a Dutch holiday that brings a pop-up garden of thousands of flowers to Dam Square in Amsterdam for thousands of people to enjoy. Further note on tulips: Tulip mania “was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble.” Click the link… I never knew about that… and it’s pretty interesting.

20180302_213135Also this weekend, on Friday I stopped over at First Fridays in Oakland after work. It sort of got rained out, but they kept on going with what they had. There were food trucks, music, a DJ and even a bar. They even feature half off the Oakland Museum of California since the event is held on the street level of it. The event is free and it’s super fun and community driven.

After that, I headed to Independent Brewing Company to try some new beers. They’re located in Oakland too, but a bit hidden away near an overpass. I wouldn’t have known about it, had my friends band not played there. Occasionally they have art shows and music. This last weekend they had a Tom Waits cover band play. A trio featuring a quiet bassist, a banjo player/singer (who was also the opening act called the “1 Man Banjo”) and a female accordion player/singer. They were decent, but they could couldn’t (wouldn’t?) play one of my favorite songs Chocolate Jesus. I mean, c’mon… it’s almost Easter.

The place was pretty empty, but I still had fun. Hopefully this next weekend is better than the last. Let’s hope nothing gets rained out again.

One more thing before I forget! The bay area features a plethora of shows, from punk to metal to jazz. You can typically find most shows on The List. It’s assorted by date and club in which the bands are playing. Occasionally I find shows that aren’t featured on it, and that’s a shame, but knowing the right people and places to go always help with a good time. 🙂

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California Dreamin’

I haven’t written in 6 months. I needed a break, and I’ve been hiding from the world.

I got back to the States at the end of July and finally made it home to California on August 5th after 3 long days on a Greyhound bus. May have been longer, I’m not too sure.

I had been very fortunate coming back home to find myself rehired at an old job and a room vacant that my friend had just left from that I was able to rent out. For 3 long months I endured insanely long days of work and no free time. I had 3 jobs and typically worked from 6am – 2pm and then from 5pm – midnight. I often called out because I was worn out and made myself sick from over working, lack of sleep and not eating in between jobs or on breaks.

But I stuck to my goal of working hard enough to pay my rent and get ahead as much as I could. I was living and working in San Jose and was determined not to stay there. When the end of October rolled around I got several interviews in San Francisco. I interviewed once, twice… 3 times with 2 different companies and got the one job I wanted and started at the end of November. From then, during the month of December, I made my way around all over the Bay Area to find me a close home.

On January 5th, I found my home near the beach in San Francisco. No more 2+ hour commutes. No more staying with friends and family in the East Bay. I finally have my own space in an area I love.

Since I’ve been back home in the Bay (for those of you who don’t know, I’m originally from the Bay Area, but lived in and around Seattle the last 9 years) I have connected with only a couple of friends and have also fallen out of touch or cut others off for my own mental health. I’ve mostly been hiding and doing my own thing. I have plans to visit my daughter soon and maybe pick up some hobbies.

Europe was interesting. I met a lot of people, experience some things and ate some delicious food. I’ve been in touch with some of those I met and spent time with, and I hope to see them again soon.

As for the future, I hope to do weekly updates on my blog about living and working in San Francisco to keep myself, as well as you entertained.

My Emerald City

Seattle is called the Emerald City. Why? Because of all the greenery surrounding it of course. I don’t spend much time outdoors. Not as much as I would probably like. I’m just not motivated to get up and get out of bed and put on clothes and shoes and drive to the nearest lake or park or forest. Nope, that shit is for the birds. So I thought I would share what I do like, and what I do do, and what I wish I had done while living in this wonderful world of Oz.

Have you ever been on a dating website? 90% of the people on there, have profiles and pictures stating how much they like the outdoors and how they’re always hiking or some shit. Bitch, you know you spend your off time eating pizza and being a recluse. Going on that local hike once does not make you an outdoorsy person. I’m not sure if this is just a Seattle thing or if it’s a world thing. Seems like a Seattle thing. END RANT.

Moving on. Here are some of my favorite things I LOVE in Seattle:

Bars in Belltown

  • The Rabbit Hole I love it because it has awesome bar food, weird paintings on the walls and my favorite game of all time, skee ball! Skee ball is the only reason I go.
  • Rocco’s is on the same row of bars in Belltown on 2nd Ave. It’s small and a bit posh, but not in a snobby way.  I’m not as big of a fan as I was when I first started going there a few years ago. I have good reason, I’m a snob when it comes to a good dirty gin martini. They were amazing my first few visits. Perfectly made, not overly dirty and stirred not shaken. The last couple times I have gone, they have been overly dirty and overall not that good. However, their regular cocktails are tasty aaaaand they serve really good slices of pizza. It’s not a huge space, so there is typically a line. Get there early.
  • Shorty’s is another bar on 2nd Ave that I think everyone and their mom ends up at during a drunken night of debauchery. It’s a pinball arcade bar. I personally am not a fan of pinball, mostly because I suck at it and hate spending 50 cents a game for 2 seconds of play. They serve tasty overpriced Coney Dogs for all your drunken pleasure if you’re hungry.
  • Lava Lounge is another one on the strip I like to go to. It’s quiet and looks like a tiki dive bar. I’m not sure why there’s never a lot of people, but I like it.
  • Tula’s is on 2nd Ave as well. This is a super nice jazz club if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s usually a cover, and it’s a small space, but I’ve never been disappointed on the live music while I’m there.
  • The Upstairs is across the street from above mentioned bars, so still on the same strip. (Now can you see why I like to hangout in Belltown?) It’s a place you could walk right past if you weren’t really looking for it. It’s a cute cocktail bar that looks like a sitting area of a small apartment. I read somewhere that the door inside the bar, just past the stairs is an actual apartment that the owner lives in. Not sure how true that is, but still, it’s a nice place.

Pike Place Market

Yeah yeah yeah. Pike Place is NOT overrated. I have a special place in my heart because I worked there one winter at a pasta stand selling choclate pasta. Yep, that’s a thing and people buy the shit outta that stuff.

Pike Place is a huge labyrinth of stores, local vendors and free samples. I love it. You wanna know the best time to go besides in the off season? If you have crazy crowd anxiety and need arms length people space, go at like 10am on a Tuesday. Not all vendors will be open, but you can still catch the throwing fish, get your fair share of free samples of chocolate pasta, chocolate covered cherries, gelato, yogurt, fruit, and all the other yummy stuff. If you like food and sweets and have a big stomach, you can spend a day spending all of your money on grab and go Greek, Asian, Mexican food and all the pastries your little heart desires.

Beyond the actual Market, you can find one of my ultimate favorite places on the planet, The Can Can!!! It’s located just outside of the Market down some stairs on the corner of 1st and Pike. It’s an amazing cabaret which hosts multiple burlesque shows that change a few times a year. You have an option to buy different types of tickets and seats, and some come with food and drinks. It really just depends on how much you want to spend or how much you want to eat.

If you want to sit down and have a nice view of the water, my 2 favorite places in the Market for a good breakfast, lunch or dinner would have to be Lowell’s and the Athenian. Both places have amazing views and the service is great. Warning: These places have stairs to climb and lots of them, just an fyi.

Of course there is a ton more to see and do and eat, but I feel I should limit it to my favorites.

Game Day Love

I am personally not a fan of football, but I am a fan of soccer. So beyond my time in Belltown, you can catch me in Pioneer Square before and after a Sounders game. There are tons of sportsballs bars near the stadiums, but my favorites, where you’ll always catch me are:

  • Fuel I love Fuel. Kinda bro-ish, but the people are super nice and they got good eats. There’s even a patio to hang out at if you don’t want to be stuck inside with smelly drunk people. It’s the perfect place for a nice sunny afternoon.
  • Temple was one of the first bars I went to when I first started going to games. So I always have to make a stop there. They have a million pool tables and a shuffle board upstairs. They serve good food and the owner is always super nice. There’s even a bar downstairs from Temple called The Pharmacy, it’s not always open, so I would check the hours if you head that way.

Other Activities I Like

  • Emerald City Trapeze is the place to go. One of my absolute favorite things to do in Seattle is Trapeze. Like, someday I’m going to join the circus. You don’t have to have any skill whatsoever. It’s a great workout and the teachers are great. Classes are typically 2 hours long. They have other classes too like aerial arts, acrobatics and cyr wheel. There’s a student show every few months and they put on professional shows too.
  • Volunteer Park Conservatory is somewhere I have never been to. In fact I just recently came across a post about it on the book of face and a new flower that’s blooming called Strongylodon macrobotrys or, jade vine. Check it out.flower
  • Pacific Science Center is another place I haven’t been. I believe it’s more catered to families and little ones. A place where you can discover science stuff and play with interactive things.
  • Free Boat Rides on South Lake Union! I had been wanting to go since I read about it months ago, but timing never worked or the weather has been extremely cold. They do this every Sunday and it’s totally free. The only time they don’t sail is if the wind is crazy. You can sail on any of these apparatus’: Sprit boats, steamboats, electric boats, schooners, ketches, yawls, and yachts. Apparently the locals I know don’t even know about this cool secret.
  • The Academy of Burlesque in Seattle. There is burlesque everywhere here. EVERYWHERE. For the past 8 years I have been wanting to go to this school and become a burlesque dancer. The burlesque 101 class is a 6 week class and you finish it off with a recital to the public. I have never had a chance to take the course due to finances, but I was lucky enough to do a private lesson with The One The Only Inga some time ago. They do offer other classes beyond burlesque, just an fyi.
  • Seattle Symphony is also an amazing place. I saw Mozart’s Requiem and was almost in tears. The acoustics are wonderful and it’s a beautiful place.
  • Seattle Opera I have never been, but if you’re a fan of that sort of thing, I would recommend going. I have never heard a bad thing about it.

Of course there’s a million other places I’ve been to and love in Seattle, but this is a list of MY absolute favorites or places I wish I would have gone to. By the way, the picture on top with all of those stickers, lipsticks, eyelashes and glitter was a door prize I won at last weeks Academy of Burlesque 101 Recital. Those viles of glitter… have pubes shoved in there as well. Burlesque dancers really enjoy their glitter a little too much.